Why Should Women Read 1 Corinthians?
On Paul’s second missionary journey, he came to Corinth and built a strong friendship with fellow tentmakers, a Jewish couple named Aquila and Priscilla. Paul remained in Corinth about a year and a half, evangelizing and preaching in the Jewish synagogues. While God worked in mighty ways, the church struggled for purity and maturity. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, diligently teaching doctrine and carefully explaining Christian behavior. Heated questions were addressed. Of particular interest are a number of passages specifically affecting women.
Biblical Womanhood: Man as the Head of Woman
In 1Co 11:3, man is called the head of woman. This does not imply inferiority of the woman or superiority of the man but makes clear the difference in the role assignment for each. God’s order of creation is irrevocable and inviolable (see Biblical Womanhood, p. 8). The relationship between God the Father and God the Son serves as a model for husbands and wives—equality in essence (Jn 14:9) and distinction in office (Jn 14:28). Both men and women were created in the image of God, and yet He gives to each a purposeful assignment. This order comes from God. Order is not a reflection of personal worth or value but a prelude to purpose and effectiveness. Everyone wants to know his role and rank. Most jobs come with a description and chart explaining the pecking order. A lack of clarity causes more harm, confusion, and mistrust than an honest description of reality. Paul was reminding all that order and authority are part of every area of life, including life in the Godhead. This truth should be a tremendous encouragement to all women. Christ does not shrink back from His role but clearly defines that role for the betterment of everyone. Ontologically, the three persons of the Trinity are equal in value and importance. Practically and functionally, however, their individual roles vary. If the persons of the triunity can find satisfaction and contentment in their assigned roles, then women ought to follow suit quickly. This understanding is also the basis for role differentiation among men and women in the home and in the church. Male headship in the home and church is necessary because of its reflection of the relationship between God the Father and Jesus the Son. While men and women are both created to reflect the image of God, they are given unique assignments on how to do so.