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A. Women’s Headdresses[a]

Man and Woman. But I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man, and a husband the head of his wife,[b] and God the head of Christ.(A)

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Footnotes

  1. 11:3–16 Women have been participating in worship at Corinth without the head-covering normal in Greek society of the period. Paul’s stated goal is to bring them back into conformity with contemporary practice and propriety. In his desire to convince, he reaches for arguments from a variety of sources, though he has space to develop them only sketchily and is perhaps aware that they differ greatly in persuasiveness.
  2. 11:3 A husband the head of his wife: the specific problem suggests to Paul the model of the head as a device for clarifying relations within a hierarchical structure. The model is similar to that developed later in greater detail and nuance in Eph 5:21–33. It is a hybrid model, for it grafts onto a strictly theological scale of existence (cf. 1 Cor 3:21–23) the hierarchy of sociosexual relations prevalent in the ancient world: men, dominant, reflect the active function of Christ in relation to his church; women, submissive, reflect the passive role of the church with respect to its savior. This gives us the functional scale: God, Christ, man, woman.

18 He is the head of the body, the church.[a]
    He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,
    that in all things he himself might be preeminent.(A)

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Footnotes

  1. 1:18 Church: such a reference seemingly belongs under “redemption” in the following lines, not under the “creation” section of the hymn. Stoic thought sometimes referred to the world as “the body of Zeus.” Pauline usage is to speak of the church as the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:12–27; Rom 12:4–5). Some think that the author of Colossians has inserted the reference to the church here so as to define “head of the body” in Paul’s customary way. See Col 1:24. Preeminent: when Christ was raised by God as firstborn from the dead (cf. Acts 26:23; Rev 1:5), he was placed over the community, the church, that he had brought into being, but he is also indicated as crown of the whole new creation, over all things. His further role is to reconcile all things (Col 1:20) for God or possibly “to himself.”

19 and not holding closely to the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and bonds, achieves the growth that comes from God.(A)

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