Some of Paul’s instructions in 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 are specific to the culture of his time and are not rules that we have to follow today. However, while culture changes, theology does not. The theological truths in this passage are that men and women are equal in value and dignity, have different responsibilities and opportunities, and are completely interdependent.
Standing Firm In A Fallen World | 1 Corinthians 16
The Purpose of Spiritual Gifts | 1 Corinthians 14
A Church Marked by Love | 1 Corinthians 13
How To Build A Church | 1 Corinthians 12
God's Design for Men and Women | 1 Corinthians 11:1-16
Repentance, Allegiance & Deference for the Glory of God | 1 Corinthians 10
Giving, Sharing, and Living for the Gospel | 1 Corinthians 9
Christians and Controversial Topics | 1 Corinthians 8
Being Single | 1 Corinthians 7:7-40
Fighting For Your Marriage | 1 Corinthians 7:1-16
Sex and Glorifying God | 1 Corinthians 6:12-20
Conflict: An Inevitable Opportunity | 1 Corinthians 6:1-11
Church Discipline: Sin, Grace, and Shepherding | 1 Corinthians 5
The Resurrection Is the Remedy to Our Hypocrisy | 1 Corinthians 15
The Purpose, Plot Twists, and Power of Christ | 1 Corinthians 4
Being a Healthy Church | 1 Corinthians 3:1-23
The Miracle of Spiritual Maturity | 1 Corinthians 2:1-16
The Miracle of Salvation | 1 Corinthians 1:18-31
Priority, Preference, and Power | 1 Corinthians 1:10-17
Called, Gifted, and Kept by Jesus | 1 Corinthians 1:1-9
1 Corinthians 11:1-16 is one of the most debated passages in the entire New Testament. To understand it, we have to look at what was happening culturally in Corinth in the first century, and how it matters for us today theologically.
Well, good morning, Watermark. It's good to see you. I hope that all is well. Happy Fourth of July weekend. If we've never been together before, my name is Timothy Ateek, and I'm one of the teaching pastors here. I don't know if you are familiar with the YouTube channel Dude Perfect. I'm sure that most of you are.
If you've seen it before, then you are familiar with what is called Wheel Unfortunate. If you're not familiar with it, then there's this group of guys who get together and they will spin a wheel. It's kind of like a Wheel of Fortune wheel. There are only bad consequences on this wheel. So if you happen to be the person who has to spin the wheel, you might get the consequence of something like shaving your eyebrows or sitting in a box filled with snakes or owning a cat.
Any of those horrific consequences could be yours if you are the guy who has to spin the Wheel Unfortunate wheel. I just realized this week that I have a great suggestion for a consequence to be added to Wheel Unfortunate. It is simply having to teach 1 Corinthians, chapter 11. If you've been at Watermark, we are teaching through the book of 1 Corinthians, and I apparently drew the proverbial short straw this week and have to teach 1 Corinthians, chapter 11.
Shane B., who just led us in worship, texted me this week and said, "I've never heard someone teach on this text." I was like, "That's because no one is dumb enough to teach on this text." I do believe that God is going to use this passage to solve any space issues that we have here at Watermark. So if you have a Bible, turn with me to 1 Corinthians, chapter 11, and let me just show you what we're talking about. If this is your first time or probably your last time here at Watermark, I'm so glad that you are here today. Here we go. Starting in verse 2. Paul says,
"Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you. But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven.
For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head. For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.
That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God. Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a wife to pray to God with her head uncovered?
Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God."
Let's pray and get out of here. I mean, what a text! So I would imagine that some of you will have questions, concerns, critiques. Let me go ahead and give you my email address. It's simply firstname.lastname@example.org. You can reach me there. I'd be happy to answer any of your questions. The good news is that I'm looking around and all the women here have clearly already decided what they think about this head coverings passage, so we're going to just move on.
In all seriousness, here's the deal. Here at Watermark, we take 2 Timothy 3:16 very seriously. It says, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable…" All Scripture has value for us. It's "…profitable for teaching…" So we are committed to not skipping the tough passages. We are committed to not just glossing over them for fear of teaching something that makes people uncomfortable.
So we're going to just lean in to it today, and my prayer has been that there would be people who walk out this morning saying, "That message was for me." I don't know how it's going to happen, but I'm believing that the Spirit of God can move in a really significant way, and I believe that he will. So let me set it up for you this way.
Paul is writing about something very cultural. He is writing about an issue for a specific time in a specific place in a specific culture that no longer applies to us today. That's why there were not bouncers at the door checking every woman for a head covering, although next week we will be offering Watermark embroidered head coverings. So if you come, it's going to be about $50, but it's going to be awesome. Man, you're going to love it. Not really.
That's why we're not checking for head coverings, because we don't believe that the idea of head coverings… At least at Watermark, we don't believe that that is something that God expects anymore. So because of that, our tendency is to take a passage like this and do one of two things with it. We can either trivialize it or weaponize it.
We might trivialize it by saying, "You know what? It's no longer applicable, so let's just skip the passage." Or we might weaponize it. Some people might look at this passage and say, "That's the problem with Christianity. It's oppressive texts like that. That is why I can't get on board with Christianity: because Christianity promotes inequality between men and women."
Or a guy might take this passage and weaponize it and believe that it is evidence for being the superior gender. So there might be people who believe that the church is a man's world and man is God's varsity and woman is God's junior varsity. So texts like this can cause all sorts of problems. So what I want to do this morning is I want to navigate hopefully a healthier path.
I'm going to do it by simply looking at this text and answering two questions. Here they are. The first question is this, "What was happening then?" I want you to leave here today understanding why this passage is even in the Bible and why Paul included this in his letter to his friends in Corinth.
Then the second question I want to answer is simply, "What matters now?" So those are the two questions that I want to answer. Ultimately, I want to spend the bulk of our time talking about what matters now. The question, "What was happening then?" is a cultural question. I just want you to understand the culture at the time.
But, "What matters now?" is a theological question. See, culture changes often, but theology doesn't. So ultimately what I want you to see today is Paul's theology that would prompt him to write this passage. I agree with Paul's theology, and I hope that you do as well, because I believe that it is from God. Here we go.
So the first question is, "What was happening then?" You need to know that chapter 11 is the start of a new section in the book of 1 Corinthians. Paul is about to riff for the next four chapters on worship gatherings. He is seeing that his friends in Corinth are operating in their worship gatherings in unhealthy ways. They are doing things that are causing distractions, and it's hindering people from worshipping.
So he is going to write. He is going to put their worship services under a microscope and going to address the things that are causing hindrances to worship. The problem was that people were prioritizing their own preferences and their own desires. So they were walking into worship services like this and they were operating out of self-centeredness.
They were doing only what they wanted to do or what they desired to do. Self-centeredness or selfishness and worship cannot coexist. So Paul is going to address it. So here we go. Look with me. It's just going to take me the first five or six verses to help you see what was going on then. Then we're going to shift and just talk about what matters now. So look with me really quick.
In verse 2, Paul says, "Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you." So Paul is employing a technique that many of us do. It's the feedback sandwich. He starts with a compliment before he is going to slap them in the face. So if you do that, it's like, "Oh man, you're amazing." Not really. So he is done complimenting.
Now in verse 3, he says, "But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God." That verse can be very problematic. In a few minutes, I'm going to try and put the pin back in that grenade. But for now just to understand what was going on then, all I need you to see from that verse is who is the head of whom.
What the text says is that the head of a wife is her husband and the head of Christ is God. That's all I need you to see. The head of the wife is the husband and the head of the husband is Christ. Now in verses 4 and 5, it shows us why Paul is actually writing this passage. You need to remember that Paul is writing to a group of people who live in a shame/honor culture.
So Paul is about to identify something going on in worship services that is causing distraction, but it's also causing dishonor or shame to certain people. So verse 4: "Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head…" Who is the head of the husband or who is the head of the man? Christ. So Paul is saying that, men, if you enter a worship service and you cover your head, it's actually dishonoring to your head, and your head is Jesus Christ.
Now why would it be dishonoring for a man to cover his head in a worship service? Well, because in pagan Roman worship, men would pull their toga up over their head in the midst of pagan worship. So for a man to step into a worship service to worship Jesus with his head covered, well that head covering has a close association with pagan worship.
So he is saying, "Don't do that." Because of that close association with pagan worship, don't do it because that would be dishonoring to Christ. It would actually be distracting to other people in the church because they're going to look and they're going to see your toga up, and it's just going to be confusing to them. So don't do it.
Then in verse 5, he says, "…but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven." So he says it's the opposite for women. You should cover your head so that you don't dishonor or shame your husband. Now what's going on here? This is really debated.
So you read different commentaries, you're going to get different versions of what's going on. We don't know exactly what was going on at Corinth at the time, but honestly the roads lead to the same place. So I'll give you two viable options and you just decide which one you want to choose, but they both get us to the same place.
One commentator explained that in this culture, married women wouldn't leave the house without putting a veil on their head. That veil was the sign or the symbol of their association to and their submission to their husband. So think about that. To enter church and to take off your veil because you think that your freedom in Christ has removed that need for you to wear a veil, it can be dishonoring to your husband.
Because in that society, if you're wearing a veil to symbolize your association to your husband and you take it off, you just began to communicate (whether you wanted to or not) that you are now available. It'd be like a married woman walking into Watermark Community Church wearing a "Single and Ready to Mingle" T-shirt. It would just be weird.
One commentator said that Paul isn't referring to actual head coverings, and in fact Paul is just talking about hair styles serving as a head covering. So it's possible that in this culture for a woman to let her hair fall loosely to her shoulders was the behavior of a prostitute. So imagine walking into the worship service, letting your hair loose, which if it's the behavior of a prostitute it communicates something that you might not want to be communicating.
So Paul is just trying to encourage them, "Hey, be careful because you don't want to bring shame upon your husband." I'll explain it this way. My wife Kathryn has been really nervous about this Sunday because she has a twin sister, and her sister's name is Sarah. Sarah and her husband Ryan are here this weekend.
Kathryn has been concerned that you guys might mistake Sarah for Kathryn. So she was worried that y'all might see Sarah holding Ryan's hand or whispering in Ryan's ear and y'all might think that she, Sarah, is actually Kathryn. I was like, "Kat, I'm pretty sure that they'll realize that this is not a good place for you to cheat on me. Like, for you to come here when I'm speaking to cheat on me? There are better options."
But what's the concern? Her concern is that something would happen which would communicate the wrong thing about her or our relationship. Paul is just saying, "Look, women in this culture, if you don't cover your head, it's going to communicate something about you. You're going to begin to communicate that you're available when you're not and it's going to bring shame to your husband." Did you see how he ended verse 5?
He said, "…since it is the same as if her head were shaven." So adulterous women, it said that their heads would be shaved. So he is basically saying, "Look, that's why it's disgraceful to your husband in this particular culture." Verse 6, he says, "For if a wife will not cover her head…" So it's possible that some Christian women were coming to church and they were refusing to cover their head because they believed that because the freedom that they have in Christ no longer required them to wear something that would symbolize submission to their husbands.
Paul is saying, "No, no, no, the husband is still the head of the wife. He is still considered by God to be the leader. In this particular culture, the best thing for you to do is cover your head. That's why he says, "…then she should cut her hair short." If she is unwilling to cover her head. "But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head."
That's why Paul wrote this passage. Now you know. That's what was happening then. Paul was writing to a group of people, some of whom were doing things that are distracting in the worship service. Some women were not covering their heads, and it's bringing shame upon their husbands, and it's communicating something that they don't want to communicate. So Paul is saying, "Cover your head." That's it.
Now the rest of the passage, verses 7 through 16, Paul is just arguing… Especially, he is reaching back into Genesis 1 and 2. He is going all the way back to the original account of creation, God's original design for men and women. He is doing that to just fortify his argument to the women to cover their heads.
I don't think it's a good use of our time to go verse by verse to try and show you Paul's argument for women wearing head coverings, because my goal today is not to convince the women to show up next week with their heads covered. So what I want to do with the rest of our time now that I've answered the question, "What was happening then?" is I want to answer the question, "What matters now?"
So, "What was happening then?" Cultural question. "What matters now?" Theological question. Culture changes. Theology doesn't. So what I want you to see is the theology, Paul's theology which prompted him to write this letter. So this is where the talk is going to make some people uncomfortable.
My goal is to put as many pins back in as many grenades as possible, but I'm not able to get all of them. What I want you to understand before we step back into it is this. My goal this morning is to simply take God's words and explain them to you. This is not opinion time with Timothy Ateek. This is us opening the Word of God together, reading it, seeking to understand it, and live it out. Okay? So here we go.
The first theological truth that we see in this passage is this. Men and women are absolutely, without a doubt, equal in value and dignity. We see that from this passage. Men and women are absolutely, without a doubt, equal in value and dignity. The interesting thing is we see that truth in the two most controversial verses in this passage.
Look back at verse 3. That's the first controversial verse. It says, "But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God." That's the controversial statement, that the head of the wife is the husband, because that word head means authority here. People have tried to find other explanations for it.
Some people want to believe that head here means source, that the man is the source for the woman, just going back to creation, that God took the rib out of Adam and created Eve so somehow the man was the source for the woman. But someone did a study of over 2,000 times that the word head is used in literature around this time, and not once does it mean source. So that's not the option. It means authority.
So how is it possible to say that men and women are equal, and yet the husband has authority over the wife? Well, the way that that's possible is because of how verse 3 ends. Did you see how it ends? It says, "…the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God."
So somehow God the Father is the head of God the Son. Now let me ask you, is God the Father superior to God the Son? No. At least here at Watermark, we uphold the doctrine of the Trinity, which says that God exists as three co-equal, co-eternal persons that exist in one essence. Jesus says, "I and the Father are one."
So we believe that Jesus Christ and God the Father are completely equal. Jesus Christ has just as much power as God the Father. Jesus Christ is just as wise and just as knowing and just as loving and just as gracious and just as just as God the Father. So what you need to see is that right here Jesus is in the position of the wife. So Jesus Christ is completely equal to the Father.
So we can take that and we can deduce that the wife is completely equal to the husband in value, meaning that the husband is not more valuable than the wife, and in dignity, meaning that women are just as worthy of honor and respect as men are. So that's the first place that we see that men and women are absolutely without a doubt equal in value and dignity.
The next place we see it is in the second most controversial verse in this passage, which is verse 7. It says, "For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man." When you read that, the temptation is to hear Paul saying, "Man was created in the image of God, but woman wasn't." Is that what Paul said? No.
He only said in that verse that man was created in the image of God. The point of that verse, the emphasis of that verse is not on image. What word shows up twice? Look at your text. Glory. The word image shows up once. The point of that verse is talking about glory, not image. So what Paul is doing when he writes that verse, is he actually has the creation account back in Genesis, chapter 1 in mind. As he is writing it, he is thinking of Genesis, chapter 1, verses 26 and 27. What does it say? It begs us to read it. It says,
"Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' So God…" Watch this, verse 27. "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."
Do you see that? Do you know what that tells us? It tells us that both men and women were created in the image of God. What does it mean to be created in the image of God? It means that both men and women were created to represent and reflect God on the earth. God has given both genders the responsibility of reflecting him. Which means that because both men and women are made in the image of God, both have inherent worth and dignity.
Then if that's not enough, look at what Paul says in verses 11 and 12. He says this. He inserts this just to diffuse any bombs that were happening in Corinth. Just in case there would be people in the church at Corinth who hear this, especially men, and think that what he is writing would make them superior to women.
He writes this and says, "Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman." Do you know what he is saying? He is saying men and women are completely interdependent on one another. The first woman came from man because God took the rib of Adam and fashioned it into Eve. But since that point, there is not a man on the planet who has not come from a woman.
So God has wired it into the original design that men can't even exist in this world without women. So his point is like, "There's a reason God didn't just put a bunch of guys on earth to bro out together. We need both." Both have equal value and dignity. I think that is so important for you to come and hear from the church, that both men and women are without a doubt equal in value and dignity.
Because when you look at culture, what culture's anthem right now is is equality. In order for culture to champion equality between men and women, they're actually having to promote inequality in an attempt to promote equality. Here's what I mean by that. This is just me asking you to begin to watch for it. Just watch what you see in TV shows and movies.
It hit me for the first time several years ago when my wife and I were watching a show. I'm not necessarily endorsing the show or encouraging you to watch it. It's just a reality. We started watching a show called New Girl. If you've watched New Girl at all, just go back and see how the character Nick was portrayed.
What do you see? You see male characters in their 20s and 30s who are predominantly unemployed or underemployed, massively in debt, emotionally immature, careless sexually, and passive in relationships. That's what you'll see. Any time now in a TV show or movie where there's like a meaningful moment between a man and a woman, who initiates it? It's the woman.
When the woman talks, she is eloquent of speech. She is mature. She knows exactly what she wants in the relationship. She has the courage to bring it up. What's the guy doing? He is dumb. He doesn't know what to say. He actually tries to screw up the moment. Just watch for it. Look, hey, this is not me saying, "We need the rise of men. We need men to triumph in every TV show and movie." That's not what I'm saying.
I'm just saying watch for it. I think that there's something great about there being depictions of strong courageous women. Don't hear me saying anything different, but I'm just saying watch the portrayal, specifically of men, in the media. Men have to be portrayed as weak and careless and immature so that women can be elevated. Here at the church we're just saying, "That's not the case." Because men and women should have always been viewed as being completely equal in value and dignity.
The second theological truth that we see from this passage is this. Husbands and wives are equal in dignity while differing in responsibility. Okay, husbands and wives are equal in dignity while differing in responsibility. So I just showed you from verse 3 that the Son, Jesus, is equal to the Father, completely equal, but yet the text says that the Father is the head of the Son, that the Father has authority over the Son. So what do you do with that?
What that means is that the Father and the Son are completely equal, and yet they have differing responsibilities. That's true. Jesus has different responsibilities than the Father. So just look at the plan of salvation. The fact that Jesus Christ came to earth, died sacrificially on a cross for your sins and mine, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven. He is now ruling and reigning at the right hand of the Father.
In that whole plan of redemption, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit each had different roles to play. What was the Father's role? The Father's role was the plan of salvation. It was to come up with the plan of salvation. What was Jesus's role in salvation? It was to execute the Father's plan of salvation. What is the Holy Spirit's responsibility now in salvation? The Holy Spirit's responsibility is to appropriate or personalize salvation to you and to me.
Do you see each one has a different responsibility? It is the job of Jesus and the Holy Spirit to submit to the headship or the leadership of God the Father. That's what Jesus did when he came to earth. Isaiah 53 says that it was his will to crush the Son. That was the Father's will. Jesus executed the Father's will. He came and he was crushed.
For the Father to be the head of Christ, it makes the Father the leader. For us to say that the husband is the head of the wife is simply to say that the husband is called by God to lead in his marriage and in his family. Now when some women hear that, they think that that statement alone is oppressive or that it implies inequality, but I've already told you that men and women are equal in value and dignity.
When we talk about the husband being a leader, that is not an implication of rank. It's an implication of responsibility. Okay? Men, being the leader in your marriage or in your family? It's not a rank to take pride in. It's a responsibility to tremble at. Here's why I say that. Because the most thorough teaching on the husband being the head is found in Ephesians, chapter 5, verse 22. Listen to what it says.
"Wives, submit to your own husbands…" We hate that word submit because we've given it a negative connotation, but God calls wives. He says, "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands." Now watch this. "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…"
So men, do you want to know why I said that being the leader is not a rank, it's a responsibility? Because do you know what it looks like to be the head in your marriage or in your family? It looks like laying your life down for your spouse like Jesus Christ laid down his life for the church. That's what it looks like. It looks like selflessness. It looks like surrender. It looks like sacrifice in service. That's what it looks like to be the head.
So to be the leader in your marriage or in your family? What it really looks like is just being the spiritual thermostat in your home. The thermostat sets the environment. It sets the atmosphere in your home. So men, you are called by God to be the spiritual thermostat in your home. Here's what that means. If you and your wife have decided that your home will be a Christ-centered, Christ-glorifying, Christ-exalting home, then it is your responsibility to set the pace, to set the atmosphere.
If you want your family to treasure the Scriptures, you'd better be in the Scriptures every day. If you want your family to value coming to church, then your wife had better not have to drag you to church. If you want your kids to love Jesus, then you probably should love Jesus first. If you want your home to be a forgiving home, then you'd better take the lead in asking forgiveness.
Men, you'd better be very good at saying these words. "Will you forgive me?" If you're not good at saying those words, you're a difficult person to live with, and you're not leading well. That's what it looks like to be the leader or the head. It is to be the spiritual thermostat. So wives, it's good for you to know that Christ is the example for your husband. Christ laid down his life for the church. We men are called to lay down our lives for you.
Yet Christ isn't just the example for the man. Christ is the example for the woman. Because remember the Father is the head of the Son. So what do we find Jesus doing? Listen to what Jesus says in John 5:19. "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise."
Is that true? Could Jesus truly only do what he saw the Father doing? No. Jesus was all-powerful. He was all-knowing. But Jesus chose to willingly submit himself to the will of his Father. Therefore, what he was saying was actually true. He could only do what he saw the Father doing because he had made a choice to willfully submit himself to the Father's leadership.
That's why we see him in the garden saying, "Not my will, but your will be done." It's interesting. After Jesus rose from the dead, do you know what he tells his disciples in Matthew 28? He tells them that he has all authority on heaven and earth. Jesus says that. He tells his friends that he has all authority in heaven and on earth.
How is that possible if God the Father is the head and the word head means authority? Well, look at the wording in Matthew 28. Jesus says, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me." He has submitted to the will of the Father. How did Jesus submit to the will of the Father? He did it joyfully.
Did he go to the cross out of begrudging submission and obligation to the Father? Well, not according to Hebrews 12, verse 2. It says, "…looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."
Jesus was completely equal with the Father, and yet Jesus willingly and joyfully submitted himself to the leadership of the Father in order to fulfill his role in accomplishing God's purposes on the earth. So wives, Jesus is the model for you. Jesus isn't asking you to do anything that he himself hasn't already done.
Now how does this play out? How does this play out? Does that mean that wives have no say in anything? Absolutely not. Good leadership creates an atmosphere where your wife flourishes and feels seen, feels heard, feels valued, and feels important. So I think about in my own marriage right now Kat is reading books on parenting of a teenager because we have a 12-year-old who is about to turn 13. God bless us. So she is reading books on that right now.
She'll be reading and she'll stop reading. Then she'll turn to me and be like, "Okay, so here's what I'm thinking that we need to do." Do I sit there and say, "You know I'm the leader, right? So what you said? That's cute. We're not doing that. We're going to do this. Because I'm the leader." No. That's terrible leadership, awful leadership. No. Good leadership says, "Okay. Yes, you absolutely have input into how this household pursues the Lord."
Yet when we moved from College Station to Dallas, what did that look like? Well I came to Kat and I was like, "What do you think? Let's pray together. You, Kat, please pray and just listen to the Lord." But in the end, what did Kat say to me? She looked at me. I was on the hook for the decision. She said, "Is this what God is calling us to do? Is this what God is calling you to do?" She trusted me to listen to the Lord and to lead our family.
So I can give you good examples from my life, but you just need to know, I have a long way to go. There are areas as the head of my marriage and my family that I still need to grow. Just this past week, a few days ago on Thursday, Kat and the boys had been at her parent's house so they were coming home. When they got home, in a matter of 10 minutes, all five of us were living the worst versions of ourselves. We were…
You need to know I'm an Enneagram Four, which just means I'm moody. So that's my jam. So on Thursday when they got home, I was in a funk. I was in a mood. Then Kat got in a mood. Then there was a moment, I kid you not. I was in my hallway with all three of my boys. Within 30 seconds, all three boys were living the absolute worst versions of themselves.
Do you know what I sensed in my spirit at that moment? This was it. I kid you not. "Things are the way they are right now because of how you are right now. Everyone's grumpy and moody, groody. Grumpy and moody. Everyone is in a funk because you're in a funk." Because I'm the spiritual thermostat. They came to the house that I had been staying in. I had set the wrong atmosphere. So I have room to grow, but we can do it together.
So let me just say this before we move on to the third theological truth. Wives, husbands being the head of the wife is not a badge of superiority. It is a calling by God to selflessness, sacrifice, and service. They will be held accountable by God to how they lived. Husbands, no wife complains about following a husband who is regularly surrendering to Christ, dying to self, and living selflessly, sacrificially, serving, and leading his wife. That's it. Yet we're all sinners and we all need to extend one another a lot of grace. Okay?
The third theological truth that we see in this passage is this. God's original design is still the key to human flourishing. It's still the key. Look back at verses 7 through 9. Paul says, "For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man."
What is Paul doing? He is reaching back into Genesis 1 and 2, and he is making his argument for head coverings from God's original design for men and for women. Here's why that is important. The reason that that is important is that Paul argues from God's original design thousands of years after that was written. Do you know what that means?
It means that God's original design for men and women is timeless, that it supersedes culture. It was relevant for Paul in Corinth and it's relevant for us in Dallas today. God's original design still stands. God's original design is still the key to human flourishing. Okay? So let me just share with you what God's original design was. Here it is. Don't miss it.
Men and women have the same mission with differing responsibilities and unique opportunities while being completely interdependent. That's God's original design. That's just me sharing with you what this book says. Men and women have the same mission with differing responsibilities and unique opportunities while being completely interdependent. Let me just break that down for you.
You realize that men and women have been given by God the same mission. Why do I say that? Because if you go back to God's original design in Genesis, chapter 1, verse 27. "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." Now watch verse 28. Watch the plural pronoun.
"And God blessed them. And God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.'" Did you notice that God gave what is known as the cultural mandate to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth? He gave it to both the man and the woman equally. Do you know what the New Testament fulfillment is of the cultural mandate of Genesis 1?
The New Testament fulfillment is the Great Commission, which we find in Matthew 28:19, which says this. "Go therefore and…" Do what? "…make disciples…" That's be fruitful, multiply. "…make disciples of all nations…" That's filling the earth. "…baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to…" Do what? "…to observe all that I have commanded you." That is subduing the earth, bringing creation under the rule of Jesus Christ. "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
Here's what that means. Both men and women are essential in accomplishing God's purposes on the earth. Men alone are incapable of fulfilling God's ultimate purposes for the earth. Women alone are incapable of fulfilling God's purposes for the earth. God has given both men and women instrumental roles in making disciples.
Even this passage is important because some people take this passage and use it to argue for what women can and can't do in a worship service. But not once in the passage does it discuss what women can or can't do in terms of helping in the service. If anything, Paul is just telling them how to do what they're doing in the service.
Do you remember what it said in verse 5? It says, "…but every wife who prays or prophesies…" That assumes that women actually had responsibilities in the service to pray and to prophesy, which means that women in the services were sharing truth. So I tell you that just to say women in church had active roles in the worship service. Women were praying. They were prophesying. Women were playing a role in making disciples.
I just want you to hear, women, here at Watermark Community church we need you to play a crucial role in making disciples. We cannot accomplish what God has called this church to accomplish if you are not playing a critical role in making disciples. We need you, both men and women working together to make disciples. We have the same mission, and yet we have differing responsibilities.
I just shared with you that God has given husbands the responsibility to lead. Here at Watermark, we believe that the only role that is reserved for men is the role of elder and pastor. So God has given men and women differing roles. I just showed you that from verse 3, but when Paul points back to the original creation account, when he says that basically the man was made before the woman, he is just talking about the fact that God first made Adam.
Then why did he make Eve? He made Eve to be a helper to Adam. That word helper is not derogatory. That same word in Hebrew is used 16 different times in the Old Testament to refer to God. So for the wife to be referred to as helper, it was actually a word that gave the woman dignity because it was relating her to God.
So God called the man to existence, gave him a purpose, and then he created the woman to complement him. She brought a wiring to the table that the man did not have so that together they could accomplish God's purposes on the earth. They have differing responsibilities and unique abilities. Unique abilities.
I'm talking right now about gender, that gender is God-designed. Gender, according to the Scriptures, is not something that you choose or change. It's something that is given by God. That's why at the end of the passage in verses 14 and 15, Paul is basically saying, "Hey, it's a disgrace for guys to have long hair." That's not true today.
So if you're here and you have long hair, keep rocking it. That's great. Back then, Paul is saying for a man to choose to grow his hair out, it's for the purpose of looking like a woman. For a woman to cut her hair short, it's for the purpose of trying to look like a man. When a man tries to look like a woman or a woman tries to look like a man, what they are doing is they are refusing to step fully into the purpose for which God has created them.
Because God has made women with the ability to image God on the earth in a way that men can't. God has made men with the ability to image God on the earth in a way that women can't. So men and women, men who embrace biblical masculinity, keyword biblical, and women who embrace biblical femininity.
Do you know what you're doing when you embrace God's intentions for masculinity and femininity? What you are doing is you are stepping fully into God's purpose for you to image him on the earth through your gender, through your unique abilities. God has created us to do it with complete interdependence. We saw that. Man can't exist without the woman. Women first came from the man. We need each other to do it.
Now some of you are already bothered by this message. Here's what you have to realize. The reason that I said that God's original design is still the key to human flourishing is because God's original design was pre-fall. God's original design was Genesis 1 and 2. It's where human flourished. It's where there was complete shalom, complete peace, complete harmony.
When did things go bad? When mankind began to believe that they could do it a better way. I'll explain it this way. Has anyone here seen the new Top Gun? You can raise your hand. I loved it. I've seen it twice. I'm a huge fan of it. I've only met one person who thought it was just okay, and I judged them for saying that. But I think it's great.
Do you know why I think it's great? Because it was a continuation, not a remake. We've seen people try and remake movies, and they always flop. Footloose, Annie, Ghostbusters, The Mummy. If these are hot takes, come at me. I don't care. Overboard, Godzilla, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. You don't do remakes.
My favorite movie is Back to the Future. God bless the producers for saying, "We're not remaking it." Because you can't do it. But there are people, there are producers who are like, "You know, we can do it better than the first round. We can do it better than the original." Do you know what Top Gun did? It was a continuation. It took the original story and it continued it.
In the continuation, what do you see? You see Maverick (no spoilers here) embracing his purpose. He understands what he was made to do. He was made to be a fighter pilot. When he embraces his God-given abilities, everything around him flourishes. So I tell you that just to say, you know what? You know when things go bad? It's when we begin to believe that we can do it better than the original.
Yet when we reach back into God's original design and when we begin to embrace the reason that we have each been created as men and women, that is when families and communities and churches flourish. If you're here this morning and this message just bothers you, just answer the question, "Why does it bother you?" Why does it bother you? You have to evaluate.
Are you going to see Scripture through the lens of culture or are you going to see culture through the lens of Scripture? Because when you see culture through the lens of Scripture and you live surrendered to the Scripture, you understand that God's original design is good and humans flourish. Ultimately, God's original design was for you to know him.
Colossians 1:16 says that all things have been created by Jesus and for Jesus. That's where some of you need to start. You've been made for relationship with Jesus. Jesus has come to make us right with God. The best life is a surrendered life to God and his purposes on the earth. Here's how I want to end today.
I want to end by praying first for the men, and then for the women. So I just want to ask all of the men in the room to stand. As they stand, women, if you know one of these guys, put a hand on him. If you know him, you know? If you know him, just reach out a hand and put a hand on him. I'll just pray this.
Lord God, I pray for the men in this room. I pray that each man in this room would embrace…keyword…biblical masculinity. That they would lean into your original design. I pray that the men in this room would be strong, that they would be courageous, that they would be intentional.
I pray that the families represented in this room would flourish. I pray that marriages would flourish. I pray that men would feel the weight of their God-given responsibility and that it would lead to humility and not pride or arrogance. I pray that the women in this room would flourish because the men in this room are fully surrendered to you.
I'm going to ask the men to sit down. I'm going to ask the women to stand. As the women stand, men if you know one of these women, if you know them, put a hand on their shoulder.
God, I pray for the women who are standing now. My prayer for them is that they would embrace biblical femininity. I pray, God, that the women in this church and the women and the marriages represented in this room, I pray that they would flourish. That they would feel freed up to love and to make disciples. I pray that these women would be strong, Lord God. That they would be confident, Lord.
That you would guard them from the lie that to follow their husband is in some way a calling to inferiority. But I pray that they would know the joy of reflecting you, Lord Jesus, in their marriage. I pray for the single women in this room, Lord God, that you would do a great work in them and you would do a great work through them in making disciples here at Watermark and beyond. Lord, we love you. In Jesus's name, amen.