About Philip B. Payne Man and Woman, One in Christ Philip B. Payne, and the cover of his latest book, Man and Woman, One in Christ
February 4th
written by phil

Paul Adams continues his insightful reviews of Man and Woman, One in Christ, which you can read in full at http://inchristus.wordpress.com/. Following are highlights from his reviews of chapters 6-15:

“Readers are highly encouraged to spend time with this masterpiece. (Note: Those who choose to ignore the footnotes do so to their loss. Payne has painstakingly annotated all of his sources and provided considerable comments showing where some have either misrepresented or under-represented the data to support their alternative interpretations.)”

Chapter 7 “1 Corinthians 11:2-3: Head/Source Relationships” is worth the price of the book many times over. Payne canvasses all the relevant historical and contemporary interpretations for the meaning of κεφαλή (“head”) giving fifteen reasons to understand this term to mean “source” and not “authority.” Payne writes: “The LXX translators [Greek translation of the Old Testament] overwhelmingly (in 226 of 239 instances) chose κεφαλή to translate literal instances of ‘head.’ Yet in only 6 of 171 instances where ‘head’ [in Hebrew] may convey ‘leader’ did they translate it with the metaphor κεφαλή in a way that clearly means leader. In contrast, the NASB, reflecting the natural metaphorical use of ‘head’ to convey ‘leader’ in English, translates 115 of these 171.

Payne’s case against a subordinationist Christology is carefully argued and deserves a keen look.

Chapter 8 shows the importance of understanding the background of Corinth and the situation Paul is addressing. Fourteen reasons are given to show the expression “hanging down from the head” is addressing “long, effeminate hair (or its homosexual symbolism)” on men as disgraceful. Since Christ is man’s source (1 Cor 11:3), then having hair like a woman undermines not only marriage, but blurs the lines of sexual distinction between men and women, thus bringing shame on the work of Christ in creation.

Chapter 9  Furthermore, since Greek, Roman, and Jewish cultures portrayed respectable women wearing their hair done up in public, it maligned a woman’s dignity and honor to let down her hair. Payne offers fourteen reasons why the “uncovering” meant letting down a woman’s hair. One of those reasons caught my attention because I’ve always been confused by what Paul meant in 1 Cor 11:5 “But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved.” Payne clarifies: In Paul’s day, an accused adulteress had her hair let down, and shaving was the penalty of a convicted adulteress. This explains why an uncovered woman is the same as a woman with shorn hair (11:5). This explanation works only if “uncovered” refers to hair let down.

Chapter 10 “1 Corinthians 11:7-10: Theological Reasons for Head-Covering Rules” removes a great deal of mystery surrounding this passage and paints a coherent picture for the entire pericope. The underlying question of 11:7 is “What does it mean for man to be the ‘image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man’?” Payne explains, “Men wearing effeminate hair were deliberately making their hair look like a woman’s hair, thus making themselves into the ‘image’ or ‘likeness’ of a woman” rather than “accept themselves as the men that God made them.” The sexual differentiation between man and woman that collectively portray the image of God is undermined by effeminate hair. Similarly, woman is the glory of man, not because she is subject to him, but because she, not another man, is the sexual partner designed for him at creation.” Woman is depicted as the crowning glory of creation made specifically to be man’s partner” (see Gen 2:23 for the exultation from man when first seeing his created partner).

Verse 10, The text says it is the woman who possesses and retains authority over her own head; it is not imposed by a symbol or by a male.

What about the “angels” Paul mentions in verse 10? Payne’s explanation really piqued my interest. After noting how Paul highlights the roles of angels elsewhere with their implied presence in the world and in worship (1 Cor 4:9; 13:1; 1 Tim 5:21; see also Heb 1:14; Rev 1:20; 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14), Payne states:

It ought to be embarrassing enough for a woman to be seen by others in the church with her hair let down, but knowing she is being observed by God’s holy angels should be reason enough for even the most foolhardy woman to restrain her urge to let her hair down. Consequently, Paul writes that a woman ought to have control over her head on account of the angels’ presence in worship.

Chapter 11 “1 Corinthians 11:11-12: The Equal Standing of Woman and Man in Christ” makes the case for full equality between man and woman in the church. The central concern of verse 11 is the meaning of Χωρίς‚ (“set apart” but see NIV, ESV, NASB, NRSV, which translate Χωρίς‚ as “independent of”). Upon showing Pauline usage of Χωρίς‚ and noting all the lexical renderings, Payne concludes Χωρίς‚ means “set apart” since “the normal meaning of Χωρίς‚ virtually demands that this statement be understood as an affirmation that in Christ there is no separation between woman and man.” Taken together with verse 12 this “provides reasoning that supports Paul’s affirmation of the equality of woman and man in the Lord. It does this by pointing out that every man’s source in woman balances woman’s source in Adam and by asserting that all this comes from God. Thus, the equal standing of woman and man in Christ is rooted in creation and biology and has its source in God.”

Most importantly, Payne argues that in 1 Cor 11:12 “Paul is intentionally counterbalancing his earlier statement that man is the source of woman [see 1 Cor 11:8]. As Adam was the instrumental source of the first woman, so woman is the instrumental source in the order of nature of all subsequent men … Consequently, both men and women should show respect to the other as their source.”

Chapter 12 “1 Corinthians 11:13-16: The text unambiguously insists that men with long hair are a disgrace to themselves and their Creator, going against the natural order. On the other hand, women with long hair properly worn up as a covering portrays her glory and distinctive beauty as created by God.”

Chapter 13 “1 Corinthians 11:2-16: Conclusion and Application”. My own summary is brief. It runs something like this. Paul objects to:

  1. Men in leadership with effeminate hairstyles because of the association with homosexuality and the repudiation of the distinction between the sexes.
  2. Women in leadership with hair hanging loosely because of the association with the sexually promiscuous.

And, 1 Cor 11:11-12 clearly demonstrates that both male and female are equal in the Church yet retain their uniqueness as exclusive partners created for one another.

Payne shows a sensitive pastoral tone that is in touch not only with the church of the first century but that of the twenty-first century.

Chapter 14 Without question, this chapter entitled “1 Corinthians 14:34-35: Did Paul Forbid Women to Speak in Church?” was the most weighty in technical details surrounding the text (The weight was exponentially increased for those of us who read all the footnotes!). I’ve some exposure to textual criticism but have not been trained formerly in it. Nevertheless, though the pages turned much slower for me, it was worth the effort since I learned a great deal about this important question.

Payne begins by noting that the “widely varying interpretations face three key issues: textual, exegetical, and systematic.” The central textual issue is “whether these verses are an interpolation not in the original text.” The central exegetical question focuses upon “whether Paul’s first-century Hellenistic audience would accept the obvious meaning of these words or would demand some qualification.” Finally, the systematic concern must address

“how to reconcile this triple demand for women to be silent in church with: (1) Paul’s approval of women praying and prophesying in church when their heads are “covered” (1 Cor 11:4-13); (2) “each has a hymn, a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation” (14:26); (3) “you can all prophesy” (14:24, 31); (4) “all speak in tongues” (14:5, 18, 23, cf. 27); (5) the “Amen” custom (14:16); and (6) “be eager to prophesy and do not forbid speaking in tongues” (14:39).

After outlining four possibilities employed to confront this apparent contradiction (viz., that women are permitted to pray and prophesy in the church yet must remain silent), Payne concludes all are deficient. The best text-critical data, according to Payne and “most scholars who have published their analyses of the text-critical aspects of this passage,” show 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 is indeed a later addition to the original Pauline text. If true, this of course removes the charge of contradiction. The remainder of the chapter analyzes evidence for interpolation. [Incidentally, if readers wish to follow ongoing discussions for interpolation of vv. 34-35, see Payne’s entries and the entries at Evangelical Textual Criticism.)

To pique readers’ interests I will only highlight the major points put forth arguing for interpolation of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. [Note: For other examples of likely interpolations, see Mark 16:9-20 and John 7:53-8:11.] Payne offers the following:

External Evidence for 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 as an Interpolation

  1. Transcriptional Probability Argues That 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 Is an Interpolation
  2. Codex Vaticanus’s Distigme at the End of 14:33 Points to Interpolation
  3. Codex Fuldensis’s Text Corrected by Bishop Victor Omits 1 Corinthians 14:34-35
  4. The Most Reasonable Explanation of MS 88’s Treatment of 14:34-35 Is That MS 88 Was Copied from a Manuscript That Omitted These Verses
  5. Clement of Alexandria Reflects a Text of 1 Corinthians without 14:34-35
  6. The Apostolic Fathers Give No Sign of Awareness of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35
  7. There Is a High Incidence of Textual Variants in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35

Internal Evidence

  1. Verses 34-35 Contradict Paul’s Encouraging Women to Speak in Church
  2. Verses 34-35 Interrupt the Flow of Paulâ’s Argument
  3. Verses 34-35 Make Alien Use of Vocabulary from the Chapter
  4. Verses 34-35 Conflict with the Goal of Instruction in Church
  5. The Use of “just as the Law says” Does Not Fit Paul’s Theology or His Style of Expression
  6. Contrary to Paul Championing the Downtrodden, Verses 34-35 Subordinate a Weak Social Group
  7. The Vocabulary of Verses 34-35 Appear to Mimic that of 1 Timothy 2:11-15
  8. The Command in Verse 34 Addresses Women “in the churches”
  9. The Content of Verses 34-35 Fits an Obvious Motive for Interpolation

Payne finishes the chapter with this sober, and in my estimation sound, conclusion:

The thesis that 1 Cor 14:34-35 is an interpolation fits the external and internal evidence far better than any other thesis. If 1 Cor 14:34-35 is a non-Pauline interpolation, it does not carry apostolic authority and should not be used as such to restrict the speaking ministries of women, nor should it influence the exegesis of other NT passages.

The last half of Philip B. Payne’s book

Man and Woman, One in Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Paul’s Letters begins an exegesis of Paul’s later writings in Ephesians, Colossians, and 1 Timothy and deals with some of the most contentious passages dividing the Church over the role of women in the Church and the world.

Chapter 15 “Ephesians 5:21-33 and Colossians 3:18-19: Husband-Wife Relationships” focuses on the text of Ephesians, though Payne shows that the parallel expressions in both of these passages indicate they are addressing the same issues. Thus, whatever bears upon the one passage must bear upon the other. Payne chooses to deal primarily with the longer passage of Ephesians.

After noting differences between family life in Paul’s day with that of contemporary culture, Payne opines, “While Paul’s wording was framed in order to speak to people in his own social structure, one must not assume that he intended to make those social structures normative for all societies. If Paul were writing today, he would probably give different commands to uphold the same principles.” As I understand and have experienced, what traditional Christianity has done is make normative what was not intended, thus missing the principles that Paul was actually getting at in the text. This is a very insightful hermeneutical principle: commands issued may be culturally relative, but the principles behind them could be timeless. Moreover, while complementarians (a term that, with some slight nuances, merely denotes a hierarchical structure of male authority over the female in the home and in the Church) charge that cultural background is overused by biblical egalitarians to support their case, Payne might suggest complementarians under use it and end up with an inconsistent hermeneutic. Of course, inconsistency begets inconsistency and the outworking of this in life becomes clear. Payne states:

Advocates of a hierarchical structure in marriage of wives to their husbands in effect endorse the patriarchal structure of marriage that was pervasive in Paul’s day. If they were consistent, they probably would also advocate the corresponding dictates of the patriarchal structure (as many used to do) that children, even much older children, ought to be subordinate to their parents, and that slaves ought to be subordinate to their masters… The risk in interpreting “the husband is the head of the wife” as establishing an authority structure in the context of these “house codes” is that one thereby embraces “a very odd understanding of what marriage is: a relationship in which a wife is basically a person controlled by her husband in every respect in the same way as children and slaves.” (quoting Howard Marshall, “Mutual Love and Submission in Marriage: Colossians 3:18-19 and Ephesians 5:21-33” in Discovering Biblical Equality, all of which is an essential read for those wishing to engage the many issues surrounding biblical egalitarianism.)

Payne lays out Paul’s vision of marriage, showing that it was in sharp contrast to the culture of the day, and warns readers to “consider the evidence [laid down by Payne, pp. 113-139] for reading this passage without reading back into Paul’s words the association of ‘head’ as ‘leader’ that fits English, but is dubious for Greek.

Paul spends a great deal of effort emphasizing unity and love as major underlying themes for the ethical precepts he issues for house codes, principles that are in direct opposition to first-century practices. “True love for one’s wife,” says Payne, “is not compatible with a husband completely controlling her life, just as true love is not compatible with a master completely controlling his slave’s life or for a parent completely controlling his mature child’s life.”

In fact, if Paul were supporting hierarchical structures so prevalent in the first-century, then he likely would not have written Eph 5:21 “submitting to one another” using the reciprocal pronoun. Payne goes shows that the “combination of ‘to place oneself under’ with the reciprocal pronoun defies social stratification, but [the reciprocal pronoun] fits perfectly with Paul’s view of mutuality in the body of Christ in Ephesians.” And, contra Wayne Grudem who argues for a one-directional model of submission, Payne insists that reciprocity applies equally to all parties involved, not merely to some while others are excluded. “If Paul had intended ‘bear one another’s burdens’ (Gal 6:2) to be always one way, the same people always bearing the burdens of others but their burdens never being borne by others, he would not have used the reciprocal pronoun.” Thus, mutuality inheres in Paul’s use of the reciprocal pronoun; to deny it violates the essence of reciprocity and defies Paul’s grammar.

In Ephesians 5:21ff. submission means “voluntary yielding for the sake of love.” [It’s noteworthy that 1 Corinthians 16:15 shows τάσσω (tassō), the root of ὑποτάσσω (hypotassō) indicates “devotion,” not “under the authority of.”]

Payne’s proposal, that we take “submit” to mean “voluntary yielding for the sake of love,” fits all relationships addressed in Ephesians 5:21-6:4: everyone to each other (5:21); wives to husbands (5:22), the Church to Christ (5:24), husbands to wives (5:25-33), children to parents (6:1-4), and slaves to masters (6:5-9). Incidentally, the logic of this suggests: 1) If Paul’s injunction for every believer to submit to one another involves husbands (and clearly it would), then husbands loving their wives is tantamount to submitting to them, given Payne’s definition of submission as “voluntarily yielding for the sake of love.” The basis for and grounding of Paul’s appeal beginning in 5:21 and extending through 6:9, therefore, is not authority but love. This distinguishes Paul’s teaching from other house codes of his day.

Leave a Reply