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Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley Dig-a-Bit Podcast

Current Debate About Women in Worship Part 2 (Authority M10E02)


Dig-A-Bit is a weekly mini Bible study with Cindy Colley. It supplements the Digging Deep Bible study for women. In this episode, Cindy discusses the authority for women in worship part 2. For more information about Digging Deep, visit TheColleyHouse.org.

SCRIPTURE REFERENCES:

  • I Corinthians 14
  • I Timothy 2
  • I Corinthians 11:5
  • Romans 16:1-2

LINKS:

RESOURCES:

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley Dig-a-Bit Podcast

Current Debate About Women in Worship (Authority M10E01)


Dig-A-Bit is a weekly mini Bible study with Cindy Colley. It supplements the Digging Deep Bible study for women. In this episode, Cindy discusses the authority for women in worship. For more information about Digging Deep, visit TheColleyHouse.org.

SCRIPTURE REFERENCES:

  • I Corinthians 14:33
  • I Timothy 2:8
  • I Corinthians 11:5
  • Romans 16:1-2

LINKS:

RESOURCES:

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: The Cover Story-Part 2

The next reason I think that women in the first century wore head coverings all the time as a sign of their submission is a textual reason. It’s the one, of course (as Biblical reasons are), that gives me clarity about this.  It’s 1 Corinthians 11:5. As I look at this verse, I have to follow the rules of good exegesis. That means, if there’s one way to look at it that violates no other clear passage, then that’s the way I have to read it. It says…

But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.

Now, we know that Christian women prayed and prophesied in New Testament times. We know it from this passage. But we also know it from Acts 2:17 and Acts 21:7-9. We can see, particularly from the passage in Acts 2, that the gifts that confirmed the word were not reserved for men. Women could also receive these miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit. For sure, they could receive the gift of prophecy, as did the daughters of Philip in Acts 21. 

But we can be just as certain about the fact that they did not (with God’s approval) use these gifts in a mixed assembly as we can about their having them in the first place. We have this certainty because of the very clear teaching of 1 Corinthians 14:34:

Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also says the law. 

Which one of the above passages do we “go with” in a discussion of head coverings? Did they cover their heads when praying and prophesy or did they keep silence in the churches? The answer, of course, is that they did both. We simply cannot pit one verse against another when examining Paul’s Holy Spirit-inspired teachings.  Thus, the obvious conclusion is that the “praying and prophesying” of 1Corinthians 11:5 has to be what godly women did outside of a mixed worship assembly. 

Are there Bible passages that would give us examples of women teaching outside of the mixed worship assembly? There are. One is the very valuable teaching that women do in the presence of women that’s the preventative for Holy Spirit blasphemy in Titus 2:3-5.  

Godly women were teachers. Godly women wore head coverings. But the wearing of those head coverings were in no wise limited to the worship assemblies. In fact, the admonition in 1 Corinthians 11:5  was not about the assembly, at all. The modern practice of the wearing of head coverings as women enter the worship service was not what was commanded in 1 Corinthians 11, because women were not prophesying in the presence of men. 

More next time. 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: The Cover Story

As promised earlier, we want to take some of the blog posts this month to say a few things about the head covering discussed in the first part of I Corinthians 11. 

Prefacing, let me say I realize we will not all agree on this. I also realize that likely few, if any of the things we notice will be new ideas about the chapter. (Perhaps they should not be new, anyway.) 

For this initial post, I’d like to do two things. The first is a book recommendation. If you have not read “No Such Custom”, by Kevin Moore, I’d recommend doing so. Whether or not you reach the same conclusions as did Dr. Moore as he researched this difficult passage, you will find this book to be a well documented and valuable resource by one of our brothers as you do your own “thinking” about whether or not women should wear head coverings during worship today. 

The second consideration is this. After much reading, on several different occasions in my life, on this topic, I’ve come to the conclusion that, whatever the coverings were ( and we will get to that a bit later), they were likely worn not just in worship, but all of the time women were outside their homes. There’s just a lot of evidence in historical writings to confirm that devout women, in at least some of the cultures of the early church were veiled all of the time, in public arenas, whether or not worship was occurring. 

Notice some of these quotations taken from ancient writings and collected by Kevin Moore: 

Among these is the convention regarding feminine attire, a convention which prescribes that women should be so arrayed and should so deport themselves when in the street that nobody could see any part of them, neither of the face nor of the rest of the body, and that they themselves might not see anything off the road . . . . while they have their faces covered as they walk. (Dio Chrysostom…contemporary of Paul…writing about Tarsus)

Woman and men are to go to church decently attired . . . . Let the woman observe this, further. Let her be entirely covered, unless she happens to be at home. For that style of dress is grave, and protects from being gazed at [sic]. And she will never fall, who puts before her eyes modesty, and her shawl; nor will she invite another to fall into sin by uncovering her face. For this is the wish of the Word, since it is becoming for her to pray veiled. (Clement of Alexandria…(A.D. 153-220)

For perhaps some one might here have doubt also, questioning with himself, what sort of crime it was that the woman should be uncovered, or that the man should be covered? What sort of crime then it is, learn now from hence. Symbols many and diverse have been given both to man and woman; to him of rule, to her of subjection: and among them this also, that she should be covered, while he hath his head bare. If now these be symbols, you see that both err, when they disturb the order and the disposition of God, and transgress their proper limits, both the man falling into the woman’s inferiority, and the woman rising up against the man, by her outward habiliments . . . . And tell me not this, that the error is but small. For first, it is great, even of itself: being as it is disobedience. Next, though it were small, it became great, because of the greatness of the things whereof it is a sign. However, that it is a great matter, is evident from its ministering so effectually to good order among mankind, the governor and the governed being regularly kept in their several places by it . . . . Well then: the man he compelleth not to be always uncovered, but when he prays only . . . But the woman he commands to be at all times covered . . . . He signifies that not at the time of prayer only, but also continually, she ought to be covered . . . . and establishing them both ways, from what was customary, and from their contraries . . . . It follows, that being covered is a mark of subjection and of power. For it induces her to look down, and be ashamed, and preserve entire her proper virtue . . . . His constant practice of stating commonly received reasons, he adopts also in this place, betaking himself to the common custom, and greatly abashing those who waited to be taught these things from him, which even from men’s ordinary practice they might have learned. For such things are not unknown even to Barbarians . . . . For if one ought not to have the head bare, but every where to carry about the token of subjection, much more is it becoming to exhibit the same in our deeds. (John Chrysostom…347-407, A.D. in his commentary on our passage.)

From these and many other citations from history, and from the context in I Corinthians,  it seems likely to me that the head covering spoken of in I Corinthians 11 was not a covering Paul intended to be worn exclusively in worship. In fact, it seems to me that the problem in the Corinthian church was that they were taking off what was surely a recognized (in their culture) sign of their submission to their husbands and what was typically worn in all public places. It was, it appears, more the taking off of the covering for times of prayer and prophesying, than it was the failure to put it on for these times. 

Next time: Clues from the text itself that perhaps this covering (veil) was worn all the time in the first century Corinthian culture, rather than being “put on” for the worship service as we often see done today.  Feel free to post comments on the Digging Deep in God’s Word page and I will try to post all of your observations that are both kind and relevant. More next time!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Digging Deep Month Nine Winners!

Here are the winners for the Digging Deep, Month 9 summary paragraph contest. There were lots of exceptional entries and, as a group, diggers are talented writers. I was deeply moved by some of your thoughts and encouraged for the future of the church by all of them. I heard from women who are doing all they can to raise their sons to be godly leaders for the future battles of the body. (The devil will make sure there are always adversaries of truth!) I also read about husbands who are struggling as current elders and their wives’ renewal of commitment to be their supporters and provide the peace and balance they need at home. While I made the assignment for the growth of those studying, I am sure I was most blessed by the reading. Your entries made me keenly aware of some ways I can be a better helper to the godly husband who leads our home and works diligently for the kingdom.

The three winners are:

Lilly Howard

Jeri Oppermann

Kara Spillmann

Here are their thoughts:

#1

In Hebrews 13:20, 1 Peter 2:25, and 1 Peter 5:4, Jesus is referred to as the Shepherd of His people. He is also called Bishop, or overseer, of our souls. In Acts 20:28, the elders are referred to by these same terms. This leads to an interesting question: how are the elders specifically like Christ? Obviously, they are conformed to his image, as all Christians should be (Romans 8:29, Colossians 3:10). But other Christians are not deemed shepherds or overseers. One parallel I would like to point out is this. According to Strong’s, the word “over” in 1 Thessalonians 5:12 means “to stand before.” The preacher at our congregation, Heath Rhodes, explains the word this way: in ranks of soldiers, the ones on the front lines take the hits for the others. They stand out front and take the hits so that the soldiers behind do not have to. Truly, the most amazing thing is that the elders take this position willingly. Now consider. “The wages of sin is death,” Romans 6:23. “All have sinned,” Romans 3:23. Thus, all of accountable age deserve death. Yet, because God loves us, Christ died on the cross, so that we wouldn’t have to. Passages such as Isaiah 53 and 1 Peter 3:18 make this clear. Verses such as Hebrews 7:27, Ephesians 5:2, and others make known to us that this sacrifice was willing. As Christ willingly took the punishment for our sins, so the elders willingly stand before us. Christ and our godly elders take the hits so that we don’t have to. And it all is done willingly. One way our elders are like Christ is in their loving, willing, selfless sacrifices for the good of our souls. May we always be thankful both to them and to God for people like that, and even more so, for the perfect example and salvation Christ’s sacrifice has given to us.  (Lilly)

#2

12:52 a.m. glares at me as I am awoken by my husband’s tossing and turning. This has been a recurring episode, since he took the role as elder at our congregation. The book “Awake at Night” is not only a book for elders, but also the wife and all Christians in the Lord’s church. It really opens my eyes and heart to all those beautiful men and the issues they must handle. Through my husband’s stress-filled, loving eyes and his sleepless nights, I can see just how much sacrifice and hard work that goes along with the role of an elder.  An elder has a huge responsibility overseeing the Lord’s people (1Peter 5:2). Sometimes I used to think that elders aren’t doing much but meeting once a week to discuss the happenings in the building and an occasional problem with members. However, there is so so much more to their role. Meetings and conversations occur so often and with great discretion. Through their Biblical knowledge, conversations must be had, and decisions must be made using sound judgment. These can wear on our elders. This is more than a job; it is a serious commitment that these men have chosen. They will have to give account for every soul. (Hebrews 13:17) As the wife, I must admit there has been some tough and selfish times. There are times he is not physically there while he is out making visits or having meetings. Other times he is not mentally or emotionally there, thinking through and hurting for these individuals. Being supportive can be difficult at times as my heart aches for him because of the many emotional moments and all I can do is be there to pray, especially with circumstances he is unable to share. However, I am so very proud of my husband and honored to be his wife. This role takes much love and diligence as well as a great knowledge and wisdom of the Word.  I respect and appreciate our eldership and the love they have for the Lord’s church and for souls. I pray for my husband and all elders as they serve the Lord in shepherding his flock. (Jeri)

#3

About 25 years ago, when I was in a youth group that was
comprised of nearly all girls, I made a vow to God.  Frustrated that
there were no Christian boys to date, I promised that if one day He
would give me boys, I would raise them to be faithful Christians. Fast
forward to present day: I am “Mama” to two wonderful young boys.
Even though at the time my promise to God was made for selfish
reasons, I have never forgotten it. My focus, thankfully, has shifted:
from that of a youthful desire to a serious responsibility. I’m doing all
I can to keep my promise, but after reading Awake at Night, I realize
that I must take things a step further. I need to be training them to be
faithful Christian leaders – to one day desire the office of an elder
and to boldly, yet humbly shepherd the flock with wisdom from above. (Kara)

So, congrats to these three sisters. Please send me an email at byhcontest@gmail.com and let me know what three free items you’d like from https://thecolleyhouse.org/store and they will be coming your way! (Be sure to include your address.)

Coming soon:

Thoughts about 1 Corinthians 11 and the head-covering of women.

More from Digging Deep Israel

Dig-A-Bits for Digging Deep Month Ten

So much to write, so little time. Let’s be praying about (and registering for) Polishing the Pulpit 2019 (https://polishingthepulpit.com). Only a few weeks till lots of us will be meeting there! Even if you can only come for a part of this rich experience, it will be worth your time/money investment. I hope to see you there.

 

 

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Digging Deep Israel–Next Stop: Tel Arad

What can be better than Diggers looking at the digs of archaeologists who’ve uncovered the places we’ve read about in the Word? Our next stop was Tel Arad. “Tel” Is a word you’ll hear a lot if you study the archaeology in Israel. A tel is just a stacked mound of civilization. So one “occupation” of a piece of land built its culture and temples and homes and businesses and then, when it was conquered by another group, the new inhabitants would just take whatever they could use and build its own structures on top of the old civilization. Thus, a mound of land usually consists of several strata in the Bible Lands. The deeper you dig, the older the civilization. On this day, we were wanting to see the portion of Arad that pertained to the Israelites of the divided kingdom. 

Tel Arad is one of those mounds with layers of different civilizations. Arad is still a modern city in Israel, just west of the Dead Sea. The ancient tel is located near the modern city. There are several layers of civilization there, but the part we visited was the Jewish community that existed during the reign of David and  all the way through the divided kingdom of Judah until the capture of Judah by the Babylonians in about 597 BC. We read about God’s people dwelling in Arad in Judges 1:16: And the children of the Kenite, Moses’ father in law, went up out of the city of palm trees with the children of Judah into the wilderness of Judah, which lieth in the south of Arad; and they went and dwelt among the people.

Some pretty amazing things were discovered in this place by archaeologists Amiran and Aharoni in the 1960s and 70s. 

Ninety-one ostraca (broken pieces of pottery ) have been found referring to the citadel there as the “House of Yahweh.” They contain commands about the sacrifices and lists of names. One piece, the Eliyashiv Ostraca was put together from pieces all found in the same room and contained his instructions to deliver wine and flour and other ingredients in specific quantities.  It’s pretty amazing that the entire terrain at Tel-Arad is littered with broken pieces of ancient pottery. We just literally picked up the little pieces of ancient civilizations.

A temple area was also found mentioning the “House of Yahweh”. It seems uncertain whether the inscription was referring to Arad or to the temple at Jerusalem. A standing stone (kind of a monument) was also in this place, generally assumed to be some kind of tribute to Yahweh. Of course, Bible students know that, by the time of the divided kingdom, worship was often polluted and that the offering of sacrifices in places other than the temple at Jerusalem was unauthorized worship. 

I looked with sadness over a citadel that had once been a thriving community of God’s people. The biggest spiritual lesson one takes from Tel Arad may be that, when people transgress or kick against the authority of Yahweh, the ruins of their civilizations stand as a reminder that nations cannot prosper when ignoring the sovereignty of the One to whom they sacrifice. It’s the clear lesson of I Samuel 15 (the one my mother drove deeply into my heart many times as she was punishing disobedience): “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice and to hearken than the fat of rams.” I will never forget that childhood lesson. May I always have the wisdom and courage to make it more than a quotation from childhood. May it be the mantra of my walk with Him in a world that equates spirituality with a warm feeling about God.  

The pictures you see are mine, just because I’m making a personal journal. You can find many more if you do your own internet search. The coolest (literal) place of the day (a 98 degree day) was in this cistern at Arad, but there were many very cool places! (I think I want to be an archaeologist when I grow up. Do you think it’s too late?)

You can read more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tel_Arad