The Spiritual Authority of Christian Women

by John Greene

head-coveringIn 1 Corinthians 11:10, the Apostle Paul makes what many might see as a curious distinction between men and women disciples. A few religious denominations construe this and the fact that the man is considered to be the head of the Christian family to mean that men must bear supreme or superior teaching roles in the gathering or congregation of disciples. Others take this to mean that women in the body of Messiah should be silenced and disregarded among the men. This is combined with the often misunderstood mentions in 1 Corinthians 14:34 and 1 Timothy 2:12 that the wife is to remain silent and to ask her husband questions later about spiritual matters. (“YHWH’s Revolution“; “Prospering Your Family“; “The Role of Authority in Your Life“)

For our reference, Paul devotes the first half of the chapter to rebuking the Corinthian body of believers for focusing too much on the gift of tongues, as infants in Messiah might tend to do. More importantly, Christian gatherings were not to be a competitive exercise among disciples. Paul was simply mandating an order to these gatherings, ultimately falling under the headship and unity of the family, an arrangement of respect. The Corinthians simply needed more respect in their gatherings. Any undue interruption in the service should be made through the spiritual authority of her husband. A wife was not to bargain or debate with a speaker. Ultimately, spiritual concerns should be handled among family heads; naturally and always through agape, brotherly love. The intent is that wives consult with their husbands out of love before making commitments or attempting to make key decisions in the congregation. (“Disciples of Messiah & the Authority of Man“; “The Real Meaning of Romans 13“)

helping handLegalists may want to nitpick the issue because of the wordiness and casual nature of Paul in the text, but the matter is simple. So what does Paul mean in 1 Corinthians 11:10? First, context is vital. No matter what translation you are reading, Paul is deliberating on a debate that was going on in the Corinthian body of believers about what might considered to be Jewish norms for men and women concerning the wearing of traditional head coverings. For Jewish women, head coverings were a sign of modesty. At one time Rabbis even required married women to cover their hair as a sign of shame for Eve’s sin. Since many Jewish men and women were members along with non-Jews or Gentiles, there was apparently a feeling that these Gentiles should follow the ways of the Jews, since their beliefs sprang from Judaism. (“Consenting to Fables of Men“; “Leaven of the Pharisees; Leaven of the World“; “The Magi of this Age“)

‘A woman’s hair is her nakedness’ was a custom that compelled women to cover their hair, as if in mourning. Paul aptly points out that the issue of head covering is used to subdue women, to deny them, which has nothing to do with headship. He points out the Jewish view of head covering as the bondage that it is. He aptly points out that if hair really mattered, the abundance of hair that most women have would give them special honor as it would a Nazarite, having unshorn hair. Scholars often wish to make a debate about this, while most of them admit their failing to fully understand this passage.

mark-of-YHWHs-SpiritThe power is in the message through the messenger (not through angels, but literally in Aramaic: YHWH’s counsel), not whether a person’s head is covered or not, or even whether hair is completely shorn. (1 Corinthians 11:10) Verse 16 concludes the argument. The body of believers has no customs regarding hair, whether Jewish or otherwise. If they believe that this custom and other customs are important, then they meet together for all the wrong reasons. This debate and others like it are division, a ‘heresy’ within the congregation, even if everyone approves of the false teaching. The gathering of disciples is for the purpose of spiritual food, not for gluttony, drunkenness or to shame the members of the body. The Apostle Paul declared this as he received it from the Holy Spirit [Sanctified, Set Apart Spirit]. He delivered the same word to them, as they needed to live it. We’ll break off here at the risk of getting into another topic that needs separate attention. (“Spiritual Fruit & Renewing Your Mind“; “Living in an Apostate World“)

anointIn the Greek, the word for power used in this verse (11:10) is “exousia”, which speaks only to power. In older Aramaic texts, the original written word is “sholtana”, which refers to power and second, a covering. The power and covering comes from YHWH in submission to Him through the Messiah. The order of submission is set out in scripture, not in the proclamation of the message. The message is the crown or authority of the disciple of the Messiah. Paul chose a root word that conveys YHWH’s power as the cover of authority for all disciples. (“YHWH’s Prayer Shawl of Protection“)

The fact is that most have tried to make the opposite case as at 1 Corinthians 14 :34. Paul opens with a new point of discussion about order in the house of YHWH. Women in gatherings were usurping their authority in the family with a spirit of Jezebel. There was a spirit of pride within the Corinthian body. Paul wanted the Corinthian women to humble themselves in authority to their husbands instead of competing for attention and honor among the body. A wife, regardless of spiritual authority or gifts, is subject to her husband within the body of Messiah. Anyone that ignored Paul did so at his own spiritual peril. Paul said so. (1 Corinthians 14:34-38; “Culture: Prompting Falsehood Through the Lie“; “Filling Your Life with Truth Instead of Deception“)

keep spiritually awakeThe same point was made as to reigning in seductive, authoritarian and bombastic behavior, evidences of the spirit of Jezebel, among the women. These were prevalent attitudes grounded in false religion in a port city like Corinth. Goddess worship was prevalent in Roman port cities. Simply put, in a time when false worship invaded nearly every aspect of economic life, disciples of the Messiah had to take care as to how they ordered their lives, even within the gathering of believers. This is no different today! (“Seductive Persuasion Breaks a Good Man“; “The Great Beast Seduction“)

More vital teaching about authority:

Which Shepherd Do You Believe?
Leadership & the Universal Authority of Messiah
The Role of Authority in Your Life
Disciples of Messiah & the Authority of Man
Disciple: The Bible & Higher Authority
Spiritual Authority & Satan’s Wheels of Destruction
Good Shepherd – Bad Shepherd
Consenting to Fables of Men
“For YHWH so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
John 3:16, RNKJV
Heavenly Father,
Thank you for sending the Messiah, your only begotten Son to be my Savior. I believe in Him and have made this belief the center of my life. Because of this, by faith I have everlasting life! Thank you! I repent of my sins and of my past, freely admitting that I have fallen short of Your glory. I look fully forward to you in my life and commit my life to You. Thank You YHWH, my Heavenly Father for setting me free in the name of your Son Yahshua [Jesus]. Amen.
genuine-articleYou will never enjoy true freedom through the Messiah and power of the Holy Spirit unless you read and absorb the Bible in prayer and trust. You will never know this freedom until you experience it for yourself. Get to know your Heavenly Father, His Son and allow the Holy Spirit to work in your life. The Holy Spirit is your teacher, your Holy Counselor that lives in you to help you learn about the truth of YHWH and His spiritual gifts.
Satan does not want you to have the excellence of YHWH in your life. People pray for protection and want to be taken care of, but often do little in growing close to Him. The world, your husband, your wife, your family, your government do not build your trust in YHWH or free you from spiritual bondage. Your church or your pastor cannot save you. Education, power and money will not free you, but only the Word of your Heavenly Father. Salvation is a daily walk, an act of love for yourself and for those around you, not a one-time event that centers only on you. Make the Word of YHWH your own, your very life!
YHWH is Yahweh, the covenant name of your Heavenly Father.
The names Yahshua and Yahushua are original language names for Jesus,
He is often referred simply as the Messiah or Master.
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