1 Corinthians 11
1. And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.
Paul is asking them to follow the example that he just wrote in chapter 10. It is good to follow the example of a true Christian leader. If a leader is not imitating Christ by his behavior, then this is a red flag that there are some things that you should not imitate.
2 – 3
I am so glad that you always keep me in your thoughts, and that you are following the teachings I passed on to you.
But there is one thing I want you to know: The head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
Somebody has to be a leader of any group or nothing will get done. God has given a husband the job of being a leader but not to be a king.
4. A man dishonors his head if he covers his head while praying or prophesying.
In some cultures the leaders wear a hat to show their position. Men should not wear a hat in church because their position is under Christ.
5 – 6
But a woman dishonors her head if she prays or prophesies without a covering on her head, for this is the same as shaving her head.
Yes, if she refuses to wear a head covering, she should cut off all her hair! But since it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut or her head shaved, she should wear a covering.
Prostitutes in Corinth went around with no veil or head covering. If a Christian woman was seen this way people would think evil of her in the city of Corinth.
There are some cultures where women are covered this way. Women who visit these places but do not respect the culture by the way they dress, are not understanding the kinds of temptations they are bringing to the men. Wearing a covering shows that a woman is surrendered to the Lord and set apart for her husband.
7 – 9
A man should not wear anything on his head when worshiping, for man is made in God’s image and reflects God’s glory. And woman reflects man’s glory. For the first man did not come from woman, but the first woman came from man.
And man was not made for woman, but woman was made for man.
God saw that a man needed someone to help him so He created a partner that was just right for this job. Genesis 2:18
10. For this reason, and because the angels are watching, a woman should wear a covering on her head to show she is under authority.
Some teachers say that when the women were not covered they were living in rebellion and so the angels do not like to see God’s people rebelling.
Some teachers say that the angels cover themselves when they worship the Lord and they would expect a woman to be covered this way.
[There] were strong angels, each had six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. Isaiah 6:2
11. But among the Lord’s people, women are not [living as if they do not need] men, and men are not [living as if they do not need] women.
Men and women are like two halves of a circle, they need each other to complete the circle.
12. For although the first woman came from man, every other man was born from a woman, and everything comes from God.
Eve was taken out of Adam’s rib, but now man is taken out of a woman. God has created them for a perfect balance.
13. Judge for yourselves. Is it right for a woman to pray to God in public without covering her head?
Paul does not say that women cannot pray in church. He does show us that it is not time to show off beautiful hair while people are trying to keep their minds on the things of God.
1 Peter 3:3
14 – 15
Nature shows that it is a shame for a man to have long hair. Long hair is a woman’s glory, for it has been given to her as a covering.
God made a woman to show the beauty of His creation. God created a man to show the character of God to the world. It is not natural for a man to want to show that he has beauty like a woman.
16. But if anyone wants to argue about this, I simply say that we have no other custom than this, and neither do God’s other churches.
The custom of wearing a veil or covering was only used in Corinth because of the prostitutes.
17. But in the following instructions, I cannot praise you. For it sounds as if more harm than good is done when you meet together.
When the heart is not right, the things that should have been a blessing to us become a curse.
18. First, I hear that there are divisions among you when you meet as a church, and in some ways I believe it.
The church was split up into small groups who did not agree about something.
19. When there are divisions among you, it will later be shown which ones are approved by the Lord.
Paul is saying that this kind of church fighting would lead to more trouble and God will show which ones are really following Him.
20 – 22
When you meet together, you are not really interested in the Lord’s Supper. For some of you hurry to eat your own meal without sharing with others. As a result, some go hungry while others get drunk.
What? Do you not have your own homes for eating and drinking? Or do you really want to disgrace God’s church and shame the poor? What am I supposed to say? Do you want me to praise you? I will not praise you for this!
The early Christians had a church dinner followed by Communion. The Corinthians had turned the Lord’s supper into their own supper. They were not sharing the food as they should and the poor people, who could not bring much, were embarrassed.
23. For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord Himself. On the night when He was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then He broke it in pieces and said, “This is My body, which is given for you. Do this to remember Me.”
It would be a good idea for all church leaders to only pass on what they have received from the Lord for their own lives. The Lord wants us to remember Him in all things, because He knows how quickly our attention goes to the things of the world. The Corinthians were not remembering the Lord in their supper. Luke 22:19
25. In the same way, He took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and His people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this to remember Me as often as you drink it.”
Some churches say that these words mean that the bread and wine are changed into the actual body of Christ. Jesus did not say this. He told us to do these things to remind ourselves that He gave his life for us and He wants to live His life in us.
26. For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until He comes again.
We show that we believe that Jesus is coming again! The Corinthians were not showing that they believed this.
27. So anyone who eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an worthy way is guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.
The Corinthians were not taking the communion supper seriously. Some of them even came to the communion table while drunk. God warns us not to play with holy things and offer strange fire. Be careful when you are in church not to do or say just anything that pops into your mind which God has not told you to do. See Leviticus 10:1.
28. That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup.
If we had to be worthy to have communion then none of us could ever have communion. We can only honestly examine ourselves with God’s help. See Psalm 36:9, 1 Corinthians 4:4, Psalm 139:24.
29. For if you eat the bread or drink the cup without understanding the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God’s judgment on yourself.
Some of the Corinthians were taking the Lord’s supper without even understanding what they were doing.
30. That is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died.
The Bible shows us that God may use sickness to correct his children. Moses’ sister rebelled against the Lord and she had leprosy until she repented. Numbers 12:10
David committed adultery and murder and spent some time in sickness until he repented. Psalm 38:7
A man in Corinth was living with in sin with his stepmother and was punished in his flesh. I Corinthians 5:4 –5
As you endure this discipline, remember that God is treating you as His own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? Hebrews 12:7
31 – 32
But if we would examine ourselves, we would not be judged by God in this way.
Yet when we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned along with the world.
God does not go too far with His discipline, as we do sometimes. Hebrews 12:6 –11
33. So, my dear brothers and sisters, when you gather for the Lord’s Supper, wait for each other.
If you are really hungry, eat at home so you will not bring judgment upon yourselves when you meet together. I will give you instructions about the other matters after I arrive.
Sometimes we say that we did not get anything out of meeting with other Christians. Christians should meet together to give not to get.