HEAD-COVERING OF 1CORINTHIANS 11:3-16(1)

 

 

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“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 Christ is God” [1Corinthians 11:3]. Here we have four persons mentioned. Two of them are in heaven and the other earthly two typify the celestial order. Three of them have heads (?) The woman is head of no one while God has no head. Right? Logically speaking, has each of them a physical head or not? We see women and men everyday, all around us, having heads on their necks. Jesus had His head crowned with thorns (John 19:2). The Everlasting Father, seated on the throne, in the Book of Revelation chapters 4 & 5, is not headless when juxtaposed with, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:” of Genesis 1:26.

If you ask me to give 1Corinthians 11:3-16 a title or a subhead it will not be ‘head-covering’, it is ‘headship’. It is for this reason I see the whole exegesis as: A spiritual phenomenon, couched in abstraction. Spiritual in the sense that headship is subjective; phenomenal: for it objectively characterizes normal occurrence. It is couched in the holy writ, and abstract because anything abstract needs careful study for an apprehension. Headship, as we know, is not visible to ocular experience. Verse three holds the key to the proper understanding of the entire teaching. Most of our Bible teachers insist that this teaching is all about the physical covering of the head of the female Christian in Church, prophesying or at prayer. Let us see what the scripture is actually saying. The word ‘know’ is, eidō (i’-do): ‘to know, i.e. get knowledge of, come to understand, perceive’. It is an experiential knowledge. The thing is, if they already had the culture and the experience of covering their heads (for those who do not were viewed as loose women) why would Paul use the word eidō? It is simply that the interpretation of eidō, entails a process to understanding. ‘Head’ is kephalē (kef-al-ay’): ‘probably from the primary word κάπτω kaptō (in the sense of seizing); the head (as the part most readily taken hold of), literally or figuratively; chief, source, origin’. Is it because of this definition that we do not see the one to whom the woman is the head? The headship, as the source, is definitely a spiritual phenomenon.

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‘Man’ in the Greek New Testament, has thirteen definitions. This one here is anēr (an’-ayr): ‘a man (properly as an individual male) fellow, husband, man, sir’. Anēr is the only ‘man’ of the 13 types defined as ‘husband’. Three Greek words: thēlus, eleutheros & gunē translate ‘woman’. Thēlus (thay’-loos): ‘1. of the female sex 2. a woman, a female’ [Origin: from thēlē — thay-lay — (the nipple); to suckle]. Eleutheros (el-yoo’-ther-os) means: ‘unrestrained (to go at pleasure), that is, (as a citizen) not a slave (whether freeborn or manumitted), or (generally) exempt (from obligation or liability)’. Gunē (goo-nay’) Thayer Definition: ‘1. a woman of any age, whether a virgin, or married, or a widow 2. a wife, of a betrothed woman’. Strong’s Definition: ‘a woman; specifically a wife’. Gunē, the only translation that means wife, is the ‘woman’ from verses 3-16. Every ‘man’ of those verses of 3-14 is none other than anēr. The two mundane persons out of the four entities of verse three are a couple. The one who should cover the head is not a ‘figure 8’ female, it is not a spinster but a married woman. The one she is expected to cover in a headgear happens to be not just any other man but her very own husband! Once, when I was at the home of my boyhood friend, and as his daughters made for the Church service, he called back the four years old, “You have not covered your head, the Lord expects you to”.

 

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The said girl, for goodness’ sake is just a thēlus, not even an eleutheros not to mention, for her very tender age, gunē. If the woman is to cover her head, physically, as most churches teach, then she definitely has to take a good measurement of her husband before buying the material for the scarf. If the husband is her head then she has to wrap him up (head to toe)! Her head, Paul teaches by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is the anēr, her husband. This is what most misleading exegesis refuse to see. 1Corinthians 11:4 reads, “Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head”. The ‘covered’ of this verse, it should interest you, is not a verb (a word of action) it is a preposition (which is a hooker of a subject to the object, grammatically, hence, implying a state of being). It is kata (kat-ah’): ‘down (in place or time), in varied relations (according to the case [genitive, dative or accusative] with which it is joined)’. Who is the man’s head? Is it not Christ? How does he dishonour Christ if not by refusing to acknowledge the headship of the head of the Christian family aka the Church and the dereliction of his (the husband) priestly duty? Most certainly it is the misrepresentation of Christ by the anēr that constitutes having his kephalē in the state of kata. This kephalē is not visible.

Verse 5 has ‘uncovered’ akatakaluptos (ak-at-ak-al’-oop-tos) meaning: ‘not covered, unveiled’. Akatakaluptos originates from the Greek, ‘a’ (a negative ‘not’) and katakaluptō (kat-ak-al-oop’-to): ‘to cover wholly, that is, veil’; which is a derivative of a compound of: kata and kaluptō (kal-oop’-to): ‘to cover up (literally or figuratively)’. Is this covering a spiritual act? Yes. Then let us journey into matters of spirituality. The word tabernacle was first used by God in Exodus which He told Moses to construct as he had been shown, in heaven. A ‘tabernacle’ called in Hebrew, mishkan (mish-kawn’) is: ‘a residence (including a shepherd’s hut, the lair of animals, figuratively the grave; also the Temple); specifically the Tabernacle (properly its wooden walls)’.                              (…to be continued…)

read part two here

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