Distinctions Maintained


Distinctions in dress and style are important in specific cultures. Nevertheless, we need to recognize that this is not an issue that pertains to our salvation.


Lord, I am grateful for this day with its potentials and privileges. Grant me now Your direction and guidance.




Consider: In this passage, Paul is concerned (as always) that all things be done to the glory of God. "Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus" (Col. 3:17).

Think Further:

We all come from a particular culture and we know its unwritten rules. It can take years to understand another culture, and it is even harder if one is looking through the historical lens of 2,000 years. We simply do not know what the cultural norms were for the Corinthians who were being ignored by some women and which Paul addresses here, and that makes this passage so difficult.

Paul clearly expects that women will pray and prophesy in the worshiping assembly (4), and there is no suggestion that Paul considers this inappropriate. However, if they discarded their head covering to do so, this was considered shameful and incurs Paul's criticism (5). This behavior probably had some sort of connotation suggesting that in Christian worship some kind of breakdown in the distinction between the sexes was taking place, and this brought dishonor on both the community and the one they were worshiping. Paul wants women and men to return to what is customary in terms of head covering so that distinctions between the sexes are maintained and God is honored.

Western culture has moved from considering lack of head coverings or short hair for women as something that carries cultural shame, but there are many cultures where such things still matter. Whatever culture we find ourselves in, Paul would want us to behave in a manner that does not dishonor the community and so dishonor the one we worship. In some cultures, that might mean adopting particular styles of dress; in others, perhaps not so much. However, we all need to recognize that this is not an issue that pertains to our salvation. We are saved, not because of our head covering or otherwise, but because of Jesus Christ. That truth transcends cultural norms. Praise God!


The glory of God, the interdependence of men and women, and sensitivity to culture--how do these principles apply to you?


Father, I desire above all else to bring You the glory. Give me insight as to how I can do it in the circumstances of my life.

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