The Don Martin - Mark J. Ward Discussion on

I Corinthians 11:1-16

Martin's First Article

This is the first article Don Martin writes under the Subject line: Re:I Corinthians 11:1-16...

Re: I Corinthians 11: 1-16
Mon, 20 Jan 2003 18:58:13 -0700
"Don Martin" <>

Don Martin to Mark Ward and the list (post one of two):

I personally know Mark and I have corresponded with him on a number of
occasions. Mark from the first impressed me as a super nice and high
quality person. I appreciate very much Mark's statement:

Don and I love each other tremendously, yet disagree on a few Bible
matters (as do many of us on this list <g>).

Don comments:

While Mark and I mutually appreciate each other, we do not allow personal
feelings to blind us as to doctrinal differences. I knew when Mark joined
ML that there would come a time that he and I would have an exchange
on the covering of I Corinthians 11: 3-16. I also believe this: This
exchange will be a quality discussion without mud slinging or personality
assault! I say this because I have confidence in Mark.

I shall endeavor to be complete but succinct in my answering (I have invited
Mark to go first by asking me five questions on the text of I Corinthians
11: 3-16). Mark's first question is a good one and focuses on the meat of
the matter (I will have more material in this first answer because it is
essential that I provide a good definition of the key terms of the

1. Don, why do you presently teach that "praying" and "pray" in I Cor.
11:1-16 is EXCLUSIVELY "miraculous"?

Don answers:

In order to believe a certain thing, there must be a reason. Hence, Mark's
good question pertains to causation.

In short, I believe and teach that the "praying" and "prophesying" of I
Corinthians 11: 3-16 are miraculous in origin, nature, and design because of
the basic and ordinary meaning of "prophecy" and the connection of "praying"
with "prophesying," and also their use in the context of I Corinthians 11,
as well as the general climate of the text, context, and remote contexts
(chapters twelve and fourteen). Allow me to simplify this:

A. I understand "prophecy" to have the general meaning of
that which is miraculous and by the connecting of "praying" to "prophesying,
" I understand the praying to also be a product of the miraculous
leading of the Holy Spirit (cp. Eph. 6: 18).

B. "Praying" and "prophesying" are used in what I understand to be a climate
pertaining to the miraculous (ch. 11, 12, 14). While the extended
discussion regarding spiritual gifts officially begins in 12: 1, I believe
the introduction of headship (general teaching) in 11: 3 prompted a
specific application to a prevailing circumstance in the church at
Corinth in which headship was being violated, based on the meaning of
the "covering" and how the actions of the prophets and prophetesses
were viewed.

C. "Prophecy" in chapter 11 is used in the way "prophecy" is used in the
vocabulary of I Corinthians, a miraculous gift of the Spirit, number six
to be exact (see chapter 12: 10). Since "praying" is joined to
"prophesying," I understand the praying to have also been
inspired or Spirit led.

Prophesy (propheteia, a common noun) is a compound word, made up essentially
of two parts, pro, meaning forth and phemi, meaning to speak; hence, to
speak forth. The common meaning of prophesy is not just naturally speaking
forth. W. E. Vine states, "Though much of OT prophecy was purely
predictive, see Micah 5:2, e.g., and cp. John 11:51, prophecy is not
necessarily, nor even primarily, fore-telling. It is the declaration of that
which cannot be known by natural means, Matt. 26:68, it is the forth-telling
of the will of God, whether with reference to the past, the present, or the
future, see Gen. 20:7; Deut. 18:18; Rev. 10:11; 11:3....."

Vine comments on the verb propheteuo thus: "To be a prophet,
to prophesy, is used (a) with the primary meaning of telling forth the
Divine counsels...." After making this statement regarding propheteuo, Vine
refers to I Corinthians 11: 4, 5, 13: 9, 14: 1, 3-5, 24, 31, 39 (Expository
Dictionary of New Testament Words).

Continued in next post.

Re: I Corinthians 11: 1-16
Mon, 20 Jan 2003 18:58:59 -0700
"Don Martin" <>

Don Martin to Mark Ward and the list (post two of two):

In our exchange on I Corinthians 11: 1-16, Mark asked me (question one of

1. Don, why do you presently teach that "praying" and "pray" in I Cor.
11:1-16 is EXCLUSIVELY "miraculous"?

I am in the process of showing that "prophecy" normally refers to one
speaking forth by the miraculous assistance of God. I have quoted W. E.
Vine regarding the verb propheteuo used in I Corinthians 11: 4, 5 pertaining
to the miraculous nature of the prophesying of the men and women of the
text. Under "prophet" (prophetes), Vine says, "a proclaimer of a divine
message, denoted among the Greeks an interpreter of the oracles of gods."
There is absolutely no doubt but what the common meaning of "prophecy" is
utterance that is done by Divine assistance as opposed to naturally
speaking (Vine often has an advantage over some lexicographers in that he is
also an exegete; hence, familiar with contextual usage). One might ask
about pseudoprophetes (false prophet, 2 Pet. 2: 1), were these men
miraculously led? No, they were not. The idea, though, is that they
claimed to be prophets, but in reality they were false prophets (cp. Tit. 1:
12). Such a use of "prophet" does not negate the normal and common

Notice I Corinthians 11: 4, 5: "Every man praying or prophesying...But
every woman that prayeth or prophesieth...." (pas Anna proseuchomenos he
propheteuon....pasa de gune proseuchomene he propheteuousa....). You will
observe that the language is the same, except for accommodating grammatical
changes. What the men (prophets) were doing, the women (prophetesses) were
doing (see case of "Anna, a prophetess," Lk. 2: 36-38).

Propheteia ("prophecy") is used about 19 times in the Greek New Testament
and is found 5 times in I Corinthians. Propheteuo ("prophesied," etc.) is
used a total of 28 times, 11 times in I Corinthians; and prophetes
("prophet") is found 149 times and 6 times in I Corinthians. There is not
any thing present in the combined 22 occurrences of these words in the
vocabulary of I Corinthians to suggest any thing but the common and normal
meaning of the words. Again, prophets were actuated by the Holy Spirit (I
Pet. 1: 11, 2 Pet. 1: 21). They miraculously foretold events to come and
delivered God breathed teaching.

Please direct you attention briefly to the act of "praying" in connection
with "prophesying" (I Cor. 11: 4, 5). I believe the scriptures present the
concept and the first century practice not only of miraculous prophesying
but also of Spirit led prayer. "What is it then? I will pray with the
spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the
spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also," Paul wrote (I Cor. 14:
15). This statement was made in the setting of spiritual gifts and
miraculous impetus (see I Cor. 14: 1ff.). Notice Matthew Henry's comments
on the verse:

"...The apostle here sums up the argument hitherto, and, I. Directs
them how they should sing and pray in public (v. 15): What is it then? I
will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also. I
will sing with the spirit, etc. He does not forbid their praying or singing
under a divine afflatus, or when they were inspired for this purpose, or had
such a spiritual gift communicated to them; but he would have them perform
both so as to be understood by others, that others might join with
them....." (Complete Commentary on the Bible, 1706). Since prayer was in
some cases Spirit led and in view of prayer being mentioned as something
done in connection with prophesying in I Corinthians 11: 4, 5, I believe it
is axiomatic that the prayer thus mentioned was also "inspired." (The
prophetess was obviously the exception in what she was doing. I say this in
view of I Timothy 2: 8, men only, andras, were to publicly pray, and verse

The foregoing are some of the reasons why I believe and teach that "praying"
and "pray" in I Corinthians. 11:1-16 is not the result of natural impetus,
but of the supernatural guidance of the Spirit, just as in the case
with prophecy. To attempt to reduce prophesying and praying in the
text of I Corinthians 11: 1-16 to ordinary and uninspired teaching and
prayer is to totally ignore and abuse the setting, the occasion, and the
people under consideration. In addition to unjustifiably limiting praying
and prophesying, to contend that a woman today in the assembly must
be "covered," is to promote an anachronism (more later).

I have said the above without any animosity for my friend Mark. I believe
Mark to be very conscientious and zealous. I believe he in his zeal, as I
have some time done, has misunderstood and misapplied I Corinthians 11:
1-16. I encourage you to read what Mark has to say.

Don Martin

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(from MARS-List 3816, January 20, 2003)



[Editor’s Note: This is one of the most in-depth, comprehensive studies between two brethren on the issue of whether "the spiritual gifts view" of I Corinthians 11:1-16 is true, or whether God requires women today to cover their heads with an artifical covering whenever they pray. We hope all readers will continue to study all Bible topics with open minds, willing to conform to God's Truth. Thanks for reading! - Mark J. Ward]

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