When you read the almost endless supply of articles and essays written on women in 1 Corinthians 11, you’ll find a great variety of opinions as to what the chapter means for us today. It’ll range from women still needing to cover their heads all the way to this being a chapter that supports women leading in worship.
And while the commentaries I read, written by people far smarter than I am, conclude that this section is at least in some way puzzling, that detail doesn’t seem to stop fierce debate to occur that lacks the humility a puzzling passage should demand.
So before I write more on this chapter, take your time in reading the passage. See if you can list out all of what you think Paul is trying to say. How do those things fit with his larger writings in this and other letters? Try to read it without assuming you know what he’s trying to say. That last one is a tough one for all of our Bible reading. Too often we assume we know best, and we go searching for God to confirm our hunch. Let’s open up this week with prayer, for God’s Spirit to guide us as we seek, in good First Corinthian style, the wisdom of God.
Student’s Prayer, St. Thomas Aquinas
Creator of all things,
true source of light and wisdom,
origin of all being,
graciously let a ray of your light penetrate
the darkness of my understanding.
Take from me the double darkness
in which I have been born,
an obscurity of sin and ignorance.