1 Corinthians 11 Commentary


1 CORINTHIANS - PROBLEMS OF A LOCAL CHURCH
Click chart to enlarge
Charts from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission

FROM CHART: Note 2 major divisions:

  • FIRST DIVISION - Chapters 1-6 = Problems of Congregation - Divisions & Depravities
  • SECOND DIVISION - Chapters 7-16 = Personal Problems, Worship Problems

1 Corinthians 11:1  Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ. (NASB: Lockman)

Amplified PATTERN YOURSELVES after me [follow my example], as I imitate and follow Christ (the Messiah).

NET  1 Corinthians 11:1 Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.

NLT  1 Corinthians 11:1 And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.

ESV  1 Corinthians 11:1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

NIV  1 Corinthians 11:1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

GNT  1 Corinthians 11:1 μιμηταί μου γίνεσθε καθὼς κἀγὼ Χριστοῦ.

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

YLT  1 Corinthians 11:1 Followers of me become ye, as I also am of Christ.

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

CSB  1 Corinthians 11:1 Imitate me, as I also imitate Christ.

MIT  1 Corinthians 11:1 Copy me just as I copy Christ.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 11:1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.

NRS  1 Corinthians 11:1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

NAB  1 Corinthians 11:1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

NJB  1 Corinthians 11:1 Take me as your pattern, just as I take Christ for mine.

GWN  1 Corinthians 11:1 Imitate me as I imitate Christ.

BBE  1 Corinthians 11:1 So take me for your example, even as I take Christ for mine.

  • Be: 1Co 4:16 10:33 Php 3:17 1Th 1:6 2Th 3:9 Heb 6:12 
  • just as: Ro 15:2,3 Eph 5:1,2 Php 2:4,5 
  • 1 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

SEE MORE IN DEPTH COMMENTARY OF THIS VERSE - 1 Corinthians 11:1

Imitation of Christ
Jesus Discourses with His Disciples, James Tissot, (c.1890)

IMATATIO CHRISTI

In this verse Paul is ultimately commanding imitation of Christ, the only Perfect Example, an imitation which ultimately is ONLY possible by continually depending on the Holy Spirit.  Paul is not calling for asceticism, as some have taught is the way to a "higher spirituality." Paul argued strongly against this practice which was being advocated by some false teachers in Colossae writing 

Let no one keep defrauding (present imperative with a negative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from Whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.  20 If (FIRST CLASS CONDITIONAL = SINCE) you have died with Christ (Ro 6:3+, Gal 2:20+) to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, 21 “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” 22 (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)–in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? 23 These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence (THIS IS THE KEY! THESE EXTERNAL PRACTICES DO NOT CONTROL THE INTERNAL TYRANT, OUR FALLEN FLESH! ONLY THE HOLY SPIRIT CAN ENABLE US TO WIN THAT VICTORY AND IT WILL BE EVERY BELIEVER'S LIFE LONG BATTLE!). (Colossians 2:18-23+)

Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ - In context Paul has just commanded the saints at Corinth to "Give (present imperative see need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) no offense (aproskopos) either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved.." (1 Cor 10:32-33+) That is the pattern of behavior Paul desires for the saints at Corinth and us to imitate. Our conduct should be purposeful and profitable so that souls may be saved!  

THOUGHT - Here is the challenge -- We each should live our life in such a way that we might be able to say to all those around us that they would be wise to follow our example. Are you as convicted as I am? "People are impressed with our actions not our talk.  The challenge for us as Christians then is to make our walk match our talk and try to live the things that we know are true and that God would have us to do.  God will use us greatly if we will just commit ourselves to doing this:   When we realize that something in our life doesn’t match up with what God would have us do we will confess it to God and repent (turn in the opposite direction) of doing it. " (Bob Bomkamp)

David Guzik - How few today are willing to say what Paul said! Instead, because of compromise and ungodliness, we are quick to say, “Don’t look at me, look at Jesus.” While it is true we must all ultimately look to Jesus, every one of us should be an example of those who look to Jesus. In the specific context, it is a little difficult to know if Paul’s words here relate to the context before or after. Does Paul refer back to 1 Corinthians 10, and therefore mean, “Follow my example as I seek to bless others instead of pleasing myself,” or does Paul refer to what is to follow in 1 Corinthians 11, and therefore mean, “Follow my example as I respect God’s order and authority in the church”? Though he most likely connects it with what went before in 1 Corinthians 10, Paul was a good example in both cases.

Adrian Rogers - I wonder how many of us would feel like telling our brothers and sisters in Christ, "Follow me. Do what you see me do. Live like you see me live. Be ye followers of me."

A T Robertson -In the principle of considerate love as so clearly shown in chapters 8 to 10 and in so far as (καθως [kathōs]) Paul is himself an imitator of Christ. The preacher is a leader and is bound to set an example or pattern (τυπος [tupos]) for others (Titus 2:7). This verse clearly belongs to the preceding chapter and not to chapter 11.

Related Resource:

1 Corinthians 11:2  Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you.

ICC (Robertson) ‘Now, as to another question, I do commend you for remembering me, as you assure me you do, in all things, and for loyally holding to the traditions just as I transmitted them to you

Amplified I appreciate and commend you because you always remember me in everything and keep firm possession of the traditions (the substance of my instructions), just as I have [verbally] passed them on to you.

Wuest - Now, I am praising you because [as you say] you have kept me in your remembrance in all things and at present still do have me in your thinking, even as also you are holding fast to those things which were delivered to me to be handed down to you,  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 11:2 I praise you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions just as I passed them on to you.

NLT  1 Corinthians 11:2 I am so glad that you always keep me in your thoughts, and that you are following the teachings I passed on to you.

ESV  1 Corinthians 11:2 Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you.

NIV  1 Corinthians 11:2 I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you.

GNT  1 Corinthians 11:2 Ἐπαινῶ δὲ ὑμᾶς ὅτι πάντα μου μέμνησθε καί, καθὼς παρέδωκα ὑμῖν, τὰς παραδόσεις κατέχετε.

KJV  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.

YLT  1 Corinthians 11:2 And I praise you, brethren, that in all things ye remember me, and according as I did deliver to you, the deliverances ye keep,

ASV  1 Corinthians 11:2 Now I praise you that ye remember me in all things, and hold fast the traditions, even as I delivered them to you.

CSB  1 Corinthians 11:2 Now I praise you because you always remember me and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you.

MIT  1 Corinthians 11:2 I commend you because you remember my teachings, and just as I have furnished you the traditions (of the faith) you hold securely to them.

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

NRS  1 Corinthians 11:2 I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions just as I handed them on to you.

NAB  1 Corinthians 11:2 I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold fast to the traditions, just as I handed them on to you.

NJB  1 Corinthians 11:2 I congratulate you for remembering me so consistently and for maintaining the traditions exactly as I passed them on to you.

GWN  1 Corinthians 11:2 I praise you for always thinking about me and for carefully following the traditions that I handed down to you.

BBE  1 Corinthians 11:2 Now I am pleased to see that you keep me in memory in all things, and that you give attention to the teaching which was handed down from me to you.

  • I praise: 1Co 11:17,22 Pr 31:28-31 
  • that: 1Co 4:17 15:2 
  • keep: 1Co 7:17 Lu 1:6 1Th 4:1,2 2Th 2:15 3:6 
  • 1 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passage:

2 Thessalonians 2:15+ So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught (NOT MAN MADE BUT DIVINE), whether by word of mouth or by letter from us. 

2 Thessalonians 3:6  Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us.

PAUL'S PRAISE FOR
HOLDING FAST TO DIVINE TRADITIONS

While there are some difficult passages in this next section of the letter, the reader should keep in mind that 1 Corinthians 11-14 are in a sense a unit in that they describe various aspects of corporate worship in the Corinthian church beginning here with the very difficult to interpret adornment of women (1 Cor 11:2-16), followed by a sobering discussion of the Lord's Supper (1 Cor 11:17-34) and then the famous (or infamous depending on your viewpoint) discussion of spiritual gifts (1 Cor 12:1-14:40).

A T Robertson agrees that 1 Cor 11:2 "is introductory to the whole of this division of the letter which treats of public worship." Thus Robertson entitles 1 Cor 11:2-14:40. "DISORDERS IN CONNEXION WITH PUBLIC WORSHIP AND THE MANIFESTATION OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS." He adds...

Although in respect of religion men and women are on an equality, yet the Gospel does not overthrow the natural ordinance, which is really of Divine appointment, that woman is subject to man. To disavow this subjection before the congregation must cause grave scandal; and such shamelessness is condemned by nature, by authority, and by general custom.

Thomas Schreiner - 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 has some features that make it one of the most difficult and controversial passages in the Bible.1 For instance:

  1. How does verse 2 relate to verses 3-16?
  2. What does Paul mean by the word head in 1 Cor 11:3?
  3. Can we identify the custom regarding the adornment of women in the passage?
  4. In what sense is woman the glory of man (1 Cor 11:7)?
  5. What does Paul mean when he says that the woman is to have authority on her head (1 Cor 11:10)?
  6. Can we comprehend the reason why a woman is to have authority on her head, namely, because of the angels (1 Cor 11:10)?
  7. And finally, what does the word nature mean in 1 Cor 11:14?
    The difficulties with this text could lead one to say that it should not be used to establish any doctrine or teaching on the role relationship of men and women. Indeed, one might claim that only clear passages should be used to form a doctrine, and this passage is too obscure. No one, or at least few people, would argue that women should be adorned with veils today, leading some to say that this passage is culturally bound and no longer viable in the twentieth century. In contrast to this position, I will argue that the central thrust of the passage is clear. There are difficulties, but some of the key issues are not as difficult as it has been claimed, and the issues that remain obscure do not affect the central teaching of the passage. Also, while wearing head coverings no longer speaks to our culture, there is an abiding principle in this text that is applicable to the twentieth century. (1 Corinthians 11:2-16 Head Coverings, Prophecies and the Trinity)

Brian Bell - We are are going to talk about head coverings. As we read it, does Paul ever mention what length for hair? Or, what is considered long hair or short? If there is a head covering mentioned, what size should it be? Is a postage stamp size big enough, or is Romulo’s hat the right size? Not difficult issues here, but they are delicate ones. During WWII when drifting into a harbor you would wait for the harbor pilot to take the ship’s wheel & weave you through the pathless waters leading to the dock,Why? Strategically hidden beneath the water's surface were highly charged mines that would explode if nudged by a ship’s hull. Only the harbor pilot knew where they were. In 1 Cor.11, these are not difficult issues here, but they are delicate ones. A topical issue that reflects a timeless principle! [local significance; culture of the day] Paul solves the problems by principles, which are eternal.

Michael Andrus - The topic of gender roles is a minefield many pastors consider too risky to cross, and I understand their hesitancy.

J Vernon McGee - Someone is probably saying, “Do you mean to say that God is giving instructions regarding trivialities like a woman’s dress? Certainly God cannot be concerned with what a woman wears or whether a man gets a hair cut!” Well, the Bible makes it clear that God is interested in what we are wearing and how we fix our hair. God says, “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matt. 10:30). This idea that only your hairdresser knows is not true; God knows, my friend. He has a great deal to say about these and related subjects. The most intimate details of our lives are under His inspection. There is probably no single item that takes up more space in newspapers, magazines, radio time, and television time than what men and women wear. The Word of God has some things to say about that, too.

Paul offers praise here but in 1 Cor 11:17 says "But in giving this instruction, I do not praise you, because you come together (LORD'S SUPPER) not for the better but for the worse."because the principles of Christian liberty and brotherhood had been unsatisfactorily put into practice!

Now I praise you because you remember me in everything - Remember is perfect tense indicating they heard in the past and were still in a state or condition of remembering what he had taught them (cf. 1 Cor 4:17; 1 Cor 15:1–4). "Perfect indicates that the Corinthians remembered continually" (Grosheide)  It is surprising Paul would encourage them in this way as earlier he said he "could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ." (1 Cor 3:1-3+) Some writers think he was being sarcastic (cf 1 Cor 4:8), but I think he was sincere and seeking to be encouraging (before he "lowered the boom"). Affirming words (if one can find something to affirm and praise) are always good to prepared for disciplining words. It is one thing to remember, but it is another thing to put into practice what you remember. I have many "memory verses" but sadly many times I fail to practice the truth of those verses! (which always painfully recalls Jesus' warning in Lk 12:48b+!) These Corinthians apparently knew doctrine, but failed to live out the truth they knew! Orthodoxy without orthopraxy so to speak! (THOUGHT - Do we see this in the evangelical church in America? Just asking!)  In everything would include his instruction about the Lord's Supper, truth he had "delivered" to them (1 Cor 11:23+). There the context is he did not praise them, for although they had been taught, they failed to practice what Paul had delivered to them! 

Schreiner - The introduction represents captatio benevolentiae which was a typical way of gaining the goodwill of hearers or readers in the Graeco-Roman world. Thus, the word everything is clearly hyperbolic, particularly because Paul specifically says he cannot praise them when it comes to their behaviour at the Lord’s Supper (11:17, 22). (TNTC-1 Cor)

Praise (1867)(epaineo from epí = upon or intensifies meaning of + aínos = praise) is literally to bestow "praise upon" -- to commend, to praise, or approbate (formally or officially approve). In classical Greek the verb epaineō means to approve, sanction, to praise, give a public mark of esteem. To praise in a fitting (apt) manner as appropriate or adequate to the situation. In the spirit of the OT, this word for praise involves commending God for himself, his qualities, and his works. This word is also used in commending people. Excitingly, we learn that God will commend believers for faithful service. Now in this context God is clearly not commending the man's dishonesty. It is a man (the master) who knows business commending the slick acumen of his manager.  Epaineo - 6x in 5v - praise(5), praised(1). - Lk. 16:8; Ro 15:11; 1 Co. 11:2; 1 Co. 11:17; 1 Co. 11:22. Note that of these verses the verb appears only once in relation to God (Romans 15:11). In the other four verses it refers to man’s praise or commendation of man.

Remember (3403)(mimnesko) means to bring to mind or think of again. It means to keep in mind for attention or consideration. Most of the NT uses convey this sense of recalling information from memory. In Acts 10:31+ (Rev 16:19+) the idea of mimnesko is to think of and call attention to someone or some thing and to make mention of.  The dying thief asked Jesus to keep him in mind when He came into His Kingdom (So what did the thief believe? That Jesus would die but would rise again and live to rule. He believed Jesus was the King!). (Lk 23:42+) He was asking Jesus to be concerned about him or to think of him. This is the only use of mimnesko in the Corinthian letters. 

And (present tense - continually) hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you - The traditions which Paul and the apostles delivered to the church were not the traditions of men (Mt. 15:2–6; Gal. 1:14; Col. 2:8), rather they were the doctrines which were inspired of God (cf 2 Th 2:15). The idea of delivered is to deliver over with a sense of close personal involvement and concern which is how Paul "delivered" the precepts to the Corinthians! Paul had a similar use of paradidomi in 1 Cor 15:3+ referring to his personal transmission or passing on of traditional instruction to the saints at Corinth. Paul is saying that he brought authoritative teaching, not something of his own origination. He did not design it, he only delivered what God had authored. Paul will use this same verb again in 1 Cor 11:23+ writing "also delivered to (paradidomi) you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread." Writing to the Galatians Paul explained that these "traditions" were not the traditions of men but of God writing that "For I neither received (paralambano) it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ." (Galatians 1:12+) As Paul wrote earlier "it is required of stewards (oikonomos) that one be found trustworthy (pistos)" (1 Cor 4:2+) and Paul  was a faithful steward who had delivered these traditions to the saints at Corinth.

Hold firmly is used by Jesus in those who hold the seed of the Gospel declaring "But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance." (Luke 8:15+) Later in this letter Paul uses katecho again referring to the Gospel "by which also you are saved, if you (present tense - continually) hold fast (katecho ) the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain," (1 Cor 15:2+) and there refers to adhering firmly to traditions, convictions, or beliefs (in context the Gospel). Note that our salvation is kept by Christ’s holding us fast, not primarily by our holding Him fast. Our holding onto Him is evidence that He is holding onto us (cf Heb 3:6+, Heb 3:14+)! 

Robertson on traditions - Large principles, when taken up by ardent and enthusiastic minds, without the modifications learnt by experience, are almost sure to run into extravagances, and hence the spirit of law is by degrees reduced to rules, and guarded by customs.’

Bowkamp has an interesting note - Some groups have erroneously used this verse to reinforce their teaching that their followers are not to follow the inspired words of God found in the Bible but rather their non-biblical directives and commands given by their leaders when those teachings contradict the scriptures.  However, we know this is wrong because Jesus sternly rebuked the Pharisees for putting the traditions of men above the commandments of God in Matt 15:3-9.  We in the church always have to be careful that we do not hold our own traditions above the word of God, and that we do not command that the people who are our followers follow not only the inspired scriptures but also our man-made formulas and dogmas.  We must never corrupt the word of God, and we must never add to it.

Hold fast (possess) (2722katecho from katá = intensifies meaning + écho = have, hold) means to retain whether by avoiding the relinquishing of something. Paul uses katecho with the meaning of or keep in possession in 1 Cor 7:30 and 2 Cor 6:10 "as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things." Robertson writes "Paul means that all earthly relations are to hang loosely about us in view of the second coming." Katecho was used literally of holding one to keep them from going (Luke 4:42+). Katecho was used figuratively with the idea of restraining or keeping someone (Antichrist) from exercising power (see 2Th 2:6-7+). A closely related figurative use of katecho means to hold down or suppress as the ungodly do to the truth about God (see note Romans 1:18+). One NT use of katecho means to take over or occupy, to have a place as one’s own or to take into one’s possession. (see Lk 14:9+). In the passive sense, katecho describes one as being bound by the law (Ro 7:6+).

Katecho - 18v - Lk. 4:42; Lk. 8:15; Lk. 14:9; Jn. 5:4; Acts 27:40; Rom. 1:18; Rom. 7:6; 1 Co. 7:30; 1 Co. 11:2; 1 Co. 15:2; 2 Co. 6:10; 1 Thess. 5:21; 2 Thess. 2:6; 2 Thess. 2:7; Phlm. 1:13; Heb. 3:6; Heb. 3:14; Heb. 10:23

Traditions  (3862paradosis from paradidomi = deliver in teaching) means literally to give from the presence of, thus to give personally. Tradition means properly nothing more than what is delivered or handed over. It signifies an act of transmission or that which is transmitted and thus refers to that which is handed down or transmitted from generation to generation; injunction delivered or from one to another. It was used to refer to the Pharisaic traditions which had been engrafted on the Mosaic Law (Mt 15:2, 6; Mk 7:3, 13). Paradosis "means literally “to give from the presence of,” thus “to give personally.” It signifies an act of transmission or that which is transmitted. In the New Testament it is used in the latter sense, without indicating the method of transmission or implying any lapse of time such as is usually associated with the English word tradition." (Wuest)(Wuest Word Studies - Eerdman Publishing Company Volume 1Volume 2Volume 3 - used by permission)

THOUGHT - As an aside, whenever I hear the word "Tradition" I recall one of the most memorable songs from the musical Fiddler On The Roof in the Prologue of Act One where “Tradition” introduces the story of a Jewish family and community living in the small village of Anatevka, Russia, during the harsh era of Tsarist rule (Watch the youtube version of Tradition - you'll love it). The main character, Tevye, complains to God about the difficulty of being a “chosen people” during an era of pogroms the systematic elimination of Jewish villages. He concludes, however, that without tradition their lives would be as unsteady as a “fiddler on the roof.” Tradition plays a role in the Jewish community and in all of our lives. Customary ways of thinking and acting give structure to daily living and a sense of connection from one generation to the next. 

Delivered (commit, entrusted, handed over) (3860paradidomi from para = alongside, beside, to the side of, over to + didomi = to give) conveys the basic meaning of to give over from one's hand to someone or something, especially to give over to the power of another. To give by turning over ("hand over from"), deliver over with a sense of close (personal) involvement and concern.  Paradidomi in Corinthian letters -  1 Co. 5:5; 1 Co. 11:2; 1 Co. 11:23 (twice); 1 Co. 13:3; 1 Co. 15:3; 1 Co. 15:24; 2 Co. 4:11

Related Resources:

Keith Krell's Illustration - When Lori and I were first married, we made a trip around the western part of the United States. During that season in our lives, we were driving a wood-paneled station wagon that was called by one man “the ugliest car on the road.” We preferred to affectionately call it the “Woody.” While this car was certainly no European sports car, it did have some “get-up-and-go.” On one of our excursions, we were visiting a relative in a small God-forsaken town in eastern WA. This town is both flat and desolate. I peeled away from that town traveling 60 mph on a straight-away rural road. Lori, the navigator, was keeping an eye on the map and predicting how many miles it would be until the hairpin turn we would need to make. Now this was before Magellan would audibly tell you the approaching turn would be in 500 feet. Since we didn’t know exactly how far it would be before the turn would appear, I was lulled into complacency. I looked over at Lori, as I always do, and told her to pass me my fictitious Italian racing gloves. Suddenly, Lori said, “I think this is the turn.” By the time she said it, my 60 mph Woody was on the verge of sailing past. Without thinking, I instinctually cranked the steering wheel as hard and as fast as I could to the right. Needless to say, after a beautiful 360 degree turn the dust settled to find us inches from a stop sign, backwards, and off the road. Thank goodness for the flatlands! The church in Corinth had a problem with speed; they were reluctant to ever apply the brakes and slow down. In my journey out of that flat desolate town, I was driving aggressively, making good time, and the last thing I was thinking about was braking. That is, until I lost control and drove off the road. The lesson is obvious: Forward progress is fine, but we must drive carefully and know when to accelerate and when to apply the brakes. In 1 Cor 11-14, Paul begins a new section in his letter that will force us to drive discerningly and be prepared to break. In these four chapters, Paul’s concern is how God’s people conduct themselves in a church worship setting.1 Paul will discuss three primary issues: gender distinction (11:2-16), the Lord’s Supper (11:17-34), and spiritual gifts (12:1-14:40). 2 In Paul’s first section, 1 Cor 11:2-16, we will consider the roles of men and women in the church.3 In this passage, Paul will say, “Honor your head.” Paul shares three principles in these verses that will guide us in understanding a woman’s role in the church.

ILLUSTRATION FROM LOWELL JOHNSON - As I come to this eleventh chapter I feel sort of like the young soldier who was out on maneuvers and got lost. He wandered for a while and finally saw a clearing. In the middle of the field was a sign, but it was so far away he couldn't read it. He walked out into the clearing toward the sign and got nearly to the middle when he could finally begin to make out the letters. He called the out: “M-I-N-E F-I-E-L-D. This chapter is a “minefield” because it deals with some very sensitive issues.

1 Corinthians 11:3  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.

ICC (Robertson) ‘ But I should like you to grasp, what has not previously been mentioned, that of every man, whether married or unmarried, Christ is the head, while a woman’s head is her husband, and Christ’s head is God. 

Amplified  But I want you to know and realize that Christ is the Head of every man, the head of a woman is her husband, and the Head of Christ is God.

Wuest -  Moreover, I desire you to know that the head of every man is the Christ, and the woman’s head is the man, and the head of the Christ is God the Father.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 11:3 But I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.

NLT  1 Corinthians 11:3 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.

ESV  1 Corinthians 11:3 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.

NIV  1 Corinthians 11:3 Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

GNT  1 Corinthians 11:3 θέλω δὲ ὑμᾶς εἰδέναι ὅτι παντὸς ἀνδρὸς ἡ κεφαλὴ ὁ Χριστός ἐστιν, κεφαλὴ δὲ γυναικὸς ὁ ἀνήρ, κεφαλὴ δὲ τοῦ Χριστοῦ ὁ θεός.

KJV  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.

YLT  1 Corinthians 11:3 and I wish you to know that of every man the head is the Christ, and the head of a woman is the husband, and the head of Christ is God.

ASV  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.

CSB  1 Corinthians 11:3 But I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of the woman, and God is the head of Christ.

MIT  1 Corinthians 11:3 I want you to know that the leader [i.e., 'head'] of every husband is Christ, and the leader of a wife is her husband, and the leader of Christ is God.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 11:3 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

NRS  1 Corinthians 11:3 But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the husband is the head of his wife, and God is the head of Christ.

NAB  1 Corinthians 11:3 But I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man, and a husband the head of his wife, and God the head of Christ.

NJB  1 Corinthians 11:3 But I should like you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

GWN  1 Corinthians 11:3 However, I want you to realize that Christ has authority over every man, a husband has authority over his wife, and God has authority over Christ.

BBE  1 Corinthians 11:3 But it is important for you to keep this fact in mind, 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 head of every: Eph 1:22,23 4:15 5:23 Php 2:10,11 Col 1:18 2:10,19 
  • and the head of the: Ge 3:16 Eph 5:22,24 Col 3:18 1Ti 2:11,12 1Pe 3:1,5,6 
  •  head of Christ: 1Co 3:23 15:27,28 Isa 49:3-6 52:13 55:4 61:1-4 Mt 28:18 Joh 3:34-36 5:20-30 14:28 17:2-5 Eph 1:20-22 Php 2:7-11
  • 1 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries 

THE BIBLICAL PRINCIPLE
OF HEADSHIP

This verse is key to understanding the following verses dealing with hair coverings. 

Thomas Schreiner - How does verse 2 relate to the following verses? Verse 2 says, “Now I praise you because you remember me in everything, and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you.” The following verses (11:3-16), however, do not seem to be an example of the Corinthians holding fast to the Pauline traditions. The behavior of the Corinthian women is contrary to the custom of Paul and the other churches, according to verse 16. Presumably, Paul would not instruct the Corinthians regarding proper adornment for women if they were already following his instructions in this matter. It is probably the case, then, that 11:2 functions as a complimentary introduction before Paul begins to criticize the Corinthians on certain practices. Indeed, 11:2 is most likely the introductory statement for all of chapters eleven through fourteen. Even though the Corinthians are not following the traditions regarding women (11:3-16), the Lord’s Supper (11:17-34), and spiritual gifts (12:1-14:40), the situation of the church is not bleak in every respect.

Keith Krell has some good advice on this section - Before we get too far into the text, I need to state upfront that I have agonized over the issue of women in ministry for 17 years. In my library I have a dozen books by evangelical authors who differ radically from one another on their view of women in ministry. Professors at my alma mater and other highly respected seminaries hold widely differing views on the role of women in the church and even on women’s ordination. There is even a difference in opinion among leaders of this church. Thus, I suggest that this is one area of doctrine where all of us could use a large dose of humility and caution.9 Anyone who speaks with strong dogmatism on this topic is actually demonstrating his or her ignorance. With that said, buckle your seatbelts; we’re going in where angels fear to tread.

Bell - One of the biggest problems in the Corinthian church was disorder in the public meetings: Some of the women were assuming more freedom than they should have(11:1-16); There was disorder at the Lord’s Supper(11:17-34); and  There was confusion in the use of the spiritual gifts(12-14). The church had been greatly enriched with spiritual gifts, but they were sadly lacking in spiritual graces.  (Wiersbe; Outlines of the NT) So, this next section of Corinthians deal w/the orderliness of Christian worship! Paul could have tried to solve these problems by issuing apostolic edicts, but instead he patiently explained with spiritual principles. Paul deals with the 1st of the 3 areas of confusion in their public worship. God’s order in the church is based on 3 fundamentals that Paul considered self-evident: Headship (3-7); Creation (8-12); Nature (13-16). 

Lowell Johnson - One of the biggest problems that faced the church at Corinth was disorder in the public meeting. Corinthian women were reveling in their new freedom in Christ and began flaunting that freedom in the public church services by ripping off their veils in an act of defiance as a means of expressing their new found liberation. In Corinth at that time, a covered head was a visible expression of a woman's modesty. The veil revealed something distinctive about her relationship with her husband. So when a woman stood up in church, threw off her veil, and began to speak or pray, she was bringing dishonor to her husband, who was her head. By flaunting her lack of submission, she revealed her rebellion toward God. Her shame fell not only on herself, but also on her husband. By the way, I've seen women get up in business meetings and state the family's position on something, and in doing so, dishonored her husband. He should speak up for the family. Either she needs to be quiet or he needs to speak up. Something is wrong when the women is the spokesman. Of course, she can speak to an issue of her own, but she shouldn't jump up and represent the family. That's her husband's job. And that's the sort of thing that was going on in Corinth. Women's outward conduct was exposing their lack of acceptance of God's plan for headship.  Remember, this letter was written to a culture in the midst of domestic chaos with immorality influencing the church toward a perversion of Christian liberty. The Corinthian church had begun to go wild over their new freedom in Christ. One of the expressions of freedom was the new way women were dressing when they came to worship. Some ladies had begun arriving at public assemblies without veils, which in Corinth was deemed immodest. That made it a distinctly unchristian behavior. Prostitutes went around bard-headed and with extremely short haircuts, but modest women did not. To do so was tantamount the holding up a sigh proclaiming yourself a loose woman. Some of the women who had come to Christ under Paul's leadership decided that since they were free, they could do as they pleased, regardless of what the culture deemed appropriate. They would stand up in the service and throw off their veils in a display of liberty. The feminist movement began with Eve's desire to usurp the place that belonged to her husband which created tension between their God-given roles. The leadership of the husband and willing submission of the wife were in place in the original state, but after the fall the woman desired to dominate her leader. God never intended the wife to Compete with her husband; He intended her to Complement her husband. Headship does not mean hardship. The headship of man over woman is God's order, and when His orders are followed happiness happens for all involved. When they are broken, there is calamity. Destroying God's order for families will not help women become free of God's sovereign plan.

William Martin says Paul's "purpose here is not to teach the principles of public prayer and edifying instruction, or to enunciate the rules for their practice, but to deal with the significancy of the Headship of Christ, and only what is relevant to this theme would be in place here. (1 Corinthians 11:2-16: An Interpretation - 10 page journal article) 

But - Term of contrast. First praise, now a principle. Paul swiftly shifts from commendation to correction! 

I want (thelo) you to understand - This is apparently Paul's way of introducing a topic he had not specifically taught on. 

Adrian Rogers - God has given a definite chain of command. God the Father, God the Son; the man, and then the woman—that means that God the Son has taken a place of submission to God the Father, that the man is to be submissive to God the Son, and that the woman is to be submissive to the man whom God has placed as her head

That Christ is the head (kephale) of every man, and the man is the head (kephaleof a woman, and God theos) is the head (kephaleof Christ - The key word is head (kephale) and in fact this word is in a sense a "key" to this entire passage. The head is that portion of the body that gives direction. From this passage we see the basic principle that everyone (except the Father) has a head, even Jesus Christ (cf Jn 8:29). Christ never functioned independently of the Father; He submitted Himself to the Father's will. Although not everyone agrees, the meaning of head in this passage speaks of authority. So Christ has authority over very human being whether believer or non-believer (cf Mt 28:18). O course only the former acknowledge His headship, but all mankind will one day be forced to acknowledge His authority when all "confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Php 2:10-11+).

Then Paul says that men have authority over women and notice he does not restrict this to just husbands and wives. Paul is simply describing the way God created mankind to assure that there was order and not disorder. It is critical to emphasize that even in establishing this pattern of order, Paul is absolutely saying one sex is superior to the other sex. To read that into this text is to make it say something Paul did not say! The principle is simply that of submission to authority and to make his point crystal clear, Paul points out that even Jesus was subordinate to His Father. Is Christ inferior to the Father? Of course not (See Trinity below). And by the same token, the woman is in NO WAY inferior to the man! Neither does he say the husband is be her master or dictator.

Ryrie - This teaching is based on Ge 3:16, and Paul makes it the basis for the wearing of a covering.  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 (1Ti 2:13), and then the children (Ge 1:28).

MacArthur explains "Paul inseparably ties the three aspects of the principle together. As Christ is submissive to the Father and Christians are to be submissive to Christ, women are to be submissive to men. You cannot reject one part without rejecting the others. You cannot, for example, reject the principle of woman’s submission to man without also rejecting Christ’s submission to the Father and believers’ submission to Christ. It is clear that the man’s being head of the woman means the same thing as Christ’s being head of man—that is, sovereign leadership requiring submission that recognizes the benefit of such leadership of love. The authority and submission in each of these cases is based on love, not tyranny....Men in general and husbands in particular should exercise their authority in love, not in tyranny. They do not have authority because of greater worth or greater ability, but simply because of God’s wise design and loving will. Women respond in loving submission as they were designed to do (cf. 1 Tim. 2:11–15). (MNTC- 1 Corinthians)

Order is heaven’s first law.’
No assembly of Christians is rightly constituted where this principle is put out of sight.
-- R S J Parry

ESV Study Bible - Since a woman’s head covering in first-century Roman society was a sign of marriage, Paul’s practical concern in this passage is not with the relationship between women and men generally but with the relationship between husband and wife....As with the authority of Christ over the church, this is not the self-centered exercise of power (BY THE MAN) but leadership that takes care to serve the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of the wife. See Mark 10:44–45; Eph. 5:23, 25–30. 

Lowell Johnson - Jesus was never inferior to the Father, and women are not inferior to men. Headship is not a matter of inferiority, but of function. Just as Christ was submissive to the Father, the woman is submissive to her husband.

Grudem makes an excellent point that "Though all three members of the Trinity are equal in power and in all other attributes, the Father has a greater authority. He has a leadership role among all the members of the Trinity that the Son and Holy Spirit do not have....Each member of the Trinity has distinct roles or functions. Differences in roles and authority between the members of the Trinity are thus completely consistent with equal importance, personhood, and deity. If human beings are to reflect the character of God, then we would expect some similar differences in roles among human beings, even with respect to the most basic of all differences among human beings, the difference between male and female. And this is certainly what we find in the biblical text.

Keith Krell - The word “head” is difficult to interpret because it can have three possible meanings: (1) prominence, (2) authority, or (3) source. The same ambiguity is true in English when we talk about the head/top of a mountain, the head/leader of a company, or the head/source of a river. In most cases where “head” does not mean a particular body part, the word carries the nuance of prominence. Thus, Paul seems to mean that just as Christ as the Son acknowledges the preeminence of the Father and men acknowledge the preeminence of Christ over them, so women acknowledge the preeminence of men in the male-female relationship (or at least the husband-wife relationship). But prominence in a relationship does not imply superiority or inferiority; certainly it does not carry that meaning in the relationship between the Father and the Son, and it should not mean that between men and women in the church. While Jesus was on earth, He modeled sacrificial servant leadership (see Mark 10:42-45). He always put His father first and did His will. Even though He was fully God and equal to the Father, He chose of His own accord to grant the Father prominence. Likewise, men are called to submit to Christ and put Him first in every area. This means living sacrificially for the good of others. In a similar vein, the head of a woman is man. Evidently, Paul refers to any woman who is in a dependent relationship to a man, such as a wife to a husband or a daughter to a father. Paul probably did not mean every woman universally since he said the male is the head of woman, or a woman, but not the woman. He was evidently not talking about every relationship involving men and women, for example the relationship between men and women in the workplace.16 Paul is saying that as a wife, daughter, or church member, ladies ought to honor their spiritual head: husband (Eph 5:22-33), father (Eph 6:1-3), or elders (1 Tim 2:9-3:7)

Guzik - women in the Church have two options in their attitude towards their head: They imitate the kind of attitude men have towards Christ, showing a rebelliousness that must be won over; or women can imitate the kind of attitude Christ displayed towards God the Father, loving submission to Him as an equal.   The idea of headship and authority is important to God. In His great plan for the ages, one great thing God looks for from man is voluntary submission. This is what Jesus showed in His life over and over again, and this is exactly what God looks for from both men and women, though it will be expressed in different ways.. It is essential to understand that being under authority does not equal inferiority. Jesus was totally under the authority of God the Father (John 5:19 and 8:28), yet He is equally God (John 1:1, 8:58, and 10:30). When God calls women in the church to recognize the headship of men, it is not because women are unequal or inferior, but because there is a God-ordained order of authority to be respected.

Christ (5547Christos from chrio = to rub or anoint, consecrate to an office) describes one who has been anointed with oil, one who has been consecrated. Christos describes one who has been anointed, symbolizing appointment to a task. It is used here as the title "Anointed One" and is the Greek synonym for "Messiah." 

Christos in the Corinthian letters - 1 Co. 1:1; 1 Co. 1:2; 1 Co. 1:3; 1 Co. 1:4; 1 Co. 1:6; 1 Co. 1:7; 1 Co. 1:8; 1 Co. 1:9; 1 Co. 1:10; 1 Co. 1:12; 1 Co. 1:13; 1 Co. 1:17; 1 Co. 1:23; 1 Co. 1:24; 1 Co. 1:30; 1 Co. 2:2; 1 Co. 2:16; 1 Co. 3:1; 1 Co. 3:11; 1 Co. 3:23; 1 Co. 4:1; 1 Co. 4:10; 1 Co. 4:15; 1 Co. 4:17; 1 Co. 5:7; 1 Co. 6:11; 1 Co. 6:15; 1 Co. 7:22; 1 Co. 8:6; 1 Co. 8:11; 1 Co. 8:12; 1 Co. 9:12; 1 Co. 9:21; 1 Co. 10:4; 1 Co. 10:16; 1 Co. 11:1; 1 Co. 11:3; 1 Co. 12:12; 1 Co. 12:27; 1 Co. 15:3; 1 Co. 15:12; 1 Co. 15:13; 1 Co. 15:14; 1 Co. 15:15; 1 Co. 15:16; 1 Co. 15:17; 1 Co. 15:18; 1 Co. 15:19; 1 Co. 15:20; 1 Co. 15:22; 1 Co. 15:23; 1 Co. 15:31; 1 Co. 15:57; 1 Co. 16:24; 2 Co. 1:1; 2 Co. 1:2; 2 Co. 1:3; 2 Co. 1:5; 2 Co. 1:19; 2 Co. 1:21; 2 Co. 2:10; 2 Co. 2:12; 2 Co. 2:14; 2 Co. 2:15; 2 Co. 2:17; 2 Co. 3:3; 2 Co. 3:4; 2 Co. 3:14; 2 Co. 4:4; 2 Co. 4:5; 2 Co. 4:6; 2 Co. 5:10; 2 Co. 5:14; 2 Co. 5:16; 2 Co. 5:17; 2 Co. 5:18; 2 Co. 5:19; 2 Co. 5:20; 2 Co. 6:15; 2 Co. 8:9; 2 Co. 8:23; 2 Co. 9:13; 2 Co. 10:1; 2 Co. 10:5; 2 Co. 10:7; 2 Co. 10:14; 2 Co. 11:2; 2 Co. 11:3; 2 Co. 11:10; 2 Co. 11:13; 2 Co. 11:23; 2 Co. 12:2; 2 Co. 12:9; 2 Co. 12:10; 2 Co. 12:19; 2 Co. 13:3; 2 Co. 13:5; 2 Co. 13:14; 

Head(2776kephale English - cephalic) refers to a LITERAL head (as of a human) ( Mt 5:36; 8:20; 27:29f; Mk 6:24f, 27f; 15:29; Lk 21:28; J n13:9; Ac 21:24; Ro 12:20; 1 Cor 11:4f, 7, 10; Rev 10:1; 17:3, 7, 9; 18:19; 19:12).

Kephale has two main senses - (1) leadership and authority and (2) source or origin. You are referred to Dr Grudem's discussions below for much more detail. 

FIGURATIVE: Kephale also refers to a figurative head as noting as denoting one of superior rank (1 Cor 11:3; Eph 1:22; 4:15; 5:23; Col 1:18; 2:10) or the head as chief part (cornerstone) (Mt 21:42; Mk 12:10; Lk 20:17; Acts 4:11; 1 Pt 2:7); the leading (head) city (Acts 16:12). The first use in the Septuagint.is in the so-called proto-evangelium, the first glimpse of the truth of the Gospel - "And I will put enmity Between you (SATAN) and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He (MESSIAH) shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel (EXACTLY WHAT CRUCIFIXION DID TO ONE'S HEEL!).” (Ge 3:15+ -  What does Genesis 3:15 mean that “he will crush your head?).

Related Resources:


Lowell Johnson - There are four areas where God has given His pattern for order:

A. Personal order: Hebrews 4:14-16; 7:25 Believers can go directly to God in prayer.
B. Family order: Ephesians 5:21-6:4 Christ-Man-Woman-Children
C. Church order: Hebrews 13:7 Christ-Pastor/Teacher-Deacons-Members
D. Governmental order: Romans 13:1-7; I Peter 2:13-14


Bell explains 1 Cor 11:3 - Many love the middle of this verse(the head of woman is man!); others hate it; but we can’t understand it, unless we see it as a jewel in an exquisite setting of the other 2 relationships.
Let’s look at the other 2 relationships: (note: equality & submission)

(1) The head of Christ is God!
 1. Jn.10:30 I and My Father are one. Christ is equal to God in character & deity. They were one in cooperation, in service, & in ministry.
 2. Jn.14:28 My Father is greater than I. Here is the submission which He voluntarily took upon Himself when he humbled Himself & stooped to the death of the cross for us.
1. So, Christ claimed equality with God, but offered submission to God!

[2] The head of every man is Christ!
 1. Man shares with Christ life & communion, for God made man in His own image.
 2. There was to be complete cooperation, & at the same time a voluntary submission that the purpose of God might be fulfilled & that the Glory of God might be revealed.

[3] So, the middle phrase, the head of woman is man, is to be exactly the same!
 1. She is equal to man. Gal.3:28 there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
 2. She is to be submissive to her husband. Gen.3:16 Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.
 3. One said, “When God made the woman He took her from the man, but not from his head in case that she would dominate him, nor from the feet in case he should trample upon her. God took her from the side, close to his a heart, that she might be his companion, his comfort, his love.”

3. Note: this headship wasn’t just set up because of the fall, but was God’s intent pre-fall! Adam was created 1st, then Eve. The creation of Adam 1st is consistent with the OT pattern of Primogeniture (firstborn), the idea that firstborn in any generation in a human family has leadership in the family for that generation. Eve was created as a helper for Adam. Adam named Eve. (not vice-versa) God named the Human race Man (not woman; not something gender neutral) He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind (adom).

The serpent came to Eve 1st. (going for the role reversal maneuver tempting Eve to take the leadership role!). God spoke to Adam 1st, after the fall.. Adam, not Eve, represented the Human race. (we’re counted sinful because of Adam’s sin)

Today will husband’s take their rightful place of headship? Will wive’s give it up?. On pastor has made an interesting observation: Rather than moving from boyhood to manhood we created a 3rd life stage in the middle called, adolescence. We are left with indefinite adolescence! We are left with a Peter Pan syndrome epidemic where some men want to remain boys forever! So, as Christ voluntarily submitted Himself to the Father, so the husband is to submit himself to Christ. As the woman is to be man’s companion, so she is to submit to an authority, which is exercised in love as expressed at the cross. Any man that cannot exercise authority like that(the cross), had better not get married; Any woman who cannot submit to authority like that, had better remain single.

Remember, we are looking at Headship…not Dictatorship!


J Vernon McGee - I realize full well that there are people today who like to emphasize the middle statement: “the head of the woman is the man.” But, my friend, when you put all these statements together, you don’t come up with a lopsided viewpoint. Paul is putting down another great principle here: This is authority for the sake of order, to eliminate confusion.

This principle is important in the church as well as the home. Several years ago a pastor was having trouble in his church, and I asked him what the problem was. He said it was that he had too many chiefs and not enough Indians—everyone wanted to be a leader. Today we find churches which have courses in leadership training. I’d like to know where you find that in the Bible. There are organizations which exist solely for the purpose of training young people to be public speakers. Paul says we are to “study to be quiet” (1 Thess. 4:11). I wish we could put the emphasis where the Bible puts it. We don’t need all this leadership training. We need folk who will act and live like Christians. That is the important thing.

The important word here is head. “The head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” The head is that portion of the body that gives the direction.

This verse does not say that the head of every Christian man is Christ. The word man is generic—it is a general item. It says the head of every man is Christ. It is the normal and correct order for Christ to be the head of every man. Until a man is mastered by Christ, he is not a normal man. Some men are mastered by drink; some are mastered by passion; most are mastered by the flesh. Every man should be mastered by Christ. Augustine said, “The heart of man is restless until it finds its rest in thee” (Confessions, Bk. 1, sec. 1). The heart of man is restless until he makes Christ the head. Men who have accomplished great things for God have done this. I think of Martin Luther and Wilberforce and Augustine who were profligate until they were mastered by Christ. I hear it said of a man today, “He is a Christian man.” Is he mastered by Christ? That is the important thing, and that is what Paul is saying.

“The head of the woman is man”—there is no article in the Greek, it is not the man. Notice it is not every woman; it is not an absolute. It refers to marriage where the woman is to respond to the man. It is normal for the woman to be subject to the man in marriage. If a woman cannot look up to a man and respect him, she ought not to follow him and surely ought not to marry him. But a real woman responds with every fiber of her being to the man she loves. He, in turn, must be the man who is willing to die for her—“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Eph. 5:25).

Dr. G. Campbell Morgan told about a friend of his and his wife’s who was a very brilliant woman. She had a strong personality, was an outstanding person, and was not married. He asked her one day the pointed question, “Why have you never married?” Her answer was, “I have never found a man who could master me.” So she never married. May I say that until a woman finds that man, she would make a mistake to get married. If she marries a Mr. Milquetoast, she will be in trouble from that day on.
“The head of Christ is God.” There is a great mystery here. Jesus said, “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30), but He also said, “… for my Father is greater than I” (John 14:28). In the work of redemption, He voluntarily took a lower place and was made lower than the angels. He walked a lowly path down here. We are admonished, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:5–7).

Now Paul is going to apply this principle of headship to the situation in Corinth. An unveiled woman in Corinth was a prostitute. The situation in your church or in your community may be different than it was in Corinth, but there is a principle here and it still applies today.


Question: "How can there be subordination / hierarchy in the Trinity?"

Answer: It may sound strange to speak of subordination within the Trinity. After all, Jesus and the Father are “one” (John 10:30). Subordination makes us think of a lower rank or a subservient position. To understand how there can be subordination in the Trinity, it is important to understand that there are different types of subordination. The biblical or orthodox view of the triune nature of God acknowledges an economic subordination in the Trinity but denies the heretical view of an ontological subordination.

What does this mean? Simply that all three Persons of the Godhead are equal in nature. God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit all have the same divine nature and divine attributes. Contrary to the teaching of many cults, there is no ontological subordination (no difference in the nature of the three Persons of the Godhead). This means that the Trinity is not comprised of greater and lesser gods; rather, there is one God existing eternally in three co-equal Persons.

What the Bible does teach is an economic (or relational) subordination within the Trinity. The three Persons of the triune Godhead voluntarily submit to each other respecting the roles They perform in creation and salvation. So, the Father sent the Son into the world (1 John 4:10). These roles are never reversed in Scripture: the Son never sends the Father. Likewise, the Holy Spirit is sent by Jesus and “proceeds from the Father” to testify of Christ (John 14:26; 15:26). And Jesus perfectly submitted His will to the Father’s (Luke 22:42; Hebrews 10:7).

Economic or relational subordination is simply a term to describe the relationship that exists among God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Essentially, economic subordination within the Trinity refers to what God does while ontological subordination refers to who God is.

Biblically, all three Persons of the Trinity have the same essence, nature, and glory, but each One has different roles or activities when it comes to how God relates to the world. For example, our salvation is based on the Father’s power and love (John 3:16; 10:29), the Son’s death and resurrection (1 John 2:2; Ephesians 2:6), and the Spirit’s regeneration and seal (Ephesians 4:30; Titus 3:5). The different tasks that we see the Father, Son, and Spirit perform are the result of the eternal relationship that exists among the Persons of the Trinity.

The issue of subordination within the Trinity is nuanced, and the distinction between ontological and economic subordination is fine indeed. Theologians within Christian orthodoxy continue to debate the limits of subordination and its relation to the Incarnation of Christ. Such discussions are profitable as we study the Scriptures and think through the truth about the nature of God.  GotQuestions.org

1 Corinthians 11:4  Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head.

ICC (Robertson) ‘Every man, whether married or unmarried, who has any covering on his head when he publicly prays to God or expounds the will of God, thereby dishonours his head: 

Amplified  Any man who prays or prophesies (teaches, refutes, reproves, admonishes, and comforts) with his head covered dishonors his Head (Christ).

Wuest - Every man while praying or prophesying [giving out the word of God in the public assembly, which word he received by divine revelation] having a shawl hanging down over his head [a Jewish and Roman custom] dishonors his head.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 11:4 Any man who prays or prophesies with his head covered disgraces his head.

NLT  1 Corinthians 11:4 A man dishonors his head if he covers his head while praying or prophesying.

ESV  1 Corinthians 11:4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head,

NIV  1 Corinthians 11:4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head.

GNT  1 Corinthians 11:4 πᾶς ἀνὴρ προσευχόμενος ἢ προφητεύων κατὰ κεφαλῆς ἔχων καταισχύνει τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ.

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

YLT  1 Corinthians 11:4 Every man praying or prophesying, having the head covered, doth dishonour his head,

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

CSB  1 Corinthians 11:4 Every man who prays or prophesies with something on his head dishonors his head.

MIT  1 Corinthians 11:4 Every grown male who prays or prophesies with a head-covering dishonors his leader.

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

NRS  1 Corinthians 11:4 Any man who prays or prophesies with something on his head disgraces his head,

NAB  1 Corinthians 11:4 Any man who prays or prophesies with his head covered brings shame upon his head.

NJB  1 Corinthians 11:4 For any man to pray or to prophesy with his head covered shows disrespect for his head.

GWN  1 Corinthians 11:4 Every man who covers his head when he prays or speaks what God has revealed dishonors the one who has authority over him.

BBE  1 Corinthians 11:4 Every man who takes part in prayer, or gives teaching as a prophet, with his head covered, puts shame on his head.

DISGRACING ONE'S 
HEAD

Every man who has something on his head while (present tense - continually) praying (proseuchomai) or (present tense - continually) prophesying (propheteuo)(present tense - continually) disgraces his head - "Praying is talking to God and prophesying is talking to people about God. One is vertical (man to God) and the other is horizontal (man to man), and they represent the two primary dimensions of believers’ ministry." (MacArthur)

Schreiner on something on his head says Paul "argues that for men to do so is wrong, probably because such head-coverings were common for men in pagan worship, and perhaps because only men who were socially elite wore a toga; thus wearing a toga would mean that they were flaunting their social status."

Krell adds that 'The reason that men should not have their heads covered was in the world of Corinth this was often associated with idolatry."

MacArthur - It seems, therefore, that Paul is not stating a divine universal requirement but simply acknowledging a local custom. The local Christian custom, however, reflected the divine principle. In Corinthian society a man’s praying or prophesying without a head covering was a sign of his authority over women, who were expected to have their heads covered in these ministries. Consequently, for a man to cover his head would be a disgrace, because it suggested a reversal of the proper relationships. Disgraces her head could refer to her own head literally and to her husband’s metaphorically. (Ibid)

Apparently it was the practice in the first century for men not to wear head coverings in corporate gatherings. That is certainly what is implied by Paul's statement when he says to wear one is disgraceful. The phrase disgraces his head could be a reference to his own head, but the context it suggestd a reference to the man's spiritual Head, the Lord Jesus Christ. However it is not clear how such a practice would dishonor the Lord. In other words, there is nothing in Scripture to answer this question.

Schreiner on disgraces his head - The head he dishonours, we can conclude from verse 3, is Christ, and such dishonour would speak volumes in an honour—shame culture. The term head may also refer to oneself (cf. 2 Sam. 1:16; Ezek. 18:13; 33:4; Acts 18:6; Rom. 12:20) so that Paul uses it with a twofold referent in mind. A man who prays with a covering dishonours both Christ and himself, but the focus is on dishonouring Christ.

ESV Study Bible on on his head  - The Greek phrase (kata kephalēs) literally means “down from the head” and may refer either to long hair that hangs loose (vv. 14–15), or to a veil that covers the face, or to a piece of cloth pulled over the head (like a modern shawl or scarf) that leaves the face revealed. As background for understanding Paul’s point in this verse, Roman men sometimes practiced the custom of pulling the loose folds of their toga over their head as an act of piety in the worship of pagan gods. Paul thus draws on the example of this pagan custom (which everyone in the Corinthian church would have thought absurd) to make the point that men should not dishonor Christ by praying according to pagan custom (8:4). He then uses the idea to prepare the way for his argument that it is equally absurd for wives to pray or prophesy in public with their heads uncovered (11:5, 11).

As an aside it is interesting that Jewish men began a custom of covering their heads when praying in the fourth century AD.

J Vernon McGee - The rabbis of that day taught that a man was to cover his head. Paul says that they actually misinterpreted Moses and the reason for the veil. “And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished” (2 Cor. 3:13). This refers to an experience Moses had when he came down from the mount where he had communed with God. When he first came down, the skin of his face shone, but after awhile that glory began to disappear. Therefore, he covered his face so they wouldn’t discover the glory was disappearing (see Exod. 34:33–35). Paul is saying to the men that they ought not to cover their heads. A man created in the image of God, who is in Christ by redemption, is to have his head uncovered as a symbol of dignity and of liberty. He is not to be covered when he prays or when he prophesies. When he is praying, he is speaking for man to God, making intercession. When he is prophesying, he is speaking for God to man. Whenever he is standing in these two sacred, holy positions he is to have his head uncovered.

Disgraces (puts to shame) (2617)(kataischuno from kata = down but here intensifies meaning of verb aischuno = to shame) means primarily to put to shame, to humiliate, to disgrace. In Greek culture, the focus was not on the objective consequences of actions but on the feeling of shame that might come with exposure of shameful deeds to others. NIDNTT writes that "The root aisch- refers originally to that which is ugly and disgraceful. Aischuno (Homer onwards) thus meant originally to disfigure, make ugly. Kataischuno - 12v - Lk. 13:17; Rom. 5:5; Rom. 9:33; Rom. 10:11; 1 Co. 1:27; 1 Co. 11:4; 1 Co. 11:5; 1 Co. 11:22; 2 Co. 7:14; 2 Co. 9:4; 1 Pet. 2:6; 1 Pet. 3:16

1 Corinthians 11:5  But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved.

Amplified  And any woman who [publicly] prays or prophesies (teaches, refutes, reproves, admonishes, or comforts) when she is bareheaded dishonors her head (her husband); it is the same as [if her head were] shaved.

Wuest -  But every woman while praying or prophesying with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for this would be one and the same thing as if she had her head shaved.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 11:5 But any woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered disgraces her head, for it is one and the same thing as having a shaved head.

NLT  1 Corinthians 11:5 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.

ESV  1 Corinthians 11:5 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.

NIV  1 Corinthians 11:5 And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head--it is just as though her head were shaved.

GNT  1 Corinthians 11:5 πᾶσα δὲ γυνὴ προσευχομένη ἢ προφητεύουσα ἀκατακαλύπτῳ τῇ κεφαλῇ καταισχύνει τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτῆς· ἓν γάρ ἐστιν καὶ τὸ αὐτὸ τῇ ἐξυρημένῃ.

KJV  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.

YLT  1 Corinthians 11:5 and every woman praying or prophesying with the head uncovered, doth dishonour her own head, for it is one and the same thing with her being shaven,

ASV  1 Corinthians 11:5 But every woman praying or prophesying with her head unveiled dishonoreth her head; for it is one and the same thing as if she were shaven.

CSB  1 Corinthians 11:5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since that is one and the same as having her head shaved.

MIT  1 Corinthians 11:5 Every woman praying or prophesying without a head-covering dishonors her leader. It is exactly as if she had shaved all her hair.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 11:5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved.

NRS  1 Corinthians 11:5 but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled disgraces her head-- it is one and the same thing as having her head shaved.

NAB  1 Corinthians 11:5 But any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled brings shame upon her head, for it is one and the same thing as if she had had her head shaved.

NJB  1 Corinthians 11:5 And for a woman to pray or prophesy with her head uncovered shows disrespect for her head; it is exactly the same as if she had her hair shaved off.

GWN  1 Corinthians 11:5 Every woman who prays or speaks what God has revealed and has her head uncovered while she speaks dishonors the one who has authority over her. She is like the woman who has her head shaved.

BBE  1 Corinthians 11:5 But every woman who does so with her head unveiled, puts shame on her head: for it is the same as if her hair was cut off.

WOMAN WITHOUT COVERING
LIKE A WANTON WOMAN

But every woman who has her head uncovered while (present tense - continually) praying or (present tense - continually) prophesying (present tense - continually) disgraces (kataischuno) her head (kephale) - Given that this section is in the context of public worship, Paul's point is if a woman is publically (in the worship service) praying or prophesying and has her head uncovered she dishonors her head. The phrase her head uncovered (akatakaluptō tē kephalē) means in its traditional sense, having no external veil or shawl upon one’s head.

Reformation Study Bible on head uncovered - Given the contrast with the previous verse, this comment suggests that women in the first century normally worshiped with a head covering. 

Wiersbe on head uncovered suggests that "Some of the women flaunted their “freedom” in the public meetings by refusing to cover their heads when they participated." (Bible Exposition Commentary)

Disgraces her head - Who is her "head?" Her husband according to 1 Cor 11:3. So if a wife has nothing on her head, this would bring shame to her husband.

Jack Arnold- By symbol, she is denying the headship of her husband, which is an act of insubordination. Praying and prophesying refers to praying publicly and giving spontaneous words of encouragement in an official way to others.

Keener on Women's Hair -  (See also note by June Hunt) Women’s hair was a common object of lust in antiquity, and in much of the eastern Mediterranean women were expected to cover their hair. To fail to cover their hair was thought to provoke male lust as a bathing suit is thought to provoke it in some cultures today. Head covering prevailed in Jewish Palestine (where it extended even to a face veil) and elsewhere, but upper-class women eager to show off their fashionable hairstyles did not practice it. Thus Paul must address a clash of culture in the church between upper-class fashion and lower-class concern that sexual propriety is being violated. (That Greeks bared their heads for worship and Romans covered them might also be significant, given the dual affiliation of Corinth as a Greek and Roman city. But because this custom was not divided along gender lines, it is probably irrelevant here.) Thus Paul provides a series of brief arguments, each of which relates directly to the culture he addresses. His arguments do not work well in every culture (he is not completely satisfied with all of them himself—11:11–12), but it is the Corinthian women, not modern women, whom he wishes to persuade to cover their heads. (In Verse 5) Paul uses the ancient debate principle of reductio ad absurdum: If they are so concerned to bare their heads, why not also remove the natural covering, their hair? Paul thereby reduces their insistence to the absurd: the greatest physical shame for a woman was to be shaved or have her hair cut like a man’s. (IVP Background Commentary)

for - Term of explanation. Paul explains why she disgraces her head

She is one and the same as the woman whose head (kephaleis shaved (perfect tense = in a state of "baldness") - This explanation does not mean much to us today in our culture, but it did in Corinth because a shaven head was considered shameful. " In the culture at Corinth women (wives) did not wear short hair unless they were making a statement of superiority or freedom. The head covering showed a submissive attitude in Christian women. 

Jack Arnold - Only the temple prostitutes in that cultural situation in Corinth had very short hair or were shaved bald. For a woman to do this was to classify herself a harlot, so the proper thing to do was for her to cover her head."

Zodhiates - The goddess Aphrodite had a temple dedicated to her at Corinth. Her devotees were called hieródouloi, temple slaves. In actuality, they were nothing but prostitutes. They had their heads shaven for easy distinction. They were also called hetaírai (the feminine of hetaíros [2083], comrade), a name that stood in contrast to a lawful wife. They were comrades or companions for money. Such was the rampant immoral climate of Corinth.

Wiersbe - The Corinthian women who appeared in the assembly without the head-covering were actually putting themselves on the low level of the temple prostitutes. The prostitutes wore their hair very short, and they did not wear a head-covering in public. Their hairstyle and manner announced to others just what they were and what they were offering. “If you are going to abandon the covering,” wrote Paul, “then why not go all the way and cut your hair?” (Ibid)

Eliezer Gonzalez - Within Roman culture, for a woman to have her head shaved (1 Cor 11:5) was the same as removing the marriage veil. Indeed, Dio Chrysostom (ca. 347 – 14 Sept 407) informs us that, “a woman guilty of adultery shall have her hair cut off according to the law and play the prostitute.” A shaved head was therefore by law associated with the shame of adultery and prostitution. Indeed, Winter (Roman Wives) notes that a prostitute, by implication, “could no longer wear the traditional mantle to signify marriage and hence pull it over the top of her head in public.” (J Adventist Theological Society 22, 2011)

Jack Arnold - In Corinth, a woman who was not covered was either a prostitute (of which there were ten thousand in that city) or a slave who was used at times as a harlot. Also the priestesses in the Temple of Aphrodite ministered in the temple with their heads uncovered. Therefore, no respectable woman in Corinth would think of going out without a head covering. It would be disgraceful and shameful for Christian women to appear in any public place, pray in church or give encouraging words to others in church without the sign of acknowledgment of the principle of headship in her life. 

MacArthur - It is the principle of women’s subordination to men, not the particular mark or symbol of that subordination, that Paul is teaching in this passage. The apostle is not laying down a universal principle that Christian women should always worship with their heads covered. (Ibid)

J Vernon McGee - They had a women’s liberation movement going in Corinth centuries ago, and it was going in the wrong direction. Paul says that the man should have his head uncovered but that the woman should have her head covered. I want you to note that it says “every woman that prayeth or prophesieth,” which means that a woman can pray in public and it means she can speak in public. Folk who maintain that the Bible says a woman cannot do these things are entirely wrong. The woman has the right to do these things if God has given her that gift. Some women have the gift. I know several women today who are outstanding Bible teachers. They can out-teach any man. One preacher told me this very candidly, “My wife is a much better Bible teacher than I am.” An officer of the church said they would much rather hear her speak than hear him speak. She had the gift of teaching.

Keith Krell - For a woman to have her head uncovered in mixed company could catch the eyes of men; as it were, she was offering innuendoes of attraction, which in a worship setting could easily distract some from true worship. Can that happen today? Most certainly, for just as in the ancient world, so today women can dress provocatively. But worship is not the time to dwell on male-female attractiveness; worship is the time to focus on God and His Word.26 Thus, women have a responsibility before both God and men to dress modestly and not attract unnecessary attention to themselves. Practically speaking, this responsibility is to be shared in the family unit. A husband needs to inform his wife if her attire is immodest. A wife needs to seek her husband’s opinion. Any father worth his salt should be able to tell his daughter to go back in and change her clothes. A godly daughter should want to dress in such a way that her father is pleased. (I know I’m being idealistic.) Older women in the church should help younger women dress with modesty and discretion (Titus 2:3-5). Women need to be reminded to dress with respect at all times, but especially when they come to worship the Lord. Now, men, I can’t let you off the hook either. We are responsible to vigilantly guard our minds during worship and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor 10:5). We all attend church to worship God not to eyeball the opposite sex. Therefore, we all need to do our part and seek to honor one another.

Keith Krell  The question that begs to be answered is: Must a Christian woman cover her head in church meetings today? I do not believe this is how Paul would have us understand this passage. What is normative and what is cultural? Well, when women go out in public today in Olympia without wearing a head covering, is that a sign of rebellion against their husbands? Hardly, except for the strictest Muslims. I suggest that the head covering is merely cultural, while honor and submission is the normative principle.

Believer's Study Bible - Paul insists that women who pray or prophesy in the church do so with covered heads. The rationale is as follows: (1) The covered head was the symbol of a woman's submission to her own husband. (2) To fail to acknowledge publicly this headship was a disgrace of such magnitude as to be equal to having a shorn head, which in antiquity was the symbol of a shameless, dishonored woman (1 Cor 11:6). In the presence of ministering angels, who were attendant upon gatherings of the church, women were to demonstrate their submission to their respective husbands by wearing "authority," which was symbolized by a head-covering (1 Cor 11:10). (3) This practice was based upon the prior creation of man, who then is in the image of God in terms of authority. On the other hand, the woman was created for the man (1 Cor 11:8). The passage reflects no antagonism toward women. This text, and indeed the entire corpus of Scripture, affirms the essential equality of men and women. Subordination on the woman's part is of a functional nature in her divinely assigned role. Her example in this functional submission is none other than Christ Himself (1 Cor 11:4). Paul is making every attempt to protect the status of women in their relationship to their own husbands as God intended.

Charles Hodge - The veils worn by Grecian women were of different kinds. One, and perhaps the most common, was the peplum, or mantle, which in public was thrown over the head, and enveloped the whole person. The other was more in the fashion of the common eastern veil which covered the face, with the exception of the eyes. In one form or other, the custom was universal for all respectable women to appear veiled in public.—The apostle therefore says, that a woman who speaks in public with her head uncovered, dishonoureth her head. Here ἑαυτῆς is used, her own head; not her husband, but herself. This is plain, not only from the force of the words, but from the next clause, for that is even all one as if she were shaven. This is the reason why she disgraces herself. She puts herself in the same class with women whose hair has been cut off. Cutting off the hair, which is the principal natural ornament of women, was either a sign of grief, Deut. 21:12, or a disgraceful punishment. The literal translation of this clause is: she is one and the same thing with one who is shaven. She assumes the characteristic mark of a disreputable woman. 

Uncovered (177)(akatakaluptos from a + katakalupto - covered) unconvered, unveiled. Only in 1 Cor 11:5, 13. Gilbrant has a lengthy noteClassical usage is varied. For example, Polybius described how some individuals took a certain woman named Danae, dragging her akatakalupton from the temple (15.27.2). Here the word means “unveiled,” and implies an element of shame (Walbank, Historical Commentary, 2:489), an idea clearly found in 1 Corinthians 11. Furthermore, in its single appearance in the Septuagint the word akatakaluptos can mean “uncovered,” i.e., with a bare head (Leviticus 13:45). In addition, Philo uses akatakaluptos to describe a woman being tested for adultery (De Specialibus Legibus 3.60). Here, the word must mean bareheaded since earlier in the account her head covering had been removed (3.56). Akatakaluptos is rarely used in Scripture. First Corinthians 11:5,13 are the only occurrences of akatakaluptos in the New Testament. Here it is in connection with the issue of women’s veils or coverings. It is found within a context that is very difficult to explain. Since this is so, it would obviously be quite impossible to determine the exact meaning of akatakaluptos from such a context. What is clear, however, is that Paul stated as a definite rule for worship services, that women should cover their heads, while men should leave their heads uncovered.

What is the “covering” referred to here? Essentially two divergent views exist: (1) that it is a veil or shawl upon the head; (2) that it refers to a hair style and acceptable hair length.

The first view holds to the traditional concept, going back to the early church fathers. As far back as Tertullian and Cyprian (ca. A.D. 200 –250), the teaching prevailed that all Christian women in many parts of the Church in the East were to be veiled, and that married women in the West were also to be veiled. During the entire Christian Era the accepted view has been that Paul was commanding women to cover their heads with a veil or shawl in worship services. The context of 1 Corinthians 11 explains that it is shameful for a man to wear long hair and for a woman to wear it short. Paul dramatically reinforced this idea saying that for a woman not to wear a veil was as degrading as having her hair shaved off!

Contrary to what some have said, Paul did not enjoin believers in Corinth to adapt themselves to the custom of the day by wearing (or not wearing) a headcovering. There is no evidence that such a practice was common in the Greek-Roman culture at that time. Likewise, there is little support for the teaching which asserts that an unveiled woman in Corinth would be mistaken for a prostitute. Instead, it seems probable that Paul based this rule of wearing a covering on Jewish customs which do offer a close parallel. Clark states that during Paul’s time Jewish women in Palestine “always covered their heads and faces when in public . . . They would have definitely covered their heads in the temple and synagogue” (Man and Woman in Christ, p.168). This custom of wearing a headcovering is still followed in some European countries. Many present-day theologians also hold this view, regardless of whether or not they consider it valid for our own time.

Some modern interpreters hold that Paul was not referring to a covering like a shawl or a veil but to a question concerning hairstyle and an acceptable hair length for men and women. This was an actual problem because of heathen customs in Corinth, usually in a religious context (that is, pagan festivals) and in homosexual practices. (See Howard, “Neither Male nor Female,” p.35; Murphy-O’Connor, “1 Corinthians 11:2-16 Once Again,” p.269.) The Septuagint appearance of akatakaluptos (Leviticus 13:45) is used as proof that this word can mean “disheveled” or “let down.”

This view contends, therefore, that excessively long hair on a man constituted a covering and violated the general principle (verse 7) and that for women, long hair sufficed for a covering (verse 15—antiperibolaion). The peribolaion was a garment similar to a shawl. So since the long hair was a covering, a veil was unnecessary.

Whatever the view, this is what Paul was saying: A man who would cover his head in a worship service would be dishonoring his head, and a woman who would pray or prophesy with her head uncovered would also be dishonoring her head (verse 5). He also appears to have been teaching about certain role differences within the husband and wife relationship. Paul regarded the headcovering as a fitting expression that a wife was under the authority or headship of the husband. And just as it was not degrading for Christ to have God the Father as His “head,” neither should it be degrading for a woman to have her husband as her head. A wife “honors” her husband by being covered.

Because of the difficulties involved in interpreting the context of 1 Corinthians 11, dogmatism must be avoided. The following statement by Stephan Clark (p.166) seems to be an appropriate conclusion: “The sections of 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 are beyond our ability to interpret confidently. We can offer plausible interpretations, but we cannot justify them so clearly that alternative plausible interpretations are ruled out.”  (Complete Biblical Library)

Praying (4336proseuchomai from pros = toward, facing, before [emphasizing the direct approach of the one who prays in seeking God’s face] + euchomai = originally to speak out, utter aloud, express a wish, then to pray or to vow. Greek technical term for invoking a deity) in the NT is always used of prayer addressed to God (to Him as the object of faith and the One who will answer one’s prayer) and means to speak consciously (with or without vocalization) to Him, with a definite aim (See study of noun proseuche). Proseuchomai encompasses all the aspects of prayer -- submission, confession, petition, supplication (may concern one's own need), intercession (concerned with the needs of others), praise, and thanksgiving. Wuest adds that the prefixed preposition pros..."gives it the idea of definiteness and directness in prayer, with the consciousness on the part of the one praying that he is talking face to face with God...(thus proseuchomai) speaks also of the consciousness on the part of the one who prays, of the fact of God’s presence and His listening ear)." Proseuchomai in the Corinthian letters -  1 Co. 11:4; 1 Co. 11:5; 1 Co. 11:13; 1 Co. 14:13; 1 Co. 14:14; 1 Co. 14:15

Prophesying (4395propheteuo from pró = before or forth + phemí = tell) means literally to tell forth and can mean to speak forth God's message, not necessarily referring to speaking of future events. In other contexts to prophesy means to speak under inspiration and foretell future events. Propheteuo in the Corinthian letters (Note it is used only in Paul's section on Corporate Worship) - 1 Co. 11:4; 1 Co. 11:5; 1 Co. 13:9; 1 Co. 14:1; 1 Co. 14:3; 1 Co. 14:4; 1 Co. 14:5; 1 Co. 14:24; 1 Co. 14:31; 1 Co. 14:39

Shaved (3587) (xurao from xurón (n.f.), a razor. To shave or shear the locks or beard; in the middle voice means middle shave one's head, have oneself shaved (xuráomai Acts 21:24+, “that they may shave their heads,” meaning let them be shorn); in the pass. part. fem. exureméne (1 Cor. 11:5, 6, “shorn” or shaven; Sept.: Gen. 41:14; Num. 6:9, 19).

 QUESTION—In what way does having one’s head shaved indicate disgrace?

 A shaved head indicated that that woman was being disgracefully punished. This meant that she bore the mark of a disreputable woman [Charles Hodge]. Short hair may have been a mark of a prostitute. If a woman wore short hair it was a sign of immorality and therefore disgrace [New Intl Com]. It was a sign of a loose woman [Translator's Guide - Bratcher]. For a woman to have her head shaved was a sign of humiliation and disgrace [New Test Com - Kistemaker, TH]. In those days slaves had their heads shaved [EGT, Godet, AT Robertson, TG, Vine]. Adulteresses were also shaved as a punishment [Alford, Exp Gk T, Rb]. Only a prostitute or extreme feminist would have her head shaved [MacArthur NTC]. (But note: The shaving of the head did not signify that a woman was a prostitute [Herm]. There is no contemporary evidence to support the view that short hair or shaving was a sign of a prostitute [NIC2].) (Robert Trail - An Exegetical Summary of 1 Cor 10-16)


June Hunt - Biblical Counseling Keys -  Hair length and head coverings.

ARGUMENT: In church services, women should wear a head covering and wear their hair long. The Bible says, “Every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved.… Does not the very nature of things teach you … that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering” (1 Corinthians 11:5, 14–15).

ANSWER: To understand these cultural mandates, we must understand the context of why Paul wrote these words to the Corinthian church. Paul’s comments regarding women’s hair length and head coverings were clearly in response to the thousand priestesses—prostitutes—at the Temple of Aphrodite on Acrocorinth who did not cover their heads and who wore their hair short. The purpose of Paul’s words was to protect Christian women from being thought of as sexually immoral or as prostitutes if they were to:

  • Cut their hair and thus dishonor themselves, their husbands, or their church. According to Jewish law, an adulterous woman had her hair cut off (Numbers 5:11–31).
  •  If any of the temple prostitutes became Christians, they were required to wear a head covering (peribolaion) until their hair had time to grow long.
  • This custom was necessary in that era because of what short hair symbolized to the people, but it is not necessary today.

Question: Should Christian women wear head coverings?

Answer: 1 Corinthians 11:3-16 addresses the issue of women and head coverings. The context of the entire passage of 1 Corinthians 11:3-16 is submission to the God-given order and "chain of command." A "covering" on a woman’s head is used as an illustration of the order, headship, and the authority of God. The key verse of this passage is 1 Corinthians 11:3 "But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God." The implications of this verse are found in the rest of the passage. The order is: God the Father, God the Son, the man or husband, and the woman or wife. The veil or covering on the head of a believing Corinthian wife showed that she was under the authority of her husband, and therefore under submission to God.

Within this passage is also verse 10: "For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels." Why is that important to angels? The relationship of God with men is something that angels watch and learn from (1 Peter 1:12). Therefore, a woman’s submission to God’s delegated authority over her is an example to angels. The holy angels, who are in perfect and total submission to God, expect that we, as followers of Christ, be the same.

This covering not only means a cloth but also can refer to a woman’s hair length. How can we say that? We must take this verse in the context or the setting in which it is presented. "Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering" (1 Corinthians 11:14-15). Therefore, in the context of this passage, a woman who is wearing her hair longer marks herself out distinctively as a woman and not a man. The Apostle Paul is saying here that in the Corinthian culture, when a wife’s hair was longer than her husband’s, it showed her submission to his headship. The roles of the male and female are designed by God to portray a profound spiritual lesson, that is of submission to the will and the order of God.

But why is hair an issue in this passage? The apostle Paul is addressing an issue related to the Corinthian culture that was being allowed to disrupt the church. For a woman to have a shaved head was a disgrace (and, in Jewish thinking, a sign of mourning, Deuteronomy 21:12). Her hair was her “glory” (1 Corinthians 11:15). In the Corinthian culture, women normally wore a head covering as a symbol of their submission to their husbands. Paul affirms the rightness of following that cultural mandate—to dispense with the head coverings on women would send the entirely wrong signal to the culture at large. In fact, Paul says that, if a Christian woman refuses her head covering, she might as well shave her hair off, too (verse 6). A woman who refused to wear a covering in that culture was basically saying, “I refuse to submit to God’s order.” Therefore, the apostle Paul is teaching the Corinthians that hair length or the wearing of a “covering” by the woman was an outward indication of a heart attitude of submission to God and to His established authority.

God’s order is that the husband is the head of the wife as God is the head of Christ, but there is no inequality or inferiority implied. God and Christ are equal and united, just as the husband and the wife are one. This is not a passage that teaches the woman is inferior to man or that she should be submissive to every man. It is teaching God’s order and spiritual headship in the marriage relationship. In the Corinthian culture, a woman who covered her head during worship or when she was in public displayed her submission to authority.

In today’s culture, we no longer view a woman’s wearing of a head covering as a sign of submission. In most modern societies, scarves and hats are fashion accessories. A woman has the choice to wear a head covering if she views it as a sign of her submission to the authority of her husband. However, it is a personal choice and not something that should be used to judge spirituality. The real issue here is the heart attitude of obedience to God’s authority and submission to His established order “as to the LORD” (Ephesians 5:22). God is far more concerned with an attitude of submission than an outward display of submission via a head covering. First Timothy 2:9-10, "I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God."  GotQuestions.org

Related Resources:

1 Corinthians 11:6  For if a woman does not cover [her head], let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover [her head].

ICC (Robertson)  A woman who persists in being unveiled like a man should go the whole length of cutting her hair short like a man. But seeing that it is a mark of infamy for a woman to have her hair cut off or shorn, let her wear a veil. 

Zodhiates For if a woman be not covered, let her also be shorn. But since it is shameful for a woman to be shorn, let her cover herself

Amplified  For if a woman will not wear [a head] covering, then she should cut off her hair too; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her head shorn or shaven, let her cover [her head].

Wuest -  For, assuming that a woman is uncovered, let her also cut her hair close. But since it is dishonorable for a woman to be shaven or have her hair cropped close, let her put a shawl down over her head.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 11:6 For if a woman will not cover her head, she should cut off her hair. But if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, she should cover her head.

NLT  1 Corinthians 11:6 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.

ESV  1 Corinthians 11:6 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.

NIV  1 Corinthians 11:6 If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head.

GNT  1 Corinthians 11:6 εἰ γὰρ οὐ κατακαλύπτεται γυνή, καὶ κειράσθω· εἰ δὲ αἰσχρὸν γυναικὶ τὸ κείρασθαι ἢ ξυρᾶσθαι, κατακαλυπτέσθω.

KJV  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.

YLT  1 Corinthians 11:6 for if a woman is not covered -- then let her be shorn, and if it is a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven -- let her be covered;

ASV  1 Corinthians 11:6 For if a woman is not veiled, let her also be shorn: but if it is a shame to a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be veiled.

CSB  1 Corinthians 11:6 So if a woman's head is not covered, her hair should be cut off. But if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, she should be covered.

MIT  1 Corinthians 11:6 For if a woman is not head-covered, her hair should be cut off. If it is a shame for a woman to have her head sheared or shaved, she must have a head-covering.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 11:6 For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered.

NRS  1 Corinthians 11:6 For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or to be shaved, she should wear a veil.

NAB  1 Corinthians 11:6 For if a woman does not have her head veiled, she may as well have her hair cut off. But if it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should wear a veil.

NJB  1 Corinthians 11:6 Indeed, if a woman does go without a veil, she should have her hair cut off too; but if it is a shameful thing for a woman to have her hair cut off or shaved off, then she should wear a veil.

GWN  1 Corinthians 11:6 So if a woman doesn't cover her head, she should cut off her hair. If it's a disgrace for a woman to cut off her hair or shave her head, she should cover her head.

BBE  1 Corinthians 11:6 For if a woman is not veiled, let her hair be cut off; but if it is a shame to a woman to have her hair cut off, let her be veiled.

BETTER COVERED
THAN BALD!

This verse could also be subtitled "Cover or Cut!"

For - Paul is explaining a woman with an uncovered head is like the woman whose head is shaved..

Utley - There are two first class conditional phrases in this verse which are assumed to be true from the author’s perspective or for his literary purpose. There were Christian women in the church who refused to cover their heads, but still wanted to be active in public worship. It was socially unacceptable.

If a woman does (absolutely) not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off - In short, no covering, no hair! If you are not willing to act your God-given role as woman, then go ahead and look like a prostitute. Vine adds that it literally reads "if a woman “persists in unveiling herself”; the verb is in the present continuous tense, indicating a customary act, and is in the middle voice (REFLEXIVE), implying that her not being veiled is her own persistent act. While the tenses of the verbs rendered “be shorn” and “to be shorn” denotes a single act, that of the verb rendered “[be] shaven” denotes a repeated act. That is, if a woman insists on having her head uncovered, let her insist on having her hair cut short or shaven, and no woman with the slightest sense of shame would think of such a thing." 

Eliezer Gonzalez - The honor—shame culture of the first century is a fundamental social background against which Paul’s epistles must be understood. Malina points out that honor and shame are an “important motivation” and “pivotal values” in the ancient Mediterranean world. Similarly, “[h]onor and shame were pivotal values for the persons presented in the New Testament.”(J Adventist Theological Society 22, 2011)

Wikipedia on Honor-Shame culture - In a shame society, the means of control is the inculcation of shame and the complementary threat of ostracism..... A person in this type of culture may ask, "Shall I look ashamed if I do X?" or "How will people look at me if I do Y?" Shame cultures are typically based on the concepts of pride and honor,[4] and appearances are what count.

Jack Arnold - "The irony of Paul comes through and he says if a woman is not going to cover her head, then she should shave off all her hair and be like a prostitute. But since Christian decorum will not allow this, she is to have a proper head covering in the tradition of respectable Greek women. To avoid all suspicion of being a loose woman, Christian women in Corinth were commanded to be covered with a shawl."

Wayne Barber - prostitutes shaved their heads and would come into the city at night with sandals that would have on the bottom of themFollow Me.” People followed them."

MacArthur - If a woman took off her head covering she might as well make the symbol of her role rejection complete by taking off all of her hair, the God-given identifier of her special role as a woman. (Ibid)

But if (first class conditional = since) it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head (kephale)  shaved, let her cover her head - ICC = "seeing that it is a mark of infamy for a woman to have her hair cut off or shorn, let her wear a veil." 

MacArthur - Paul therefore is saying, “If you are not willing to look like a prostitute or a rebellious feminist by cutting off your hair, don’t pray or prophesy with your head uncovered either.” (Ibid)

Zodhiates has an interesting note on cover (her head) - "The covering here involves either the hair of a woman hanging down or, in case that may not be possible, the veil. It must be remembered in this connection that women of loose morals, especially the prostitute priestesses of the temple of Aphrodite at Corinth, kept their hair very short in order to be distinguished for what they were. This was strictly forbidden for Christian women in order that no one would mistake them as women of loose morals. What happened, however, when one of these prostitute priestesses was saved in Corinth? Since she could not grow her hair immediately, she used a veil to cover her head to show that she no longer belonged to the prostitute caste.

J Vernon McGee - This had a peculiar and particular application to Corinth. The unveiled woman in Corinth was a prostitute. Many of them had their heads shaved. The vestal virgins in the temple of Aphrodite who were really prostitutes had their heads shaved. The women who had their heads uncovered were the prostitutes. Apparently some of the women in the church at Corinth were saying, “All things are lawful for me, therefore, I won’t cover my head.” Paul says this should not be done because the veil is a mark of subjection, not to man, but to God. Now this had a local application; it was given to the women in Corinth. Does it apply to our day and society? Well, I have heard that a new hat is a morale builder for women. A wife said to her husband, “Every time I get down in the dumps, I go and buy a new hat.” His response was, “I have been wondering where you got those hats!” Seriously, regulations for a woman’s dress are in regard to her ministry. If she is to lead, she ought to have her head covered. Other passages will give us more information about this. “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works” (1 Tim. 2:8–10). This states that if the woman is to lift up holy hands in the service in leading, she is not to adorn herself to draw attention to herself. Very candidly, it means that the woman is not to use sex appeal in the service of God. That is exactly what it means, my friend. She is not to use sex appeal at—all it will not win her husband to Christ either.The Bible has more to say on this subject. “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives …. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price” (1 Pet. 3:1, 3–4). God is saying that a wife cannot win her husband to Christ by sex appeal. This does not mean that she is not to be appealing to her husband, but it does mean that a woman never wins her husband to Christ by sex appeal. There are women in the Bible who had sex appeal: Jezebel, Esther, Salome. Then there are some who stand out in Scripture as being wonderful, marvelous, godly women whom God used: Sarah, Deborah, Hannah, Abigail, and Mary the mother of Jesus. Then there is also something said to the husbands. “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered” (1 Pet. 3:7). Many a family today have their prayers hindered because the husband and wife are not getting along as they should.

Cut off (2751)(keiro) means to shear (sheep - Acts 8:32+; Lxx - Ge 31:19, 38:12, 13) and in middle voice to cut one's hair or have it cut off (1 Cor 11:6). Gilbrant - From the time of Homer, classical Greek writings use this verb to mean cutting of hair, the shearing of sheep, and even the ravaging of a country by cutting down its trees, especially its fruit trees. The Septuagint uses it in the classic prophecy about Christ going as an innocent sheep to be shorn (Isaiah 53:7+ ). In the New Testament Philip explained the Isaiah passage to the eunuch who was reading it (Acts 8:27-35+). As a result the eunuch asked for a personal relationship with Jesus. Luke employed the word when he explained about Paul having his hair cut at Cenchreae because of a vow he made (Acts 18:18+). Paul used the term to explain the disgrace involved in a woman having her hair shorn (1 Corinthians 11:6).

Keiro in NT - Acts 8:32; Acts 18:18; 1 Co. 11:6 and in Septuagint - Gen. 31:19; Gen. 38:12; Gen. 38:13; Deut. 15:19; 1 Sam. 25:2; 1 Sam. 25:4; 1 Sam. 25:7; 1 Sam. 25:11; 2 Sam. 13:23; 2 Sam. 13:24; 2 Sam. 14:26; Job 1:20; Prov. 27:25; Song. 4:2; Song. 6:6; Isa. 53:7; Jer. 7:29; Jer. 49:32; Mic. 1:16

Isaiah 53:7+ He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers (keiro), So He did not open His mouth. 

Disgraceful (150)(aischros from aischos = baseness, disgrace) refers that which is indecent, dishonorable, "ugly", socially or morally unacceptable, shameful or base. (See related combined word aischrokerdosAischros was a term especially significant in an honor-shame oriented society (a trait that did not characterize Crete!) and was used generally in reference to that which fails to meet expected moral and cultural standards. NIDNTT - The root aisch- refers originally to that which is ugly and disgraceful. aischuno (the verb form) (Homer onwards) thus meant originally to disfigure, make ugly. The verb is found in Greek literature almost exclusively in the middle or passive with the meaning to feel shame, be ashamed, or to be confounded, be disconcerted. (New International Dictionary of NT Theology) Aischros - 4x - 1 Co. 11:6; 1 Co. 14:35; Eph. 5:12; Titus 1:11 Septuagint uses ("ugly") - Ge 41:3; Ge 41:4; Gen. 41:19; Gen. 41:20; Gen. 41:21;

Cover (2619)(katakalupto from katá = an intensifier + kalupto = to cover) means to cover up, to cover oneself (middle voice). To cover with a veil or something which hangs down. Passive means to be covered, veiled, to wear a veil (1 Cor. 11:6, 7 - only NT uses). . See also akatakáluptos (G177), uncovered, which (in 1 Cor. 11:5, 13) is equivalent to being shaven. In the classical period (cf. Homer) it frequently occurs in the middle voice and means “to cover oneself.”

Septuagint In the Septuagint katakaluptō continues to have the same meaning. On the way through Moab to the east side of the Jordan, Israel’s enemies perceived her threat and said, “Behold, they cover the face of the earth” (Numbers 22:5). In addition, the term takes on “sacral” significance, for instance, in the sacrificial instructions of Exodus 29:22 and in reference to the awesome presence of God in Exodus 26:34 and Isaiah 6:2 (Oepke, “katakaluptō,” Kittel, 3:561). In Numbers 4:5 and Exodus 26:34 the ark of the covenant is “covered” with a curtain. (Complete Biblical Library)

Gilbrant In all three instances the verb is in the middle voice meaning “to cover or veil oneself.” In the context of the gathered community a man who prayed or prophesied was not to “cover his head,” whereas a woman exercising the same functions was shamed if her head was not “covered.” The covering Paul had in mind cannot be spiritualized, for the practice of women veiling themselves was common among the Semitic people (though sometimes perhaps for less than honorable reasons, as Genesis 38:15 shows). But in a Gentile-Christian context Paul did not advocate such veiling for every sphere of life. For women to cover their head could not possibly have meant “to put up the hair,” since its opposite would not have made good sense either, namely, that the men were not to put up their hair (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

1 Corinthians 11:7  For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.

ICC (Robertson) ‘ A man has no right to cover his head; he is by constitution the image of God and reflects God’s glory: whereas the woman reflects man’s glory.

Amplified  For a man ought not to wear anything on his head [in church], for he is the image and [reflected] glory of God his function of government reflects the majesty of the divine Rule]; but woman is [the expression of] man’s glory (majesty, preeminence). 

Wuest -  For, indeed, a male individual is morally obligated not to cover his head in that manner since he is so constituted as to be the derived image and glory of God. But the woman is the glory of a man.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 11:7 For a man should not have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God. But the woman is the glory of the man.

NLT  1 Corinthians 11:7 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.

ESV  1 Corinthians 11:7 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.

NIV  1 Corinthians 11:7 A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.

GNT  1 Corinthians 11:7 ἀνὴρ μὲν γὰρ οὐκ ὀφείλει κατακαλύπτεσθαι τὴν κεφαλὴν εἰκὼν καὶ δόξα θεοῦ ὑπάρχων· ἡ γυνὴ δὲ δόξα ἀνδρός ἐστιν.

KJV  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.

YLT  1 Corinthians 11:7 for a man, indeed, ought not to cover the head, being the image and glory of God, and a woman is the glory of a man,

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

CSB  1 Corinthians 11:7 A man, in fact, should not cover his head, because he is God's image and glory, but woman is man's glory.

MIT  1 Corinthians 11:7 On the one hand, a man ought not to cover his head, because he is the image and glory of God. On the other hand, the woman is the glory of man.

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

NRS  1 Corinthians 11:7 For a man ought not to have his head veiled, since he is the image and reflection of God; but woman is the reflection of man.

NAB  1 Corinthians 11:7 A man, on the other hand, should not cover his head, because he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man.

NJB  1 Corinthians 11:7 But for a man it is not right to have his head covered, since he is the image of God and reflects God's glory; but woman is the reflection of man's glory.

GWN  1 Corinthians 11:7 A man should not cover his head. He is God's image and glory. The woman, however, is man's glory.

BBE  1 Corinthians 11:7 For it is not right for a man to have his head covered, because he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.

  • he is: Ge 1:26-27 Ge 5:1 9:6 Ps 8:6 Jas 3:9 
  • but: 1Co 11:3 Ge 3:16 
  • 1 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages: 

Genesis 1:26-27  Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image (Lxx = eikon), according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in His own image, in the image (Lxx = eikonof God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Genesis 5:1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God.

Psalm 8:6  You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, 

James 3:9  With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God;

BIBLICAL BASIS FOR
MALE HEADSHIP

In 1 Cor 10:7-10 Paul gives his theological basis for the preceding instructions by going back to the Creation (therefore in a sense, Paul uses Scripture to defend his preceding comments on the headship of the man) documenting that spiritual headship has been true since God created the world.

MacDonald makes a good point that in Paul's referring to Creation "This should forever lay to rest any idea that his teaching about women’s covering was what was culturally suitable in his day but not applicable to us today. The headship of man and the subjection of woman have been God’s order from the very beginning." (Believer's Bible Commentary)

Guzik  asks "Why is it important to respect the principle of headship in the church?" The reason first stated is found in 1 Corinthians 11:3—the head of woman is man. God has established an order of authority, the principle of male headship, both in the church (1 Corinthians 11 and 1 Timothy 2) and the home (Ephesians 5:23). A second reason is found in the order of creation: God created Adam first, and gave Him responsibility over Eve.

For - Term of explanation. Kistemaker writes "The first word, the causal conjunction for, connotes that the entire present passage is an explanation of the preceding verses (vv. 5–6) that alludes to the creation account (Gen. 1:26–27; 2:18–24).

A man (present tense - continually) ought (opheilo) not to have his head (kephale) (present tense - continually) covered (katakalupto), since he (present tense - continually) is the image and glory (doxa) of God - Wuest = "For, indeed, a male individual is morally obligated not to cover his head in that manner " He represents and reflects God (THOUGHT - How am I doing as a man?) Paul is now explaining why the man's head should not be covered in worship. In simple terms to not have one's head covered would give a proper picture of man's creation in God's image and for God's glory. What is Paul saying? He is saying that man was created and placed on earth to be God's representative, His visible representative and to give a proper opinion of his Creator.

As David wrote "Yet You have made him (MAN) a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty!"  (Psalm 8:5+)

Jack Arnold - By position, therefore, man represents God’s authority in this world. He is the visible manifestation of the headship of God and the authority of God. If a man prays or prophesies publicly with his head covered, he conceals that which he is representing—the authority and headship of God.

But the woman (huparcho in present tense - continually) is the glory of man - The woman is the glory not of God but of man, that is, her husband. Note it does not say she is the image of man. "By praying and prophesying with her head uncovered, she would be dishonoring and shaming man whose glory she was supposed to be." (Barton) "Paul has stated that God is the head of Christ, Christ the head of man, and man the head of woman (v. 3). Because of his teaching on man’s headship, he is not now interested in discussing Eve being created in God’s image." (Kistemaker

Lenski - Her entire creation places her in direct and immediate relation to man. She was made for man; she was to be his “helpmeet.” The reverse cannot be said. Adam expressed the truth exactly: “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man.” Before Paul adds the obligation that rests upon her as far as expressing

Jack Arnold on  the woman is the glory of man - She is in so many ways of finer character than he, but in God’s creation order, she is the glory of man. She has a place all her own, but it is not the man’s place. When she has her head covered, she expresses the glory of man and conceals her own glory.

Zodhiates writes that " the woman is the true recognition of the man. Generally speaking, when we see whom a man has chosen for his wife, we will understand what he is.

MacArthur -   though woman is fully in the image of God she is not directly the glory of God. She is directly the glory of man, the indirect outshining of man’s glory of God. Her role in the world is to submit to the direction of man, to whom is given the divine dominion.  (Ibid)

Dr Wayne Grudem - When in 1 Corinthians 11:7 Paul says, “A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man,” he is not denying that woman was created in the image of God (ED: SEE Ge 1:27). He is simply saying that there are abiding differences between men and women that should be reflected in the way they dress and act in the assembled congregation. One of those differences is that man in relationship to woman has a particular role of representing God or showing what He is like, and woman in that relationship shows the excellence of the man from whom she was created. Yet in both cases Paul goes on to emphasize their interdependence (see 1 Cor 11:11–12). Our equality as persons before God, reflecting the equality of persons in the Trinity, should lead naturally to men and women giving honor to one another. Proverbs 31 is a beautiful picture of the honor given to a godly woman. (read Pr 31:10, 28–30) (Systematic Theology - scroll to page 394 in PDF).

William Martin -Paul proceeds to explain the respective rôles of the man and the woman in a church worship-meeting convened for the specific purpose of commemorating the Lord’s Supper. These rôles reflect the relationship that exists with Christ as Head of every man, using the word generically and with the limitations imposed on it by the character of the addressee, namely a Christian church. Man is to appear with uncovered head for he is the glorious image of God (v. 7), whom he represents and in a sense personates in the worship of the true Head. The woman, on the other hand, acts the part of the church. Now, if a distinction is to be made between the man and the woman in the worship-meeting, this requires an explanation. If the woman here is to behave differently or to be treated differently from the man, it would be the only instance where the requirements incumbent upon them were not identical. As they received forgiveness in the same way, were baptized in the same way, they should surely worship in the same way. Any distinction would have seemed a clear contradiction of the great truth that in Christ there is neither male nor female (Gal. 3:28). (1 Corinthians 11:2-16: An Interpretation - 10 page journal article) 

Image(1504) eikon) properly, "mirror-like representation," i.e. what is very close in resemblance (like a "high-definition" projection, as defined by the context). Eikon is an artistic representation, as one might see on a coin or statue (an image or a likeness, as in Mt 22.20). Eikon can also refer to a visible manifestation of an invisible and heavenly reality form (see Hebrews 10:1+) As used here in Colossians eikon speaks of an embodiment or living manifestation of God. Eikon - 20v - Matt. 22:20; Mk. 12:16; Lk. 20:24; Rom. 1:23; Rom. 8:29; 1 Co. 11:7; 1 Co. 15:49; 2 Co. 3:18; 2 Co. 4:4; Col. 1:15; Col. 3:10; Heb. 10:1; Rev. 13:14; Rev. 13:15; Rev. 14:9; Rev. 14:11; Rev. 15:2; Rev. 16:2; Rev. 19:20; Rev. 20:4

Glory (1391doxa from dokeo = to think) in simple terms means to give a proper opinion or estimate of something. Glory is something that is a source of honor, fame, or admiration. It describes renown, a thing that is beautiful, impressive, or worthy of praise. It follows that the glory of God expresses all that He is in His Being and in His nature, character, power and acts. He is glorified when He is allowed to be seen as He really is. To be where God is will be glory. To be what God intended will be glory. To do what God purposed will be glory.

1 Corinthians 11:8  For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man;

ICC (Robertson) ‘Man was created first; he does not owe his origin to woman, but woman owes hers to him;

Amplified  For man was not [created] from woman, but woman from man; 

Wuest -  For a man is not out of a woman as a source, but a woman out of a man.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 11:8 For man did not come from woman, but woman from man.

NLT  1 Corinthians 11:8 For the first man didn't come from woman, but the first woman came from man.

ESV  1 Corinthians 11:8 For man was not made from woman, but woman from man.

NIV  1 Corinthians 11:8 For man did not come from woman, but woman from man;

GNT  1 Corinthians 11:8 οὐ γάρ ἐστιν ἀνὴρ ἐκ γυναικὸς ἀλλὰ γυνὴ ἐξ ἀνδρός·

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

YLT  1 Corinthians 11:8 for a man is not of a woman, but a woman is of a man,

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

CSB  1 Corinthians 11:8 For man did not come from woman, but woman came from man.

MIT  1 Corinthians 11:8 For man did not originate from woman, but woman from man.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 11:8 For man is not from woman, but woman from man.

NRS  1 Corinthians 11:8 Indeed, man was not made from woman, but woman from man.

NAB  1 Corinthians 11:8 For man did not come from woman, but woman from man;

NJB  1 Corinthians 11:8 For man did not come from woman; no, woman came from man;

GWN  1 Corinthians 11:8 Clearly, man wasn't made from woman but woman from man.

BBE  1 Corinthians 11:8 For the man did not come from the woman, but the woman from the man.

Related Passage: 

1 Timothy 2:12-13 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. 13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.

PAUL APPEALS TO THE
FACT OF WOMAN FROM MAN

For (garterm of explanation - Paul is further defending the previous point describing the differences in the purpose of man and woman. He is simply and succinctly giving another distinction or difference between the man and the woman. 

Man does not originate (ek - out of) from woman, but woman from (ek - out of) man - Man was created first and given dominion over the earth and then the woman was created out of Adam. In highlighting these differences, Paul is again explaining the reason for the man's headship and the woman's subordination. Paul is giving a "synopsis" of Genesis 2:21-22 which says "So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man." 

Jack Arnold - This act of the original creation of woman does not show inferiority but only subordination in rank.

Kistemaker -As God simultaneously created animals male and female, so in one creative act he could have made Adam and Eve from the dust of the earth. But he did not do so. God first made Adam and then, declaring that it was not good for man to be alone (Ge 2:18), supplied him with a helper suitable to his needs. From one of Adam’s ribs he fashioned Eve to be Adam’s wife.

1 Corinthians 11:9  for indeed man was not created for the woman's sake, but woman for the man's sake.

ICC (Robertson)  and, what is more, she was made for his sake, and not he for hers.

Amplified  Neither was man created on account of or for the benefit of woman, but woman on account of and for the benefit of man. 

Wuest -   Assuredly, a man was not created for the sake of the woman, but a woman for the sake of the man.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 11:9 Neither was man created for the sake of woman, but woman for man.

NLT  1 Corinthians 11:9 And man was not made for woman, but woman was made for man.

ESV  1 Corinthians 11:9 Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.

NIV  1 Corinthians 11:9 neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.

GNT  1 Corinthians 11:9 καὶ γὰρ οὐκ ἐκτίσθη ἀνὴρ διὰ τὴν γυναῖκα, ἀλλὰ γυνὴ διὰ τὸν ἄνδρα.

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

YLT  1 Corinthians 11:9 for a man also was not created because of the woman, but a woman because of the man;

ASV  1 Corinthians 11:9 for neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man:

CSB  1 Corinthians 11:9 And man was not created for woman, but woman for man.

MIT  1 Corinthians 11:9 Nor was man created for the sake of woman, but woman for the sake of man.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 11:9 Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man.

NRS  1 Corinthians 11:9 Neither was man created for the sake of woman, but woman for the sake of man.

NAB  1 Corinthians 11:9 nor was man created for woman, but woman for man;

NJB  1 Corinthians 11:9 nor was man created for the sake of woman, but woman for the sake of man:

GWN  1 Corinthians 11:9 Man wasn't created for woman but woman for man.

BBE  1 Corinthians 11:9 And the man was not made for the woman, but the woman for the man.

Related Passages:

Genesis 2:18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”

Craig Keener - According to Genesis 2:18 God created woman distinct from man partly so that man would no longer be alone; the phrase there translated “helper suitable” praises woman’s strength rather than subordinates her. (“Helper” is used more often of God than of anyone else in the Old Testament; “suitable” means “corresponding” or “appropriate to,” as an equal in contrast to the animals.) Woman was thus created because man needed her strength, not (as some have wrongly interpreted this verse) to be his servant. (IVPBBCNT)

Genesis 2:20 The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.

Genesis 2:23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” 24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

EVE WAS 
CREATED FOR ADAM

For (garterm of explanation - Paul explains in essence why the woman was created.

indeed man was not created for the woman's sake, but woman for the man's sake - In the context of the creation account, this would refer to the wife being "a helper suitable for" her husband (Ge 2:18). And once again we see the differences between male and female are emphasized. The woman was created to play a crucial role in helping her husband. This in no way signifies she is not equal or that she is inferior, but that this is God's purpose for her.  "She is unique from the man. Her role is to come under the leadership, protection, and care of man, and she is to be “a helper suitable for him” (Gen. 2:20)." (MacArthur

Guzik - Adam was created for Eve, but Eve was created for Adam—and this principle applies to every “Adam” and every “Eve” through history.... Eve was created to be a helper to Adam, meaning that Adam was “head” over Eve, and she was called to share and help his vision and agenda.  Genesis 2:22 says, He brought her to the man. Adam was not brought to Eve, but Eve was brought to Adam—her head. It is an idea offensive to the spirit of our age, but the Bible in this passage clearly teaches that (in the church and in the home) man was not made for the benefit of woman, but woman for the benefit of man. “For the man, signifies to serve and help the man.” (Poole)

Jack Arnold - Woman was created for man. God was satisfied with His creation of Adam, but Adam was lonely and needed companionship. As a helper, the woman is to be submissive to her husband and this submission is symbolized by a head covering when praying and prophesying. The head covering was a symbol by the woman that she acknowledged the headship of her husband (AKA "AUTHORITY), that she chose to give herself to her husband, and that she belonged to him in God’s scheme of things. Perhaps the nearest equivalent in our society is the wedding ring. This ring is the outward symbol that a woman belongs to her man to whom she has freely and voluntarily given herself as her head.

Kistemaker - Many people today seem to think that the creation of Adam and Eve is a story from the dawn of human history and has little, if any, present significance. However, at creation Adam was formed first, then Eve (1 Tim. 2:13). God made this distinction for all times, and with it he reveals his design and purpose for the sexes. Although man and woman are equal before God and in Christ (Gal. 3:28), they have been given different roles. The husband takes primary responsibility in his headship, and the wife fulfills her role as helper. This relationship cannot be reversed, because the creation story teaches “a non-reversible orientation of the woman towards the man as the reference point for her life.” The fact that Eve was created to assist Adam suggests that she is subject to him. When God created Eve as Adam’s helper, he assigned to her a supportive and submissive role (Gen. 2:18). By appealing to the creation account, Paul is able to write that man was not created for woman but woman for man.

Lenski - God made “a woman” for Adam, but not “a man” for Eve. God could, indeed, have created both man and woman, Adam and Eve, in one undivided act. Today many think and act as though God had really done so. But the fact is otherwise. Nor should we think and say that at this late date God’s creative act, which lies far back in time, makes no difference. The facts of creation abide forever. They can be ignored without resultant loss or harm as little as can other facts of nature.

Created (2936)(ktizo) means to bring something into existence or call it into being something that has not existed before. Ktizo applies only to God alone as only the Lord can make something from what was "not there before" (Latin, ex nihilo, "out of nothing"; (figuratively) to begin ("found"), especially what is habitable or useful. Ktizo - 13v - Matt. 19:4; Mk. 13:19; Rom. 1:25; 1 Co. 11:9; Eph. 2:10; Eph. 2:15; Eph. 3:9; Eph. 4:24; Col. 1:16; Col. 3:10; 1 Tim. 4:3; Rev. 4:11; Rev. 10:6

Gilbrant In classical Greek the word ktizō is used to talk about something that is “conceived” or existing in the mind. It also refers to things actually “brought into being” or “established.” It could refer to the establishment of a city, a building, a town, or some other structure. Ktizō is used by Homer (ca. Seventh Century B.C.) to talk about the settling or populating of a piece of land. It is also used to refer to an intellectual act that produces an invention (cf. Liddell-Scott). In the Septuagint ktizō generally means “to create” and is used in reference to the creative activity of God. Thus in Genesis 14:19,22 God is spoken of as the One who created (and is the possessor of) the heavens and the earth. In Deuteronomy 32:6 God is described as having made (created) Israel. Ktizō is also used to refer to the “setting up,” “establishing,” or “founding” of something such as the tabernacle or a nation of people (Exodus 9:18; Leviticus 16:16). In the New Testament and other Christian literature ktizō is used to speak only of God and His creative activity (cf. Mark 13:19; Colossians 1:16; Revelation 10:6). There are a series of statements in the New Testament which carefully point out the fact that God is the Creator of heaven and earth and all that is to be found therein. Ktizō is used several times to refer back to the beginning of the world (Matthew 19:4; Mark 10:6; Romans 1:20; 2 Peter 3:4). All of these statements are designed to point out that there was nothing in existence before God created it. Paul made it clear that the creative activity of God was due to His spoken word by which He created something out of nothing (Romans 4:17; 2 Corinthians 4:6). Ktizō is also used to describe the creative activity of God in the making of spiritual (new) men in Christ (Ephesians 2:10; 4:24). (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

1 Corinthians 11:10  Therefore the woman ought to have [a symbol of] authority on her head, because of the angels.

Amplified Therefore she should [be subject to his authority and should] have a covering on her head [as a token, a symbol, of her submission to authority, that she may show reverence as do] the angels [and not displease them].

Wuest On this account the woman is under moral obligation to be having a sign of [the man’s] authority [over her] on her head because of the angels. (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

ICC (Robertson) For this reason she ought, by covering her head, publicly to acknowledge her subjection. Even if she does not shrink from scandalizing men, she might surely fear to be an offence to angels.

NET  1 Corinthians 11:10 For this reason a woman should have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

NLT  1 Corinthians 11:10 For this reason, and because the angels are watching, a woman should wear a covering on her head to show she is under authority.

ESV  1 Corinthians 11:10 That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

NIV  1 Corinthians 11:10 For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head.

GNT  1 Corinthians 11:10 διὰ τοῦτο ὀφείλει ἡ γυνὴ ἐξουσίαν ἔχειν ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς διὰ τοὺς ἀγγέλους.

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

YLT  1 Corinthians 11:10 because of this the woman ought to have a token of authority upon the head, because of the messengers;

ASV  1 Corinthians 11:10 for this cause ought the woman to have a sign of authority on her head, because of the angels.

CSB  1 Corinthians 11:10 This is why a woman should have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

MIT  1 Corinthians 11:10 This is the reason a woman ought to have a symbol visible on her head that she is under authority—because of the angels.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 11:10 For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

NRS  1 Corinthians 11:10 For this reason a woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

NAB  1 Corinthians 11:10 for this reason a woman should have a sign of authority on her head, because of the angels.

NJB  1 Corinthians 11:10 and this is why it is right for a woman to wear on her head a sign of the authority over her, because of the angels.

GWN  1 Corinthians 11:10 Therefore, a woman should wear something on her head to show she is under someone's authority, out of respect for the angels.

BBE  1 Corinthians 11:10 For this reason it is right for the woman to have a sign of authority on her head, because of the angels.

  • Authority: Ge 20:16 24:64,65 
  • because: Ec 5:6 Mt 18:10 Heb 1:14 
  • 1 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

1 Peter 1:12+  It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven–things into which angels long to look. 

Hebrews 1:14+  Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?

Lk 15:10+ (CLEARLY ANGELS SEE THINGS ON EARTH) “In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

WOMEN'S HEAD COVERINGS
AND ANGELS

Therefore - Term of conclusion. Paul has described the immutable true of creation of man and woman and now will draw a conclusion based on their distinctions.

Kistemaker sounds a good note to keep in mind regarding this verse - This verse has been the subject of study by numerous scholars, yet every writer has to admit that his or her explanation of the text displays weaknesses. In spite of all the suggestions that have been offered, the text remains enigmatic and fails to communicate.  

The woman (present tense - is continually obligated) ought to have a symbol of authority (exousia) on her head (kephale) - Ought means the woman is in a sense continually obligated (by necessity and duty) to be covering her head, to which Robertson adds "publicly to acknowledge her subjection." Recall in 1 Cor 11:7 the man was continually obligated not to have his head covered.

Regarding authority Lenski says "the context evidently speaks about the covering on the woman’s head as being a symbol of another’s, namely the man’s power and authority over her. We should, then, take the term in that sense."

NET NOTE on authority - Paul does not use a word specifying what type of “covering” is meant (veil, hat, etc.). The Greek word he uses here (exousia; translated symbol of authority) could be (1) a figure of speech that may substitute the result (the right to participate in worship) for the appropriate appearance that makes it possible (the covered head). Or (2) it refers to the outward symbol (having the head covered) as representing the inward attitude the woman is to possess (deference to male leadership in the church).

Jack Arnold - Paul felt it was a Christian woman’s moral duty to have a symbol of authority on her head; that is, a head covering. The woman puts a covering on her head as an outward sign of being inwardly submitted to her husband. It is a sign of authority. Why then is the sign of authority important? Because the angels are looking on the actions of Christian women. Angels are looking to see if Christian women will acknowledge the leadership and authority of their husbands, having an attitude of subordination and submission.

William MacDonald - We might pause here to state that the head-covering is simply an outward sign and it is of value only when it is the outward sign of an inward grace. In other words, a woman might have a covering on her head and yet not truly be submissive to her husband. In such a case, to wear a head-covering would be of no value at all. The most important thing is to be sure that the heart is truly subordinate; then a covering on a woman’s head becomes truly meaningful. (Believer's Bible Commentary)

Keith Krell interprets the authority differently - This verse is considered one of the most difficult verses in the entire Bible. So I propose my understanding with great humility. First, Paul is summing up his argument with the use of the word “therefore.” Second, the words “a symbol of” are in italics in the NASB. This means that these words are not in the Greek text. The NASB is suggesting that the head covering is what women ought to wear on their heads. However, my understanding of the “authority on her head” is to allow the term “authority” to have its usual meaning of “having the freedom or right to choose.” The meaning in this case would be that the woman has authority over her head (man) to do as she pleases. She can choose to submit or not. If the ladies continue to disregard Paul’s words to cover their heads, they will suffer the consequences. It is also possible that Paul meant that women have freedom to decide how they will pray and prophesy within the constraint that Paul had imposed, namely, with heads covered. 

Because of the angels (aggelos/angelos) - Robertson interpretatively paraphrases this " Even if she does not shrink from scandalizing men, she might surely fear to be an offence to angels." Amplified "that she may show reverence as do] the angels [and not displease them]."

NET NOTE - Paul does not explain this reference to the angels, and its point is not entirely clear. It seems to reflect an awareness that angels are witnesses to church life (cf. Eph 3:10) and would be particularly sensitive to resistance against God’s created order.

MacArthur - It is proper for a woman to cover her head as a sign of subordination because of the angels, in order that these most submissive of all creatures will not be offended by non-submissiveness. (Ibid)

Keith Krell -  The final phrase, “because of the angels” is a mystery to all interpreters. Yet, it would seem that Paul is referring to good angels who observe worship services. Perhaps Paul is encouraging women to worship with that same submissive humility as those angelic ministers. Since angels are the guardians of God’s created order it would seem disgraceful for them to observe women behaving badly. The bottom line is again: Honor your head.

Lenski explains the angels - Paul adds the final phrase, “on account of the angels,” as a matter that needs no elucidation whatever and as one that will be at once understood by the Corinthians. This fact is sufficient to dispose of a number of fanciful interpretations which have been given this simple phrase. The Analogy of Scripture decides the point that an unqualified mention of “the angels” refers to good angels. The simple manner in which this final phrase is added indicates that no new point is being introduced into the discussion. This brief mention of angels is thus involved in all that precedes. “On account of the angels” implies that God’s good angels are present when God’s people come together to pray and to prophesy. Paul’s view of God’s creation in general and of God’s people in particular always includes God’s good angels. So the phrase simply means that, when we worship, we must not offend them by an impropriety. Such an offense would occur if women prayed and prophesied with uncovered heads and thereby displayed the fact that they had disregarded the station that has been assigned them by their creation. In regard to the nearness of the angels and their interest in us compare 4:9 where Paul speaks about the suffering apostles as being a spectacle also for the angels.

J Vernon McGee is honest on Because of the angels- Now here is a reference to angels that I don’t understand. I am of the opinion that we are being observed by God’s created intelligences. We are on a stage in this little world, and all God’s created intelligences are watching us. They are finding out about the love of God, because they know we are not worthy of the love of God. They probably think God would have done well to have gotten rid of us because we are rebellious creatures in His universe. But He didn’t! He loves us! That display of His love is in His grace to save us. The angels probably marvel at His grace and patience with little man.

Gotquestions has a very reasonable thought - Why is that important to angels? The relationship of God with men is something that angels watch and learn from (1 Peter 1:12+). Therefore, a woman’s submission to God’s delegated authority over her is an example to angels. The holy angels, who are in perfect and total submission to God, expect that we, as followers of Christ, be the same.

Ryrie - The insubordination of an uncovered woman (signifying her refusal to recognize the authority of her husband) would offend the angels who observe the conduct of believers in their church gatherings (Eph. 3:10; 1 Peter 1:12). 

Henry Morris - 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"--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 11:10 the angels)

Reformation Study Bible - Many interpretations of this phrase have been suggested, but they are all speculative. Paul’s argument is closely tied to a specific historical situation, and we should be cautious about applying all its details universally (1 Cor 11:4-note, 1 Cor 11:16-note).

Ought (3784) opheilo from ophéllo = heap up) means to owe something to someone. Literally it speaks of financial indebtedness and thus means to owe money, to be in debt, or to describe that which is due (Mt 18:28, Lk 7:41, 16:5, 7, Philemon 1:18). The verb opheilo was sometimes used to describe "the debt" itself. Figuratively, opheilo describes a sense of indebtedness to someone for something. For example, it was used to describe owing good will (1Co 7:3), love (Ro 13:8 = we can never love enough and will always "owe" this debt). Opheilo in most of the NT uses conveys the sense of necessity, duty or to be under obligation (obligation = moral requirement which conveys the binding force of civility, kindness or gratitude, when the performance of a duty cannot be enforced by law). The idea is that one is held or bound by duty, moral obligation or necessity to do something. 

Authority (1849exousia from éxesti = it is permitted, it is lawful) means the power to do something and was a technical term used in the law courts, of a legal right. "Authority or right is the dominant meaning (of exousia) in the New Testament." (Vincent) Exousía refers to delegated authority and combines the idea of the "right and the might", these attributes having been granted to someone. Exousia in the Corinthian letters - 1 Co. 7:37; 1 Co. 8:9; 1 Co. 9:4; 1 Co. 9:5; 1 Co. 9:6; 1 Co. 9:12; 1 Co. 9:18; 1 Co. 11:10; 1 Co. 15:24; 2 Co. 10:8; 2 Co. 13:10; 

1 Corinthians 15:23-24  But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, 24 then comes the end, when He (LORD JESUS CHRIST) hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He (THE SON) has abolished all rule and all authority (exousia) and power.

1 Corinthians 11:11  However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.

ICC (Robertson) Nevertheless, this dependence of the woman has its limits: in the Lord neither sex has any exclusive privileges, but each has an equal share. 

Amplified  Nevertheless, in [the plan of] the Lord and from His point of view woman is not apart from and independent of man, nor is man aloof from and independent of woman;

Wuest -  Nevertheless, neither is a woman [complete] apart from a man, nor a man [complete] apart from a woman in the Lord,  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 11:11 In any case, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.

NLT  1 Corinthians 11:11 But among the Lord's people, women are not independent of men, and men are not independent of women.

ESV  1 Corinthians 11:11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman;

NIV  1 Corinthians 11:11 In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.

GNT  1 Corinthians 11:11 πλὴν οὔτε γυνὴ χωρὶς ἀνδρὸς οὔτε ἀνὴρ χωρὶς γυναικὸς ἐν κυρίῳ·

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

YLT  1 Corinthians 11:11 but neither is a man apart from a woman, nor a woman apart from a man, in the Lord,

ASV  1 Corinthians 11:11 Nevertheless, neither is the woman without the man, nor the man without the woman, in the Lord.

CSB  1 Corinthians 11:11 In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, and man is not independent of woman.

MIT  1 Corinthians 11:11 Nevertheless, neither is woman independent of man, nor man independent of woman in the Lord.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 11:11 Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord.

NRS  1 Corinthians 11:11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man or man independent of woman.

NAB  1 Corinthians 11:11 Woman is not independent of man or man of woman in the Lord.

NJB  1 Corinthians 11:11 However, in the Lord, though woman is nothing without man, man is nothing without woman;

GWN  1 Corinthians 11:11 Yet, as believers in the Lord, women couldn't exist without men and men couldn't exist without women.

BBE  1 Corinthians 11:11 But the woman is not separate from the man, and the man is not separate from the woman in the Lord.

MEN AND WOMEN
MUTUALLY DEPENDENT

However - Paul now takes a turn to be sure that there is no misunderstanding that he is saying the woman is inferior in any way to the man. Guzik says "On top of all Paul has said about male headship in the church, it would be wrong to consider headship as the only dynamic at work between men and women in the church."

MacArthur prefaces this passage - Lest men abuse their authority over women, Paul reminds them of their equality and mutual dependence. Man’s authority over woman is a delegated authority and a derived authority, given by God to be used for His purposes and in His way. Man as a fellow creature has no innate superiority to woman and has no right to use his authority tyrannically or selfishly. Male chauvinism is no more biblical than feminism. Both are perversions of God’s plan. (Ibid)

In the Lord (locative of sphere), neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman - Both men and women need each other and cannot get along without each other for they complement each other.  Paul in effect says the same thing in Galatians 3:28+ writing that "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Notice the two synonymous phrases in the Lord and in Christ Jesus. Both describe women and men as believers in Christ. And as we have often heard the ground is level at the foot of the Cross. There is no distinction in value or worth regarding one's gender.

MacDonald -  In other words, man and woman are mutually dependent. They need one another and the idea of subordination is not at all in conflict with the idea of mutual interdependence. (Believer's Bible Commentary)

MacArthur  - "In His work women are as important as men. Their roles are different in function and relationships, but not in spirituality or importance. Men and women are complementary in every way in life, but particularly in the Lord’s work do they function together as a divinely ordained team. They serve each other and they serve with each other. "  (Ibid)

Lenski - Whatever God arranged at creation when he made man the head, as far as being “in the Lord” is concerned, both are altogether equal. The man is not “in the Lord” in such a way that the woman is excluded, nor, of course, vice versa. Gal. 3:28 stands: “Ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Jack Arnold - The woman has a very important part in God's plan. She has a place in God’s creation which no man could ever fill. The woman and the man complement one another and neither sex is complete without the other. There is a difference in rank but no inferiority of the sexes, especially in Christ.

Barclay - Even after he has stressed the subordination of women, Paul goes on to stress even more directly the essential partnership of man and woman. Neither can live without the other. If there is subordination, it is in order that the partnership may be more fruitful and lovely for both.” 

Independent (apart) (5565choris related to chora = land from choros = field or place usually where cattle range and feed or chasma = thru idea of empty expanse) as an adverb means apart, separately, by itself (Jn 20:7). 

1 Corinthians 11:12  For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God.

ICC (Robertson) For as, at the first, the woman came into being from the man, so, ever since then, the man has come into being by means of the woman; and, like everything else, both are from God.

Amplified  For as woman was made from man, even so man is also born of woman; and all [whether male or female go forth] from God [as their Author].

Wuest -   for even as the woman came out of the man as a source, thus also does the man owe his existence to the intermediate agency of the woman. But all things are out of God as a source. (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 11:12 For just as woman came from man, so man comes through woman. But all things come from God.

NLT  1 Corinthians 11:12 For although the first woman came from man, every other man was born from a woman, and everything comes from God.

ESV  1 Corinthians 11:12 for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.

NIV  1 Corinthians 11:12 For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.

GNT  1 Corinthians 11:12 ὥσπερ γὰρ ἡ γυνὴ ἐκ τοῦ ἀνδρός, οὕτως καὶ ὁ ἀνὴρ διὰ τῆς γυναικός· τὰ δὲ πάντα ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ.

KJV  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.

YLT  1 Corinthians 11:12 for as the woman is of the man, so also the man is through the woman, and the all things are of God.

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

CSB  1 Corinthians 11:12 For just as woman came from man, so man comes through woman, and all things come from God.

MIT  1 Corinthians 11:12 For just as woman is from man (originally), man is also generated through woman. But all are from God.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 11:12 For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God.

NRS  1 Corinthians 11:12 For just as woman came from man, so man comes through woman; but all things come from God.

NAB  1 Corinthians 11:12 For just as woman came from man, so man is born of woman; but all things are from God.

NJB  1 Corinthians 11:12 and though woman came from man, so does every man come from a woman, and everything comes from God.

GWN  1 Corinthians 11:12 As a woman came into existence from a man, so men come into existence by women, but everything comes from God.

BBE  1 Corinthians 11:12 For as the woman is from the man, so the man is through the woman; but all things are from God.

Related Passage:

1 Peter 3:7 You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. 

NOT INDEPENDENT 
BUT INTERDEPENDENT

For (garterm of explanation - Paul explains why neither man nor woman is independent. "This equality of spiritual connection with Christ has even a natural background. Although God made man woman’s head he also arranged an interdependence between the sexes." (Lenski) Vine adds "this confirms what has been said in verse 11, but now from the facts of the original creation and from natural birth." 

As the woman originates from (ek) the man, so also the man has his birth through (dia) the woman; and all things originate from God - Man was created first and the first woman was created from Adam. After that every man (and woman) has been created through a woman. 

Vine - Woman was originally made from man (Gen. 2:21–23); her name “Isshah,” was derived from his, “Ish”; she is therefore not independent of him, but in the continued procedure of natural relationship man owes his being to woman; therefore he is not independent of her. Man is the initial cause of her being, she is the instrumental cause of his. The equality of the persons as such is quite consistent with administrative power on the one hand and subordination on the other. The first preposition, ek, of, points to the single creative act; the second, dia, by, points to the constant process.

The fact that and all things originate from God emphasizes His sovereignty and leaves no room for complaint or contention. As MacDonald says "Not only were these relationships created by God, but the purpose of them all is to glorify Him. All of this should make the man humble and the woman content." (Believer's Bible Commentary)

MacArthur  - Men and women have different roles but not different importance. Women are equal to men in the world, in the church, and before God. That is God’s wise and gracious harmony and balance—difference in roles but equality in nature, personhood, work, and spirit. He created both for His glorious purposes. (Ibid)

Jack Arnold - In order to keep down man’s pride and vanity (and a spirit of male chauvinistic domination) Paul declares that woman originated from man but man comes through the woman. Neither is independent of the other, but both are dependent upon God. Both sexes are incomplete without the other and both are dependent on God. Paul sets the record straight. He is not talking about the superiority of men. He is talking about rank in God's creation.

Grudem - Peter tells husbands that they are to “bestow honor” on their wives (1 Peter 3:7), and Paul emphasizes, “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” (1 Cor. 11:11, 12). Both men and women are equally important; both depend upon each other; both are worthy of honor. The equality in personhood with which men and women were created is emphasized in a new way in the new covenant church. At Pentecost we see the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy in which God promises: (Acts 2:17–18; quoting Joel 2:28–29) The Holy Spirit is poured out in new power on the church, and men and women both are given gifts to minister in remarkable ways. Spiritual gifts are distributed to all men and women, beginning at Pentecost and continuing throughout the history of the church. (Systematic Theology)

J Vernon McGee - They are inseparable. Man is not a sphere but a hemisphere; woman is not a sphere but a hemisphere. It is nonsense for either men or women to talk about liberation. The man needs the woman, and the woman needs the man. This is true liberty in the glorious relationship of marriage.

Vine on all things are of God.—all is by His counsels, His ordinance and His act. That is the great truth which pervades the whole Volume of the Scriptures. This statement occurs elsewhere in 2 Corinthians 5:18. Both in the old and in the new creation, all is in essential harmony with the very nature of God, and only what makes for man’s true happiness.

Guzik - G. Campbell Morgan recalls the story of the older Christian woman who had never married, explaining “I never met a man who could master me.” She had the right idea.

Barton -NO CONTEST God created roles and relationships in order for his created world to function smoothly. Although there must be lines of authority in the church, there should not be lines of superiority. God created men and women with unique and complementary characteristics. Competition doesn’t improve relationship. One sex is not better than the other. We must not let the issue of authority and submission become a wedge to destroy oneness in church or in marriage. Instead, we should glorify God by utilizing all the capacities he has given us. (LAC)


Practical Considerations in 11:11–12 - Kistemaker

Christianity has been and remains a force that liberates women from oppression and servitude. In many other religions, women are owned from birth by their fathers and on marriage by their husbands. They lack freedom, are in bondage, and never acquire equality. Even in ancient Israel, a female was secondary to any male. In a particular line of the eighteen-petition prayer, a man renders thanks to God for making him neither a slave, a Gentile, nor a woman. Women were not considered worthy of studying the Scriptures and were denied an education.

The New Testament teaches especially the basic equality of the sexes. For instance, in both his Gospel and Acts, Luke mentions men and women in the same breath: Zachariah and Elizabeth, Joseph and Mary, Simeon and Anna, Ananias and Sapphira, Aquila and Priscilla. Paul states unequivocally that in Christ Jesus male and female are one (Gal. 3:28). He commends female workers in the cause of the gospel, among whom are Phoebe, Priscilla, Mary, Tryphena, Tryphosa, Persis, and Julia (Rom. 16:1–15).

History books record the missionary endeavors of numerous women and sing their praises for extending Christ’s church. On the home front godly women are a quiet force to make the church strong and productive. A godly mother leads her little ones to Jesus and trains them in the fear of the Lord. Although women fill roles and functions that differ from those of men, both in the Christian home and church they enjoy equality with men. Both depend on each other (11:11), for both men and women realize that they in turn must depend on God for everything (11:12).

1 Corinthians 11:13  Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?

ICC (Robertson)  Use your own powers of discernment. Is it decent that a woman should have her head uncovered when she publicly offers prayer to God? 

Lenski  Decide in regard to your own selves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God uncovered? 

Amplified  Consider for yourselves; is it proper and decent [according to your customs] for a woman to offer prayer to God [publicly] with her head uncovered?

Wuest -  Come to a decision among yourselves. Is it seemly or fitting for a woman to be engaged in prayer to God not wearing the shawl hanging down over her head?  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 11:13 Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?

NLT  1 Corinthians 11:13 Judge for yourselves. Is it right for a woman to pray to God in public without covering her head?

ESV  1 Corinthians 11:13 Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a wife to pray to God with her head uncovered?

NIV  1 Corinthians 11:13 Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?

GNT  1 Corinthians 11:13 ἐν ὑμῖν αὐτοῖς κρίνατε· πρέπον ἐστὶν γυναῖκα ἀκατακάλυπτον τῷ θεῷ προσεύχεσθαι;

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

YLT  1 Corinthians 11:13 In your own selves judge ye; is it seemly for a woman uncovered to pray to God?

ASV  1 Corinthians 11:13 Judge ye in yourselves: is it seemly that a woman pray unto God unveiled?

CSB  1 Corinthians 11:13 Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?

MIT  1 Corinthians 11:13 You decide for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with no covering on her head?

NKJ  1 Corinthians 11:13 Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?

NRS  1 Corinthians 11:13 Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head unveiled?

NAB  1 Corinthians 11:13 Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head unveiled?

NJB  1 Corinthians 11:13 Decide for yourselves: does it seem fitting that a woman should pray to God without a veil?

GWN  1 Corinthians 11:13 Judge your own situation. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?

BBE  1 Corinthians 11:13 Be judges yourselves of the question: does it seem right for a woman to take part in prayer unveiled?

Lenski says that now "Paul refers the matter to the good sense of the Corinthians themselves." 

Judge for yourselves -- Paul issues a command in the aorist imperative, meaning "just do it!" "Make a decision!" "Do not delay!' Paul is calling on his readers to use their mind and think about what he has just written regarding the roles of men and women, which is interesting because many preachers just skip over these passages to avoid the bumps in the road so to speak. Robertson has "Use your own powers of discernment." And he further draws the reader into the discussion with two rhetorical questions in v13-15, the first calling for a "no" and the second (v14-15) a "yes." 

Keith Krell makes an excellent point - This is the key verse in this entire section because here Paul clearly emphasizes the single point of his passage: Women should stop praying with their heads uncovered. The reason that 11:13 bears this out is that Paul has oscillated back and forth between men and women in 11:4-15. In 11:13 he breaks this pattern and focuses solely on women. This is a literary device that biblical writers use to bring home their point. Furthermore, this verse contains the only imperative besides 11:6 where the point is that a woman should cover herself. Paul’s point is this: In the culture of Corinth, it was not proper for a woman to act as a spokesman for people with God by praying publicly with her head uncovered. To do so would be tantamount to claiming the position of a man in God’s order. The apostle did not think it wise for Christian women to exercise their liberty in a way that would go against socially accepted behavior even though they were personally submissive. Today what is socially accepted is different, but her attitude is still crucial.

Lenski - Paul says: decide “in regard to your own selves,” i.e., think of yourselves as you assemble for your public worship and as you engage in worship at home and then in a sensible manner decide what is proper for you.

Judge (decide, determine, condemn)(2919) krino) primarily signifies to distinguish, to decide between (in the sense of considering two or more things and reaching a decision), to make up one's mind, to separate, to discriminate. to distinguish between good and evil, right and wrong.  Matt. 19:4; Mk. 13:19; Rom. 1:25; 1 Co. 11:9; Eph. 2:10; Eph. 2:15; Eph. 3:9; Eph. 4:24; Col. 1:16; Col. 3:10; 1 Tim. 4:3; Rev. 4:11; Rev. 10:6

is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered (akatakaluptos) - Is it fitting, worthy, excellent? Answer? "No!" He has made this clear in 1 Cor 10:5a. 

J Vernon McGee - A woman ought not to call attention to herself when she is speaking for the Lord or teaching a Bible class or praying. There should be no sex appeal. Also, she needs to remember that her sex appeal is a tremendous thing which has the power to either lift a man up or drag him down.

Proper (fitting) (4241) prepo has the basic meaning to be prominent or conspicuous. It came to be used of a distinguishing characteristic, that which conspicuously stands out, and then especially what is suitable. Thus a "distinguishing characteristic" of saints should be a lifestyle of love and absence of these vices so common and "beloved" to the Gentiles. This is the standard of that which is fitting to their position as those set apart from the profane things of the world and to the pure and holy things of God and His high and holy purpose for their lives. (Eph 2:10-notePrepō refers to acting appropriately in a particular situation, i.e. as it is seemly to God – and therefore "conspicuous amongst others; hence eminent, distinguished. . . seemly fit". 

Gilbrant - In classical Greek prepō is used to describe something as being fit, suitable to, or worthy of. It may point to something that is clearly seen or heard. Prepō also means “be very much like” or “clearly resemble” someone or something (Liddell-Scott). The papyri use the word in much the same sense, for example, in describing a wife whose conduct “becomes” (prepō) the married life (Moulton-Milligan). Prepō occurs seven times in the New Testament. Jesus said it was appropriate (prepō) that He should be baptized to “fulfil all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). Paul wrote that a woman’s hair gives dignity that becomes (prepō) womanhood (1 Corinthians 11:13). Sins of the flesh are not appropriate or befitting to the Christian (Ephesians 5:3), while good works are an appropriate adornment for the Christian woman (1 Timothy 2:10). The suffering of Christ was suitable to make Him “the captain of (our) salvation” (Hebrews 2:10). So it is fitting or appropriate (prepō) that for the needs of weak humanity we have a great high priest like this, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 7:26). (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary – Pi-Rho)

1 Corinthians 11:14  Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him,

ICC (Robertson)  Surely even nature itself teaches you that for a man to wear his hair long is degrading to him; 

Lenski  Does not even nature itself teach you that, if a man wear long hair, it is a dishonor to him while,

Amplified  Does not the native sense of propriety (experience, common sense, reason) itself teach you that for a man to wear long hair is a dishonor [humiliating and degrading] to him,

Wuest -  Does not the innate sense of propriety itself based upon the objective difference in the constitution of things [the difference between the male and the female] teach you that if indeed a man allows his hair to grow long, it is a disgrace to him,  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 11:14 Does not nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace for him,

NLT  1 Corinthians 11:14 Isn't it obvious that it's disgraceful for a man to have long hair?

ESV  1 Corinthians 11:14 Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him,

NIV  1 Corinthians 11:14 Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him,

GNT  1 Corinthians 11:14 οὐδὲ ἡ φύσις αὐτὴ διδάσκει ὑμᾶς ὅτι ἀνὴρ μὲν ἐὰν κομᾷ ἀτιμία αὐτῷ ἐστιν,

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

YLT  1 Corinthians 11:14 doth not even nature itself teach you, that if a man indeed have long hair, a dishonour it is to him?

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

CSB  1 Corinthians 11:14 Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair it is a disgrace to him,

MIT  1 Corinthians 11:14 Is it not that nature itself teaches you that if a man has shoulder-length hair, it is dishonoring to him,

NKJ  1 Corinthians 11:14 Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him?

NRS  1 Corinthians 11:14 Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him,

NAB  1 Corinthians 11:14 Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears his hair long it is a disgrace to him,

NJB  1 Corinthians 11:14 Does not nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him,

GWN  1 Corinthians 11:14 Doesn't nature itself teach you that it is disgraceful for a man to have long hair?

BBE  1 Corinthians 11:14 Does it not seem natural to you that if a man has long hair, it is a cause of shame to him?

PAUL APPEALS
TO NATURE AND INSTINCT

Does not even nature (phusis/physis) itself teach (didasko) you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor (atimia) to him -  I loved physiology in medical school and one thing it taught us clearly was the manifold differences between a male and a female, whether it was related to hormones or hair. There is a clear distinction that the God of nature has so arranged as to once again show His orchestration of order even down hairs on our head. And it is to this last distinctive difference that Paul appeals to the Corinthians to support his teaching of different roles for each sex. The Corinthians did not need to go to medical school to instinctively observe the innate differences between the way a man appears and the way a women appears. All they had to do was look at their hair (at least in that culture). This is the first part of his second rhetorical question and in this case he phrases it in such a way so as to expect a "Yes." Paul's point is that even nature supports what he has been saying in the previous passages. He is speaking of nature as God has so arranged it. His point is that (in that culture) when a man wore long hair it was humiliating and degrading to him. Or stated another way it was not in the nature of a man to wear long hair like a woman. 

NET NOTE - Paul does not mean nature in the sense of “the natural world” or “Mother Nature.” It denotes “the way things are” because of God’s design.

Robertson (ICC) - Even if the internal feeling should not arise, does not even nature by itself show that, while doubtless man, being short-haired, is by Divine order unveiled, woman, being long-haired, is by Divine order veiled? At this period, civilized men, whether Jews, Greeks, or Romans, wore their hair short.

1 Corinthians 11:15  but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her? For her hair is given to her for a covering.

ICC (Robertson)  whereas this is a glory to a woman, because her long hair is God’s gift to her, to serve her as a covering. 

Lenski   if a woman wear long hair, it is a glory for her? because her long hair is given her instead of a covering.

Amplified  But if a woman has long hair, it is her ornament and glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering.

Wuest - but if a woman allows her hair to grow long, it is her glory? because her head of hair has been given to her for a permanent covering [answering in character to but not a substitute for the shawl].  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 11:15 but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering.

NLT  1 Corinthians 11:15 And isn't long hair a woman's pride and joy? For it has been given to her as a covering.

ESV  1 Corinthians 11:15 but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering.

NIV  1 Corinthians 11:15 but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering.

GNT  1 Corinthians 11:15 γυνὴ δὲ ἐὰν κομᾷ δόξα αὐτῇ ἐστιν; ὅτι ἡ κόμη ἀντὶ περιβολαίου δέδοται [αὐτῇ].

KJV  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.

YLT  1 Corinthians 11:15 and a woman, if she have long hair, a glory it is to her, because the hair instead of a covering hath been given to her;

ASV  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.

CSB  1 Corinthians 11:15 but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her as a covering.

MIT  1 Corinthians 11:15 but if a woman has long hair it is her glory? This is because long hair isgiven in place of a head cover.

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

NRS  1 Corinthians 11:15 but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering.

NAB  1 Corinthians 11:15 whereas if a woman has long hair it is her glory, because long hair has been given (her) for a covering?

NJB  1 Corinthians 11:15 but when a woman has long hair, it is her glory? After all, her hair was given to her to be a covering.

GWN  1 Corinthians 11:15 Doesn't it teach you that it is a woman's pride to wear her hair long? Her hair is given to her in place of a covering.

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

THE NATURAL BEAUTY OF
THE WOMAN'S COVERING

but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory (doxa) to her? For her hair is given to her for a covering. - This is a continuation of the question in verse 14 (and actually the question mark would be better placed after "covering.")

Covering (peribolaion) is from a basic meaning covering thrown around like an article of outer clothing such as mantle or cloak (Heb 1.12) and here used of the effect of long hair. Paul's point is clear that the woman's natural covering (or "veil," so to speak) was the cultural symbolic covering, which also pointed to his earlier statement about her subordinate role to the man. 

NET NOTE - No word for veil or head covering occurs in vv. 3–14 (see the note on authority in v. 10). That the hair is regarded by Paul as a covering in v. 15 is not necessarily an argument that the hair is the same as the head covering that he is describing in the earlier verses (esp. v. 10). Throughout this unit of material, Paul points out the similarities of long hair with a head covering. But his doing so seems to suggest that the two are not to be identified with each other. Precisely because they are similar they do not appear to be identical (cf. vv. 5, 6, 7, 10, 13). If head covering = long hair, then what does v. 6 mean (“For if a woman will not cover her head, she should cut off her hair”)? This suggests that the covering is not the same as the hair itself.

Krell suggests that "Because long hair can make a woman look so attractive and beautiful, Paul feels comfortable using this fact as a secondary argument for why women need a covering on their heads."

MacArthur - Beautifully dressed hair is a glory to a woman, God’s special gift to show the softness and tenderness of a woman. The Greek word (komē) for long hair can mean both long hair and a neat hairdo....Both nature and general custom reflect God’s universal principle of man’s role of authority and woman’s role of subordination. The unique beauty of a woman is gloriously manifest in the distinctive femininity portrayed by her hair and her attendance to feminine customs. There should be no confusion about male and female identities, because God has made the sexes distinct—physiologically and in roles and relationships. He wants men to be masculine, to be responsibly and lovingly authoritative. He wants women to be feminine, to be responsibly and lovingly submissive. (Ibid)

Vine - The covering provided by nature is not a temporary bestowment, though it has the same significance as the temporary covering, that of a veil. The woman’s hair must be kept long; it is her glory inasmuch as it sets forth the subjection of the Church to Christ. For her to be shorn both robs her of her natural glory, sets at nought the dignity of her womanhood and removes what is of the highest possible spiritual significance. It was clearly not the purpose of the Creator that woman should in public adopt the same attitude of boldness as man.

J Vernon McGee - Now it is true that today we have liberty in Christ. The length of the hair is really not so much the issue as the motive behind it. Many men wear long hair as a sign of rebellion, and many women cut their hair as a sign of rebellion. Our moral values get turned upside down, and there is a danger of being an extremist in either direction. Extremism leads to strange behavior like the lady who went to the psychiatrist because her family had urged her to go. The psychiatrist asked her, “What really seems to be your trouble?” She said, “They think it is strange that I like pancakes.” He answered, “There is nothing wrong in liking pancakes. I like pancakes myself.” So she said, “You do? Well, come over sometime; I have trunks filled with them!” You see, my friend, you can be an extremist in that which is a normal thing.


Question: What does the Bible say about hair length?

Answer: A passage that mentions hair length in the New Testament is 1 Corinthians 11:3-15. The Corinthian church was in the middle of a controversy about the roles of men and women and the proper order of authority within the church. In the Corinthian society, women showed submission to their husbands by wearing a veil. It seems that some of the women in the church were discarding their veils, something that only pagan temple prostitutes or other rebellious women would do. For a woman to come to church without her veil would be dishonoring to her husband, as well as culturally confusing. By the same token, for a man to wear a veil or to somehow have his head covered during worship was not culturally acceptable in Corinth.

Paul appeals to biology to illustrate the appropriateness of following the cultural standards: women naturally have longer hair than men, and men are much more prone to baldness. That is, God created women with a “natural veil” and men with an “uncovered head.” If a woman spurns the mark of her submission (the veil), she may as well shave her head (verse 6). His point is that if the culture says a woman should not be bald (going without her natural covering), then why would she reject that same culture’s standard of wearing a veil (going without her cultural covering)?

For the man’s part, it is unnatural for him to have “long hair” (verse 14). His hair is naturally shorter (and thinner) than the woman’s. This corresponds to the Corinthian tradition of men not wearing a head covering during worship. Paul urges the church to conform to the generally held ideas of male and female appearance.

While hair length is not the main point of this passage of Scripture, we glean the following applications from it: 1) We should adhere to the culturally accepted indicators of gender. Men should look like men, and women should look like women. God is not interested in, nor does He accept, “unisex.” 2) We should not rebel against the culture just for the sake of rebelling, in the name of some sort of Christian “liberty.” It does matter how we present ourselves. 3) Women are to voluntarily place themselves under the authority of the male leadership of the church. 4) We should not reverse the God-ordained roles of men and women.

Our culture today does not use veils or head coverings to indicate submission to authority. The roles of men and women have not changed, but the way we symbolize those roles changes with the culture. Rather than establish legalistic standards of hair length, we must remember that the real issue is our heart condition, our individual response to the authority of God, His ordained order, and our choice to walk in submission to that authority. Men and women have different, God-ordained roles, and part of that difference is shown by their hair. A man’s hair should look masculine. A woman’s hair should look feminine. GotQuestions.org

Related Resources (from Gotquestions.org):

1 Corinthians 11:16  But if one is inclined to be contentious, we have no other practice, nor have the churches of God.

ICC (Robertson)  Yet, if any one is so contentious as to dispute this conclusion, it will suffice to say that both Christian authority and Christian usage are against him.

Amplified  Now if anyone is disposed to be argumentative and contentious about this, we hold to and recognize no other custom [in worship] than this, nor do the churches of God generally.

Wuest -  If, as is the case, anyone presumes to be cantankerous [about the moral obligation of a woman to wear a head covering when engaged in public prayer in the assembly], as for us, we do not have such a custom [namely, that of a woman praying with uncovered head], neither do the assemblies of God. (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 11:16 If anyone intends to quarrel about this, we have no other practice, nor do the churches of God.

NLT  1 Corinthians 11:16 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.

ESV  1 Corinthians 11:16 If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.

NIV  1 Corinthians 11:16 If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice--nor do the churches of God.

GNT  1 Corinthians 11:16 Εἰ δέ τις δοκεῖ φιλόνεικος εἶναι, ἡμεῖς τοιαύτην συνήθειαν οὐκ ἔχομεν οὐδὲ αἱ ἐκκλησίαι τοῦ θεοῦ.

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

YLT  1 Corinthians 11:16 and if any one doth think to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the assemblies of God.

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

CSB  1 Corinthians 11:16 But if anyone wants to argue about this, we have no other custom, nor do the churches of God.

MIT  1 Corinthians 11:16 If anyone intends to argue for a different position, we have no such practice; neither do the churches of God.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 11:16 But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God.

NRS  1 Corinthians 11:16 But if anyone is disposed to be contentious-- we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God.

NAB  1 Corinthians 11:16 But if anyone is inclined to be argumentative, we do not have such a custom, nor do the churches of God.

NJB  1 Corinthians 11:16 If anyone wants to be contentious, I say that we have no such custom, nor do any of the churches of God.

GWN  1 Corinthians 11:16 If anyone wants to argue about this they can't, because we don't have any custom like this-nor do any of the churches of God.

BBE  1 Corinthians 11:16 But if any man will not be ruled in this question, this is not our way of doing things, and it is not done in the churches of God.

  • seem: 1Ti 6:3,4 
  • such: Ac 21:21,24 
  • the churches: 1Co 7:17 14:33,34 16:1 1Th 2:14 
  • 1 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

PAUL WILL NOT ARGUE
WITH THE ARGUMENTATIVE

But if (first class conditional - assumed true - since) one is (present tense - continually disposed or) inclined dokeo) to (present tense - continually) be contentious,- Wuest = "If, as is the case, anyone presumes to be cantankerous [about the moral obligation of a woman to wear a head covering when engaged in public prayer in the assembly],"   Note that the first class conditional statement indicates that some in Corinth were inclined to be argumentative and dispute his teachings regarding man and woman. Contentious (philoneikos) is found only here and has the prefix philos meaning fond of coupled with the Greek word neikos which means strife. We've all met these folks -- they like to quarrel and argue and contend. As Paul goes on to say he is not going to appease them with additional arguments! He had said it plainly and would say no more about man and woman in the worship service. He doesn’t want them to be contentious by not keeping this tradition, and thereby offending those in the churches or misrepresenting the churches to the pagans.

Robertson (ICC) - There are people who are so fond of disputing that they will contest the clearest conclusions, and the Corinthians were fond of disputation. But the Apostle will not encourage them.

We have no other practice, nor have the churches of God - What Paul says is he has said all he could say or needed to say regarding men and women in the worship services and he did not need to say anymore, for it would be no more convincing than what he had already said. "His final appeal—to the practice of all congregations—would be of special weight in democratic Corinth." (Robertson)

Keener - Paul reserves one final argument for those unpersuaded by his former points. One philosophical group called the Skeptics rejected all arguments except an almost universally accepted one: the argument from custom—“that’s just not the way it’s done.” (Ibid)

Krell points out that "In Paul’s final argument, he again appeals to apostolic authority. ” If any of his readers still did not feel inclined to accept Paul’s reasoning, he informed them that the other churches followed what he had just explained." Interestingly, Paul brings up the idea of “practice” (i.e., custom) again in the last verse of our section (11:16). These two verses (11:2, 16) serve as brackets to frame Paul’s entire discussion.48 The issue is obedience to what Paul has said from beginning to end. Will the ladies of the church at Corinth obey biblical instruction? Will Christian ladies today be obedient to carry out God’s desire for orderly and honorable worship?

J Vernon McGee - Paul concludes by saying that the church ought not to make rules in connection with the matter of women’s dress or men’s hair. The really important issue is the inner man. It is the old nature which needs a haircut and the robe of righteousness. My friend, if we are clothed with the robe of Christ’s righteousness and if our old nature is under the control of the Holy Spirit, that will take care of the outer man. The haircut and the style of clothes won’t make much difference. Paul is saying that he is not giving a rule to the churches. He just states what is best in his opinion. We should remember that in all our Christian liberty we are to think of others and of our testimony to others. We should be guided by the principles he has laid down: to glorify God, and not to offend others.

Reformation Study Bible -  Paul does not use exactly this kind of argument elsewhere in any of his letters. Such a conclusion to a difficult passage may give some support to the view that the apostle was not prescribing permanent forms of worship, but dealing with questions of cultural appropriateness. To be sure, such questions have theological implications (1 Cor 11:5 note).

Wiersbe - Paul gave several reasons why women must keep their proper place in the church: (1) it shows honor to their husbands; (2) it honors Christ, the Head of the church; (3) it agrees with the plan of creation itself, for God created woman for man; (4) the angels watch our worship and know what we do, v. 10; (5) nature itself gives the woman long hair and the man short hair, thus teaching subordination; (6) this is the practice in all the churches, v. 16. How does this matter of “wearing hats” and “wearing short hair” apply to us today? While we do not have all of the same circumstances that Paul had to deal with in Corinth, we must admit that a woman or a man out of place is always a hindrance to the work of God. There ought to be modesty in the local church, both in dress and action. We dare not conform to the world, lest we lose our testimony. (Expository Outlines on the NT) 


Final Advice from Jack Arnold

There were people then, just as there are some now, who make a big fuss over wearing a head covering. Paul seems to indicate by using “we” that a head covering for women when praying and prophesying publicly was apostolic practice. He did not say, however, to put these women out of the church for not wearing a shawl, but they were not to be contentious over the issue. It would be foolish to discipline women out of the church over a symbol.

Each woman must come to her own conviction as to what this passage teaches. My wife and I do not agree. Because it is really a trivial custom (tradition), it is not worth fighting over.

If a woman is really of the conviction that her long hair is her covering, then she ought to stick with that conviction until the Lord changes it, but I would ask women to study this passage diligently. The head covering is only a symbol. The important thing is that the woman is in submission to her husband. The heart attitude is more important than the symbol. However, the ideal is have a submissive wife with the proper symbol of a head covering.

Nor do the churches of God. The tradition of the New Testament church was to have women cover their heads when praying and prophesying publicly in some official capacity.

Why would anyone conclude that a head covering is applicable today? Let me first say the head covering can be of any nature a shawl, a veil, a bonnet or a hat. It can be of any size or shape. If it is a hat, it does not have to be accompanied with the latest fashions. The reason a head covering is fitting is because there are certain universal principles in this context which do not change: 1) Man is the head of the wife; 2) Woman is the glory of man; 3) Woman was created for man 4) Angels are still looking on; and 5) It is a good tradition handed down by the Apostles.

There is still one issue which must be solved. When is a woman to have her head covered? The first view is the traditional one which says that a woman is to be covered when in the official, public meeting of the local church. Women would not have to have their heads covered at Sunday school, evening service, prayer meeting or a small home group. The second view (which is my personal conviction a this time) is that a woman should have her head covered when she is praying or prophesying publicly in some official capacity. 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 may not be dealing with the official meeting of the church at all. Therefore, women do not have to wear hats to the official service, but they should be covered if they are going to officially pray or prophesy (pray in an official capacity or give words of encouragement to the body) either at the official meeting or outside the meeting if adult men are present. If a woman is going to pray publicly before the congregation in a leadership role, or if she is to teach a Sunday school class or home small group with men present, she should wear a covering, so as to show that even though she has a leadership position, she is in submission to her husband, her leader.


Bruce Goettsche - A difficult passage like this reminds us of how carefully we must interpret Scripture.  It is wrong to make ourselves the authority and declare, “Paul probably didn’t even write this” simply because we don’t like what it seems to be saying.  Beware of those who are quick to dismiss passages of Scripture under the guise of scholarship because they don’t like what is being taught. Such actions quickly result in denying the inspiration and authority of Scripture, dismissal of anything supernatural, a diminishing of the work and character of Christ, and a way of salvation that is focused on man’s “worthiness” rather than Christ’s sacrifice.

In approaching any passage we should abide by some simple rules,

1. We should submit to the Word of God rather than trying to get it to submit to us.

2. We must determine the context of the passage.

3. We should interpret the Bible as a whole.  We need to compare Scripture with Scripture.  The Bible will always be internally consistent. A passage that is clear should always inform an unclear passage. 

4. We must evaluate those who teach the Bible by the text itself rather than evaluating the text by the teacher.  In other words, we should always evaluate teaching by asking, “Is this actually what the text says?

5. We should be suspicious of any “new understanding”.

Second, William Barclay gives us a second application, -     It must always be remembered that this situation arose in Corinth, probably the most licentious city in the world.  Paul’s point of view was that in such a situation it was far better to err on the side of being too modest and too strict rather than to do anything which might either give the heathen a chance to criticize the Christians as being too lax or be a cause of temptation to the Christians themselves.

It is a good principle.  It is always better to err on the side of being too careful.

Third, we should focus on fulfilling our role instead of complaining about it.  Men are to work hard at submitting to the Lord.  They should be students of the Scriptures and work hard to honor the Lord in every aspect of their lives.  Men are called to love their wives as Christ loved the Church (in a self-sacrificing way).  If we truly love our wives as Christ loved the church we will seek to eliminate sexism and despise sexual harassment of any kind. Our job is to treasure and protect our wives and family.

Wives are to likewise be woman of faith and character. In 1 Peter we read,

 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4 Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. [1 Peter 3:1-4]

Wives are to support, encourage, and respect their husband.  Ladies, deep down inside, men want more than anything else, to feel the support and admiration of their wives.  They want to be your “hero”. Likewise, I believe most women long for a man who will love them and lead them as Christ does the Church.  We will both have what we desire as we work together to follow the Bible’s instruction.

Paul was not a sexist or a woman-hater.  Paul was a faithful servant of God who wanted God’s people to embrace God’s design, honor God in their actions, and make whatever sacrifices necessary to present the truth effectively to a lost and dying world.


Keith Krell's Practical Applications of 1 Cor 11:2-16

As we conclude this challenging passage I’d like to offer a few closing challenges:

Wife, please consider your relationship with your husband. If you are acting in a way that undermines your husband, then you should rethink what you are doing. He is not necessarily more capable or better than you, but he is the head, the prominent one in your relationship. Most of the world will see your relationship in that light. Thus, you demean yourself if you bring dishonor to him.

Husband, please support your wife in her ministry. My wife has supported me in our ministry since we were first married. She worked to put me through seminary, she has maintained our home and yard so that I could study, and she has sacrificed time as a couple for my continuing education. Apart from Lori, I would not be who I am today. Yet, I am continually asking her: How can I support you in your ministries? When our kids are grown, I can see playing a more active role in supporting Lori in her ministry.

Church, please reevaluate your view of women in ministry. Why do you hold the views that you do? Have you thoroughly studied what the Scriptures say on women in ministry, or are you basing your conclusions on what you have always assumed was correct or are comfortable with? I challenge you to prayerfully think through some of these issues and interact with people over what role women should play in the local church.

This has been an agonizing sermon for me. Yet, I have attempted to rightly handle God’s Word to the best of my ability. One day, I will stand before Jesus Christ and give an account for my teaching and pastoral ministry (Heb 13:17). On that day, I may find that my view on women in ministry was flawed. My hope is that Jesus will say, “My son, you studied the Scriptures and tried to be faithful, but you overstepped My bounds.” If I hear those words, naturally I will repent with anguish. However, I must tell you that I would rather hear those words than hear Jesus say, “My son, you adopted a very restrictive view of women in ministry. Consequently, you prevented many of my gifted daughters from serving Me.” Ouch! That would be devastating! Obviously, my hope and prayer is that when I do stand before Christ, He will say, “My son, you found the biblical balance by upholding biblical spiritual leadership and yet releasing my women to serve. I am pleased with how you have honored Me and My people.”

1 Corinthians 11:17  But in giving this instruction, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse.

Amplified  But in what I instruct [you] next I do not commend [you], because when you meet together, it is not for the better but for the worse.

Wuest -   Moreover, when giving you this charge, I am not praising you, because you are not coming together [in the local assembly] for the better but for the worse.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 11:17 Now in giving the following instruction I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse.

NLT  1 Corinthians 11:17 But in the following instructions, I cannot praise you. For it sounds as if more harm than good is done when you meet together.

ESV  1 Corinthians 11:17 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.

NIV  1 Corinthians 11:17 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good.

GNT  1 Corinthians 11:17 Τοῦτο δὲ παραγγέλλων οὐκ ἐπαινῶ ὅτι οὐκ εἰς τὸ κρεῖσσον ἀλλὰ εἰς τὸ ἧσσον συνέρχεσθε.

KJV  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.

YLT  1 Corinthians 11:17 And this declaring, I give no praise, because not for the better, but for the worse ye come together;

ASV  1 Corinthians 11:17 But in giving you this charge, I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better but for the worse.

CSB  1 Corinthians 11:17 Now in giving the following instruction I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse.

MIT  1 Corinthians 11:17 In ordering what follows I do not commend you, because your meetings do not turn out for the better, but worse.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 11:17 Now in giving these instructions I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse.

NRS  1 Corinthians 11:17 Now in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse.

NAB  1 Corinthians 11:17 In giving this instruction, I do not praise the fact that your meetings are doing more harm than good.

NJB  1 Corinthians 11:17 Now that I am on the subject of instructions, I cannot congratulate you on the meetings you hold; they do more harm than good.

GWN  1 Corinthians 11:17 I have no praise for you as I instruct you in the following matter: When you gather, it results in more harm than good.

BBE  1 Corinthians 11:17 But in giving you this order, there is one thing about which I am not pleased: it is that when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse.

  • praise: 1Co 11:2,22 Lev 19:17 Pr 27:5 Ro 13:3 1Pe 2:14 
  • because you: 1Co 11:20,34 14:23,26 Isa 1:13,14 58:1-4 Jer 7:9,10 Heb 10:25 
  • 1 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

NO PRAISE 
FROM PAUL

Brian Bell introduces this next problem - The Corinthian church was taking the Lords Supper in a disorderly & disrespectful manner.  They saw the occasion as an opportunity for gluttony and drunkenness, rather than a reverent remembrance of the Lord, and enjoying His goodness! Which invited God’s discipline! Title: A Meal to Remember! Outline: Careless Communion! (17-22); Careful Communion! (23-34).

But in (present tense) giving this instruction, I (absolutely) do not (present tensepraise (epaineo) you - Paul introduces a striking contrast to his positive praise in 1 Cor 11:2+. Giving instruction is signifies the giving of a charge which is fully authorized, having gone through all the proper (necessary) channels, thus Paul is expressing his apostolic authority. 

Giving instruction (3853paraggello from para = beside, alongside, near by, at the side of + aggelos = messenger, angello/aggello = to announce) means to hand on or pass on an announcement from one to another who is at one's side, such as to what must be done, usually with the idea of a command or charge. It binds a person to make the proper response to an instruction. Paraggello often was used in the context of a military command and demanded that the subordinate obey the order from the superior and required unhesitating and unqualified obedience. (cp Lk 5:14, 8:29, Lk 9:21KJV, Acts 1:4, 4:18; 5:28KJV; Acts 15:5KJV; 1Th 4:11). It is like a mandate (an authoritative command) or a call to obedience from one in authority. In other contexts the main idea was that the announcement was in the form of an instruction (cp Lk 8:56, 1Cor 7:10, 11:17). Instruction can simply represent the impartation of knowledge as to how something should be done, but as in the present passage, it indicates Paul's apostolic directions calling for the Corinthian's compliance.

because - Term of explanation. The explanation of why he does not praise the Corinthians. 

You (present tense - continually) come together not for the better but for the worse - Come together is a key word in this section (1 Co. 11:17; 18, 20, 23, 33, 34). Worse means that which is lesser, inferior, the opposite of that which is sound, beneficial. The preposition sun/syn in come together describes an intimate gathering. It may have been somewhat intimate but it was not soundly spiritual!  We do not know exactly how their coming together worked but it is very possible there were several "house churches" in Corinth (as suggested by the word below divisions in 1 Cor 11:18).

THOUGHT - "Better...worse" - This is a solemn reminder to us all that it is possible to go away from meetings of the church and to have been harmed rather than benefited. (W MacDonald)

Arnold - Paul actually censures them severely. For your meetings do more harm than good. Their public worship was so conducted that evil rather than good resulted. Instead of the Lord’s Table being supremely an act of edification, it was having a disruptive effect.

Krell - Additionally, sunercomai is used in sexual contexts to describe coming together to unite in an intimate relationship. Hence, with more than a sprinkling of irony, Paul repeatedly describes the Corinthians as coming together in one location, knowing full well that their eating was anything but “together” as a unified body. Thus, the very ritual that was intended to celebrate the gospel and symbolically act out their oneness in Christ had become an occasion for splitting the church on the basis of status. This explains why Paul stated that the Corinthians “come together not for the better but for the worse.”

Bell -  they would have a meal 1st, then communion. This is what Jesus did when He turned a regular meal into a communion meal with the Emmaus road disciples. “Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.”. At home do you ever combine communion w/your supper?  Let’s bring back the Love Feasts!  Home studies, when was the last time you had communion for your guests? Paul was calling for them to honor one another in the church. Communion is a personal time, yet shouldn’t become so individual that it becomes selfish. Instead of coming together they were coming apart!

Utley - The subject changes, but the basic problem does not change: (1) their elitism; (2) their emphasis on personal freedom; and (3) their assumption of wisdom! All of the subjects Paul addresses (cf. 7:1, 25; 8:1; 16:1), which were sent to him by letters, revolve around these same issues. Even their collective love feast was turned into a “more for me” feast! Right, ability, and status trumped love, service, and the health of the body.

Craig Keener gives interesting background that helps understand the situation in the church at Corinth - The churches in Corinth met in well-to-do patrons’ homes (see comment on Acts 18:6–7). In Greco-Roman society, patrons often seated members of their own high social class in the special triclinium (the best room), while others were served, in plain view of this room, in the atrium (the couches in which might seat as many as forty persons). The guests in the larger room, the atrium, were served inferior food and inferior wine, and often complained about the situation. This societal problem spilled over into the church. The background for the meal itself is the Jewish Passover, a sacred meal and celebration. But the Corinthians seem to have lost sight of this background; they treat the meal as a festal banquet such as they knew from Greek festivals or meetings of Greek religious associations. (IVPBBCNT)

Come together (assemble, gather)(4905sunerchomai from  sun/syn = with, together + erchomai = to come) means to get together for a specific purpose, to assemble, to gather (Mk 3:20; Lk 5:15; Ac 1:6; 16:13; 22:30; 1 Cor 11:17-18, 20; 14:26.) Note the little preposition  sun/syn which speaks of not just coming together but intimately coming together! In fact in 1 Cor 7:5 and Mt 1:18 the verb is used in the context of sexual intimacy. This verb is a key word in the following section  and in later chapters dealing with corporate gathering -  1 Co. 11:17; 1 Co. 11:18; 1 Co. 11:20; 1 Co. 11:33; 1 Co. 11:34; 1 Co. 14:23; 1 Co. 14:26 

Better (2909kreitton/kreisson) is a comparative of kratus (strong) and the comparative degree of agathos which means “good”. This reminds one of our English comparative "good, better, best." That which is of high status, is more prominent or higher in rank. Kreitton relates to that which has "a relative advantage in value" Paul had used this in 1 Cor 7:9, 38. 

1 Corinthians 11:18  For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it.

Amplified  For in the first place, when you assemble as a congregation, I hear that there are cliques (divisions and factions) among you; and I in part believe it,

Wuest -   For indeed, first of all, when you come together in the assembly, I am hearing that divisions have their regular place among you, and I partly believe it, (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 11:18 For in the first place, when you come together as a church I hear there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it.

NLT  1 Corinthians 11:18 First, I hear that there are divisions among you when you meet as a church, and to some extent I believe it.

ESV  1 Corinthians 11:18 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,

NIV  1 Corinthians 11:18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it.

GNT  1 Corinthians 11:18 πρῶτον μὲν γὰρ συνερχομένων ὑμῶν ἐν ἐκκλησίᾳ ἀκούω σχίσματα ἐν ὑμῖν ὑπάρχειν καὶ μέρος τι πιστεύω.

KJV  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.

YLT  1 Corinthians 11:18 for first, indeed, ye coming together in an assembly, I hear of divisions being among you, and partly I believe it,

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

CSB  1 Corinthians 11:18 For to begin with, I hear that when you come together as a church there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it.

MIT  1 Corinthians 11:18 First of all, I hear that when you gather as a church there are cliques among you, and I believe that to some degree.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 11:18 For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it.

NRS  1 Corinthians 11:18 For, to begin with, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you; and to some extent I believe it.

NAB  1 Corinthians 11:18 First of all, I hear that when you meet as a church there are divisions among you, and to a degree I believe it;

NJB  1 Corinthians 11:18 In the first place, I hear that when you all come together in your assembly, there are separate factions among you, and to some extent I believe it.

GWN  1 Corinthians 11:18 In the first place, I hear that when you gather as a church you split up into opposing groups. I believe some of what I hear.

BBE  1 Corinthians 11:18 For first of all, it has come to my ears that when you come together in the church, there are divisions among you, and I take the statement to be true in part.

  • I hear: 1Co 1:10-12 3:3 1 Cor 5:1 1 Cor 6:1 
  • divisions, 1Co 1:10 3:3 
  • 1 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

1 Corinthians 3:3-4 I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? 4 For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men? 

CHURCH DIVISIONS
INSTEAD OF COM - "UNION"

How sad to see such divisions for the very word communion has the word union and thus speaks of a unique and special unity in a family, in this case the family of God sitting around their dinner table, keeping in mind that in that time even a simple meal was considered a time of special fellowship.

For, in the first place - This is emphatic. Paul mentions no "second place." The problem of their divisions took first place in Paul's mind. This is why he cannot praise them. Brothers and sisters who should have been living in harmony as members of God's family were in disharmony and discord (recall they were fleshly and their division were further proof of their fleshly behavior - 1 Cor 3:1-3+).  These believers were walking in the flesh, not the Spirit and so it is not surprising that they manifiested many of the rotten works of Galatians 5:19-21+

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

When you come together (sunerchomai) as a church - Note that Paul is teaching the church is not a building but is a body, an assembly of believers who come together.  When the local church came together, they observed the Lord’s Table. At first it was daily. As the church matured, they seemed to observe it weekly on the Lord’s Day. "On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight." (Acts 20:7).

I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it - Paul returns to the first problem he addressed which was the divisions (schisma) or schisms in their local body (which brings to mind "church splits"). Divisions was used of groups dividing over an issue (cf. Jn 7:43; 9:16; 10:19; Acts 14:4; 23:7; 1 Cor. 1:10; 11:18). As the following context suggest these divisions are not over their favorite leader, but more of a social/economic division.

William MacDonald - This does not mean that parties had broken away from the church and formed separate fellowships, but rather that there were cliques and factions within the congregation. A schism is a party inside, whereas a sect is a different party outside. Paul could believe these reports of divisions because he knew that the Corinthians were in a carnal state, and he had previous occasion in this Epistle to rebuke them because of their divisions. (Ibid)

F B Hole on in part I believe it - Paul was prepared to give at least partial credence to the reports of the divisions at Corinth, since he knew that, owing to their carnal state, there were bound to be these opinionated factions in their midst. Here Paul reasons forward from their state to their actions. Knowing them to be carnal and walking as men, he knew that they would certainly fall victims to the inveterate tendency of the human mind to form its strong opinions, and the factions founded in those opinions, ending in the schisms and divisions. He knew, too, that God could overrule their folly and take occasion to make manifest those that were approved of Him, walking according to the Spirit and not as man; and consequently eschewing the whole of this divisive business. (The Administration of the Mystery)

Arnold - This is not separation from the church, but dissensions within it. There were cliques, not sects, parties separated from each other by alienation of feelings, and also some differences of opinion over secondary doctrine. There were cliques of the rich, the poor, the Jewish converts, the Gentile converts, those who had spectacular spiritual gifts and those who exalted their particular leader.

MacArthur on divisions - The Corinthians apparently could not agree on anything, nor did they seek to serve each other. Instead of sharing together in fellowship and worship they spent their time in selfish indulgence, arguing, and disputing....One of the most fearful things in the church is division, because it is one of the first and surest signs of spiritual sickness. One of the first symptoms of worldliness and backsliding, often before it shows up in compromised doctrine or life-style, is dissension within a congregation. (Ibid)

Krell - What Paul has in mind is a division between those who have more than enough to eat and drink at the Lord’s Supper and those who have insufficient quantities. This is evident from the contrast in 11:21-22 between “one who is hungry” and “one who is drunk.” In 11:22, Paul identifies a group within the church as the “have-nots,” whose members are humiliated by the actions of their counterparts.20 This deeply grieves the heart of God for God is dead serious about His body.

This echoes Paul's earlier statement

"Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. 12 Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.”" (1 Cor 1:10-12+, cf 1 Cor 3:3-4)

Divisions (4978schisma from schizo = to cleave, split as the rocks - Mt 27:51) literally a split, a rift, and in a garment a tear or rent. Figuratively, of doctrinal differences and divided loyalties within a group schism, division of opinion, discord (Jn 7.43; 1Co 12.25) Schisma pictures the destruction of unity through force and was used of a tear in a garment or political factions engaged in a struggle for power. Schisma in NT - division(4), divisions(2), tear(2).  Mt. 9:16; Mk. 2:21; Jn. 7:43; Jn. 9:16; Jn. 10:19; 1 Co. 1:10; 1 Co. 11:18; 1 Co. 12:25 ("so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another."). No uses in the Septuagint.


To Be Clean Is To Be One

When you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. —1 Corinthians 11:18

Today's Scripture: 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

In Makhachkala, a city in southern Russia, 14 new believers and some missionaries gathered in a small apartment to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. The room was charged with spiritual energy and joy as the people shared in testimonies, songs, and prayers.

Then, being aware of the symbolic meaning of the bread and the cup, they looked at each other and whispered, “With this we are cleansed. With this we are one!” Being reminded again of Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross for them and the forgiveness they had received, they felt a new sense of their oneness in Christ.

The apostle Paul said that the Corinthian believers were not experiencing this unifying power. Their celebrations of the Lord’s Supper were characterized by divisions. People who had brought food were letting those with no food go hungry. Some were even getting drunk! (1 Cor. 11:21). So Paul warned the people and urged them to examine themselves (v.28).

Nothing unites believers more than the forgiveness Jesus provided when He died for our sins. No wonder He instituted a special Supper before He went to the cross. He knew we would need to be reminded often of what He did to make us clean—to make us one. By:  Dennis J. DeHaan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

I pray, O Lord, reveal to me
If I have caused disunity,
For You would have Your children one
In praise and love for Your dear Son. —JDB

Christian unity begins at the cross.

1 Corinthians 11:19  For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you.

Amplified  For doubtless there have to be factions or parties among you in order that they who are genuine and of approved fitness may become evident and plainly recognized among you.

Wuest -   for it is a necessity in the nature of the case also for factions to be among you, in order that also those who have been put to the test and have met the specifications and have been approved might become identified as such among you. (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 11:19 For there must in fact be divisions among you, so that those of you who are approved may be evident.

NLT  1 Corinthians 11:19 But, of course, there must be divisions among you so that you who have God's approval will be recognized!

ESV  1 Corinthians 11:19 for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.

NIV  1 Corinthians 11:19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God's approval.

GNT  1 Corinthians 11:19 δεῖ γὰρ καὶ αἱρέσεις ἐν ὑμῖν εἶναι, ἵνα [καὶ] οἱ δόκιμοι φανεροὶ γένωνται ἐν ὑμῖν.

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

YLT  1 Corinthians 11:19 for it behoveth sects also to be among you, that those approved may become manifest among you;

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

CSB  1 Corinthians 11:19 There must, indeed, be factions among you, so that those who are approved may be recognized among you.

MIT  1 Corinthians 11:19 Distinctions must be made among you so that those of you who have passed the test might become apparent.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 11:19 For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you.

NRS  1 Corinthians 11:19 Indeed, there have to be factions among you, for only so will it become clear who among you are genuine.

NAB  1 Corinthians 11:19 there have to be factions among you in order that (also) those who are approved among you may become known.

NJB  1 Corinthians 11:19 It is no bad thing, either, that there should be differing groups among you so that those who are to be trusted among you can be clearly recognised.

GWN  1 Corinthians 11:19 Factions have to exist in order to make it clear who the genuine believers among you are.

BBE  1 Corinthians 11:19 For divisions are necessary among you, in order that those who have God's approval may be clearly seen among you.

  • there: Mt 18:7 Lu 17:1 Ac 20:30 1Ti 4:1,2 2Pe 2:1,2 
  • be factions, Ac 5:17 15:5 24:5,14 26:5 28:22 Ga 5:20 Tit 3:10 *Gr:
  • so that: De 13:3 Lu 2:35 2Co 13:5-7 1Jn 2:19 
  • 1 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Deuteronomy 13:3  you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

Luke 2:35+   and a sword will pierce even your own soul–to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” 

1 John 2:19+  (They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.

DIVINELY ALLOWED DIVISIONS
EXPOSE APPROVED BELIEVERS

For there (present tense - continually) must also be factions among you - Must is the first word in the Greek text for emphasis and speaks of necessity and/or compulsion as when Peter said "we must (dei) obey God rather than men." (Acts 5:29+) In the present context must speaks of divine necessity. "Jesus used the term (dei) on numerous occasions in relation to certain scripturally predicted and divinely appointed events, including His crucifixion and resurrection (Mt. 24:6; 26:54; Jn 3:14; etc).....That is the sense in which Paul uses the term here." (MacArthurFactions (hairesis) has the basic sense of making a choice, showing special favor so that one is chosen and another rejected (cf. Acts 24:14; 1 Cor. 11:19). The only other use of hairesis by Paul is in Gal 5:20, where it is one of the works of the flesh in contrast to the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). 

MacDonald on factions - God is not condoning splits in the church here. Rather, Paul means that because of the carnal conditions of the Corinthians, it was inevitable that factions would result. Divisions are proof that some have failed to discern the mind of the Lord....Greek usually uses opheilo for moral necessity. Here Paul uses the regular word for logical necessity, dei.  (Ibid)

Utley on why their must be factions - Paul mentions a theological purpose (hina) and necessity (dei) for the presence of these differing groups. They were necessary for the true spiritual leaders to be clearly revealed. Mature leaders will become evident in times of crisis. The other option is that some groups and their leaders will show by their actions that they are not Christians at all (cf. 1 John 2:19; Mark 4:16–19).

Must be (1163dei from deo = to bind or tie objects together, put in prison and also root of doulos, bond-servant) refers to what is not optional but needful (binding) out of intrinsic necessity or inevitability. Dei refers to inward constraint which is why it is often translated "must". Dei describes that which is under the necessity of happening or which must necessarily take place, and as stated above, conveys a sense of inevitability. To express the sense of necessity dei is translated "one ought", "one should", "one has to" or "one must". Must means to be obliged and expresses both physical and moral necessity or insistence. Must speaks of something that should not be overlooked or missed. Must is used to indicate requirement by immediate or future need or purpose. 

Factions (sects) (139hairesis from haireo = to choose, elect, prefer; only in the middle voice = to take for oneself; see word study of hairetikos) denotes a choosing or a choice. It came to mean an opinion chosen or a tenet (a principle, belief, or doctrine generally held to be true) and then came to refer to a sect, party or faction that held tenets distinctive to it. Hairesis is the source of our English words heresy, heretic, heretical, but (with the exception of the "destructive heresies" in 2 Peter 2:1) heresy as we think of it today was not usually the meaning in the NT.  Vine explains that as hairesis evolved it came to mean “an opinion,” especially a self-willed opinion, which is substituted for submission to the power of truth, and leads to division and the formation of sects… such erroneous opinions are frequently the outcome of personal preference or the prospect of advantage Hairesis is used in the book of Acts to describe various parties or sects in Acts 5:17 = Sadducees; Acts 15:5; 26:5 = Pharisees; Acts 24:5-14, 28:22 = Christians. 

So that - Term of purpose. 

Those who are approved may become evident among you - Approved (dokimos) was a metallurgist term for testing the genuineness of something by fire which burns off the dross revealing that which is genuine. It is a bit ironic that divisions were allowed by God (certainly not sent by Him), to allow the "cream to rise to the top," so to speak. In other words, the believers who were walking in the Spirit and manifesting the fruit of the Spirit would be clearly highlighted (phanerós) when compared with those who were acting fleshly. Factions have a purpose but should not be allowed to persist (cf Titus 3:10-11+ - "reject a factious (hairetikos related to hairesis) man...") and should not be allowed to divide a church (church split).

MacDonald - Although in general this (factions) would be detrimental to the church, yet one good thing would come out of it, that is, that those who were truly spiritual and who were approved of God would be recognized among the Corinthians. (Ibid)

Some like Warren Wiersbe go a step further suggesting that "God would use this to reveal those who were true believers." I'm not sure that was Paul's main thrust but it is a possibility for as Jesus told us there will always be wheat and tares (cf Mt 13:37-42).  (Ibid)

MacArthur says it this way - Church division, ungodly and sinful as it is, nevertheless is used by the Lord to prove the worth of His faithful saints. In the midst of bickering and divisiveness they are separated out as pure gold is from the dross. Evil helps manifest good. Trouble in the church creates a situation in which true spiritual strength, wisdom, and leadership can be manifested....Those approved ones are especially made manifest in adversity and hardship, and it is only to such tried and tested saints that a church should entrust its leadership.  (Ibid)

Krell says it this way - God’s approval (dokimos) contrasts with what Paul had written earlier about being disapproved (adokimos; 1 Cor 9:27) by God. Thus, “the approved” are those who behave in a Christian manner and thus stand out from the ones who do not. Mature Christians will become evident in times of crisis.

Arnold on those who are approved - In His providence, God permitted cliques in the Corinthian church for a purpose, but He does not desire them. The purpose was that those who were biblically correct might stand the test and be approved. Internal strife causes God’s people to go to the Bible to find out what it teaches on the subject.Paul says God has a wise purpose in permitting factions in the church. By disorders, God puts His people to a test. It is a great consolation to know that dissensions, whether in the church or in the state, are not fortuitous, but are ordered by the providence of God and are designed as storms for the purpose of purifying God’s people.

Approved (1384dokimos from dokime = test, proof, trial = idea is that when you put metal through a fiery testing and it comes out on the other side enduring it "proven", "authentic" or "genuine" Click discussion of related word dokimazo and the antonym = adokimos) describes one who has stood the test. It means to  put to the test for the purpose of being approved, and having met specifications, having the stamp of approval placed upon one. Vine writes that dokimos signifies "that which is approved by being proved, that which stands the test

Evident (5318phanerós  = manifest, visible, conspicuous, from phaino = give light; to make to shine, to cause to become visible from phos = light; Study verb phaneroo) means made visible as an external manifestation to senses. The very nature of phaneros (originating from phos = light) suggests a visibility that gives the observer an ability to define immediately what is seen. Phaneros stresses what is visible to sight. Conspicuous, apparent, (openly) manifest, obvious, visible, evident, plain, clear, easily seen, open to sight. What is open and public Webster on evident - Clear to the vision or understanding, readily perceived or apprehended. Evident implies presence of visible signs that lead one to a definite conclusion. Plain. Open to be seen; clear to the mental eye; apparent; manifest.

1 Corinthians 11:20  Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord's Supper,

Amplified  So when you gather for your meetings, it is not the supper instituted by the Lord that you eat,

Wuest -  Therefore, when you come together to the same place, it is not possible to eat a supper the character of which is that it could be a supper designated as belonging to the Lord.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 11:20 Now when you come together at the same place, you are not really eating the Lord's Supper.

NLT  1 Corinthians 11:20 When you meet together, you are not really interested in the Lord's Supper.

ESV  1 Corinthians 11:20 When you come together, it is not the Lord's supper that you eat.

NIV  1 Corinthians 11:20 When you come together, it is not the Lord's Supper you eat,

GNT  1 Corinthians 11:20 Συνερχομένων οὖν ὑμῶν ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ οὐκ ἔστιν κυριακὸν δεῖπνον φαγεῖν·

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

YLT  1 Corinthians 11:20 ye, then, coming together at the same place -- it is not to eat the Lord's supper;

ASV  1 Corinthians 11:20 When therefore ye assemble yourselves together, it is not possible to eat the Lord's supper:

CSB  1 Corinthians 11:20 Therefore, when you come together in one place, it is not really to eat the Lord's Supper.

MIT  1 Corinthians 11:20 When you gather at the same place, it is not to eat the Lord's supper.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 11:20 Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord's Supper.

NRS  1 Corinthians 11:20 When you come together, it is not really to eat the Lord's supper.

NAB  1 Corinthians 11:20 When you meet in one place, then, it is not to eat the Lord's supper,

NJB  1 Corinthians 11:20 So, when you meet together, it is not the Lord's Supper that you eat;

GWN  1 Corinthians 11:20 When you gather in the same place, you can't possibly be eating the Lord's Supper.

BBE  1 Corinthians 11:20 But now, when you come together, it is not possible to take the holy meal of the Lord:

Related Passages:  Note that the institution of the Lord’s Supper has been handed down to us in four forms

Mark 14:22-25+ While they were eating, He took some bread, and after a blessing He broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is My body.” 23 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 And He said to them, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 “Truly I say to you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” 

Comment on until that day - Note that the time sensitive word UNTIL marks the beginning of the Kingdom as when He will next drink of the wine... this could be the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev 19:9+). Ryrie adds "The disciples' attention is directed toward their eventual reunion in the future millennial kingdom with its joy and fellowship." (See also comments on Mark 14:25).

Matthew 26:26-29 While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” 27 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; 28 for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. 29 “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” 

Luke 22:15-20+  And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16  for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; 18for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 20And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.

NET Note - Only Luke mentions two cups at this meal; the other synoptic gospels (Matt 26:27-28, Mark 14:23-24) mention only one. This is the first of the two. It probably refers to the first cup in the traditional Passover meal, which today has four cups (although it is debated whether the fourth cup was used in the 1st century). 

1 Cor 11:23-25+ - For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

Acts 2:42-46 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple (NOTE THE SPIRIT ENERGIZED UNITY OF THE FIRST CHURCH!), and breaking bread from house to house (MOST LIKELY THE LORD'S SUPPER), they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart,

THE LORD'S
SUPPER

This is the only use of this phrase in the New Testament. 

Therefore - Term of conclusion. Based on what Paul has just stated about divisions and factions. 

When you meet together (sunerchomai), it is (absolutely) not to eat the Lord's Supper - Note to whom this supper belongs -- it is the Lord's, which means He is the "Master of Ceremonies" so to speak. He sets the rules for "proper etiquette." Paul does not address the so-called " "Love Feast" (Agape Feast) but we know that at this time it was customary to have a communal meal, like a "pot luck," (the "Love Feast") after which they would celebrate the Lord's Supper. This meal which was called “the love feast” because it was designed to show love for the saints by sharing with one another had become corrupted into an unlovely feast! Recall that real love edifies (1 Cor 8:1+) but sadly these "love" feasts torn down and divided! 

Arnold  explains that "It was the custom in those days to have a Love Feast or fellowship supper before observing the Lord’s Table. At the love feast people would bring food and all would share it. Originally it was a meal of unity the poor got to eat the fancy food of the rich and this assured the poor of a good meal. These love feasts soon became a corrupting factor to the observance of the Lord’s Table. These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves (Jude 1:12+). Due to drunkenness and selfishness, the Agape (love feast) was put after the Eucharist (thanksgiving) in the worship service of the local church, but this did not stop the perversion. Then the Agape was moved to Saturday night and this brought more revelry. So the Agape was abandoned altogether. This supper was not just for social reasons but it had a spiritual emphasis. Perhaps it was originally patterned after the Passover Feast. Whatever, the Lord’s Table was designed to show unity and was a time of great joy, but the Corinthians were a far cry from a unified group.

Krell - In Corinth, instead of sharing their food and drinks, each family was bringing its own and eating what it had brought. The result was that the rich had plenty but the poor had little and suffered embarrassment as well. This was hardly the picture of Christian love and unity. They were eating their own private meals rather than sharing a meal consecrated to the Lord. Furthermore, some with plenty of wine to drink were evidently drinking too heavily.

This is certainly not a word of commendation but a word of condemnation and criticism. The word for Supper is deipnon which is interesting for the Greeks used this same word for the meals associated with worship of their false gods (another Satanic counterfeit!)  As Behm says "The underlying thought is that of communio, of the union of those who eat with the deity." How sad, the pagans seeking to participate intimately with their false gods and believers in Corinth completely perverting the participation with the true God Christ Jesus! Note that earlier Paul had used a synonymous phrase "the table of the Lord" in 1 Cor 10:21+ contrasting it with the "table of demons" (the partaking in the feast associated with idol worship). 

B Klappert adds that in classic Greek "In the ancient religions eating and drinking were mostly formal meals, i.e. acts of public or private fellowship linked with the sacred. Families, clans and religious fellowships received a share in divine power through the common meal, which represented their union with the deity. ...The thought that deity was contained in every plant (Demeter-Kore) led on to the idea that the deity possessed a life-giving power, which was received directly by those who shared the meal. In short, there was nothing which unites man and man, and man and God, more than eating and drinking ....The participant believed that he was sitting at the trapeza tou theou, the god’s table (cf. 1 Cor. 10:21, trapeza daimoniōn, “table of demons”) and that through the meal he entered into fellowship with the deity. He thus became a partner or sharer koinōnos (cf. 1 Cor. 10:20)...Josephus tells of an invitation to the deipnon of Anubis in the temple of Isis at Rome (Ant. 18, 3, 4). “The underlying thought is that of communio, of the union of those who eat with the divinity” (J. Behm, TDNT II 35).

Akin comments we could also call it "“the First Supper” as it inaugurates the “New Covenant” (Jer. 31:31-34; Luke 22:20) which God made with us through the Lord Jesus, the true Passover Lamb who had been sacrificed for us (1 Cor. 5:7). His death made possible a new and greater 7 Exodus (see Luke 9:31) as we are delivered and set free from our bondage and slavery to sin.

Utley on not to eat the Lord's Supper - These privileged socially elite faction(s) were acting in a manner totally alien to the communal, self-giving precedent of Jesus’ last meal with His disciples. The verses that follow clarify his point (cf. v. 22). This (USE OF TERM "LORD'S SUPPER") is the only occurrence of this phrase in the NT. This is another possible example of sarcasm. Nothing about their attitudes and actions compares with Jesus’ attitudes and actions in giving Himself for sinful mankind! The worship event goes by several names: (1) the Lord’s Supper; (2) “the table of the Lord”; (1 Cor. 10:21); (3) “breaking bread” (Acts 2:42; 20:7; 1 Cor. 10:16; 11:24 [cf. Luke 24:30]); (4) thanksgiving (eucharist) or blessing (eulogia, Matt. 26:26–27; 1 Cor. 10:16; 11:24).

NIDNTT - In addition to the four-fold record of the Lord’s Supper we must take into consideration: (i) 1 Cor. 10:16, a pre-Pauline commentary on the Lord’s Supper; (ii) 1 Cor. 11:26, an explanatory comment by Paul; (iii) 1 Cor. 11:27f.; 16:20, 22; Rev. 22:17–21, parts (or references to parts) of the introductory liturgy to the primitive Christian celebration of the Lord’s Supper; (iv) Acts 2:42, 46; 20:7, 11, accounts of the daily celebration of the Lord’s Supper (breaking of bread) in the primitive church; (v) Jn. 6:51–58 with the Johannine version of the saying about the bread: “and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh” (6:51c).

Eat (2068esthio literally means to eat, take something in through the mouth, the process of eating in order to sustain life. Esthio is a key word in chapter 11 occurring 9 times in the teaching on the Lord's Supper  -  1 Co. 8:7; 1 Co. 8:8; 1 Co. 8:10; 1 Co. 8:13; 1 Co. 9:4; 1 Co. 9:7; 1 Co. 9:13; 1 Co. 10:3; 1 Co. 10:7; 1 Co. 10:18; 1 Co. 10:25; 1 Co. 10:27; 1 Co. 10:28; 1 Co. 10:31; 1 Co. 11:20; 1 Co. 11:21; 1 Co. 11:22; 1 Co. 11:26; 1 Co. 11:27; 1 Co. 11:28; 1 Co. 11:29; 1 Co. 11:33; 1 Co. 11:34; 1 Co. 15:32

Supper (dinner)(1173deipnon refers to breakfast in Homer, but is generally among the Jews and Greco-Roman culture it referred more to the evening meal (dinner, supper), and could refer as here in Luke 14 (Lk 14:12, 16, 17, 24) to a banquet or feast in general. Deipnon was used of the Passover meal (Jn 13:2, 4, 21:20) and the Lord's Supper (1 Cor 11:20). It was used to speak of the food taken at supper in 1 Cor 11:21 ("in your eating", cf Lxx - Da 1:16 = King's "choice food"). Deipnon - 16x in 16v - banquet(1), banquets(3), dinner(4), supper(8). Matt. 23:6; Mk. 6:21; Mk. 12:39; Lk. 14:12; Lk. 14:16; Lk. 14:17; Lk. 14:24; Lk. 20:46; Jn. 12:2; Jn. 13:2; Jn. 13:4; Jn. 21:20; 1 Co. 11:20; 1 Co. 11:21; Rev. 19:9; Rev. 19:17

Gilbrant During classical times a deipnon was important in the worship of Greek deities. Participating in a religious “meal” meant one actually participated in the god’s nature (Behm, “deipnon,” Kittel, 2:34f.). In ancient times Jews placed great importance on social interaction through meals. To offer or accept a dinner invitation signaled intents of goodwill, trust, and prosperity. To decline or forbid such an opportunity indicated ill will and also the highest insult (e.g., Luke 14:16-24). The Septuagint makes limited usage of deipnon (Da 1:8,13,15,16). In the New Testament deipnon often refers to the “main meal” of the evening (John 13:2,4; 21:20). In addition, it is a “feast” or “banquet” with the added touch of formality (Matthew 23:6; Mark 12:39; Luke 11:43; 14:17,24; 20:46). Deipnon appears in contexts of judgment (Revelation 19:17), celebration (Revelation 19:9), memorial (1 Corinthians 11:20), and farewell (John 12:2; 13:2,4; 21:20). (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

J. Behm - In the NT the word takes on theological significance (1) . by its cultic use in 1 Cor 11:20+: → κυριακὸν δεῖπνον, “the meal consecrated to the Lord,” “the Lord’s Supper.”3 The evening table fellowship of the community constitutes divine service. It is profaned by the separation of individuals to ἴδιον δεῖπνον (1 Cor 11:21+). According to the Pauline tradition (1 Cor 11:23ff.), the celebration rests on the institution of Jesus on the night of His betrayal, i.e., after the Last Supper, cf. v. 25 (Lk. 22:20 HK): μετὰ τὸ δειπνῆσαι (cf. also Jn. 13:2, 4; 21:20). For more general points, → ἀγάπη (agape I, 55), πάσχα, τράπεζα. It also takes on theological significance (2) as an eschatological image. The “heavenly banquet of the last time,” in which the redeemed will participate, is a meaningful expression for perfect fellowship with God and with Christ in the consummation. Cf. esp. Lk. 14:24+, in interpretation of the parable of the Great Supper, Lk 14:16ff.: οὐδεὶς τῶν ἀνδρῶν ἐκείνων τῶν → κεκλημένων → γεύσεταί μου τοῦ δείπνου, and Rev. 19:9+: → μακάριοι οἱ εἰς τὸ δεῖπνον τοῦ γάμου τοῦ → ἀρνίου κεκλημένοι where the images of the eschatological banquet and the marriage-feast (→ γάμος) merge into one another, as already in Mt. 22:2 ff. Cf. also Mt. 8:11; 26:29; Lk. 22:29f., 16, 18. The saying of Christ as He knocks at the door in Rev. 3:20+: ἐάν τις ἀκούσῃ τῆς φωνῆς μου καὶ ἀνοίξῃ τὴν θύραν, εἰσελεύσομαι πρὸς αὐτὸν καὶ δειπνήσω μετʼ αὐτοῦ καὶ αὐτὸς μετʼ ἐμοῦ, also points us, in the context of the Revelation Epistles (cf. Rev 2:5, 16, 25; 3:11), to eschatological union with the Friend Who is welcomed in, the Lord of the parousia. The dreadful opposite of the final banquet of the blessed is τὸ δεῖπνον τὸ μέγα τοῦ θεοῦ (Rev. 19:17+, based on Ezek 39:17 ff.), to which the birds of prey are summoned (cf. Mt. 24:28: Lk. 17:37), the hosts of Antichrist having been overthrown and destroyed. 

δεῖπνον is common for a “cultic meal” in the religious speech of Hellenism, e.g., Jos. Ant., 18, 73: an invitation to the δεῖπνον of Anubis in the temple of Isis in Rome; an Ephes. inscription (BMI, III, 2, 483 B, 10) refers to ἀνάλωμα τοῦ δείπνου in the cult of Artemis; an inscription from Notion (BCH, 47 [1923], 375, 6) refers to the δεῖπνον of an Aesculapius fraternity; Plut. Ser. Num. Pun., 13 (II, 557 f.): the invitation of Pindar by a herald to the cultic meal of the Delphic priesthood in the days of Plutarch: Πίνδαρος ἐπὶ τὸ δεῖπνον τῷ θεῷ; similarly Ael Var. Hist., 9, 95: the invitation of Homer with Apollo ἐπὶ ξένια in Argos. Cf. also the δεῖπνα τοῦ κλήρου in the circle of the Gnostic Marcus, Iren., I, 13, 4. Original invitations may be consulted in P. Oxy., 1755: ἐρωτᾷ σε Ἀπίων δειπνῆσαι ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ τοῦ Σεραπείου εἰς κλείνην τοῦ κυρίου Σαράπιδος τῇ ιγ ἀπὸ ὥρας θ; P. Oxy., 110; 523; 1484; 1485: ἐρωτᾷ σαι διπνῆσαι ὁ ἐξηγητὴς ἐν τῷ Δημητρίῳ σήμερον ἥτις ἐστὶν θ ἀπὸ ὣρας ζ. The underlying thought is that of communio, of the union of those who eat with the deity. So also in the Gr. church, cf. Chrys. Liturg., p. 396, 5 ff.: τοῦ δείπνου σου τοῦ μυστικοῦ σήμερον υἱὲ θεοῦ κοινωνόν με παράλαβε. On the suspecting of Θυέστεια δεῖπνα or ἀνθρωποφαγία among Christians, cf. Athenag. Suppl., 3, 1; Tat. Or. Graec., 25, 3. The image of the eschatological feast (of rejoicing or judgment) goes back to the eschatology of Israel. Cf. Is. 34:6 ff.; Jer. 46:10; Zeph. 1:7 and esp. Is. 25:6 (the feast of fat things and wine on the lees prepared by Yahweh on Mount Sion [24:23] for all nations). A grotesque note is first introduced in Ezek. 39:17 ff. (→ <34). It is used as an image of fellowship with God in the last days in 1 Enoch 62:14: “The Lord of spirits will dwell over them, and they will eat and lie down and rise up to all eternity with that Son of Man”; Slavic 2 Enoch 42:5: “At the last coming he will lead out Adam and the patriarchs and bring them (into the paradise of Eden) that they may rejoice, as when a man invites his friends to eat with him, and they come and speak with one another before the palace, joyously awaiting his feast, the enjoyment of good things, of immeasurable wealth and joy and happiness in light and everlasting life.” In Christian apocalyptic cf. 2 Esdras. 2:38: videte numerum signatorum in convivio Domini; Herm. s., 5, 2, 9; 5, 3 (moralised) In Rabb. writings, cf. the parables in b. Shab., 153a; Midr. Cant. r., 9, 8; also Midr. Est., 1, 4: “The feast of our God, which He will prepare for the righteous, has no end”;12 Pesikt. r., 41, where Jacob is invited to the feast of redemption סִעוּדַת גְּאוּלָה; cf. Midr. Ps. 14:7: מְזֻמָּן לַסְּעוּדָה. (TDNT Vol 2, page 34)

Another Greek word for meal 

Ariston (712) which BDAG says is "n early Gk. meal eaten early in the day (later called avkra,tisma, from the custom of dipping bread in wine), then the noon meal." Friberg - (1) strictly, the early meal of the day breakfast, lunch (Lk 14.12 ); (2) later extended in meaning, the more important meal noon meal, dinner (Mt 22.4); (3) generally meal (Lk 11.38) Zodhiates In Homer, breakfast. In Attic writers and the NT, dinner or supper. (I) The chief meal of the Jews, Greeks and Romans taken at or towards evening and often prolonged into the night; hence, usually an evening banquet or a feast in general (Matt. 23:6; Mark 6:21; 12:39; Luke 14:12, 16, 17, 24; 20:46; John 12:2; Sept.: Dan. 5:1). (II) Spoken of the paschal supper (John 13:2, 4; 21:20); of the Lord's Supper (1 Cor. 11:20) with which was associated the agápē <G26> feast, the love feast. (III) Food taken at supper (1 Cor. 11:21; Sept.: Dan. 1:16). (Complete Word Study Dictionary)

1 Corinthians 11:21  for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk.

Amplified  For in eating each one [hurries] to get his own supper first [not waiting for the poor], and one goes hungry while another gets drunk.

Wuest -  For each one in the eating [of the supper] takes his own private supper beforehand. And one indeed is hungry and another is intoxicated.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 11:21 For when it is time to eat, everyone proceeds with his own supper. One is hungry and another becomes drunk.

NLT  1 Corinthians 11:21 For some of you hurry to eat your own meal without sharing with others. As a result, some go hungry while others get drunk.

ESV  1 Corinthians 11:21 For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk.

NIV  1 Corinthians 11:21 for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk.

GNT  1 Corinthians 11:21 ἕκαστος γὰρ τὸ ἴδιον δεῖπνον προλαμβάνει ἐν τῷ φαγεῖν, καὶ ὃς μὲν πεινᾷ ὃς δὲ μεθύει.

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

YLT  1 Corinthians 11:21 for each his own supper doth take before in the eating, and one is hungry, and another is drunk;

ASV  1 Corinthians 11:21 for in your eating each one taketh before other his own supper; and one is hungry, and another is drunken.

CSB  1 Corinthians 11:21 For at the meal, each one eats his own supper ahead of others. So one person is hungry while another gets drunk!

MIT  1 Corinthians 11:21 For each one brings forth his own supper to be eaten. On the one hand, some are (left) hungry; and on the other hand, some get intoxicated.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 11:21 For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk.

NRS  1 Corinthians 11:21 For when the time comes to eat, each of you goes ahead with your own supper, and one goes hungry and another becomes drunk.

NAB  1 Corinthians 11:21 for in eating, each one goes ahead with his own supper, and one goes hungry while another gets drunk.

NJB  1 Corinthians 11:21 for when the eating begins, each one of you has his own supper first, and there is one going hungry while another is getting drunk.

GWN  1 Corinthians 11:21 Each of you eats his own supper without waiting for each other. So one person goes hungry and another gets drunk.

BBE  1 Corinthians 11:21 For when you take your food, everyone takes his meal before the other; and one has not enough food, and another is the worse for drink.

SUPPER BEFORE THE
LORD'S SUPPER

For - Term of explanation. Explaining why he has accused them of coming together but not for the Lord's Supper.

In your eating (esthio each one takes his own supper (deipnon) first - Wuest = "For each one in the eating [of the supper] takes his own private supper beforehand." As discussed above when the early church gathered for the Lord's Supper, they would combine it with a fellowship meal or "Love Feast". But as noted these feasts became perverted and in Jude 1:12+ we read "These are the men (" certain persons have crept in unnoticed" Jude 1:4+) who are hidden reefs in your love feasts (Greek = one word - agape) when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted." In the context of the Love Feasts at Corinth apparently the wealthy would eat what they brought to the "pot luck" and then failed to share with the poorer saints. 

Arnold  writes "It appears the rich would go ahead and selfishly eat before many of the slaves could arrive. There was no spirit of fellowship among them. Slaves had no days off, worked very long hours and Christian meetings were held in the evening."

MacArthur agrees "The poorer believers came to the supper expecting to share in the food brought by the wealthy, but they went away hungry—physically as well as spiritually. Those who brought food and drink gorged themselves and became drunk. They mocked the very purpose of the occasion, which was to bring harmony and unity among those who belonged to Christ, as they remembered His sacrifice to make them one in Him."  (Ibid)

Krell adds that "the wealthy members of the Corinthian church were guilty of gluttony and drunkenness while the poor went without (1 Cor 11:21). This notion can also be supported from the customary practice at Greco-Roman banquets where wealthy hosts—those with homes large enough to host the communal meal—would have assigned the biggest and best portions of food to the more privileged. Nevertheless, Paul did not tolerate what was socially acceptable in ancient Corinth. "

Utley comments "It is possible to understand this phrase in several ways. (1) The wealthy came early and ate their meal quickly so that when the poor arrived there was nothing, or hardly anything, left to eat. (2) Each person was to bring his own meal. The wealthy ate theirs quickly in the presence of the poor, or slave members of the church, who brought little or nothing.

And one is (present tense - continually) hungry and another is (present tense - continually) drunk - Since the Lord’s Supper often followed the love feast, they would still be drunk when they sat down to partake of the Lord’s Supper. Clearly they had totally perverted the original meaning of the Lord's Supper as a memorial meal and time of Christian fellowship and a time to undertake sober self-examination (1 Cor 11:28, 31+

Arnold - Often the poor did not have enough to eat because of the selfish rich. For most, these suppers were just satisfying physical hunger but meeting no spiritual need. Also, many came to the Lord’s Table “stone drunk” or became intoxicated while there. They were abusing the love feast. They treated this religious meal as if it were a licentious entertainment. Incidentally, this proves that the early Christians used real wine in communion. Yet, they abused their liberty and fell into sin.

Krell - Paul is grieved at the behavior of the church; therefore, his words are flavored with a righteous indignant anger. The response of the Corinthians should be repentance. Whatever the precise circumstances, a meal designed to express unity was being so abused as to highlight the disunity of this church. The cliquish behavior of the Corinthians reflected significant social and economic differences; thus, members who brought nothing with them to the meal were being humiliated and going hungry, while those who could bring plenty to eat and drink, enjoyed their own food without sharing it. What should have been an inclusive community meal had become an occasion for simultaneously private meals.32 This was an affront to Christ and His gospel. 

THOUGHT - I wish divisions and partiality were problems only in first-century Corinth, but I am sure they are alive and well in the 21st century. Do we prefer certain people over others? Do we gravitate toward those who have money or are successful by the world’s standards? Do we only want to socialize with those who are like us? Why do we struggle so to reach out to those who are different than we are? Our prayer must be that we will not allow any kind of prejudice, whether social, racial, generational, or cultural, to control our attitudes toward anyone in the body of Christ. We must always remember that God is dead serious about His body. (Krell)

Is hungry (3983)(peinao from peín = hunger) means to feel the pangs of lack of food. The majority of the NT uses speak of literal hunger. Jesus elevated feeding the hungry to high level in His teaching in Mt 25:35, 37, 42, 44.  Peinao - 23v - Matt. 4:2; Matt. 5:6; Matt. 12:1; Matt. 12:3; Matt. 21:18; Matt. 25:35; Matt. 25:37; Matt. 25:42; Matt. 25:44; Mk. 2:25; Mk. 11:12; Lk. 1:53; Lk. 4:2; Lk. 6:3; Lk. 6:21; Lk. 6:25; Jn. 6:35; Rom. 12:20; 1 Co. 4:11; 1 Co. 11:21; 1 Co. 11:34; Phil. 4:12; Rev. 7:16

Is drunk (3184)(methuo) means to drink wine or strong drink more freely than usual without any reference to whether one gets drunk or not. To cause to become intoxicated; only passive in the NT be drunk, get drunk, become intoxicated. Methuo - 7v - Matt. 24:49; Jn. 2:10; Acts 2:15; 1 Co. 11:21; 1 Thess. 5:7; Rev. 17:2; Rev. 17:6


Question - What is a love feast?

Answer: A love feast or agape feast was a fellowship meal eaten by Christians in the early church. There is biblical evidence for the practice of these communal meals, during which Christians gathered not just for the sake of sustenance and socializing, but for the sake of fellowship (Acts 2:46–47; 1 Corinthians 11:17–34). The term love feast appears in the Bible in the book of Jude. The author of the epistle is talking about false teachers who come into the believers’ fellowship, pretending—they are wolves in sheep’s clothing. These false teachers are described as “blemishes at your love feasts” (Jude 1:12). The ESV calls the pretenders “hidden reefs,” pointing up the dangerous nature of false teachers and their potential to shipwreck Christians.

Hippolytus of Rome and Tertullian both wrote about communal meals, though Hippolytus does not use the term agape but calls the meals simply “love feasts.” In some traditions, these meals became associated with other rituals, such as the Eucharist. It is possible that the term agape feast fell out of usage because it became associated with certain abuses that were taking place during the feasts—including gluttony and favoritism, which Paul addresses in 1 Corinthians 11:17–34. However, Christians have always practiced communal meals of various kinds. Communion, or the Lord’s Table, is an ordinance that Jesus gave the church, commanding that we partake of the bread and the cup in remembrance of Him. This was done in the early church at the love feasts (Luke 22:19). In the context of 1 Corinthians 11, it is clear that Paul equates communal meals with remembering Christ in this way, and that is one of the reasons why abusing the communal meal was so offensive (1 Corinthians 11:20–34).

Today, love feasts are still observed by the Moravians, Church of the Brethren, Old German Baptists, Dunkard Brethren, and some other denominations. In some cases, the fellowship includes a foot-washing ceremony, a meal, and the observance of communion. Some house churches have attempted to revive the practice of the love feast, though it is not always called a love feast. Sharing a meal can have spiritual significance because of the Last Supper that Jesus ate with His disciples, where He taught them to serve one another. Food brings nourishment, and wine brings gladness (Psalm 104:15; Ecclesiastes 9:7), and they can be symbols of the free gift of Christ, who is the bread of life and the giver of joy (John 6:35; Romans 14:17). GotQuestions.org

1 Corinthians 11:22  What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you.

Amplified  What! Do you have no houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God and mean to show contempt for it, while you humiliate those who are poor (have no homes and have brought no food)? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, [most certainly] I will not!

Wuest -  Do you not have houses for the eating and the drinking? Or, the Church of God are you despising, and are you making those ashamed who do not have the means [by which to buy food]? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I am not praising you. (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 11:22 Do you not have houses so that you can eat and drink? Or are you trying to show contempt for the church of God by shaming those who have nothing? What should I say to you? Should I praise you? I will not praise you for this!

NLT  1 Corinthians 11:22 What? Don't you 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? Well, I certainly will not praise you for this!

ESV  1 Corinthians 11:22 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.

NIV  1 Corinthians 11:22 Don't you have homes 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 praise you for this? Certainly not!

GNT  1 Corinthians 11:22 μὴ γὰρ οἰκίας οὐκ ἔχετε εἰς τὸ ἐσθίειν καὶ πίνειν; ἢ τῆς ἐκκλησίας τοῦ θεοῦ καταφρονεῖτε, καὶ καταισχύνετε τοὺς μὴ ἔχοντας; τί εἴπω ὑμῖν; ἐπαινέσω ὑμᾶς; ἐν τούτῳ οὐκ ἐπαινῶ.

KJV  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.

YLT  1 Corinthians 11:22 why, have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or the assembly of God do ye despise, and shame those not having? what may I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I do not praise!

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

CSB  1 Corinthians 11:22 Don't you have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you look down on the church of God and embarrass those who have nothing? What should I say to you? Should I praise you? I do not praise you for this!

MIT  1 Corinthians 11:22 Do you not have homes for eating and drinking? Or is it that you treat with contempt the church of God, and put to shame those not having food? What should I say to you? Should I commend you? I do not commend you on this.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 11:22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you.

NRS  1 Corinthians 11:22 What! Do you not have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you show contempt for the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What should I say to you? Should I commend you? In this matter I do not commend you!

NAB  1 Corinthians 11:22 Do you not have houses in which you can eat and drink? Or do you show contempt for the church of God and make those who have nothing feel ashamed? What can I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this matter I do not praise you.

NJB  1 Corinthians 11:22 Surely you have homes for doing your eating and drinking in? Or have you such disregard for God's assembly that you can put to shame those who have nothing? What am I to say to you? Congratulate you? On this I cannot congratulate you.

GWN  1 Corinthians 11:22 Don't you have homes in which to eat and drink? Do you despise God's church and embarrass people who don't have anything to eat? What can I say to you? Should I praise you? I won't praise you for this.

BBE  1 Corinthians 11:22 What? have you not houses to take your meals in? or have you no respect for the church of God, putting the poor to shame? What am I to say to you? am I to give you praise? certainly not.

  • have: 1Co 11:34 
  • or: 1Co 10:32 15:9 Ac 20:28 1Ti 3:5,15 
  • those who have nothing Pr 17:5 Jas 2:5,6 
  • 1 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

FOUR REPEATED
RHETORICAL QUESTIONS

What! Do you not have houses in which to eat (esthioand drink? - “You surely do not mean that you have no houses for eating and drinking? And yet this is what your actions imply.” In other words if they were going to selfishly horde and eat the food and leave others hungry, Paul implies that they should have at least done this in their own homes! 

MacDonald - The apostle indignantly rebukes such disgraceful conduct. If they insist on carrying on in such a way, then they should at least have the reverence not to do it in a church meeting.  (Ibid)

Arnold adds that "  Paul is not saying it is wrong to have potluck (covered dish) dinners in the church or that it is wrong to drink wine, but if that is all these folks came together for, to party, they could do that at home. If they were going to be indifferent, selfish and uncaring about their brethren and make the Lord’s Table a common meal, they might as well stay home.

Robertson - The double negative (mē—ouk) in the single question is like the idiom in 1 Cor 9:4f. [Mē] expects a negative answer while [ouk] negates the verb [echete - have]. “For do you fail to have houses?” 

Paul now gives his grounds for condemnation of the Corinthians.

Or do you (present tense - continually) despise the church (ekklesia) of God and (present tense - continually) shame (kataischuno) those who have nothing? -  To despise something is to look down on it as inferior and not worth consideration or care. Paul heightens the outrage by adding it was not just a church but it was the church of God. They seem to have forgotten that this was God's gathering, and thus was to be their gathering for Him, not their gathering for themselves and the fulfiling of their selfish desires. 

MacArthur - Or were they actually trying to destroy the fellowship by flagrantly despising God’s church? Or were they so contemptuous of their poor brothers and sisters in Christ that they purposely embarrassed and shamed them? Whatever the reasons may have been, they could not justify the harm being brought to the church. If they could not show love, why have a love feast? (Ibid)

As Lenski says they were in effect showing contempt for the church "by eating and drinking their fill during the meeting of the congregation and by disregarding the poor they acted as though they had no houses." 

Wiersbe - “Let the rich eat at home if they are hungry. When you abuse believers who are less fortunate than you are, then you are actually despising the church!” The “agape feast” should have been an opportunity for edification, but they were using it as a time for embarrassment. I recall an incident at a Sunday School picnic when I was just a teenager. The person in charge of the games set up a relay that involved various people throwing eggs to each other as they backed farther and farther apart. Of course, the farther the teams went from each other, the harder the participants had to throw the eggs, and the results were hilarious. However, some of us noticed two Sunday School children watching the eggs with great fascination. They came from a poor family that probably rarely ate eggs because they could not afford them. The little girl went to the lady leading the games and asked, “If there are any eggs left over, can my brother and I take them home?” Wisely, the lady stopped the game before it was really over, awarded the prizes, and gave all the eggs to the two children. She knew that it was wrong for some of the saints to have a good time at the expense of others.  (Ibid)

And (present tense - continually) shame (kataischuno) those who have nothing? -  Nothing means that they had nothing in sense of being the poor saints, the "have nots"  in stark contrast to the wealthy "haves!"To shame the poor in this context has the sense that the wealthier saints were actively disgracing and humiliating the poorer saints.Their shameful treatment of their poorer brethren was completely inconsistent with the Christian faith and the spirit of agape (unconditional, self-less, giving, "God-like" love). Their "love feasts" had become unlovely and their gatherings were characterized by sloppy agape

As Lenski points out the phrase the church of God emphasizes how "God looks especially upon the poor. He does not put them to shame, nor will he have them put to shame by others, James 1:9, 10; 2:2–9. God is no respecter of persons." 

Arnold - By their attitudes and actions they were bringing shame and disgrace upon the church. The contempt of the rich for the poor was abominable and brought shame on the poor. When the rich and powerful show contempt to the poor, uneducated, those of a different race and color in the church, this brings disgrace to the church and to the name of Jesus.

Despise (think lightly) (2706kataphroneo from kata = down + phroneo = to think, have understanding <> phren = mind, faculty of perceiving and judging) literally means to think down upon and so to despise, scorn, hold in contempt, not care for because it is thought to be without value. It means to "think little of". The idea is to look down on someone or something with contempt or aversion, with the implication that one considers the object of little value or as unworthy of one’s notice or consideration. Moulton and Milligan write that kataphroneo “does not denote a mere feeling of contempt—it is active.” Kataphroneo - 9v - Matt. 6:24; Matt. 18:10; Lk. 16:13; Rom. 2:4; 1 Co. 11:22; 1 Tim. 4:12; 1 Tim. 6:2; Heb. 12:2; 2 Pet. 2:10

Shame (disgrace) (2617Kataischuno from kata = down but here intensifies meaning of verb aischuno = to shame) meant originally to disfigure, make ugly and then primarily to put to shame, to humiliate, to disgrace (1Cor 11:4, 5) and (as used in the present verse) to disappoint or to frustrate one's hope (Ro 9:33-note, Ro 10:11-note, 1Pe 2:6-note). Used 12v - Lk. 13:17; Rom. 5:5; Rom. 9:33; Rom. 10:11; 1 Co. 1:27; 1 Co. 11:4; 1 Co. 11:5; 1 Co. 11:22; 2 Co. 7:14; 2 Co. 9:4; 1 Pet. 2:6; 1 Pet. 3:16

What shall I say to you? - Paul is nonplussed, aghast, bewildered and doubtless also greatly saddened by their selfish behavior. 

Shall I praise (epaineo) you? - Paul now does an about face from his commendation in 1 Cor 11:2! 

In this I will (present tense - continually) not praise (epaineo) you - The opposite of praise is condemnation, which is precisely what Paul is doing now. Paul answers the fourth question to make sure their understand his sentiment toward them. Now he says he continually refuses to praise them! 

Lenski suggests "Paul restrains himself so as not to use strong terms of rebuke. He seems to ask himself: “Do these people really realize what they are doing?”"

Knofel Staton - If the Lord’s Supper is a meal of unity, it is not the Lord's Supper if we partake of it in disunity and factions. We are kidding ourselves when we think that we can have differences and hatreds and jealousies and competitions with other members in the body and then partake of the Lord’s Supper as some sort of tradition that makes everything okay (First Corinthians).

1 Corinthians 11:23  For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread;

Amplified  For I received from the Lord Himself that which I passed on to you [it was given to me personally], that the Lord Jesus on the night when He was treacherously delivered up and while His betrayal was in progress took bread,

Wuest -  For, as for myself, I received by direct revelation from the presence of the Lord that which also I in turn passed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night during which He was being betrayed took bread, (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 11:23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night in which he was betrayed took bread,

NLT  1 Corinthians 11:23 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

ESV  1 Corinthians 11:23 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,

NIV  1 Corinthians 11:23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread,

GNT  1 Corinthians 11:23 Ἐγὼ γὰρ παρέλαβον ἀπὸ τοῦ κυρίου, ὃ καὶ παρέδωκα ὑμῖν, ὅτι ὁ κύριος Ἰησοῦς ἐν τῇ νυκτὶ ᾗ παρεδίδετο ἔλαβεν ἄρτον

KJV  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:

YLT  1 Corinthians 11:23 For I -- I received from the Lord that which also I did deliver to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which he was delivered up, took bread,

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

CSB  1 Corinthians 11:23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: On the night when He was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread,

MIT  1 Corinthians 11:23 For I obtained from the Lord that which I also communicated to you: The Lord Jesus on that night in which he was betrayed, took (flat) bread (in his hands).

NKJ  1 Corinthians 11:23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread;

NRS  1 Corinthians 11:23 For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread,

NAB  1 Corinthians 11:23 For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread,

NJB  1 Corinthians 11:23 For the tradition I received from the Lord and also handed on to you is that on the night he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread,

GWN  1 Corinthians 11:23 After all, I passed on to you what I had received from the Lord. On the night he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread

BBE  1 Corinthians 11:23 For it was handed down to me from the Lord, as I gave it to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night when Judas was false to him, took bread,

  • I received 1Co 15:3 De 4:5 Mt 28:20 Ga 1:1,11,12 1Th 4:2 
  • the same: Mt 26:2,17,34 
  • took: Mt 26:26-28 Mk 14:22-24 Lu 22:19,20 Ac 20:7 
  • 1 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

PAUL'S DELIVERY OF 
COMMUNION INSTRUCTIONS

Arnold - This is the earliest written account of the Lord's Table because the Gospels were not written before First Corinthians. (ED: THERE IS NOT TOTAL AGREEMENT ON THE DATES SO THIS MAY NOT BE CORRECT - SEE list of approximate dates in which the Bible books written)

For (gar) Term of explanation. This follows four rhetorical questions. MacDonald says "To show the contrast between their conduct and the real meaning of the Lord’s Supper, he goes back to its original institution." (Ibid)

I received (paralambano) from the Lord that which I also delivered (paradidomi) to you - See the 4 Related Passages above which describe different aspects of the Lord's Supper. Note the fact that his is from the Lord indicates all disobedience in regard to the Lord's Supper is a sin against the Lord Himself! Since Paul was not present at the Lord's Supper in the Gospels, he had to have received this truth at another time as special revelation. And here we also see another substantiation of his apostolic authority. It is notable that Paul uses the same word received (paralambano) to describe his revelatory reception of the "divine definition" of the Gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1+ and in 1 Corinthians 15:3+

Paul explains how he received this truth about the Lord's Supper and the Gospel in Galatians 

For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received (paralambano) it through a revelation (apokalupsis) of Jesus Christ.  13 For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it; 14 and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions. 15 But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased 16 to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia, and returned once more to Damascus. (Galatians 1:11-17+)

Received (3880paralambano rom para = beside + lambano = appropriate, receive) means to receive from another, to receive alongside or to take to oneself (into close association). There are two basic ideas - to take or to receive. To take with one in order to carry away (eg, Jesus' reference to the Rapture in John 14:3 below where the taking also conveys a sense close fellowship and agreement associated with the receiving to Himself) To receive something transmitted, as spiritual instruction or truth (see 1 Cor 11:23, Gal 1:9) or a ministry (Col 4:17+)

1 Corinthians 15:1+ Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received  (paralambano), in which also you stand, 15:3+ For I delivered (paradidomi)  to you as of first importance what I also received (paralambano), that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

That which I also delivered (paradidomi) to you - In other words this is truth that Paul had previously "given over to" or taught the Corinthians, but like a good teacher he calmly and patiently repeats his original instruction. Paul uses this same word again in 1 Cor 15:3+ I describing the Gospel which he had "delivered (paradidomi)  to (THE CORINTHIANS) as of first importance."

That the Lord (kurios) Jesus (Iesous) in the night in which He was betrayed (paradidomi) took (lambano) bread - Notice the ironic play on words for the same verb (paradidomi) is used for Paul's delivery of truth to the Corinthians and also for the delivery of the Truth Personified to the multitude who accompanied Judas to arrest Him (cf Lk 22:47-48+ where "betraying" = paradidomi and also used in Mt 27:2 = "delivered Him up" in Mt 27:2)! Betrayed is in the imperfect tense indicating that over and over Christ was betrayed (from Judas to Romans to Pilate, etc - see Tabular Summary of Jesus' Six Mock Trials) Note also that Jesus did not use the passover lamb on the table as the symbol of His body (even though He Himself was the prototypical Passover Lamb - 1 Cor 5:7+, Jn 1:29+), but the passover bread (He was the "bread of life" Jn 6:35, 48+)

MacArthur - After Judas left (John 13:30–31), and only the faithful eleven remained, Jesus transformed the Passover into the Lord’s Table (also called the Lord’s Supper or Communion) and thereby signaled the transition from the old covenant to the new. Jesus’ words recorded in this passage marked the end of all Old Testament ceremonies, sacrifices and rituals (cf. Mark 15:38). All of the symbols of the old covenant pointed to Christ. (Ibid)

Daniel Akin - Thomas à Kempis said, “He who would learn to serve must first learn to think little of himself. This is the highest and most profitable lesson…” (quoted in Bonhoeffer, Life Together, 1954, 94). Jesus has already served His disciples on their last night together by washing their feet (John 13:1-20). Now He serves them again as He institutes what we call “the Last Supper.”

Grassmick - Before this meal was eaten in Jewish homes the head of the house explained its meaning regarding Israel’s deliverance from slavery in Egypt. As host, Jesus probably did so to prepare His disciples for a new understanding of the bread and wine.

MacDonald has an interesting point - The fact that this occurred at night does not necessarily mean that the Lord’s Supper must thereafter be observed only at night. At that time, sundown was the beginning of the Jewish day. Our day begins at sunrise. Also it has been remarked that there is a difference between apostolic example and apostolic precepts. We are not obligated to do all that the apostles did, but we are most certainly obligated to obey all that they taught. (Ibid)

Lord Jesus in the Corinthians letters - 1 Co. 1:2; 1 Co. 1:3; 1 Co. 1:7; 1 Co. 1:8; 1 Co. 1:10; 1 Co. 5:4; 1 Co. 5:5; 1 Co. 6:11; 1 Co. 8:6; 1 Co. 11:23; 1 Co. 15:57; 1 Co. 16:23; 2 Co. 1:2; 2 Co. 1:3; 2 Co. 1:14; 2 Co. 4:14; 2 Co. 8:9; 2 Co. 11:31; 2 Co. 13:14; 


James Smith - THE LORD'S SUPPER. 1 Corinthians 11:23-29

This ordinance is the heirloom of the Christian Church. The emblems are of a most simple and homely character— "Bread and Wine." Yet the significance of them in the hands of Christ embody the profoundest facts in the Christian faith. The bread, "My Body;" the wine, "My Blood." Symbols of His character and mission.

I. His Incarnation.

"He took bread and said, This is My Body" (v. 23). A body have You prepared me. He took on Him not the nature of angels, but the "likeness of sinful flesh" (Romans 8:3). He took the body prepared for Him by the Father, that He might have somewhat to offer as a visible sacrifice for the sin of the world. The taking of the bread as a symbol of His body was a voluntary act, for He made Himself of no reputation when He took the form of a servant (Philippians 2:7).

II. His Devotion.

"He gave thanks" (v. 24). He took the bread, emblem of His body, and gave thanks to God for it. Think of it! Giving thanks to God for a body that was to be bruised and broken on a Cross: thanks to the Father for the privilege of dying for a guilty and thankless humanity! In this simple, common act, see the whole-hearted devotion of our Lord to the awful work the Father had given Him to do. "Not My will, but Your be done."

III. His Suffering.

After giving thanks He brake it. Every word and act seems full of meaning. He did not ask Judas to break it. He Himself broke it. He gave Himself a sacrifice for our sins. He could say: "No man takes My life from Me: I lay it down of Myself." He broke the bread, of which He said, "This is My Body" (John 10:18). It was because He loved us that He gave Himself for us an offering unto God (Ephesians 5:2). His life was a life of thanksgiving; His death was a voluntary offering. "Father, I will."

IV. His Substitution.

"This is My Body which is broken for you." Not broken by accident. He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him. He was "broken for you" (Isaiah 53:5). The wine of His precious blood was poured out for our redemption (1 Peter 1:19). We are apt to speak lightly and think little of these words uttered at His last meal on earth. "My body, broken for" you. What would be the thoughts in His mind when uttering them? He already saw the Cross, and perhaps already felt the pangs of Gethsemane in His soul. But love constrained Him. When we sit at the Lord's table and handle the bread and cup, do we realize this as we should: "My Body broken for you," "My Blood shed for you?"

V. His Invitation.

"Take, eat." "Do this in remembrance of Me." After atonement has been made by His suffering and death, there comes (symbolically) the invitation to partake of the benefits purchased. "Take, eat," appropriate to yourselves what is here set before you. This is the message of the Gospel. "Do this in remembrance of Me." There is no virtue in the mere eating and drinking. The soul of the ordinance is in remembering Him. The elements are but the memorials of what He has done for us in giving His body and His Blood a Ransom for our souls.

VI. His Purpose in It.

"As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you do show forth the Lord's death." There is no symbolic ordinance left us to show forth His Incarnation, or His Transfiguration, or His Ascension, but there is for His Crucifixion. Why is that His death is to be so prominently and persistently kept before our minds? Because all our salvation has come out of it, and all the hopes of the ungodly are in it. "God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of Jesus Christ our Lord" (Galatians 6:14). Preach Christ and Him crucified.

VII. His Prospect.

"You do show forth the Lord's death until He come" (v. 26). When He comes again, according to His promise, the Church will have no need of this memorial of Him. We have little need for an absent friend's photograph when He Himself has come to us. The present dispensation is an interval between His Cross and His Throne. While we may sit at His table with sorrowful, yet peaceful, hearts; while we think of His sorrow and shame on our behalf, we can look hopefully up, knowing that He is coming again to receive us unto Himself (John 14:1-3). When we think of the Lord's table we must recognize that it is not the table of any particular Church or sect. It is the Lord's, and all have the right to it who are able to discern the Lord's body in the emblems. Our worthiness or unworthiness to sit at His table lie, not in our good education, not in our moral character, or religious profession, but in our spiritual discernment (v. 29).


Phil Enns - The Lord's Supper is referred to by several different names. It is the "Lord's Supper" (1 Corinthians 11:20) because He is the host, and it is in remembrance of Him. It is also called "Communion" because it is a fellowship or "communion of the blood of Christ" (1 Corinthians 10:16). It is also called the "Eucharist," meaning "thanks" since Christ "took a cup and gave thanks" (Matthew 26:27). In Acts 2:42 it is called "Breaking of Bread," but this probably also includes the Agape Feast, or fellowship meal, which early Christians ate together before the Lord's Supper. The same would be true of "the Lord's Table" (1 Corinthians 10:21). 

The Lord's Supper was instituted by Christ the evening before His crucifixion when He met with His disciples in the Upper Room (Matthew 26:26- 29). The entire event could properly be called "the last Passover and the first Lord's Supper" since Christ first ate the Passover with His disciples in commemoration of Israel's deliverance from Egypt-but also in anticipation of His impending crucifixion as the Lamb of God, slain for the sins of the world. 

Following the Passover, Christ instituted the Lord's Supper. The bread they ate symbolized His body, given for the sins of the world. (The word broken is not in the oldest manuscripts. In fulfillment of prophecy, Christ's body was not broken, [Psalm 34:20; John 19:33, 361). The cup followed, symbolizing the blood Jesus shed for the remission of sins. When blood is shed, death takes place; hence, the cup symbolized Jesus' death (Matthew 26:27-28). 

Jesus instituted a new covenant, in contrast to the old, which could never take away sins since the offerings were the blood of bulls and goats. But Christ's death provided "forgiveness of sins" (Matthew 26:28). The Lord's Supper, then, is a memorial in remembrance of Christ (Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:25). The memorial is a proclamation of the Lord's death (1 Corinthians 11:26) but also looks forward to Christ's return. And in the Lord's Supper believers have fellowship with Him (10:16). Its solemnity is seen by the need for self-examination (11:28-31). 

LESSON: The Lord's Supper is a memorial of fellowship with Christ, looking back to His death and looking forward to His second coming. 

1 Corinthians 11:24  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."

Amplified And when He had given thanks, He broke [it] and said, Take, eat. This is My body, which is broken for you (NOT A GOOD TRANSLATION - HIS BONES WERE NOT BROKEN). Do this to call Me [affectionately] to remembrance.

Wuest -  and having given thanks, He broke it and said, This is my body which is [given] on your behalf. This be doing with a view to remembering me. (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 11:24 and after he had given thanks he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me."

NLT  1 Corinthians 11:24 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."

ESV  1 Corinthians 11:24 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."

NIV  1 Corinthians 11:24 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."

GNT  1 Corinthians 11:24 καὶ εὐχαριστήσας ἔκλασεν καὶ εἶπεν, Τοῦτό μού ἐστιν τὸ σῶμα τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν· τοῦτο ποιεῖτε εἰς τὴν ἐμὴν ἀνάμνησιν.

KJV  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.

YLT  1 Corinthians 11:24 and having given thanks, he brake, and said, 'Take ye, eat ye, this is my body, that for you is being broken; this do ye -- to the remembrance of me.'

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

CSB  1 Corinthians 11:24 gave thanks, broke it, and said, "This is My body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me."

MIT  1 Corinthians 11:24 Having offered thanksgiving, he broke it, and said: "This is my body—presented in your place. Do this to remember me."

NKJ  1 Corinthians 11:24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me."

NRS  1 Corinthians 11:24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me."

NAB  1 Corinthians 11:24 and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me."

NJB  1 Corinthians 11:24 and after he had given thanks, he broke it, and he said, 'This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.'

GWN  1 Corinthians 11:24 and spoke a prayer of thanksgiving. He broke the bread and said, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me."

BBE  1 Corinthians 11:24 And when it had been broken with an act of praise, he said, This is my body which is for you: do this in memory of me.

  • eat: 1Co 5:7-8 Ps 22:26,29 Pr 9:5 Song 5:1 Isa 25:6 Isa 55:1-3  Joh 6:53-58 
  • this: 1Co 11:27,28 10:3,4,16,17 
  • in remembrance: Ex 12:14 Jos 4:7 Ps 111:4 Song 1:4 Isa 26:8 Mt 26:13 
  • 1 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

1 Cor 5:7-8+ Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 

John 6:53-58+ So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. 54 “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 “For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. 56 “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. 58“This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.”

Matthew 26:27  And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you;

Mark 14:22+  While they were eating, He took some bread, and after a blessing He broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is My body.”

Luke 22:19+  And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”


Reclining At the Last Supper

BREAD IS HIS BODY
TO BE REMEMBERED

And when He had given thanks - The Greek word for given thanks gives us our word "Eucharist" (see also The Eucharist) which is another name for the Lord's Supper. 

Giving thanks (2168eucharisteo from eucháristos = thankful, grateful, well-pleasing - Indicates the obligation of being thankful to someone for a favor done <> in turn from  = well + charízomai = to grant, give.; English - Eucharist) means to show that one is under obligation by being thankful. To show oneself as grateful (most often to God in the NT).  Eucharisteo is a word that at its very core (eu = good + charis = grace) means to acknowledge how good grace is!  Thanksgiving expresses what ought never to be absent from any of our devotions. We should always be ready to express our grateful acknowledgement of past mercies as distinguished form the earnest seeking of future mercies. Eucharisteo in the Corinthian letters - 1 Co. 1:4; 1 Co. 1:14; 1 Co. 10:30; 1 Co. 11:24; 1 Co. 14:17; 1 Co. 14:18; 2 Co. 1:11;

He broke it - (cf Mk 14:22+ Lk 22:19+  above) Notice He broke the bread but did not say it symbolized the breaking of His body, because His body was not broken in the crucifixion. The KJV/NKJV are incorrect when they state "This is My body which is broken for you." David predicted "He keeps all his bones, Not one of them is broken." (Ps 34:20+) Again David wrote "all my bones are out of joint" (Ps 22:14+) John records "For these things came to pass to fulfill the Scripture, “NOT A BONE OF HIM SHALL BE BROKEN.” (John 19:36) (See also  What did Jesus mean when He said, “This is my body, broken for you”?)

MacArthur - The breaking of the bread did not signify the nature of His death, since none of His bones were broken during His execution (John 19:36; cf. Ex. 12:46; Ps. 34:20). Rather, the fact that the disciples were each given a piece of the same loaf symbolized their unity in Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 12:12–27). According to the parallel passage in Luke 22:19, Jesus added, “given for you; do this in remembrance of Me” (cf. 1 Cor. 11:24). Those words indicate that the Lord intended His table to be observed by His followers as a perpetual memorial of His death. (MNTC-Mark)

The Revival Study Bible has an interesting note on the Lord's Supper - Every time communion is received, the cup is taken and the bread is broken. A revival toward deeper intimacy with God occurs. The remembrance of Jesus’ death and resurrection emphasizes the very principles of revival too often forgotten. It is no wonder then that the partaking saints must examine themselves so as not to defame the sacredness of this sacrament.

Broke (2806klao break, break off, break in pieces; in the NT used only of the breaking of bread, referring to eating a meal = Paul on the ship to Rome (Acts 27:35). Similarly in Acts 2:46 klao is used as a  metonymy meaning to share a meal, since by Jewish custom the head of household at ordinary family meals would give thanks, broke the bread, and distributed it to those at the table with him. Some interpret Acts 2:46 as a celebration the Lord's Supper with their meals. The first use of klao by Jesus was in feeding the multitudes (Mt 14:19, 15:36, Mk 8:6, 19). Matthew and Mark use klao in context of Jesus' institution of the Lord's Supper (Mt 26:26, Mk 14:22) and Paul's celebration of the Lord's Supper (1 Cor 11:24). Luke uses klao of the Lord's Supper writing "On the first day of the week (Sunday), when we were gathered together to break bread.... (Acts 20:7,11+). There is one use in the Septuagint in Jer 16:7 of breaking bread, because the custom in Old Testament times was to break bread with the hands rather than cut it with a knife. 

Klao - 14 v - Matt. 14:19; Matt. 15:36; Matt. 26:26; Mk. 8:6; Mk. 8:19; Mk. 14:22; Lk. 22:19; Lk. 24:30; Acts 2:46; Acts 20:7; Acts 20:11; Acts 27:35; 1 Co. 10:16; 1 Co. 11:24

And said,"This is My body, which is for you; (present tense or present imperative - continually) do this in remembrance of Me." - Note the beautiful little phrase FOR you where "for" is the preposition huper which in this context signifies in your place, as your substitute. For example in 1 Cor 15:3+ we read "Christ died FOR (huper) our sins according to the Scriptures." Gal 1:4+ Paul writes the Lord Jesus Christ "gave Himself FOR (huper) our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age." (See also Eph 5:2+ Jesus "gave Himself up FOR [huper] us.", cf 2 Cor 5:14+ "One died FOR [huper] all", 2 Cor 5:15+ "He died FOR [huper]  all." 2 Cor 5:21+ = "to be sin onour behalf [huper].") In short, Jesus is alluding to His substitutionary atonement, His death in our place bearing our sins for us! Amazing grace indeed! (For more discussion of this is My body see commentary on Mark 14:22+) "For you are two of the most beautiful words in all of Scripture. Jesus gave His body, His entire incarnate life, for us who believe in Him. “I became a man for you; I gave the gospel to you; I suffered for you; and I died for you.” Our gracious, loving, magnanimous, merciful God became incarnate not for Himself but for us. Whether a person wants and receives the benefit of that sacrifice is his choice; but Jesus made it and offers it for every person. He paid the ransom for everyone who will be freed." (MacArthur ) Note that neither Paul nor Jesus taught the false doctrine of transubstantiation (that the bread and the wine are literally changed into the body and the blood of Christ) nor consubstantiation (teaches that the true body and blood of Christ are in, with, and under the bread and wine on the table). 

MacDonald simply refutes these false teachings - In answer to these views, it should be sufficient to remember that when the Lord Jesus instituted this memorial, His body had not yet been given, nor had His blood been shed. When the Lord Jesus said, “This is My body,” He meant, “This is symbolic of My body” or “This is a picture of My body which is broken for you.” To eat the bread is to remember Him in His atoning death for us. There is inexpressible tenderness in our Lord’s expression “in remembrance of Me.” (Ibid)

MacArthur has an excellent point about My body - To the Jewish mind the body represented the whole person, not just his physical body. Jesus’ body represents the great mystery of His whole incarnate life, His whole teaching, ministry, and work—all He was and all He did. (Ibid)

Note that DO in some commentaries is present tense, but DO is almost surely a command in the present imperative, because Luke's parallel passage is clearly a present imperative (see Lk 22:19+) and most favor that this is a command in the present imperative to do this continually!

THOUGHT - Given the fact that Paul teaches on the importance of self-examination before taking the Lord's Supper lest one suffer divine discipline, it seems that this ordinance if frequently celebrated (and not as a ritual, which of course is the danger of frequent celebration) would this not have a "purging" or "cleansing" effect on the individual saints and on the local body or assembly? This query is predicated on the assumption that this ordinance is approached with a sense of solemnity and sobriety each time, because of the danger of irreverently participating in the body and blood of the Lord. I personally think this could be a powerful agent for increasing the degree of holiness in a local body (and the individual body). I recall a time when we were celebrating the Lord's Supper and my wife tapped me on the shoulder and said she could not partake of the elements until she went and ask forgiveness from another woman in the congregation. And so she literally went to another part of the sanctuary where that woman was seat, confessed her sin and asked forgiveness. She then returned and partook of the elements. I have never forgot that event and always wondered what might happen in a body of believers if we took Paul's words of warning literally? Perhaps there might be fewer participants in the event. In most churches I fear people simply follow others who get up to take the elements but do so without genuine heart cleansing. I am sure that is not everyone, but my guess it is at least some. I have often thought it might be interesting to survey the congregation the week after communion to see if there was anyone weak, sick or dead who had taken communion? I am just offering these thoughts for you to ponder. I do not mean to be dogmatic or legatistic or graceless. 

It is interesting that in Hebrews. 10:3+ in the Temple animal "sacrifices there is a reminder (anamnesisof sins year by year." All the animal sacrifices were reminders pointing forward to the Sin Bearer's ultimate sacrifice on Calvary. Now the symbol of the sacrificial Lamb's body is a reminder pointing back to the His crucifixion. And even as Israel was to celebrate the Passover Feast annually as a memorial of their deliverance from bondage in Egypt by the blood of the passover lamb (Ex 12:14), believers are to celebrate the Lord's Supper "continually" (present tense and some take this as a command to continually do) as a memorial for the true Passover Lamb's delivering us from bondage to sin, Satan and eternal death. 

When Jesus said of the unleavened bread, “this is My body,” He was not instituting an empty ritual. He was identifying Himself personally with both the matzah and the Passover lamb, bringing to mind the words of the prophet Isaiah:  

Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth (Isaiah 53:4-7+).  

Arnold on bread - The word “bread” could be translated "loaf," indicating that the bread of the communion came from one loaf (Matt. 26:26 cf.1 Cor. 10:16, 17). The one loaf speaks of unity. The bread not only reminds us of Christ’s sinless body which was given for us in grace, it also reminds us that we alive spiritually because of the body of Christ which rose from the dead. Each time we pass the bread among ourselves and partake of it, we are reminding ourselves that Jesus Christ is our life (Col 3:4+). He is the only one by whom we live.“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." (Gal. 2:20+). The Lord’s Table is a time to remember the person of Jesus Christ and His glorious and efficacious work upon the Cross for us. Everything in the observing of the Lord's Table should be done so as to cause the believer to remember Christ.

Krell notes that Paul "reminds us to remember that the Lord’s Supper pictures Christ’s self-sacrifice on behalf of His people." Twice in these verses, Paul urges the Corinthians to remember the death of Christ. By partaking of the bread and the cup, we remember that Jesus Christ took our hell that we might have His heaven. It is His “body on our behalf.” The Lord’s Supper is God’s way of getting us to keep the cross of Christ central in the life of the church. We use the Lord’s Supper to draw close to Jesus in gratitude for what He has done for the entire church through His cross. As we draw near to Him through His Supper, He will draw near to us.

Utley - The NT does not specify how often this is to be repeated. Some groups of believers never do it (Quakers); others do it every week. Those Christian groups that have a sacramental view of the Supper obviously make it a recurrent (weekly) and central event. Those Christians who are nervous about repeated rituals losing their impact and significance and do not see it as a channel of grace, usually observe the Supper less often.

William MacDonaldThe question is often raised whether we should use leavened or unleavened bread, fermented or unfermented wine for the Lord's Supper. There is little doubt that the Lord used unleavened bread and fermented wine (all wine in those days was fermented). Those who argue that leavened bread spoils the type (leaven is a picture of sin) should realize that the same is true of fermentation. It is a tragedy when we become so occupied with the elements that we fail to see the Lord Himself. Paul emphasized that it is the spiritual meaning of the bread, not the bread itself that counts. "For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore, let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (1 Cor. 5:7, 8). It is not the leaven in the bread that matters, but the leaven in our lives! (Ibid)

Remembrance (364)(anamnesis from ana = again + mimnesko = remember) means for causing someone to remember. Used only 4x in NT and 3 in context of Lord's Supper - Lk. 22:19; 1 Co. 11:24; 1 Co. 11:25; The fourth use is Hebrews 10:3 "But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year." All the animal sacrifices were reminders pointing forward to Jesus' crucifixion. Now the symbol of the sacrificial Lamb's body is a reminder pointing back to the crucifixion. 

Related Resource:


Utley - ORDER OF PASSOVER SERVICE IN FIRST CENTURY JUDAISM
    A.      Prayer
    B.      Cup of wine
    C.      Hand washing by host and passing of basin to all
    D.      Dip of bitter herbs and sauce
    E.      Lamb and main meal
    F.      Prayer and second dip of bitter herbs and sauce
    G.      Second cup of wine with question-and-answer time for children (cf. Exod. 12:26–27)
    H.      Singing of the first part of Hallel Psalm 113–114 and prayer
    I.      Master of ceremony makes sop for each one after washing his hands
    J.      All eat until filled; finish with a piece of lamb
    K.      Third cup of wine after washing hands
    L.      Singing second part of Hallel Psalm 115–118
    M.      Fourth cup of wine

  Many believe that the institution of the Lord’s Supper occurred at “K.”

MacArthur - The Passover meal began with the host’s pronouncing a blessing over the first cup of red wine and passing it to the others present. Four cups of wine were passed around during the meal. After the first cup was drunk bitter herbs dipped in a fruit sauce were eaten and a message was given on the meaning of Passover. Then the first part of a hymn, the Hallel (which means “praise” and is related to hallelujah, “praise ye the Lord”), was sung. The Hallel is comprised of Psalms 113–118, and the first part sung was usually 113 or 113 and 114. After the second cup was passed, the host would break and pass around the unleavened bread. Then the meal proper, which consisted of the roasted sacrificial lamb, was eaten. The third cup, after prayer, was then passed and the rest of the Hallel was sung. The fourth cup, which celebrated the coming kingdom, was drunk immediately before leaving. It was the third cup that Jesus blessed and that became the cup of Communion. “And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, ‘This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood’ ” (Luke 22:20). After Jesus gave some brief words of warning, rebuke, and instruction (Lk 22:21–38), the meal was concluded with the singing of a hymn (Matt. 26:30). (Ibid)


Thomas Constable has a lengthy not on This is My Body -  There have been various interpretations of what Jesus meant when He said, “This is my body.” There are four main views.

(1) Roman Catholics take it as a literal statement meaning the bread really becomes the body of Christ and the contents of the cup become the blood of Christ. They believe this is true when duly authorized representatives of the church conduct the service properly. This is the transubstantiation view. Adherents believe God transfers the body and blood of Christ into the substance of the elements. The bread and wine really become the physical body and blood of Christ.

(2) A second view is not quite so literal. It is the consubstantiation view and, as the word implies, its advocates see the body and blood of Christ as present “in, with, and under” the elements. Christ is “really” present, though not physically present, in this Lutheran view.

(3) The third major view is the spiritual presence view that Presbyterians and other followers of Calvin hold. For them the spiritual presence of Christ is in the elements and, as in the former views, God ministers grace to the communicant in a concrete way through participation.

(4) The fourth view is the memorial view. Advocates believe that when Jesus said, “This is my body,” he meant, “This represents my body.” In other words, they understand His statement as completely metaphorical. They view the elements as pictures or emblems of the body and blood of Christ. In contrast to the preceding views this one does not see Christ present in any special sense in the elements. Ulrich Zwingli, the Swiss reformer, promoted this view. Today most of the churches from the Anabaptist branch of Protestantism (i.e., Baptists, Methodists, independent Bible churches, et al.) follow this interpretation.

“The identification of the bread with the body is semitic imagery in its heightened form. As in all such identifications, he means ‘this signifies/represents my body.’ It lies quite beyond both Jesus’ intent and the framework within which he and the disciples lived to imagine that some actual change took place, or was intended to take place, in the bread itself. Such a view could only have arisen in the church at a much later stage when Greek modes of thinking had rather thoroughly replaced semitic ones.”

Jesus invited his disciples to take the bread that represented His body. He thus gave them a share in His body and invited them to participate in the meaning and benefits of His death. His body was “for” them in a double sense. It was what secured atonement on their behalf (cf. 15:3; Rom. 5:6, 8), and it was a body offered in their place (e.g., Gal. 3:13; 2 Cor. 5:21).

The Lord’s request that His disciples remember Him by partaking of bread and the fruit of the vine is rich with significance. Many followers remember their leaders by erecting stone monuments to their memories and making pilgrimages to these sites. In contrast the Lord Jesus made remembering Him easy yet profound. Eating the elements helps us appreciate the fact that Christ is really within us. Eating together reminds us of our unity with other believers in Christ’s body.

Remembering in biblical terminology does not mean just calling to memory. It includes realizing what the event remembered involved (cf. Exod. 13:3; 20:8; Deut. 5:15; 7:18; et al.). The Lord’s Supper is not just something Christians do to bring the memory of Jesus back into fresh view. It is a memorial of the salvation that He accomplished by His death and resurrection. First Corinthians 11:24 contains the Lord’s command to observe the Eucharist as do the Gospel accounts of the institution of this ordinance. It is impossible to be an obedient Christian without observing the Lord’s Supper.

Some Christian groups refer to the Lord’s Supper as one of the “sacraments.” They mean the elements minister grace to the participant in a more direct and physical way than those who speak of it as an “ordinance,” assuming they are using these terms properly. An ordinance or sacrament is a rite the Lord commanded His followers to

Most Protestants believe there are two ordinances, baptism and the Lord’s Supper. A few Protestant groups include foot washing as an ordinance on the basis of John 13:12–17 (e.g., the Grace Brethren, some Mennonites, et al.).


Enjoying His Meal

Do this in remembrance of Me. — 1 Corinthians 11:24

Today's Scripture & Insight: 1 Corinthians 11:23-34

It’s not about the table, whether it’s square or round. It’s not about the chairs—plastic or wooden. It’s not about the food, although it helps if it has been cooked with love. A good meal is enjoyed when we turn off the TV and our cell phones and concentrate on those we’re with.

I love gathering around the table, enjoying a good chat with friends and family and talking about a multitude of topics. However, instant technology has made it difficult. Sometimes we are more concerned about what others—sometimes miles away—have to say than what the person just across the table is saying.

We have been invited to another meal at the table when we come together in one place to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. It’s not about the church, if it’s big or small. It’s not about the type of bread. It’s about turning off our thoughts from our worries and concerns and focusing on Jesus.

When was the last time we enjoyed being at the Lord’s Table? Do we enjoy His presence, or are we more concerned with what’s going on somewhere else? This is important, “for as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Cor. 11:26). By:  Keila Ochoa (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

I want to learn, dear Lord, when I sit at Your Table, to concentrate only on Your great love and sacrifice for us. Help me to enjoy the fellowship of others as we remember together what Jesus did for us at Calvary.

Remembering Christ’s death gives us courage for today and hope for tomorrow.

The Power Of Ritual

Do this in remembrance of Me. —1 Corinthians 11:24

Today's Scripture & Insight: 1 Corinthians 11:23-34

When I was growing up, one of the rules in our house was that we weren’t allowed to go to bed angry (Eph. 4:26). All our fights and disagreements had to be resolved. The companion to that rule was this bedtime ritual: Mom and Dad would say to my brother and me, “Good night. I love you.” And we would respond, “Good night. I love you too.”

The value of this family ritual has recently been impressed on me. As my mother lay in a hospice bed dying of lung cancer, she became less and less responsive. But each night when I left her bedside I would say, “I love you, Mom.” And though she could say little else, she would respond, “I love you too.” Growing up I had no idea what a gift this ritual would be to me so many years later.

Time and repetition can rob our rituals of meaning. But some are important reminders of vital spiritual truths. First-century believers misused the practice of the Lord’s Supper, but the apostle Paul didn’t tell them to stop celebrating it. Instead he told them, “As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Cor. 11:26).

Rather than give up the ritual, perhaps we need to restore the meaning. By:  Julie Ackerman Link (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Lord, when we observe the Lord’s Supper, help
us avoid the trap of letting our observance
grow routine. May we always be moved with
gratitude for the wonderful gift of ritual.

Any ritual can lose meaning, but that does not make the ritual meaningless.


This Do In Remembrance

When [Jesus] had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you.” —1 Corinthians 11:24

Today's Scripture: 1 Corinthians 11:23-34

When a US Navy vessel arrives or departs from the military bases in Pearl Harbor, the crew of that ship lines up in dress uniform. They stand at attention at arm’s length on the outer edges of the deck, in salute to the soldiers, sailors, and civilians who died on December 7, 1941. It is a stirring sight, and participants often list it among the most memorable moments of their military career.

Even for spectators on shore, the salute triggers an incredible emotional connection, but especially between the servants of today and the servants of yesterday. It grants nobility to the work of today’s sailor, while giving dignity to the sacrifice of those from the past.

When Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper (Matt. 26:26-29), it was surely with an eye toward creating this same kind of emotional bond. Our participation in the Lord’s Table honors His sacrifice while also granting us a connection to Him unlike any other act of remembrance.

Just as the Navy carefully prescribes the way it salutes the fallen, so too Scripture teaches us how to remember Jesus’ sacrifice (1 Cor. 11:26-28). These acts of reverence and thanksgiving serve to honor past action while giving purpose to present service. By:  Randy Kilgore (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Action Suggestion: Read with fresh eyes the detailed instructions Scripture offers for the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11, and experience anew its power in your spiritual journey.

The Lord’s Supper— Christ’s memorial that He left for us.


Remember The Sacrifice

Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me. —1 Corinthians 11:24

Today's Scripture: 1 Cor. 11:23-34

Every Memorial Day, we remember those who have died in the service of their country. In the United States, a place where such remembrances carry a deep and emotional significance is Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, DC. Arlington is a serious place where, due to the passing of aging war veterans and the ongoing conflicts around the world, there are currently about 25 military funerals every day.

This is particularly difficult for The Old Guard—members of the 3rd US Infantry Regiment who serve at Arlington. It is their task to bear the bodies of the fallen and honor their sacrifice. The members of The Old Guard never forget the price of liberty—for they are reminded of it every day.

Believers in Christ have been given the Lord’s Supper as a reminder of what our freedom from sin cost the Lord Jesus Christ. As we partake of the bread and the cup, we fulfill His command to “do this in remembrance of Me” (1 Cor. 11:24). But in the sober celebration of the sacrifice of Christ there is joy. For we need not leave our remembrances at the Lord’s Table. Living our lives for the Savior can show the world that we will never forget the sacrifice He has made for us.By:  Bill Crowder (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Thank You, Lord, for dying for me
On the cross of Calvary;
Help me always to remember
What You did to set me free. —Sper

Remembering Christ’s death for us should cause us to live for Him.


A Time To Remember

Do this in remembrance of Me. —1 Corinthians 11:24

Today's Scripture: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

A few years ago, members of my family got together at a restaurant to celebrate the 100th birthday of my grandmother, Hazel Dierking.

But Grandma wasn’t there. She had already been in heaven for 16 years. Yet we were so grateful for her influence on us that we wanted to celebrate her life. Using her pink cups and saucers, we drank tea together and reminisced about her sweetness, wisdom, and quirky sense of humor. We remembered her.

When more than one of our five senses is involved in an experience, something stirs in our memory. Perhaps Jesus, knowing how prone we are to forget, chose a method that would involve many of our senses to help us remember His sacrifice. It was at a meal—a time of eating and drinking—that Jesus said to His followers, “Do this in remembrance of Me” (1 Cor. 11:24).

When we take part in the Lord’s Supper, we remember the love and sacrifice of Jesus in a tangible way. Communion is much more than a ritual. Each moment should be experienced just as if you were seated around the table with the disciples as Jesus spoke.

With hearts overflowing with gratitude, we celebrate the Lord’s Supper as a time to remember. By:  Cindy Hess Kasper (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Here we gather to remember,
In the breaking of the bread,
Jesus, who for us was broken,
And is now our living head. —Anon.

Remembering Christ’s death gives us courage for today and hope for tomorrow.


Till He Comes

Do this in remembrance of Me. —1 Corinthians 11:24

Today's Scripture: 1 Corinthians 11:23-34

Why did Jesus command His followers to participate in what we call the Lord’s Supper or Communion? Because He wants us to remember His death on the cross and to anticipate His return.

As He broke the bread centuries ago, He said, “Do this in remembrance of Me” (1 Cor. 11:24). And taking the cup, He instructed, “This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me” (v.25).

The bread reminds us that the Second Person of the Trinity “became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn. 1:14) so that He could bear our sins in His body on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24). The cup symbolizes the blood He shed “for the remission of sins” (Mt. 26:28).

We must be careful, therefore, not to partake of the elements “in an unworthy manner” (1 Cor. 11:27). The apostle Paul said that each person should “examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup” (v.28). When we gather around the Lord’s Table to remember Christ’s sacrifice for us, we should search our hearts and confess our sins to God.

May we who know Jesus Christ as our Savior obey His commands and faithfully observe the Lord’s Supper—”till He comes” (v.26). By:  Richard DeHaan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Without the bread and sacred cup
I might forget the price
That You, Lord, paid so willingly—
The utmost sacrifice. —Anon.

Celebrating the Lord's Supper should move our hearts to mend our ways.


Remember!

When He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered . . . and they believed the Scripture. — John 2:22

Today's Scripture: John 2:13-22

The disciples remembered—and then they believed. After the death of Jesus on the cross and His resurrection, they recalled and finally understood Jesus’ words, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19).

If our faith is to grow, we too need to remember the cross and the empty tomb. Jesus established a memorial of His death, a practice we call the Lord’s Supper, knowing that our faith and hope would be strengthened as we remember what He has done for us. He said, “Do this in remembrance of Me” (1 Corinthians 11:24). Every time we meet to drink of the cup and eat the bread, we remember what it cost Him to redeem us.

The true believer does not live in memories only, however, but with hope for the future. We are to partake of the cup and bread “till He comes” (v.26). The One who died for us also rose from the grave. As we think of our loved ones who have died in the faith, we look beyond to the day when the graves will be opened and we will meet them again. We can be sure that because Jesus lives we too shall live.

We may shed tears today in memory of those who have died. But as we recall Christ’s death and resurrection, our faith and hope are renewed. Let’s remember!  By:  M.R. DeHaan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

We sorrow not as others do,
Whose hopes fade like the flowers;
There is a hope that's born of God,
And such a hope is ours. —McNeil

In life and in death, Christ is our hope.


A Time To Remember

Do this in remembrance of Me. —1 Corinthians 11:24

Today's Scripture: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

A few years ago, members of my family got together at a restaurant to celebrate the 100th birthday of my grandmother, Hazel Dierking.

But Grandma wasn’t there. She had already been in heaven for 16 years. Yet we were so grateful for her influence on us that we wanted to celebrate her life. Using her pink cups and saucers, we drank tea together and reminisced about her sweetness, wisdom, and quirky sense of humor. We remembered her.

When more than one of our five senses is involved in an experience, something stirs in our memory. Perhaps Jesus, knowing how prone we are to forget, chose a method that would involve many of our senses to help us remember His sacrifice. It was at a meal—a time of eating and drinking—that Jesus said to His followers, “Do this in remembrance of Me” (1 Cor. 11:24).

When we take part in the Lord’s Supper, we remember the love and sacrifice of Jesus in a tangible way. Communion is much more than a ritual. Each moment should be experienced just as if you were seated around the table with the disciples as Jesus spoke.

With hearts overflowing with gratitude, we celebrate the Lord’s Supper as a time to remember. By:  Cindy Hess Kasper (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Here we gather to remember,
In the breaking of the bread,
Jesus, who for us was broken,
And is now our living head. —Anon.

Remembering Christ’s death gives us courage for today and hope for tomorrow.

1 Corinthians 11:25  In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."

​​Amplified  Similarly when supper was ended, He took the cup also, saying, This cup is the new covenant [ratified and established] in My blood. Do this, as often as you drink [it], to call Me [affectionately] to remembrance

Wuest -   In like manner also He took the cup after the partaking of the food, saying, This cup is the covenant new in its nature, a covenant which is within the sphere of my blood. This be doing as often as you are drinking it, with a view to remembering me. (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 11:25 In the same way, he also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, every time you drink it, in remembrance of me."

NLT  1 Corinthians 11:25 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."

ESV  1 Corinthians 11:25 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."

NIV  1 Corinthians 11:25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me."

GNT  1 Corinthians 11:25 ὡσαύτως καὶ τὸ ποτήριον μετὰ τὸ δειπνῆσαι λέγων, Τοῦτο τὸ ποτήριον ἡ καινὴ διαθήκη ἐστὶν ἐν τῷ ἐμῷ αἵματι· τοῦτο ποιεῖτε, ὁσάκις ἐὰν πίνητε, εἰς τὴν ἐμὴν ἀνάμνησιν.

KJV  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.

YLT  1 Corinthians 11:25 In like manner also the cup after the supping, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood; this do ye, as often as ye may drink it -- to the remembrance of me;'

ASV  1 Corinthians 11:25 In like manner also the cup, after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood: this do, as often as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

CSB  1 Corinthians 11:25 In the same way, after supper He also took the cup and said, "This cup is the new covenant established by My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."

MIT  1 Corinthians 11:25 In a similar manner, he also took the cup after the meal was over, saying, "This cup is the new covenant sealed by my blood. As often as you drink this, it will be in remembrance of me."

NKJ  1 Corinthians 11:25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."

NRS  1 Corinthians 11:25 In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."

NAB  1 Corinthians 11:25 In the same way also 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."

NJB  1 Corinthians 11:25 And in the same way, with the cup after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me.'

GWN  1 Corinthians 11:25 When supper was over, he did the same with the cup. He said, "This cup is the new promise made with my blood. Every time you drink from it, do it to remember me."

BBE  1 Corinthians 11:25 In the same way, with the cup, after the meal, he said, This cup is the new testament in my blood: do this, whenever you take it, in memory of me.

  • This: 1Co 11:27,28 
  • the new: Lu 22:20 2Co 3:6,14 Heb 9:15-20 Heb 13:20 
  • 1 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages: 

Jeremiah 31:31-34+Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah (NOTE WELL - THIS IS NOT GIVEN TO THE "CHURCH" - NOWHERE IS THE CHURCH EVER CALLED "THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AND THE HOUSE OF JUDAH!),, 32 not like the covenant (OLD COVENANT - THE LAW - CONDITIONAL COVENANT) which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD (ISRAEL WAS GOD'S "WIFE" - cf Isa 54:6 - EVEN AS CHURCH IS BRIDE OF CHRIST!). 33 (NOTE THAT THIS IS QUOTED IN Hebrews 8:10–12+.) “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 “They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (See Covenant: New Covenant in the Old Testament)

2 Corinthians 3:5-6+ Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, 6 who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 

Hebrews 9:15-20+ For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. 160  For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death (SHEDDING OF BLOOD IS IMPLIED) of the one who made it. 17 For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives. 18 Therefore even the first covenant (MOSAIC COVENANT) was not inaugurated without blood. 19 For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “THIS IS THE BLOOD OF THE COVENANT WHICH GOD COMMANDED YOU.”

2 Corinthians 5:21+   He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

THE NEW COVENANT
IN JESUS' BLOOD

In the same way  He took the cup also after supper saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood (present tense or present imperative - continually) do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance (anamnesis of Me.- After supper means immediately after they had eaten the Passover meal. As stated above Jesus' word "DO" is almost surely a command in the present imperative, because Luke's parallel passage is clearly a present imperative (see Lk 22:19+ - see THOUGHT on significance of this command.) To not regularly celebrate communion is disobedience to Jesus' command and thus is a sin. Jesus used similar words on the night He inaugurated the New Covenant, Luke recording "And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood." (Lk 22:20+)

Thomas Constable - When Jesus shed His blood on Calvary, that blood ratified (gave formal sanction to) the New Covenant that Jeremiah had predicted (Jer. 31:31–34, cf. Ex 24:8). The New Covenant replaced the old Mosaic Covenant (Heb. 8:8–13; 9:18–28). Even though the Jews will be the major beneficiaries of the benefits of this covenant in the Millennium, all believers began to benefit from the death of Christ when He died.

The foundation of the new covenant was laid through the cross.
- W MacDonald

Oh, precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
--Lowry

MacDonald on the new covenant in My blood - This refers to the covenant that God promised to the nation of Israel in Jeremiah 31:31–34+ . It is an unconditional promise by which He agreed to be merciful to their unrighteousness and to remember their sins and iniquities no more. The terms of the new covenant are also given in Hebrews 8:10–12+. The covenant is in force at the present time, but unbelief keeps the nation of Israel from enjoying it. All who do trust the Lord Jesus receive the benefits that were promised. When the people of Israel turn to the Lord (ED: SEE Zechariah 12:10-14+, Zech 13:1-2+), they will enjoy the blessings of the new covenant; that will be during Christ’s thousand-year reign on earth.   (Ibid)

Kent HughesBy calling the cup "the new covenant in my blood," Jesus was intentionally contrasting his atoning work (the shedding of his blood) with the Old Covenant's ocean of blood. 

THOUGHT - Many couples renew their marriage vows on an anniversary of their wedding. Some couples plan large celebrations; others simply renew their vows before each other. Either way, this act declares a confirmation of original vows and a commitment to continued faithfulness. But we can also think of the new covenant with the tenderness and devotion of renewed marriage vows. Unlike a human marriage, however, the new covenant represents God’s declaration of His devotion and commitment, even though the other covenant partner, His people, had not remained faithful. When we partake of the Lord’s Supper, we remember what Jesus has done for us in spite of ourselves. (Krell)

In remembrance (anamnesis of Me - The idea of remembrance means “To call back again into memory a vivid experience”(TDNT). This is a necessary memorial so we don't forget him. What did the 11 disciples do after the Romans led by Judas came to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane? They immediately "forgot" Him and fled just as He had predicted (Mt 26:31, 56, Mk 14:50-52+, cf Jn 16:32). Beloved, lest we are too hard on the disciples, we need to consider that frankly every time we commit a sin, especially willful sins, we in effect "forget Him!"

Wiersbe points out that "It is a remarkable thing that Jesus wants His followers to remember His death. Most of us try to forget how those we love died, but Jesus wants us to remember how He died. Why? Because everything we have as Christians centers in that death. We must remember that He died, because this is a part of the Gospel message: “Christ died … and was buried” (1 Cor. 15:3–4). It is not the life of our Lord, or His teachings, that will save sinners—but His death. Therefore, we also remember why He died: Christ died for our sins; He was our substitute (Isa. 53:6; 1 Peter 2:24), paying the debt that we could not pay. We should also remember how He died: willingly, meekly, showing forth His love for us (Rom. 5:8). He gave His body into the hands of wicked men, and He bore on His body the sins of the world. However, this “remembering” is not simply the recalling of historical facts. It is a participation in spiritual realities. At the Lord’s Table, we do not walk around a monument and admire it. We have fellowship with a living Saviour as our hearts reach out by faith. (Ibid)

MacArthur has an interesting note on in remembrance of Me - For the Hebrew to remember meant much more than simply to bring something to mind, merely to recall that it happened. To truly remember is to go back in one’s mind and recapture as much of the reality and significance of an event or experience as one possibly can. To remember Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross is to relive with Him His life, agony, suffering, and death as much as is humanly possible. When we partake of the Lord’s Supper we do not offer a sacrifice again; we remember His once-for-all sacrifice for us and rededicate ourselves to His obedient service. (Ibid)

My blood like the bread is clearly a metaphor and is not to be taken literally. It was symbolic of His blood which would be spilled the next day to "cut the covenant," the New Covenant in His blood. Blood was necessary for a covenant to be established. Jesus said the covenant refers to the "new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." (Lk 22:20, cf 1 Cor. 11:25) So the Old Covenant was ratified with animal blood, but the New Covenant was ratified with the "precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ."  (1 Peter 1:19+)  

Blood (see Lev 17:11+) was the element necessary to ratify both the Old and the New Covenant, the Old with blood of sacrificial animals, the New with blood of the Lamb of God. Moses describes the ratification of the Old Covenant

So Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant, (berit/berith/beriyth) which the LORD has made ("cut" - karath) with you in accordance with all these words.” (Ex 24:8+)

Utley on blood - The blood in OT Hebrew understanding refers to the life given by God (cf. Lev. 17:11, 14; Deut. 12:23). The first covenant was also ratified with shed blood (cf. Ex. 24:8). Notice that there is no specific times given here, or elsewhere, in the NT. In Acts the characteristic phrase to describe the Lord’s Supper, “broke bread,” is used of (1) a daily experience (Acts 2:42, 46) or (2) Sunday worship (Acts 20:7, 11). However, the phrase is also used of a regular meal (Acts 27:34–35).

THOUGHT - Bell addresses what we are to remember (Adapted from “The Best of Spurgeon")...

  • Remember the Lord Jesus – that you might follow Him.
  • Remember His death, its fact, its meaning –so you don’t forget Him during His absence.
  • Remember Him in sickness – that you might have patience.
  • Remember Him in persecution – that you might have gentleness.
  • Remember Him in your service – that you remember His burning zeal in His.
  • Remember Him in times of solitude – as you remember His midnight prayers.
  • Remember to share your faith – as He shared His lion-like declarations of the gospel.
  • Remember Him so He becomes our pattern – that we might be the reproduction of Himself (cf Walking Like Jesus Walked!), & thus become the best memorial of Him

MacArthur adds on remembrance of Me - There is much involved in that remembrance. When a believer comes to the Lord’s table, he remembers Christ’s work on the cross (1 Cor 11:25), he partakes of Christ’s spiritual presence in the fellowship, not the elements themselves (1 Cor 10:16), He communes with the saints (1 Cor 10:17), He worships in holiness (1 Cor 10:20–22), he proclaims salvation in Christ (1 Cor 11:24–25), and he anticipates the return of the Lord (1 Cor 11:26) and the coming Kingdom (Mt. 26:29). (Ibid)

New (2537kainos probably from root ken [qen] = freshly come, or begun) is an adjective which refers to that which is new kind (unprecedented, novel, uncommon, unheard of). It relates to being not previously present. Compare the related noun kainotes translated newness (Freiberg defines it as "depicting something not only recent and different but extraordinary"!) in Ro 6:4+ and Ro 7:6+. The same word qualifies something as “new” in the sense of a replacement for something that is old and obsolete—as in the “new covenant” (Heb 8:8). Converts are “new persons” (2Co 5:17+; Ep 4:24). 

Believers now have a brand new life with a brand new source of power (the Spirit) to live out that life to the full (cp Jesus' desire for all believers - Jn 10:10b)! Beloved in Christ, may this (His) "extraordinary" life be a genuine reality in our day to day experience in Christ. Amen! R. C. Trench distinguishes neos and kainos as follows "Contemplate the new under aspects of time, as that which has recently come into existence, and this is neos... . But contemplate the new, not now under aspects of time, but of quality, the new, as set over against that which has seen service, the outworn, the effete or marred through age, and this is kainos. 

Covenant (1242diatheke from diatithemi = set out in order, dispose in a certain order <> from dia = two + tithemi = to place pictures that which is placed between two Thus, a covenant is something placed between two = thus an arrangement between two parties) literally conveys the idea of a testament, as in one's last will and testament. A covenant is an agreement between two parties that binds them together and conveys the associated ideas of very close fellowship (even oneness and identity as for example in the marriage covenant where two mystically become one flesh - see Covenant: As It Relates to Marriage and The Oneness of Covenant). Most of the NT uses of diatheke refer to God's declaration of His will concerning His self-commitment, promises, and conditions by which he entered into relationship with man. Remember that there were 3 unconditional covenants in the Old Testament, the Abrahamic (which is the basis on which we are saved today), the Palestinian and the Davidic covenants. The question might arise as to how or on what grounds will God fulfill the Abrahamic and Davidic covenant? See Abrahamic vs Old vs New. Diatheke uses in the Corinthian letters -  1 Co. 11:25; 2 Co. 3:6; 2 Co. 3:14

Covenant has profound implications and is the most solemn, binding, intimate contract known in the Bible. Covenant was considered a binding agreement among the ancients, and so was not entered into lightly. After pieces of the sacrificial animal were laid opposite one another, the individuals who were cutting covenant would walk between the flesh. This walk represented the so-called walk into death indicating their commitment to die to independent living and to ever after live for their covenant partner and to fulfill the stipulations of their covenant (See this practice in Jer 34:8ff, esp Jer 34:18-19). Furthermore, this walk into death was a testimony by each covenant partner that if either broke the covenant God would take their life, even as had been done to the sacrificial animal. In short, we see the gravity of entering into and then breaking covenant. Covenant was a pledge to death. A pledge cut in  blood. In covenant the shedding of blood demonstrated as nothing else could the intensity of the commitment. By cutting covenant the two parties were bound for life. Thus the shedding of blood in the cutting of covenant established the gravity and binding nature of this transaction. Both the Old and the New Covenants were inaugurated with blood. The practice of cutting covenant is found throughout history with traces or remnants of covenant truth in every quarter of the globe. (See Introduction to Covenant and Summary of Major Biblical Covenants)

Related Resources:


Kevin Williams explains the four cups of wine - During a typical Passover Seder, four cups are shared, each with its own significant picture in the ritual. The first cup is called the “cup of sanctification,” which sets the feast apart from any commonplace meal. The second cup is the “cup of plagues,” remembering the calamities visited upon the Egyptians. The third cup is called the “cup of redemption,” recognizing and memorializing the Hebrews’ release from captivity. The fourth cup is called the “cup of praise,” during which the family recites Psalms 113–118, traditionally considered the praise Psalms. Our attention here is on the third cup, the “cup of redemption,” the “Kiddush  cup,” which in the modern Seder comes after the eating of the afikomen. Because of the ritualistic order of the meal and the rich significance of this observance, some Christian theologians believe that this is the cup Jesus lifted, blessed, and declared, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Mt 26:28) A cup of red wine is symbolic of blood in Jewish tradition, which is significant in our story. In the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible) and throughout the ancient world, covenants were sealed and confirmed with blood. This is no less true in the Gospels. Symbolically with the cup and literally through His blood shed at the crucifixion, the Messiah proclaimed the beginnings of a new covenant predicted by the Jewish prophet Jeremiah:(Jer. 31:31-34+).  (For much more discussion of the Seder click "A Summary of a Typical Jewish Passover Seder.")


Remembrance Day

He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” —Luke 22:19

Today's Scripture: 1 Corinthians 11:23-34

I was in London’s Heathrow Airport waiting for a connecting flight to the US. An announcement came over the public address system stating that it was “Remembrance Day” in the UK, the day on which people honored those who had died for their country in times of war. The announcement further said that at 11:00 a.m. there would be 2 minutes of silence and that it would be appreciated if everyone kept that in mind. Thousands of people from all over the world stood in silence as a tribute to the fallen soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen of the UK.

The desire to remember those who gave their lives for their country is noble. Yet, as meaningful as that is, it cannot compare to the privilege that belongs to us when we approach the Lord’s Table. As we celebrate Communion, we are obeying Christ’s command that we remember His death (Luke 22:19) and to do it “till He comes” (1 Cor. 11:26). When He sacrificed His life for us, He provided the forgiveness of sins that sets us free and secures for us an eternal home in heaven.

Rather than letting the Lord’s Supper become routine, make every opportunity at the Table a true “Remembrance Day” by honoring Him till He comes. By:  Bill Crowder (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Thank You, Lord, for dying for me
On the cross of Calvary;
Help me always to remember
What You did to set me free.  —Sper

Remembering Christ’s death for us should cause us to live for Him.

1 Corinthians 11:26  For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes.

Amplified  For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are representing and signifying and proclaiming the fact of the Lord’s death until He comes [again].

Wuest - For as often as you are eating this bread and drinking this cup, the death of the Lord you are proclaiming until that time whenever He may come.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 11:26 For every time you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

NLT  1 Corinthians 11:26 For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord's death until he comes again.

ESV  1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

NIV  1 Corinthians 11:26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

GNT  1 Corinthians 11:26 ὁσάκις γὰρ ἐὰν ἐσθίητε τὸν ἄρτον τοῦτον καὶ τὸ ποτήριον πίνητε, τὸν θάνατον τοῦ κυρίου καταγγέλλετε ἄχρις οὗ ἔλθῃ.

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

YLT  1 Corinthians 11:26 for as often as ye may eat this bread, and this cup may drink, the death of the Lord ye do shew forth -- till he may come;

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

CSB  1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes.

MIT  1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup you proclaim the Lord's death until he arrives on the scene.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes.

NRS  1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

NAB  1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.

NJB  1 Corinthians 11:26 Whenever you eat this bread, then, and drink this cup, you are proclaiming the Lord's death until he comes.

GWN  1 Corinthians 11:26 Every time you eat this bread and drink from this cup, you tell about the Lord's death until he comes.

BBE  1 Corinthians 11:26 For whenever you take the bread and the cup you give witness to the Lord's death till he comes.

  • Until: 1Co 4:5 15:23  Joh 14:3 21:22 Ac 1:11 1Th 4:16 2Th 1:10 2:2,3 Heb 9:28 2Pe 3:10 1Jn 2:28 Jude 1:14 Rev 1:7 20:11,12 22:20 
  • 1 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

COMMUNION LOOKS BACK TO THE CROSS
& FORWARD TO HIS COMING WITH A CROWN

For (gar) Term of explanation

As often as you eat (esthiothis bread and drink the cup, you proclaim (kataggello in present tense - continually) the Lord's death until He comes - Nowhere in Scripture does it say "how often," but just that it is to be a continual celebration for believers. The Lord's Supper proclaims or announces Jesus' first coming to die as Savior (THE CROSS) and His Second Coming to rule as Sovereign (THE CROWN) Godet says it this way pointing out that the Lord’s Supper is “the link between His two comings, the monument of the one, the pledge of the other.”

In Mark Jesus spoke of the Lord's Supper promising "Truly I say to you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”  (Mark 14:25+). The Kingdom of God in this context refers to the Millennial Kingdom which the King of kings (Rev 19:16+) will establish at His Second Coming

MacDonald makes a great point about who can administer the Lord's Supper - In all this instruction concerning the Lord’s Supper it is notable that there is not a word about a minister or priest officiating. It is a simple memorial service left for all the people of God. Christians gather together simply as believer-priests to thus proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. (Ibid)

Wiersbe on until He comes - We observe the Supper “till He comes.” The return of Jesus Christ is the blessed hope of the church and the individual Christian. Jesus not only died for us, but He arose again and ascended to heaven; and one day He shall return to take us to heaven. Today, we are not all that we should be; but when we see Him, “we shall be like Him” (1 John 3:2+). (ED: 1 in 20 passages in the NT either directly or indirectly alludes to the Second Coming of Christ. Why? What/Who you are looking for, will or should determine what/Who you are living for!) (Ibid)

Krell on you proclaim - By means of the Lord’s Supper the Corinthians are to show in a physical way the death of Jesus and what it accomplished for their salvation and corporate fellowship. The result should be that the Corinthians will not overindulge themselves, despise and shame others, or allow brothers and sisters to go hungry. To do less is the epitome of selfishness.

Robertson and Plummer - “The Eucharist is an acted sermon, an acted proclamation of the death which it commemorates; but it is possible that there is reference to some expression of belief in the atoning death of Christ as being a usual element in the service.”

Steve Lewis on proclaim -  This was intended as a public service which graphically demonstrated all that Jesus Christ did for us. In fact, since this has been a regular practice of the church throughout the centuries, even people who were not members of the body of Christ came to understand the message behind this ceremony. Until He comes tells us not only that Jesus will return in a glorious Second Coming, but also that the celebration of this church ordinance has a definite ending point -- the Lord's Supper is intended as a ceremony for believers to communicate an important message during the Church Age. Its purpose is to keep alive the memory of Christ's ratification of the New Covenant until the day when He personally arrives to officially enact that covenant. When He arrives, there will be no need for symbols to represent His body, because He Himself will be with us. Our regular participation in this ceremony helps us to keep looking forward to that day when He will come again. 

Arnold has a slightly different interpretation of proclaim - The Lord’s Table was designed to be a proclamation of the death of Christ to the unsaved to be observed until He returns. It is an unwritten sermon to the lost concerning the death of Christ for sinners. Therefore, it is a means of evangelism.

THOUGHT (ILLUSTRATION) - A well-known painting of the Vietnam Wall depicts a father)standing at the wall, reaching up and touching the name of the son who died. The reflection in the polished granite is not of father but of son reaching out his hand to touch his fathers. "That is the Lord’s Supper. We arrive at the table and reach out our hands to take the bread and the cup. In response to our act of faith, Jesus touches us.The significance of the Lord’s Supper is this: We remember Christ and proclaim Him because He laid down His life for us. If you have never believed in Jesus Christ’s person and work, please do so today." (Krell)

Robertson on meaning of you proclaim - The Lord’s Supper is the great preacher ([kataggellete]) of the death of Christ till his second coming (Matt. 26:29).

Proclaim (2605kataggello from kata = an intensifier, down + aggelos = messenger and aggello = to declare, report) literally means to "declare down". It means to announce, with focus upon the extent to which the announcement or proclamation extends and so to proclaim throughout. It means to declare plainly, openly and loudly! It was used of solemn religious messages. Webster adds that our English "proclaim" (from pro = before + clamare = to cry out) means to "declare publicly, typically insistently... in either speech or writing... and implies declaring clearly, forcefully, and authoritatively."Kataggello - 18v -  Acts 3:24; Acts 4:2; Acts 13:5; Acts 13:38; Acts 15:36; Acts 16:17; Acts 16:21; Acts 17:3; Acts 17:13; Acts 17:23; Acts 26:23; Rom. 1:8; 1 Co. 2:1; 1 Co. 9:14; 1 Co. 11:26; Phil. 1:17; Phil. 1:18; Col. 1:28

Death (2288) thanatos  is a permanent cessation of all vital functions and thus is the end of life on earth (as we know it). The separation of the soul from the body and the end of earthly life. Spiritual death is separation from the life of God forever by dying without being born again. The first use in the Septuagint is in a well known promise from God "you shall surely die (Lxx = thanatos apothnesko).” (Ge 2:17) followed by the second use in the deceptive lie by Satan “You surely shall not die (thanatos apothnesko)!" (Ge 3:4) Death is natural to humanity as part of the created world. Death is a result of Adam’s sin (Ro 5:12). Death is universal - no one can escape it. Uses of thanatos in the Corinthian letters - 1 Co. 3:22; 1 Co. 11:26; 1 Co. 15:21; 1 Co. 15:26; 1 Co. 15:54; 1 Co. 15:55; 1 Co. 15:56; 2 Co. 1:9; 2 Co. 1:10; 2 Co. 2:16; 2 Co. 3:7; 2 Co. 4:11; 2 Co. 4:12; 2 Co. 7:10; 2 Co. 11:23;


Celebrating Together

For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. —1 Cor. 11:26

Today's Scripture: 1 Cor. 11:23-26

Many churches celebrate the first Sunday in October as World Communion Sunday. It is a time to observe the Lord’s Supper with a special awareness of celebrating together with our brothers and sisters in Christ around the globe. On this day, being with a community of believers has become very meaningful to me.

One year, however, I found myself in an airport with a long flight ahead and no opportunity to attend church on that day. Sitting alone, I read the Gospel accounts of the Last Supper, along with the passages describing Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion. Then from 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, I pondered the words so often read at communion services: “The Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread . . .” (v.23). With some common elements to represent the bread and the cup, I observed the Lord’s death for us, feeling a deep kinship with those followers of Christ in many places who are unable or forbidden to gather with others in worship.

Whatever your location and circumstances today, may you find joy and strength in remembering the Lord’s sacrifice on the cross. “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (v.26). By:  David C. McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

When Christians join in blessed fellowship Commemorating Jesus’ sacrifice, They sense a common bond of unity Because for every race He paid the price. —Hess

Celebrating Christ together brings strength and joy.


A Memorial

As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. —1 Corinthians 11:26

Today's Scripture: 1 Cor. 11:23-30

The Taj Mahal in India is a magnificent mausoleum. Built entirely of white marble, it was commissioned by the Emperor Shah Jehan in memory of his wife, who died suddenly. It took 22 years to complete. Millions of tourists visit this memorial annually in order to see this grand structure the emperor ordered to be built in memory of the woman he loved.

Millions of people also throng to Jerusalem to look at another site—a tomb that some say may have been where Jesus was buried. No matter what tomb He lay in, Jesus occupied it for only a few days. It has been empty for 2,000 years.

Jesus doesn’t need us to build a memorial to Him. Instead, He gave us the Lord’s Supper (communion) as a memorial to remember Him. On the night He was betrayed, Jesus took bread and the cup and gave thanks to His Father before offering them to His disciples (Luke 22:14-21). Each time we partake of those elements in church, we are first to examine ourselves and our relationship with God (1 Cor. 11:28). “As often as [we] eat this bread and drink this cup” we are to do so in remembrance of the One we love, till He comes (vv.25-26).

The Lord has given us an enduring memorial to remind us of what He has done for us. By:  C. P. Hia (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

I’ll take the bread and cup, dear Lord,
That speak of love sublime,
And give myself afresh to Thee.
My life, my all is Thine! —Anon.

The Lord’s Supper—Christ’s memorial that He left for us.


Tears Of Gratitude

You proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. —1 Corinthians 11:26

Today's Scripture & Insight: 1 Corinthians 11:23-32

At a communion service my wife and I attended, the congregation was invited to come forward to receive the bread and cup from one of the pastors or elders. They told each one personally of Jesus’ sacrifice for him or her. It was an especially moving experience during what can often become just routine. After we returned to our seats, I watched as others slowly and quietly filed past. It was striking to see how many had tears in their eyes. For me, and for others I talked with later, they were tears of gratitude.

The reason for tears of gratitude is seen in the reason for the communion table itself. Paul, after instructing the church at Corinth about the meaning of the memorial supper, punctuated his comments with these powerful words: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Cor. 11:26). With the elements of communion pointing directly to the cross and the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf, that service was about so much more than ritual—it was about Christ. His love. His sacrifice. His cross. For us.

How inadequate words are to convey the extraordinary worth of Christ! Sometimes tears of gratitude speak what words can’t fully express. By:  Bill Crowder (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all. —Watts

The love Christ showed for us on the cross is greater than words could ever express.


Between Past And Future— by Haddon W. Robinson

As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes. —1 Corinthians 11:26

When we think of what God has done for us in the past, we can move confidently into the future. This was true for the people of Israel as they traveled from Egypt to the Promised Land.

In the final chapter of Genesis, we read that as Joseph was dying, he made his brothers take an oath that they would carry his bones to the land God had promised to Abraham (50:24-26). More than 300 years later, Moses took the bones of Joseph as the Israelites left Egypt (Ex. 13:19).

For the next 40 years the people carried the ark with the tablets of the law and the coffin with the bones of Joseph. The bones served as a reminder of their yesterday. The ark pointed to their tomorrow, for the tablets of the law anticipated the relationship they were to have with the Lord in the Promised Land. The ark and the coffin were reminders that the God who was leading them forward had been at work in their past. Assurance and hope were carried together.

We as God’s people today can have this same outlook when we gather to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. We remember with assurance that Jesus died for us (1 Cor. 11:23-25), and we look forward with confidence to His return (v.26). This living hope encourages us as we live each day for Him.

Thou art the bread of life, O Lord, to me,
  Thy holy Word the truth that saveth me;
  Give me to eat and live with Thee above,
  Teach me to love Thy truth, for Thou art love.
—Lathbury

Remembering Christ's death gives us courage for today and hope for tomorrow.


Remembering him until He comes again - Peter Kennedy

       "For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes."—1 Corinthians 11:26

In January 1777 the American Revolutionary War was entering its first winter. General George Washington's army made its winter camp in the heights surrounding Morristown, New Jersey, an excellent strategic position for a four-month encampment.
One of the few comforts Washington sought for himself was to attend a church when it celebrated the Lord's Supper. He heard that a local Presbyterian church was going to have communion. He visited the home of the Rev. Dr. Jones, pastor of the church, and asked him, "Doctor, I understand that the Lord's Supper is to be celebrated with you next Sunday: I would learn if it accords with the canons of your church to admit communicants of another denomination?" Rev. Dr. Jones responded, "Most certainly; ours is not the Presbyterian table, General, but the Lord's Table; and hence we give the Lord's invitation to all His followers, of whatever name."

Washington was relieved and replied, "I am glad of it: that it is as it ought to be; but as I was not quite sure of the fact, I thought I would ascertain it from yourself, as I propose to join with you on that occasion. Though a member of the Church of England, I have no exclusive partialities." The next Sunday General Washington joined the congregation of the Presbyterian Church for worship and communion.

It is a Christian's privilege to remember Christ at His table. Today give thanks to Him for this celebration and seek to celebrate it regularly.

"It is a pledge of the Lord's return. As it points backward to his death, so does it also point forward to that marriage supper where He, the returning Bridegroom, will entertain his bride clothed in white array."—Johann Peter Lange


TEARS OF GRATITUDE - You proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. — 1 Corinthians 11:26
At a communion service my wife and I attended, the congregation was invited to come forward to receive the bread and cup from one of the pastors or elders. They told each one personally of Jesus’ sacrifice for him or her. It was an especially moving experience during what can often become just routine. After we returned to our seats, I watched as others slowly and quietly filed past. It was striking to see how many had tears in their eyes. For me, and for others I talked with later, they were tears of gratitude. The reason for tears of gratitude is seen in the reason for the communion table itself. Paul, after instructing the church at Corinth about the meaning of the memorial supper, punctuated his comments with these powerful words: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Cor. 11:26). With the elements of communion pointing directly to the cross and the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf, that service was about so much more than ritual—it was about Christ. His love. His sacrifice. His cross. For us.

How inadequate words are to convey the extraordinary worth of Christ! Sometimes tears of gratitude speak what words can’t fully express. — Bill Crowder

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
— Watts

The love Christ showed for us on the cross is greater than words could ever express.

1 Corinthians 11:27  Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.

Amplified  So then whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in a way that is unworthy [of Him] will be guilty of [profaning and sinning against] the body and blood of the Lord.

Wuest -   So that, whoever is eating the bread or drinking the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 11:27 For this reason, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

NLT  1 Corinthians 11:27 So anyone who eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily is guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.

ESV  1 Corinthians 11:27 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.

NIV  1 Corinthians 11:27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.

GNT  1 Corinthians 11:27 Ὥστε ὃς ἂν ἐσθίῃ τὸν ἄρτον ἢ πίνῃ τὸ ποτήριον τοῦ κυρίου ἀναξίως, ἔνοχος ἔσται τοῦ σώματος καὶ τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ κυρίου.

KJV  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.

YLT  1 Corinthians 11:27 so that whoever may eat this bread or may drink the cup of the Lord unworthily, guilty he shall be of the body and blood of the Lord:

ASV  1 Corinthians 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat the bread or drink the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.

CSB  1 Corinthians 11:27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy way will be guilty of sin against the body and blood of the Lord.

MIT  1 Corinthians 11:27 As a result whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of desecrating the body and blood of the Lord.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 11:27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

NRS  1 Corinthians 11:27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord.

NAB  1 Corinthians 11:27 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord.

NJB  1 Corinthians 11:27 Therefore anyone who eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily is answerable for the body and blood of the Lord.

GWN  1 Corinthians 11:27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks from the Lord's cup in an improper way will be held responsible for the Lord's body and blood.

BBE  1 Corinthians 11:27 If, then, anyone takes the bread or the cup of the Lord in the wrong spirit, he will be responsible for the body and blood of the Lord.

  • whoever: 1Co 10:21 Lev 10:1-3 Nu 9:10,13 2Ch 30:18-20 Mt 22:11 John 6:51,63,64 13:18-27 
  • shall be: 1Co 11:29 
  • 1 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

PARTAKING OF COMMUNION
IN AN UNWORTHY MANNER

Therefore - Term of conclusion. "Paul is drawing a conclusion from what he has said and giving an explanation to his teaching. Since the Lord’s Supper is a proclamation of Christ’s death (11:23-26), eating and drinking “unworthily” is unconscionable." (Krell) Hence it follows...

Utley has an interesting note - “And” is not in the original text. “Or” is in the Greek text. The King James Version translators were afraid of the Roman Catholic understanding where the priest drinks the wine and the laity eat the bread, and intentionally mistranslated this verse! The NKJV has corrected this intentional mistranslation.

Whoever eats (esthio) the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be (held) guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord - Don't misinterpret Paul, because we know from Scriptures that the thought of merit is excluded, so that we are worthy of the Gospel only because God graciously ordains us as "worthy." So Paul is not saying we can merit our partaking of the Lord's Supper. He is not  saying a person must be worthy to partake, for this would exclude all Christians because all are sinners.What he is saying is that our thoughts, words and/or deeds (aka "sins") can be such that we are judged unworthy of partaking. 

MacDonald on unworthy - We are all unworthy to partake of this solemn Supper. In that sense, we are unworthy of any of the Lord’s mercy or kindness to us. But that is not the subject here. The apostle is not speaking of our own personal unworthiness. Cleansed by the blood of Christ, we can approach God in all the worthiness of His own beloved Son. But Paul is speaking here of the disgraceful conduct which characterized the Corinthians as they gathered together for the Lord’s Supper. They were guilty of careless, irreverent behavior.  (Ibid)

Krell Unworthy is not an adjective describing the condition of the one partaking of communion, but an adverb, describing the manner in which one partakes of the Lord’s Supper. The sin of the Corinthians, for which divine discipline was imposed, was related to the manner in which the Lord’s Supper was observed

If a believer comes with anything less than the loftiest thoughts of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
and anything less than total love for his brothers and sisters in Christ, he comes unworthily.
-- John MacArthur

MacArthur has an excellent note on what it means to take the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner - One can come to His table unworthily in many ways. It is common for people to participate in it ritualistically, without participating with their minds and hearts. They can go through the motions without going through any emotions, and treat it lightly rather than seriously. They can believe it imparts grace or merit, that the ceremony itself, rather than the sacrifice it represents, can save or keep one saved. Many come with a spirit of bitterness or hatred toward another believer, or come with a sin of which they will not repent. If a believer comes with anything less than the loftiest thoughts of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and anything less than total love for his brothers and sisters in Christ, he comes unworthily. (Ibid)

Jack Arnold on an unworthy manner -  There are many conscientious and sincere people who feel they are unworthy because they have a great consciousness of sin. He does not say one has to live a flawless and perfect life for no one can do that. Even with all the help the Holy Spirit gives us, there are times of failure, weakness, frustration, confusion and sometimes deliberate sin. To come to the Table “unworthily” is to come with a wrong state of mind. The Corinthians were coming to the Table of the Lord with a flippant, selfish, divisive and frivolous behavior. Every Christian feels unworthy when he comes to the Lord’s Table. But the believer has found acceptance in the Worthy One, and in Christ he is worthy to approach the Table of the Lord. There are many ways a Christian can come to the Lord’s Table unworthily today. During the time of the communion we may be thinking about everything but Christ. We may be occupied with the business of the week, recalling the latest joke, thinking about the Sunday afternoon meal, anxious to get home to the football game, or looking to see what the lady in the pew in front of us is wearing. We partake unworthily if we are not thinking of the Savior and His work but are simply going through a ritualistic service with no reality. Perhaps one can partake unworthily if he has come to the Lord’s Table without preparing for it, without searching his own heart for secret sins and confessing them to the Lord. The Lord's Table is a serious thing and our thoughts and attention should be riveted on the person of Jesus Christ.

Robertson on an unworthy manner -  He does not say or imply that we ourselves must be “worthy” (axioi) to partake of the Lord’s Supper. No one would ever partake on those terms. Many pious souls have abstained from observing the ordinance through false exegesis here.

Arnold - In context this refers to the Corinthians who were partaking of the Lord’s Table unworthily. There was party strife, selfishness, drunkenness, divisions, alienation and a lot of lack of forgiveness. Paul is speaking about taking the Lord’s Table in an unworthy manner. The Corinthians had made a common meal out of it with great sin. To partake unworthily is to fail to realize the significance of the elements.

Zodhiates notes that unworthy is Anaxíōs which "means without worth, unworthily, or in an unbecoming manner. Such an individual who partakes irreverently, not ascribing the genuine value and meaning that the Lord's Supper should have for a believer, partakes unworthily."

Charles Hodge - If the Lord’s Supper be in its very nature a proclamation of the death of Christ. it follows that those who attend upon it as an ordinary meal, or in an irreverent manner, or for any other purpose than that for which it was appointed, are guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. That is, they contract guilt in reference to the body and blood of Christ. See James 2:10. The man who tramples on the flag of his country, insults his country; and he who treats with indignity the representative of a sovereign, thereby offends the sovereign himself. In like manner, he who treats the symbols of Christ’s body and blood irreverently is guilty of irreverence towards Christ.

Hodge on unworthy manner - the warning is directly against the careless and profane, and not against the timid and the doubting. 

MacArthur on guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord - To trample our country’s flag is not to dishonor a piece of cloth but to dishonor the country it represents. To come unworthily to Communion does not simply dishonor the ceremony; it dishonors the One in whose honor it is celebrated. We become guilty of dishonoring His body and blood, which represent His total gracious life and work for us, His suffering and death on our behalf. We become guilty of mocking and treating with indifference the very person of Jesus Christ (Ibid)

Unworthy (371) (anaxios from a = negative + axios - of worth or weight) is an adverb which means in a careless manner, in an improper manner. The idea of axios is “bringing into balance” with extensions such as "being appropriate" (1 Cor 16:4).  Used once in apocryphal book of 2 Macc 14:42 but no other uses. It refers to the drawing up of weights and thus signifies “of unequal weight,” one side of the scales rising high, the other dropping low. 

Zodhiates - This adverb is derived from the adjective anáxios (370) which, in turn, is derived from the privative alpha {a [1]) meaning "without," and áxios (514), worthy. The noun axía, worth or value of a thing or of a person....For us to understand the meaning of this adverb, however, we should understand the meaning of the noun axía as contrasted with the synonym timḗ (5092), honor or attributed value. Honor attached to any item may be deemed of higher value than deserved because of what that item means to an individual. The actual value of a watch, for instance, is that which a person would have to pay to procure it in the marketplace. If the watch belonged to a beloved and deceased family member and is treasured, it has an attributed value much higher than its real value. It would not be given up for any amount of money. The Lord's Supper has a basic value for the believing Christian, but this value increases, or should increase, as time goes on and the believer remembers the suffering of Christ on his behalf. As the Lord becomes more precious to us as believers, so should the commemoration of His sacrificial death. If, for instance, one participates in the Lord's Supper and has bitterness and unforgiveness (SEE RELATED RESOURCES BELOW) in his heart for fellow believers or for others, then that person is participating unworthily. The death of the Lord clearly declares that our forgiveness from sin has been great indeed, in fact, beyond our comprehension. Does your participation in the Lord's Supper clearly declare that you have forgiven others as the Lord has forgiven you? (See commentary on Mt. 6:14, 15; Mt 18:35.) (1 Corinthians Commentary)

Related Resources (Because Unforgiveness is one of the Prevalent Sins in the Church)

Guilty (liable, subject , deserving) (1777enochos from enécho = to hold in, i.e., to ensnare, to be entangled - Gal 5:1) literally means held fast in (in the grasp, held in, contained in) and is an adjective describing one "in danger of," "liable to judgment and punishment in a legal forensic sense" (Mt 5:21), or "deserving (worthy) of (and subject to punishment)" (describing the crowd's antipathy toward Jesus = Mt 26:66, Mk 14:64). To be held fast, bound, obliged.

Zodhiates - The Christian believer must not partake lightly of the Lord's Supper without due consideration of its significant meaning. To those who have not experienced reconciliation with God, participation in the Lord's Supper is meaningless, and the person does not attribute the proper value to the meal. Those participating in this way are said to participate "unworthily" (1 Cor. 11:27, 29). In the same way, the Jews who ate the animals sacrificed on the Jewish altar were to be conscious that the blood of the sacrifices was shed to cover their sin or they were eating sacrifices unworthily.


Handle With Care

Whoever eats . . . in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. —1 Corinthians 11:27

Today's Scripture: 1 Corinthians 11:23-34

A man who had lived a godless life was hospitalized and diagnosed as having inoperable cancer. Seeking peace, he asked for a minister to visit him. But the clergyman who came told him that no one really knows what to expect after death. Before he left, the pastor served Communion, but the man remained troubled. That night he spoke to a nurse, who led him to trust Jesus as his Savior. In the days that followed I visited him regularly, and I can testify that he died with great peace.

Observing the Lord’s Supper has great significance, but only when coupled with sincere faith in Christ. In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul warned believers not to forget the deep significance of the bread and cup. If we treat it lightly or as an empty ritual, we do so “in an unworthy manner” and are guilty of sinning against “the body and blood of the Lord” (v.27).

We must remember that Jesus died to make possible our forgiveness, and we must observe the Lord’s Supper in faith and with great care. When we do, it leads us into prayerful self-examination, confession, and recommitment. We gain a renewed sense of gratitude for what Christ has done for us.

Whenever we observe Communion, let’s take it seriously and remember to handle it with care! By:  Herbert Vander Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

As we partake of the bread and the cup
And focus our thoughts on Christ,
We dare not forget His death on the cross,
And all that He sacrificed. —K. De Haan

Remembering that Jesus died for us reminds us to live for Him.


Trouble At City Hall

Whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. —1 Corinthians 11:27

Today's Scripture: 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

Wreckers preparing to tear down a burned-out bakery in Troy, Illinois, accidentally made a big impression on City Hall right next door. A 65-ton crane backed into the government building, creating a huge hole in the front wall. According to a supervisor, the crane operator “was just being careless.”

This accident reminds me of what happened to the church in ancient Corinth. By being self-absorbed and careless with the bread and wine of the Lord’s Table, some church members backed into big trouble. Their failure to honor the sanctity of the ceremony dishonored the memory of Christ’s sacrifice. Many believers paid for their mistake with a loss of health or even their life (1 Corinthians 11:30).

Paul urged the Corinthians to judge themselves so that they wouldn’t be judged (vv.28,31). And he pointed out that even the Lord’s judgment was for their benefit (v.32).

The Lord’s Table will remain an opportunity and a danger until He comes (v.26). By the attitude of our hearts, we will either honor His death or do damage to His name.

Before you celebrate the Lord’s Supper, prayerfully examine yourself. Then, with a heart of gratitude, focus on His sacrifice for you.By:  Mart DeHaan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

I pause, and in fresh honesty confess
The sins I try to hide but Christ can see;
And then, in holy hush I taste the meal
And gratefully recall His death for me.  —Gustafson

Only those who take their sin seriously can remember Christ’s cross gratefully.

1 Corinthians 11:28  But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

Amplified  Let a man [thoroughly] examine himself, and [only when he has done] so should he eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

Wuest -  But let an individual be putting himself to the test for the purpose of approving himself and finding that he meets the prescribed specifications, let him thus be eating of the bread and drinking of the cup.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 11:28 A person should examine himself first, and in this way let him eat the bread and drink of the cup.

NLT  1 Corinthians 11:28 That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup.

ESV  1 Corinthians 11:28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

NIV  1 Corinthians 11:28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.

GNT  1 Corinthians 11:28 δοκιμαζέτω δὲ ἄνθρωπος ἑαυτὸν καὶ οὕτως ἐκ τοῦ ἄρτου ἐσθιέτω καὶ ἐκ τοῦ ποτηρίου πινέτω·

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

YLT  1 Corinthians 11:28 and let a man be proving himself, and so of the bread let him eat, and of the cup let him drink;

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

CSB  1 Corinthians 11:28 So a man should examine himself; in this way he should eat the bread and drink from the cup.

MIT  1 Corinthians 11:28 So let a person examine himself as to his manner of partaking and then let him eat the bread and drink from the cup.

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

NRS  1 Corinthians 11:28 Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

NAB  1 Corinthians 11:28 A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup.

NJB  1 Corinthians 11:28 Everyone is to examine himself and only then eat of the bread or drink from the cup;

GWN  1 Corinthians 11:28 With this in mind, individuals must determine whether what they are doing is proper when they eat the bread and drink from the cup.

BBE  1 Corinthians 11:28 But let no man take of the bread and the cup without testing himself.

  • But a man 1Co 11:31 Ps 26:2-7 La 3:40 Hag 1:5,7 Zec 7:5-7 2Co 13:5 Ga 6:4 1Jn 3:20,21 
  • and in so doing: Nu 9:10-13 Mt 5:23,24 
  • 1 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

SELF-EXAMINATION IS
MANDATORY

Mandatory means required by authority, obligated, authoritatively ordered.

But - Term of contrast

A man must examine himself - Must examine is first in the Greek for emphasis and is in the present imperative calling for all saints to subject themselves to this personal inventory prior to celebrating the Lord's Supper. This test is to be a test with a view to show the person approved to partake of the Lord's Supper. They are not being ordered to examine themselves as to whether they are believers or not (as Paul does in 2 Cor 13:5+), but to do a "sin inspection.' 

MacArthur - Before we partake we are to give ourselves a thorough self-examination, looking honestly at our hearts for anything that should not be there and sifting out all evil. Our motives, our attitudes toward the Lord and His Word, toward His people, and toward the Communion service itself should all come under private scrutiny before the Lord. The table thus becomes a special place for the purifying of the church. That is a vital use of Communion, and Paul’s warning reinforces that ideal. (Ibid)

Robertson on examine - Test himself as he would a piece of metal to see if genuine. Such examination of one’s motives would have made impossible the disgraceful scenes in 1 Cor 11:20ff.

MacDonald - As we come to the Lord’s Supper, we should do so in a judged condition. Sin should be confessed and forsaken; restitution should be made; apologies should be offered to those we have offended. In general we should make sure that we are in a proper state of soul. (Ibid)

Jack Arnold -  This means a person is to examine himself with a view to being approved in order to partake. Every Christian should test himself to show that he is properly in line for observance of the Lord’s Supper. Before taking part in such a service, the very least that a Christian can do is to conduct a rigorous self-examination. Failure to do so will result in communicating “unworthily.” No matter what he sees in himself of that which is evil and unholy, if he judges himself before God and confesses his own unholiness, he is in a state of soul where he is free to participate in this sacred service. Examination seems to imply the confession of any known sin in the life. When we examine ourselves and see things that are wrong, we should say, “Lord, I'm sorry; I have sinned. Please forgive me. I must not act this way because it displeases You.” No person should ever sit down at the Lord’s Table without properly examining himself. Just as you form a judgment on the significance of the body and blood, so one ought to form a judgment on himself. It is not enough to be “born again” to participate; the privilege to exercise that right depends upon one’s fellowship with God through Christ. The Christian who is born again and in fellowship may participate in the Lord’s Table.

Constable makes an excellent point regarding the significance of frequent celebration of the Lord's Supper and the fact that it calls for A man must examine himself - This simple reflection and participation lie at the very root of motivation for living a life that glorifies God. The church has invented many ways to motivate Christians to put Jesus Christ first in their lives. These include altar calls, “revival” services, campfire dedication services, and many others all of which have values. Unfortunately we have also neglected what the Lord Jesus instructed us to do that will motivate His people to live for Him better than anything else. If this observance has lost its punch, it is because those who lead it have failed to give it the preparation, attention, and priority it deserves in church life. The frequent observance of the Lord’s Supper in a way that takes us back to the Cross is one of the most powerful and effective motivators for living the Christian life. If you think a frequent observance of the Lord’s Supper ends to become tiresome, remember that your spouse never tires of your frequent expressions of love for him or her.

When a person has examined himself and confessed the known sins, he most certainly may participate with freedom. Once confession is genuinely made, there is no need to flagellate oneself for that sin. It is done and over with and is under the blood.

Must examine (1381) dokimazo from dokimos = tested, proved or approved, tried as metals by fire and thus purified from dechomai = to accept, receive) means to assay, to test, to prove, to put to the test, to make a trial of, to verify, to discern to approve. Dokimazo involves not only testing but determining the genuineness or value of an event or object. That which has been tested is demonstrated to be genuine and trustworthy. Dokimazo - 20v in the NT - Lk. 12:56; Lk. 14:19; Rom. 1:28; Rom. 2:18; Rom. 12:2; Rom. 14:22; 1 Co. 3:13; 1 Co. 11:28; 1 Co. 16:3; 2 Co. 8:8; 2 Co. 8:22; 2 Co. 13:5; Gal. 6:4; Eph. 5:10; Phil. 1:10; 1 Thess. 2:4; 1 Thess. 5:21; 1 Tim. 3:10; 1 Pet. 1:7; 1 Jn. 4:1

And in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup - NET = " in this way let him eat the bread and drink of the cup." Amplified = "Let a man [thoroughly] examine himself, and [only when he has done] so should he eat of the bread and drink of the cup."


The Toughest Exam

Let a man examine himself. —1 Corinthians 11:28

Today's Scripture: 1 Corinthians 11:23-34

Lindsay was busily preparing for the toughest test of her life. She would spend all day taking the examination to see if she qualified as a lawyer. To get ready, Lindsay wrote down every question she could think of, and she didn’t rest until she could answer them all. When the day of the exam arrived, she passed it because she had tested herself beforehand.

Paul told the Corinthian Christians something that applies to us as well. In preparation for the Lord’s Supper we should examine ourselves (1 Cor. 11:28). Any sin, any deficiency in love, any spirit of bitterness should be confessed and taken care of before proceeding with Communion. Why? Because ultimately, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are accountable to God.

How do we test ourselves? We can begin by looking at two issues: First, are we expressing and demonstrating our love for God and for others? (Mt. 22:36-40). And second, are we seeking to please God more than anything else? (6:33).

As Lindsay tested herself in order to be prepared for her exam, we too must test ourselves so that we can pass the toughest exam—God’s evaluation of our lives (1 Cor. 11:29-32). Then we can participate in the Lord’s Supper and worship Him with a clear conscience. By:  David C. Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

I want to bow before You now,
Dear Lord, without chagrin;
So search my heart and soul today,
And make me pure within. —Hess

To know where you stand before God, test yourself by His standards.


Time For A Checkup

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

Today's Scripture: 1 Corinthians 11:27-29

Every year I have a physical—that periodic visit to the doctor’s office where I’m poked and prodded, screened and studied. It is something that can be easy to dread, and even to fear. We aren’t sure what the tests will show or what the doctors will say. Still, we know that we need this evaluation to understand our physical well-being and what is needed as we move forward.

The same is true spiritually in the life of the Christ-follower. We need to pause from time to time and reflect on the condition of our hearts and lives.

One place for an important self-study is at the Lord’s Table. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, some of whom were eating in an unworthy manner: “Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup” (1 Cor. 11:28). In the remembrance of Christ’s death for us, there can be a sobering clarity of thought and understanding, for as we consider the price Jesus paid for us, it is the best time to consider the condition of our heart and our relationships. Then, with honest understanding of our spiritual well-being, we can turn to Him for the grace we need to move forward in His name.

Is it time for your checkup? By:  Bill Crowder (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

  Search me, O God, my heart discern; Try me, my inmost thoughts to learn. Help me to keep from sin, I pray, Guarding my mind throughout this day. —Anon.  

  Self-examination is one test from which no Christian is excused.  


The Benefits Of Communion

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

Today's Scripture: 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

The Lord’s Supper. Communion. Whatever you call it, there’s nothing quite like this solemn and important act of worship.

Oh, it’s possible to participate in Communion without even thinking about God. It can become a ritual full of action but empty of meaning. If we let that happen, we miss out on a time of gratitude and fellowship. And we miss the blessing that comes with a serious examination of our spiritual condition (1 Corinthians 11:28).

One Sunday morning, I wasn’t very happy with my wife. You don’t need to know the details, but it was my fault that we didn’t have a newlywed feeling that day. Sue was on duty at the nursing home where she serves so diligently while I took the rest of the family to church. When the Communion elements were distributed, I realized that I needed to apologize to her. My wrong attitude was both hurting her and harming my relationship with the Lord (Matthew 5:23-24). So after church I stopped by the nursing home and asked my wife to forgive me.

Communion, that solemn time of self-examination before God, reminds us of our responsibility to check the attitude of our heart. And it helps us to keep the slate clean. Be sure to experience the benefits of Communion.By:  Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

I pause, and in fresh honesty confess
The sins I've tried to hide but Christ can see;
And then, in holy hush I taste the meal
And gratefully recall His death for me. —Gustafson

Remembering Christ's death for us should cause us to live for Him.


Seeing Ourselves

Everyone ought to examine themselves. 1 Corinthians 11:28

Today's Scripture & Insight: 1 Corinthians 11:23-34

Long ago, before the invention of mirrors or polished surfaces, people rarely saw themselves. Puddles of water, streams, and rivers were one of the few ways they could see their own reflection. But mirrors changed that. And the invention of cameras took fascination with our looks to a whole new level. We now have lasting images of ourselves from any given time throughout our entire life. This is good for making scrapbooks and keeping family histories, but it can be detrimental to our spiritual well-being. The fun of seeing ourselves on camera can keep us focused on outward appearance and leave us with little interest in examining our inner selves.

Self-examination is crucial for a healthy spiritual life. God wants us to see ourselves so that we can be spared the consequences of sinful choices. This is so important that Scripture says we are not to participate in the Lord’s Supper without first examining ourselves (1 Cor. 11:28). The point of this self-examination is not only to make things right with God but also to make sure we are right with one another. The Lord’s Supper is a remembrance of Christ’s body, and we can’t celebrate it properly if we’re not living in harmony with other believers.

Seeing and confessing our sin promotes unity with others and a healthy relationship with God. By:  Julie Ackerman Link (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Dear Lord, help me to be more concerned with the reflection of my heart than with my physical reflection. Change me through the power of Your Spirit.

When we look into the mirror of God’s Word, we see ourselves more clearly.


J C Ryle  The Lord's Supper

"A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup." 1 Corinthians 11:28

The words which form the tittle of this paper refer to the subject of vast importance. That subject is the Lord's Supper.

Perhaps no part of the Christian religion is so thoroughly misunderstood as the Lord's Supper. On no point have there been so many disputes, strifes, and controversies for almost 1800 years. On no point have mistakes done so much harm. The very ordinance which was meant for our peace and profit has become the cause of discord and the occasion of sin. These things ought not to be!

I make no excuse for including the Lord's Supper among the leading points of "practical" Christianity. I firmly believe that ignorant views or false doctrine about this ordinance lie at the root of some of the present divisions of professing Christians. Some neglect it altogether; some completely misunderstand it; some exalt it to a position it was never meant to occupy, and turn it into an idol. If I can throw a little light on it, and clear up the doubts in some minds, I will feel very thankful. It is hopeless, I fear, to expect that the controversy about the Lord's Supper will ever be finally closed until the Lord comes. But it is not too much to hope that the fog and mystery and obscurity with which it is surrounded in some minds, may be cleared away by plain Bible truth.

In examining the Lord's Supper I will be content with asking four practical questions, and offering answers to them.

I. Why was the Lord's Supper ordained?

II. Who ought to go to the Table and be communicants?

III. What may communicants expect from the Lord's Supper?

IV. Why do many so-called Christians never go to the Lord's Table?

I think it will be impossible to handle these four questions fairly, honestly, and impartially, without seeing the subject of this paper more clearly, and getting some distinct and practical ideas about some leading errors of our day. I say "practical" emphatically. My chief aim in this volume is to promote practical Christianity.

I. In the first place, "why was the Lord's Supper ordained?"

It was ordained for the continual remembrance of the sacrifice of the death of Christ, and of the benefits which we thereby receive. The bread which in the Lord's Supper is broken, given, and eaten, is meant to remind us of Christ's body given on the cross for our sins. The wine which is poured out and received, is meant to remind us of Christ's blood shed on the cross for our sins. He who eats that bread and drinks that wine is reminded, in the most striking and forcible manner—of the benefits Christ has obtained for his soul, and of the death of Christ as the hinge and turning point on which all those benefits depend.

Now, is the view here stated the doctrine of the New Testament? If it is not, forever let it be rejected, cast aside, and refused by men. If it is, let us never be ashamed to hold it close, profess our belief in it, pin our faith on it, and steadfastly refuse to hold any other view, no matter who teaches it.

In subjects like this we must call no man master. It matters little what great theologians and learned preachers have thought fit to put forth about the Lord's Supper. If they teach more than the Word of God contains—they are not to be believed. I take up my Bible and turn to the New Testament. There I find no less than four separate accounts of the first appointment of the Lord's Supper. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Paul, all four describe it: all four agree in telling us what our Lord did on this memorable occasion. Only two tell us the reason why our Lord commanded that His disciples were to eat the bread and drink the cup. Paul and Luke both record the remarkable words, "Do this in remembrance of me." Paul adds his own inspired comment: "For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes." (Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:25-26). When Scripture speaks so clearly, why can't men be content with it? Why should we mystify and confuse a subject which in the New Testament is so simple?

The "continual remembrance of Christ's death" was the one grand object for which the Lord's Supper was ordained. He who goes further than this is adding to God's Word, and does so to the great peril of his soul.

Now, is it reasonable to suppose that our Lord would appoint an ordinance for so simple a purpose as "remembering His death?" It most certainly is! Of all the facts in His earthly ministry none are equal in importance to that of His death. It was the great settlement for man's sin, which had been appointed in God's promise from the foundation of the world. It was the great redemption of almighty power, to which every sacrifice of animals, from the fall of man, continually pointed. It was the grand end and purpose for which the Messiah came into the world. It was the cornerstone and foundation of all man's hopes of pardon and peace with God. In short, Christ would have lived, and taught, and preached, and prophesied, and performed miracles in vain, if He had not crowned it all by dying for our sins as our Substitute on the Cross! His death was our life. His death was the payment of our sin-debt to God. Without His death we would have been the most miserable of all creatures!

No wonder that an ordinance was specially appointed to remind us of our Savior's death. It is the one thing which poor, weak, sinful man needs to be continually reminded. Does the New Testament authorize men to say that the Lord's Supper was ordained to be a sacrifice, and that in it Christ's literal body and blood are present under the forms of bread and wine? Most certainly not! When the Lord Jesus said to the disciples, "This is my Body," and "this is my Blood," He clearly meant, "This bread in my hand is an symbol of my Body, and this cup of wine in my hand contains a symbol of my Blood." The disciples were accustomed to hear Him use such language. They remembered His saying, "The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one" (Matthew 13:38). It never entered into their minds that He meant to say He was holding His own body and His own blood in His hands, and literally giving them His literal body and blood to eat and drink! Not one of the writers of the New Testament ever speaks of the Lord's Supper as a sacrifice, or calls the Lord's Table an altar, or even hints that a Christian minister is a sacrificing priest. The universal doctrine of the New Testament is that after the one offering of Christ on the cross, there remains no more need of sacrifice.

If anyone believes that Paul's words to the Hebrews, "We have an altar" (Hebrews 13:10), are a proof that the Lord's table is an altar, I remind him "Christians have an altar where they partake. That altar is Christ our Lord—who is Altar, Priest, and Sacrifice, all in One." Throughout the Communion Service the one idea of the ordinance continually pressed on our attention is that of a "remembrance" of Christ's death. As to any presence of Christ's natural body and blood under the forms of bread and wine, the clear answer is that "the natural body and blood of Christ are in heaven, and not here." Those Roman Catholics who delight in talking of the "altar," the "sacrifice," the "priest," and the "real presence" in the Lord's Supper—would do well to remember that they are using language which is entirely non-Biblical.

The point before us is one of vast importance. Let us lay hold upon it firmly, and never let it go. It is the very point on which our Reformers had their sharpest controversy with the Roman Catholics, and went to the stake, rather than give way. Sooner than admit that the Lord's Supper was a sacrifice, they cheerfully laid down their lives. To bring back the doctrine of the "real presence," and to turn the communion into the Roman Catholic "mass," is to pour contempt on our Martyrs, and to upset the first principles of the Protestant Reformation. No, rather, it is to ignore the plain teaching of God's Word, and do dishonor to the priestly office of our Lord Jesus Christ! The Bible teaches expressly that the Lord's Supper was ordained to be "a remembrance of Christ's body and blood," and not a sacrificial offering. The Bible teaches that Christ's substituted death on the cross was the perfect sacrifice for sin, which never needs to be repeated. Let us stand firm in these two great principles of the Christian faith. A clear understanding of the intention of the Lord's Supper is one of the soul's best safeguards against the delusions of false doctrine.

II. In the second place, let me try to show "WHO ought to receive the Lord's Supper?" 

What kind of people were meant to go to the Table and receive the Lord's Supper?

I will first show, who ought NOT to be partakers of this ordinance. The ignorance which prevails on this, as well as on every part of the subject, is vast, lamentable, and appalling. If I can contribute anything that may throw light upon it, I will feel very thankful. The principal giants whom John Bunyan describes, in "Pilgrim's Progress," as dangerous to Christian pilgrims, were two, Pope and Pagan. If the good old Puritan had foreseen the times we live in, he would have said something about the giant Ignorance!

(a) It is not right to urge all professing Christians to go to the Lord's Table. There is such a thing as fitness and preparedness for the ordinance. It does not work like a medicine, independently of the state of mind of those who receive it. The teaching of those who urge all their congregation to come to the Lord's Table, as if the coming must necessarily do everyone good—is entirely without warrant of Scripture. No, rather, it is a teaching which is calculated to do immense harm to men's souls, and to turn the reception of the Lord's Supper into a mere religious form. Ignorance can never be the mother of acceptable worship, and an ignorant communicant who comes to the Lord's Table without knowing why he comes—is altogether in the wrong place!

"A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup." "Recognizing the body of the Lord,"—that is to understand what the elements of bread and wine represent, and why they are appointed, and what is the particular use of remembering Christ's death—is an essential qualification of a true communicant. God commands all people everywhere to repent and believe the Gospel (Acts 17:30), but He does not in the same way, or in the same manner, command everybody to come to the Lord's Table. No! this thing is not to be taken lightly, or carelessly! It is a solemn ordinance, and solemnly it ought to be used!

(b) But this is not all. Sinners living in open sin, and determined not to give it up, ought never to come to the Lord's Table. To do so is a positive insult to Christ, and to pour contempt on His Gospel. It is nonsense to profess we desire to remember Christ's death, while we cling to sin—the accursed thing which made it needful for Christ to die! The mere fact that a man is continuing in sin is clear evidence that he does not care for Christ, and feels no gratitude for the offer of redemption. The ignorant Roman Catholic who goes to the priest's confessional and receives absolution, may think he is fit to go to the Roman Catholic mass—and after mass may return to his sins. He never reads the Bible—and knows no better! But the professing Christian who habitually breaks any of God's commandments, and yet goes to the Lord's Table, as if it would do him good and wipe away his sins—is very guilty indeed. So long as he chooses to continue his wicked habits—he cannot receive the slightest benefit from the Lord's Table—and is only adding sin to sin! To carry unrepented sin to the Lord's Table, and there receive the bread and wine, knowing in our own hearts that we and wickedness are yet friends—is one of the worst things man can do, and one of the most hardening to the conscience. If a man must have his sins, and can't give them up, let him by all means stay away from the Lord's Supper! There is such a thing as "eating and drinking in an unworthy manner" and to our own "judgment." To no one do these words apply so thoroughly, as to an unrepentant sinner.

(c) Self-righteous people who think that they will be saved by their own works, have no business to come to the Lord's Table. Strange as it may sound at first, these people are the least qualified of all to receive the Lord's table. They may be outwardly correct, moral and respectable in their lives, but so long as they trust in their own goodness for salvation they are entirely in the wrong place at the Lord's Supper. For what do we declare at the Lord's Supper? We publicly profess that we have no goodness, righteousness, or worthiness of our own, and that all our hope is in Christ. We publicly profess that we are guilty, sinful, corrupt—and naturally deserve God's wrath and condemnation. We publicly profess that Christ's merit and not ours; Christ's righteousness and not ours—is the only cause why we look for acceptance with God. Now what has a self-righteous man to do with an ordinance like this? Clearly nothing at all.

One thing at any rate, is very clear: a self-righteous man has no business to receive the Lord's Supper. The Communion Service of the Church bids all communicants declare that "they do not presume to come to the Table trusting in their own righteousness, but in God's numerous and great mercies." It tells them to say, "We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under Your table," "the memory of our sins is grievous to us; the burden of them is intolerable." How many self-righteous professing Christians can ever go to the Lord's Table, and take these words into his mouth—is beyond my understanding! It only shows that many professing Christians use the "forms" of worship without taking the trouble to consider what they mean.

The plain truth is that the Lord's Supper was not meant for dead souls, but for living ones. The careless, the ignorant, the willfully wicked, the self-righteous, are no more fit to come to the Lord's Table than a dead corpse is fit to sit down at a king's feast! To enjoy a spiritual feast we must have a spiritual heart, and taste, and appetite. To suppose that the Lord's Table can do any good to an unspiritual man—is as foolish as to put bread and wine into the mouth of a dead person! The careless, the ignorant, and the willfully wicked, so long as they continue in that state, are utterly unfit to come to the Lord's Supper. To urge them to partake is not to do them good, but harm.

The Lord's Supper is not a converting or justifying ordinance. If a man goes to the Table unconverted or unforgiven, he will be no better when he comes away (actually worse due to the associated judgments for coming unworthily).

But, after all, the ground having been cleared of error, the question still remains to be answered, Who are the sort of people who ought to receive the Lord's Supper? I answer that by saying, people who have "examined themselves to see whether they have truly repented of their former sins, steadfastly purposing to lead a new life—have a true faith in God's mercy through Christ, with a thankful remembrance of His death—they are in love with all men."

In a word, I find that a worthy communicant is one who possesses three simple marks and qualifications—repentance, faith, and love. Does a man truly repent of sin and hate it? Does a man put his trust in Jesus Christ as his only hope of salvation? Does a man live in love towards others? He who can truly answer each of these questions, "I do," he is a man that is Scripturally qualified for the Lord's Supper. Let him come boldly. Let no barrier be put in his way. He comes up to the Bible standard of communicants. He may draw near with confidence, and feel assured that the great Master of the banquet is not displeased.

Such a man's repentance may be very much imperfect. Never mind! Is it real? Is he truly repentant? His faith in Christ may be very weak. Never mind! Is it real? A penny is as much true currency as is a one hundred dollar bill. His love may be very defective in quantity and degree. Never mind! Is it genuine? The grand test of a man's Christianity is not the quantity of holiness he has, but whether he has any true holiness all. The first twelve communicants, when Christ Himself gave the bread and wine, were weak indeed—weak in knowledge, weak in faith, weak in courage, weak in patience, weak in love! But eleven of them had something about them which outweighed all defects—they were real, genuine, sincere, and true!

Forever let this great principle be rooted in our minds—that the only worthy communicant is the man who has demonstrated repentance toward God, faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, and practical love toward others. Are you that man? Then you may draw near to the table, and take the ordinance to your comfort. Anything less than this I dare not change in my standard of a communicant. I will never encourage someone to receive the Lord's Supper—who is careless, ignorant, and self-righteous! I will never tell anyone to keep away until he is perfect, and to wait until his heart is as holy as an angel's. I will not do so, because I believe that neither my Master nor His Apostles would have done so. Show me a man that really feels his sins, really leans on Christ, really struggles to be holy—and I will welcome him in My Master's name. He may feel weak, erring, empty, feeble, doubting, wretched, and poor. But what does that matter? Paul, I believe, would have received him as a right communicant, and I will do likewise.

III. In the third place, let us consider "what BENEFIT communicants may expect to get by receiving the Lord's Supper."

This is a point of grave importance, and one on which many mistakes abound. On no point, perhaps, connected with this ordinance are the views of Christians so vague and indistinct and undefined. One common idea among men is that "receiving the Lord's Supper must do them some good." Why, they can't explain. What good, they can't exactly say. But they have a loose general notion that it is the right thing to be a communicant, and that somehow or other it is of value to their souls! This is of course nothing better than ignorance. It is unreasonable to suppose that such communicants can please Christ, or receive any real benefit from what they do.

If there is any principle clearly laid down in the Bible about any act of religious worship, it is this that it must be with understanding. The worshiper must at least understand something about what he is doing. Mere bodily worship, unaccompanied by mind or heart—is utterly worthless. The man who eats the bread and drinks the wine, as a mere matter of form, because it is the "right" thing to do, without any clear idea of what it all means, derives no benefit. He might just as well stay at home!

Another common idea among men is that, "taking the Lord's Supper will help them get to heaven, and take away their sins." To this false idea you may trace up the habit in some churches of going to the Lord's Table once a year, in order, as an old farmer once said, "to wipe off the year's sins." To this idea again, you may trace the too common practice of sending for a minister in time of sickness, in order to receive the ordinance before death. Yes, how many take comfort about their relatives, after they have lived a most ungodly life, for no better reason than this, that they took the Lord's Supper when they were dying! Whether they repented and believed and had new hearts—they neither seem to know or care. All they know is that "they took the Lord's Supper before they died."

My heart sinks within me when I hear people resting on such evidence as this. Ideas like these are sad proofs of the ignorance which fills the minds of men about the Lord's Supper. They are ideas for which there is not the slightest warrant in Scripture. The sooner they are cast aside and given up—the better for the Church and the world. Let us settle it firmly in our minds—that the Lord's Supper was not given to be a means either of justification or of conversion. It was never meant to give grace—where there is no grace already; or to provide pardon—when pardon is not already enjoyed. It cannot possibly provide what is lacking, with the absence of repentance to God, and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ. It is an ordinance for the penitent, not for the impenitent; for the believing, not for the unbelieving; for the converted, not for the unconverted.

The unconverted man, who fancies that be can find a "shortcut" to heaven by taking the Lord's Supper, without treading the well-worn steps of repentance and faith—will find to his cost one day, that he is totally deceived! The Lord's Supper was meant to increase and help the grace that a man has—but not to impart the grace that he does not have. It was certainly never intended to make our peace with God, to justify, or to convert. The simplest statement of the benefit which a truehearted communicant may expect to receive from the Lord's Supper, is the strengthening and refreshing of our souls—clearer views of Christ and His atonement, clearer views of all the offices which Christ fills, as our Mediator and Advocate, clearer views of the complete redemption Christ has obtained for us by His substituted death on the cross, clearer views of our full and perfect acceptance in Christ before God, fresh reasons for deep repentance for sin, fresh reasons for lively faith—these are among the leading returns which a believer may confidently expect to get from his attendance at the Lord's Table. He who eats the bread and drinks the wine in a right spirit—will find himself drawn into closer communion with Christ, and will feel to know Him more, and understand Him better.

(a) Right reception of the Lord's Supper has a "humbling" effect on the soul. The sight of the bread and wine as emblems of Christ's body and blood, reminds us how sinful sin must be, if nothing less than the death of God's own Son could make satisfaction for it, or redeem us from its guilt. Never should we be so "clothed with humility," as when we receive the Lord's Supper.

(b) Right reception of the Lord's Supper has a "cheering" effect on the soul. The sight of the bread broken, and the wine poured out, reminds us how full, perfect, and complete is our salvation! Those vivid emblems remind us what an enormous price has been paid for our redemption. They press on us the mighty truth—that believing on Christ, we have nothing to fear, because a sufficient payment has been made for our debt. The "precious blood of Christ" answers every charge that can be brought against us. God can be "just and the one who justifies, those who have faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:26).

(c) Right reception of the Lord's Supper has a "sanctifying" effect on the soul. The bread and wine remind us how great is our debt of gratitude to our Lord, and how thoroughly we are bound to live for Him who died for our sins. They seem to say to us, "Remember what Christ has done for you—and ask yourself whether there is anything too great to do for Him!"

(d) Right reception of the Lord's Supper into hearts, has a "restraining" effect on the soul. Every time a believer receives the bread and the wine, he is reminded what a serious thing it is to be a Christian, and what an obligation is laid on him to lead a consistent life. Bought with such a price as that which the bread and wine call to his recollection, ought he not to glorify Christ in body and spirit, which are His? The man that goes regularly and intelligently to the Lord's Table finds it increasingly hard to yield to sin and conform to the world.

Such is a brief account of the benefits which a right-hearted communicant may expect to receive from the Lord's Supper. In eating that bread and drinking that cup, such a man will have his repentance deepened, his faith increased, his knowledge enlarged, his habit of holy living strengthened. He will realize more of the "real presence" of Christ in his heart. Eating, that bread by faith, he will feel closer communion with the body of Christ. Drinking that wine by faith, he will feel closer communion with the blood of Christ. He will see more clearly what Christ is to him, and what he is to Christ. He will understand more thoroughly what it is to be "one with Christ, and Christ one with him." He will feel the roots of his soul's spiritual life watered, and the work of grace in his heart established, built up, and carried forward.

All these things may seem and sound like foolishness to a natural man, but to a true Christian these things are light, and health, and life, and peace. No wonder that a true Christian finds the Lord's Supper a source of blessing! Remember, I do not pretend to say that all Christians experience the full blessing of the Lord's Supper, which I have just attempted to describe. Nor do I say that the same believer will always find his soul in the same spiritual frame, and always receive the same amount of benefit from the ordinance. But I boldly say this: you will rarely find a true believer who will not say that he believes the Lord's Supper is one of his best helps and highest privileges. He will tell you that if he were deprived of the Lord's Supper on a regular basis he would find the loss of it a great detriment to his soul. There are some things of which we never know the value of, until they are taken from us. So I believe it is with the Lord's Supper. The weakest and humblest of God's children gets a blessing from this ordinance, to an extent of which he is not aware.

IV. In the last place, I have to consider "why it is that so many so-called Christians never come to the Lord's Supper." 

It is a simple matter of fact, that myriads of people who call themselves Christians never come to the Table of the Lord. They would not endure to be told that they deny the faith, and are not in communion with Christ. When they worship, they attend a place of Christian worship; when they hear religious teaching, it is the teaching of Christianity; when they are married, they use a Christian service. Yet all this time they never come to the Lord's Supper! They often live on in this state of mind for many years, and to all appearance are not ashamed. They often die in this condition without ever having received the ordinance, and yet profess to feel hope at the last, and their friends express a hope about them. And yet they live and die in open disobedience to a plain command of Christ! These are simple facts. Let anyone look around him, and deny them if he can.

Now why is this? What explanation can we give? Our Lord Jesus Christ's last injunctions to His disciples are clear, plain, and unmistakable. He says to all, "Eat, drink: do this in remembrance of Me." Did He leave it to our discretion whether we would obey His injunction or not? Did He mean that it was not significant whether His disciples did or did not keep up the ordinance He had just established? Certainly not! The very idea is absurd, and one certainly never dreamed of in apostolic times. Paul evidently takes it for granted that every Christian would go to the Lord's Table when it was available. A class of Christian worshipers who never came to the Table, was a class whose existence was unknown to him.

What, then, are we to say of that number which fail to receive the Lord's Supper, unabashed, unhumbled, not afraid, not the least ashamed? Why is it? How is it? What does it all mean? Let us look these questions fairly in the face, and endeavor to give an answer to them.

(1) For one thing, many fail to go to the Table because they are utterly careless and thoughtless about true religion, and ignorant of very first principles of Christianity. They go to church, as a matter of form—but they neither know, nor care anything about what is done at church! Christianity has no place either in their hearts, or heads, or consciences, or wills, or understandings. It is a mere affair of "words and names," about which they know little—and have little concern. There were very few such false Christians in Paul's times, if indeed there were any. There are far too many in these last days of the world. They are the dead-weights of the Churches, and the scandal of Christianity. What such people need is light, knowledge, grace, a renewed conscience, a changed heart. In their present state they have no part of Christ; and dying in this state they are thrown into hell. Do I wish them to come to the Lord's Supper? Certainly not, till they are converted. No one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born again.

(2) For another thing, many professing Christians do not receive the Lord's Supper because they know they are living in the habitual practice of some sin, or in the neglect of some Christian duty. Their conscience tells them so long as they live in this state, and do not turn away from their sins, they are unfit to come to the Table of the Lord. Well, they are so far quite right! I wish no man to be a communicant if he cannot give up his sins. But I warn these people not to forget that if they are unfit for the Lord's Supper in that condition, they will be lost eternally. The same sins which disqualify them for the ordinance, most certainly disqualify them for heaven. Do I want them to come to the Lord's Supper as they are? Certainly not! But I do want them to repent and be converted, to cease to do evil, and to break off from their sins. Forever let it be remembered, that the man who is unfit for the Lord's Supper—is unfit to die!

(3) For another thing, some are not communicant because they imagine that it will add to their responsibility. They are not, as many, ignorant and careless about religion. They even attend church regularly and listen to the preaching of the gospel. But they say they dread coming to the Lord's Table and making a confession and a profession. They fear that they might afterwards fall away, and bring scandal on the cause of Christianity. They think it wisest to be on the safe side, and not commit themselves at all. Such people would do well to remember, that if they avoid responsibility of one kind by not coming to the Lord's Table, they incur responsibility of another kind, quite as grave, and quite as injurious to the soul. They are responsible for open disobedience to a command from of Christ. They are shrinking from doing that which their Master continually commands His disciples—confessing Him before men.

No doubt it is a serious step to come to the Lord's Table and receive the bread and the wine. It is a step that none should take lightly and without self-examination. But it is "no less a serious step to walk away and refuse the ordinance," when we remember Who invites us to receive it, and for what purpose it was appointed! I warn the people I am now dealing with—to be careful what they are doing. Let them not flatter themselves that it can ever be a wise, a prudent, a safe line of conduct to neglect a plain command of Christ! They may find at length, to their cost, that they have only increased their guilt and forsaken their mercies!

(4) For another thing, some false Christians stay away from the Lord's Supper because they believe they are not yet worthy. They wait and stand still, under the mistaken notion that no one is qualified for the Lord's Supper unless he feels within him, something like perfection. They pitch their idea of a communicant so high that they despair of attaining to it. Waiting for inward perfection they live, and waiting for it they die. Now such people would do well to understand that they are completely mistaken in their estimate of what "worthiness" really is.

They are forgetting that the Lord's Supper was not intended for unsinning angels, but for men and women subject to weakness, living in a world full of temptations, and needing mercy and grace every day they live! A sense of our own utter unworthiness is the best worthiness that we can bring to the Lord's Table. A deep feeling of our own entire indebtedness to Christ for all we have and hope for, is the best feeling we can bring with us. The people I now have in view, ought to consider seriously whether the ground they have taken up is defensible. If they are waiting until they feel in themselves perfect hearts, perfect motives, perfect feelings, perfect repentance, perfect love, perfect faith—they will wait forever. There never were such communicants in any age—certainly not in the days of our Lord and of the Apostles—there never will be as long as the world stands. No, rather, the very thought that we feel literally worthy, is a symptom of secret self-righteousness, and proves us unfit for the Lord's Table in God's sight. Sinners we are, when we first are saved—sinners we will be—until we die! Converted, changed, renewed, sanctified—but sinners still (though not like before—sin is not the pattern of a believer's new life). In short, no man is really worthy to receive the Lord's Supper who does not deeply feel that he is a "miserable sinner."

(5) In the last place, some object going to the Lord's Table because they see others partaking who are not worthy, and not in a right state of mind. Because others eat and drink unworthily, they refuse to eat and drink at all. Of all the reasons taken up by those refusing to come to the Lord's Supper to justify their own neglect of Christ's ordinance, I must plainly say—I know none which seems to me so foolish, so weak, so unreasonable, and so unscriptural as this. It is as good as saying that we will never receive the Lord's Supper at all! When will we ever find a body of communicants on earth, of which all the members are converted and living perfect lives? It is setting up ourselves in the most unhealthy attitude of judging others. "Who are you, that you judge another person?" "What is that to you? You must follow me" (John 21:22). It is depriving ourselves of a great privilege, because others profane it and make a bad use of it. It is pretending to be wiser than our Master Himself. It is taking up ground for which there is no warrant in Scripture.

Paul rebukes the Corinthians sharply, for the irreverent behavior of some of the communicants; but I cannot find him giving a single hint that when some came to the Table unworthily, others ought to draw back or stay away. Let me advise the non-communicants I have now in view, to beware of being wise above that which was written. Let them study the parable of the Wheat and Tares, and mark how both were to "grow together until the harvest" (Matthew 13:30). Perfect Churches, perfect congregations, perfect bodies of communicants, are all unattainable in this world of confusion and sin. Let us covet the best gifts, and do all we can to check sin in others; but let us not starve our own selves, because others are ignorant sinners, and turn their food into poison. If others are foolish enough to eat and drink unworthily, let us not turn our backs on Christ's ordinance, and refuse to eat and drink at all.

Such are the five common excuses why myriads in the present day, though professing themselves Christians, never come to the Lord's Supper. One common remark may be made about them—there is not a single reason among the five, which deserves to be called "good," and which does not condemn the man who gives it. I challenge anyone to deny this. I have said repeatedly that I want no one to come to the Lord's Table who is not properly qualified. But I ask those who stay away never to forget that the very reasons they assign for their conduct, are their condemnation. I tell them that they stand convicted before God of either being very ignorant of what a communicant is, and what the Lord's Supper is; or else of being people who are not living right—and are unfit to die.

In short, to say, I am a noncommunicant, is as good as saying one of three things—

I am living in sin—and cannot come;

I know Christ commands me—but I will not obey Him;

I am an ignorant man—and do not understand what the Lord's Supper means.

I know not in what state of mind this book may find the reader of this paper, or what his opinions may be about the Lord's Supper. But I will conclude the whole subject by offering to all some WARNINGS, which I venture to think are highly required by the times.

(1) In the first place, "do not neglect" the Lord's Supper. The man who coolly and deliberately refuses to use an ordinance which the Lord Jesus Christ appointed for his profit—may be very sure that his soul is in a very wrong state. There is a judgment to come; there is an account to be rendered of all our conduct on earth. How any one can look forward to that judgment day, and expect to meet Christ with comfort and in peace, if he has refused all his life to commune with Christ at His Table, is a thing that I cannot understand. Does this hit home to you? Be careful what you are doing!

(2) In the second place, do not receive the Lord's Supper "carelessly, irreverently, and as a matter of form." The man who goes to the Lord's Table, and eats the bread and drinks the wine, while his heart is far away—is committing a great sin, and robbing himself of a great blessing. In receiving the Lord's Table, as in every other means of grace, everything depends on the state of mind and heart, in which the ordinance is used. He who draws near without repentance, faith, and love—and with a heart full of sin and the world—will certainly be nothing better, but rather worse! Does this hit home to you? Be careful what you are doing!

(3) In the third place, "do not make an idol" of the Lord's Supper. The man who tells you that it is the first, foremost, chief, and principal precept in Christianity, is telling you that which he will find it hard to prove. In the great majority of the books of the New Testament the Lord's Supper is not even named. In the letter to Timothy and Titus, about a minister's duties, the subject is not even mentioned. To repent and be converted, to believe and be holy, to be born again and have grace in our hearts—all these things are of far more importance than to be a communicant. Without them we cannot be saved. Without the Lord's Supper we can be saved. Are you tempted to make the Lord's Supper override and overshadow everything in Christianity, and place it above prayer and preaching? Be careful. Pay attention what you are doing!

(4) In the fourth place, "do not use the Lord's Supper irregularly." Never be absent when the Lord's Supper is administered. Make every effort to be in attendance. Regular habits are essential to the maintenance of the health of our bodies. Regular use of the Lord's Supper is essential to the well-being of our souls. The man who finds it a burden to attend on every occasion when the Lord's Table is spread, may well doubt whether all is right within him, and whether he is ready for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. If Thomas had not been absent when the Lord appeared the first time to the assembled disciples, he would not have said the foolish things he did. Absence made him miss a blessing. Does this hit home to you? Be careful what you are doing!

(5) In the fifth place, "do not do anything to bring discredit" on your profession as a communicant. The man who after attending the Lord's Table runs into sin—does more harm perhaps than any unsaved sinner. He is a walking sermon on behalf of the devil! He gives opportunity to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme. He helps to keep people away from Christ. Lying, drinking, immoral, dishonest, selfish communicants—are the helpers of the devil, and the worst enemies of the Gospel. "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age!" Titus 2:11-12. Does this hit home to you? Be careful what you are doing!

(6) In the last place, "do not despair" and be cast down, if with all your desires you do not feel that you get a lot of good from the Lord's Supper. Very likely you are expecting too much. Very likely you are a poor judge of your own state. Your soul's roots may be strengthening and growing—while you think that you are not growing. Very likely you are forgetting that earth is not heaven, and that here we walk by sight and not by faith, and must expect nothing perfect. Lay these things to heart. Do not think harsh things about yourself without cause.

To every reader into whose hands this paper may fall, I commend the whole subject of it as deserving of serious and solemn consideration. I am nothing better than a poor or fallible man myself. But if I have made up my mind on any point it is this—that there is no truth which demands such plain speaking, as truth about the Lord's Supper!

1 Corinthians 11:29  For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly.

Amplified  For anyone who eats and drinks without discriminating and recognizing with due appreciation that [it is Christ’s] body, eats and drinks a sentence (a verdict of judgment) upon himself.

Wuest -  For the one who eats and drinks is eating and drinking so as to bring judgment upon himself if he does not properly evaluate the body.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 11:29 For the one who eats and drinks without careful regard for the body eats and drinks judgment against himself.

NLT  1 Corinthians 11:29 For if you eat the bread or drink the cup without honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God's judgment upon yourself.

ESV  1 Corinthians 11:29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.

NIV  1 Corinthians 11:29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.

GNT  1 Corinthians 11:29 ὁ γὰρ ἐσθίων καὶ πίνων κρίμα ἑαυτῷ ἐσθίει καὶ πίνει μὴ διακρίνων τὸ σῶμα.

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

YLT  1 Corinthians 11:29 for he who is eating and drinking unworthily, judgment to himself he doth eat and drink -- not discerning the body of the Lord.

ASV  1 Corinthians 11:29 For he that eateth and drinketh, eateth and drinketh judgment unto himself, if he discern not the body.

CSB  1 Corinthians 11:29 For whoever eats and drinks without recognizing the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.

MIT  1 Corinthians 11:29 For the one eating and drinking who does not recognize the body eats and drinks judgment to himself.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 11:29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

NRS  1 Corinthians 11:29 For all who eat and drink without discerning the body, eat and drink judgment against themselves.

NAB  1 Corinthians 11:29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.

NJB  1 Corinthians 11:29 because a person who eats and drinks without recognising the body is eating and drinking his own condemnation.

GWN  1 Corinthians 11:29 Anyone who eats and drinks is eating and drinking a judgment against himself when he doesn't recognize the Lord's body.

BBE  1 Corinthians 11:29 For a man puts himself in danger, if he takes part in the holy meal without being conscious that it is the Lord's body.

  •  judgment,  1Co 11:30,32-34 Ro 13:2  Jas 3:1 5:12 
  • not: 1Co 11:24,27 Ec 8:5 Heb 5:14 
  • 1 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

FAILURE TO JUDGE BODY
BRINGS DIVINE DISCIPLINE

For he who eats  (esthio) and drinks, eats  (esthio) and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly - Amplified = "For anyone who eats and drinks without discriminating and recognizing with due appreciation that [it is Christ’s] body" The KJV rendering is not good for it says damnation instead of judgment. Christ has paid for the believer's sins completely and he/she will never be damned to hell (see Ro 8:1+). And the context clearly supports this interpretation declaring that the judgment includes weak and sick, and a number sleep. One thinks of the passage in Hebrews 12:5-11+ that describes God's discipline for our ultimate good bringing forth the peaceful fruit of righteousness (Heb 12:11+). 

Bell- The principles pretty clear, if we don’t judge ourselves, God will have to judge for us.

Constable - Judgment is inevitable at the Lord’s Table. We judge ourselves (Gr. diakrino) before we partake and then participate in a worthy manner, or God will judge (krino) us. The

MacDonald - We should realize that the Lord’s body was given in order that our sins might be put away. If we go on living in sin, while at the same time partaking of the Lord’s Supper, we are living a lie. F. G. Patterson writes, “If we eat the Lord’s Supper with unjudged sin upon us, we do not discern the Lord’s body which was broken to put it away.” (Ibid)

Krell has an interesting note on does not judge the body rightly - one who treats fellow believers poorly fails to discern that they are members of Christ’s church, His body. One may also fail to discern the significance of Christ’s death since by His death He created a people; and therefore one who mistreats fellow believers at the Lord’s Supper reveals that he or she has little understanding of why Christ died. Practically speaking, this means that if you are not in fellowship with another believer strive to resolve the schism in your relationship before you partake of the Lord’s Supper. In Mt 5:23-24+, Jesus told His disciples not to worship God until you have first reconciled with your brother. Fortunately, Paul provides a supplementary note when he writes, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men” (Rom 12:18+). It’s not always possible to attain this, but God’s goal is that there not be any outstanding balance in your fellowship bank account. Instead, we are to pursue peace. 

Judgment (2917) (krima from krino = to judge, the suffix –ma indicating the result of the judging, ie, that is, the result of making a decision) describes a judicial sentence from a magistrate (his pronouncement). It describes one deciding a question of legal right or wrong, and thus determining the innocence or guilt of the accused and assigning appropriate punishment. The closely related word krisis refers to the process or act of judging (instead of the result of the judging). Vine adds that "Krima is usually the decision which results from an investigation, just as krisis is the process of investigation; sometimes the two are interchanged, as in 1Pe 4:17, krima, where the process of judgment rather than the resulting decision seems to be intended. Hence krima is used of the estimate one man forms of another, Mt 7:2+, and of the decision of human tribunals, Lk 23:40, of the decisions of God, in general, Ro 11:33, and in particular concerning the devil, 1 Timothy 3:6, and man, Mark 12:40 and Gal 5:10." Uses in Corinthians -  1Co 6:7; 1Co 11:29, 34

Judge (make distinction) (1252diakrino from diá = separation, "thoroughly back and forth" + kríno = distinguish, decide, judge. From root kri- = separation) literally means "to separate throughout or wholly", to judge "back and forth" between two which can either (positively) refer to close-reasoning (discrimination) or negatively "over-judging" (going too far, vacillating). In short to judge between. The context indicates which sense is meant. And so the primary idea of diakrino is that of differentiating by separating (Mt 16:3). Other meanings include making a distinction between persons by evaluation (Acts 15:9, 1Co 4:7, Acts 11:12+). To make an evaluation, to judge or to pass judgment (1Co 11:31, 14:29). Diakrino was a technical legal term meaning to render a legal decision (1Co 6:5). As used by James, et al (Mt 21:21, Mk 11:23, Ro 14:23, Jude 1:22) in the middle voice (reflexive, initiates and participates in the action) diakrino means in essence to be at odds with one's self and so to hesitate or waver. One author says it is pictured by the idea of divided in one's mind. This person is the one who is vacillating between two opinions or decisions. Diakrino - 18v - Matt. 16:3; Matt. 21:21; Mk. 11:23; Acts 10:20; Acts 11:2; Acts 11:12; Acts 15:9; Rom. 4:20; Rom. 14:23; 1 Co. 4:7; 1 Co. 6:5; 1 Co. 11:29; 1 Co. 11:31; 1 Co. 14:29; Jas. 1:6; Jas. 2:4; Jude 1:9; Jude 1:22

1 Corinthians 11:30  For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep.

Amplified  That [careless and unworthy participation] is the reason many of you are weak and sickly, and quite enough of you have fallen into the sleep of death.

Wuest -  Because of this, among you are many who have infirmities and are in continued ill health, and a considerable number are sleeping [dead].  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 11:30 That is why many of you are weak and sick, and quite a few are dead.

NLT  1 Corinthians 11:30 That is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died.

ESV  1 Corinthians 11:30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.

NIV  1 Corinthians 11:30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.

GNT  1 Corinthians 11:30 διὰ τοῦτο ἐν ὑμῖν πολλοὶ ἀσθενεῖς καὶ ἄρρωστοι καὶ κοιμῶνται ἱκανοί.

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

YLT  1 Corinthians 11:30 Because of this, among you many are weak and sickly, and sleep do many;

ASV  1 Corinthians 11:30 For this cause many among you are weak and sickly, and not a few sleep.

CSB  1 Corinthians 11:30 This is why many are sick and ill among you, and many have fallen asleep.

MIT  1 Corinthians 11:30 This is the very reason there are many weak and sick among you, as well as a considerable number who are sleeping the sleep of death.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 11:30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.

NRS  1 Corinthians 11:30 For this reason many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.

NAB  1 Corinthians 11:30 That is why many among you are ill and infirm, and a considerable number are dying.

NJB  1 Corinthians 11:30 That is why many of you are weak and ill and a good number have died.

GWN  1 Corinthians 11:30 This is the reason why many of you are weak and sick and quite a number of you have died.

BBE  1 Corinthians 11:30 For this cause a number of you are feeble and ill, and a number are dead.

  • many: 1Co 11:32 Ex 15:26 Nu 20:12,24 21:6-9 2Sa 12:14-18 1Ki 13:21-24 Ps 38:1-8 78:30,31 89:31-34 Am 3:2 Heb 12:5-11 Rev 3:19 
  • sleep: 1Co 15:51 Ac 13:36 1Th 4:14 
  • 1 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

1 Corinthians 15:51+  Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep (DIE) but we will all be changed (AT THE RAPTURE),

1 Thessalonians 4:14+  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus (WHEN HE RETURNS TO RAPTURE HIS CHURCH)

1 Cor 3:17 If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are. 

1 Jn 5:16+  If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this.

Henry Morris -  The "sin unto death" does not refer to the unforgivable sin which yields eternal spiritual death. That sin is, ultimately, refusal to accept Jesus Christ as Savior (John 3:36). No other sin precludes at least the possibility of repentance, faith and forgiveness. Therefore, the "sin unto death" can only refer to such flagrant sin on the part of a "brother" that God's chastisement finally becomes physical death (1 Corinthians 11:27-33; 5:5)

Ryrie - Believers can sin to the point where physical death results as the judgment of God (cf. 1 Cor. 11:30). The Greek reads sin, not a sin, in 1 Jn 5:16-17, implying not a single act but acts that have the character of sin leading to death.

JUDGMENT FOR NOT
JUDGING SELF 

 For this reason - What reason? This one is easy, but it is always profitable to ask the question. 

Many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep - Wuest = "many who have infirmities and are in continued ill health, and a considerable number are sleeping [dead]." Don't miss the adjective many, not few. The saints at Corinth were being judged by God for irreverently partaking of the Lord's Supper. Also do not miss that this discipline is physical and progressive! Don't be deceived. The warning of Paul in 1 Cor 10:12+ is relevant - "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed (present imperative  see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) that he does not fall."  Weak could mean easily fatigued or tired, sick means just what it says but we don't know what manner of sickness and finally sleep means death. When a believer died the Scripture often euphemistically described him as falling asleep. This meaning is clear when we compare the use in Acts 13:36+ Paul in one of his longest sermons declared that "David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers and underwent decay." Sleep is in the present tense and indicates either an action in progress or a repeated action.

Number is hikanos which means enough or sufficient number, but does not state how many, but the NET paraphrases it as "quite a few" and KJV has "many sleep."while ESV says "some have died." Quite a difference in those translations! One thinks of Paul's earlier warning in 1 Cor 3:17+ "If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are." 

Deffinbaugh on number - “The Greek term is rendered “a number” only here, and elsewhere in the NASB it is translated “many” (9 times) and “considerable” (4 times), with “good many,” “great,” “large sum,” and “sizeable” all occurring once. Not only were many people weak and sick in Corinth, but a “good many” died. The discipline of the Lord was intense and extensive. There was a very serious problem at Corinth, which resulted in drastic disciplinary measures on God’s part.” (1 Corinthians 11:17-34 Corrections for Communion)

Bell -  God doesn’t erect a barrier around the Lord’s table to keep us from it, but a warning that would drive us to the Lord in confession, in repentance, & a melted heart. The devil would love to keep you from this table! Examine yourself & do not stay away, but come, eat, & drink when you do come! The MacDonald Idiomatic Translation has "a considerable number who are sleeping the sleep of death."

Arnold - To partake of the Lord’s Table is a serious business and has serious consequences for those who do not partake worthily. Not all sickness and death is the result of partaking of the Table in an unworthy manner, but this is one of the reasons. If we are sick, this might be God’s red flag to warn us. Perhaps you are being tripped up by some sin or reflecting the spirit of the world. God may use the Lord’s Table to say to you, “Slow down; think through your actions.”

Krell - It has been said, “God has been known to give ‘dishonorable discharges.’” In other words, eventually, God says, “Enough is enough. Your time is up!” Why does God do this? For the simple reason that He loves us and wants to ensure that we are in fellowship with Him. Since pain gets our attention, He uses pain. “Sometimes Christ sees that we need sickness for the good of our souls more than healing for the good of our bodies.” But even when He resorts to this form of discipline, He does so because He loves us. God is dead serious about His body. An example of this principle is found in Exod 15:26 where Moses said, “If you will diligently obey the LORD your God, and do what is right in his sight, and pay attention to his commandments, and give ear to his statutes, then I will not bring on you all the diseases that I brought on the Egyptians, for I, the LORD, am your healer.”

Weak (sick) (772asthenes from a = without + sthénos = strength, bodily vigor) (See study of related verb astheneo - note the concentration of asthenes/astheneo in the epistles to the Corinthians - almost 50% of NT uses) is literally without strength or bodily vigor. Asthenes describes one's state of limited capacity to do or be something and is used literally of physical weakness (most of the uses in the Gospels) and figuratively of weakness in the spiritual arena (weak flesh, weak conscience, weak religious system or commandment [Gal 4:9, Heb 7:18], etc) and thus powerlessness to produce results. Asthenes in the Corinthians letters -  1 Co. 1:25; 1 Co. 1:27; 1 Co. 4:10; 1 Co. 8:7; 1 Co. 8:9; 1 Co. 8:10; 1 Co. 9:22; 1 Co. 11:30; 1 Co. 12:22; 2 Co. 10:10; 

Sick (732arrostos from a = without + rhṓnnumi = to strengthen,make firm) means strictly without strength; hence sickly, infirm, disabled; invalid. BDAG says literally "powerless." Liddell-Scott adds "weak, sickly:-Adv.,to be ill, Aeschin. 2. in moral sense, weak, feeble (of soul - Xen)." This word in context would indicate that these “strengthless ones” could only with great difficulty have been transported to this distant, uninhabited place.  Arrostos - 5x -sick(3), sick people(2). Matt. 14:14; Mk. 6:5; Mk. 6:13; Mk. 16:18; 1 Co. 11:30

Number (2425hikanos from the root hik- = “to reach [with the hand],” “to attain”, `reaching to', `attaining to'; hence, `adequate') refers to that which reaches or arrives at a certain standard. The primary meaning of hikanos is sufficient, and hence comes to be applied to number and quantity and so means many or enough.

Fall asleep (2837koimao (koimao related to keimai = to lie outstretched, to lie down) means to cause to sleep, is the word from which we get our word cemetery (see note below) which it was the early Christians optimistic name for a graveyard. It meant a sleeping place. It really was a synonym for a dormitory, a place where people sleep. This metaphorical use of the word sleep is appropriate because of the similarity in appearance between a sleeping body and a dead body; restfulness and peace normally characterize both. The object of the metaphor is to suggest that as the sleeper does not cease to exist while his body sleeps, so the dead person continues to exist despite his absence from the region in which those who remain can communicate with him, and that, as sleep is known to be temporary, so the death of the body will be found to be. Sleep has its waking, death will have its resurrection. In short, death to the believer is a sleep for his body—a period of rest to be followed by a glorious day. Koimao found in 18v - Matt. 27:52; Matt. 28:13; Lk. 22:45; Jn. 11:11; Jn. 11:12; Acts 7:60; Acts 12:6; Acts 13:36; 1 Co. 7:39; 1 Co. 11:30; 1 Co. 15:6; 1 Co. 15:18; 1 Co. 15:20; 1 Co. 15:51; 1 Thess. 4:13; 1 Thess. 4:14; 1 Thess. 4:15; 2 Pet. 3:4

1 Corinthians 11:31  But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged.

Amplified  For if we searchingly examined ourselves [detecting our shortcomings and recognizing our own condition], we should not be judged and penalty decreed [by the divine judgment].

Wuest -  Now, if we properly evaluated and formed a right estimate of ourselves, in that case we would not be judged.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 11:31 But if we examined ourselves, we would not be judged.

NLT  1 Corinthians 11:31 But if we would examine ourselves, we would not be judged by God in this way.

ESV  1 Corinthians 11:31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged.

NIV  1 Corinthians 11:31 But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment.

GNT  1 Corinthians 11:31 εἰ δὲ ἑαυτοὺς διεκρίνομεν, οὐκ ἂν ἐκρινόμεθα·

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

YLT  1 Corinthians 11:31 for if ourselves we were discerning, we would not be being judged,

ASV  1 Corinthians 11:31 But if we discerned ourselves, we should not be judged.

CSB  1 Corinthians 11:31 If we were properly evaluating ourselves, we would not be judged,

MIT  1 Corinthians 11:31 But if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.

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

NRS  1 Corinthians 11:31 But if we judged ourselves, we would not be judged.

NAB  1 Corinthians 11:31 If we discerned ourselves, we would not be under judgment;

NJB  1 Corinthians 11:31 If we were critical of ourselves we would not be condemned,

GWN  1 Corinthians 11:31 If we were judging ourselves correctly, we would not be judged.

BBE  1 Corinthians 11:31 But if we were true judges of ourselves, punishment would not come on us.

  • 1Co 11:28 Ps 32:3-5 Jer 31:18-20 Lu 15:18-20 1Jn 1:9 Rev 2:5 3:2,3 
  • 1 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

THE SOLUTION FOR
JUDGMENT

But if we judged (diakrino) ourselves rightly, we would not be judged (krino) - Amplified = " For if we searchingly examined ourselves [detecting our shortcomings and recognizing our own condition]," Wuest = "Now, if we properly evaluated and formed a right estimate of ourselves" Note carefully this is a call to judge self, not others!  Both verbs (judged...judged) are in the imperfect tense indicating actions that occur over and over. The meaning is clear - if we carry out self-examination each time before taking the Lord's Supper, we can confidently participate with no fear of repeatedly experiencing the disciplining hand of the Lord.

Judge yourselves or the Judge will be forced to judge you!

Krell - Paul clearly states that the Corinthians will not be judged if they judge themselves. His logic here seems to be: Judge yourselves so that the Lord will not have to. Our goal must be to judge the sin in our own lives before God has to expose it. We must humble ourselves before we are humbled or humiliated. I don’t know about you, but I have enough issues in my life to keep me busy. Yet, we are so good at judging others. Some of us look down on people who listen to worldly music, watch R-rated movies, drink alcohol, dance, play cards, spend money on things we wouldn’t buy, etc. The ability to see sin in others and ignore it in your own heart is one of the distinguishing characteristics of a Pharisee, and being a Pharisee is so easy. It’s great to make rules to guide our own behavior, but when we extend those rules to everyone around us, we’re in danger of becoming pharisaical.

Arnold on we would not come be judged - Here is wonderful, marvelous grace. The Christian may avoid the discipline of God by a careful examination of his sins and confessing them to the Lord. The believer may stop discipline by confession. Loss of physical health and spiritual rewards can be stopped by an honest judgment of self.

Utley - This is a SECOND CLASS CONDITIONAL sentence, which is called “contrary to fact.” It should be translated “if we had judged ourselves rightly, which we did not, then we should not be judged, which we are.”


Look at Yourself!

If we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. — 1 Corinthians 11:31

Today's Scripture: 1 Corinthians 11:17-32

State employment officials in Tucson, Arizona, posted an interesting sign over a full-length mirror. Directed to all job hunters, it read, “Would you hire this person?” In another office a mirror and sign posed this question: “Are you ready for a job?”

Self-evaluation was what the apostle Paul called for in 1 Corinthians 11. Believers in Christ need to judge themselves, he said, to avoid being judged by the Lord as unfit for His service. In the Corinthian church, the “appearance problem” was especially serious. Those Christians “looked” awful. They were actually getting drunk and quarreling among themselves while going through the motions of celebrating the Lord’s Supper. So Paul said, in effect, “Look at yourselves. What a mess! If you don’t get your lives straightened out, the Lord will have to do it for you.” Then the apostle added the sobering fact that God had already begun to cleanse the church by sending some of them to an early grave. This is a hard truth, but one the church still needs to hear today.

This warning, however, also carries a message of hope. If we judge ourselves and repent of our sins, we will not be judged by God. By:  Mart DeHaan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

O Lord, return to me Your power
That once by grace I knew;
Forgive the sin that grieved Your heart,
And help me to be true. —Anon.

Self-examination is one test from which no Christian is excused.


A Serious Celebration

If we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. —1 Corinthians 11:31

Today's Scripture:1 Corinthians 11:17-34

An exclusive club in New York refused membership to a man because he was Jewish. A minister who belonged to the club denounced this from his pulpit as “morally reprehensible.” Shock waves rippled down the aisles, because many church members belonged to that club. The pastor then added, “Anyone who has in any way—by thought, word, or deed—condoned this action is not welcome to receive Holy Communion until he has worked out his own peace with God.”

The pastor had biblical support for his insistence that no one should come to the Lord’s Table with unconfessed sin. In 1 Corinthians 11, the apostle Paul confronted some church members who needed to recognize their selfish, divisive attitudes and confess them as sin (vv.18,21). He urged them to pause for serious self-examination before participating in the joyous celebration of the complete forgiveness Jesus secured for us by His sacrificial death.

The principle still applies today. Anything that has come between us and our Savior must be identified and confessed before we partake of the Lord’s Supper. The bread and the cup then give fresh meaning to the forgiveness that is assured us by the shed blood of our Savior. By:  Dennis J. DeHaan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ, my God;
All the vain things that charm me most—
I sacrifice them to His blood. —Watts

Before you come to the Lord's table, make sure you have a clean heart.


A W Pink SELF-JUDGMENT Arthur W. Pink (1886-1952)

"For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world"—1 Corinthians 11:31, 32.

"For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged." Here we perceive a judgment to which the saints, and only the saints, are amenable; a judgment belonging solely to this life, exercised by Christ, who is the Judge. To Him the Church is accountable; every believer is responsible to Him for his thoughts, words and works. Nothing escapes His notice. He walks "in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks"; "His eyes are as a flame of fire"; "before Him all things are naked and opened" and He can still say to each and all, "I know your works." This tribunal is always set; the books are always open; from it no believer can altogether escape. Not that the Lord is strict to mark iniquity, or righteous to punish; if He were, "O Lord, who should stand?"

The Lord Jesus has no haste to correct His children; He says, He does it not "from His heart." And, indeed, the words above contain most gracious assurance of deliverance from correction, even though they have offended. They seem to say, indeed, that the Lord is slow to chasten, though His children be so faulty. His love for them is such, that not only shall they be delivered from all penal inflictions for sin (for these He has fully borne for them), but He would also show them how to avoid His corrections. There is something, therefore, exceedingly gracious in this notice given to the church, "If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged," tending to confirm our confidence in our Lord, and in His amazing condescension and tenderness.

The believer knows he must trust in Jesus implicitly and confide in Him entirely. When the storm and tempest rage the most furiously, he may run into his hiding-place and find sweet repose from the world, the flesh, and the devil, for "the name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe." Now if ever there was a time when this confidence could be shaken, it would be when the saint had sinned; but even then he may, and must, rest his soul in Jesus. Some of the Lord's children when overtaken in a fault, immediately expect correction at His hands, and through all of it walk heavily; but the passage also meets their case. It is a law of our great High Priest, and also our Judge, that, "if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged"; that is, if we note when we have offended, and go directly to the Judge condemning ourselves, and confessing it to Him, He will pardon and pass it by. Wonderful condescension! He will allow the believer to be his own judge. What a proof that the Spirit is within him; yes, Christ Himself, the Hope of Glory!

Having judged himself, and brought in the verdict of guilty, the believer will feel the paramount necessity of getting the blood sprinkled afresh upon him, and of turning out of the wrong path; and he is thus brought to the point, only more readily and speedily, to which chastening would have brought him. It is, if one might so speak, a nearer and easier way back into the right path; for the Lord only wishes us to walk with him, enjoying His presence and His smiles; and when we turn aside through frailty, the sooner we come back the better. It is not He who would keep us at a distance. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins" (1 John 1:9). But alas! many walk so carelessly, "at all adventures with God," that they offend, and are not aware of it. They are out of the way, and know it not. They are plainly, therefore, not in a capacity to judge themselves; and as sin must not be on the believer unknown and unconfessed, the good Lord will go after the careless one, and bring him into judgment. He will judge him, since he would not judge himself.

But (if such an expression might be used) He would much rather His people should judge themselves. He would have them live so that He might always be present with them; and they might have their Lord continually, if, as soon as they sinned, they detected it, and acknowledged it; then they would cease to be guilty, and walking thus in the light, as He is in the light, the fellowship should not be broken, for the blood should "cleanse from all sin." The believer, thus cleansed and restored to obedience, escapes the chastening, for the end of the chastening is amendment; and if he has arrived at the latter, what need is there for the former?

And O, how like is this to our Lord! and how kind of Him to make it so plain to us! Should we not at least learn thus much from the words—if He is so graciously desirous not to chasten, how very careful should be our walk with Him! Now this was not the case with these Corinthians; they sinned again and again, and seemed to take no account of it. They were carnal; there was among them envying and strife, and division; still they judged not themselves. The Lord, who is slow to anger, waited long, and they only went further and further astray, until at last, in the abuse of His supper, He was compelled to be the Judge.

Perhaps Peter's was a case like the former; he judged himself. His bitter tears told of his guilt and his sorrow, and not a word of upbraiding does he hear. The very angels have a special message for him: "Tell His disciples and Peter, that He is risen" etc. And our Lord was "Seen of Cephas, then of the twelve." "The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared unto Simon." Note the words guilt and guilty, in the above, have nothing whatever to do with the believer's state before God; for in Christ he is as free from the imputation of sin as the risen Surety. But if the washed one offends in neglecting to wash his feet, he will bring the sense of guilt into his conscience, which may be so strong as to make him forget he has been purged from his old sins. The Lord vouchsafe us tender consciences, and the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus, to which we are elected.

"But when we are judged we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world" "When we are judged of the Lord we are chastened." He does not always tell us our fault first; we are so selfish and unwilling to suffer, that we are willing then to search ourselves, and we see therefore this evil is upon us. Having sinned and failed to confess, we are laid open to His displeasure; to escape then is hopeless. O the bitterness of provoking Him to punish us, our best Friend; that One who poured out His life's blood for us; who endured the sharpest inflictions of justice to screen us; Him whose heart is love, and on the sense of whose love all our happiness depends! Yet, we forfeit all, and compel Him to restrain His lovely smile, put on instead a frown, take the rod in His hand, and chasten us for our folly. Then we cannot escape: smite He will. How long and how much, we must leave to Him. We are completely in His hands; His power over us is supreme, entire; resistance is vain, and will certainly increase the affliction. There is nothing to be done, but humbly to lie down before Him, and submit to His will. He may punish severely; often He does. He may punish long; and there is no promise that it shall not be so. The suffering child has but one resource, but one door of hope; it is love, the exquisite, surpassing love of Him who is chastening. On that he throws himself, as Quarles says, "I turn from Lord to Jesus; From Yourself to You." Yes, there is none other. He who inflicts the pain can withdraw His hand; He who has wounded, can bind up; He who has laid us in the dust by His frown, can raise up by His smile. Yes, He can forgive, He can restore; He can heal. "He will not always chide." He will "turn again," perhaps meaning He will relent, as the parent when he has punished the child; never is his heart so soft as then.

So our Jesus: "Is not Israel still my son, my darling child?" asks the Lord. "I had to punish him, but I still love him. I long for him and surely will have mercy on him." Jeremiah 31:20 This, this is a mercy, an infinite mercy, that we are in the hands of One so tender, so loving, who does not like to put us to pain, who does it unwillingly, and longs to restore us to favor.

But there is still a greater mercy in the reason assigned for correction; it is "that we should not be condemned with the world." Ah it is enough to make one tremble to think of the ungodly, who never having been chastened here, will hereafter bear the full punishment of all their offences. But it is not so with us, thanks be to God, we are judged here, not there; in this world, not in the next. And it is because we shall be acquitted hereafter that Christ our Lord must of necessity notice our offences here: "You only have I known," etc. The wicked go free, the houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them, for this reason, their reckoning is future, ours is present. Let us bless the Lord for His kind care of us, and for not allowing us to take our own way. Let us not rebel against His loving discipline, but thank Him for being so particular with us, (2 Cor. 10:18), seeing that His dealing points to our high destiny, and issues in our everlasting blessedness, to the praise of the glory of His grace.

1 Corinthians 11:32  But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.

Amplified  But when we [fall short and] are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined and chastened, so that we may not [finally] be condemned [to eternal punishment along] with the world.

Wuest - But when we are being judged by the Lord, we are the subjects of a disciplinary judgment in order that we may not be condemned with the world.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 11:32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned with the world.

NLT  1 Corinthians 11:32 Yet when we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned along with the world.

ESV  1 Corinthians 11:32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

NIV  1 Corinthians 11:32 When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.

GNT  1 Corinthians 11:32 κρινόμενοι δὲ ὑπὸ [τοῦ] κυρίου παιδευόμεθα, ἵνα μὴ σὺν τῷ κόσμῳ κατακριθῶμεν.

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

YLT  1 Corinthians 11:32 and being judged by the Lord, we are chastened, that with the world we may not be condemned;

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

CSB  1 Corinthians 11:32 but when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord, so that we may not be condemned with the world.

MIT  1 Corinthians 11:32 When we are being judged, we are being disciplined by the Lord, lest we should be condemned with the world.

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

NRS  1 Corinthians 11:32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

NAB  1 Corinthians 11:32 but since we are judged by (the) Lord, we are being disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

NJB  1 Corinthians 11:32 but when we are judged by the Lord, we are corrected by the Lord to save us from being condemned along with the world.

GWN  1 Corinthians 11:32 But when the Lord judges us, he disciplines us so that we won't be condemned along with the rest of the world.

BBE  1 Corinthians 11:32 But if punishment does come, it is sent by the Lord, so that we may be safe when the world is judged.

  • we are: 1Co 11:30 De 8:5 Job 5:17,18 Job 33:18-30 Job 34:31-32 Ps 94:12-13 Ps 118:18 Pr 3:11-12 Isa 1:5 Jer 7:28 Zep 3:2 Heb 12:5-11 
  • condemned: Ro 3:19 1Jn 5:19 
  • 1 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passage:

De 8:5 “Thus you are to know in your heart that the LORD your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son.

Job 5:17-18  “Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves, So do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. 18 “For He inflicts pain, and gives relief; He wounds, and His hands also heal. 

Psalm 94:12-13 Blessed is the man whom You chasten, O LORD, And whom You teach out of Your law;  13 That You may grant him relief from the days of adversity, Until a pit is dug for the wicked. 

Psalm 118:18+  The LORD has disciplined me severely, But He has not given me over to death. 

Proverbs 3:11-12+ My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD Or loathe His reproof,  12 For whom the LORD loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights. 

Hebrews 12:6+ FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.”  7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons

JUDGMENT IS NOT CONDEMNATION
BUT DIVINE DISCIPLINE

But when we are (present tense - continually) judged (krino), we are (present tense - continually) disciplined by the Lord so that (purpose clause) we will not be condemned along with the world - Amplified = " so that we may not [finally] be condemned [to eternal punishment along] with the world." Disciplined includes every aspect of causing a young person to become a mature responsible adult and here means taking immature (fleshly - 1 Cor 3:1-3+) believers toward mature believers. Divine discipline (training, child rearing, correcting, instructing) is not a bad thing, for it demonstrates we are truly children of God (Hebrews 12:6+) and therefore not subject to eternal punishment that results from being condemned as an unbeliever. In other words divine discipline in effect distinguishes a child of God from a child of the devil (cf Jn 8:44, 1 Jn 3:8+, 1 Jn 3:10+, 1 Jn 5:19+), an unsaved person. Condemned is the idea of reaching a verdict or decision against someone, in this case God bringing weakness, sickness or death to those who resist His hand of loving discipline!

MacDonald - God is dealing with us as with His own children. He loves us too dearly to allow us to go on in sin. Thus we soon feel the shepherd’s crook on our necks pulling us back to Himself. As someone has said, “It is possible for the saints to be fit for heaven (in Christ) but not fitted to remain on the earth in testimony.” (Ibid)

Krell - the goal of God’s discipline is remedial.54 This is the difference between discipline and punishment. Discipline is for the good of another; punishment is to extract a pound of flesh. God disciplines us because He is a loving Father (Heb 12:5-11).

Krell -  adds that :"Scripture speaks of three levels of God’s chastening, or discipline:

Plan A—Internal Chastening. In this level, God deals with us in our hearts and nobody knows it is happening except us. If God is disciplining you at this moment, that is the best way to have your problem solved. (There are numerous biblical examples: Moses, Nadab and Abihu, Achan, Uzzah, Ananias and Saphira, etc.) One of my daily prayers is, “Lord, humble me so that you don’t have to humble me.” If you and I can come to the place that God puts his finger on something, and you can say, “Thank you, Lord, for loving me this much,” you are judging yourself. If this level of discipline is not effective, God moves to…

Plan B—External Chastening. In this level the consequences of our sin become obvious because God’s discipline goes public. This is where Jonah ran from the Lord, and God chastened him. He was not weak or sick. Plan B led to being swallowed by the fish. Had Jonah not surrendered to God’s will the second time, God had another plan. If this second level of discipline fails, God will up the ante.

Plan C—Terminal Chastening. In this level, God calls the believer home prematurely.

Arnold - When discipline comes, it is from the hand of a loving Lord and always for the Christian’s profit. God is far more concerned about our holiness of life than we are. He will discipline every child who truly belongs to Him. If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons (Heb. 12:8). No discipline means we are not God’s children....If a person who professes to be a Christian goes month after month living in sin, holding some grudge, feeding some prejudice, and nothing in the way of discipline ever happens, then it is very likely that person is no Christian at all. God will not allow His own people to be condemned with the world. That is why He brings divine discipline.

Disciplined (chastened, correct,ed) (3811) paideuo from país = child) refers primarily to the training or discipline of children (whether in the schools of men - Acts 7:22, Acts 22:3 or in the school of God, Titus 2:12, et al), at one end of the spectrum training by teaching, instructing, educating or nurturing and at the other end of the spectrum utilizing correction and punishment if necessary (which it usually is for children) as a part of the training or child rearing process bringing them to maturity (this end of the spectrum conveyed by English words like chastise or chasten - see below - as morally disciplining an adult, correcting them and giving them guidance). In that regard we will briefly look at some of the most common English words used to translate paideuo and will attempt to draw out the sometimes subtle differences in meaning. From this introduction, you can see that the meaning of paideuo is dependent on the context. Paideuo - 13v - Lk. 23:16; Lk. 23:22; Acts 7:22; Acts 22:3; 1 Co. 11:32; 2 Co. 6:9; 1 Tim. 1:20; 2 Tim. 2:25; Tit. 2:12; Heb. 12:6; Heb. 12:7; Heb. 12:10; Rev. 3:19

Condemned (2632katakrino from kata = down, against + krino = to assess, then to separate or distinguish, then to give an opinion upon, judge, then to decide or determine and finally to judge (to judge one down [kata = down]), pronounce judgment or to condemn) means to give judgment against, pass sentence upon, pass judgment against and hence to condemn, this latter action implying there has been a crime. It means to pronounce sentence against or to adjudge guilty and always denotes an adverse sentence (to sentence to punishment). Condemn = Old French condemnerfrom Latin condemnāre from con- (expressing intensive force) + damnare = to condemn, to inflict loss upon from damnum = loss, damage. Katakrino in secular Greek was a legal technical term for pronouncing a sentence after reaching a verdict or decision against someone. To declare an evildoer guilty.

1 Corinthians 11:33  So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.

Amplified  So then, my brothers, when you gather together to eat [the Lord’s Supper], wait for one another.

Wuest -   So that, my brethren, when you are coming together for the purpose of eating, be waiting for one another.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 11:33 So then, my brothers and sisters, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.

NLT  1 Corinthians 11:33 So, my dear brothers and sisters, when you gather for the Lord's Supper, wait for each other.

ESV  1 Corinthians 11:33 So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another--

NIV  1 Corinthians 11:33 So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other.

GNT  1 Corinthians 11:33 ὥστε, ἀδελφοί μου, συνερχόμενοι εἰς τὸ φαγεῖν ἀλλήλους ἐκδέχεσθε.

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

YLT  1 Corinthians 11:33 so then, my brethren, coming together to eat, for one another wait ye;

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

CSB  1 Corinthians 11:33 Therefore, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.

MIT  1 Corinthians 11:33 Consequently, my brothers, when you gather to eat, wait for one another.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 11:33 Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.

NRS  1 Corinthians 11:33 So then, my brothers and sisters, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.

NAB  1 Corinthians 11:33 Therefore, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.

NJB  1 Corinthians 11:33 So then, my brothers, when you meet for the Meal, wait for each other;

GWN  1 Corinthians 11:33 Therefore, brothers and sisters, when you gather to eat, wait for each other.

BBE  1 Corinthians 11:33 So then, my brothers, when you come together to the holy meal of the Lord, let there be waiting for one another.

APOSTOLIC COMMAND
WAIT TO EAT! 

So then - Term of conclusion. In view of the judgment and discipline for irreverence concerning the Lord's Supper there is a recommended course of action as follows.

My brethren - Paul gives a fatherly touch after speaking some "hard" words to his spiritual children. It is interesting that this is Paul's only use of "brethren" in chapter 11. 

Brother (80adelphos from a = denotes unity + delphus = a womb) literally means brother referring to a physical brother or figuratively can refer to a brother in the spiritual sense.

When you (present tense - continually) come together (sunerchomai) to eat  (esthio), wait for one another - Notice that come together (sunerchomai) is a key word and takes us back to the beginning of this pericope in 1 Cor 11:17+ which begins with "you come together (sunerchomai) not for the better but for the worse. This statement suggests that Paul was in favor of Agape Feasts. Paul gives a command to wait in the present imperative that is to be continually obeyed. That Paul would have to give such a command clearly speaks of the selfish behavior of the saints who were hardly acting like a unified body or family of God. Clearly the saints at Corinth did not wait for each other to partake of the shared meal, the "Agape Feast." This command calling for them to make it their habit to wait was necessary in view of  the fact that "in your eating each one takes his own supper first." (1 Cor 11:21+) It is implied that a proper distribution of food should first be made, and then that all should eat together (Barrett). 

Arnold -  There should be an attitude of oneness and fellowship. There should be a thoughtful, courteous spirit towards the brethren.

Constable - Rather than disregarding the members of the congregation who had little or no food to bring to the love feasts, those who had plenty should share what they had. They should also wait to eat until all had been served. Many churches these days have pot luck suppers periodically that provide a modern counterpart to the first century love feast. A few Christians have felt that we should practice the love feast whenever we observe the Lord’s Supper today. Most have concluded that the love feast was just the setting in which the Lord’s Supper took place in the early church. Jesus did not specifically command His disciples to observe the love feast as He urged them to eat the Lord’s Supper. Therefore most Christians believe the love feast is not an ordinance of the church and we do not need to perpetuate it as the early church practiced it.

Wait (1551) ekdechomai from ek = from + dechomai = receive kindly, accept deliberately and readily; related prosdechomai) means literally to receive or accept from some source. The preposition ek in this compound may have a perfective idea indicating that one is read and prepared to deal with the situation when it arrives. It means to remain in a place or state and await an event or the arrival of someone. The idea is to look or tarry for, to watch for, expect, be about to receive from any quarter. In regard to of future events it means to wait for them expecting them to happen. Ekdechomai - 7v in NT - Jn. 5:3; Acts 17:16; 1 Co. 11:33; 1 Co. 16:11; Heb. 10:13; Heb. 11:10; Jas. 5:7

ILLUSTRATION -  When Leonardo da Vinci was 43 years old, the Duke Ludovinco of Milan asked him to paint the dramatic scene of Jesus’ last supper with his disciples: Working slowly and giving meticulous care to details, he spent 3 years on the assignment. He grouped the disciples into threes, two groups on either side of the central figure of Christ. Christ’s arms are outstretched. In his right hand, He holds a cup, painted beautifully with marvelous realism. When the masterpiece was finished, the artist said to a friend, “Observe it and give me your opinion of it!” “It’s wonderful!” exclaimed the friend. “The cup is so real I cannot divert my eyes from it!” Immediately Leonardo took a brush and drew it across the sparkling cup! He exclaimed as he did so: “Nothing shall detract from the figure of Christ!”  1. A Meal to Remember...A Messiah to Remember!

1 Corinthians 11:34  If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you will not come together for judgment. The remaining matters I will arrange when I come.

Amplified If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together to bring judgment [on yourselves]. About the other matters, I will give you directions [personally] when I come.

Wuest -   In the event that anyone is hungry, let him be eating at home in order that you do not come together with the result that you will be judged. And the other matters which remain I will dispose of whenever I come. (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

NET  1 Corinthians 11:34 If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that when you assemble it does not lead to judgment. I will give directions about other matters when I come.

NLT  1 Corinthians 11:34 If you are really hungry, eat at home so you won't bring judgment upon yourselves when you meet together. I'll give you instructions about the other matters after I arrive.

ESV  1 Corinthians 11:34 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.

NIV  1 Corinthians 11:34 If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment. And when I come I will give further directions.

GNT  1 Corinthians 11:34 εἴ τις πεινᾷ, ἐν οἴκῳ ἐσθιέτω, ἵνα μὴ εἰς κρίμα συνέρχησθε. Τὰ δὲ λοιπὰ ὡς ἂν ἔλθω διατάξομαι.

KJV  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.

YLT  1 Corinthians 11:34 and if any one is hungry, at home let him eat, that to judgment ye may not come together; and the rest, whenever I may come, I shall arrange.

ASV  1 Corinthians 11:34 If any man is hungry, let him eat at home; that your coming together be not unto judgment. And the rest will I set in order whensoever I come.

CSB  1 Corinthians 11:34 If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you gather together you will not come under judgment. And I will give instructions about the other matters whenever I come.

MIT  1 Corinthians 11:34 If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest your convocation become an occasion for condemnation. The rest of these things I will set straight when I come.

NKJ  1 Corinthians 11:34 But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come.

NRS  1 Corinthians 11:34 If you are hungry, eat at home, so that when you come together, it will not be for your condemnation. About the other things I will give instructions when I come.

NAB  1 Corinthians 11:34 If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that your meetings may not result in judgment. The other matters I shall set in order when I come.

NJB  1 Corinthians 11:34 anyone who is hungry should eat at home. Then your meeting will not bring your condemnation. The other matters I shall arrange when I come.

GWN  1 Corinthians 11:34 Whoever is hungry should eat at home so that you don't have a gathering that brings judgment on you. I will give directions concerning the other matters when I come.

BBE  1 Corinthians 11:34 If any man is in need of food, let him take his meal in his house; so that you may not come together to your damage. And the rest I will put in order when I come.

  • if anyone: 1Co 11:21,22 
  • I will Co 7:17 Titus 1:5 
  • when: 1Co 4:19 16:2,5 
  • 1 Corinthians 11 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

DINNER AT HOME
BEFORE THE LORD'S SUPPER

If (first class condition - assumed true) anyone is hungry, let him eat  (esthio) at home - Don't confuse the Lord's Supper with a common meal. Paul commands them to continually (present imperative) eat at home before they come to celebrate the Lord's Supper. His point is that if they are only coming to the Agape Feast to fill their stomach, they should do that in their own home! 

Constable - If some of the Corinthian Christians were too hungry to wait to eat, they should eat something before they came to the service. Otherwise their unloving selfishness might result in the Lord’s judgment. It is very important to the Lord that we put the needs of others before our own needs (cf. Phil. 2:3; et al.).

So that (purpose clause) you will not come together (sunerchomai) for judgment (krima) - "To disregard its sacred character would be to come together for judgment." (MacDonald) In other words don't come together with impure motives (desiring to satisfy physical hunger but with no true spiritual hunger) for this attitude and action will incur divine judgment. Clearly the mention of judgment presupposes that in this context Paul is not just speaking of the Agape Feast ("let him eat at home"), but also speaking of the partaking of the Lord's Supper that followed (because he had given no warning of judgment regarding the Agape Feast but only the Lord's Supper).

Krell - Instead of some gorging themselves while others go hungry, each should share what they have, and all should eat together. In this way the Corinthians reflect the unity of the body (“they judge rightly,” 1 Cor 11:29), and avert the judgment of God. The phrase translated “wait for one another” more likely means “welcome one another.” If the Corinthians merely “wait for one another” the problem at hand is not corrected. The crisis in Corinth is that the poor are without food. The rich “waiting” for the poor to arrive and then partaking together will not remedy this difficulty. Fortunately, this translation issue is ironed out when it is recognized that when ekdechomai (“wait for”) is used of persons, it usually means “to take or receive from another” or “to entertain.” In this specific context, it seems appropriate that Paul’s command should be translated, “Care for one another!” “Receive one another warmly!” “Grant one another table fellowship!” “Show hospitality to one another!” Thus, in this context Paul is perhaps instructing the Corinthians, as his summary statement, to receive each other as equal members of the body of Christ. The command to “eat at home” connects to Paul’s first warning that the Corinthians are worse off for having gathered together (1 Cor 11:17). If they are intent only on indulging their appetites, then they should stay at home. If the church’s gathering is to be meaningful it has to be an expression of real fellowship, which includes sharing.61

Utley - If believers are so hungry that they act in an aggressive, selfish way at the Lord’s Supper, then they should satisfy their hunger before they join a fellowship meal.

The remaining matters I will arrange when I come - We do not know what these matters were. The fact that Paul is telling them he is coming to Corinth would hopefully make them be more attentive to his instructions in this chapter (and the rest of this letter). 

Michael Green has a clever way of remembering the Lord’s Table: look back (to Christ's death), look in (self-examination), look up (fellowship with Christ), look around (fellowship with each other), look forward (to Christ's return) and look outward (to proclaim God’s word to others).

Arrange (put in order ) (1299) (diatasso from dia = through  + tasso = order) means literally to arrange thoroughly, to arrange in its proper order, to issue orderly and detailed instructions as to what must be done. To institute, prescribe, to appoint,  to set in order (Titus 1:5+), ordain (1 Cor 7:17+ regarding marital conditions); to give directions (Acts 7:44+-God directed Moses to make the Tabernacle according to pattern), to command (with the implication of setting in order) as did Emperor Claudius’ “commanding” that Jews must leave Rome (Acts 18:2+). Diatasso was a technical word for carrying out laws and sometimes used by military and government officials (cf Acts 18:2+, Lk 3:13+). It was a word that denoted a command given from an authority. Moulton and Milligan add that diatasso was a technical term used in connection with wills, as well as a general word for commanding. Diatasso - 16v - Matt. 11:1; Lk. 3:13; Lk. 8:55; Lk. 17:9; Lk. 17:10; Acts 7:44; Acts 18:2; Acts 20:13; Acts 23:31; Acts 24:23; 1 Co. 7:17; 1 Co. 9:14; 1 Co. 11:34; 1 Co. 16:1 = "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also." Gal. 3:19; Tit. 1:5