1 Corinthians, 11
1: Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
11v2-16 Headship in the church
2: Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. 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. 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. 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. 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. 10: For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. 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. 13: Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? 14: Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? 15: But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering. 16: But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.
(The Lord’s Supper)
The Lord’s Supper
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. 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. 19: For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. 20: When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper. 21: For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. 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. 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. 26: For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. 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. 28: But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29: For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. 30: For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 31: For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 32: But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. 33: Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. 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.
In this chapter Paul deals with the subjects of Headship and the Lords Supper. In all these things Paul calls on the believers to follow his example in everything. In fact he praises them because they keep these two ordinances – headship and the Lords supper. These are two of the things that are ordained in the churches that Paul established. First Paul states the principle that the head of every believing man is Christ and the head of every woman is the man and the head of Christ is God. Now Paul is not talking about an intrinsic greatness but the order of divinely appointed roles. Next Paul shows how this works out in practise. As far as the men are concerned the head is to be uncovered when he prays or prophesies. If he does not do this then he dishonours Christ. As far as the women are concerned when a woman prays or prophesies she is to cover her head because if she does not then she dishonours her husband. She is bringing shame on herself as she would if she were bald. However if it is a shame for her to be bald, and it is, then she is to be covered. Lastly Paul explains why these coverings must be so. He says that the man is made in the image and glory of God but the woman is made of the man. Therefore in the presence of God the Glory of the God (man) is to be uncovered but the glory of the man (woman) is to be covered. Paul explains that this is not a Christian ordinance but an ordinance based on creation. And it is done for an angelic purpose. We are not sure quite what this means but presumably they are looking on observing creatorial order. Next Paul links the subject with the length of hair by saying that it is a shame for men to have long hair but it is a glory for a woman to have long hair. Her hair is given her as a covering. Lastly Paul says if any man contends with me then l say that neither the churches nor l have this custom.
Secondly Paul comes to the ordinance of the Lords supper and in this he cannot praise them. He says that your coming together is not for the better but for the worse. First Paul says l here that there are divisions among you and l partly believe it. He says there must also be heresies among you so that those who are approved of God may be manifest to you. Paul is saying that in the heat of discussion regarding false teaching those that are true teachers of the word become manifest to all. Then Paul says when you do gather as a whole church you do not come to eat of the Lord supper. Because when you eat you bring your own food and while some have little food and are hungry others have too much and are even drunk with wine. Paul says don’t you have houses to eat in? You can eat your ordinary food at home. He says do you despise the church of God and make those who are poor ashamed. This is a disgrace. Then Paul goes on to teach the truth of the revelation he has received and which he has already given to them. He says that on the night of his betrayal he took bread and after he had given thanks he broke it and then he said Take this bread and eat it. This is my body which is broken for you. Do this to remember me. in the same way he took the cup and after he had tasted it he said This cup of the new covenant in my blood you are to take this cup when ever you do this to remember me. In doing this you exhibit the Lords death until he comes again. Then Paul gives a stern warning. He says that whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy state will be guilty before the Lord of drinking the things which resemble the body and blood of Christ. Believers are to worship the Lord in this act of remembrance in a fit spiritual state in which all known sin is confessed and the believer is walking in the light in fellowship with the Lord. So Paul says – examine yourself. Not so that you might say away. But examine yourself so that you might confess you sin and participate in full fellowship. The person who eats and drinks in an unworthy state brings the discipline of God upon himself because he is not spiritually discerning enough to recognise the signs of the Lords body. Paul says this is why some of you are weak and sick and why some have died. Paul says if you would discipline yourselves then God would not need to bring you into discipline. But when you are disciplined you are chastened by God so that you will not be condemned before the world’s eyes. So when you come together to eat stay a while and talk with each other. And if a person is really hungry then let him eat his full at home so that you do not come together to face the discipline of God. Lastly Paul says there is other stuff to deal with but l will set them in order when l come to see you.