The Brides of Christ

1 Corinthians 11: A deeper look

Easton's Bible Dictionary

(Hebrews form Nazirite), the name of such Israelites as took on them the vow prescribed in Numbers 6:2-21. The word denotes generally one who is separated from others and consecrated to God. Although there is no mention of any Nazarite before Samson, yet it is evident that they existed before the time of Moses. The vow of a Nazarite involved these three things, (1) abstinence from wine and strong drink, (2) refraining from cutting the hair off the head during the whole period of the continuance of the vow, and (3) the avoidance of contact with the dead.

When the period of the continuance of the vow came to an end, the Nazarite had to present himself at the door of the sanctuary with (1) a he lamb of the first year for a burnt-offering, (2) a ewe lamb of the first year for a sin-offering, and (3) a ram for a peace-offering. After these sacrifices were offered by the priest, the Nazarite cut off his hair at the door and threw it into the fire under the peace-offering.

For some reason, probably in the midst of his work at Corinth, Paul took on himself the Nazarite vow. This could only be terminated by his going up to Jerusalem to offer up the hair which till then was to be left uncut. But it seems to have been allowable for persons at a distance to cut the hair, which was to be brought up to Jerusalem, where the ceremony was completed. This Paul did at Cenchrea just before setting out on his voyage into Syria (Acts 18:18).

On another occasion (Acts 21:23-26), at the feast of Pentecost, Paul took on himself again the Nazarite vow. "The ceremonies involved took a longer time than Paul had at his disposal, but the law permitted a man to share the vow if he could find companions who had gone through the prescribed ceremonies, and who permitted him to join their company. This permission was commonly granted if the new comer paid all the fees required from the whole company (fee to the Levite for cutting the hair and fees for sacrifices), and finished the vow along with the others. Four Jewish Christians were performing the vow, and would admit Paul to their company, provided he paid their expenses. Paul consented, paid the charges, and when the last seven days of the vow began he went with them to live in the temple, giving the usual notice to the priests that he had joined in regular fashion, was a sharer with the four men, and that his vow would end with theirs. Nazarites retired to the temple during the last period of seven days, because they could be secure there against any accidental defilement" (Lindsay's Acts).

As to the duration of a Nazarite's vow, every one was left at liberty to fix his own time. There is mention made in Scripture of only three who were Nazarites for life, Samson, Samuel, and John the Baptist (Judges 13:4, 5; 1 Samuel 1:11; Luke 1:15). In its ordinary form, however, the Nazarite's vow lasted only thirty, and at most one hundred, days. (see RECHABITES.)1 Corinthians 11:4 - Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head.

This is either true, or it isn't. I believe it is true. So if it is really the head covering issue spoken of in verse 16, then Paul would basically be saying "If anyone chooses to dishonor Jesus, don't contend with him because we have no such custom of honoring Jesus, nor do the assemblies of God." Clearly, this would be double talk. It absolutely is a custom in the body of Christ to honor Christ and refrain from dishonoring him. How could it ever be otherwise?

This institution was a symbol of a life devoted to God and separated from all sin, a holy life.

Keeping ourselves from dishonoring Jesus is certainly an important issue, so the head covering cannot be what verse 16 was talking about. It makes much more sense if we understand that he is speaking of long/short hair not being a custom in the assembly, for Paul himself took a Nazirite vow which would require him to grow his hair long. There were also situations where even a woman might need to shave their head, such as for the cleansing of leprosy (Lev 14:9).


Some claim that in the "New Testament", a woman is "liberated" and she can now take on the leadership role in the body of Christ. Furthermore, some claim that woman is now equal in authority to a man in marriage. But are there any "new testament" scriptures which would contradict the role and position of women in the Tanakh or so called "Old Testament"? To the contrary, here is one of many that support this same role:

1Pet 3:3-6 Do not let your adornment be [merely] outward--arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on [fine] apparel-- rather [let] [it] [be] the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible [beauty] of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him master, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.

Here we see a "new testament" scripture which clearly demonstrates that a woman should be looking to women of "Former times" as examples of how to live. "Holy women who trusted in God" by adorning themselves with submission to their own husbands, "as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him master, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror"

Notice that women are instructed to not be afraid when they submit to their husbands. Fear is what drives many women to try their hand at overthrowing her husband's decisions by striving, contending, and arguing with them. Generally, the fear is that a husband's decision will result in an unpleasant circumstance. In fact, God doesn't promise that women will not endure any unpleasant circumstances when we submit to Him! Rather, look at what Jesus went through and remember that He is our example of how to respond to unpleasant circumstances: By humbly, quietly trusting in God. Sarah trusted in God when she submitted to her husband's decision to tell everyone she was his sister. As a result, she ended up in the harem of a king but God intervened and delivered her unharmed. Abraham and Sarah walked away from that incident with abundant possessions. Read about it in Genesis 20.

In the verses we read above, Sarah called her husband "master", or "Adon" if you look it up in the Hebrew. In Genesis 18:12, she calls him "Adonai" which means "My Master". Notice also that it says "Sarah obeyed Abraham". The word "Obeyed" here in 1Pet 3:6 above is Strong's word #5219 which is also translated "Obey" in this verse:

Luke 8:25 (KJV) And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey (5219) him.

So we can see that the word "Submissive" is equated with "Obeying". The women are to be submissive just as Sarah obeyed Abraham and the wind and water obeyed Jesus. This is the example that women are called to follow in the "new testament". The man is still in authority. Keeping this in mind, there are many other scriptures that are very clear about women needing to be in submission (and therefore obedient) to their husbands:

Colo 3:18 (NKJV) Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in God.

Titu 2:3-5 (NKJV) the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things-- that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.

According to this verse, if a woman decided not to obey her husband in a matter then she would give occasion for the word of God to be blasphemed! The word translated "Blasphemed" means "to malign or bring reproach". We ought to be magnifying the word of God rather than bringing reproach and blasphemy upon it through our behavior.

Ephe 5:22 (NKJV) Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to God.

Why as to God? Because God has established the man as the authority/master/Bah'al in the home. Any decisions made will be placed on HIS shoulders on the day of Judgment. If the man decides to let the woman make the decisions just to avoid an argument, he will STILL be the one responsible for those decisions. The tendency is for the man to say within his heart, "Well, she's taking over. What can I do?" and so he goes along with it. But wasn't this Adam's mistake in the garden of Eden? His failure to lead contributed to the fall of man. Did his excuse, "The woman that you gave me" work? No. Men, rise up and take your place that God gave you as the leader of your home and as leaders in the assembly. This does not mean "control everyone", this means "lead by example" and express your will in the family Yahweh has given you. Perhaps you feel inadequate. But you weren't given the authority because you were so smart or so perfect. You were given the authority because YOU are the one responsible. Take your responsibility seriously and take the lead. Be loving but firm in your decisions. God, the most powerful being in the universe is on your side. Lead by example, and by being a servant to all; even as Jesus didn't come on this earth to be served but to serve!

Ladies, to help put things in perspective for a moment, please ponder the common sense logic that is given in God's will for your life. Even the world realizes that a company needs some kind of management to make important decisions about the direction of things. Suppose there were a company that just let all the employees make all of the decisions? What if the employees made all the decisions and management just stood there silent and useless? Totally preposterous, right? Yet, this is the common picture of a home in today's world where "Women's lib" (or as a comparison, "Employee lib") has taken hold. Imagine a company where the "employees" call the shots and make it so that management either obeys or is going to be miserable. Today, the manager of the home often just stays out of the way and mumbles a few words here and there. It ought not be so. Even common sense tells us that God is right!

Ephesians 5:23-24 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Jesus is head of the assembly; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the assembly is subject to Jesus, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

Of course, if the husband does not lead with love there will also be a home with much chaos and confusion. But he answers directly to Jesus and Jesus is in control.

1Corinthians 11:3 - But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of the Christ is God.

Let it be so. At this point, we have laid a foundation for understanding God's purpose in creating woman. She is to be a help, support and companion to the man. Her role in the body of Christ will be consistent with what she was created to be. A woman's role is extremely important and vital to the health of the body. Don't let anyone tell you any different. The body of Christ needs men and women, each doing their part so that the love of Jesus may be made manifest to all the world, just as God intended. When each are doing their part in the body, it is also the best environment for spiritual growth in the assembly. We cannot separate the role of the man & woman in marriage from the role of each in the body of Christ. God created woman with certain gifts that would best enable her to be a 'help' to man. God created man with certain gifts that would best enable him to lead and manage. These do not change when it comes to the assembly. These gifts compliment each other in the assembly and any efforts to reverse their roles will ultimately result in the same disaster seen in the garden of Eden.

NOW ONTO THE HOLINESS ISSUE.  Many churches INCORRECTLY identify this scripture whenever they teach about HOLINESS.  I myself received (and accepted) this brand of teaching for many years.  UNTIL I DID MY OWN STUDY ON HOLINESS VERSUS MODESTY.  HOLINESS INCORPORATES MODESTY, BUT YOU CAN BE MODEST AND UNHOLY AT THE SAME TIME.

The beauty of holiness is one that for years I considered to be reflective of my wife's outer beauty or that of the church women.

In reality, the bible tells us that we are all going to be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye and that our genders will no longer be distinquished by male and female, we will ALL be kings and priests, judging between the angels and over God's creation (1 Cor. 6:3).

True Holiness is complete spiritual devotion (by that you must include natural flesh obeying (in submission to) the spirit), to the purposes or will of another. In our case, God the Father. That's why I choose to say I follow holiness (without which no man shall see God) with modesty.

2 Corinthians 6:17 -7:1 - Therefore "Come out from among them And be separate, says the Master. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you." 18 "I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says God Almighty." Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Of course, this is where many conclude that being separate we should look different, and that is good to the extent that we put upon ourselves a mark of separation (clothing), but the life is more than meat and the body more than raiment....1 Cor. 6:19 tells us our bodies are created to house our spirits and not ours alone, but to be the temple of the Holy Ghost and Romans 12:1 tells us that we are to present those temples HOLY and acceptable onto God, which is our reasonable service.

Now, separating holiness from modesty is not easy, but consider this: You can be modest and not holy and modesty is a commandment, but not relating specifically to holiness. DRESSES DON'T MAKE YOU HOLY, they may help remind you (and show others) that you are separating yourselves and work to keep you mindful of holiness, but the SPIRIT is the real and true issue.  Otherwise, we would need to have a set of clothing continually and solely for church, changing each time we attend (as the Levitical priesthood).  Wearing a garment to church then McDonald's right afterward NEGATES HOLINESS OF THE GARMENT.

I know some will struggle with this, but that is only because they don't separate modesty from holiness. Modesty is a chaste revealing of a humble spirit. Holiness is a dedicated spirit. Modesty is downcast eyes, not attracting the attention of another. Holiness is uplifted head and hands, reaching for spiritual food and direction. Modesty is physical/mental. Behave, Behavior:

1Pet 3:3-6 Do not let your adornment be [merely] outward--arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on [fine] apparel-- rather [let] [it] [be] the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible [beauty] of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him master, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.

So many IGNORE of are fearful of including the inference/intonation and USE of the word not let it be MERELY - solely, only, just, the outward issues, but ALSO, RATHER LET IT BE (ALSO), IN ADDITION, ALONGSIDE, WITH............the hidden person of the heart.

"orderly, modest," is translated "orderly" in 1Ti 3:2, RV, for AV, "of good behavior." Both have "modest" in 1Ti 2:9. Cp. kosmeo, "to adorn," kosmos, "adornment."

Holiness is Spiritual: Holiness:

in the highest sense belongs to God (Isa 6:3; Rev 15:4), and to Christians as consecrated to God's service, and in so far as they are conformed in all things to the will of God (Rom 6:19,22; Eph 1:4; Tts 1:8; 1Pe 1:15). Personal holiness is a work of gradual development. It is carried on under many hindrances, hence the frequent admonitions to watchfulness, prayer, and perseverance (1Cr 1:30; 2Cr 7:1; Eph 4:23,24). (See SANCTIFICATION.)

Follow peace with all men and HOLINESS, without which no man shall see God.