“Paul taught all the churches this custom and he expected them to follow it. In this final statement he cuts off all further argument by appealing to universal Christian usage.” – Mary A. Kassian (Professor of Womens Studies, SBTS) 1) Mary Kassian – Women, Creation and the Fall (Crossway Books, 1990) – Page 100.
When we hear the word “tradition” we usually think of it as the inventions of man which are not found in Scripture. The traditions may be beneficial (or at least not harmful) but because God doesn’t command them, neither should we. When it comes to understanding head coverings we need to ask, is this a tradition or a command? Let’s look at our first verse:
Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you. (1 Cor 11:2 NASB)
Though the “traditions” are not defined, it is very likely that head covering was one of them. Why do I think this? The teaching on head coverings (1 Cor 11:3-16) is sandwiched in between two contrasting statements. In verse 2 Paul says “I praise you” followed by teaching on head coverings. Then in verse 17 he says “I do not praise you” followed by teaching on the Lord’s supper and spiritual gifts (which they were misusing). The sentence structure of 1 Corinthians 11 uses verses 2 and 17 as topic headings. What immediately follows each of those verses is a teaching on the practices that fit the heading; the first to inform (praise) and the latter to correct (praise not). If head coverings were not being practiced by the Corinthians, it likely would have been addressed under “I do not praise you” (1 Cor 11:17). Read more
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