Order (1 Corinthians 11:2-3)

Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. 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.” (1 Corinthians 11:2–3, KJV)

When I served in the Army, there was definitely order. In fact, it was the practice of enlisted men to salute officers and for officers to salute other officers of higher rank. The practice of saluting was to show respect and honor for those who were higher in rank. Those higher in rank would also respond with a returned salute. This not only showed respect, an honor to the higher officer, but also the returned salute demonstrated respect for the subordinate.

In the military order was vital. It is not that the one was superior to another for every person in uniform is vital to the function of the entire unit. One of my commanders once told me that no one was irreplaceable in the military, for there was always one who could step up to take your place if you could no longer perform your combat duties. Yet, there were higher-ranking officers and lower ones, and higher-ranking enlisted personnel and lower ones. It was an orderly arrangement that was necessary to function as a cohesive unit with a mission.

Paul here begins a section discussing order in the church. God is one of order and not disorder. He formed the entire creation in an orderly fashion, and He has established the church, society, and the home with order. In this section of this letter to the Corinthians, Paul discusses order and focuses on the orderly arrangement between the man and the woman. In the beginning of this section, he stated, “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.

In this orderly arrangement, Paul is not saying that there is disunity or inequality. He is also not denying that there are differences between people and men and women. He is saying that while there is equal standing in God’s creation, there is an orderly arrangement. There is one who is the head and one who submits to the head. The simplest picture of this is seen in the Trinity, that is one God exists in three persons, the Father, and the Son, and the Spirit. And while the three are one and perfectly equal, each person can be seen with different roles in the Scriptures. We see that the Son fulfilled the plans of the Father obediently (e.g. See John 5:17-19; 12:49-50).

Thus, in the church, home, and society, God has designed order in the roles of gender. First, contrary to the contemporary view of the humanists, God created human beings male and female. Yes, there are two very distinct genders ordained by God. In the order of church, family, and society, God has ordained an order. The man is the head. This does not mean that man and women are superior or inferior to one another. However, it does mean that there is to be an orderly arrangement of leadership.

Now, we must understand that the leadership that God has designed in this is not one of a tyrannical nature. Christ is the head of the church. Yet, his leadership is one characterized by love for the church, demonstrated in His sacrifice for her. This is the model and pattern of true divine headship, or leadership. Men are well advised to emulate this type of leadership in their homes, society, and in the church. When they demonstrate this type of leadership, they will find loving and willing followers.

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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