Something A Man Can’t Do
By: T.F. Tenney
Some time ago I read where a leading theologian of another persuasion made this observation, “Possibly the most difficult passage in the New Testament to interpret is Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 11 concerning the covering of a woman’s head.” If that be so, who am I to think I can add any more light where there has been so much heat? However, I am willing to take the risk factor and make the leap. I’ve got something to say about 1 Corinthians 11.
First of all, in my opinion, it transcends what some call a cultural appendage of the day. 1 Corinthians 1:2 teaches that this epistle was not only written to the church at Corinth but to “them who are sanctified, called to be saints, with all that in every place call on the name of theLord.” Anywhere a man calls on the name of the Lord and claims to be “sanctified in Christ” this epistle and all of its teachings are valid.
You ladies are privileged to do something-be something-and have insight into something that men will never accomplish. Have you ever heard anyone say, “Look at that man with short hair. Wasn’t that beautiful? I wonder how he does it?” We don’t have that glory! Since we are not to live our lives for the applause of men in the first place, that statement may be moot-but it is still true.
The Scripture does declare that man is the image and glory of God. But it does not say this is a glory to him (1 Corinthians 11:7) Contrariwise, the Scripture says that a woman’s long hair is a glory to her. A woman can attract glory in prayer and worship in a unique dimension. A man can come into the service, lift his voice, raise his hands, and glorify God. But a woman can walk in and say nothing and not even lift her hands and yet carry on her head something that in a pristine way brings glory to God and to her. Men are not allowed to do that. “Explain it…” – I can’t. We Pentecostals have gotten to the place that we prefer the spectacular over the supernatural anyhow. If you can explain everything in a service God’s not in it.
There is something supernatural and unexplainable about the fact that a woman can attract glory to herself in three realms with her long hair. First, he says she has it because of the angels. Secondly, it is a glory to her. And, thirdly, you all know how many people remark about the beautifully coiffured hair of Pentecostal women. Men cannot say that.
Paul goes on to say in verse 10 that a woman can have power on her head because of the angels. Could it be that women are allowed to have a power on their head unknown to men? And, why “because of angels”? Could it be that in the angelic realm there is a power through angelic beings that comes to women because of their unique position as the crown of God’s creation?
My speculation encourages me to say that long hair on women attracts angels. The first time angels are mentioned in the Bible is in the book of Genesis. An angel appeared unto a woman called Hagar and gave her unique insight into what God was doing. He then told her to return to her mistress and submit. Ordinarily, angels appeared to women in the Bible to give them insight. They appeared to men to give them direction.
Who is any more insightful and even filled with spiritual intuition than a dedicated woman? Even Kipling, the poet, said, “A woman’s guess is more accurate than a man’s certainty.” Is there a married man reading this that would deny that your wife has a unique insight and intuition into areas that seem to be totally blind to you? It could be, as a man, that I might be directed by an angel. But my wife, with a unique authority and power from God, is given insight by them. Ask Hagar, ask Mary, the mother of Jesus, ask the women who went to the Tomb and were the first to receive insight on what really happened at the resurrection. The pragmatic men were scratching their heads and the women were shouting, “He has risen!” Ask Mary who anointed Him for His burial and wiped His feet with her long hair-no one at the supper had her insight.
Let’s lift this beautiful passage out of the area of controversy. Let’s look beyond the horizon of “this must be done or else.” Let’s bring it into the proper perspective of glory, power, and authority. It is not a negative
passage; it is a positive passage. Explain it all, Brother Tenney – I’m afraid I can’t. Let me just end by pointing out something I’ve often observed.
Mary poured ointment on the feet of Jesus. She then took her long hair and wiped his feet. If her hair was her glory, she was saying, “I bring the height of my glory to your lowest periphery, your feet. The apex of my power and glory is only worthy to wash your feet, something that a slave should do.” What submission! Let me simply say that long hair only makes sense at the feet of Jesus, in perfect submission, and not in the tirades of preachers screaming over a pulpit, or only in a lengthy exegeses on 1 Corinthians 11. This preacher is honest enough to admit, there is a mystique in it and it only makes sense at the feet of the Master. When you are there, you want to say, “Lord, what else can I do?”
Yes, ladies, it may be that you can attract angels and learn submission from them in a dimension unknown to me. How do angels know anything about submission? Why do they want to give special lessons on submission and insight? Because they were there when Lucifer fell. They know his insight was wrong and his submission was toxic. They love to see submission regaled in power by the species who originally violated it.
This article may only be comprehended by women, because really, how can men ever know or understand about long hair? It brings with it something men cannot do nor know. I salute our Pentecostal women!
(The above material appeared in the July 1992 issue of Ohio Apostolic News.)
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