Proper Worship: Honor your Head

I Corinthians 11:2-16

LOWELL JOHNSON – As I come to this eleventh
chapter I feel sort of like the young soldier who
was out on maneuvers and got lost. He wandered
for a while and finally saw a clearing. In the middle
of the field was a sign, but it was so far away he
couldn’t read it. He walked out into the clearing
toward the sign and got nearly to the middle when
he could finally begin to make out the letters. He
called the letters out: “M-I-N-E F-I-E-L-D. This
chapter is a “minefield” because it deals with some
very sensitive issues.

Paul has been writing about freedom in Christ and how
and when it should be used. He has answered several
questions from the believers at Corinth.
Over the next few chapters Paul is going to address three
issues that are affecting the worship in the church:
Gender roles, Lord’s Supper, Spiritual Gifts.

I Corinthians 11:2-7

Paul begins this section with a sentence of praise for the
Corinthian church. He is grateful that they have
remembered him and that they have continued to
observe the things he had originally taught them.

Then he gets to his point.
There was disorder in the public worship meetings.

What was happening was some women in the church
were beginning to take their freedom in Christ too far.
They had stopped wearing their head coverings while
they were praying or prophesying during the worship

Paul begins with a,
Lesson in Theology

The head of every man is Christ.
The head of a wife is her husband.
The head of Christ is God.

Genesis 1 tells us that God made mankind in His image.
He made both man and woman in His image.
He created us to be in fellowship with Him and to submit
to His will for us.

Jesus told the Jews that He and the Father were one.
He also said that the Father was greater than Him.
When Jesus took on flesh He humbled Himself by
becoming obedient to the Father.

In a similar way, wives are to submit to their husbands as
the head. Wives are to lovingly submit to the spiritual
leadership of their husbands.

It’s how God designed it.

Again, we need to keep our context in mind.
In Corinth head coverings were common in pagan
worship. So Paul makes it clear that a male believer
should not have to cover his head. In fact, covering his
head would actually be a disgrace to his head, Christ.

He then says that when a wife prays or prophesies with
her head uncovered it is a disgrace if she doesn’t have it
covered. Keep in mind, Paul is talking about during the
worship service. And the issue isn’t really about having a
hat on or not, it’s about submitting to the headship of her
husband. In that culture they wrapped their hair up when
they went to worship.
The point being they were dishonoring their husbands by
not covering their hair during worship.
Remember, God is the head of Christ,
Christ is the head of man, Man is the head of his wife.
It’s about submission to the authority of God’s order.

Paul went on to say that if a wife wouldn’t cover her head
during worship she might as well just cut her hair short.
Also in that day, the temple prostitutes of Aphrodite had
shaved heads so they could be easily identified.

Paul says it is disgraceful for a wife not to cover her
head, just like a temple prostitute is disgraceful.

Paul finishes this theology lesson by mentioning the glory
of God. His point is that husbands and wives, although
both created in God’s image, have different roles.

Paul isn’t saying that women weren’t created in the
image of God. He is saying men and women have
different roles and have since the creation.

God called husbands to represent Him and submit to
God called wives to represent her husband and submit to
God is a God of order.
He created man and then created woman to be his
Both are equally important, they just have different roles.

I Corinthians 11:8-10

Lesson From Creation

Paul continues to defend the differences between man
and woman.

God created Adam from the dust.
God created Eve from the rib of man.
Woman was created FROM man

Woman was made to be a helpmate for man.
There are only two genders. Man and Woman.
God created them and they belong together.
Adam needed companionship, so God created Eve.
She isn’t inferior to him, she has a different role than
Woman created FOR man.

Some people use these verses about women praying and
prophesying to defend women pastors, but this is out of
Again, God has different roles for both men and women.

In v. 10 Paul writes about a wife having a symbol of
authority on her head. This is a very difficult verse for
two reasons. First there is great debate about whether or
not the symbol is an actual physical covering or just a
figure of speech for the way a wife submits to her
husband during worship.

The second difficulty is the part about angels. The word
angels actually means messengers. It could be referring
to those within the church who would be reporting back
to Paul what is happening in the church.

I Corinthians 11:11-13

These verses talk about the,
Mutual Dependence of Man and Woman.

God made man and woman to be together.
He said the two would become one flesh.
Woman was made from man, but now all mankind are
born of woman. If it weren’t for women there would be
no more people born on earth.

No matter what people tell you, man cannot and will not
ever be able to have children. God didn’t make them that
way. He chose women to bear children.

Man needs woman and woman needs man.
They have different roles but they complement each
other. They were designed to be together.
All things come from God.
He created it this way. And it is perfect.

I Corinthians 11:14-16

Lesson From Nature

As a general rule women typically have longer hair and
men have shorter hair.

Paul’s point is that you should be able to distinguish
between men and women in worship. We shouldn’t be
having to guess someone’s gender.

Men’s hair should look masculine, women’s hair should
look feminine.


Maintain a Proper Attitude in Worship

We shouldn’t be coming to worship with something to
prove. We should be coming to worship the one who gave
us life, the one who saved us from our sin.
It’s all about Him, not us.

Submit to the Authority of Christ

God called us not to have idols or any gods before Him.
We can let our appearance become a god when it
becomes more important than our worship of God.
God made us different, let’s submit to His guidance and
His plan for us.