1 Corinthians 11

1 Corinthians 11

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11 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

Head Coverings

Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you. But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven. For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head. For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God. Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a wife to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.

The Lord’s Supper

But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another—if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home—so that when you come together it will not be for judgment. About the other things I will give directions when I come.

(ESV)


1 Corinthians 11 Commentary

by Hank Workman

“Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.”

1 Corinthians 11:1

What a challenge.  Follow my example in how I live for Christ. When you consider your own walk and life and trust in Jesus; when you consider how He loved others where they were; when you think about his interaction with the people around Him and commitment to His Father, could you say the same? Could I?

Some would say this is a bold and arrogant statement on Paul’s part. Let’s consider just a moment this fact – the Gospels had not been published as we have them today. People didn’t know much about the life and ministry of Jesus except through word of mouth. Paul’s challenging them to follow Jesus’ example because these things had not been written for them to pour over and consider. Paul’s best way to tell them how to live was through someone they knew that loved Jesus, himself.

There is the saying, “You may be the only Jesus someone sees”. This is relevant today as it was then. We live in such a world of skepticism and doubt that our own interaction with them is something to consider in how we are living currently right before. But this also sets the bar high for us, as it should be. Our lives should be daily transformed more and more into His likeness that we are showing the ways of Jesus in every aspect of our life. We should be in such a relationship with Him that we could say, imitate me as I imitate Christ.

Yet because we can become so riddled with compromise and giving into our own desires or attitudes, many times our response is “Don’t look at me, look at Jesus.” Obviously, our ultimate goal is to look to Him, but every one of us should be examples living before them of someone who is committed, just like He was.

This truly comes down to our own relationship with Jesus first. We must be spending time with Him each day in the Word and prayer, allowing the Holy Spirit to transform our thinking and behavior. This is the only way. We cannot neglect this critical aspect of our growth in Him. It’s what sets our feet in the way we walk, how we live, how we respond to this broken world. Each of us as Followers of Jesus should be able to say, “Imitate me, as I follow Christ.”


1 Corinthians 11 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

1 Corinthians 11 opens up a can of worms in our culture today. At the very least, many of Paul’s words here have been challenged. In some cases, they have been called sexist and irrelevant. As always, it is important to dig into the context.

The overarching theme of Paul’s instruction here at the beginning is with regard to authority. Authority is a tricky word. We don’t usually like it unless we have it. But I believe Paul’s metaphor here gives great insight to his point.

But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.

1 Corinthians 11:3 NASB

Some would call this a narrow-minded traditional view, however, that is because we typically regard authority as demeaning. Since the beginning of creation, God has looked to humanity for voluntary cooperation. He hasn’t gotten much of it. The fact is, we don’t like to submit our will to another. Again this is more of a problem with our view of authority than anything else. This is why Paul uses Jesus’ relationship to God as an example.

Viewing man as the head does not diminish the woman’s value no more than viewing God as the head diminishes Christ’s value. Jesus was equal with God while also being completely under His authority. This is the way God has ordained life. Men and women are of the same nature, but they function with different roles and giftings. Relationally, God has defined the optimal authority structure for their benefit – not to their shame. Any man who uses this verse to lord over a woman does not truly understand the relationship that God had with Jesus.

“The Bible is just as specific: there is no general submission of women unto men commanded in society; only in the spheres of the home and in the church. God has not commanded in His word that men have exclusive authority in the areas of politics, business, education, and so on. The failure of men to lead in the home and in the church, and to lead in the way Jesus would lead, has been a chief cause of the rejection of male authority – and is inexcusable.”

David Guzik
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