In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul the apostle is teaching about the proper order in the church gatherings.  Paul teaches us that a man should not publicly speak or pray in the church while wearing a hat.  Verse 4 says, “Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.”  He also teaches that a woman should not speak without wearing a covering on her head.  Verse 5 says, “But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.”  Realizing that this was going to be a controversial topic, Paul says in verse 16, “But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.”  If anyone wanted to be contentious about these truths, Paul said there was no custom of debating or arguing against the truth of God’s Word, neither here in Corinth nor in any of the “churches of God.” 

Paul later wrote in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”  The Word of God is not to be doubted or accused of being incorrect.  Paul was used of the Lord to give us much of the New Testament.  What he wrote in his epistles was given by the inspiration of God and we should accept it as such. 

The Greek word for contentious is ‘philóneikos’.  It means to quarrel, to be fond of strife, to be disputatious.  In the portion before us, this speaks of someone who loves to argue.  Possibly one who simply looks for an argument for argument’s sake.  I’m sure we have all met people like this…people who seem to look for a fight.  In 1 Corinthians 11:16, Paul was stating that we do not engage in arguments about the authenticity or the authority of God’s Word. 

In your question, you alluded to Jude 3 which says, “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”  In this verse, we are exhorted to “earnestly contend for the faith.”  The Greek word for contend is ‘epagōnízomai’.  That means to struggle for.  It means to take a firm stand. 

  • The Amplified Bible translates this as to “fight strenuously.” 
  • Young’s Literal Translation translates this as to “agonize for the faith.” 

It is clear that we should stand up for the truth of God’s Word, using our strength in Christ to “…HOLD FAST the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)” (Hebrews 10:23).

Surely the believer in Christ is not one that loves to argue and quarrel.  Rather we should earnestly stand for God’s truth.  This doesn’t require that we argue or enjoy strife.  We simply, boldly, and humbly refuse to compromise God’s Word regardless of the arguments of those who are not saved.  We read in 2 Thessalonians 2:15, “Therefore, brethren, STAND FAST, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.”

1 Peter 3:15 instructs us, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”

The believer should contend, or stand up, for the truth.  We should always be ready to share with others the truth that is found in the Word of God.  Those who love to argue only want to win arguments.  The believer’s position is that we want to defend God’s Word so that precious souls might believe and be saved.  We do not care about winning arguments.  We want to win souls!  (CC)  (548.4)