Two subjects are considered in this chapter, both of which, it would appear, had been referred to the apostle in the letter from the Corinthian church. The first (1 Corinthians 11:3-16) relates to the demeanor of females in the meetings of the church, and the second (1 Corinthians 11:17-34) to the mode of celebrating the Lord's supper.
Dishonoreth his head; his lord; inasmuch as, according, to the customs of society then prevailing, for a man to be covered in the presence of a superior was a mark of disrespect.
Dishonoreth her head; that is, man; for it was required, in a similar manner, by the customs of society, that woman should be veiled in public, in token of modesty and subordination.
Let her also be shorn; that is, she may as well be shorn. Being shorn was a badge of deep disgrace.
The meaning is, that the retiring and modest demeanor, appropriate to the character and station of woman, is not required of man.
That is, the woman was created as secondary and auxiliary to man.
This passage is generally considered as unexplained. The researches of interpreters throw no light upon it whatever.
Without the woman; independent of her. They are intended to be joined in mutual dependence and support.
Is a shame unto him; being a mark of effeminacy.
Seem to be contentious; is not satisfied with the considerations above presented, but still resists.--We have no such custom, &c.; that is, the settled practice of the churches forbids that a woman should appear in public, in the bold and open manner which is proper for man. The principle established by the apostle may be generally stated thus,--that when woman appears before the assemblies of Christians as a speaker at all, she must do it in a modest and unassuming manner, suited to her subordinate position, and according to the forms prescribed by the established usages of society.
Not for the better; in such a manner that no good results.
And I partly believe it. This disposition of the apostle to abate something from the evil of the reports which he heard against his brethren, is an example to us all. Instead of reluctantly admitting, such evidence, and believing only a part, men generally believe a little more than is told them.
When ye come together; in your religious assemblies.--This is not, &c.; is not honestly and truly.
Every one taketh, &c.; that is, in disorder and confusion.--Is drunken. Some persons, unwilling to admit that intoxicating drink was used by the early Christians at the Lord's supper, understand this expression to mean is surfeited. Others, however, contend that there is no sufficient ground for deviating from the proper signification of the original term, which is well represented by the English phrase as it stands. Still we are not to suppose that absolute intoxication is intended. It is strange that the solemn ceremony of the Lord's supper should be perverted so soon to any such excesses; but the temptation to such a sin was probably greatly increased among these converts, by the idolatrous revellings which prevailed around them, and to which they had themselves, perhaps, been accustomed.
Unworthily; in an unworthy manner; that is, in the irreverent and disorderly manner condemned above.--Guilty of the body and blood, &c.; guilty of treating them with profane disrespect.
Not discerning the Lord's body; not discerning the spiritual character and import of the ceremony; that is, he makes no distinction between the Lord's supper and an ordinary festival.
Weak and sickly; in their spiritual condition.--Sleep; are in a state of spiritual slumber; so this expression is used in other places. (See 1 Thessalonians 5:6.) Many commentators understand this language to refer to bodily diseases and death, sent among these offenders in judgment for their sins.
If we would judge ourselves; examine ourselves, and correct what is wrong.--Be judged; be condemned and punished by God.
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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 11". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany