Understanding the “Head-Coverings” in 1 Corinthians 11

Are Christian women neglecting the command for head-coverings in church? Many are convinced that 1 Corinthians 11 teaches that women must wear garment head-coverings when practicing their faith around men. Yet, the text says that the covering is hair in verse 15, and the covering is not indicated to be a garment. The Greek text also confirms the covering to be hair as noted by James Coffman among other Greek linguists. A woman’s long hair “is given to her for a covering” (1 Cor. 11:15), and by not letting her hair down, this was the same as having her hair cropped or shaved. By not letting her hair be long, she was arranging her hair and claiming authority by social custom, and thus she dishonored the headship of God, Christ, and man. With hair being the glory of women, the Christian woman should let her hair hang down in subordinating to God’s headship and thereby glorified God, Christ, and man. The scriptures below will make these affirmations clear.

Remember that Christian women were instructed  in 1 Timothy 2:9-15 to be modest not adorning their hair with braided hair and with gold and pearls. The passage is clear that this behavior was immodest and insubordinate. By not letting the hair hang down, women would dishonor God’s headship. By braiding the hair up, women were or appeared to be in rebellion to subordinating to the birthright of men to lead and teach. Also, 1 Peter 3:1-6 applied this to a wife’s subordination to her husband where she was not to be insubordinate by arranging her hair and be adorned in gold. See, this was their custom and culture that powerful women of authority would dress as though higher than others even in pagan worship. Remember that women in this time led worship to Diana and Dionysus. The Diana temple contained vault safes (Morton, “Deceiving Winds”). Apparently, some Christian women still arranged and adorned their hair upon their heads rather than letting their long hair hang down showing the glory of God, Christ, and man (1 Cor. 11:15). The Spirit of Christ taught through the Apostles that a woman’s hair was to hang down in such a way that is modest and glorified herself, her husband, Christ, and God.

In 1 Corinthians 11, the Apostle Paul revealed God’s tradition for Christians to show cultural respect contrary to this ancient custom that was a rebellious and factious in promoting an authority over God’s headship. Likewise, Paul had previously addressed eating meat that may have been offered to idols and how a Christian may respond within a pagan culture (1 Cor. 10:24-33). The Apostle also taught that such social customs were not matters of contention (1 Cor. 11:16). Christians are to present themselves as humble and respectable to God by glorifying God first contrary to local practices of presenting social authorities. Today, long hair is still a woman’s glory from God despite that short hair shows no loyalty or claim to pagan or modern social authorities. A woman’s arrangement of hair today can still boast of wealth and power. Such must be avoided.

Consider what James Coffman had to say about a woman’s hair being her covering:

Verse 4
Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoreth his head.

Having his head covered…
Here is where the misunderstanding of this passage begins. This clause, as rendered in the popular versions, is commentary, not Bible. As Echols noted:

“Having his head covered” is a commentary, not a translation. Lenski translated the sense correctly: ‘having something down from his head.’ What the ‘something’ is is neither stated nor implied in 1 Corinthians 11:4.

The logical understanding of this would refer it to ‘long hair,’ being long enough to hang down from the head, as clearly indicated by the apostles’ words a moment later: ‘If a man have long hair, it is a dishonor to him’ (1 Corinthians 11:14).

The ancients accepted Paul’s dictum on this and went so far as to define the length of hair that was considered an infraction of Paul’s words.

‘The hair of the head may not grow so long as to come down and interfere with the eyes … cropping is to be adopted … let not twisted locks hang far down from the head, gliding into womanish ringlets.’

Significantly, the words ‘hang far down’ strongly resemble Paul’s words ‘having something down from his head.’ The above is from Clement of Alexandria and was written in the second century.

The notion that Paul in this place referred to the [Hebrew: tallith] (shawl), or [Greek: yarmelke] (skull cap) worn by Jewish worshipers is refuted by the fact that the Greek New Testament does not indicate in this verse an artificial covering of any kind. This does not mean, however, that Paul would have approved of the use of either in Christian worship. ‘For Paul such a covering probably symbolized that the Jewish male continued in spiritual darkness, from which Christians had been liberated.’ We may therefore interpret this verse as a simple admonition that it was a disgrace for any long-haired Christian male to participate in praying and prophesying; and this interpretation certainly harmonizes with verse 14. History has certainly vindicated this view; because universal human behavior has departed from it only in isolated instances and for relatively very short periods of time” (emp. added).

Referring to coverings in verse 5, Coffman wrote,

With her head unveiled…
The word here rendered ‘unveiled’ is [Greek: akatakaluptos]. ‘There is no intrinsic meaning in this word which suggests either the covering material or the object covered; it is simply a general word.‘ (See under 1 Corinthians 11:15.) Only in 1 Cor. 11:15 does Paul mention any kind of garment ([Greek: peribolaion]) and even there he stated that the woman’s hair took the place of it.’ [Katakaluptos] means covered completely. [Akatakaluptos] means not completely covered. Thus again, the passage falls short of mentioning any kind of garment. To suppose that Paul here meant ‘mantle’ or ‘veil’ or any such thing is to import into this text what is not in it. We have seen that he was speaking of ‘hair’ in 1 Cor. 11:4; and that is exactly what he is speaking of here. ‘Not completely covered’ would then refer to the disgraceful conduct of the Corinthian women in cropping their hair, after the manner of the notorious Corinthian prostitutes; which, if they did it, was exactly the same kind of disgrace as if they had shaved their heads. It is crystal clear that Paul is not speaking of any kind of garment; because he said in 1 Cor. 11:15, below, ‘For her hair is given her instead of a covering.'” (emp. added).

David Lipscomb addressed this very subject saying,

I understand that long hair serves as a veil or token of her subjection to authority; and if she has not long hair, she must cover her head when she approaches God in worship. I understand this to refer to her approach to God in private or in public assembly when others lead in worship. Many interpret this to mean that she is to do these things when she leads in public worship, but the Scripture says nothing of this” (Q & A, emp. added).

Within this previous context of hair being the “covering”, Lipscomb concluded this statement, “We understand verse 16 to say that the churches of God have no such custom as the women appearing in worship with uncovered or shorn heads.” The expectation was for women to have hanging hair in that society to show honor to the headship from Christ to God, man to Christ, and woman to man.

Still, some may ask about verses 5-6, which seem to imply that not having a garment for a covering is like a woman’s hair being cropped or shaved. Actually, these verses can be misinterpreted by readers to imply that a covering must be a garment when Paul specified that hanging hair is also a covering in verses 14-15. Let us not assume. A literal translation is,

But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered [Gr. without hanging hair] dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved. For if a woman is not covered [without hanging hair], let her also be cropped. But if it is shameful for a woman to be cropped or shaved, let her be covered [with hanging hair]” (1 Cor. 11.5-6).”

Coffman said in agreement,

If Paul meant ‘hair,’ why did he use the word ‘covered’? The answer is that in the vocabulary of the Old Testament ‘to uncover the head’ was to shave off the hair. When Nadab and Abihu sinned (Leviticus 10:1ff), God commanded Aaron not to ‘uncover his head’ in mourning at their death; and this meant not to cut off his hair (the customary sign of mourning). Job shaved his head when he learned his children were dead (Job 1:20). Many examples of this usage could be cited” (emp. added).

“[I]f it is a shame to a woman to be cropped or shaven, let her be covered” clearly refers to a covering of hair as seen in 1 Corinthians 11:15, “And if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her long hair is given to her for a covering.

What about verse 10’s reference to angels saying, “because of the angels“? This is what can be known. Verse 10 is referring to authority, so looking to the context, see what is said about women having authority on her head toward God and man. The woman, who prophesies, receives revelation from God through angels to be able to prophesy (Heb. 2:2, Rev. 1:1) and the woman has her prayers delivered by angels (Rev. 8:3-4). This instruction has to do with the woman’s service in prayer and teaching before God. She is to apparently be serving with respect and modesty. Therefore, “every woman praying or prophesying with her head uncovered dishonors her head” (1 Cor. 11:5). By not observing customs of respect, the Christian woman dishonors herself being that she is created to be the glory of man in addition to being created in God’s image. Remember verse 3, “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.” The woman is subordinating to the man by her modesty and covering. Her hair hanging down is her glory for she is the glory of man. This is how the Christian woman honors the headship of God, Christ, and man.

Again, I must say that if any are contentious about this, then we have no such custom (1 Cor. 10:16).

About Scott Shifferd Jr.

Minister, Dean Road church of Christ in Jacksonville, FL. Husband and father of three. Email: ScottJon82[at]yahoo.com
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528 Responses to Understanding the “Head-Coverings” in 1 Corinthians 11

  1. Jacop says:

    Scott, I looked up bterry.com and easily found the subject matter. If you know the verse then you’ll see it clearly.

  2. Mandy says:

    The essence of the confusion is very poor translation, usually by people who had absolutely no knowledge of the culture of the Old Testament, which is the root of the New Testament. Basically what Paul was saying was that it was a disgrace to come to a church meeting dressed and behaving in the ways of the heathen world. This not only disregards but renders powerless the spiritual structure that God has put in place for harmonious relations between the sexes, and effective worship and service in the Kingdom. Women are not inferior to men, in fact the opposite is true, which is why women consent to the role of honour for men in spiritual life. This is a well-known fact among the Jews. We need to pray that the original Aramaic texts of the New Testament will be found – we don’t have them, and consequently we don’t have the true meaning of many passages.

    • Michael R. Baggett says:

      God has given us everything we need that pertains to live and godliness through the knowledge of Him (Christ)….(II Pet. 1:3). God has given and preserved His word. What a sad state to live in believing we do not have the true word of God. Men and women are equal in importance, but serve different roles in the home, Church, and I am convinced, in society (1 Cor. 11:3,7-12; 14:33,34; 1 Tim. 2:9-15; Titus 2:4,5). God wants the man to act, behave and be responsible in the duties of a man; God wants the woman to act, behave and be responsible in the duties of a woman. Man was God’s first created human and is his glory, kind of like your first new car. The woman is the glory of the man and was created “for the man” (1 Cor. 11:7-9). I didn’t write that passage, the Holy Spirit did that. May we accept God’s word and conform to it as men and women who love and respect God and His word, whatever His word directs us to be as a man or woman (Rom. 12:1,2). God bless.

      • Mandy says:

        We don’t have the true Word of God in the New Testament, just many, many faulty translations arising out of the Greek version, which is wrongly believed by many to be the original, it is not – this is a well-known and proven fact among real Biblical scholars. For the lay among us, the Holy Spirit bears witness to all these errors in translation by revealing the True Word to those who are seeking … try this, you will see.

        • The Holy Spirit has revealed to me that Christ is infallible having given revelation through His Apostles and prophets, because what the Scriptures say, the Holy Spirit says (Eph. 3:3-5, 2 Pet. 1:3, Jude 3).

          What the Holy Spirit Says about Himself – Part 1 of The Holy Spirit Speaks


        • Are you saying that we cannot trust the Greek? Because the manuscripts are over 6,000, and the majority text agrees. Why not simply read the Greek?

        • “We don’t have the true Word of God in the New Testament, just many, many faulty translations arising out of the Greek version, which is wrongly believed by many to be the original, it is not – this is a well-known and proven fact among real Biblical scholars.”

          And yet God promises that we will always have His Word. Before the “real Biblical scholars” weighed in, what did believers use? Was God’s promise void for the hundreds of years before the “real Biblical scholars” showed up?

          • Mandy says:

            The point is that all of the many translations of the so-called original New Testament that are available today are faulty – and inconsistent – in many ways – this has been a proven fact over the past 2 000 years, there is much sound literature on the subject – much of it produced in the 1800s! This inconsistent state of Christianity, or rather Churchianity – denominationalism, and they come and go – through the ages more than proves the faultiness, with little consistency with the Old Testament, and great hatred for the Jews. On the other hand, the Old Testament in Hebrew is rock-solid because it is the original, and there is only one. In fact, the Jews go even further and consider only the Torah (Pentateuch) to be absolutely accurate because it was given directly by Elohim (note the plural = the Trinity!) on Mount Sinai. Every real Christian knows that true revelation of the Word comes by the Holy Spirit and is completely consistent with the Old Testament (Tanakh). In fact, through the Holy Spirit one can even find and grasp the real Gospel in the Tanakh. At the right time, either the original Aramaic texts of the New Testament will be found or the Holy Spirit will reveal to all through real Bible scholars the full true meaning of the New Testament – in the context of the Old Testament. Zechariah 8:23.

    • See, I agree with you until your last statement as though the New Testament was originally in Aramaic, but the early church writers say that only Matthew as also written in Aramaic. There is no reason to doubt the majority text of the Greek New Testament or the ancient Latin majority.

      • Mandy says:

        There is much documented evidence that the Greek New Testament is not the original. Ask the Lord wholeheartedly to lead you in this and you will make remarkable discoveries. I am currently involved in the publication in Jerusalem of a book written as far back as the 1800s on this very topic. You could start with Josephus, the ancient Jewish historian – reading prayerfully, you will have insights that will astound you. Perhaps the Lord will allow the original New Testament texts to come to light.

        • Michael R. Baggett says:

          And what would you expect from the original? God promised to preserve His and I believe Him.

        • I have read the early Christian writers extensively. No doubt we have the text and the doctrine. For instance, Irenaeus quoted large chunks of the Gospels and other Christian scriptures in 180 AD. He also quoted most of Acts. His quotes agree exactly with the 5th Byzantine texts like Alexandrinus and the majority of the Byzantine texts from the 7th c. forward. The Byzantine text does preserve the original. These facts came prayerfully for wisdom from God (Jas. 1:5).

          • Mandy says:

            No, it is not like that, the Holy Spirit leads His people to discover the truth through fallen human language. God actually uses this fallen language as a veil to prevent people who are not His from discovering and abusing the Power of Holy Truth. Along the lines of the Tower of Babel. There are levels of Revelation, just as there are a number of heavens. The more we mature in Him, the more the Holy Spirit reveals to us – eternally. Jesus the man didn’t speak Greek, He spoke Aramaic. There are many proofs for this. You will find them if you start to explore the literature prayerfully. That’s one of the ways we can know that the Greek texts are not the originals. Biblical sociolinguists can further prove this by faulty Greek terms used that do not carry the full contextual meaning of what Jesus said in the Aramaic. All the worldly texts were manipulated by men in line with supremacist world cultures – that’s why they are in accord, they were made so.

          • Wow. So, you can’t trust Jesus’ words or those of His Apostles? How can you test the spirit, who has told you these things? You have got to get back to Jesus Christ. Start with Him and His words for Him to lead you to the Truth. Otherwise, you are lost.

            Jesus did speak Greek like everyone else who spoke Greek and Aramaic then. The Old Testament was translated into Greek more than 3 centuries before Christ. See LXX. This was the trade language and language of theological treatise throughout the world. There is no veil in the Greek language. It is very precise. I read the Greek New Testament everyday along with numerous other works. We can test the definition of words and grammar extensively. Someone has really deceived you. The early Christian writers wrote in Greek. Even, Irenaeus noted that Matthew’s gospel was written in Greek like the rest of the Christian scriptures although he made a Hebrew copy too. See also Papias and Eusebius.

            Languages are not misogynistic, because the masculine pronouns are inclusive of both sexes giving the feminine pronouns its own unique feminine usage. Quite the contrary when the pagan worship to Diana and Dionysus were led by women.

            Sexism is an invented word from 1967 and a social construct used often to direct criticism toward God coming in the flesh as a man and having 12 males as His closest disciples. I am not overlooking the women either ( Lk 8).

        • I think this is strange that you would doubt whether we have Jesus’ original words. Having Jesus’ words, we know that He told His Apostles that He gave His words to them (John 17:8). Giving His words to them, He told them (and not us) that His Spirit would guide them into all Truth (John 16:13). We also know that those, who followed Christ, would follow His Apostles (John 15:20). Add to this that Jesus said that His words would never pass away (Matt. 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33).

          If we did not have the original, then how would we know anything for certain about the Holy Spirit and what Jesus said about the Spirit? How would we test the spirits by the Apostles’ doctrine for many false prophets have come into the world (1 John 4:1, 6)? How would we know what Jesus said and did not say? The distrust would be unending. Everyone, who claimed the Spirit, and contradicted each other would through all faith in Christ into a tailspin and ruin. Only remnants of neognosticism and philosophical theism would survive leaving the world in darkness.

          • Mandy says:

            See response above :)

          • Mandy says:

            Sorry but you are wrong – I suggest you pray about everything you believe with an open heart. I am bowing out of this now, it is between you and the Lord …

          • Michael R. Baggett says:

            Without the Bible, we would be totally lost. I believe the Bible. The Holy Spirit does not lead us outside of this spoken word (Eph. 3:2-5).

          • Mandy says:

            That is not correct either. Abraham didn’t have the Bible. At the time of Jesus there was no New Testament – nor any churches, for that matter, as a Jew He attended synagogue to fulfil the Law. Without the Father, Messiah and Holy Spirit we would be totally lost. I cannot comment any further. All the best.

          • Michael R. Baggett says:

            Mandy, God spoke to men in old time in various manners, including directly. Today, He speaks to us through His son, who speaks to us through this New Testament. God speaks to no man or woman directly today (Heb. 1:1,2; 2:1-4).

          • Thank you for your discussion.

          • Michael R. Baggett says:

            Yes, thank you, Mandy, and thank you Scott for your website where we can openly discuss all matters concerning God’s will for us. May we all keep seeking to do what God wills.

      • to Mandy,

        Again, you haven’t answered my objection to your claim that the NT is corrupted. God has promised that we will always have His Word. Your claims are basically calling God a liar.

        “In fact, through the Holy Spirit one can even find and grasp the real Gospel in the Tanakh. At the right time, either the original Aramaic texts of the New Testament will be found or the Holy Spirit will reveal to all through real Bible scholars the full true meaning of the New Testament – in the context of the Old Testament. Zechariah 8:23.”

        Just a clue: if you have a spirit that is telling you that presently we do not have God’s Word EXCEPT for the Tanakh, then that spirit is a counterfeit one. The Holy Spirit will NEVER say anything contrary to God’s Word. A spirit which tries to undermine God’s promise is not of God. It is a lying spirit, not holy. You need to rebuke it, not give heed to it.

        The Holy Spirit will testify of nothing except Jesus Christ and His once-for-all sacrifice. Your spirit’s desire to return to the Old Covenant (Testament) is proof it is counterfeit.

        There will be counterfeit Christs and spirits trying to lay the groundwork for a return to the Old Covenant. God will not honor anything that tramples on the once-for-all sacrifice of His Son.

        God has promised we will always have His Word. Given a choice between your spirit and God’s promise, the choice is clear.

        Yes, there are many corrupted new translations, but the NT has been remarkably well-preserved. Waiting for the “right time” when “the original Aramaic text of the NT will be found” is a set-up. A great many “texts” and “artifacts” which question the validity of God’s Word will be unearthed in the months/years to come.

        Tell your spirit “What’s new is not true. What’s true is not new.” See what it says.

        • Mandy says:

          No, that is absolutely not what I am saying – just pray about it all, you will see. Moving on now …

          • michael r. baggett says:

            Eithet wr believe God preserved His word as He said or we do not. I seeno gray area here.

          • Mandy says:

            Sorry, I cannot comment further.

          • Michael R. Baggett says:

            Without a standard [The Bible] there is no way we can agree. Further comments contrary to what the Bible says do not have a leg to stand on since they are comments that are pulled out of thin air and reflect personal opinion or feelings only. Mandy, I hope you will reconsider believing the Bible in the future. We all want to go to heaven. I do not question your sincerity. Come back again.

          • Mandy says:

            You are completely misunderstanding what I have been saying – that is the reason I do not wish to comment any further. I have been a Bible-based believer for many, many years … as I suggested, please pray about this and you will be amazed at the ranges of mountains to climb ahead of you. I am not taking any further comments.

  3. Michael R. Baggett says:

    Let’s get the head covering discussion going again. Here is one: History indicates there was a mixed culture in the church at Corinth made up of Romans, Jews and Greeks. Their backgrounds concerning the women wearing head covering was not the same. If this is true, and it appears to be the truth, this makes the argument that the head covering was just “Paul authorizing the use of an existing custom” one of the biggest lies ever set forth in the religious world; the other being that Jesus wore long hair.

  4. Phil says:

    The issue is not what the bible says but is what one understands the bible to say. The bible is a spiritual writing yet so few people approach it from a spiritual POV. Instead they apply literal and practical standards about how things are supposed to be look and be performed, including the head covering situation. These are physical things that do not make one spiritual but only make the form look spiritual. Satan wins when he gets us to focus on the outer effect and not the inner cause. Paul made a point by using circumcision as an example of this mindset. He said, “neither circumcision nor uncircumsion matters. What matters is a new creation. Is this principle not valid here in this discussion?

    • Michael R. Baggett says:

      It is all about what the Bible says and means (1 Pet. 4:11).

      • Phil says:

        Michael, how do you know your understanding of the scriptures is the correct one? How many religions have been created from the same bible scripture?

        • Michael R. Baggett says:

          By rightly dividing or handling aright the word of God, I have come to the correct conclusion (II Tim. 2:15). Jesus says we can know the truth (John 8:32). Paul the apostle says we can understand when we read (Eph. 4:3). John the apostle says these things are written so we can know we have eternal life (1st John 5:13). We know we live under the New Testament; so, we are not bound to the Jewish laws of the Old Testament (Eph. 2:15; Col. 2:11-16; Heb. 8:13). We understand that we are to follow the teaching of Christ and His Holy Spirit guided apostles (John 16:13; Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 11:2; 14:37; II Thess. 2:14-15). We understand that whatever was taught to one congregation by the apostles was taught to every congregation (1st Cor. 1:10; 4:16-17; 7:17; 11:16; 14:33-34; 16:1-2). If we follow the commands, apostolic examples and necessary inferences (For example: Lord’s Supper each first day of the week–Acts 20:7); then, we can be the same church as the one Christ established in the New Testament.

          The head covering is a spiritual practice and not just a physical appearance based doctrine just like baptism is a spiritual practice. For example, baptism is for putting on Christ (Gal. 3:26-27), and for contacting spiritually speaking the cleansing-saving blood of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,5). When the woman wears the head covering during worship, she shows her order in the headship (1st Cor. 11:3,5). Since she is the glory of the man, his glory is covered (1 Cor. 11:7). She shows her order in creation (1 Cor. 11:8-9). The angels observe the order of the worship to see if she is in order and wearing the head covering that is worn because of reasoned rooted in creation order (1 Cor. 11:10; 14:40). I would say there are plenty of spiritual implications in the woman wearing the head covering in worship, not the least being the glory of God (1 Cor. 11:7).

          • Phil says:

            This is not Phil Holman, BTW.

            Michael, Is your Christian walk based on the following of commands? Even the flesh can discipline itself to follow commands without the influence of the Spirit. The NT continually speaks of a deeper relationship with God that is found in the transformation of the mind, in which we live by God’s Spirit within our consciousness and not just a process of following written commands. Do you subscribe to this? Read Romans 8.

            You are still mixing the spiritual with the practical. The physical head covering does not change one’s consciousness, just as physical baptism does not change one’s consciousness. Again, the NT refers to the regeneration of mind as that which changes our nature into the likeness of Christ. You, Scott and those in the coC do not seem to subscribe to anything but the mechanical actions of following the NT commands, as if they are another set of laws to be obeyed. This is not NT Christianity. NT Christianity places emphasis on the newness of living from God’s Spirit within us, and not just from CENI. I hope you will investigate this and see the deeper aspects of NT teaching. I have so many scriptures that refer to this deeper level of relationship that you and Scott seem to be missing. I would be glad to post these.

            I would say that you are not rightly dividing the word of truth if you are NOT using the influence of God’s Spirit within you. Yes, this is a mystical process, not just a logical process. The Spiritual Kingdom is mystical in nature. I hope you know this.

          • Michael R. Baggett says:

            Phil, thanks for getting back on the web site. Even though we are not on the topic of the covering, I believe you are sincere and ask good questions. I was wondering how you ever learned about Commands, Examples and Necessary Inferences? Anyway, if you take them away, what do we have left? I follow Jesus Christ who is my King. We have already covered the point that the word of God was written for us to understand (Eph. 3:4). Yes, indeed, Jesus did say, “Ye shall know the truth…” (John 8:32). That truth comes through and by God’s word (John 17:17). In fact, we shall all be judged by this word (John 12:48). Those who keep this word will be blessed (Rev. 1:3; 22:14). The measurement of our love for Christ is according whether we obey Jesus or not, for Jesus says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). What the apostles wrote is Scripture (2 Peter 3:16). In fact, Paul said that the things that he writes as an apostles are the “commandments of the Lord” (1st Cor. 14:37). Obeying the will of Christ out of a motive of love, realizing we are unprofitable without Him, and that only His Blood can provide us forgiveness of sins and an entrance into Heaven is how I serve Jesus. I show my love for Jesus by learning and obeying His word. I don’t understand how anyone can disagree with this as the opposite would merely reflect that one does not love Jesus.

  5. Phil says:

    Is the head covering issue about the physical appearance toward God? Or is there a more spiritual message here?

    • Phil,

      Were you once enslaved to sin while searching for answers among the churches of Christ, but only when you found God’s forgiving grace and lived by it did you stop sinning? Did you stop living by the law but set your mind on the Spirit, and then you were released from the sin that enslaved you? Did God’s Spirit of grace release you from sin and law so that you lived being compelled by the love of Christ?

  6. Phil says:

    Michael, I think your approach is what I may disagree with. If you approach Christianity from a sense of what you need to do to please God then you have missed God’s higher will for you. Yes, there is a place for obedience to commands, but a transformed Christian will assume the mind of Christ and will take on a new essence that reflects this transformation. Paul admonished the Galatians for not wanting to get into the Spirit, and clinging to the older way of obedience to laws and commands. He went as far as to say, “I suffer the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.” He was trying to bring them into a more spiritual relationship with Truth and they resisted and simply wanted commands to obey. It’s virtuous to want to please God and follow the written text, but doing this does not require a transformed mind. Anyone can use human effort and can somewhat succeed toward this goal, but it keeps one attached to the flesh…as it is the flesh that uses human effort. Until we are spiritually transformed we must continue to do what you suggest, but this is not the end of the Christian journey. There is a higher and richer relationship with God that awaits the Christian who dies to self, and is reborn with a New Mind. And this New Mind becomes the means by which Christ lives in us and we in Him. There is no separate self to please God and continues to work towards obedience because we are now the instrument in which God lives by His Spirit. This is where the coC falls short. They believe that obedience is the end-all towards salvation. Yet no one obeys perfectly and thus grace becomes the means by which we receive forgiveness. Romans 8 makes it clear that we must live according to the Spirit. It says nothing about living from the “words of the Spirit,” but from the direct influence God’s Spirit within us. Again, nothing wrong with obedience to commands, but spiritual regeneration gets pushed aside when the ego thinks it can gain favor with God through personal effort. The NT warns against this mindset.

    I was raised in the coC and spent 35 years there before leaving due to spiritual stagnation.

    • Being raised in the churches of Jesus Christ, stagnation comes from the immature refusing to grow. Growth and stagnation are also seen among the churches of Christ in the Scriptures and likewise today.

      I thought I knew what Phil was saying, but it is hard to say when he appears to set Galatians as only Spirit over flesh rather than also Spirit over the Law when both are harmonious teachings. Test the spirits (1 Jn 4.1, 6). I don’t know if Phil is saying that “because you obey God, then you don’t get the Spirit”, which is very highhanded. That sounds Gnostic and even mystical. I thought that he was saying that the Christian growing is love, faith, and all fruits of the Spirit is compelled by the Spirit more than by only the commands or a “checklist”.

      God dwells in us by love (1 Jn). The mind also must be set on the Spirit for Him to indwell us (Ro 8.5-13). We also live in a curious time like when some Corinthians claimed to be more spiritual than other Christians. Something is wrong when believers speak of having the Spirit more than others (1 Co 12). What happened to the indwelling of the Word (Cl 3.16)? What happened to the indwelling of Christ (Ep 3.16)? What about the indwelling of the Father (1 Jn 3.24, 4.17ff)? We are commanded to be filled with the Spirit rather than somehow converted against our will to be filled (Ep 5.19). It is quite lopsided how many speak of God’s indwelling giving credit to the “Spirit” over God the Father, the Son, and the Spirit as One God.

      Who has the Spirit – the mature or the immature? Let us reconsider our words.

      • Phil says:

        Scott, if you think that stagnation comes immaturity then it shows your lack of insight. It has nothing to do with immaturity, but has everything to do with trying to be led by words more than the direct interaction of God’s Spirit with the Christian. One cannot look at a Christian who obeys and know whether this obedience is from love,faith or fear. It looks the same on the surface. When I was in the coC I obeyed because i was hammered with the idea that I would lose my salvation if I didn’t, which is what the coC teaches. I looked like everyone else who was obedient, and they thought I had faith and love (Just being real with you here). I’m not suggesting that one cannot obey from love and faith. But it looks the same on the surface.

        You criticize those who say they are more spiritual than others, yet you claim to be more biblical than others. What’s the difference? I live from God’s Spirit who dwells in me. You live from the text that tells you how to perform your Christian duties. Does Romans 8 mean anything to you?

        The flesh does not need love and faith to carry out Christian behavior. Fear will motivate one to do so. You can claim to live by faith but when you know that your salvation is dependent on your ability to follow commands then fear becomes a factor in your Christian life. Grace gets diluted and takes a back seat to fear.

        I hope you will reconsider your method by which you think we are saved. We are saved by grace and not by obedience.

        • Paul told the Corinthians to be more spiritual by following the words of the Spirit (1 Co 2, 14.37).

          You sound just like the old Phil. You have the same story and same prejudice. By the way, we will lose our salvation if we continue in sin (Ro 6.1-2, He 10.26, 1 Jn 1.7-10).

          • Phil says:

            If you think that following the scriptures makes one automatically spiritual then it shows your lack of insight. It does not require spirituality to follow commands. Can you honestly not see this?
            BTW,, you will not lose your salvation by sinning. Rom. 5:20, 21,The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

          • Michael R. Baggett says:

            Shall we continue in sin so that Grace may abound? God forbid (Rom. 6:1). Hello all. Could we please get back to the head covering…

          • Phil says:

            Scott, you should have a thread here for general discussion so themed threads don’t get off track.

  7. Phil says:

    I never answered you question, ” I was wondering how you ever learned about Commands, Examples and Necessary Inferences? Anyway, if you take them away, what do we have left?”

    We have His Spirit within us to guide us. We do not need to refer the the text for everything we do to measure whether we got it right or wrong. We have spiritual instincts that serve us, and a conscience to guide us. Checklist theology is very dangerous and leads to dependency on our human intellect to analyze and dissect words to extract a meaning, and it reduces everything in the spiritual kingdom to logical conclusion, and steers us away from Him and keeps us attached to ourselves…as the one who achieves salvation through our obedience to CENI. I would suggest that any obedience that happen in me happens by His Spirit living in me, and not from my personal competence and my ability to read and obey.

    • The scriptures do tell us everything right from wrong (2 Ti 3.16-17). Are we not ready to give attention to read, exhortation, and doctrine for the salvation of souls (1 Ti 4.13-16)? The Spirit tells us to.

      • Phil says:

        Scott, God’s Spirit within you can lead you to what is right. Are suggesting otherwise? Do you need the scriptures to tell you that it’s wrong to kill, steal, lie, etc? Really? Do you have no natural instincts toward what is right? Seriously?

        • If that is your perception of the need for scripture, then you are certainly shortsighted. Certainly, every person has the innate ability to obtain some of the light, but not all (Ro 2.14-16). Why then did the Apostles give commands? Why did the Apostles reinforce what is right and wrong? They are an authority against those who corrupt. The Apostles were led by the Spirit to do this (Jn 16.12-13, Ep 3.3-5). Paul told us to read to understand the Spirit’s revelation. Add to all of this that the Scriptures increase our faith, hope, and love, so that we do love Christ with all of heart, mind, soul, and strength.

          • Phil says:

            What was the purpose of law? It was put into effect to control behavior until the promised seed had come.

            Why was Paul frustrated with the Galatians? Because Christ had not yet been formed in the.

            Christianity has two levels of servitude. One is where you are the one in charge of your personal behavior and your personal ability to read, comprehend and carry out what you know as Gods will for you as instructed by the Bible. However, the NT also speaks of a new level of relationship in which you have died to yourself and Christ has been awakened in your consciousness to become the master of your life by His Spirit in you. This is the level of Christianity that you don’t believe in, but the NT scriptures give much insight into this, but you don’t want to acknowledge this. Would you like me to show you, or is your mind made up that it doesn’t exist?

            The Bible is like a hologram. There are messages that are obvious, the ones to which you adhere. And there are subtle messages that you refuse to see. That’s your choice, but please don’t invalidate those who choose to see it. I can show you, and there is no question that the subtle message is there and is for those who have ears to hear.

            You can label me Gnostic, and I can label you legalistic. Who’s right and who’s wrong? I can prove my understanding and you can prove yours, both using the scriptures. I can’t prove anything that is my spiritual experience, and you can’t prove that your obedience comes from faith or fear.

          • abasnar says:

            Dear Phil

            I see you trying desperately to create a sort of Christendom that is quite close to Gnosticism. I don’t mean to use this as a label, but as a mindset that is all but new. Irenaeus who was a personal disciple of a close fried of John (Polycarp) wrote five books on the Gnostics (Against Heresies – around 180 AD). As a matter of fact, your way of reasoning matches Gnostic reasoning quite closely.

            Of course you will find many who think like you do, esp. among Evangelical Protestants. This is due to Luther and Calvin who both heavily built their theology on Augustin, who – as a former Manichaen – brought Gnostic concepts into the theology of the Western church in his debates with Pelagius. Some typical signs of Gnostic theology are:

            the doctrine of predestination
            the denial of free will
            the total depravity of natural humans
            The incapabilty of the flesh to do anything good
            The conviction that indwelling grace/knowledge works perfection
            The belittling of obeing literal commands
            The belittling of sound doctrine and the Bible
            The overemphasis on personal guidance by the Spirit
            The belittling of baptism
            Unconditional eternal security of the elect – “the Seed” saves anyhow

            All of this is described in Irenaeus’ books on the Gnostics and all of this can be found in Mainstream Evangelical literature (authors like Walvoord and Chafer, Philipp Yancey, William MacDonald, Watchman Nee …).

            Since we are currently struggling with similar issues here in Vienna, let me assure you, that the list I gave you is definitely not in line with the teachings of those who were co-workers with the Apostles (Ignatius, Clement, Hermas, Polycarp, Ep. of Barnabas, Didache). Either they seriously misunderstood Paul or the Gnostics did.

            I’d rather be in line with the church of the early 2nd century than with the church of the 21st century.

    • As far as obeying God’s commands, we must do so from love. As far as examples, the Bible sets the defining examples. In any service of obedient training, the disciple obeys the commands and imitates following the example, the pattern of the master (1 Co 11.1, etc.). To critique, I do not know of any “necessary inferences” that are not examples defining commands. Yet, that matters little. Everyone who loves God obeys His commands as defined by Christ and His Spirit in the obedient found in scripture.

      • Phil says:

        Scott, the NT is one of the Spirit not of the text. God’s Spirit dwells in you to lead you into what is right. If this is not true then please remove Romans 8 from your Bible.

        The Bible was made for man, not man for the Bible. A mature Christian know what to do from what God has given the Christian who has become Spiritually awakened to Him. You seem to suggest that all we need to do is read the bible and do what it says. Your faith seems to be in the words more than the Spirit.

      • Phil says:

        Michael, you said, ” Without faith, I would have no awareness of God in me.”

        If you are aware of God in you then why can’t you live from this? Does God just live in you symbolically, but not as a direct influence and counselor? Just wondering!

        I’d love to list all of the scriptures that state God directly interacts with us, but it would take up to much space. However, i will if you want.

        • Michael R. Baggett says:

          A person who cannot read can be taught by hearing (Romans 10:17). I cannot know God’s will for me apart from His word. God does not talk to me, nudge me, but He does tell me to obey His word (Heb. 5:8,9). I have one standard for truth and that is the Bible. The reason we have so many differing groups who claim to be Christians is because they follow at least two standards, and in some cases, three. Most carry a Bible and hold to parts of it, but they also have their man-made creeds and trust in their feelings. Man’s doctrines make void worship (Matt. 15:9). One who trusts in mere urges and feelings is a fool (Pro. 28:26). The Bible says this, it did not originate with me. We will never agree on anything until we agree on God’s word as the single standard for truth (John 17:17; II Tim. 3:16,17).

          • phil says:

            Michael. Yes you can know Gods will for you without reading it. God says in Hebrews 8 that He will write his laws on your heart and mind. What dont you understand about this? Why are you resistant to God working directly in your heart when this is the essence of NT Christianity? You remind me so much of the Galatians who were just as resistant to the HS as you . You yourself dont hold to the spiritual part of the bible that is so obvious it cant be ignored and yet you call others for their shortcomings on the bible I see lots of biblical issues that you ignore and can easily point them out and already have.

            You say others are trustng theirbfeelings without knowing the difference WVbetween a feeling and an understanding. Do you know the difference? Please explain the difference between a feeling and an understanding

            Lots to consider here.

      • phil says:

        Asbanar. You are entitled to your opinion but have proved nothing. If believing that God works directly in us by his Spirit is Gnostic then im gostic. But its ridiculous. Nothing you say is fact. Just perception. Ive asked several here to address romans 8 and no obe has respinded. I may have said romans 7 accidently

        • Phil says:

          Basnar, this is also in response to your post. You listed the principles that define Gnosticism as:

          the doctrine of predestination (I dont believe in predestination)
          the denial of free will ( I don’t deny free will)
          the total depravity of natural humans (Natural man is flesh and although capable of good deeds is also prone to sin)
          The incapabilty of the flesh to do anything good (The flesh can do good works but is also prone to sin. It is divided by nature)
          The conviction that indwelling grace/knowledge works perfection (The indwelling Spirit cannot sin.read Romans 8)
          The belittling of obeing literal commands ( I don’t belittle obedience, but it is not obedience which saves. We are saved by grace, through faith.)
          The belittling of sound doctrine and the Bible (I don’t belittle sound doctrine, but I do condemn doctrine that place man as his own savior by his obedience to commands.)
          The overemphasis on personal guidance by the Spirit (I definitely believe that we are guided by Gods Spirit within us. This is taught throughout scripture. And my own experience knows this to be true.)
          The belittling of baptism ( I don’t belittle baptism. But i do put it in it’s proper place in the process of salvation. Water baptism is not that which saves. We are saved by faith, through faith.)
          Unconditional eternal security of the elect – “the Seed” saves anyhow ( I don’t believe this at all)

          Here is what legalism believes:

          The doctrine of salvation through obedient works of the flesh
          Sin is not covered by grace
          The belittling of those who believe that we are an instrument by which God lives
          The unbelief that God interacts with Christians by way of His Spirit in them.
          That the text is the only communication that God has with his children
          The belittleing of all understanding and beliefs that are not created by them
          That outer works are most important, as compared to inner consciousness
          That we are continually in danger of losing salvation if not self-disciplined
          That dunking one in water is that which saves.
          Everyone is condemned to eternal destruction but them.
          That outer expression of obedient works is more important than anything

          Which of the 2nd century churches are you in line with, as you stated you wish to be? The church at Galatia? Corinth? Which ones? I’m curious.

          • abasnar says:

            OK, Phil, a short notice, because I’m engaged in a similar controversy in Vienna.

            a) Legalism is a word not found in the New Testament
            But lawlessness is something we are warned of frequently in the NT. In fact, grace teaches us to reject lawlessness (Tit 2:11-16). The opposite to being lawless is being under Law, which is quite logical when we confess Christ as Lord (i.e. King). So obeying Him is mandatory (Mat 28:18-20).

            b) Romans 8
            Is one of my favorite texts. Verses 1-4 present the fact that by faith we are in Christ (and Christ is in us). This “implanted” a New Law of Spirit and Life in us, by which we live. The purpose of this is that by walking through the Spirit we fulfill the righteous requirements of the Law. Remember that by the Spirit the Law is written unto our hearts (Jer 31:33) so that we do it (Ez 11:19-20) but not in our strength, but prompted by the Spirit (Ez 36:26-27). This means, He works both to will and to accomplish (Phil 2:13) but we must always be obedient (Phil 2:12) and do everything without murmuring and diputes (Phil 2:14). This is perfect synergy. Without obedience there is no salvation, so Paul says he could have worked in vain in Philippi if they fail doing this (Phil 2:16).

            Now Rom 8 is dived in three sections dealing with past, present and future aspects of our salvation. Being in Christ is something that started at a time in our biography. This should be treated as a given, unless it is not true for ourselves (Rom 8:9). The present aspect of this salvation is “working out the salvation with fear and trembling” (see also Phil 2:12), which means that we have to use the power of the Spirit to kill the desires of the flesh in order to live (Rom 8:12-13). That’s what it means in this context to be led by the Spirit (Rom 8:14), because we are no longer under the Law of Sin, when the Spirit is in us. We are no longer in bondage but free sons of God (Rom 8:15-16). The future aspect is dealt with in the verses 17-27 where Paul admits that though we are not livuing under the rule of the flesh, we still are in the flesh and groan constantly because of its weakness. We and the whole creation await the day when our salvation will be complete in the resurrection of our bodies.

            In sum, Roman 8 demands an active and obedient faith, which is the whole goal of Romans (Rom 1:58 and Rom 16:16), because Christ is the Son of David and the Son of God, the King (Rom 1:2-4) to whom our knees shall bow (Phil 2:11) which expresses total submission in obedience (Phil 2:12-14). This is not legalism, but it shows clearly that we are under the Law of Christ. Lawlessness leads to cold love (Mat 24:12).

            c) The 2nd century church of Christ
            Paul said to Timothy top entrust the message he preached to faithful men who are able to teach others also (2Ti 2:2). Timothy lived until aboutthe year 80 AD and died as a martyr in Ephesus. John led the churches in Asia minor until is death in the days of Trajan around 100 AD. Onesimus as a bishop in Ephesus at the time Ignatius wrote his letters (around 117 AD). Clement, a co-worker of Paul, wrote a letter from the church of Rome to the church in Corinth around 96 AD which is full of sound doctrine. Polycarp and Ignatius were both disciples of John who like him fought Gnosticism in Asia Minor. I’ll leave it with this sample of names.

            What can we expect? The reason I write frequently look up their writings is obvious. I suspect that those who heard and saw the Apostles in person had a more complete undestanding of the Bible (and this was their sole authority, too) thatn any 21st century scholar who is neither really fluent in Greek nur familiar with the ancient culture and customs, nor with the church life of the first generations.

            As a teacher in the Lord’s church am rather in agreement with these men than with teachings they labeled as Gnostic heresy. My list of Gnostic statements is accurate – many Evangelicals sound a lot like it, and I am glad to see that you disagree with most of them. Yet you still hold to a few of these Gnostic teachings. You may want to go into more detail on this yourself. I cannot be too engaged in this discussion here.

            BTW – this links to the main issue ofthis thread: I checked up virtually each statement of the teachings of the Early church up to the 5th century on the headcovering, and followed it loosely through the rest of church history. There is not a shred of soubt as to how this was understood and ought to be practiced today. All differing opinions (long hair is the veil or it was cultural) are fairly young theories that lack any historic basis and are in conflicht with Pauls very words. The testimony of history just helos to nail this fact – scripture alone would be sufficient, but the deceptions of modern times are strong.

          • Amen. I agree with exception to your last paragraph. :-)

          • Michael R. Baggett says:

            Good comments both Scott and Aba. I’m ready to get this conversation back to the head covering. Phil, thanks for joining us, but I don’t think you’re going to move and I know I’m not. The Bible is my only guide. Phil, a woman who worships with her head uncovered dishonors her head and does so without the angel’s blessing (1 Cor. 11:3,5,10). This is what the Bible says. I have not other guide to chance this ordinance. It was never retracted or changed in the New Testament. I believe this because the Bible tells me so.

          • Phil says:

            Asbanar,Scott and Michael, I’ll just say this and then leave this thread alone:

            Asbanar, the word “Gnostic” doesn’t exist in the bible either. Neither does the term “scriptural.” So I don;t know what you point is in telling me that “legalist” is not in the Bible.

            From a practical POV you may be right about some of what you say. But from a Spiritual POV you are badly missing the point of NT Christianity. A spiritually transformed mind is infused with the commands that the written text is trying to convey. You and other coC members obviously don’t believe this, otherwise you would not be extolling the virtues of obedience to commands as the end-all of the Christian life. The NT gives so much insight into this New Life by the Spirit, yet legalists refuse to see it and insist on living by their own competency to follow rules, commands and laws, which is a product OT thinking. As I said, the NT is like a hologram in that it has obvious messages and then it has more subtle spiritual messages. I could easily show you but you have your mind made up that NT Christianity is defined by the your personal ability to perform obedience. and it perverts the message of Christ and Paul, who are trying to bring you into a spiritual relationship with God. If you don’t have ears to hear then you’ll have to take that up with God.

            I can be reached at execuphil@gmail.com if you want to continue this discussion.

          • Michael R. Baggett says:

            Thanks, Phil, for taking the time to write. I disagree with you and you disagree with me. I cannot see where you are coming from because it is based on “personal evaluations” and “subjective feelings.” I can only understand what the Bible tells me. I am ready for this part of the website to go back to the discussion of the head covering for women. I believe the Bible for what it says about woman’s place. Our society no longer believes it, but I do because the Bible tells me so.
            That’s how I know Jesus loves me, too! Take care.

          • Mike Baggett says:

            Scott, Here’s an article I just wrote in response to a lady’s question about suicide. I could have said much more, but see what you think, if you have time. God bless, Michael R. Baggett Date: Wed, 13 Aug 2014 18:19:35 +0000 To: mikebaggett@hotmail.com

          • Were you posting a link or waiting for my reply via email?

          • Mike Baggett says:

            If you want to post it, it is ok, but your thoughts are appreciated.

            Mike Baggett

            Sent via the Samsung Galaxy S™ III, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone

  8. Phil says:

    2 Corinthians 3:5
    Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.

    • Michael R. Baggett says:

      Good discussion. Phil God, Christ and the Holy Spirit all dwell in us by faith (Eph. 3:17). Without faith, I would have no awareness of God in me. We cannot separate faith from The Bible, for “…faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). The apostles were led by the Holy Spirit and wrote Scripture which we read and understand and follow to do God’s will (Eph. 3:3-5). Those verses tells us that what we read we can understand and that the Holy Spirit revealed these words of faith to the holy apostles and prophets. Christ cannot dwell in our hearts apart from faith! The Scriptures command us to”… understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:17). This understanding will come only through the study of God’s word (Acts 17:11; II Tim. 2:15). We are not transformed by the direct work of the Holy Spirit, but by the word which the Holy Spirit revealed. “…But be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:2). I cannot prove anything outside of the standard and source of The Bible. The Bible itself claims to do for us everything that we could possibly need to serve Christ. “All (every) Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect [complete], thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (II Tim. 3:16,17). It is our duty to follow the inspired traditions delivered by the apostles of Christ who were simply finishing the work of delivering truth to the disciples (John 16:13). Jesus told His apostles, “teaching them to observe ALL THINGS whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:20). The early church continued in the “apostles’ doctrine” which is the same as the doctrine of Christ (Acts 2:42). Paul said the apostles teachings are the “commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:37). It is not just a good thing to read and obey the New Testament, it is our duty (Matt. 7:21). But we do all of this with the attitude and understanding that when we’ve done all that we’ve been commanded, we are still unprofitable servants (Luke 17:10). Christ gets all the glory and credit. He makes salvation possible. We glorify him through our good works by doing those things which accompany salvation (Eph. 2:10; Heb. 6:9). Faith without its works is dead (James 2:14-26). We must accept and follow the CENI of the New Testament “For we walk by faith and not by sight” (II Cor. 5:7). Faith comes by hearing (or reading it) and hearing by THE WORD OF GOD” (Rom. 10:17). This is the only way men and women will ever acquire faith. When men point to another source for their guidance or walk of faith, they can prove nothing and only create an atmosphere of confusion for everyone concerned, and we know that God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33). Jesus is Lord and Lord of my life! I would not know this except that someone preached it to me from the word of God: “…How shall they believe in him of whom they have not hear? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Rom. 10:14). We will never agree on anything until we agree on the one standard–the word of God.

  9. Phil says:

    Michael, how is it possible for so many different religions to be formed from the same Biblical text? If you believe and understand the bible then how can you say, ” We are not transformed by the direct work of the Holy Spirit, but by the word which the Holy Spirit revealed. “??? Nothing could be further from the truth, and the Bible nowhere states such!

    John 15:4,5
    Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
    “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

    Nothing here says anything about his words dwelling in the Christian. Again Romans 8 says nothing about his words dwelling in the Christian. Throughout scripture the direct connection to God is the key to relationship, not just a process of reading and obeying. You are missing the mystical connection to God that the NT so clearly states is the key to Christianity.

    It’s so easy to become a mechanical Christian by reading and obeying commands because the NT says we should. What happen to the relationship that occurs when we are transformed by the renewing of our minds?

    How can an illiterate or an intellectually challenged person be transformed if they can’t read or understand what they read? Your idealistic approach basically suggests that we all have equal ability to read and understand the text of the Bible.

    You and Scott may be wired for intellectual and textual relationship with God. That’s between you and God. But my walk with God will be Spiritual, and this is between me and God.

    You seem to fail to read and understand the spiritual aspects of NT Christianity that has God as the master of our lives through direct influence in our minds and hearts. Words have no power of their own because our minds are subjective, and the words are understood through filters we have accumulated from birth. Yet God’s Spirit is the direct unfiltered connection we have by his indwelling within our consciousness. The Bible supports everything I have said, yet the bible states that God put his laws on our minds and in our hearts as stated in Hebrews. I wish you and Scott understood this.

  10. phil says:

    Michael. You do NOT have one standard for truth. You have Gods Spirit in you. It is a source if truth that you assume is not accessable to you. Again, many scriptures to support Gods indwelling as a Source for truth. If you want to get into a scriptural discussion I will be glad to do so

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