From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sun Sep 13 1998 - 17:14:25 EDT

At 7:14 PM -0500 9/9/98, Jonathan Robie wrote:
>ECOMEN OUDE hAI EKKLHSIAI TOU QEOU ("but if anyone chooses to be
>contentious, we do not have such a custom, nor do the churches of God")
>In context, I'm not sure what TOIAUTHN SUNHQEIAN refers to. If TOIAUTHN
>SUNHQEIAN refers to the practice of praying with the head uncovered, this
>might mean "if you want to make something of it, let's get this straight:
>we just don't do that". That's the interpretation I grew up with.
>The notes in "The Word in Life Study Bible" suggest another possible
>interpretation, roughly "but if someone wants to make a fuss about this,
>look, neither we nor the churches really have a policy on this". How
>plausible is this interpretation? Can it really mean this?

I'm not sure I can crack this nut, but nobody else seems to have rushed in
yet, so why not have a stab at it. I confess right off the bat (learned
that from Mark McGwire, of course-- ;-) ) that I don't understand what
the topic under discussion in this little snippet (1 Cor 11:13-16) is
really all about. However, so far as I can figure from the context (Paul
asked at the outset about what nature teaches about TO PREPON), it's NOT a
matter of policy but one of what the author (Paul) thinks is "natural"
behavior. He caps it off in verse 16 saying that neither "we" (Paul and the
groups he is familiar with) nor "the churches of God" (presumably this is
meant to include the former but probably to be more expansive and
generalizing) "hold with such a convention." Now I don't think SUNHQEIA
thus qualified by TOIAUTH can mean "policy on this matter"; I think rather
that it must mean a conventional practice, and I would assume that this
refers to a practice of doing as the Corinthians are doing. I really think
that a "policy" would be referred to by a different term: something like
DOGMA in the sense of a formal decision with the force of law.

All the above is nothing but guesswork, and I claim no more for it than that.

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