1 Corinthians 11:1-3

In 1 Corinthians 11:1-3 Paul begins by issuing a strong message asking the Corinthian church to follow him. “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” Paul knew he followed Jesus, so he did not hesitate to tell the Corinthian Christians to imitate his walk with the Lord. He knew the Corinthian Christians needed examples, and he was willing to be such an example. How few of us today are willing to say what Paul said! Instead, because of compromise and ungodliness, we are quick to say, “Don’t look at me, look at Jesus.” While it is true we must all ultimately look to Jesus, every one of us should be an example of those who look to Jesus.

Paul knew he was an example, and a good example at that. He also knew that it was not “Paul” who was a worthy example, but “Paul the follower of Jesus” who was the example. This approach of imitation is not without a need for limits. We need to follow a Christ Follower as much as we see them following Jesus. It isn’t blind following, but we should only imitate Christ like behavior. Paul sarcastically speaks to the church because they did not remember Paul nor keep the traditions he taught them. They did their own thing and ignored much of what Paul had taught. “Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you.” So this is a sarcastic slam of the Corinthian church.

Paul then moves on to a somewhat controversial concept in society today. People bristle at the idea of headship and authority in marriage. Yet it is the design of a biblical marriage. “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.” Headship means to have the appropriate responsibility to lead, and the matching accountability. It is right and appropriate to submit to someone who is our head. That does not mean that a woman is a door mat to be walked upon or taken advantage of. It is quite the difference. Man, in the covenant of marriage, has the responsibility to care for his wife as Christ cared for the church which meant complete sacrifice to the point of laying down one’s life.

There are three “headship” relationships: Jesus is head of every man; man is the head of woman, and God (the Father) is head of Christ. Because Paul connects the three relationships, the principles of headship are the same among them. The idea of headship and authority is important to God. In His great plan for mankind, one thing God looks for from man is voluntary submission. This is what Jesus showed in His life over and over again, and this is exactly what God looks for from both men and women, though it will be expressed in different ways.

Women in the Church have two options in their attitude towards their head: They imitate the kind of attitude men have towards Christ, showing a rebelliousness that must be won over; or women can imitate the kind of attitude Christ displayed towards God the Father, loving submission to Him as an equal. The authority God has placed on a husband is not to be a dictator, but a protector and provider that carries the responsibility of giving sacrificially of self to meet the needs of his wife. When God calls women in the church to recognize the headship of men, it is not because women are unequal or inferior, but because there is a God-ordained order of authority to be respected.

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