1 Corinthians


7. Congregational worship, 11:2-34

i] Proper dress during worship


Paul continues to address specific issues which have emerged within the life of the Christian church in Corinth. Although without the peri de, "now concerning", this passage does concern a particular issue, namely, the proper attire of those leading in worship. Paul argues for gender distinction within an environment of freedom and respect. This dress code is practiced in all the other Christian churches, and so should be maintained in Corinth.


i] Context: See 1:1-3. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul now addresses three abuses in worship which were raised in the letter sent to him by members of the congregation:

IThe proper attire when leading in worship, 11:2-16.

IThe poor having nothing to eat at the Lord's Supper, 11:17-34.

IThe abuse of tongue speaking, ch.12-14.


ii] Background: See 7:6-9.

The Enthusiasts in Corinth: As already indicated, we are not quite sure what was going on in the Corinthian church. Most commentators are of the view that one of the groups causing trouble was made up of spiritual believers, enthusiasts focused on spiritual gifts, tongues, etc., a group who acted as if they lived in the last days - a realized eschatological life-style. This is evidenced in their setting aside marriage responsibilities and living as ascetics. These spiritual members seemed to believe they were like the angels. There was possibly a blurring of sexual distinctions driven by a realized eschatology, of all one in Christ. So, disorder reigned in the life of the church, from personal lifestyle to public worship.


The issue of proper attire when leading in worship. Some suggest that the women were adopting male hairstyles (short) and the men were adopting female hairstyles (long), a kind of transgender revelry, so Hjort, Gender Hierarchy, 2001. It is more widely suggested that while praying or prophesying in church, the women / wives, as an expression of realized eschatology, had either stopped wearing the customary female head covering (possibly a shawl), or were no longer putting up their hair in the customary female braid. Yet, when introducing the subject, v2, Paul commends the Corinthians for maintaining the traditions he had handed on to them, whereas on the subject of their participation in the Lord's Supper, he does not commend them, v17. So, in the passage before us, Paul seems to be clarifying an issue, rather than condemning the women for their behavior in worship. So, what is the issue?

The underlying issue does seem to be the subordination of women / wives to heads of home / husbands, although Paul doesn't develop an argument for subordination, but rather, for gender distinction - both men and women are to exercise freedom and respect for the otherness of the other in public worship, so Murphy-O'Connor, CBQ #42, 50, JBL #95. If the rule in 14:34 that a woman sigatwsan, "should be silent", in church, is the view of the enthusiasts, rather than Paul, then the issue Paul is addressing here is the inappropriate application of headship, ie., silencing the women. Paul then, in his typical argumentative style, commends the Corinthians for maintaining the tradition of headship, but then goes on to explain what it really means: gender distinction, yes; subordination, no. So, when a woman leads in worship, which she is allowed to do, she should be properly attired, dressed modestly (head covered???) out of due respect for her family position. Likewise, men are to be appropriately attired when leading worship.


iii] Structure: Proper dress when leading in worship:

An expanded outline of Paul's argument.


Introduction, v1-2:

The subject of worship.

Proposition, v3-5:

Everyone has a head - "permanent and foremost", Garland.

iA man who ministers in church with his head covered dishonors his head, ie., those foremost in his life;

iA woman who ministers in church with her head uncovered dishonors her head, ie., those foremost in her life.

["Man and woman are both the glory of another and therefore both have an obligation not to cause shame to their heads", Gundry Volf via Garland. A woman shames her family when she abandons modesty / sexual decorum by dispensing with an appropriate head covering.]

Argument #1, v6-10:

iBy not wearing a head-covering a woman not only degrades the glory of the other, she degrades herself.

iA man stands uncovered because he reflects the glory of God;

iThe woman must be covered because she reflect the glory of man, (Garland).

[A woman is the glory of man in that she "completes the man as well as completes creation"; "they bring glory to man", 4 Ezra 4:17, but can also bring "shame". To display her glory, other than to her husband or father, is to shame them before God. The explanation may be obtuse, but is not establishing hierarchy, submission, obedience, inferiority, or subordination.]

dia touto, "therefore", a woman should wear

a covering on her head, v10.

Qualification, v11-12:

Against the implication that a woman is inferior to a man; "men and women are independent in the Lord", Garland.

["In the new creation, where, as Paul says elsewhere, there is .... neither male nor female in the sense that, since they are one in Christ Jesus neither has higher dignity than the other before God the author of all things", Barrett. Yet this does not entail "the cancellation of distinctions", Conzelmann, but rather to "stress what is essential" and "to limit Paul's words to their context, the use of a head covering by a woman in public worship", Fitzmyer.]

Restatement of the proposition, v13:

Re. a woman having head uncovered in worship.

Argument #2, v14-15.

An analogy from nature.

[The very ordering of things as they are ("nature") supports the view that it is proper for a woman to cover her head because she naturally has long hair as a covering for her modesty.]

Argument #3, v16.

Christian convention - the practice of all the churches.


iv] Interpretation:

This passage is highly controversial. On the face of it, Paul seems to establish a hierarchical order where men rule over women - the women are inferior to men, subordinate to man and unequal in standing with a man before Christ. Although Paul's words reflect the culture of the day, it is unlikely he is arguing for a crude headship of a man over a woman.

Paul's argument is that everyone has someone who is foremost in their life, and it is improper to act in a way that dishonours this person. Even Jesus has someone foremost in his life, namely the Father (no one is an island to themselves). For a member of a congregation to lead the service in a way that conveys inappropriate sexual messages, is to shame those who are foremost in their life, namely their parents, husband or wife. Such disrespect can only serve to undermine the gospel. This is so today, for both males and females, but of course the dress code for today is totally different to that of the first century. "Paul's concern that Christians honor sexual decorum in worship and avoid what a culture deems to be suggestive attire, is a broadly applicable, through elastic concept", Garland.

In summary then, the eschatological realization of the unity in Christ of both males and females, and thus their equal inclusion in ministry, does not annul their obligation to show respect where respect is due.


What is the katakaluptoV, "covering", of a woman's head? Older commentators tend to view the covering as a vale of some sort, although modern commentators tend to see it in terms of hair-style. At the time, a woman didn't cut her hair, and in Greek culture, as an expression of modesty, she was expected to braid it into a garland, particularly if married. Children, loose women and cult priestesses would wear their hair down. Yet, a head-covering of sorts is more likely to be the issue at hand. Perriman in The Head of a Woman, The Meaning of Kefalh in 1 Cor 11:3, JTS 45, 1994, argues against the modern view that the issue is hair-style. He opts for a vale. "The primary theme in the passage concerns the shame that attaches to a woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered." A head covering in the form of a vale or hood was the attire of a respectable Roman woman when she was out and about. Corinth, by this time, was more Roman than Greek and so a head covering may indeed be the issue. "A veil, or hood, constituted a warning: it signified that the wearer was a respectable woman and that no man dare approach without risking .... penalties. A woman who went out ... unveiled forfeited the protection of Roman law against the possible attackers who were entitled to plead extenuating circumstances", Martin, The Corinthian Body. The attack, of course, would be sexual - the old she was asking for it excuse! cf., Corrington, The Headless Woman, 1991, refers to Apuleius who mentions female devotees of Isis in Corinth who covered their head with a cloth to show that they were behaving in a seemly fashion in line with Roman culture. "Public worship was neither the occasion for women to become objects of attraction to be sized up by men", Thiselton.


Who is the gunh, "woman"? The problem we face with this word is that it may refer to a single woman, or a married woman. Again, commentators divide, but if proper behavior is the issue in Paul's mind, then married women are probably in mind, particularly given the illustration from Genesis in v8, cf., Gen.2:22.


What does Paul mean by kefalh, "head"? He is either using "head" to express "head over", or "source", as in Adam being the source of Eve. Many commentators opt for source given the sexist overtones of "head over", cf., Thiselton, Conzelman, ..... None-the-less, "head over" is probably in Paul's mind because it was in the mind of the enthusiasts in Corinth. Yet, Paul defines "head over" in the sense of someone who is foremost in a person's life, rather than a person who may have authority over them at some time in their life. Paul is arguing that everyone has a physical head as well as a metaphorical head, and what they do with their physical head in worship reflects on their metaphorical head, the one who is "permanent, foremost, uppermost, pre-eminent" in their life, cf., Perriman. So, the metaphorical "head", "the head of / over the woman", in the Corinthian context, is the head of the home, the father / husband, he is the one who is pre-eminent in their life. Pre-eminence / headship is an authority for love not servitude, Eph.5:25.


v] Homiletics:

The switch from the preeminence of liberty / freedom ("life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness") to equality (e pluribus unum) in Western societies has brought with it radical social change. Feminism, with its demand for sexual equality, has all but achieved its goal. Mind you, there is now a tendency for the more radical feminists to promote female superiority - male disrespect for females is sexiest / misogynist, but female disrespect for males is often warranted! At any rate, those imbibed in the principle of equality have found this passage sexist in the extreme, and it is therefore one which must be approached with great care when pontificating from the pulpit.

It is clear that in Christ there is neither male nor female, Gal.3:28, and that in the age to come there will be no giving or taking in marriage. So, in Christ the distinctions of sex are removed, but at the same time we remain part of the created order along with our sexual distinctions. It is clear that Paul does not devalue those distinctions; his words on marriage in chapter seven make this evident.

Most theologians today hold that although Paul's instructions rest on abiding Biblical principles, their application is contextual. These two elements must be separated and carefully discerned. In Paul's cultural setting, "head" is an authority figure, the husband or father; in a Western cultural setting, authority is shared between a husband and wife, both are head / foremost for the other.


vi] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text - 11:2

Dress codes for worship, v2-16: i] Introduction. Paul begins by praising the Corinthians for keeping the "traditions" of Christian worship passed on to them by his mission team. Having affirmed them in general, he then goes on to deal with those instructions they have failed to uphold

de "-" - but/and. Transitional, introducing a step in the argument; "Now I commend you ....", ESV.

epainw (apainew) pres. "I praise" - i praise [you]. "Praise" is better than "I commend", Berkeley, REB; "I must give you credit", Phillips.

oJti "for" - that. Introducing a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing the content of the praise, or causal, as NIV, "because you remember me", ESV.

mou gen. pro. "me" - [you have remembered] me. Genitive of direct object after the verb mimnhskomai, "to remember." Not so much just remembering Paul, but "remembering what I taught you and adhering to the traditions I passed on to you", Phillips.

panta acc. adj. "in everything" - in all things. Adverbial, accusative of respect; "with respect to everything, you have remembered me", or modal, expressing manner, as NIV, "keeping me in remembrance in every way", Cassirer.

taV paradoseiV (iV ewV) "the traditions" - [and you hold fast] the traditions. Accusative direct object of the verb "to hand over." Possibly in a broad sense, the gospel, although more specifically here Paul's teaching on the conduct of worship.

kaqwV "just as" - Comparative.

uJmin dat. pro. "to you" - [i handed them over] to you. Dative of indirect object.


ii] Proposition - everyone has someone who is foremost in their lives, v3-5. The first problem concerns the behavior of certain women who have failed to behave modestly when they lead in worship. To deal with the problem, Paul establishes a theological principle of human interdependence. Every person has a "head", someone who is foremost in their life.

de "but" - but/and. Transitional, contrastive; "however".

edenai (oida) perf. inf. "to realize" - [i want you] to know. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "to will."

oJti "that" - that. Introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing what Paul wants them to know.

hJ kefalh (h) "the head" - [christ is] head. For "head", see above.

androV (hr droV) gen. "of [every] man" - of [every] man [and the man head of a woman, and god head of christ]. The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic, probably of subordination ???? So also with "of the woman" and "of Christ." As with gunh, "woman / wife", the word may mean "man" or "husband". See above.


As a man offends God by covering his head (as is the practice in pagan worship??), so a woman shames her father or husband by immodestly uncovering her head in public, v4-5. Paul argues that a man and a woman are both the glory of another and therefore both have an obligation not to cause shame to the person who is foremost in their life. A man does this if he leads in a worship service with long hair, and similarly a woman, if she leads without having her head covered. Murphy O'Connor argues that long hair for a man is a reference to artistically prepared hair by homosexuals to give a female look. As for a woman, in Roman culture a woman of virtue went about with a head-covering of sorts and that's probably what Paul is referring to here - see above.

profhteuwn (profhteuw) pres. part. "prophesies" - [all men praying or] prophesying. The participle, as with proseucomenoV, "prays", may be treated as adjectival, attributive, limiting "every man", although, being anarthrous, adverbial, modal, expressing manner, may be intended; "every person praying and prophesying ...." Prophesy in the NT can be of the Agabus type, Acts 11:28, but Paul tends to use the word in the terms of pastoral preaching

exwn (ecw) pres. part. "with" - having. The participle is adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of their praying and prophesying, as NIV. Commentators divide on whether the issue is hair-style, or hair-covering. Given that in Roman religious ceremonies the men pull their toga up over the head at a time of prayer or sacrifice, it is likely that Paul is concerned that such pagan practice is not brought into the church for such would dishonor the metaphorical head, namely Christ. So, the problem here is not long hair, but rather "associations of the headdress with pagan worship", Garland. "If in public worship any man prays or prophesies with his head covered, he dishonors his head", Barclay.

kata + gen. "-" - down upon / from [his head]. Spacial. Having something / hat coming down upon the head, or having something / hair coming down from the head.

kataiscunei (katascunw) pres. "dishonors" - shames, dishonors [the head of him]; "Brings shame on his head", Cassirer.


de "but" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step to a contrast, as NIV; "conversely".

proseucomenh (proseucomai) pres. mid. part "who prays" - [every woman] praying [or prophesying]. The participle as above.

akatakaluptw/ dat. adj. "[with her head] uncovered" - [in = with the = her head] uncovered [shames the head of her]. The dative is adverbial, of manner, as NIV.

gar "-" - for. Introducing a causal clause explaining why a woman leading a service with her head uncovered shames her metaphorical head, namely her father or husband. This actually introduces Paul's second argument in support of the proposition, an argument he will develop in v14-15. His proposition / instruction regarding worship is that a woman should cover her head when leading in worship because an uncovered head for a woman is the same as having her hair cut off, and everyone knows that it is shameful for a woman to have short hair, or a shorn head.

kai "[it is] the same [as]" - [it is one thing] and [the same thing]. Adjunctive; "also". "There is no difference between her and one who has her head shaved", Cassirer.

th/ exurhmenh/ (xuraw) dat. perf. pas. part. "having her head shaved" - in = with having had hair cut off. The participle serves as a substantive, the dative being adverbial, of manner or association.


iii] Argument #1, v6-10: By not wearing a head-covering a woman not only degrades the glory of the other, she degrades herself, v6.

gar "for" - Introducing a causal clause explaining why it is improper for a woman to lead in worship with her head uncovered.

ei + ind. "if" - if, as is the case, [a women is not covered, then let her also be shorn]. Introducing a conditional clause 1st class where the condition is assumed to be true. The sense of this conditional clause is open to some debate. The following may reflect Paul's intent: if a woman does not cover her head when leading worship, so abandoning sexual decorum in worship, then she might as well go all the way and shave her head, display an extra ugly sight.

kai "[she might] as well" - and = also. Adjunctive, "also"; "she should cut off her hair as well", Moffatt.

ei + ind. "if" - [but/and] if, as is the case ..... then. Introducing a conditional clause 1st class where the condition is assumed to be true. Following the line of the first conditional clause the sense is probably: but if it is only a little less ugly for a woman to lead a worship service with her head uncovered as it is leading it with a bald head, then she should cover her head.

aiscron adj. "a disgrace" - it is shameful, disgraceful / ugly, filthy, base. Predicate adjective. The stronger sense "ugly" may well be in Paul's mind; "an ugly sight, like a woman with her head shaved", Peterson.

gunaikai (h aikoV) dat. "for a woman" - Dative of interest, disadvantage.

to keirasqai (keirw) aor. inf. "to have her hair cut off" - to be shorn [or to be shaved, then let her be covered]. This articular infinitive, with the infinitive "to be shaved", serves as a substantive, subject of an assumed verb to-be; "if to be shorn or to be shaved is shameful for a woman ...."


A woman shames her father or husband when she displays her glory in public, v7-9. Paul's explanation rests on Genesis 1:26-28, 2:18-22 and its traditional interpretation. Jewish tradition is evident in Paul's focus on "glory" rather than "image". A man stands uncovered because he reflect the glory of God; the woman must be covered because she reflect the glory of man. Arguing from the creation, Paul asserts that the woman, taken from Adam, bears the "glory" of man. The woman, although fully human and fully of the image of God, displays a particular aspect of man taken from the original unisex man to form her, which when again reunited to him in marriage, forms a complete whole. There is "glory" in the "rib", for when returned "the two become one". It therefore follows that when the glory of unisex man is devalued, either by the man or the woman, the whole is devalued. Behavior that conveys inappropriate sexual messages is damaging to the one-flesh union.

gar "-" - Here more explanatory than causal.

men ..... de "but" - on the one hand [a man ought not to be covered upon the = his head, being the image and glory of god] but on the other hand [the woman is glory of a man]. An adversative comparative construction; "on the one hand ..... but on the other ..."

katakaluptesqai (katakaluptw) pres. mid. inf. "to cover [his head]" - to be covered upon [the head]. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb ofeilw, "obligated." The word expresses moral force.

uJparcwn (uJparcw) pres. part. "since he is" - being [the image and glory of god]. The participle is adverbial, causal, "because he is the image and glory of God."

androV (h droV) gen. "of man" - [woman is glory] of man. As with "of God", the genitive is best taken as adjectival, possessive, "God's glory .... man's glory", but possibly verbal, objective, ie., man reflects the divine glory, a "glory given to another", Fitzmyer. Genesis does not say that woman is the "glory" of man, but rather that she is the "image" of man. Paul's focus is on "glory."


gar "for" - More reason / explanatory than cause; "these are the facts: first, Adam is not ek a woman, but Eve ek Adam."

ek + gen. "from [woman]" - [man is not] from [woman]. Expressing source / origin. That a woman is "out of" a man means that man has a twofold relationship both to God and woman. "Woman is both other than man-as-male and yet equally reflects or manifests what man is", Thiselton, ie., woman may be from man, but she is fully in the image of God, as a male is in the image of God. "The rationality of human personhood lies neither in absolute difference from, nor in absolute identity with the other", Moulton, Man: Christian Anthropology, 1971.

alla "but" - but [woman from man]. Adversative, as NIV.


kai gar "neither" - Continuing the factual / Biblical support for the explanation commenced in v7. "Second, man was not created dia Eve, but woman dia Adam."

anhr .... thn gunaika "man ..... woman" - man [was not created because of] the woman [but woman because of the man]. The use of the article here may well express a particular, as in the translation above; "the woman" = Eve, "the man" = Adam.

dia + acc. "for" - for the sake of. A causal sense leaning toward benefit is probably intended here. "She is to bring glory to man because she is the glory of man by creation", Garland. "She is his glory since she fulfills him at his deepest wellsprings of companionship, sexual fellowship and shared procreation", Barnett.


Conclusion - therefore a woman should cover her head when leading worship, v10. The angels cover their head in the presence of God and so it is not unreasonable for a woman to do the same.

dia touto "it is for this reason that" - because of this = therefore. This causal construction is usually inferential rather than causal, "therefore"; "That is why", ESV.

ecein (ecw) pres. inf. "to have" - [the woman ought] to have. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "ought". Expressing a moral imperative.

exousian (a) "authority" - authority, power, dignity. Traditionally understood as "authority", "a sign / symbol of authority over her / head", eg., ESV where "symbol of" is added - the authority being her husband or father. The ladies, of course, have fought back! "The head-covering ... serves as the sign of the exousia (the right to do something) which is given to the woman ..... in prayer and prophecy", Morna Hooker, Authority on Her Head, NTS 10. "The authority on her head (namely her vale) denotes her own active authority to use prophetic utterance as an empowered woman", Fee.

epi + gen. "over" - upon [the head]. Spacial, as NIV, but possibly causal. As above, "over her head", but better "on her head."

dia + acc. "because of" - because of [the angels]. Causal, "because of", or reason, "on account of." "Because the angels also, according to Rabbinic tradition, vale themselves in the presence of God", so Zerwick, so "in imitation of the angels." As can be expected, numerous possible interpretations are proposed, eg., because the angels present at a time of worship may be offended by improper form, so Barrett, or even sexually attracted to the human form (unlikely, but has suggested the plot for a number of movies).


iv] Qualification, v11-12. "But it must be remembered that from a Christian point of view man is essential to woman and woman is essential to man. Originally woman was made from man; and now man comes into being through woman. And everything comes into existence from God", Barclay. Having emphasized the status of the woman's "head" (the one who is foremost rather than the one who has authority over), and having illustrated this fact with reference to the order of creation which clearly establishes gender differentiation, Paul now qualifies his words by making the point that man and woman are interdependent. "Paul insists that true human relationality entails otherness and indeed respect for the otherness of the other as a necessary basis for true reciprocity, mutuality, and relationality that constitutes what it is to be human", Thiselton.

plhn "nevertheless" - however. A strong qualifier. "But it must be remembered", Barclay.

oute .... oute " ...... nor ...." - neither [is woman without man] nor [ man without woman in the lord]. Negated comparative construction.

cwriV + gen. "independent of [man]" - separated from, without / different from. Here expressing separation. "Woman is nothing without man, man is nothing without woman", NJB.

en + dat. "in [the Lord]" - Local, expressing sphere. Possibly "among the Lord's people" Thiselton, "in the Lord's fellowship", REB, but better "in relationship with the Lord and under his authority", so "in the new creation", Barnett.


gar "for" - More explanatory than causal and so best left untranslated, as Barclay above.

w{sper .... ou{twV kai "As [woman came from man], so" - even so, just as [the woman is of the man] so also [is the man through the woman]. Correlative comparative construction.

ek + gen. "from" - Expressing source / origin.

dia + gen. "is born of " - through [the woman]. Instrumental; "through", as in childbirth - "came into being through", Zerwick.

ta ... panta " adj. "everything" - [but] all things [are from god]. The adjective serves as a substantive. In the creation woman may have come from man, but in the end, everything comes from God.


v] Restatement of the proposition - it is not proper for a woman to have her head uncovered when leading worship, v13. The point is made by means of a rhetorical question. Is it appropriate for a woman to lead worship in prayer and prophecy with her head uncovered? Cultural propriety in the first century says no.

krinate (krinw) aor. imp. "judge" - The aorist is probably punctiliar, "decide", but it is possibly ingressive such that Paul is asking them to "consider" the matter.

en + dat. "for [yourselves]" - in = among [you yourselves]. Local; en with the dative of persons gives the sense "in your own case", Robertson, but possibly here expressing association,"among". Emphatic by position. The two dative personal pronouns uJmin autoiV together, in classical Gk., form the reflective pronoun "yourselves"; "decide among yourselves" = "you be the judge", Garland.

prepon (prepw) pres. part. "[is it] proper" - [is it] fitting, seemly, proper. Better "appropriate". The present participle + the present tense of the verb to-be estin produces a present periphrastic construction. The construction may serve to "call attention more explicitly and deliberately to the issue of what is appropriate", Thiselton.

proseucesqai (proseucomai) pres. inf. "to pray" - [for a woman] to pray [to god uncovered]? The infinitive introduces a substantive construction / noun clause, subject of the verb to-be estin; "to pray to God uncovered is fitting for a woman?" Thiselton argues that it is not just praying, but "leading prayer."

gunaika (h hkoV) acc. "for a woman" - a woman. Accusative of respect, "with respect to a woman / wife" = "for a woman."

tw/ qew/ (oV) dat. "to God" - Dative of direct object after the proV prefix verb "to pray."

akatakalupton (oV) "with her head uncovered" - uncovered. Head-covering, rather than hair-style; see above.


vi] Argument #2 - An analogy from nature, v14-15. The very ordering of things as they are ("nature") supports the view that it is proper for a woman to cover her head because she naturally has long hair as a covering for her modesty. This is not so for a male, where long hair "conveys sexual ambiguity and hints of moral perversion", Garland.

fusiV (iV ewV) "[does not] the very nature [of things]" - [does not even] nature [itself teach you]. Nominative subject of the verb "to teach." Thiselton is rather rude when he comments that "the NIV enjoys a rare moment of imaginative vision in avoiding the non-Pauline meaning of the word." The word in common usage refers to "nature" itself, but it is likely that Paul is including culture. So, as well as "the structure inherent in creation", nature includes "the state of affairs surrounding a convention, or the quality, property, or nature of male or female gender and the order, or arrangement, or system of things as they are", cf., Thiselton, or simply "what his (Paul's) society understands to be natural", Garland; "not even the very ordering of how things are", Thiselton.

oJti "that" - Introducing a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what nature teaches.

men ..... de ... ".... but ...." - on the one hand [if a man wears long hair it is a dishonour to him] but on the other hand (v15), [if a woman wears long hair .....]. Adversative comparative construction.

ean + subj. "if [a man]" - Introducing a 3rd. class conditional clause where the condition has the possibility of coming true; "if, as may be the case, a man wears long hair, then it is a disgrace to him" = "for a man long hair is a disgrace", Barclay.

autw/ dat. pro. "to him" - Dative of interest, disadvantage; "a disgrace for him."


de "but" - but/and. See men .... de above.

ean + subj. "if" - if, as may be the case, [a woman wears long hair, then it is glory to her]. Introducing a conditional clause 3rd. class where the proposed condition has the possibility of coming true; "for a woman long hair is her glory", Barclay.

oti "for" - that. Introducing a causal clause explaining why long hair is a woman's glory.

dedotai (didwmi) perf. pas "is given" - [the long hair] has been given. Divine passive, ie., God does the giving. The perfect expresses past action with ongoing consequences.

auth/ dat. pro. "to her" - Dative of indirect object / interest; variant reading.

anti + gen. "as [a covering]" - for / instead of, in place of [a covering, wrap, cloak, mantle]. Here expressing "equivalent to" = "for", rather than substitution, "replaced by." Of course, if a woman's hair is a God given covering for her head, why does she have to wear another covering? Paul's analogy simply serves to make the point that "nature" (the way things are) provides a woman with a covering and this supports Paul's instruction that a woman should cover her head. "Nature has given woman hair as a glorious, natural cover. Therefore, women should follow the lead of nature, as defined by social decorum, and cover their heads", Garland.


vii] Argument #3 - Christian convention - Paul "appeals to Christian church discipline or custom (or what would later be called canon law)", Fitzmyer. "In any case, it's what they do in the other Christian churches and you should do the same."

de "-" - Transitional, indicating the next step in the argument.

ei + ind. "if" - if, as is the case for argument sake, [anyone desires to be contentious, then we do not have such a custom]. Introducing a conditional clause 1st. class where the condition is assumed to be true, for argument sake; "let it suffice to say that we have no such custom as the participation of unveiled women in public worship", Barclay.

einai (eimi) pres. inf. "[wants] to be" - The infinitive introduces a dependent statement of perception expressing what a person may think.

filoneikon adj. "contentious about this" - contentious, argumentative. The Corinthians need to be mindful of the practice of head-covering in the other Christian churches and not push for their own will on this matter.

sunhqeian (a) "practice" - [we do not have such] a custom. Accusative direct object of the verb "to have."

aiJ ekklhsiai (a) "the churches" - gathered assemblies of believers. Nominative subject of the assumed verb "to have."

tou qeou (oV) gen. "of God" - The genitive is adjectival, possessive, belonging to God; "God's churches."




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