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One Corinthians Eleven

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

1 Corinthians 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

1 Corinthians 11:2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.

ordinances. This word can also be translated “traditions.” Before the New Testament Scriptures were written down, the apostles had to provide instructions for guidance of the churches and their order.

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.

the man. The man is not superior to the woman, as God is not superior to Christ, being of the same essence. However, as there is divine order in the relative functions of the three persons of the Trinity, so it was appropriate for God to ordain a divine order in the functions of the family (husband, wife, children). God established this pattern in the very beginning, when Adam was first formed, then Eve (1 Timothy 2:13), and then the children (Genesis 1:28) followed.

1 Corinthians 11:4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.

1 Corinthians 11:5 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.

1 Corinthians 11:6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.

1 Corinthians 11:7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.

glory of the man. This section (1 Corinthians 11:2-16) has to do with church order as an extension of the divine order in the basic institution of the family. Women, in keeping with their divinely established subordinate role (subordinate in role, not in importance or essence), appropriately should indicate this by a covering on their heads—the most suitable covering being long hair (1 Corinthians 11:15). An additional shawl or hat or other covering, while appropriate, is not necessary. Men, however, in their leadership role, are to leave their heads uncovered in the church (short hair, no hat, etc.), as symbolic of their direct openness to their own head, which is Christ. Both men and women are created in God's image (Genesis 1:27), but that image is especially transmitted, as it were, from father to son (Genesis 5:3), with the woman sharing the divine image in her father and in her husband, as reflected from the formation of the body of the first woman from that of the first man.

1 Corinthians 11:8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.

not of the woman. Ever since Adam, men (and women) have been born of women. But the first woman was made from man (Genesis 2:21-24). Here (as in Romans 5:12-19, and other passages) the New Testament draws important doctrinal inferences from a literal acceptance of the creation record in Genesis. The standard evolutionary scenario for the origin of men and women makes no sense whatever in this context. The man and the woman were uniquely created by God, not evolved by chance from ape-like progenitors (1 Corinthians 11:9).

1 Corinthians 11:9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

1 Corinthians 11:10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.

the angels. Angels are “sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Hebrews 1:14), and are intensely interested in the progress of the gospel and the people in the churches (1 Peter 1:12; Ephesians 3:10). Evidently every true church has been assigned one or more angels to try to guard and guide it (note the seven letters from Christ to the churches, recorded in Revelation 2 and 3, each addressed to “the angel of the ... church” (e.g., Revelation 2:1). Paul was reminding the women in the Corinthian church to keep the sign of “power” (or “authority”) on their heads, in view of the invisible presence of angels observing the church and its congregation.

1 Corinthians 11:11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.

1 Corinthians 11:12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.

1 Corinthians 11:13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?

1 Corinthians 11:14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?

long hair. Although there is here no specific definition of how long is “long,” the context indicates that there should be a clear distinction between the long, beautiful hair of women and the short hair of men. The modern unisex fad, with men wearing long hair, earrings and other traditionally feminine accoutrements—especially when taken up by professedly Christian men—is one more sign of rebellion against our Creator. The common depiction of Jesus with long flowing hair must, therefore, be incorrect. In fact, Josephus and other writers of that day indicate that most men, both Jewish and Roman, were usually beardless and short-haired.

1 Corinthians 11:15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.

1 Corinthians 11:16 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

1 Corinthians 11:17 Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.

1 Corinthians 11:18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.

1 Corinthians 11:19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

1 Corinthians 11:20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.

1 Corinthians 11:21 For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.

1 Corinthians 11:22 What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.

1 Corinthians 11:23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:

1 Corinthians 11:24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

1 Corinthians 11:25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

This cup. In the observance of the Lord's supper, the “cup” represents the New Covenant of God with His people, based on the shed blood of Christ offered in substitutionary sacrifice for our sins. The “cup,” with whatever contents it holds, is often used in Scripture to symbolize some great truth. For example, there is the cup of God's wrath (Revelation 14:10), which is to be drunk by those who have previously imbibed the cup of Babylonian wickedness (Revelation 17:4). When Christ drank the bitter cup of sin's wages for us (John 18:11), our own cup becomes a “cup of salvation” (Psalm 116:13) and “runneth over” (Psalm 23:5) with blessing.

1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come.

1 Corinthians 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

1 Corinthians 11:28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

1 Corinthians 11:29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

1 Corinthians 11:30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

many sleep. “Sleep” is used as a euphemism for death only in the case of Christians (e.g., 1 Thessalonians 4:13; 1 Corinthians 15:51). Persistent or unconfessed sin, by a Christian, especially when hypocritically partaking of the Lord's Supper, risks serious judgment by the Lord, even though not the loss of salvation.

1 Corinthians 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

judge ourselves. Self-judgment is an action encouraged by the Lord's Supper, and is far better than being chastened by the Lord. But even the latter is far better than being judged with the ungodly world.

1 Corinthians 11:32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

1 Corinthians 11:33 Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.

1 Corinthians 11:34 And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.