1 Corinthians 11:2-16 – An interactive Bible Study

A few years ago, I was teaching a class on hermeneutics while I was struggling through my antiviral therapy for Hepatitis C.  In that class, we would spend part of the class going through the hermeneutical rules we had learned and attempt to apply them to difficult texts.  It was a very enjoyable exercise for most, and one of the difficult texts we tackled was 1 Corinthians 11:2-16.  I’ve recently been asked about 1 Corinthians 11 and the issue of head covering, and that question comes up regularly for me.  Knowing that convictions on an issue come through personally working through the Scripture instead of having someone spoon-feed you an answer, I wanted to provide my bible study on 1 Corinthians 11 for the benefit of a few readers.

I’ve modified it a slight to incorporate a little more interpretive helps, seeing that I’m not there personally with you to help answer questions.  Also, you may want to refresh yourself on the basic rules of Bible study here.  Also, here’s some basic rules that are part of every Bible study I write:

  1. The text upon which the study is based is ESV.
  2. No flippies.  Scripture interprets Scripture, sure, but the main focus of the way I study the Bible is to draw meaning from the text at hand.  That means no flipping to other chapters, unless you’re told otherwise.  Most Christians love to toss out the “Scripture interprets Scripture” line, but in practice it becomes an excuse for what I call “concordant exegesis”: using a concordance to interpret the text rather than the nouns and verbs in their various ascending circles of context (sentence, paragraph, pericope, logical argument, book, testament, theology, history, geography).  One should never use one verse to “interpret” another just because they share a common term in an English translation.  Dragging the meaning of terms from one passage, in an entirely different context, into another, is a guaranteed way to misunderstand whatever text is  currently in front of your eyes.  It’s a horrible interpretive habit that has become sanctified simply because it’s common.
  3. Dig here.  Most of the questions are actually as simple as they seem.  In my Bible studies, I try to “go deep”, which means I go deep into what the author wrote in this text.  That means getting the surface reading right: the terms, the grammar, and the argument/example/principle being put forward.  If you miss that but find a whole bunch of cool speculative intertextual or typological connections, you’ve ultimately missed the meaning of the text.  When that happens, your Bible Study becomes the exegetical equivalent of all icing and no cake.  It might sound great at first, but around 4 pounds into a 9 pound pail of chocolate buttercreme icing, you’ll have an involuntary change of heart (and stomach).chocolate-buttercreme
    Believe me, I’ve tried…and painfully lost a bet in the process.
  4. Harder questions are marked.  An asterisk (*) question is a “think a little more about this” question.  That’s my indication that the question is not a surface level question.

With that small foundation laid, let’s dig through it! Continue reading

Generational Curses Part 6: The Finale

In the previous post, we looked at some of the secondary supporting texts for the idea of Generational Curses from categories 2 & 3.  Those texts are utilized to argue that Children indirectly suffer for the sins of their fathers and Generational Curses are broken by “calling out” to the Lord.  We worked through each text in the list and showed how they don’t teach Generational Curse theology at all.  Now, it’s time to finish off the list of secondary text with the three remaining categories of texts.

For those of you who have endured this series, I applaud your persistence.  This series is not meant to be a “read through to the end” sort of series, but rather a “resource you can use in the future” that will deal with a bunch of texts that cover all the main beliefs that make up generational curse theology.  So even if someone tosses a bunch of verses at you that I haven’t dealt with specifically, I’ll have dealt with the concept and will hopefully provide you with a bit of help in sorting through the concept.

The whole concept of Generational Curses is a theology that is the sort of “doctrines of demons” that Paul warned Timothy about in 1 Timothy 4:1.  So, let’s tear down what remains of this paper house and close off this series.

paper-house Continue reading

Generational Curses Part 5: An Exegetical Response to Category 2 and 3 Texts

In our last post, we looked at the main supporting texts for the idea of Generational Curses from category 1: texts that are argued to teach that God directly visits the iniquity of the fathers on the children.  That list covered the main and most typical biblical texts used to promote the idea of Generational Curses, so that post will be the largest and most in depth of this series.  Still, there are several secondary supporting texts that need to be dealt with.

Generational Curse theology is a false theology that needs to be replaced with proper biblical theology, and that doesn’t involve a single text or an unexplained list of texts.

world-shatter Continue reading

Generational Curses Part 4: An Exegetical Response to Category 1 Texts

Welcome back, ye brave souls!

In the last post, I scared many people by laying out a large swath of biblical texts used to (supposedly) support the idea of generational curses.  I arranged those texts in six distinct categories, with each category being texts marshaled around a specific point of generational curse theology. Today, I’m only going to deal with the texts in Category 1.  Seeing that these are the most widely used texts to establish generational curse theology, I’m going to spend the most amount of time here.

This will be a bit of an undertaking, but I’m confident you can stomach it!

bite-off-more-than-you-can-chew Continue reading

Generational Curses Part 3: The Textual Support

In the first post in this series, I gave a general overview of the idea of generational curses and took a quick look at some of the proponents of the teaching.  In the second post, I gave a quick look at one specific example of the teaching and gave a large list of texts used to attempt to make a biblical case for the existence of generational curses.  In this post, I’ll start what will become a multi-post response and refutation of the whole idea of generational curses.

Why do I feel like I need to make a multi-post response?

Haven’t others done that already?

Well, surprisingly few have taken the subject on with any sort of serious response.

Interestingly, the Assemblies of God actually have a shockingly good, albeit short, response to the problem of generational curses…but that only breeds some serious questions.  One has to wonder why is appears that many AOG pastors don’t care much about what the AOG theologians have to say.  In fact, I’d dare say that the AOG could go as far as requiring official & honest theological *fine print* disclaimers for every “revival”  and people would still flock by the thousands to every new revival, outpouring, or other assorted “move of the Spirit.” Continue reading