L-12. What does 1 CORINTHIANS 11:3 Truly Mean?



1 Corinthians 11:3.

“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the HEAD of the woman is the MAN; and the head of Christ is God.” 

Every false doctrine comes from Christians taking verses of Scripture OUT of their CONTEXT. And as I have said many times, any verse or verses when viewed ALONE and apart from the REST of God’s word may SEEM to be saying something that it is NOT TRULY saying. And this is one of those verses that seem to be saying that MEN are ABOVE women. And, therefore, women must OBEY men. Or more particularly WIVES must obey everything that their husbands tell them to do SUBMITTING themselves to complete obedience to their husbands.

But when we RIGHTLY divide the word of God we can clearly see that the Apostle Paul is NOT teaching that women must obey their husbands as some Christians wrongly interpret this verse to mean. Let me explain what I mean.

I believe that the Bible will never contradict itself and therefore I believe that the Apostle Paul will never contradict himself. So any apparent contradiction or what SEEMS to be a contradiction is due to an error in translation or and error in interpreting the verses that seem as if they contradict each other.

Now, some Christians INTERPRET 1 Corinthians 11:3 to mean that since the man is the HEAD of the woman then that means that women MUST be in TOTAL SUBMISSION to their husbands. And even some Christians have interpreted 1 Corinthians to mean that ALL women are under the authority of ALL men in the church. Basically, some Christians use 1 Corinthians 11:3 to wrongly teach men to LORD OVER the women as being INFERIOR to men in the church.

But that is NOT what the Apostle Paul ever intended his words to mean. The Bible itself, as a whole, teaches us that God created a woman as a HELPER to her husband and NOT as a SLAVE to her husband. Please read Colossians 3:18,19 to learn what 1 Corinthians 11:3 truly means in the LIGHT of the WHOLE word of Almighty God. So then, let us read these two verses in their CONTEXT.

Colossians 3:11-25.

“Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all and IN ALL. (This is the SAME thing that the Apostle Paul teaches in Galatians but in Galatians, Paul adds neither is there MALE or FEMALE IN Jesus Christ. Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither MALE nor FEMALE: for you are ALL ONE IN Christ Jesus.” For an in-depth study on Galatians 3:25 please read the study WHAT DOES GALATIANS 3:28 TRULY MEAN?” But for now, please know and understand that everything that the Apostle Paul teaches on the subject of women submitting to their husbands must be interpreted in the LIGHT of Galatians 3:28 in order to arrive at a correct interpretation of what Paul TRULY intended his words to mean)

12.  Put on, therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering

13.  Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man has a quarrel against ANY: (INCLUDING his wife and his children. And the SAME is equally true for the women) even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 

14.  And above all these things put on charity, (Or LOVE) which is the bond of perfectness. 

15.  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also you are called in one body; and be you thankful. 

16.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.  (The SAME things that the Apostle Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 14:26)

17.  And whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. 

18.  Wives, submit yourselves unto your OWN husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. (Meaning that wives do NOT have to submit to the husbands or anyone else when their submitting would cause them to sin)

19.  Husbands, LOVE your wives and be not bitter against them. (This last phrase should read, and do NOT EMBITTER your wives against yourself)

20.  Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well-pleasing unto the Lord. 

21.  Fathers provoke NOT your children to anger, lest they are discouraged. (The SAME meaning as verse 19, PROVOKE NOT your WIVES to anger or EMBITTERMENT against YOU)

22.  Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: (Meaning you do not have to obey your boss to STEAL something for him or do anything that is a SIN)

23.  And whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 

24.  Knowing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for you serve the Lord Christ

25.  But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he has done: and there is no respect of persons.” 

The Greek word in verse 19 which is translated as the word “bitter” means to EMBITER. In other words, while it is true that husbands should never be bitter toward their wives this verse should actually read that husbands must not EMBITTER their wives against themselves. And men LORDING OVER their wives, has indeed, made some wives EMBITTERED toward their husbands.

Here is what E-Sword says about the Greek word “pikrainō” that is wrongly translated as bitter in verse 19.





From G4089; to embitter (literally or figuratively): - be (make) bitter.

And the meaning of the English word to embitter someone means to make someone bitter, angry, hurt, or resentful because of one's bad experiences or a sense of unjust treatment.

So just as the fathers are commanded to NOT PROVOKE their children so are the husbands commanded to NOT PROVOKE or EMBITTER their wives by treating them unjustly as your slaves or property. Men are to LOVE their wives EVEN AS Jesus loves us. Some men are quick to quote ONLY the verses that SEEM to make men superior to women. But when those verses are interpreted CORRECTLY in the LIGHT of all what Paul teaches then we can see very clearly that the MEN have the greater RESPONSIBILITY to LOVE their wives even as Jesus loves us. In TRUTH, we are to SUBMIT to EACH OTHER, according to Ephesians 5:21. But again, let us read verse 22 in its context.

Please read Ephesians 5:14-21.

 “Wherefore he says, Awake you that sleep and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light

15.  See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise

16.  Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 

17.  Wherefore be you not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is

18.  And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 

19.  Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; (The SAME thing that Paul teaches in Colossians 3:16 and in 1 Corinthians 14:15,26)

20.  Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 

21.  Submitting yourselves ONE to ANOTHER in the fear of God.”


And in the SAME WAY that we are to be submitting to EACH OTHER so also the wives should submit to their OWN husbands just as Ephesians 5:22 teaches. But sadly, some Christians TWIST Ephesians 5:22 just like they incorrectly interpret 1 Corinthians 11:3 to wrongly mean that men are to lord over the women in the church and that a husband is to lord over their wife. For a deeper understanding of the TRUE meaning of Ephesians 5:22 please read the study “THE TRUE MEANING OF EPHESIANS 5:22!”

Now let us take a look at the meaning of the English word “SUBMISSION”. The prefix “SUB” means to be under like SUBmarine means to be under the seawater. And “MISSION” means a task set before you. And the “MISSION” of every Christian man is to serve the Lord. So wives are to be UNDER the MISSION of their husbands IN the Lord or AS the husbands serve the Lord. In other words, if your husband is called by God into full-time ministry then the wives are to SUBMIT to the husband who is being used by God in the ministry. In other words, wives follow your OWN husband as he follows the Lord.

Colossians 2:18.

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your OWN husbands, as it is fit IN the Lord.”

In other words, wives, you are to FOLLOW and obey the LEADING of your OWN husbands as HE follows Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 5:22-33.

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 

23.  For the husband is the head (Or the SPIRITUAL LEADER) of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. (So even as Jesus is the Savior of the church so is the husband supposed to be the savior of his WIFE. We have to have BALANCE when interpreting the word of God. All false teaching comes about because some Christians FOCUS ONLY on ONE side. And sadly, SOME men focus only on what their WIFE is supposed to do and they read right over THEIR OWN responsibility of being a good husband TO their WIFE)

24.  Therefore, as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. (Because your husband LOVES you and cares for your every need just like Jesus cares for his church)

25.  Husbands, LOVE your wives, EVEN AS Christ also LOVED the church, and gave himself for it

26.  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 

27.  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having a spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. (In other words, if you want a GLORIOUS wife then start LOVING her even as Jesus loves you and lay down your life for her life)

28.  So ought men to LOVE their wives AS their OWN bodies. He that LOVES his wife LOVES himself

29.  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, EVEN AS the Lord (Cherishes) the church

30.  For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 

31.  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. (AS in, a TEAM working TOGETHER and NOT against each other competing as to who is the best) 

32.  This is a great mystery: but I speak CONCERNING Christ and the church

33.  Nevertheless (Or moreover) let every one of you in particular SO LOVE his wife even as himself, and the wife see that she REVERENCE her husband.”

In other words, the HUSBAND has the bigger responsibility to SUBMIT himself to the needs of his WIFE more than the wife needs to submit to her husband's need. God created the woman to be her husband’s HELPER and not her husband’s slave. 

Now let us take Paul’s word CONCERNING the CHURCH and bring the TRUE meaning of submission into the marriage of the husband and his wife. Just as Jesus is the HEAD of the church and we all YIELD our OWN will to do the WILL of Almighty God the Father and his Son, Jesus, so ALSO, must the woman YIELD her own will to the will of her husband IN the Lord and AS UNTO the Lord. The KEY is AS UNTO the Lord Jesus Christ. Keep reading to understand the sound Biblical way that a woman is to yield to her GODLY husband in the Lord.

In other words, we know that everyone is created equal in the eyes of Almighty God our creator but yet by our own choice when a woman marries a man she WILLING chooses to ALLOW her husband to be the LEADER of the family. Now, that does not mean that the wife has no say in the marriage. But rather it means that the husband should have the final say on a matter AFTER that matter has been MUTUALLY discussed between the husband and the wife. 

Some may ask, what about if the husband makes bad choices. Even when the wife knows that her husband is making a “bad” decision she should yield herself to his decision IF SO BE that her husband is the PROVIDER of his wife and family's needs. Submitting to your husband does not mean you have to BLINDLY submit to his every command. When there are problems between two Christians in a church, then they are to FIRST, do their best to work out those problems with each other first. And if the problem cannot be resolved they seek a wise brother or sister in the Lord to help them work out their problem. If no solution can be agreed upon then the matter should be brought before the whole church. And IF Christians followed this teaching of Jesus then very FEW problems would be brought in front of the whole church because no one wants the whole church to know their problems so they would come to an AGREEMENT long before the time to bring their problem before the whole church. It is kind of like parents counting to three and the children KNOW that they had better never hear their parent get to number three.

My main point is that when we submit to EACH OTHER and we esteem others above ourselves then there is no NEGATIVE overtone in our submission to one another. The wife is HONORED to submit to her husband the same as the husband is HONORED to submit to Jesus and Jesus was HONORED to submit to Almighty God the Father.

There cannot be TWO leaders in a marriage where both leaders are NOT in AGREEMENT. The Bible teaches us with a question, How shall TWO people walk together EXCEPT they are in AGREEMENT?”

Amos 3:3.

“Can two walk together, except they are agreed?”

So when a husband and wife can NOT seem to come into AGREEMENT on a matter then the wife is to submit herself to the decision of her husband on that matter because that is the WILL of God when the husband's decision is AS UNTO the LORD. In other words, if a Christian husband strays away from God and turns back to his old ways and he makes an UNGODLY decision then the Christian wife is NOT under any obligation to obey her husband in an ungodly matter.

Some Christians, both men, and women have abused the words of Paul so much so that some men treat their wives like property and that is NOT how Paul intended his words to be understood. Paul compares the marriage of a man and a woman to the CHURCH which is submitting to the leadership of Jesus. So it is all about the CHURCH. And as Jesus is the head or the leader of the church and ALL Christians put down their OWN will to follow Jesus so should the woman put down her own will to follow HER man AS he is FOLLOWING Jesus.

For example, if God calls your husband into full-time ministry to be a missionary in another country and that calling of God requires your husband to quit his job to FOLLOW the leading of the Holy Spirit then the wife should SUBMIT her will to her husband's WILL when her husband's will is submitted to the Lord’s WILL. And for MEN to take Paul’s word BEYOND that is to twist the word of God to your own destruction. If you want a SLAVE then hire an employee to rub your stinky feet when you get home from work.

Now to the meaning of the word “REVERENCE”. Ephesians 5:33 teaches us that the wife should REVERENCE her husband but let not the HUSBAND forget the FIRST part of that verse. Read it again.

Ephesians 5:33.  

“Nevertheless (Or moreover) let every one of you in particular SO LOVE his wife even as himself, and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”

So since you LOVE to have YOUR feet rubbed then you too should love to rub your wife’s feet as well. Do unto others as you would desire them to do unto you and that INCLUDES your wife. And if the wife TRULY reverences her husband then she will rub his feet but NEITHER the wife nor the husband should ever ABUSE the love of their partner. And if in doubt then always esteem OTHERS ABOVE yourself. Sooner or later you WILL REAP what you SOW.

Now let us read the third and final passage of Scripture in 1 Peter 3:1 where wives are told to SUBMIT to the husband so that we can learn the TRUE meaning of SUBMISSION in the eyes of Almighty God himself as opposed to the understanding of MEN who lord over their wives.

1 Peter 3:1.

“Likewise, WIVES, you be in SUBJECTION to your own HUSBANDS; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;”

That is the way some husbands read this verse when it is taken OUT of its context. Now, all that some MEN see is the word of God commanding their wives to obey them. And thus, some men WRONGLY see women as being inferior to them as a slave is inferior to their owner. But I charge all men AND women to keep BALANCE when interpreting the Scriptures so you can see the “big” picture so to speak. Whenever you see the word “likewise”, “wherefore”, and “therefore” then you need to look for why those words are “there FOR”. The word “likewise” means in the SAME MANNER. So then, wives, you be in subjection to your own husbands in the SAME MANNER AS…. What manner? There is a MANNER set forth in Scripture as to HOW the wives are to be in subjection to their OWN husbands and NOT always to be in subjection to all men. Both men and women are to be in subjection to SOUND Biblical leadership that is NOT lording over them but rather LEADING them by example and good sound Biblical teaching. The SIGN of every cult and false teaching is that dogmatically demanding of the leaders to obey THEM because they alone know the truth.

Always remember to BALANCE the Scripture by comparing Scripture with Scripture to learn the TRUE meaning of a verse of Scripture. And with that in mind, we need to look at 1 Peter 3:7 where we see another word “LIKEWISE”. Only this time it says likewise, you HUSBANDS.

1 Peter 3:7.

“Likewise, you HUSBANDS, dwell with them (Your OWN wife) according to knowledge, giving HONOR unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, (Meaning that your wife NEEDS you, She needs your LOVE. She needs to know that you CHERISH her and that you desire to NOURISH her as you do your own body. She needs to SEE your LOVE. She needs to HEAR your LOVING CONVERSATION. So men, HONOR you wife) and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”

Did you know that for every instruction that God gives to women God gives a counterbalance instruction to men? We can find seven instructions for women and we can find seven instructions to bring that BALANCE to the husband and wife TEAM. And when you learn that you are on the SAME TEAM fighting TOGETHER for the SAME victories then you will stop fighting each other and start working TOGETHER. Refuse to argue with each other because the truth always comes out in the end and you MAY be wrong when you think you know that you are right. TRUST in God to reveal the truth and there will be no need to argue.

And did you also know that there are seven instructions for BOTH the husband and the wife as a TEAM? I will just LIST these 21 instructions in their three groups of 7 instructions in each group. There are seven instructions for women, seven instructions for men, and seven instructions for both husband and wife together. And then, in another study called “WHAT DOES 1 PETER 3:1 TRULY MEAN?”, I will give you all the Scriptures so that you can learn the TRUE SOUND Biblical meaning of the word “SUBMISSION”, SUBMIT, and SUBMITTING to each other and to our spouses.


#1. Learn to SUFFER.

#2. Learn to FOLLOW your husband with trust.

#3. Learn to REVERENCE your husband IN the Lord.

#4. Learn to be friendly.

#5. Learn to behave godly to win your husband’s honor.

#6. Learn NOT to SLANDER your husband.

#7. Learn to TRUST in God.


#1. Learn to SUFFER.

#2. Learn to LEAD your wife as a good shepherd.

#3. Learn to LOVE your wife as Jesus loves you.

#4. Learn to dwell in peace according to knowledge.

#5. Learn to HONOR your wife. 

#6. Learn NOT to PREACH at your wife.

#7. Learn to never EMBITTER your wife.


#1. Learn to SUFFER.

#2. Learn to be like little children who trust.

#3. Learn to esteem others above yourself.

#4. Learn that we do not war against flesh and blood.

#5. Learn to obey the Holy Spirit above all things.

#6. Learn to submit to elders IN the Lord.

#7. Learn to obey the laws of the land IN the Lord.

For further study on the subject of the role of the women in the church and in the home please read all the studies under the heading >>>CAN WOMEN BE PASTORS?<<< And please be sure to read part two of this particular study which will go deeper into the Biblical husband and wife relationship to each other. Again, part two of this study is called “WHAT DOES 1 PETER 3:1 TRULY MEAN?” Also, here is a link to a video teaching that I came across in my research on the role of women in the church. It is titled Women in leadership! Must women keep silent? And here is another video showing how women are faced with choosing God over their families misguided beliefs and, therefore, they are faced with LOSING their family. Twisted Scripture - 1 Timothy 2:12

Thanks for reading and may God bless you richly as you continue to seek the TRUTH of the WHOLE word of Almighty God.

Your brother in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Brother Mark.


Here are some links to some of the research sources that I used. Some of my readers have been asking for video teachings so I have been searching for some good sound Bible video teachings by others on the subject that I myself do not yet have video teachings on those particular subjects. And this is one of those subjects that I myself have not yet made any video teachings. 

Here is the link to the article that I quoted from in some of my studies on the subject of women because it was the most in-depth and unbiased article that I found.

Junia, a Female Apostle: An Examination of the Historical Record

And here are some links to some video teachings on WOMEN in the Bible.

In this first video, there are two different men teaching. The first half is from a radio teaching and in the second half, you can see the teacher. The video is around 13 minutes long.

Paul’s high view of women

In this second video below, I do not agree with his teaching on the Trinity but what I do agree with is a conclusion on the subject about the abuse of Scripture when it comes to lording over women. 

Ephesians 5:22 and 1 Timothy 2:11

The following video is also a short video that teaches us a little about Jewish CUSTOMS and how the Jews viewed women as basically their PROPERTY. I chose this video so that you can see that the Jewish Judaizing Christians did not agree with the teachings of the Apostle Paul and they were EXAMINING Paul as to whether or not he was a true Apostle of Jesus Christ.

JEWISH CUSTOM view of women 

Now, this next video teaching is rather long but I believe this man put a lot of research and study on 1 Corinthians 15:34,35 and the other verses that SEEM to teach that women must not be used by God to teach men in the church. Now, while I agree with his research on those verses I DISAGREE with his own personal opinion on women wearing head coverings. He simply failed to do any research on that particular subject of the Jewish CUSTOM of women wearing head coverings. Please understand that there are many good Bible teachers on PARTICULAR subjects BUT on OTHER subjects they may simply “PARROT” what they were previously taught by their church denomination WITHOUT doing their own in-depth Bible studies on those other subjects. Around 18 minutes into the video, he talks about Junia and later alludes to Junia being Joahna but I would listen to the whole video the entire context.


In the following video, I find one of the best explanations and teaching on 1 Corinthians 14:34,35 that I ever came across. But because this video is by a WOMAN I listed it toward the end. For you see, some may wrongly think that teaching about women by a woman might be biased. But in truth, this woman shows the PAIN that some women suffer needlessly because of false teaching. And to me, her teaching is SOUND Biblical teaching on this subject concerning women being used by God as teachers in the church.

Women in the new testament

In this next video, there is a list of the NAMES of all the women in the New Testament for those who want to do their own Bible study of how God uses women in the Bible.

NAMES of women in the New Testament 

And this last video I just added for those want-a-be scholarly type men that like quoting the Greek just to look smart.

Xenophon of Ephesus 5 and 1 Timothy 2

Derived from Greek ξενος (xenos) meaning foreign, strange and φωνη (phone) meaning voice”. That is to say, xenophone means a strange voice.