The Don Martin - Mark J. Ward Discussion on

I Corinthians 11:1-16

Martin's 12th Article

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

Re: I Corinthians 11: 1-16
Mon, 10 Feb 2003 20:57:36 -0700
"Don Martin" <>

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

Except for what I have viewed as needless repetition and going too slow, I
think Mark and I are experiencing a good exchange on the covering matter of
I Corinthians 11: 3-16. Mark believes the covering is binding today on
"every woman praying or prophesying" and "every man praying or prophesying"
(I Cor. 11: 4, 5). Since Mark also believes the gift of prophecy has
ceased, Mark has to go through a process to have every man and woman
included today. He believes that "every woman..." means every woman at
Corinth and every where else, including "every woman" today. I contend
that "every woman" (pasa gune) must be viewed in its syntactical
relationship to "praying or prophesying" (proseuchomene he propheteuousa).
Hence, "every woman praying or prophesying," not every woman then or now.
Mark has said, quoting others, that "praying or prophesying" is in the
predicate posture and not the attributive placement. He has explained that
this means that Paul is not seeking to specify or limit the women who were
to be covered and that he really had ALL women in mind. I have conceded
that the participles "praying or prophesying" are probably in the predicate
position, but, if this is the case, "praying or prophesying" still modifies
the women under consideration and that Mark's explanation of "every
woman" meaning all women then and now is grammatically incorrect.
Besides, just because the definite article is lacking (ex."the every woman
praying or prophesying"), does not necessarily mean the participles are
in the predicate only placement. My friend Mark has advanced an argument
that is faulty; hence, it is untenable and not supported by the text of
I Corinthians 11: 3-16. Mark further has argued that since uninspired women
were present and followed the prayer being led, they also had to be covered.
He expostulates that since we have "prayer" led today, all women today must
be covered. Again, notwithstanding, this is not what Paul says. I
emphasize: Paul said, "every woman praying or prophesying with her head
uncovered dishonoureth her head...."

Mark has committed a basic error: He has failed to consider to whom it was
spoken and the circumstances in which it was stated. As I have repeatedly
said, the covering was not ever bound BEFORE I Corinthians 11: 3-16, not
even on prophetesses, is not bound on all women IN the milieu of I
Corinthians 11: 3-16, and is never bound AFTER I Corinthians 11. The
subjects and circumstances along with the meaning of the covering to those
people all comprise an unusual and exceptional situation, not duplicated
in any usual circumstances and teaching.

Mark has now graciously submitted question number five:

QUESTION # 5: Don, in light of the New Testament instruction against
women exercising authority over men, why do you believe that women with
miraculous gifts in the first century were doing so (leading the
assembly in praying or prophesying covered with God's approval), but
others who were praying, men and women, didn't have to obey the
instruction? Scripture please.

Mark continues to do what he should, he is testing my teaching and
attempting to find a flaw or inconsistency. I have encouraged Mark to give
it his all and place all that I teach under the microscope of God's word.
If there is a flaw in my teaching, Mark's good, probative questions will
reveal it.

Mark has heretofore questioned me as to what I view the setting of the text
to be. I have in essence said that I did not know that I could limit it,
but that these special women and men (prophetesses and prophets) were doing
the same thing, in the same way, and in the same circumstances. Public
praying or prophesying I do believe is necessarily involved; hence, the
assembly would be one such place where they were praying or prophesying, I
am convinced.

Continued in post two.

(from MARS-List Digest 3889, February 10, 2003)

Re: I Corinthians 11:1-16
Mon, 10 Feb 2003 20:58:29 -0700
"Don Martin" <>

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

The whole point of Paul's instruction for the praying or prophesying women
to be covered and the praying or prophesying men to be uncovered was
obviously based on two considerations: (1). These special men and women
were doing the same thing, in the say way, and in the same circumstance (if
not, why was headship a question?), and (2) the meaning of the covering to
those people in that culture. To imagine that these women were praying or
prophesying in a private, isolated circumstance from the praying or
prophesying men, would not, I repeat, present the headship problem.
However, to have these extraordinary women doing precisely what the inspired
men were doing and "along side of them" would raise a question: were these
women without headship subjugation (I Cor. 11: 3)?

Again, I submit what the women were doing, the men were doing (the original
resident in verses four and five only varies regarding the necessary gender
difference). One who prophesied was a prophet or, in the case of the woman,
a prophetess. There are a number of prophetesses (women who prophesied)
mentioned in the Bible (cp. Miriam; Deborah; Huldah; and Anna, Ex. 15: 20,
21; Jud. 4: 4-10; 2 Kgs. 22: 14-20; Lk. 2: 36-38).

Let us now take the full context of I Corinthians 11: 3-16 and see what we
can deduce.

(1). Those who had the gift of prophecy (both men and women), were to edify
the church with their gift (I Cor. 14: 3, 5, 12, 23, 24, 26-31).

(2). The church at Corinth was comprised of both male and female members (I
Cor. 14: 34, 35; 11: 4, 5).

(3). Hence, both prophets and prophetesses were publicly used to teach
the church and foretell by the impetus of the Holy Spirit.

Again, these special women with the gift of prophecy were the exception
relative to the teaching of I Timothy 2: 12. To imagine that these gifted
women only prophesied to women or to children is inconsistent with the use
and gift of prophecy. When understood in its context, I Corinthians 14: 34,
35 poses no problem.

I cannot over emphasize that for the covering to have been bound, these
women and men were in a situation where the "visible sign of authority" was
needed to avert even the impression of insubordination on the part of the
female prophets (I Cor. 11: 10).

I opened my file on the katakalupto (the covering) tonight and I would like
to share with you a statement from Bill Cavender from his booklet, "The
Woman and her Covering." "On the very surface of our study it is suggested
that what the man was doing, the woman was doing; what the woman was doing,
the man was doing. This is the basis of the problem that existed. Had the
woman been 'praying or prophesying' under different circumstances,
conditions and times, there would have been no problem. But they were both
doing the same thing in the same way under the same circumstances. Thus the
solution to the problem was that the woman praying or prophesying do so
veiled; the man praying or prophesying do so unveiled" (pg. 10).

One more quote, Bill aptly states regarding "praying" in the expression
"praying or prophesying" thus: "The 'praying or prophesying' in I
Corinthians 11: 2-16 was that which was done under the direct influence of
the Holy Spirit. The subjects doing the 'praying or prophesying' were
inspired people....Since the 'praying' of I Corinthians 11: 4, 5 is joined
to the 'prophesying' and prophesying is ALWAYS inspired teaching, and since
both the 'praying' and 'prophesying' are adjectives (participles) modifying
the same man the same woman, there is here strong presumptive evidence
that the 'praying' is inspired praying and not ordinary prayers of
uninspired people" (Ibid. pg. 5,17).

I think I have answered Mark's final question as to why I think these
special women at Corinth were publicly exercising their gift of prophecy in
a circumstance that involved not only males, but prophets doing the same
thing. The reason all women were not instructed to be covered then and now
is because those uninspired women were not in a situation of being viewed as
competing with their male counter-parts. The uninspired woman came under
the teaching of I Timothy 2: 12. This is why the special teaching relative
to the covering has no applicability to women today. The situation is
impossible to duplicate because we have no prophets or prophetesses today (I
Cor. 13: 8-10).

QUESTION # 5: Don, in light of the New Testament instruction against
women exercising authority over men, why do you believe that women with
miraculous gifts in the first century were doing so (leading the
assembly in praying or prophesying covered with God's approval), but
others who were praying, men and women, didn't have to obey the
instruction? Scripture please.

I now invite you to consider Mark's reply and comments. Again, Mark has
the burden of showing that all women then and now must wear the covering
when "praying or prophesying."

(from MARS-List Digest 3889, February 10, 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]

Email the Editor at