The Don Martin - Mark J. Ward Discussion on

I Corinthians 11:1-16

Ward's 17th

This is the next (in sequence) post(s) that Mark J. Ward writes under the Subject line: Re:I Corinthians 11:1-16...


Re: I Corinthians 11:1-16
Sat, 01 Mar 2003 16:58:43 -0500
"Mark J. Ward" <>

Mark J. Ward to Don Martin and the list:

I hope all are doing well. I continue to enjoy this good
Bible discussion on the meaning and application of I Cor.
11:1-16. Don continues to repeat much of his earlier
thoughts and we will briefly <g> mention them, and make a
few points before answering his Question #2.

Don continues to assume that the “every man” and “every
woman” is to be understood as “every inspired ONLY
prophet/prophetess”. The head of “every man” is Christ and
the text teaches that “every man” who prays covered
dishonors his head and “every woman” who prays uncovered
dishonors her head. Don teaches that the ONLY time this
passage had to be obeyed was for those who were inspired,
ONLY while LEADING, and ONLY when in the PUBLIC presence???
of members of the OPPOSITE SEX who had the miraculous gifts,
as well! The text doesn’t so limit it; but our good brother
Don tells us “why” he thinks it is so.

Don continues to hold up a prophetess who taught under the
Old Testament dispensation as “proof” that prophetesses were
allowed to exercise dominion over men in New Testament
settings! Don assumes things that are not taught in the
passage in Luke 2 and wants us to believe it. At this point
in our study, we cannot.

Don wrote:
“Praying or prophesying in application involved praying and
prophesying, as I have explained at least twenty times,
since this is what these inspired men and women were doing”

Mark here:
Don continues to contend for what the scriptures do not
teach! We have pointed out numerous times that a woman could
“pray” without “prophesying”, but Don makes it prophets and
prophetesses ONLY! We’ll move on, hoping that time and
digestion of the previous material will help at possibly a
later date.

Don contends:
“My conclusions are based on the text: Every woman praying
or prophesying was to be covered...every man uncovered.
These were prophets and prophetesses. Since we do not have
prophetesses today, the teaching is
inapplicable. Simple enough.”

Mark here:
The careful student will notice the subtle difference in
what Don wrote above and what is in ALL CAPS in the

My conclusions are based on the text: Every woman praying
or prophesying was to be covered...every man uncovered.
These INCLUDED prophets and prophetesses. THIS INCLUDED
MEN AND WOMEN WHO PRAYED. Since we do not have prophetesses
Simple enough. Don emphasizes “prophesying” to the point
of MISSING the fullness of the meaning from the text.

Don wrote:
This was why the prophetess was to be veiled and the
prophets unveiled. As mentioned in my last posts, this was
the emblematic meaning of the covering to those people at
that time: headship subjugation. Hence, if the prophet were
veiled in these circumstances, it would visibly and
emblematically bespeak his subjugation to the female
counter-part, the prophetess.

Mark here:
I don’t believe that Don is APPLYING the “meaning” of the
covering (according to his assumptive theory) to those who
were NOT LEADING! Thus, Don has already agreed that MEN
(inspired men) could BE COVERED while being LED BY A WOMAN
in prayer in the assembly in the church of God at Corinth
with God’s blessing! IF, as Don asserts, that the covering
had “emblematic meaning” if a MAN had his head covered, for
example, of ~subjugation to the female~, then WHY would
Don’s position allow men to wear such when following the
LEAD of a female? Further, why would man wear a sign of
subjection to women anywhere at anytime? Don admits he
doesn’t really KNOW JUST WHAT the custom was, so how does he
claim to know the “meaning”? Don, are you saying that the
norm of the non-Christians had something to do with
religious meaning concerning the specific times of “praying
or prophesying”???? OR, are you contending that the
non-Christians’ norm had something to do with men who went
around with heads covered were showing subjugation to women?
Teach us brother. And please use inspired information, not
assertions of uninspired writers. Thanks,

Don continued:
Since prayer can be inspired (I Cor. 14: 15) and since the
“praying” is associated with “prophesying,” I really
understand the prayer itself in I Corinthians 11: 4, 5 to be
inspired. Who is it that ignores and denies the context?
Mark, you want to enter into a text dealing with inspired
people doing exceptional things and extract from it, through
a process of gymnastic maneuvers, uninspired matters
applicable to all. It will not work.

Mark here:
Don used Matthew 6:6 to refer to praying alone in his post
previous to his last. I wonder if Don would make INCLUSIVE
APPLICATION (like I do on praying or prophesying in I Cor.
11) to that passage? Brother Don, if a woman were able to
pray an inspired prayer in private (and I think you err in
your understanding of I Cor. 14:15, which we will get to,
Lord willing, in our questions on I Cor. 14) would SHE BE
INCLUDED in the teaching of Matthew 6:6, AS WELL AS the
uninspired woman who prays? I hope so! Maybe such an
understanding is not so gymnastically-oriented after all,
good brother!

Don wrote:
I do not mean to be crude or facetious but in view of Mark’s
position, I suppose every female Christian had better have a
veil in her possession at all times.

Mark here:
Women only need to cover when they “pray or prophesy”,
brother Don. What about your prophetesses, Don? Reckon they
needed to have something with them to cover their head in
case they had oppty to “pray or prophesy”? God did not
require anything unreasonable of the women in Paul’s day,
and He does not require anything unreasonable today. Don,
you would AT LEAST AGREE, wouldn’t you, that the
PROPHETESSES needed to have an artificial covering with them
in case they were going to engage in “praying or
prophesying”??? I really think Don believes that the women
had it on ANYWAY (all of them, even the uninspired ladies)
and that the men would not have really noticed much
difference when a lady got up to preach or lead prayer since
she (in Don’s view) would have NORMally (according to the
societal norm of the aliens???) have been covered anyway.
Such does not work well with the text brother Don.

What IF, similar to Don’s assumptive view, that the Jewish
women’s societal norm of the day INCLUDED ALREADY a head
covering that would meet the demands of the text and the
Grecian women did NOT. Wouldn’t that mean (I certainly hope
Don would agree here <g>) that according to Don’s view, any
Grecian lady who was a “prophetess” (as Don defines it for
the sake of this argument) would have to CHANGE HER NORMAL
HABITS and start to be mindful of God’s instruction whenever
she engaged in “praying or prophesying” and act accordingly?
Sure it would! Similarly, whether societal norms make it
where there is little or no change…or whether dress and
custom in an area would be such that it would require a
DRASTIC CHANGE, God’s will would need to be obeyed by men
and women on the subject. In my discussion on another list
( with a brother who is from the
Netherlands originally, he argues that men having long hair
is the accepted custom of that land! Such still does not
change God’s law; neither does WHATEVER the societal norm(s)
(which the Bible does not tell us, by the way <g>) were in
the various cities (including Corinth) in the day and time
of the writing of I Cor 11.

The men are taught just the opposite. Since God says it is a
shame for men to pray covered, they better remember to
REMOVE any headgear when they pray. Don, if the passage
teaches a woman to pray covered and applies today, wouldn’t
that simply mean that she had to do so? And, if prophesying
includes uninspired teaching, wouldn’t the same be true? God
has not made a requirement that cannot be obeyed.

Don wrote:
The “praying” is not one in an audience who is following in
a public prayer lead by another.

Mark here:
Don has not and cannot prove his assertion above. Verse 6
plainly teaches that every woman who prays uncovered
dishonors her head. Don believes something was the case in I
Corinthians that we cannot read from the inspired record. If
Don had a passage or verse to point to, he would, as he is
very capable on many Bible subjects. He cannot prove it; he
just thinks it was so. Then he uses that assumption to
formulate and/or prove??? his position.

Don wrote:
I sincerely appreciate Mark attempting to be consistent.
However, if he really wants to be consistent he should
acknowledge that since we do not have prophetesses today
(women who prophesy), the covering teaching does not apply.

Mark here:
What IF prophesying is INSPIRED ONLY and praying is
UNINSPIRED ONLY, for the sake of argument? I would need to
STOP teaching that women who are teaching the Bible
(engaging in uninspired prophesying) would need to be
covered, and DON would need to START teaching that women who
are praying (engaging in uninspired praying) would need to
be covered! Don’s argumentation above simply fails to keep
the meaning of “OR” in the application of the passage.

Don asked QUESTION 2:
What was the artificial covering (katakalupto), will the
typical doily or hat today placed on the crown of the head
satisfy the requirements, and what was its meaning in the
situation of I Corinthians 11: 3-16?

Mark replies:
The above question has at least three parts. “What was the
artificial covering (katakalupto)?” is part one, what
artificial coverings will suffice is part two and what was
its meaning (artificial coverings) in the situation of I
Cor. 11:1-16 is part three.

Paul gives the instruction to be followed for “every man”
and “every woman” at times of praying or prophesying with
regards to wearing or not wearing an artificial covering on
the physical head in I Corinthians 11:1-16. Don and I agree
that long hair is “a covering” (vs 14,15), but not ~the
artificial covering~ of the earlier verses in the text (vs.

VINE’s, in defining words from the King James Version, under
“COVER” says this word, katakalupto, means, “ cover cover oneself...” (page 252). THAYER says this word
(katakalupto) means, “ veil or cover
oneself...” (page 331). Please note the word “OR” in this
definition by Thayer <g> and pay close attention to how
brother Don responds to this in his next. Since we have been
having trouble with the little word “or” in the English
concerning “praying or prophesying”, I wonder if we will see
a similar pattern in discussing the definitions here??? It
is my understanding that “katakalupto” is only used in the
text of I Cor. 11 in the entire New Testament. It is found
in the LLX, which we may look at, if Don responds as I
anticipate he will to my answer <g>. In the ~Greek text~ in
I Corinthians 11, katakalupto (or its forms) are found as
verbs or adjectives, not nouns. Even if kalumma?? (which is
a noun) was used in the Greek (in this text), we still must
note that there was not a ~specific headdress~ mentioned in
the inspired record. Since God did not LIMIT or SPECIFY the
article (i.e. size, weight, material, color, opacity, etc),
we should not. However, the action (cover) must take place,
and with an artificial article of clothing.

“Akatakaluptos, -on” (as found also in this text) carries
the idea of uncovered, bareheaded, unveiled (the “negative
of katakalupto”). Thayer says, “...not covered, unveiled: I
Cor. 11:5,13...” (page 21). “Katakalupto” carries the idea
of “to cover” (artificially) in this text. God did NOT
specify a particular headdress in the information given
“that Paul would have them know” to the exclusion of other
artificial coverings. The word means to cover; the context
indicates that such is artificial; God told which gender to
cover and which gender to be uncovered at times of “praying
or prophesying” (I Cor. 11:1-16).

I do not believe that “skimpy” ribbons suffice. Just as we
are to dress in “modest” apparel, and there is no specific
article of clothing for the woman and the man to wear
outlined in the inspired record, we have generic authority
to choose such clothing that meets the demands of “modest”.
Similarly, women should “cover” their heads when they pray
by choosing articles of clothing that meet the requirement
“to cover”. Don’s “hat” in his question above is too generic
for me to comment on in detail. Some hats would and other
hats might not suffice, Don. Kinda like: Are “dresses”
modest for women to wear today? <G> Some are; some aren’t.

I am guessing that Don MAY take the view that there was a
specific headdress under consideration, that God did not
reveal this part to us because Don thinks (see his earlier
writing quoted below) since it was not going to be
applicable, God left it out (by His providence???) of the
canon we have that “contains all things that pertain to life
and godliness”. Please note what Don wrote from MARS-List
3827, January 22, 2003:

“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.”

Now Don’s assertions immediately above seem to indicate that
if Don doesn’t get enough information on a subject to
satisfy his thirst for knowledge, then such subject may not
be applicable to us today. I take a different view. If
revealed, God wanted us to have it. What is revealed is all
we need. If not specific, it is generic. Such is the case
with the artificial covering to be used by women. We will
see what Don’s position is on this in possibly his next.

The meaning of the covering in the text of I Corinthians
11:1-16 was just what we have recorded by Paul as he taught
them what God would have them know (and us to know). This is
New Testament instruction for the gospel age on the subject
of covered and uncovered heads for every man and every woman
at times of praying or prophesying. Various inspired reasons
are given as to why God wants to see a distinction between
the men and women at times stated (headship, order of
creation, because of the angels, etc). This includes the
teaching that men are to have short hair in the gospel age.
Women are to wear long hair in this dispensation. Men are
not to have anything (artificial) on their heads when they
pray or when they prophesy. Women are to cover their heads
when they pray or when they engage in prophesying.

Don likes to make an argument that includes the verbiage
that such instruction is not taught BEFORE or AFTER I Cor.
11, but Don knows that many folks taught things (orally, by
inspiration and uninspired teaching after having been
taught) that are not recorded in the New Testament (prior to
and post the writing of I Corinthians) about MDR, Lord’s
Supper, contribution, church worship, proper speech, proper
dress, etc.. What we have in our New Testaments in WRITTEN
FORM is all we need! God only has to reveal something ONCE
in the New Testament, for it to be applicable! Please
remember, our written record is NOT ~all~ that was taught by
inspired and uninspired men and women in the sense that
something that might be found ONLY ONCE in the ~written
record~ (like Acts 20:7; I Cor. 16:1,2; I Cor. 11:1-16)
could have been/should have been/and ~was~ taught numerous
times orally, for example . Passages like Matthew 28:18-20;
I Cor. 4:17 & 2 Tim. 2:2 let us know that what was taught
was communicated by those who heard it to many others in the
spreading of new testament instruction. Don knows this. Don,
did the inspired prophetess at Ephesus, for example, have to
cover her head when (according to your position) she was
LEADING the church assembly in “praying or prophesying”?

Since the text doesn’t go into detail, I don’t get into
conjecture about what the societal norm was “of the day” for
the Jews and Greeks in the city of Corinth. IF God wanted us
to KNOW that Paul’s instruction was based on the customs of
the day, we would have it in the inspired record! IF God
wanted us to KNOW about a specific headdress, it would be
revealed in the inspired record. IF God wanted us to KNOW
just what the societal norms were of the first century folks
concerning how aliens viewed covered and uncovered heads on
men and women at various times and settings, God would have
revealed that, as well! Don continues to make argumentation
and advance theories that are not warranted or demanded from
passages. Conjecture only leads to problems. There is a
great problem, in this discussion for example, with Don’s
position advocating that things are necessary to deduce from
the passages he references….when they are NOT unavoidable
from the text! I labor to show that such assertions are NOT
necessary from the verses Don uses, but instead of answering
my argument, Don just repeats or rephrases his original

I can’t say enough about the kind comments concerning this
discussion. Please pay careful attention to the information
herein and the comments by our good brother Don Martin. I
consider my brother Don a friend and good brother in Christ,
as well as a “nice guy”, too <g>. Thanks, Don for being such
a good person to discuss the Bible with! We both love truth
and will continue to earnestly contend for what we honestly
believe the Bible teaches on each subject. And such it
should be. Please read all this discussion with open minds
and open Bibles. Thanks.

In Christian love,
Mark J. Ward
The Religious Instructor
The Golden Isles church of Christ

(From MARS-List Digest 3954, March 1, 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