Is the husband the head of his wife?

by Doug Mason 17 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason

    How do we explain the marital role with what Paul said in 1 Cor. 11: 3?

    “But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” (NIV)


    Read a few chapters earlier at 1 Corinthians 7 to see what Paul does say about the relationships between husband and wife. Read a few translations.

    Now read Galatians 3:25-28: “Now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (NRSV)

    Clearly the sentiment expressed at 1 Corinthians 11:3 is not compatible with the above statements by Paul.

    Let's look at the immediate context of this verse: In the previous Chapter (1 Corinthians 10) Paul entered into a multi-faceted discussion about eating and drinking, about having meals. Then at 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 this discussion about husbands, wives, their head coverings and hair length follows. Suddenly at verse 17 the text continues the discussion about food, drink, and meals.

    This strongly indicates that later someone inserted 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 into Paul's writings. Inasmuch as the sentiments being expressed are similar to the attitudes at the Pastorals (Timothy and Titus), this suggests that it happened at that time, the end of the first century, 40 years after Paul's death.

    In addition, when I look at the flow of the reasoning, 1 Corinthians 11:3 stands out like a sore thumb -- it is not part of any natural, rational flow. How many people follow the instructions about hair and head covering? Remember, there were no "churches" then (small groups met in people's houses or shops). In any case, 1 Corinthians 11 says that any time a woman prays, she must cover her head. Do wives do this every time they pray at home?

    The rationale used by the writer of 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 is that there is a hierarchy set by Adam having been created before Eve. I do not believe the Adam / Eve / Eden / Satan-snake story, so the analogy does not exist for me


    [1 Corinthians 11, NRSV]


    2 I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions just as I handed them on to you. 3 But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the husband is the head of his wife, and God is the head of Christ.

    4 Any man who prays or prophesies with something on his head disgraces his head, 5 but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled disgraces her head — it is one and the same thing as having her head shaved.

    6 For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or to be shaved, she should wear a veil.

    7 For a man ought not to have his head veiled, since he is the image and reflection of God; but woman is the reflection of man. 8 Indeed, man was not made from woman, but woman from man. 9 Neither was man created for the sake of woman, but woman for the sake of man. 10 For this reason a woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

    11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man or man independent of woman. 12 For just as woman came from man, so man comes through woman; but all things come from God.

    13 Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head unveiled?

    14 Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him, 15 but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering.

    16 But if anyone is disposed to be contentious — we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God.

  • ttdtt

    I think its the WIFE who should give HEAD to the husband?

    Thats what I am thinking anyway.

  • ttdtt

    Someone not like Head?

  • steve2

    Scripture reeks of male privilege. It is a patriarchal document. Even to this day, leadership within the church - quite apart from within the home - is exclusively male dominated.

  • Fisherman

    I am the head when my wife is not home.

  • scratchme1010
    I think its the WIFE who should give HEAD to the husband?

    Thats what I am thinking anyway.

    I think your post is hilarious, but this thread is posted in the "Bible Research & Study Articles" section, which means that some people are taking the thread seriously.

    About the OP, honestly, just look around. Get your head (no pun intended) outside of the Bible and pay attention at how the world really works.

    The issue of who in a household is better at what has nothing to do with gender. The Bible has nothing to do with who is more capable to perform (no pun intended again) in a given role or accomplish a given task.

    The Bible is just wrong.

  • Still Totally ADD
    Still Totally ADD

    When in the cult I heard many times the wives say there husband's may be the head but I am the neck that turns his head. The humans who own the penis does not make them great and wonderful they just have a longer track to pee through. My thought for the day. LOL Still Totally ADD

  • waton

    I think it has to do with the task in the primitive family. Males stood taller, stood up against the predators of all kinds, called the shots in these situations. when males in the family were called husbands= bound to the house, perceptions changed, the household, the fe-male's domain became dominant. but, gives males a break, be content with caring and carrying the human race forward.

  • James Mixon
    James Mixon
    The only reason God created man first, He needed a rough draft before he made a final copy......
  • SonoftheTrinity
    Men and women should be equal in almost everything. But according to my understanding of scripture every male householder is a priest over his household so he should say grace unless the woman is Jewish and she's lighting the Sabbath candles. As a Jehovah's Witness her rebuttal is unconvincing to the children. This is one of those points in a marriage that I hold onto despite having lost and then bring up again and again whenever we have a disagreement to point out what a disrespectful wife she is whenever she accuses me of being disrespectful. I know her religion won't allow her to indulge my conviction on this point, and we don't often eat together at the table as a result. But what can I say, I'm entitled to my opinion and I don't care if the relationship suffers for it.

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