Does I Corinthians 11:16 Teach God’s Covering Instruction Was Just A Custom?

I Corinthians 11:16 reads “But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.” Some say that verse teaches God’s covering instruction was just a custom of that time and locality, and is therefore not binding today. But if we examine what is being said in verse 16 carefully, that is not Paul’s point. Instead I Cor 11:16 is saying if a man would contend against God’s covering teaching, the apostles and all the churches had no such custom/practice as the contentious man’s. “Such” would naturally refer back to the last thing mentioned, that is, the contentious man’s custom/practice. For example, if I said “Keith is bald but I have no such problem,” who has the problem – Keith or me? Likewise since Paul said “we have no such custom,” who does have the custom? So Paul specifically said the custom in question was NOT his own.

Paul went on to say in I Cor 14:37 “the things I write unto you are the commandments (not the etiquette, ptd) of the Lord.” I like how Jeff Smelser put it “It makes no sense at all to suppose that, after arguing [for 14 verses, ptd] from the relationship of God to Christ, Christ to man, and man to woman, and from the order of creation, Paul would finally dismiss the importance of the whole thing saying in essence, “if you don’t like what I’ve said, that’s alright, because it’s really all just a man-made custom.”

So far from teaching the covering was just cultural in nature, I Corinthians 11:16 actually teaches the practice of wearing the covering was uniform throughout all the churches everywhere, and was not just a local custom. Compare to:

· I Corinthians 4:17 as I teach every where in every church

· I Corinthians 7:17 And so ordain I in all churches

· I Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints

Just a local practice? Just the opposite. I Cor 11:2-16 was written “unto the church of God which is at Corinth … with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord” (1:2), that is, ALL CHRISTIANS!

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