Today my bible plan told me to read Chapters 11 and 12 of 1 Corinthians. I was definitely excited to see this on my bible plan for today because 1 Corinthians is my favorite book of the bible. This book has taught me so much about what it means to be a Christian woman and the roles of a man and a woman and the relationship they should have with one another and with God.
When I read these chapters today, verses 4-15 of 1 Corinthians surprised and confused me at first. These verses say that women must keep their heads covered at all times, whereas men are to keep their heads uncovered. The first thing that came to mind was honestly Muslim women. They must always keep their heads covered – is this the same thing? Have I been dishonoring God my whole life? Are the Muslim women onto something?
I breathed a sigh of relief when I read verse 15 which states, “But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.” This verse seems to confirm that by a “covering” all that is really meant is hair. But what about women with short hair? Are they dishonoring God? How short is too short?
I decided to Google this issue for more information. Here are 3 sources I looked at:
I feel like most of these sources say “we don’t really know” combined with “it was a cultural thing”. I am leaning towards it being a cultural tradition or custom. If we look back to scripture in verse 2 Paul states, “Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.”
Here, the word “ordinances” stands out the most. I assume an ordinance is a tradition, but what does Google say?
Okay, so not quite tradition but rather law – something much more serious. But whose law is it? Is it God’s law or is it the church’s? Context is everything here. I believe it was church law at the time since Paul is talking to the church of Corinth and helping them to remember their first love – the church. He is helping them to restructure since their church was filled with so much sin and unworthy of honor. In this verse then, Paul is praising them for holding the ordinances – or laws – of the church…the laws that Paul has put into place for them.
Verse 16 also stands out to me where it says, “But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the church of God.” Two words stand out to me here: church and custom. I think of the word “custom” the same way that I think of the word “ordinance” – as meaning “tradition”. However, I was wrong about the definition of ordinance, so I could just as well be wrong about the definition of the word “custom”, so let’s look at Google.
Oh look at that – I was right on this one! Paul’s use of the word “custom” here shows he was talking about a tradition. Furthermore, he was talking about a tradition that is very specific for that time period. I believe this means that it’s not a defined, universal law for all of mankind meant to survive the test of time, but rather it was a church law for this specific church or this specific region (the people of Corinth) during that specific time. We can’t know exactly how specific this law was for the people or exactly how Paul intended us to interpret it, but I think it’s safe to assume that this law was for a specific time period. The word “church” used in this verse further confirms that it was a church tradition, not a law ordered by God.
So, where does that leave us and women in the church today? Well, I don’t think it’s “wrong” for women to adhere to this old custom and to choose to wear a head covering, but they also aren’t required to. I think it’s their choice. However, I think that the head covering was a symbol during that time that pledges a woman’s loyalty to her husband. Verses 13-15 states, “Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair; it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.” The covering was something specific for women that men were not meant to wear. I think our society/culture has created its own version of that today. Some of the above sources I looked at say that it’s wedding rings, but I don’t think that is quite right because men wear wedding rings, too. However, I think they are on the right tract. This is what I think it is:
Yes, I know sometimes men will wear an engagement ring these days, but it is still far less common and by some even considered “taboo”. Male engagement rings are also usually much more masculine than female engagement rings (the traditional diamond ring). In the past when Paul was talking to the church of Corinth the head coverings were meant for married women to wear as a symbol of their loyalty to their husbands. I think the engagement ring has the same purpose in our culture today. A woman who is about to be married wears it to show her loyalty to her husband. Once the woman is married she adds a wedding ring but the woman usually wears the engagement ring with the wedding ring. Either way, it is still a symbol of her loyalty to her husband.
Another verse from chapter 11 that stood out to me was verse 17 that states, “Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worst.” Here Paul is condemning the church of Corinth for saying that the church is not uniting in a way that lifts up the congregation, but rather, it tears them down. When I read this I thought of the people of Corinth staring at women and whispering things like “Look at her hair, it’s not nearly long enough!” (assuming that the head covering was a woman’s hair and not an actual head piece). What good would that do? Paul is saying we shouldn’t be quick to judge and gossip and bring down people in the church, but instead we should unite and help each other out, for we are the body of Christ and when one member stumbles it is our job to help them back up.
1 Corinthians Chapter 12 further discusses the body of Christ and the role of the church and its members. In verse 26 Paul says, “And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it, or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” This reminds me of what Pastor Lex DeLong has preached – we are all united in Christ. We are one body of Christ and when one of our brothers and sisters of Christ falls, we all fall. When one of us rejoices, we all rejoices. We are all made up of one.
I don’t think this is the case in a lot of churches today and that makes me really sad. There are too many churches that are quick to judge, scorn, and gossip when one of the members sins or goes through a rough patch in life. Not only is that unbiblical, but I think that is sin in itself. God doesn’t want us to scorn other church members. I think he would want us to confront the individual and to help them to correct their behavior, but that’s it. The key word here: help. He would want us to help our brother or sister in Christ back up and if we’re gossiping and judging, that is not helping.
When I read these verses I also felt extremely thankful and blessed to belong to such a wonderful church now – Washington Baptist Church in Turnersville, NJ. We are not perfect, as nobody is except God, but I do believe that we are doing an incredible job with striving to become the kind of church Paul talks about in the bible in chapters like Corinth. I know that from my experience being a member of this church we are a group of people that make up the body of Christ that really does care for and love one another. Some churches I’ve been to and you’re just another nameless face. Yes, our church is small, but I truly believe that even if we grew exponentially, this would still be the kind of church where everyone takes the time to get to know everyone and to pray for each other. When someone is hurting in the church, we all feel it and when someone is succeeding, we feel their joy. We’ve cried together as a church, but we’ve also laughed, smiled, rejoiced, and ate way more than we probably should (we’re a church that really loves food :)).
Are you looking for a new church to attend? Washington Baptist Church would love to have you! Come join us for Sunday School on Sundays at 9:30 followed by our sermon at 10:30. For more information:
Hey guys! For once I got home from work at a (somewhat) decent time and actually have some free time! I’m also not completely dead (…yet lol) so I figured I’d double up on my 30 Day Writing Challenge and do Day #7: What Tattoos Do You Have and What Do They Mean?
Well, I have no tattoos. I also have no desire to have them. I don’t really hold it against others who have them. Some of them are pretty neat to look at. But they just personally aren’t right for me. Here’s Why I Don’t (And Never Will) Have Any Tattoos.
1. I’m too indecisive. First off, what in the world would I get a tattoo of? When I was in middle school I thought I’d eventually get a tattoo in memorial of my friend who committed suicide when I was 12. Now that I’m older, I don’t like that idea. His death was not at all honorable, it was tragic and wrong and not something I’d like to think about all the time, let alone make a part of my body. And if I do that for him, what about all of the other important people in my life that have died? Am I going to get them tattooed on my body as well? And I make a lot of really bad decisions. A tattoo is permanent. What seems like a great tattoo idea today probably won’t seem so great in 20 years. I’d rather not take my chances.
2. They’re expensive! Money is something I don’t have much of. When I do have it, I like to treat myself. But a tattoo will almost always cost me at least $100. So wait, I’m going to shell out over $100 for someone to give me needles and put some ink on my skin? There was nothing wrong with my skin before. If I want ink on my skin I’ll draw on myself. No pain and it will only cost me a few dollars to buy a sharpie! I’ll save my money for concert tickets, clothes, a new purse, or something else.
3. I am unsure of whether or not they are “sinful”. This is probably the number one reason why I’ll never get a tattoo. I am unsure if it goes against the bible and my Christian faith. Leviticus 19:28 says, “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD.” The only issue with this verse though, it is Old Testament law, so are we still to obey this? The new testament is a little unclear about tattoos. However, in Corinthians and some other verses it says that the body is a temple and should not be defiled. Usually this refers to sexual immorality. There is 1 Corinthians 19-20 which states, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” but we don’t know if they are referring to tattoos here. I personally have a hard time believing anyone will go to hell for having a tattoo. Some of the holiest people I know have tattoos. I have many Christian friends with tattoos and have met many priests with tattoos. Are they damned to hell because of their tattoos? I doubt it. Still, I am unsure whether or not this is sinful and goes against God. I’d rather not take my chances.
4. I don’t want to be just another trend. EVERYONE and their mom has a tattoo these days — literally. I don’t think half of these people even like tattoos. No, I KNOW IT. I know it because at one time, I thought they were pretty cool (I still think they are cool, they just aren’t right for me personally) and everyone would make fun of me for liking them thinking I was “weird”. Now those same kids are the ones with 8+ tattoos. But what happens when it’s not a trend anymore? Getting those tattoos removed will be expensive and painful. I’ve never been a fan of most “trends”. I mean if I like something I’ll wear it, participate, whatever. But I don’t like the way tattoos have exploded into this huge trend over the years. They aren’t as unique or special as they once were.
5. I fear how they’re look in the future. Your tattoo might look great when you first get it, but what about 20 years down the road when you’re old, covered in wrinkles, and the ink fades? Have you ever saw an old person with an old tattoo that looks good? If so, please send me a picture of it because I’m pretty sure I never seen one. Also, I want kids one day. If I get a tattoo now, it will stretch when I become pregnant and it will be ruined. Sure, my skin is naturally going to stretch, get wrinkled, and nasty as I age, but I don’t need to make that worse with a tattoo.
6. They kind of freak me out. You have to be so careful with tattoos. How do you know that that tattoo parlour as clean as they claim it is? How do you know that artist is REALLY licensed and knows what they’re doing? You really don’t, you just have to hope for the best. And it’s a needle. If it’s dirty, you might get HIV or AIDS or something and die. It’s rare, but it happens. Is it really worth the risk? I don’t think so. Plus, I hear it hurts. A LOT. And when it’s all done, you still have to worry about caring for it. Isn’t it true you can’t get it wet for a certain period of time?And it will itch and your skin will peel and if you’re not careful you can get an infection. It also might fade. That sounds like more trouble than it’s worth. No thanks.
I have no tattoos and these days, for someone my age, that’s extremely rare. But I wouldn’t want it any other way. Weird or not, I’m perfectly happy with my clean slate of a body that is not covered in any ink.