1 Corinthians 11:16
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice--nor do the churches of God.

New Living Translation
But if anyone wants to argue about this, I simply say that we have no other custom than this, and neither do God's other churches.

English Standard Version
If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.

Berean Study Bible
If anyone is inclined to dispute this, we have no other practice, nor do the churches of God.

Berean Literal Bible
Now if anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.

New American Standard Bible
But if one is inclined to be contentious, we have no other practice, nor have the churches of God.

King James Bible
But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
But if anyone wants to argue about this, we have no other custom, nor do the churches of God.

International Standard Version
But if anyone wants to argue about this, we do not have any custom like this, nor do any of God's churches.

NET Bible
If anyone intends to quarrel about this, we have no other practice, nor do the churches of God.

New Heart English Bible
But if any man seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither do God's churches.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
But if a man disputes against these things, we have no such custom, neither does the church of God.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
If anyone wants to argue about this [they can't, because] we don't have any custom like this-nor do any of the churches of God.

New American Standard 1977
But if one is inclined to be contentious, we have no other practice, nor have the churches of God.

Jubilee Bible 2000
With all this, if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the congregation {Gr. ekklesia – called out ones} of God.

King James 2000 Bible
But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

American King James Version
But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

American Standard Version
But if any man seemeth to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

Douay-Rheims Bible
But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor the church of God.

Darby Bible Translation
But if any one think to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor the assemblies of God.

English Revised Version
But if any man seemeth to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

Webster's Bible Translation
But if any man seemeth to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

Weymouth New Testament
But if any one is inclined to be contentious on the point, we have no such custom, nor have the Churches of God.

World English Bible
But if any man seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither do God's assemblies.

Young's Literal Translation
and if any one doth think to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the assemblies of God.
Study Bible
Roles in Worship
15but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering. 16If anyone is inclined to dispute this, we have no other practice, nor do the churches of God. 17In the following instructions I have no praise to offer, because your gatherings do more harm than good.…
Cross References
1 Corinthians 4:5
Therefore judge nothing before the proper time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.

1 Corinthians 7:17
Regardless, each one should lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him and to which God has called him. This is what I prescribe in all the churches.

1 Corinthians 9:1
Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you yourselves not my workmanship in the Lord?

1 Corinthians 9:6
Or are Barnabas and I the only apostles who must work for a living?

1 Corinthians 11:15
but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering.
Treasury of Scripture

But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

seem.

1 Timothy 6:3,4 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even …

such.

Acts 21:21,24 And they are informed of you, that you teach all the Jews which are …

the churches.

1 Corinthians 7:17 But as God has distributed to every man, as the Lord has called every …

1 Corinthians 14:33,34 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches …

1 Corinthians 16:1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order …

1 Thessalonians 2:14 For you, brothers, became followers of the churches of God which …

(16) But if any man seem to be contentious.--The argument, and the appeal to their own good sense having been completed, the Apostle now adds that if, after all, some one continues to argue the matter captiously, and is not satisfied with the reason given, the answer to such a one must be simply--We, the Apostles and the churches of God, have no such custom as that women should pray and teach with uncovered head. It has been suggested that the word "custom" refers, not to the uncovering the head, but to the "contention" just mentioned. But the former interpretation seems more natural; and the Apostle's object here is, not so much to merely censure the contentious spirit, as to show how such an objector must be dealt with. It is noticeable that the appeal is made to the practice of the churches (plural), not the Church. Thus it is not the authority of the Church as such that is quoted, but it is the uniformity of practice in the several Christian churches that is appealed to. The Church in Corinth has no right to become exceptional.

It may be well to make two general remarks on the scope and bearing of this remarkable passage.

1. As St. Paul taught regarding Slavery (1Corinthians 7:21) that the object of Christianity was not to suddenly efface existing political arrangements, so he teaches here that Christianity did not seek to obliterate these social distinctions which were universally recognised. We know now how mighty an instrument Christ's Religion has been in elevating the social condition of woman, but this has been accomplished by gradually leavening the world with Christian principle, and not by sudden external revolution. The arguments and illustrations which the Apostle here employs have a more abiding and a wider application than the particular case to which he applied them. They have been written "for our learning" as well as for the instruction of those to whom they were originally addressed. And the lesson which they teach us is, that Christianity did not come to unsex woman, but to raise, dignify, and ennoble her as woman--to abolish for ever her real wrongs, but not to yield to a revolutionary clamour for imaginary rights. Old and New Testament alike emphasise the truth that (as has been quaintly and truly said) "woman was not made from man's head to be his ruler, nor from his feet to be his slave, but from his side to be his equal, and from beneath his strong arm to demand his protection."

2. The influence of St. Paul's instruction as to women not uncovering their heads in public worship has lasted long after the necessity for that particular expression of her relationship to man has passed away. While, in succeeding ages, again and again, some have forgotten the principles of the teaching, which are eternal, the particular application of them, which was only temporary, has been continuously and universally observed. Surely this is an illustration and evidence of the Divine Wisdom which withheld the apostolic writers from, as a rule, laying down minute directions for worship, or dogmatic formulas of faith. Men would, in a servile obedience to rules, have soon and completely forgotten the living principles on which they were based. To this day the universal custom in Christian places of worship, of women being covered and men uncovered, and the increasing revolt against the acknowledgment of the subordination of woman to man, of which that practice was originally the avowed symbol, is a striking proof of how the same spirit, which led Jews of old to be scrupulous in their observance of certain external ordinances, while forgetting the weighter matters of which they were to be the outward expression, was not merely a Jewish but a human weakness.

Verse 16. - But if any man seem to be contentious. St. Paul cuts the question short, as though impatient of any further discussion of a subject already settled by instinctive decorum and by the common sense of universal usage. "Seem to be contentious" is (like the Latin videtur) only a courteous way of saying "is contentious." If any of you wish to be disputatious and quarrelsome about this minor matter of ritual, I must content myself with saying that he must take his own course (for a similar use of the euphemistic "seem," see Philippians 3:4; Hebrews 4:1; James 1:26). We have no such custom. The emphatic "we" means the apostles and the leaders of the Church at Jerusalem and Antioch. Such custom. Not referring to "contentiousness," but to the women appearing with uncovered heads. Neither the Churches of God. If you Corinthians prefer these abnormal practices in spite of reason, common sense, and my arguments, you must stand alone in your innovations upon universal Christian practice. But catholic custom is against your "self opinionated particularism." But if any man seem to be contentious,.... That is, if anyone will not be satisfied with reasons given, for men's praying and prophesying with their heads uncovered, and women's praying and prophesying with their heads covered; but will go on to raise objections, and continue carping and cavilling, showing that they contend not for truth, but victory, can they but obtain it any way; for my part, as if the apostle should say, I shall not think it worth my while to continue the dispute any longer; enough has been said to satisfy any wise and good man, anyone that is serious, thoughtful, and modest; and shall only add,

we have no such custom, nor the churches of God; meaning, either that men should appear covered, and women uncovered in public service, and which should have some weight with all those that have any regard to churches and their examples; or that men should be indulged in a captious and contentious spirit; a man that is always contending for contention sake, and is continually cavilling and carping at everything that is said and done in churches, and is always quarrelling with one person or another, or on account of one thing or another, and is constantly giving uneasiness, is not fit to be a church member; nor ought he to be suffered to continue in the communion of the church, to the disturbance of the peace of it. This puts me in mind of a passage in the Talmud (n).

"The Rabbans teach, that after the departure of R. Meir, R. Judah said to his disciples, do not let the disciples of R. Meir enter here, , "because they are contentious".''

(n) T. Bab. Nazir, fol. 49. 2. & Kiddushin, fol. 52. 2.16. A summary close to the argument by appeal to the universal custom of the churches.

if any … seem—The Greek also means "thinks" (fit) (compare Mt 3:9). If any man chooses (still after all my arguments) to be contentious. If any be contentious and thinks himself right in being so. A reproof of the Corinthians' self-sufficiency and disputatiousness (1Co 1:20).

we—apostles: or we of the Jewish nation, from whom ye have received the Gospel, and whose usages in all that is good ye ought to follow: Jewish women veiled themselves when in public, according to Tertullian [Estius]. The former explanation is best, as the Jews are not referred to in the context: but he often refers to himself and his fellow apostles, by the expression, "we—us" (1Co 4:9, 10).

no such custom—as that of women praying uncovered. Not as Chrysostom, "that of being contentious." The Greek term implies a usage, rather than a mental habit (Joh 18:39). The usage of true "churches (plural: not, as Rome uses it, 'the Church,' as an abstract entity; but 'the churches,' as a number of independent witnesses) of God" (the churches which God Himself recognizes), is a valid argument in the case of external rites, especially, negatively, for example, Such rites were not received among them, therefore, ought not to be admitted among us: but in questions of doctrine, or the essentials of worship, the argument is not valid [Sclater] (1Co 7:17; 14:33).

neither—nor yet. Catholic usage is not an infallible test of truth, but a general test of decency.11:2-16 Here begin particulars respecting the public assemblies, ch. 1Co 14. In the abundance of spiritual gifts bestowed on the Corinthians, some abuses had crept in; but as Christ did the will, and sought the honour of God, so the Christian should avow his subjection to Christ, doing his will and seeking his glory. We should, even in our dress and habit, avoid every thing that may dishonour Christ. The woman was made subject to man, because made for his help and comfort. And she should do nothing, in Christian assemblies, which looked like a claim of being equal. She ought to have power, that is, a veil, on her head, because of the angels. Their presence should keep Christians from all that is wrong while in the worship of God. Nevertheless, the man and the woman were made for one another. They were to be mutual comforts and blessings, not one a slave, and the other a tyrant. God has so settled matters, both in the kingdom of providence and that of grace, that the authority and subjection of each party should be for mutual help and benefit. It was the common usage of the churches, for women to appear in public assemblies, and join in public worship, veiled; and it was right that they should do so. The Christian religion sanctions national customs wherever these are not against the great principles of truth and holiness; affected singularities receive no countenance from any thing in the Bible.
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