Skip to content

How to preach 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 well?

Yesterday I appeared alongside Dani Treweek in Dominic Steele’s The Pastor’s Heart. The topic: How to preach 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 well? This is a much-debated Bible passage that speaks about men, women and headship. The video and audio for the interview are available at The Pastor’s Heart site.

Here’s the description from Dominic Steele:

There’s a nervousness among reformed evangelical complementarians about preaching any of the New Testament gender passages, but particularly 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, where the issue of head is discussed.

This passage is much debated in theological literature, but it seems it isn’t taught much on in our churches.

More recently there have been reports of claims blaming the bible’s teaching on headship for incidents of domestic violence.  Of course we want to speak strongly against any form of DV.

But, should we avoid teaching on 1 Corinthians, or avoid chapter 11?  I don’t think that’s the answer.

I asked some of my minister friends for recommendations of good Sunday morning sermons on 1 Corinthians 11 that I could check out online (sermons that had handled the bible well and interacted well with our current cultural concerns).  There weren’t many responses.

So, I asked a couple of friends to come and help me with my sermon preparation.  I am hoping it might be useful to you as well.

Dr Lionel Windsor is a New Testament lecturer at Moore Theological College in Sydney.

Dani Treweek is the former former women’s pastor at St Matthias church in Sydney (www.matthias.org.au).  She is doing her PhD on Singleness. And is a significant force behind the Singleminded Conference later in the year.

For an extensive analysis of the evidence for a definition of “source” or “authority” see:

Grudem, Wayne, ‘The Meaning of Kephale (“Head”): A Response to Recent Studies’, Pages 425-468 in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, ed. John Piper & Wayne Grudem (Illinois: Crossway Books, 2006).

Also, Wayne Grudem has posted on his website, what looks like lecture notes, or a paper for distribution to a class, giving further reflections on the meaning of the word kephale.

Moore College’s Priscilla and Aquila Centre’s resources section has an excellent library of resources on topics surrounding the ministry of women in partnership with men. It includes some helpful articles on 1 Corinthians 11.

I asked Lionel Windsor if he would kindly share his private flow diagram/personal notes on the passage.  Lionel didn’t prepare these for wider consumption, but graciously agreed.


Additional note. The issue of domestic violence has been raised in this week’s The Pastor’s Heart. If this has raised issues for you please speak to a friend, minister or pastor. Again let me be clear there is no place in passages like 1 Corinthians 11 for any violence or aggression in a marriage.

Audio and video available here (~40 minutes).

Published in1 Corinthians

Publications by Lionel Windsor:

  • The Named Jew and the Name of God: A new reading of Romans 2:17–29

All posts

Recent blog posts

  • Romans Crash CourseRomans Crash Course (video)
    A 75 minute video course in the Apostle Paul's letter to the Romans designed for church members and leaders.
  • The Mistranslation "Call Yourself a Jew" in Romans 2:17: A Mythbusting StoryThe mistranslation “call yourself a Jew”: A myth-busting story (Romans 2:17)
    This is a story about a scholarly myth and how I had the chance to bust it. I’m talking here about a small but significant 20th century biblical translation: “call yourself” instead of “are called” in Romans 2:17.
  • Breaking news: Religious Scandal in RomeThe named Jew and the name of God: A new reading of Romans 2:17–29
    I've just had an article published in the journal Novum Testamentum. In it, I provide a detailed defense of my new reading of Romans 2:17–29. This passage is not primarily about Jewish salvation - rather it's primarily about Jewish teaching and God's glory.
  • Photo by Joseph d'Mello on UnsplashPreaching the Pastoral Epistles
    A one-hour audio seminar with principles and ideas for preaching the biblical books 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus ("Pastoral Epistles")
  • A Crash Course in Romans: Livestream
    Here's a <90 minute "Crash Course in Romans" I'm running on Monday evening 1 Feb 2021. It's aimed at leaders and any interested members of my church St Augustine's Neutral Bay and Church by the Bridge Kirribilli. Anyone is welcome to watch the livestream.
  • Photo by Dmitry Ratushny on UnsplashWhat’s wrong with the world? Is there hope? (Ephesians)
    Guilt, weakness, spiritual slavery, prejudice, arrogance, tribalism, conflict, war, victimhood, persecution, pain, suffering, futility, ignorance, lying, deceit, anger, theft, greed, pornography, sexual sin, darkness, fear, drunkenness, substance abuse, domestic abuse, workplace abuse, spiritual powers... In Paul's letter to the Ephesians, he says many things about the problems we face in this world. He also gives us wonderful reasons to find life, hope and healing in Jesus Christ. Along the way, he provides practical teachings about how to respond and live together.
  • What does Ephesians say about reconciliation?
    We humans are not very good at living up close with others. This is especially true when we have a history of conflict with those others. Reconciliation isn't easy. No matter how much you might want healing, it’s hardly ever a matter of just everybody getting on and pretending the hurts didn’t happen. In Paul's letter to the Ephesians, he says some very important, fundamental things about peace and reconciliation, and gives many other very practical teachings about how to live together in light of these truths.
  • Lift Your Eyes: Reflections on EphesiansLift Your Eyes – How it works
    Lift Your Eyes: Reflections on Ephesians. Here's a video where I explain how the free online resource works.
  • Review: The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self by Carl Trueman
    I need to understand the people around me, so I can live for the gospel among them and speak the gospel to them. To do that, I need to understand the people around me. That's where Carl Trueman's book is so incredibly valuable.
  • What does Ephesians say about church?
    There are so many ideas about what the church is should be. How do we navigate them all? Here are ten key reflections from Ephesians.

On this site

All content copyright Lionel Windsor