The Don Martin - Mark J. Ward Discussion on

I Corinthians 11:1-16

Martin's Third Article

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

Re: I Corinthians 11: 1-16
Wed, 22 Jan 2003 23:07:35 -0700
"Don Martin" <>

Don Martin to Mark Ward and the list:

Mark has replied to my last post and has said that he will submit question
three in a following post. While I wait for the question, I thought I would
briefly comment on some of Mark's points. Again, I appreciate the
cordiality of Mark's post. Mark enthusiastically presses his points, but he
leaves off personality attacks.

Mark wrote:

1. Don and I AGREE that in I Cor. 11: 3 the "every man" that Christ is
head really every man...But, Don and I DISAGREE on who the
"every man" is in verse 4.

Mark believes that the "every man" in verse 4 is the same as the
"every man" in verse 3 of the context.

Don comments:

As I have said in commenting on the headship announcement resident in I
Corinthians 11: 3: The headship is universal, Christ the head of every man
and man is the head of woman. The prophets and prophetesses introduced in
verse four were no exception. Beginning in verse four, though, Paul
specifically applies the just enunciated principle of headship to the
prophets and prophetesses in their circumstance. Since the prophets and
prophetesses were doing the precise same thing in exactly the same
circumstance, special precaution needed to be taken to insure that headship
was recognized and visibly shown. Hence, the teaching that the prophetess
was to have her head covered and the prophet was to have his head uncovered
(vs. 4ff.). The covering signified acquiesce and subjugation in the culture
of these people at that time. This is why the prophet was to be uncovered,
to avoid any indication that he thought he was in subjugation to the
prophetess. Again, these were not ordinary female Christians being
discussed at Corinth.

No where in Holy Writ were women in general commanded to be covered. Only
in a text pertaining to prophetesses was the head covering mentioned. In
all other texts pertaining to women in general, there is no intimation of a
head covering being binding (I Tim. 2: 9; I Pet. 3: 3, 4). Notice that I
Timothy 2 pertains to the assembly and I Peter 3 is general and that both
texts have absolutely no indication of being indigenous or containing any
peculiarity as to special circumstances, and both text address the clothing
of the woman, but they say nothing about a head covering. Mark has a
serious problem in attempting to bind the head covering on all (saved) women
because the scriptures do not do this. The scriptures do bind the head
covering on prophetesses in a culture and time in which the covering
signified subjugation.

Mark wrote:

Mark notes:
God, through Paul says, "Every man praying or..." and "But every woman
that prayeth or..." and yet Don has said these were "special men and
women...". This is an assumption that Don submits for us to believe as
God's truth. We need proof that this is the case.

Don remarks:

What I have said is that every prophet and prophetess were to observe the
special teaching pertaining to the specific application of headship in their
circumstance. No where, I again repeat, in the Bible was the covering bound
on all women, just in the circumstances of I Corinthians 11 and pertaining
to prophetesses.

Mark contends:

While it is true that what Paul wrote about every man/every woman
covering/uncovering their heads at times of praying was also applicable
at times of does NOT follow that if "prophesying" is
miraculous only, by definition and use here, that "praying" has to be as

Don comments:

I have shown that "prophesying" has the normal, common, and, hence,
understood meaning of speaking with divine assistance, and is to be so
viewed unless there is an exceptional, unusual nuance (cp. Tit. 1: 12).
Mark cannot deny this. Prayer has the normal, common, and understood
meaning of man addressing God without any necessary association with the
miraculous, though there was inspired prayer (I Cor. 14: 15). In view of
the association between "praying" and "prophesying" in 1 Corinthians 11: 4,
5 and considering the immediate and remote contexts, I must conclude that
the praying and prophesying under consideration were both miraculous, acts
characteristic of prophets and prophetesses. Again, I Corinthians 11: 3-16
is not, I repeat, is not a normal situation. To attempt to force in to be a
normal circumstance and bind it on all women is to argue anachronistically.

Marks asks in augmenting is question two:

Don, let's be clear here: You are contending that inspired women
preachers (prophetesses) were preaching/teaching/prophesying in the
assembly at the church of God at Corinth and were the only ones being
addressed in chapter 11 and verse 5? Could you elaborate on how you get
that out of the inspired record of I Cor. 11? Thanks.

Don responds:

All I can say is what I have repeatedly heretofore affirmed: A certain
class of men and women were being addressed in the church at Corinth. They
were praying and prophesying women and men. No other women are mentioned in
the text in which the head covering is bound. Mark is adding to the text by
inserting all women at Corinth when Paul only addressed the praying or
prophesying women. In this special circumstance, these women needed to be
covered to visibly show their understood acquiesce to their counter-part,
the prophet.

Mark reasons:

I contend they (uninspired men/women) were included the group to whom
Paul wrote in verse 1, "Be YE followers of me, even as I also am of
Christ." They (uninspired men/women) were included in the group to whom
Paul wrote in verse 2, "Now I praise YOU, BRETHREN, that YE remember me
in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to YOU."
They (uninspired men/women) were included in the group to whom Paul
wrote in verse 3, "But I would have YOU know, that the head of every man
is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ
is God."

Don reflects:

Mark, I concur.

Mark continues:

And, they (uninspired men/women) were included in the group to
whom Paul wrote in verses 4, 5, "Every man praying or prophesying, having
his head covered, dishonoureth his head. But every women that prayeth or
prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is
even all one as if she were shaven." If not, why not? (See the point?)

Don answers:

"If not, why not?" because Paul makes specific application of the general
principle of headship to only prophetesses. Other women show headship in
other ways, such as a "meek and quiet spirit" (I Pet. 3: 4; I Tim. 2: 9-12).
Mark calls this "special pleading," but I call it simply observing "to whom
it is spoken."

Don's final comments:

I think highly of Mark, but I believe in the case of I Corinthians 11: 3-16,
Mark makes some basic mistakes that he would not make on another subject or
text. I think Mark, as a rule, pays attention to the one(s) being
addressed, the circumstances of the addressed, and the immediate and remote
contexts. My friend Mark is failing to do this in the case of the
prophetesses of I Corinthians 11.

I shall eagerly await question three.

Don Martin

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(from MARS-List 3825, January 22, 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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