Updated: Feb 26
From Daniel's Desk on 2/19/20
My Title: Imitate Christ
My Verse: 1
"1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ."
Men are more important and loved by God than women. Nope, stop it. Don't be silly. I don't know how I haven't stopped to really understand this scripture in the past but it got me good this time.
SO before we get started, first let's look at some background for context:
The context of this letter is extremely important because some of the most difficult to understand passages in scripture are found here in chapter 11 of 1 Corinthians. Understanding WHO Paul was writing this letter to and WHAT their issues were will help to keep from getting side-tract from the MOST important truths about the heart and character of God that can transform your heart. DO MORE OF YOUR OWN RESEARCH on this culture to gain an actual understanding, but here is a quick summary.
Corinth was a coastal, wealthy merchant city, teaming with great cultural diversity. It held great strategic and commercial importance. It had been established in Greek culture but destroyed by Roman General Lucius Mummius in 146 BC. It lay in ruins until it was rebuilt by Julius Caesar in 44BC. Having both Greek and Roman influence made it a hotbed for idolatry and cult worship. The city was known for its unashamed immorality. They were defined by their sexual identity and viewed their loose nature as enlightened virtue and normal everyday life. There was a temple that stood over the city dedicated to the Greek goddess Aphrodite (served by 1000 priestesses which where like common whores) whose roots for worship can be traced back to an oriental Phoenician cult Astarte.
This extremely liberal culture plagued the church that Paul started in Corinth (about 50 AD) which was the purpose of this first letter. Not only did he have to address the purity of the gospel and confusion about idol worship, but he also had to address the rampant sexual immorality and temptation attacking the church. His point in all of this is to be imitators of Christ and to be good enough at it that others could follow your example.
That said, this difficult to understand section of scripture still holds relevant truths for our mind's attention and our heart's affection as we face the culture WE live in today.
First: God does not favor men over women or women over men. - Paul is reminding a "female-figure" glorifying, overly sexual, twisted culture of their TRUE identity. Our current culture today is a perfect example of how easy it is for our hearts to WANT to place our identity in our sexuality... AND just how confusing our worldview can become if we allow it to do so.
Second: There is a reason that sex sells... and it isn't because of the physique of the man. By and large the beauty that God gifted to women is powerful. (My OPINION - it was a powerful tool the great deceiver used to convince a third of God's angels to betray Him)
I find myself aligning mostly with this commentary from biblehub.com because it addresses BOTH of the viewpoints and why Paul's statement would offend both men and women. To the woman, it would seem offensive being addressed as the helper to man, having been created for him and even being acknowledged as the glory to man and not God, the fear is that the woman is not equally important to God and that man is favored. To the man, it would seem offensive being addressed as the head of every wife but the symbol of authority instructed to be placed on the head of his wife rather than his own, the fear is that his role would be diminished to to die to self and fulfill a subservient role to his wife as Christ served the church.
The revelation is this, when we come at this passage selfishly, we wont understand it's meaning. Neither man NOR woman. Paul CLEARLY states here that God DOESN'T favor one over the other but He has ALSO CLEARLY and INTENTIONALLY created a relationship that is designed to bring Him glory. We've got to view this passage through the SELFLESS lens of Christ's perspective to understand it correctly. - Christ's model was that He did not come to be served, rather to serve. WHY would He do that? The freakin' CREATOR of the universe!? NO, SERIOUSLY, stop and ask yourself why He would do this. He certainly didn't have to. - The paradox in God's kingdom is that the more powerful you are, the more qualified you are to serve... LOVE is put on display.
I think Paul is pointing out that they were RIGHT to have acknowledged the power and incredible beauty of the woman's form and might GIFTED TO THEM BY GOD but not only had it become an idol, incorrectly glorifying it had reaped terrible fruit in, not only the culture but IN the church as well! - The only way to correct this was to truthfully and gracefully CONFRONT the problem by REMINDING them of the TRUE role and function that GOD had designed for His creation and instructs them to be defined by HIS standard and command. - Which, when you define roles of man and woman any other way than as God has defined them, births only selfishness. When viewed and defined as God does, each role births SELFLESSNESS.
How Will This Make You a Better Husband/Father:
Your wife is a force created by God to be extremely powerful. NEVER underestimate her. Always lead her and her heart to Christ BY THE WAY THAT YOU LIVE. TRUST that the Holy Spirit inside her is the same God that lives inside you. Your fear as a leader is rooted in lies that the enemy will beg you to listen to every day. - SUBMIT TO CHRIST AND LIVE OUT YOUR ROLE SELFLESSLY AND AS BEST YOU CAN... so well, that it can be used as an example by others, specifically your son and daughters, even if nobody else.
Traditions delivered by Paul to Corinth were important to him.
The head of every man is Christ.
The head of Christ is God.
Man is the image and glory of God. Woman is the glory of man.
Man was not created for woman, woman was created for man.
In the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman... for woman was made from man but now man is born of woman.
There is a LOT in this chapter. Head covering. A WIFE ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. (What does that even mean?)
Read the commentary at the bottom of the page here
Also - understand the culture! I'll need to include brief background before my response.
Don't take your wife for granted. She is a freakin powerhouse. An absolute GIFT from God. Go thank her for being who she is right now. Seriously.