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Study Notes on 1 Corinthians 11

1 Corinthians 11

So verse 1 could go with the ending of chapter 10, but from verse 2 until verse 15 a new topic is discussed and that is of head coverings.

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

This could probably go with the end of the last chapter.

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

Apparently Paul had previously given instructions to the Corinthians related to what he’s about to write about, and they were at least somewhat mindful of his instructions. Communion is one of the ordinances (or traditions), and they kept it, but we get to strong rebuke about how they were doing it later in the chapter.

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.

Christ > Man > Woman. As “the man” Christ is our mediator between God and man, God the Father is head of Christ. As far as the divine nature, Christ is equal with God the Father, but as man the mediator, God is the head of Christ. See Hebrews 2:9; 16-17

4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.

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.

Praying or prophesying publicly, a man should not have his head covered. Apparently the jews cover their heads with a veil and the same was seen in some pagan worship as well.

And prophesying in the New Testament means (1 Cor. 14:3) But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

Because of the hierarchy of Christ over man over woman, it’s inappropriate for a man to pray with his head covered or for a woman to pray uncovered.

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.

If she’s not covered with hair or a veil out of disrespect, then just go all the way and shave your head. But IF it be a shame to be shorn then she should have a covering. In pretty much every culture it was a bad mark for a woman to have short hair, and it some it was punishment for adultery.

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.

8 For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man.

9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

The order of creation. Another New Testament passage (there are many) that support the historical real people of Adam and Eve and how they were made. The woman was made from the man and for the man.

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

Because of woman being under the authority of man she ought to have her head covered (with hair, v. 15).

The KJV translators gave this verse one of the largest marginal readings found in their bible: “a covering, in sign that she is under the power of her husband.

As to this being “because of the angels” there’s been countless opinions given but I think the simple meaning is that angels observe us at church. They watch to see how we behave, how we pray, that we obey the family order. See Hebrews 1:14 & 1 Peter 1:12

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

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

The man and the woman are both dependent on each other. They are one flesh in the Lord.

The woman was made from the man but all other men have been made from women. So there’s no disparagement of women here just because the woman is under the authority of man. Different roles, one kingdom.

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

As Christians we are often commanded to judge.

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

Not every detail of the world is covered in simple black and white terms in the bible. Even nature teaches us that men should not have long hair. Obviously there were special exceptions like Samson, but men should not have long hair; men should not look feminine. This is why all those depictions of Jesus with long feminine hair are wrong.

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

Women have been given a covering, a veil, and that is their long hair! It is her crown, her glory.

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

Rather difficult verse but the meaning seems to be that if someone wants to argue against what has just been said, Paul’s final defense is that there is no custom which allows for women to pray uncovered or for men to pray covered.

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.

So Paul at first praised them for following the general guidelines he gave, but now he’s strongly correctly them for problems that have crept in. Correction and rebuke is a big theme in this whole epistle.

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.

Divisions of a different kind than what was dealt with in the first 4 chapters apparently. Divisions regarding taking the Lord’s Supper and he believes the reports in part.

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

Heresies or sects. Some people were loyal about correctly doing communion and others were not.

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

In one place! Church is an assembly, a local gathering of believers. They came together NOT to partake of communion but to indulge themselves.

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

Apparently they just had a feast and brought their own meal to eat for themselves! They were very divided and cliquish. Some people had no food, and others were drunk with the communion wine.

They had terrible wrong motives and ideas about communion.

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.

Can’t you eat and drink at home? Or do you simply hate the church of God so that you treat it with such contempt? He’s basically saying many of them are an embarrassment.

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:

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.

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.

Paul received instruction directly from Jesus about communion and gave this information to the Corinthians.

We should eat the bread and drink from the cup in remembrance of Jesus. This should be a solemn serious thing.

Covenant/Testament must be established with blood: Exodus 24:8; Hebrews 9:14-20

26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.

As often as we do it. There is no set schedule, but it’s up to each church to decide. When we take communion, we remember the Lord’s death until He returns. Pray for His soon return!

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.

Unworthily, meaning the careless and disrespectful manner that the Corinthians were doing it. And they that do so shall be punished as seen in verse 30.

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

Examine your own motives, know why you are doing it and acknowledge its significance.

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

Not eternal damnation but chastisement which can include death (see v. 32).

30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

Paul is explaining why some of the Corinthians are suffering. That’s how serious communion is. Sleep = death.

31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

Examine ourselves before we eat the bread and drink from the cup.

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

When the Lord punishes or corrects us He does it to get us back on track. Some people will not heed the correction and so I believe that is why some of them are killed.

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

Wait for one another. Wait until you are all gathered. Unity and love for one another within the church is important. Don’t be divided into sects as they were.

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.

Eat at home. Don’t come to church with your own meal to indulge and be insulting to others as well as communion.


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