When an evil spirit takes possession of a person, that person often loses any control over their own behaviour. That happens in many false religions. So, the person acts in a wild manner.
Such behaviour was familiar to many of the Christians in Corinth. Several of them had formerly belonged to religions like that. They knew how their priests had behaved under the control of evil spirits. For example, their priestesses (female priests) uncovered their heads in a manner that normally would offend people. They shouted wildly and they acted in a frightening manner.
The Holy Spirit was working powerfully in Corinth, and he often spoke through the female Christians. They too were uncovering their heads during prayer. Perhaps they were trying to show that the Holy Spirit was speaking. But their actions were against the customs of their country and it was offending people.
When the Holy Spirit speaks through a person, that person does not lose control of his or her behaviour. So, Christians can choose how they will act.
Paul urged them to behave in a reasonable and sensible manner. He told them to ask themselves what seems right and proper to do. Of course, in different countries, people will have different ideas about the right and proper way to dress or to behave. But Christians should always choose to act in a manner that is sensible and right.
In several translations, 1 Corinthians 11:14 refers to ‘nature’. It probably does not mean ‘the natural world’ here. The meaning is ‘the sense of what is right and proper’. People everywhere have the idea that certain things are right and proper to do. So, that is part of their nature.
Next part: New ideas (1 Corinthians 11:16)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.