|HOLINESS SERIES: WE HAVE NO SUCH CUSTOM!
Throughout the world of Christianity there has been a clear insight as to what the Apostle Paul was saying in 1 Corinthians chp 11, regarding the "hair issue". He beautifully preaches a masterpiece message regarding the difference between the man and the woman, with regards to the length of their hair. But after his great insight and clear definition of the proper way a Christian should appear, he writes a verse that has been known throughout the church world as the "the great loophole". He says
I Cor 11:16
16 But if any man seem to be contentious we have no such custom neither the churches of God.
But I would like to tell you by way of bible study, that this scripture is not a “loophole" to get out of the preceding verses, which came before it. To have a proper understanding of what Paul means in this verse, we need to understand one of the key words in this verse CUSTOM
CUSTOMS OF CORINTH
The Second Letter of Paul to the Corinthians or as we say II Corinthians, was written from Macedonia in about A.D. 55. The letter was written after an actual visit by Paul to Corinth. When Paul came into Corinth he had a big job to do. For Corinth, like the majority of the communities in Greece, was deeply seeded in Pagan Worship.
By the time Paul had reached Corinth in A.D. 55 the people of that time had been worshipping the Greek Gods since 700 B.C. Grecians and Corinthians began to worship Zeus as early as the 2nd millennium B.C. Which continued throughout their history. Corinth was steeped in idolatry, so the Apostle Paul was addressing idolatry though the worship of various gods and goddesses.
Greek Divinities can be divided into several groups. The earliest group was the Titans, led by Cronus. The most powerful group was the Olympians. Several ranks of divinities existed among the Olympians. There were 6 gods and 6 goddesses....
Zeus - Ruler of all other gods, Apollo - god of music & poetry, Ares - god of war, Hephaestus - blacksmith for the gods, Hermes - messenger for the gods, Poseidon - god of earthquakes and the ocean. The goddesses were Athena -goddess of wisdom and war, Aphrodite - goddess of love, Artemis - goddess of hunting, Demeter - goddess of agriculture, Hera - sister and wife of Zeus, and Hestia- goddess of the earth. 3 major gods were also...Hades - ruler of the underworld, Dionysus - god of wine and wild behavior, and Pan - god of the forest.
(WORLD BOOK 1994 - article Religion, The Greeks)
The only time women had cut their hair was in the worship of pagan deities.
The hair was presented to the deities as a form of worship and showed devotion.
It also represented submission to their favorite goddess for protection.
A Stroll Thru Corinth
"In Biblical times when you entered Corinth, at the top of the hill was the temple of Diana. The first sailor from the sea to the top of the hill was given free access to the whole harlot harem of Diana. The prostitutes in the temple all had short hair. It had been given as a sacrifice to the goddess, Diana." (from the THEOLOGICAL DICTIONARY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT).
When the beautiful Greek maidens with their long, flowing hair came to prostitute themselves at the temple, they shaved off their long tresses of hair and cast them into the burning altar at the entryway of the temple as a sacrifice to Diana. "Young girls revered this goddess as guardian of their maiden years, and before marriage they offered her a lock of their hair, their girdle, and their maiden garment." (Excerpted from UNGER'S BIBLE DICTIONARY)
National Geographic Magazine
To back up what the rest of the Christian resources are telling us.. is none other than one of the most respected magazine periodical foundations in the world...
The National Geographic Magazine, June 1972, page 774 tells of how the Greek populace began to build a series of shrines that was dedicated to a particular goddess. These shrines were built in every major city in Greece including Corinth. The one pictured in the magazine shows and altar that was used for sacrificial offering of hair in Biblical times. This temple was structured like many during that time of Paul, and was located behind a large brazen altar. The article said that the women entered to sacrifice their hair in annual mourning for the death of Aphrodite's lover, Adonis.
In the magazine under the picture it quotes:
"Glory of the city, the Temple of Aphrodite towers behind its blazing altar. Women enter to sacrifice their hair in annual mourning Adonis"
WE H AVE NO SUCH CUSTOM!!!
The reason Paul took time to write 1 Corinthians 11 is because of the questions that were coming to him. He had to give answers to these new Christians in Greece. When these Greek women came to Jesus, their new God, they were assuming they should cut their hair in worship. They had done this type of thing for the gods they used to serve. That is why Paul had to write back and say in essence, "NO, NO, NO!!" God gave you your hair for a covering, and "if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God."
He was saying we have no such custom in the Church, of shaving off a women's hair and sacrificing it to Jesus. WE HAVE NO SUCH CUSTOM!! Paul is NOT saying "well.... let's compromise, and not be contentious" He is saying, WE DON'T DO THAT, AND WERE NOT GONNA FIGHT ABOUT IT!
Some have horribly misinterpreted Paul's words as saying. "Just do what you want to.. as long as you don't become contentious" But Paul was letting the new Christians at Corinth aware of the Apostles stance, and he was not going to fight or budge.