The Don Martin - Mark J. Ward Discussion on

I Corinthians 11:1-16

Ward's Seventh Article

This is the next article Mark J. Ward writes under the Subject line: Re:I Corinthians 11:1-16...

Re: I Corinthians 11:1-16
Wed, 29 Jan 2003 01:18:49 -0500
"Mark J. Ward" <>

Mark J. Ward, here, to a patient Don Martin and the list,

POST ONE of TWO (separated due to length)

In disagreement, we learn a lot about ourselves and those with whom we
disagree. I appreciate my brother and friend Don Martin even more now
than before this discussion began.

I want to ask the indulgence of Don and the readers/listers as I quote
and point to some elements of our disagreement that I think are key,
especially in Don's failure to answer (or maybe I missed it and if so,
Don kindly point it out to me <g>) my testing of his "spiritual gifts"
theory in his interpretation on I Corinthians 11:1-16. I want to be
clear and pointed and yet, at the same time, kind and loving in pointing
these things out. I hope Don will respond by dealing with these things
that I think show weaknesses in his position and conclusions in his next
post (or two <g>).

Review of the Questions:

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

Don, as we have noted (and repeat later) derived his definition for
"praying" and "pray" from his understanding of the definition of the
word "prophesying" in this text (BTW, they are not synonyms <g>). He has
failed to teach us how we can KNOW and BE SURE prayer in I Cor. 11 is
miraculous prayer ONLY. More to follow.

Question 2 asked:
QUESTION 2: Don, do you presently believe that prophetesses
were prophesying or praying (miraculous ONLY in both cases) in the
church assembly at Corinth with God's blessings and were the ONLY women
being instructed to be covered (meaning that non-prophetesses did NOT
have to cover their heads when praying with either a prophet or a

Don answers YES to question #2. Don says inspired women were preaching
in the assembly at Corinth! He says they were special women in special
circumstances. I can't read it in my Bible, its not a necessary or
unavoidable conclusion and Don has failed to tell us how we can KNOW and
BE SURE that such took place. In addition, Don excludes UNinspired folks
who pray or prophesy from following the teaching of I Cor. 11!

Question #3 was:
QUESTION 3: Don, in light of your view on the "every man and "every
woman" of verses 4,5 in our text really being limited to only inspired
prophets and prophetesses, do you also teach and believe that when Paul
taught, "For a MAN indeed ought not to cover HIS (italicized in KJV)
head, forasmuch as HE is the image and glory of God: but the WOMAN is
the glory of the MAN",

in verse 7,

...that the true sense of the verse would be, "For a INSPIRED ONLY
PROPHET indeed ought not to cover THE INSPIRED ONLY PROPHET'S
(italicized <g>) head forasmuch as THE INSPIRED ONLY PROPHET is the
image and glory of God: but the INSPIRED ONLY PROPHETESS is the glory of


Don said his answer was a "qualified yes".

Since Don switched meanings of "the woman" in verse 3 FROM ~every woman,
women in general~ and "every man" in verse 3 FROM ~every man, men in
general~ TO ~inspired ONLY prophets/prophetesses prophesying or praying
miraculously ONLY~ in verses 4,5 Don is going to have to SWITCH MEANINGS
BACK to the general application before he gets to verse 8 in the text of
I Cor. 11.

Again, I do NOT ever wish to misrepresent anyone's position and that's
why I have been so careful in asking Don to clarify his answers. I THINK
that Don has (according to his theory) the inspired ONLY
prophet/prophetess in the first part of verse 7, and in the latter part
of the verse he wants to have specific reference to inspired ONLY
prophets and prophetesses, but include, in some general way "every man"
and "every women" again as we get ready to transition to verses 8-12.
Don knows the TRUTH concerning what is taught in verse 8-12 (and
cannot, therefore, make application to his special class of men and
women ONLY, except he probably does in verse 10 and switches back really
quick for verse 11 <g>). But, he really never should have switched to
inspired ONLY prophets/prophetesses in the first place!

Mark comments on arguments and counter-argumentation:

Don has clarified his answer to Question #3 as a "qualified yes". We
appreciate him explaining what he understands the word of God to teach
on I Corinthians 11:1-16, even tho' we disagree with him. Don has, in my
estimation, done as well as any brother I have read after on presenting
the "spiritual gifts view" on this text. I am still very concerned,
however, with the areas in the inspired record wherein Don leaves the
natural interpretation that the text would allow for, and forces,
excludes and limits things in the text (some of which we can't even read
of). Please let me illustrate:

Early on, when the subject line was still "Women teachers" I wrote (in
"Prophetesses" were not the only women under consideration in I Cor.
11 (EVERY woman...praying OR prophesying).... since women could PRAY
without a spiritual gift and therefore not prophesy (please note the
word "or" in the text of I Cor. 11:1-16)....~Praying women~ were not
necessarily "prophetesses" or ladies with spiritual gifts....

Don disagrees and therefore the need for further discussion, engaging in
questions and answers on the topic, and more study. I endorse brethren
studying and contending like Don and I are at this time on this list. I
pray that our attitudes will continue to be right and exemplary for all
parties concerned.

Don also told us how he developed his understanding of the passage
starting at "the woman" in verse 3 and changing to believing "every
woman" in verse 5 was a very special, limited, exclusive group of women.
Don asserts that these were exclusively women who were inspired, who
were speaking in the church assembly in Corinth with God's blessing
(praying and/or prophesying women, he sometimes writes <g>), who were
the ONLY women at Corinth that had to cover their heads (as Don has gone
on record to state that UNinspired UNcovered women COULD PRAY with
inspired covered women with God's blessing! His interpretation, in our
opinion, is one that strains the text unnecessarily and ignores the
needed instruction for the UNinspired men/women who could prophesy or

Don also has not responded to the specific counter arguments I made in
testing his theories on I Cor. 11, along the following lines:

- While Don reasons FROM prophesying TOWARDS praying to get his
exclusive definition of miraculous praying ONLY...we pointed out that
"praying" is
(1) first in order in the verse, and
(2) separated by the word "OR" from "prophesying" in the text.

These are significant with regards to properly ascertaining the meaning
of the words. I believe in immediate and remote context as well. I
believe in using the ordinary meaning (i.e. the primary meaning) of
words unless something in the texts/contexts DEMAND otherwise.

NOTE: Don wrote something in "response" to the above, but it was a basic
repeat of his position, as opposed to answering my testing of what he
had said earlier. Don even agreed that "praying" was SEPARATED from
"prophesying" in the text by the word "or", but continued to press his
assumption that the men and women were doing precisely the same thing in
the same way at Corinth and that praying had to be miraculous ONLY...but
gave no proof to let us know how he/we can KNOW and be SURE of this.
Remember what Don said about my participles post? He says he agrees with
the grammar part, but does NOT agree with the application <g>. Don,
please tell us "wherein" you disagree with the application on the basis
of the participle arguments put forth. Thanks.


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

Re: I Corinthians 11:1-16
Wed, 29 Jan 2003 01:20:03 -0500
"Mark J. Ward" <>

Mark J. Ward here, continuing, to Don Martin and the list,

POST TWO of TWO (separated due to length)

I am continuing to press areas wherein I do not believe that my good
brother Don Martin gave attention in response to my replies concerning
what I believe are weaknesses in his position and argumentation on his
"spiritual gifts view" of the coverings of I Cor. 11.....

- I pointed out that "prophesying" being separated by the word "OR"
would NOT demand that we take a meaning of miraculous PRAYER ONLY. Don
agreed that the Holy Spirit separated "praying" from "prophesying" with
the use of the word "or", but continued to disagree that such would, of
necessity then, allow praying to (1) either be inclusive of miraculous
praying AND uninspired, normal praying OR, (2) simply take the
UNinspired, normal, non-miraculous definition of praying for "praying"
and "pray" in this text. Don, as far as I can tell, could not give us
good reason to LIMIT "praying" and "pray" in the text to MIRACULOUS ONLY
PRAYER???...for he kept running to his understanding of the meaning he
places on "prophesying" in the text and what he assumes was going on in
the assembly at Corinth (women preachers in the assembly???) that is not
even in the inspired record! He forces a connection to an extreme that
is not warranted by the text. Please read on.

- Further, I asked my good brother Don in this study about how his
reasoning on I Corinthians 11 would affect us if we applied it to all
instances wherein there was someone with a spiritual, miraculous gift of
the Holy Spirit present in the assembly so as to LIMIT the instruction
given (like he does in I Cor 11) in those (other) passages in such a way
as being non-applicable to us today. We would have a BIG problem (if we
applied Don's "miraculous/inspired ONLY" and "special men/women and
special circumstances" reasoning), we pointed out, with ever using Acts
20:7 AS OUR authority for first day of the week Lord's Supper observance
TODAY since Paul, an inspired apostle, was in that "special assembly" at
Troas (and we don't have assemblies with inspired folks in them today).
Don, for whatever reason(s), decided not to engage that part of the
testing of his position. In addition, I pointed out that this reasoning
that Don applies to I Cor. 11:1-16 would LIMIT almost all of the New
Testament instruction from being applicable to us today since it was
given (most of the time) in a situation wherein there were inspired
folks present.

But, do you know what that should bring to our minds? The very fact that
~THERE WERE others who were NOT INSPIRED who were present~ and that the
instruction was given in their presence AND INCLUDED THEM, as well! Do
you think the uninspired folks reading or hearing Paul's first
Corinthian letter who were members at the church of God at Corinth got
the same "interpretation" that Don gets: that the uninspired men really
believed they could COVER their heads and please God at times of praying
and that the uninspired women really believed they could pray to God
bareheaded and please our heavenly Father (given Paul's/God's "reasons"
stated in the text why "every women" and "every man" should be
covered/uncovered when praying)? I don't think so, brother Don!

Mark wrote:
I am not contending for "reducing" prophesying to ordinary and
uninspired teaching ONLY...I am saying let ALL prophesying and ALL
praying be INCLUDED. Do you exclude Thayer's "d" definition of the word
used for "prophesying" in I Cor. 11, " teach..." (pg. 553)? Why
EXCLUDE definitions when you can allow ALL praying and ALL prophesying
to be included in Paul's instruction?

Don wrote nothing on Thayer's "d" definition which references I Cor. 11
(the very passage under consideration in our study), nor did he tell us
"why" it would be improper to allow ALL praying and ALL prophesying to
be included in Paul's instruction. Maybe Don didn't think it was
important to address. Don may have overlooked it. There could be a
number of reasons, but we bring it up again for the readership and Don
to note.

Mark wrote:
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. This is not a
"necessary" or "unavoidable" conclusion that the passage forces us to
take (since there ~could be~ uninspired praying, for example, in the
assembly at Corinth with inspired prophets present in the audience).

and, Mark wrote:
Where is the injustice to the text in determining, "Every man praying
(whether uninspired OR with a gift of the Spirit) or prophesying
(whether uninspired OR with a gift of the Spirit) with his head covered,

dishonoureth his head."?

Don did not tell us where the injustice would be. Could it be that there
is NO injustice in allowing the passage to apply to ALL praying or
prophesying? Just as those who were "teachers of good things" in the New
Testament would INCLUDE those who were inspired teachers and UNinspired
teachers, maybe there is simply NO injustice at all in allowing the text
to be inclusive of ALL praying or prophesying since inspiration ONLY
does NOT inhere in the word "prophesying" and miraculous ONLY does NOT
inhere in the word "praying".... Don restricts unnecessarily in this
case, in our estimation. Maybe Don will address the counter
argumentation rather than repeat/rephrase/restate his belief.

Also, I am not sure exactly "what" Don believes about "inspired
giving???" in Rom 12:6-8. I fear that Don's reasoning, in order to be
totally consistent, WOULD have to give up I Cor. 16:1, 2 as being
authoritative for us today, since (1) Don, to be consistent, SHOULD
believe in ~inspired giving~ in Rom. 12:6-8 and/or <g>, (2) there were
inspired folks at Corinth to whom Paul wrote (as well as others who were
inspired in the churches of Galatia, to whom he wrote the same thing)
SO, out goes I Cor. 16:1,2 (along with Acts 20:7 as being used by
UNinspired folks, then and now) to authorize first day observances of
the Lord's Supper and giving!!! Who believes it?

Don also taught:
The teaching pertaining to the artificial covering of I Corinthians 11:
3-16 was special: these were special women, doing special and unusual
things along with certain special men, praying or prophesying.

Mark responded:
Don assumes much more than God's revelation gives us here! Don, please
make sure I am NOT misunderstanding you (not being funny or
disrespectful here at ALL) are contending that inspired women
preachers (prophetesses) were prophesying in the assemblies at the
church of God at Corinth and were the only ones being addressed in
chapter 11 and verse 5?

Corinth. And, the ~UNinspired men/women could do the very opposite of
what Paul taught "every man" and "every woman" to do~ in the text with
God's blessing!

I can't read it in the text, but Don asks us to believe it (inspired
ONLY prophetesses preaching in the church assembly at the church of God
at Corinth)!!! It is NOT a necessary conclusion, Don. The text does NOT
demand such an interpretation. As lovingly and pointedly as I know how,
please provide PROOF that this MUST be the case! Your whole contention
(spiritual gifts view) is dependent on this unnecessary restriction
(based on an UNNECESSARY conclusion)...

Later Don wrote:
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
was recognized and visibly shown. Hence, the teaching that the
was to have her head covered and the prophet was to have his head
(vs. 4ff.). The covering signified acquiesce and subjugation in the
of these people at that time. This is why the prophet was to be
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.

Mark replies and thanks the patience of the readership (and Don):

Don, how do you KNOW and how can we be SURE that the prophetesses were
doing the precise same thing in exactly the same circumstance as the
prophets in the church of God at Corinth? Where does the BIBLE teach us
this? Didn't UNinspired women need to show that headship was recognized
by them? And, didn't the UNinspired men also need to show their proper
place with regards to the God-given reasons "every man" should pray to
God uncovered?

Notice that Don left our agreed upon meaning of "the woman" in verse 3,
and LIMITED the instruction to "inspired ONLY prophets/prophetesses" in
verses 4,5....then, begins to gravitate in the latter part of verse 7
back towards man and women in general...keeps that idea going in verses
8-13, except for verse 10, probably <g> where I would venture to guess,
mind you, that Don would make another assumption and shift back to the
inspired ONLY prophetesses interpretation....only to shift right back???
to women in general for the next few verses??? vss11,12...only then to
shift back to inspired ONLY prophetesses in vs 13???...and did Don allow
the "hair instruction" to be for every man/woman or only for the
inspired men/women??? in vss 14,15 .....

Don, and the dear readers on this list, this shifting back and forth is
totally unwarranted!!! Note the strain and the forced conclusions that
Don's position has to take as we go verse by verse thru' the text. (Don,
IF I got any of that wrong, please correct me...we have written a few
pages worth of info and I only want to represent your position properly
on each verse...if I failed you on any of this, please correct it.

Further, Don asserted above:
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

Mark here,
God gave New Testament instruction concerning the covering of heads for
every man and every woman based on reasons OTHER THAN the culture of the
day (per I Corinthians 11:1-16), Don Martin notwithstanding. Where in
the text did Paul appeal to the custom/culture of the day? Paul's
inspired reasons for women being covered while praying or prophesying

- HEADSHIP (vs 3)
- LESSON FROM NATURE (vs 14, 15)

We ask Don and the readership to carefully note that Paul did NOT
regulate men and women at times OTHER THAN praying or prophesying! Paul
gave God's instruction concerning the covering/uncovering of heads at
times of praying or prophesying. Cultural norms of any society are not
to be ignored by Christians of any time or place, but Paul did not
APPEAL to customs in his God-given reasons for instructing "every women"
to cover her head while praying!!! Nor should we. Don's position again
assumes what is not in the text.

Were inspired women the ONLY WOMEN at Corinth who needed to show
subjugation to ONLY the inspired men at Corinth? Why wouldn't the
UNinspired women need to do the same (and not to leave off the
UNinspired men having to follow the passages addressed to "every man"?).
Don's position again puts a strain on God's instruction leaving these
uninspired folks out; whereas the position I hold to be God's truth
includes all men and all women.

Don, since you state that the nouns and pronouns in verse 7 can have specific application AND general application, why can't you allow the same thing for the definitions of "praying or prophesying" in verses 4,5?

[Please note an example that is similar. The statement "... But Jesus
said unto them, A
prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own
house." is done NO injustice by including ~inspired and uninspired
prophets~ in a correct interpretation and application of that passage.
Why can't you allow the same with regards to the words "praying or
prophesying" in I Cor. 11, since:

- there were inspired and uninspired folks in the congregation there,
- all the reasons Paul gave for covered/uncovered heads apply equally to
inspired/uninspired folk, and
- Paul said "every man" and "every woman" in the text, and every single
solitary individual Christian at Corinth (who was faithful, whether
endowed with a miraculous gift or not) PRAYED every time the church
engaged in prayer?

Thanks, in advance, for your consideration of this important point.]

Don, I continue to appreciate your kindness, as well as your ability, in
this discussion. May we continue to study this subject (in this forum
and elsewhere) as time permits to attempt to reach agreement on God's
truth of the matter. I know that is your desire, as it is mine.

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

(from MARS-List 3845, January 29, 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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