This week, Pastor Chris continued in our Healthy Church sermon series with an enriching word on marriage. Our text in 1 Corinthians can be a weighty passage to interpret, and Pastor Chris sought to explain both the cultural and theological implications for us today. The world’s definition of marriage often leads to heartache, pain, and difficulty. Chris expressed the reality that our marriage relationships can have a 100% chance of success if we will pursue God’s plan and design for them.
Three Theological Truths
• Men and women are equal in value and dignity.
• Men and women have different responsibilities and opportunities.
• Men and women are completely interdependent.
“What was happening then?”
1 Corinthians 11:1-6 (ESV)
1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. 2 Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you. 3 But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, 5 but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven. 6 For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head.
1 Corinthians 11:7-10 (ESV)
7 For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. 9 Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10 That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.
1 Corinthians 11:11-16 (ESV)
11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; 12 for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God. 13 Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a wife to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, 15 but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. 16 If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.
What matters now?
• Men and women are absolutely equal in value and dignity.
• Husbands and wives are equal in dignity while differing in responsibility.
• God’s original design is still the key to human flourishing.
Ephesians 5:21–25 (ESV)
21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
- Within the Trinity, authority is shared although there are clear roles and boundaries (such as the Father’s headship) that each divine Person expresses.
- The intent of authority is the creation and nurturing of life; thus, authority is the shared experience of creating and maintaining life.
- To be rightly aligned to authority is to know the privileges and boundaries of each role, just as each person in the Trinity is faithful to his place: the headship of the Father, the word of the Son, the execution of the Spirit.
Ephesians 5:21-23 (ESV)
21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.
“Authority is about creating and sustaining life, and both the husband and wife have a part to play, but in different ways. ‘Authority’ is the outcome of two parties understanding their contribution. The husband expresses his headship to his wife by giving himself up for her and giving her authority.”
To be the head is a servant leader, not a dictator. To be the head of the household means,
- Going first by taking risks and going out in front.
- The head “saves” by creating an environment that the wife can rise to her potential.
- The head serves by loving and loves by dying.
A wife’s submission means:
- A heart attitude of love and service.
- Attitude of honoring, of expressing respect.
• Healthy relationships don’t control each other.
- Pastor Chris discussed the cultural realities in our text, what they meant for the time it was written, and what they mean for us today. How do cultural realities in the Word of God differ from theological realities in the Word?
- What are the main principles Pastor Chris shared regarding the equality, responsibilities, and interdependency of men and women? What do you make of these principles?
- What does the trinitarian reality of the Godhead mean for Christian married couples today (see the authority equation)?
- Husbands: what does it look to be the head of the household in a Biblical way?
- Wives: what should Biblical submission look like in your marriage?
- Do you struggle with being a controlling wife or husband? Repent this week to the Lord and to your spouse, determining practical ways you will start walking in the opposite spirit.
- Similar to the trinity, there are clear roles and boundaries for men and women in marriage. Study what these roles are this week and discuss with your spouse how you will practice them.