The Don Martin - Mark J. Ward Discussion on

I Corinthians 11:1-16

Martin's Fourth Article

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

Re: I Corinthians 11: 1-16
Thu, 23 Jan 2003 10:42:08 -0700
"Don Martin" <>

Don Martin to Mark Ward and the list:

I continue to thank Mark for pressing his points, but avoiding personal
attacks. I enjoy good Bible discussions, but I abhor blood baths and
letting. Alas, too many brethren do not know the difference, it seems.
Mark is doing as good of job as he can in attempting to take the specific
case of certain women at Corinth who prayed or prophesied and the specific
instructions that were given to them in view of that culture (the head
covering) and bind it on all women, for all time as anyone can do. I have
repeatedly said that Mark is presenting an anachronism. An anachronism is
simply defined as, "1. A person, object, thing, or event that is
chronologically out of place, especially one appropriate to an earlier
period...." (Random House College Dictionary, pg. 47). The head covering
being discussed in I Corinthians 11: 3-16 had meaning to those people, it
was emblematic of subjugation and recognition of headship. When I see a
head covering today in the American culture, I immediately associate it with
Islam. This is because the covering is not part of our culture. Remember
that the covering was only bound on praying or prophesying women because it
meant subjection in that culture. However, my friend Mark wants to take the
covering that had a special meaning to those people at that time and was
only bound on praying or prophesying women and apply it to all female
Christians in a culture that has no recognition of the head covering.

My good and worthy opponent Mark is part of a group that, for the most part,
do not agree on many of the particulars of their position. Such matters
as the following:

(1). What was the exact nature of the covering, did it hang down and
totally cover the head or will a dolly located on the crown of the head

(2). When is a woman to wear the coving? Is it only for the "regular
worship service" or are class periods included? How about a Bible class in
a person's home, or when the husband leads prayer in offering thanks for a
meal? Should a women be covered outside the assembly proper, but who is
assisting in teaching a male? Must the female when praying in
privacy be covered?"

One reason those who hold the covering position are often confused is clear
and simple: The Bible does not offer explicit detail in all particulars
relative to the situation of I Corinthians 11: 3-16. The reason for this
lack of particularity is the fact that the circumstance of I Corinthians 11
was exceptional, unusual, and of limited time duration and did not really
matter as far as all women then or now.

I had thought last night that Mark's next post would provide question three.
Since Mark instead submitted more material (Mark's choice), I shall offer a
few more brief comments.

Mark kindly presses the following again:

Don continues to assert that Paul leaves off addressing "every man" and
"the (meaning every) woman" in the context at verse 3's end and begins
(with verses 4,5) to address an exclusive/special group of men and women
(i.e. inspired ONLY prophets and prophetesses). Don reasons using the
sentence structure that is NOT in the inspired record (see above) as he
writes, "They were praying and prophesying women and men."

Don comments:

Mark is doing exactly as he should to defend his position that a head
covering is binding on all women today. Before I discuss an issue, I always
attempt to know every argument my opponent (I use this term benignly) can
use. Believe me, Mark is doing a great job.

I have repeatedly said that the headship enunciation of verse three
universally applies (my exchange buddy Tom Couchman and I disagreed on
this). Beginning in verse four, Paul takes the headship principle and
specifically applies it to a circumstance at Corinth that was evidently in
conflict. It appears that some of the praying or prophesying women were
doing so without a head covering. In the culture at Corinth, such signified
lack of subjugation. This was especially so because it appears the praying
or prophesying men were doing the same thing, at the same time, and in the
same circumstances. Hence, these praying or prophesying women were
declaring by their lack of a head covering that they did not honor their
subjugation to their male counter-parts, the prophets. If Mark ever
realizes what I am saying based on what I believe the progressive text is
saying, he will have then started a sequential process that will result in
him abdicating his binding of the covering on all women then and now.

My worthy opponent continues to say of me, "he writes, 'They were praying
and prophesying women and men.'" I have said it both ways, "or" and "and."
As I have explained, I believe "or" is syntactically used in verses four and
five simply to indicate that these women and men were not each
simultaneously praying and prophesying. "Or" (the Greek he) separates the
acts. However, I believe that these special women and men were praying and
prophesying. This is the whole point of Paul's teaching: their praying and
prophesying in the circumstances. Mark must attempt to make a big point
over this. Again, Mark is simply doing what he must do to try to do away
with the setting of I Corinthians 11. I do not believe Mark is deliberately
trying to mislead anyone. Mark has done what so many of us do: We come to
a conclusion and belief and then we go forth trying to force a text or
passage to agree with us and our position. Since I do believe Mark is
sincere, I believe he will see this, sooner or later.

Mark wrote:

I hope the following detailed study of participles will be of some help
along this line of what I believe MAY BE near the heart of brother Don's
improper launching pad for some of his incorrect understanding....
The words "praying" and "prophesying" are participles. Participles are
verbal adjectives and as such partake both of the nature of a verb and
an adjective and may stand in two positions. It can be found in what is
called the attributive position, or it can be found in what is called the
predicate position....."

Don comments:

After the total exercise in futility that I experienced in the recent
floating exception phrase exchange in which an advanced argument was made on
the grammar of Matthew 19: 9 that involved much of the above, I am very
reluctant to go there again. I say this because most of that exchange was

Suffice me to say that the participles "praying" and "prophesying"
(proseuchomenos he propheteuon....pasa de gune proseuchomene
he propheteuousa....) do provide information as do what these women
and men were doing. One can attempt to argue the attributive or
predicate position of these particles all day long and this basic fact
does not go away: these women and men under consideration were
praying or prophesying. One thing that was static and
certainly did apply to all men and all women was the headship of verse
three. Hence, these praying or prophesying women were women to whom
headship applied, in all facets of their life, private and public, just as
is the universal case with all women. These particular women violated
headship WHEN they prayed or prophesied uncovered. Hence, the reason for
the grammar posture.

"You will notice that there is NO article "ho"
before the participles for "praying" or "prophesying". This means that
the participles are not in the attributive position but they are in the
predicate position. In this case, it is not telling what man shames his
head, but it is telling when the man shames his head," Mark quotes another.

Mark concludes his post:

I will leave this good material for Don and the list to digest and will try
to have question 3 ready in a day or two, if not before, Lord willing.

Don's final comments:

Thank you, Mark, for a job well done and thank you, the readers, for given
due consideration to the arguments that Mark and I are advancing in favor of
all women required to be covered and the teaching being exceptional and not
universally binding (my position). Again, I have not been disappointed in
Mark's ability or manner. As I have said before on this list, I seek only
the best that I can find with whom to have exchanges. I have had hundreds
of Internet exchanges on all subjects and I am always pleased when my
opponent is of the quality of Mark.

(from MARS-List 3827, 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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