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Bible Commentaries

The Expositor's Greek Testament

1 Corinthians 11


DIVISION IV. DISORDERS IN WORSHIP AND CHURCH LIFE, 11–14. The Ap. returns to the internal affairs of the Church, which occupied him in Div. I., dealing however not as at the outset with the relations of the Cor[2013] Church to its ministry, but with the mutual relations and behaviour of its members within the society. The questions arising under this head are bound up with the moral and social problems of Divs. II. and III., and several leading topics of former chaps. reappear in a new connexion—e.g., the Christian relationship of the sexes (common to 5., 6., and 11.), the Lord’s Supper (10 and 11), the superiority of Love to Knowledge (8 and 13). The matters treated in these chaps, are well defined: (1) the unveiling of the head by women in public worship, 1 Corinthians 11:2-16; (2) profanation of the Lord’s Table, 17–34; (3) the exercise of spiritual gifts, 1 Corinthians 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 12:14.—.a subject which leads the Ap. into two digressions: (a) on the corporate nature of the Church, 1 Corinthians 12:12-31; (b) on the supremacy of love, 13. As in the earlier parts of the letter, the train of thought is objectively dictated; the matters taken up arise from the faulty state of the Cor[2014] Church, and were supplied to the writer partly, as in chh. 7–10., by the Church Letter, and partly by information conveyed in other ways (see 1 Corinthians 11:18, and Introd., chap. 2.), which indicated the existence of disorders and scandals within the community of the gravity of which it was unaware.

[1591] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[1592] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.




Verse 2

1 Corinthians 11:2. The praise here given is so little suggested by the context, and to little accords with the tone of the Ep., esp. with what was said in the like connexion in 1 Corinthians 4:16 f., that one conjectures the Ap. to be quoting professions made in the Letter from Cor. rather than writing simply out of his own mind: “Now I praise you that [as you say] ‘in all things you remember me, and hold fast the instructions as I delivered them to you’ ”. For such adoption by P. of the words of his readers, see notes on 1 Corinthians 8:1 ff. Self-esteem characterised this Church (1 Corinthians 4:8 ff., 1 Corinthians 5:2); the declaration was sincere, and contained a measure of truth; P. accepts it for what it is worth.— , introducing the new topic, marks also the connexion between 1 Corinthians 11:1-2: “I bid you imitate me—but I am glad to know (from your letter) that you do”.— , acc[1594] of definition (not obj[1595]), as in 1 Corinthians 9:25, 1 Corinthians 10:33; the vb[1596] regularly governs a gen[1597] in N.T.: , like memini, a pf. pres.—“you have been kept in remembrance of me”.— - , a “givingover” (without the associations of our tradition), applies to historical fact, teaching, or rules of practice delivered, through whatever means, to the keeping of others: for reference to fact and usage, see 1 Corinthians 11:23; to fact and doctrine, 1 Corinthians 15:1; to the three combined, as here, 2 Thessalonians 2:15; for its currency in Jewish Schools, Matthew 15:2 ff., etc.— , as in 1 Corinthians 15:2 = , 2 Thessalonians 2:15. . . . implies maintenance in form as well as substance, observance of the (Romans 6:17).

[1594] accusative case.

[1595] grammatical object.

[1596] verb

[1597] genitive case.



Verses 2-6

1 Corinthians 11:2-6. § 35. THE WOMAN’S VEIL. P. is glad to believe that the Church at Cor[1593] is loyal to his instructions (2); he interrupts his censures by a word of praise. This commendation, however, he proceeds to qualify. First, in respect of a matter whose underlying principles his readers had not grasped: he hears that some women speak in Church-meetings, and that bareheaded! For a woman to discard the veil means to cast off masculine authority, which is a fixed part of the Divine order, like man’s subordination to Christ (1 Corinthians 11:3 f.). She who so acts disgraces her own head, and only needs to go a step further to rank herself with the degraded of her sex (1 Corinthians 11:5 f.).

[1593] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.



Verse 3

1 Corinthians 11:3. (= . . . of 1 Corinthians 10:1; see note): “But I would have you know”—the previous commendation throws into relief the coming censure. The indecorum in question offends against a foundation principle, viz., that of subordination under the Divine government; this the Cor[1598], with all their knowledge, cannot “know,” or they would not have allowed their women to throw off the (1 Corinthians 11:10). The violated principle is thus stated: “Of every man the Christ is the head, while the man is head of woman, and God is head of Christ”. As to the wording of this sentence: bears emphasis in the 1st clause asserting, like the parl[1599] 2nd clause, a universal truth which holds of the man (vir) as such; the predicate of the 1st clause is distinguished by the def. art[1600],—“Christ is the (proper, essential) head,” etc. (cf. , Ephesians 2:14, and see Bm[1601], pp. 124 f.); , in James, 3 rd clauses, means “the Christ” in the wide scope of His offices (cf.1 Corinthians 10:4, 1 Corinthians 12:12, 1 Corinthians 15:22); for anarthrous , cf. note on 1 Corinthians 2:5. That Christ is “every man’s” true head is an application of the revealed truth that He is the “one Lord” of created nature (1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:15 f.), combined with the palpable fact that the has no (intervening) lord in creation (cf. 9); he stands forth in worship, amidst his family, with no visible superior, holding headship direct from his Maker, and brought by his manhood into direct responsibility to Him “through whom are all things”. Ed[1602], following Cm[1603] and Mr[1604] (not Hn[1605]), limits this manly subordination to the Christian order of life; “the man is head of the woman in virtue of the marriage union, Christ of the man in virtue of union with Him through faith”: but faith is common to the sexes, on this footing (Galatians 3:28); on the other hand, in Pauline theology, the law of marriage and the social order are grounded in Christ. Paul’s argument has no force unless the parl[1606] assertions rest on a common basis. The question is one that touches the fundamental proprieties of life (1 Corinthians 11:8-15); and the three headships enumerated belong to the hierarchy of nature.—“The Christ” of the 3rd clause is “the Christ” of the 1st, without distinction made of natures or states; He who is “every man’s head,” the Lord of nature, presents the pattern of loyalty in His perfect obedience to the Father (1 Corinthians 15:28, Galatians 4:4; Hebrews 5:5; Hebrews 5:8, etc.); cf.1 Corinthians 3:22 f., where with the same a chain of subordinate possession is drawn out, corresponding to this subordination of rule. Submission in office, whether of woman to man or Christ to God, consists with equality of nature.

[1598] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[1599] parallel.

[1600] grammatical article.

[1601] A. Buttmann’s Grammar of the N.T. Greek (Eng. Trans., 1873).

[1602] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.

[1603] John Chrysostom’s Homiliœ († 407).

[1604] Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary (Eng. Trans.).

[1605] C. F. G. Heinrici’s Erklärung der Korintherbriefe (1880), or 1 Korinther in Meyer’s krit.-exegetisches Kommentar (1896).

[1606] parallel.



Verses 4-5

1 Corinthians 11:4-5: the high doctrine just asserted applied to the matter of feminine attire. Since man qua man has no head but Christ, before whom they worship in common, while woman has man to own for her head, he must not and she must be veiled. The regulation is not limited to those of either sex who “pray or prophesy”; but such activity called attention to the apparel, and doubtless it was amongst the more demonstrative women that the impropriety occurred; in the excitement of public speaking the shawl might unconsciously be thrown back. . . ., “when he (she) prays or prophesies,”—in the act of so doing.— , “wearing down from the head (a veil”: understood), the practice being for the woman in going out of the house to throw the upper fold or lappet of her robe over her head so as to cover the brow: see Peplos in the Dict., of Antiq. . . , “with the head uncovered,” dat[1607] of manner, as in 1 Corinthians 10:30.—Is it the literal or figurative “head” that is meant as obj[1608] to ? 1 Corinthians 11:3 requires the latter sense, while the sequel suggests the former; Al[1609] and Ed[1610] think both are intended at once. Hf[1611] is probably right in abiding by the reading (see txtl. note); he supposes that the Ap. purposely broke off the parallelism at the end of 1 Corinthians 11:5, thus sharpening his reproof: the man who wears a veil “puts to shame his head”—i.e. Christ, whose lordship he represents (1 Corinthians 11:7); the woman who discards it “puts to shame her own head”—the dishonour done to the dominant sex falls upon herself. That the shame comes home to her is shown by the supporting sentence: (cf.1 Corinthians 3:8) , “for she is one and the same thing with her that is shaven” (Mr[1612], Ev[1613], Bt[1614], Ed[1615], El[1616]); “It is one and the same thing,” etc. (E.V[1617]), would require . Amongst Greeks only the hetœrœ, so numerous in Cor[1618], went about unveiled; slave-women wore the shaven head—also a punishment of the adulteress (see Wetstein in loc., and cf.Numbers 5:18); with these the Christian woman who emancipates herself from becoming restraints of dress, is in effect identified. To shave the head is to carry out thoroughly its unveiling, to remove nature’s as well as fashion’s covering (1 Corinthians 11:15).

[1607] dative case.

[1608] grammatical object.

[1609] Alford’s Greek Testament.

[1610] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.

[1611] J. C. K. von Hofmann’s Die heilige Schrift N.T. untersucht, ii. 2 (2te Auflage, 1874).

[1612] Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary (Eng. Trans.).

[1613] T. S. Evans in Speaker’s Commentary.

[1614] J. A. Beet’s St. Paul’s Epp. to the Corinthians (1882).

[1615] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.

[1616] C. J. Ellicott’s St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.

[1617] English Version.

[1618] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.



Verse 6

1 Corinthians 11:6, with a second , presses the above identity; the Ap. bids the woman who discards the veil carry her defiance a step further: “For if a woman is not veiled, let her also crop (her head); but if it is a disgrace for a woman to crop (it) or to keep (it) shaven, let her retain the veil” ( , pr[1619] impv[1620], continuous). P. uses the modus tollens of the hypothetical syllogism: “If a woman prefers a bare head, she should remove her hair; womanly feeling forbids the latter, then it should forbid the former, for the like shame attaches to both.” The argument appeals to Gr[1621] and Eastern sentiment; “physical barefacedness led to the inference of moral, in a city like Corinth” (Ev[1622]). and , aor[1623] mid[1624], denote a single act on the woman’s part, “to cut off her locks”; , pres. mid[1625],—a shaven condition; the single art[1626] comprises the infs. in one view.—Paul’s directions do not agree precisely with current practice. Jewish men covered their heads at prayers with the Tallith (cf. the allusion of 2 Corinthians 3:14 ff.)—this custom, retained probably by some Jews at Christian meetings (1 Corinthians 11:4), P. corrects without censure; women were both veiled and kept behind a screen. Amongst the Greeks, both sexes worshipped with uncovered head, although women covered their heads at other times (see Hermann, Gottesdienstl. Alterthümer, § 36, 18 f.; Plato, Phœdo, 89B, ), while Roman men and women alike covered their heads during religious rites (Servius ad Æn., iii., 407). The usage here prescribed seems to be an adaptation of Gr[1627] custom to Christian conceptions. With us the diff[1628] of sex is more strongly marked in the general attire than with the ancients; but the draped head has still its appropriateness, and the distinction laid down in this passage has been universally observed.—The woman is recognised by the side of the man as “praying” and “prophesying” (see note on 1 Corinthians 12:10); there is no ground in the text for limiting the ref[1629] in her case to the exercise of these gifts in domestic and private circles (thus Hf[1630], Bt[1631], and some others); on the contradiction with 1 Corinthians 14:34, see note ad loc[1632] Under the Old Covenant women were at times signally endued with supernatural powers, and the prophetess occasionally played a leading public part (e.g. Deborah and Huldah); in the Christian dispensation, from Acts 1:14 onwards, they receive a more equal share in the powers of the Spirit (see Acts 2:17 f., Galatians 3:28). But in the point of there lies an ineffaceable distinction.

[1619] present tense.

[1620] imperative mood.

[1621] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

[1622] T. S. Evans in Speaker’s Commentary.

[1623] aorist tense.

[1624] middle voice.

[1625] middle voice.

[1626] grammatical article.

[1627] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

[1628] difference, different, differently.

[1629] reference.

[1630] J. C. K. von Hofmann’s Die heilige Schrift N.T. untersucht, ii. 2 (2te Auflage, 1874).

[1631] J. A. Beet’s St. Paul’s Epp. to the Corinthians (1882).

[1632] ad locum, on this passage.



Verse 7

1 Corinthians 11:7. (not ) . . .: “For man indeed (being man) ought not to have his head veiled” ( , pr[1634] inf[1635] of custom), in contrast with woman who ought (1 Corinthians 11:5; 1 Corinthians 11:10)—this is as wrong on his part as it is right on hers; negatives the whole sentence, as in ver. I. , like (1 Corinthians 11:19), denotes moral or rational necessity, the former vb[1636] in a more personal, the latter in a more abstract way. For him to veil his head would be to veil the “image and glory of God”; Christ, the image of God, became as .— (see parls.), “being constituted” so. To accompany , P. substitutes for the (d’muth) of Gen. the more expressive —by which the LXX renders the synonymous t’munah of Psalms 17:15—God’s “glory” being His likeness in visible splendour; cf.Hebrews 1:3. P. conceives Genesis 1:26 to apply to Adam as primarily, although in 1 Corinthians 11:27 it stands, “God created man in His own image ’ male and female created He them”.— . . . presents a shortened antithesis to the clause; logically completed it reads, “But the woman (ought to have her head veiled, for she) is the glory of the man”— —not of the race ( ), but of the stronger sex. Paul omits , which does not hold here; she is not man’s reflexion, but his counterpart—not “like to like, but like in difference,” wedded as “perfect music unto noble words”; she partakes, through him, in the (Genesis 1:27). That which in our common nature is most admirable—faith, purity, beauty—man sees more excellently and proportionately shown in hers. It follows that he who degrades a woman sullies his manhood, and is the worst enemy of his race; the respect shown to women is the measure and Safeguard of human dignity.

[1634] present tense.

[1635] infinitive mood.

[1636] verb



Verses 7-16

1 Corinthians 11:7-16. § 36. MAN AND WOMAN IN THE LORD. The Ap. has insisted on the woman’s retaining the veil in token of the Divine order pervading the universe, which Christ exhibits in His subordination to the Father. But he has some further observations to make on the relative position of the sexes. In the first place, he bases what he has said of the headship of man on the story of creation, exhibiting man as the direct reflexion of God, woman as derived and auxiliary (1 Corinthians 11:7-9); in this connexion the ref[1633] to “the angels” must be understood (1 Corinthians 11:10). At the same time, man and woman are necessary each to the other and derive alike from God (1 Corinthians 11:11 f.). Having thus grounded the matter upon Christian principle, P. appeals in confirmation to natural feeling (1 Corinthians 11:13-15), and finally to the unbroken custom of the Church (1 Corinthians 11:16).

[1633] reference.



Verses 8-9

1 Corinthians 11:8-9 add two more to the chain of for’s extending from 1 Corinthians 11:6: a double reason for asserting that woman is man’s glory appears in the revelation of the origin of mankind made by Scripture (Genesis 2:18-25: the second narrative of Creation, J of the critics), where Eve is represented as framed from a rib taken out of Adam’s body to be his “helpmate”. Woman originates from ( ), and was created for (because of, ) man, not vice versa.—“ differs from as purpose from fact,” (Ed[1637]).— , “For also” (1 Corinthians 11:9)—the second statement goes to explain the first: Man was there already; and Woman was fashioned out of him for his need. Whether the story of the extracted rib is read as poetry or prosaic fact, the relationship set forth is the same.

[1637] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.2



Verse 10

1 Corinthians 11:10 is the counterstatement to 1 Corinthians 11:7 a, undeveloped there: “For this reason the woman is bound to wear authority upon her head”—sc., the reason made out in 1 Corinthians 11:7 b–9, that her nature is derived and auxiliary. The (= ) that she “has (wears),” is that to which she submits, with the veil “upon her head” for its symbol; cf.1 Corinthians 12:23, where = . So the soldier under the Queen’s colours might be said to “have authority over his head”. Ev[1638] quotes Shakesp., Macb., iii., 4, “Present him eminence both with eye and tongue,” as a parl[1639] expression for the authority of another pictured in oneself.— suggests, by way of after-thought, a supplementary motive for the decent veil, which the Ap. merely hints, leaving a crux for his interpreters. In 1 Corinthians 4:9 he adduced the “angels” as interested spectators of the conduct of Christ’s servants, and in 1 Corinthians 6:3 he spoke of certain of them as to be judged by the saints (see notes); in manifold ways these exalted beings are associated with God’s earthly kingdom (see Luke 2:13; Luke 12:8; Luke 15:10, Acts 1:10, etc.; Hebrews 1:14; Hebrews 12:22 f.; Rev. passim); in accordance with Jewish belief, they appear as agents of the Lawgiving in Galatians 3:19 (Acts 7:53), and in Hebrews 1:7 are identified with the forces of nature. The same line of thought connects the angels here with the maintenance of the laws and limits imposed at Creation (cf.Job 38:7), reverence for which P. expresses in his own style by this allusion; see Hn[1640], Ed[1641], and Gd[1642]in loc. With this general view the interpretation is consistent which regards the angels as present in Divine worship and offended by irreverence and misconduct (see 1 Timothy 5:21), as (possibly) edified too by good behaviour (see Ephesians 3:10); cf. the ancient words of the Liturgy, “Therefore with Angels and Archangels, etc.” A familiar thought with the Ff[1643]; thus Cm[1644]ad loc[1645], “Open the eyes of faith, and thou shalt behold a multitude of angels; if the air is filled with angels, much more the Church”; and Thp[1646], . Similarly Hooker, “The house of prayer is a Court beautified with the presence of Celestial powers; there we stand, we sing, we sound forth hymns to God, having His angels intermingled as our associates; with reference hereunto the Ap. doth require so great care to be taken of decency for the Angels’ sake” (Eccl[1647] Pol., 11:25. 2). P. cannot mean evil angels subject to sensual temptation, as many, after Tert[1648], have read the passage, basing it on a precarious interpretation of Genesis 6:4 (see Everling, Die paul. Angelologie u.s.w., pp. 32 ff.)—an explanation far-fetched and grossly improbable. Others have seen in these pious men, prophets, Church-officers, even match-makers! Others have proposed emendations of the text, substituting or , or (during the preaching!). Baur, Sm[1649], and others would delete the troublesome words as a primitive gloss.

[1638] T. S. Evans in Speaker’s Commentary.

[1639] parallel.

[1640] C. F. G. Heinrici’s Erklärung der Korintherbriefe (1880), or 1 Korinther in Meyer’s krit.-exegetisches Kommentar (1896).

[1641] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.2

[1642] F. Godet’s Commentaire sur la prem. Ép. aux Corinthiens (Eng. Trans.).

[1643] Fathers.

[1644] John Chrysostom’s Homiliœ († 407).

[1645] ad locum, on this passage.

[1646] Theophylact, Greek Commentator.

[1647] ecclesiastical.

[1648]ert. Tertullian.

[1649] P. Schmiedel, in Handcommentar zum N.T. (1893).



Verses 11-12

1 Corinthians 11:11-12. . . . modifies and guards the foregoing; this conj. lies between and in its force—but besides, howbeit. What has been said in 1 Corinthians 11:3-10 must not be overpressed: woman is subordinate, not inferior; the sexes are alike, and inseparably necessary to the Christian order (1 Corinthians 11:11); and if man is the fountain, woman is the channel of the race’s life (1 Corinthians 11:12). . . .: “Neither is there woman apart from man, nor man apart from woman in the Lord.” Here Tennyson is the best commentator: “Either sex alone is half itself ’ each fulfils defect in each, and always thought in thought, purpose in purpose, will in will, they grow ’ the two-celled heart beating, with one full stroke, life”. (cf.1 Corinthians 7:39, etc.), i.e. under the rule of Christ, where woman’s rights are realised as nowhere in heathenism (cf.Galatians 3:28, Ephesians 5:28; also the wording of 1 Corinthians 7:3 f. above). For the contrast of and , see 1 Corinthians 8:6; “the woman has an equivalent in the Divine order of nature, that as man is the initial cause of being to the woman, so woman is the instrumental cause of being to the man” (Ev[1650]). But the is only a relative source; God is absolute Father— (cf.1 Corinthians 8:6, 1 Corinthians 1:30 and note, Romans 11:36). To Him man and woman owe one reverence.

[1650] T. S. Evans in Speaker’s Commentary.



Verse 13

1 Corinthians 11:13. There is a constitutional feeling which supports the above inference in favour of the woman’s veil; it was implied already in the and of 1 Corinthians 11:5 f., and is now explicitly stated: “Amongst yourselves (inter rather than intra vos ipsos) judge ye; is it seemly for a woman unveiled to be engaged in prayer (pr[1651] inf[1652]) to God?”—an appeal to social sentiment (cf.Romans 2:15, ), recalling the of 1 Corinthians 10:15. (neut. ptp[1653]: see parls.), as distinguished from or (1 Corinthians 11:7; 1 Corinthians 11:19), denotes befittingness, suitability to nature or character. lends solemnity to .

[1651] present tense.

[1652] infinitive mood.

[1653] participle



Verses 14-15

1 Corinthians 11:14-15. The question . . .; summons personal instinct to the aid of social sentiment: “Does not even nature of herself teach you that, etc.?” For , see Romans 2:14; in this connexion it points to man’s moral constitution rather than to external regulations; Hf. and El[1654] however, taking in the latter sense, reverse the order of thought in 1 Corinthians 11:13 f., seeing in the former ver. individual instinct (they render within yourselves), and in this ver. social rule.—Hf[1655] and Hn[1656], by a strained constr. of , render “because,” and draw the obj. of “teach” from 1 Corinthians 11:13, seeing in . . . the ground of the affirmative answer tacitly given to both questions: “Does not nature of herself teach (this)? (Yes), for if a man have long hair, etc.” The common rendering is preferable; the teaching of nature is expressed in a double sentence, which gathers the consensus gentium on the subject: “that in a man’s case, if he wear long hair (vir quidem si comam nutriat, Vg[1657]), it is a dishonour to him; but in a woman’s, if she wear long hair, it is a glory to her”. , stand in conspicuous antithesis preceding the conj.: what is discreditable in the one is delightful in the other. Homer’s warriors, it is true, wore long hair ( ), a fashion retained at Sparta; but the Athenian youth cropped his head at 18, and it was a mark of foppery or effeminacy (a legal ), except for the aristocratic Knights, to let the hair afterwards grow long. This feeling prevailed in ancient as it does in modern manners (cf. the case of Absalom). In the rule of the Nazirites natural instinct was set aside by an exceptional religious vocation. The woman’s is not merely no , but a positive ; herself the , her beauty has in this its crown and ensign. And this “glory” is grounded upon her humility: “because her hair to serve as a hood ( ) has been given her”—not as a substitute for head-dress (this would be to stultify Paul’s contention), but in the nature of a covering, thus to match the veil (en guise de voile, Gd[1658]); cf. , John 1:16; , Odyss. viii., 456. (pf. pass[1659]) connotes a permanent boon (see 2 Corinthians 8:1, 1 John 3:1, etc.). (from ), a wrapper, mantle, is here exceptionally used of head-gear.

[1654] C. J. Ellicott’s St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.

[1655] J. C. K. von Hofmann’s Die heilige Schrift N.T. untersucht, ii. 2 (2te Auflage, 1874).

[1656] C. F. G. Heinrici’s Erklärung der Korintherbriefe (1880), or 1 Korinther in Meyer’s krit.-exegetisches Kommentar (1896).

[1657] Latin Vulgate Translation.

[1658] F. Godet’s Commentaire sur la prem. Ép. aux Corinthiens (Eng. Trans.).

[1659] passive voice.



Verse 16

1 Corinthians 11:16 closes the discussion sharply, with its appeal to established Christian rule. If, after all that the Ap. has advanced in maintenance of the modest distinction between the sexes, any one is still minded to debate, he must be put down by authority—that of P. himself and his colleagues ( ), supported by universal Christendom; cf.1 Corinthians 14:33; 1 Corinthians 14:37 ff.— , not “seems,” but “thinks (presumes; see parls.) to be contentious”; takes ind[1660] of the case supposed (as in 1 Corinthians 10:27), and too likely in quarrelsome Cor[1661] , not amans victoriœ (Est.) as if from , but avidus litium (from ),—a disputer for disputation’s sake.— , in contrast with , means not “I and those likeminded” (Mr[1662]), but “I and my fellowministers” or “I and the Apostles generally” (cf.1 Corinthians 4:6-13, 1 Corinthians 15:11, 2 Corinthians 1:19; 2 Corinthians 4:13, etc.).— , the custom described in 1 Corinthians 11:4 f. above, which gave rise to the whole discussion; not, as many understand it, the custom of being contentious (a temper, surely, rather than a custom): no one could think of the App. ( ) indulging such a habit! The advocates of feminine emancipation may have supposed that P., the champion of liberty, was himself on their side, and that the rejection of the veil was in vogue elsewhere; he denies both. For , Lat. con-suetudo, see 1 Corinthians 8:7; for , 1 Corinthians 1:2, 1 Corinthians 4:17, the pl[1663] conveying the idea of unanimity amongst many. Those who explain “such a custom” as that of “being contentious,” usually link this ver. with 1 Corinthians 11:17 ff. It is true that the of the sequel, like the of 1 Corinthians 1:11, tended to ; in truth the disputatiousness of the Cor[1664] ran into everything—a woman’s shawl, or the merits of the Arch-apostles!

[1660] indicative mood.

[1661] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[1662] Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary (Eng. Trans.).

[1663] plural.

[1664] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.



Verse 17

1 Corinthians 11:17. If the T.R. be correct, (repeated in 1 Corinthians 11:22 b) points to the instruction about to be given respecting the Lord’s Supper: “Moreover ( ), in giving you this charge I do not praise (you), seeing that, etc.”: so Cm[1666] and Gr[1667] Ff[1668], Er[1669], Est., Bg[1670], Hf[1671], Hn[1672], Sm[1673] In 1 Corinthians 11:3 ff. P. rectified an error, now he must censure a glaring fault; “le ton devient celui du blâme positif” (Gd[1674]); 1 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Corinthians 11:17 both detract, in different degrees, from the “praise” of 1 Corinthians 11:2. has to wait long for its explanation; P. lingers over his preliminary rehearsal of the founding of the Lord’s Supper, and the “charge” is held in suspense; its gist becomes evident in 1 Corinthians 11:20 f. Neither the feminine indecorum censured in the last § (to which is referred by Mr[1675], Bt[1676], Gd[1677], El[1678], etc.), nor the contentiousness glanced at in 1 Corinthians 11:16 (by which Ev[1679] and Ed[1680] explain it), has been, strictly speaking, matter of a charge; moreover, the backward ref[1681] of involves the awkwardness of associating and its introductory ptp[1682] with disconnected objects; these interpretations better fit the other reading, . With certain specific and solemn injunctions respecting the Eucharist in view, P. says, “I do not praise (you), in that not for the better but for the worse you come together”.— , with the like broad sense as in 1 Corinthians 1:5, 1 Corinthians 9:10, gives at once the content and ground of dispraise. The general profitlessness of the Church assemblies reached its climax in the desecration of the Lord’s Supper, their hallowing bond (1 Corinthians 10:16 f.).

[1666] John Chrysostom’s Homiliœ († 407).

[1667] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

[1668] Fathers.

[1669] Erasmus’ In N.T. Annotationes.

[1670] Bengel’s Gnomon Novi Testamenti.

[1671] J. C. K. von Hofmann’s Die heilige Schrift N.T. untersucht, ii. 2 (2te Auflage, 1874).

[1672] C. F. G. Heinrici’s Erklärung der Korintherbriefe (1880), or 1 Korinther in Meyer’s krit.-exegetisches Kommentar (1896).

[1673] P. Schmiedel, in Handcommentar zum N.T. (1893).

[1674] F. Godet’s Commentaire sur la prem. Ép. aux Corinthiens (Eng. Trans.).

[1675] Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary (Eng. Trans.).

[1676] J. A. Beet’s St. Paul’s Epp. to the Corinthians (1882).

[1677] F. Godet’s Commentaire sur la prem. Ép. aux Corinthiens (Eng. Trans.).

[1678] C. J. Ellicott’s St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.

[1679] T. S. Evans in Speaker’s Commentary.

[1680] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.2

[1681] reference.

[1682] participle



Verses 17-22

1 Corinthians 11:17-22. § 37. THE CHURCH MEETING FOR THE WORSE. The Cor[1665] Church had written self-complacently, expecting the Apostle’s commendation upon its report (1 Corinthians 11:2). In reply P. has just pointed out one serious irregularity, which might indeed be put down to ignorance (1 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Corinthians 11:16). No such excuse is possible in regard to the disorders he has now to speak of, which are reported to him on evidence that he cannot discredit (1 Corinthians 11:18)—viz., the divisions apparent in the Church meetings (1 Corinthians 11:19), and the gross selfishness and sensuality displayed at the common meals (1 Corinthians 11:20 ff.). Such behaviour he certainly cannot praise (1 Corinthians 11:17; 1 Corinthians 11:22).

[1665] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.



Verse 18

1 Corinthians 11:18. The severe reproach, , is justified by 1 Corinthians 11:18-22, which lead round to the intended .— requires an , that is not forthcoming (cf.Romans 1:8): the complement appears to lie in 12–14.—viz., the abuse of spiritual gifts, a further and prominent ground of disapproval (Mr[1683], Hn[1684], El[1685]). Bt[1686] and Ed[1687] find the antithesis in , 1 Corinthians 11:34 b. Hf[1688] renders “chiefly,” dispensing with any complement, but supposes a mental . 1 Corinthians 11:20 gives no contrasted ground of censure, it stands upon the same ground.— (not ., in the Church): “as often as you come together in assembly”—ptp[1689] pr[1690] of repeated occurrence; the in Church meetings were chronic. For , see 1 Corinthians 1:10 f.; the pr[1691] “I am hearing” suggests (in contrast with above) continued information from various quarters (cf.1 Corinthians 5:1, ): hence the qualifying (acc[1692] of definition) , wanting in ch. i.; P. does not “believe” everything reported to him, but so much as is stated he does credit.— (see parls.) implies not the bare fact, but a characteristic fact, a proprium of this Church—“have their place (are there) amongst you”: cf.Acts 28:18.

[1683] Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary (Eng. Trans.).

[1684] C. F. G. Heinrici’s Erklärung der Korintherbriefe (1880), or 1 Korinther in Meyer’s krit.-exegetisches Kommentar (1896).

[1685] C. J. Ellicott’s St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.

[1686] J. A. Beet’s St. Paul’s Epp. to the Corinthians (1882).

[1687] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.2

[1688] J. C. K. von Hofmann’s Die heilige Schrift N.T. untersucht, ii. 2 (2te Auflage, 1874).

[1689] participle

[1690] present tense.

[1691] present tense.

[1692] accusative case.



Verse 19

1 Corinthians 11:19. Paul is prepared to believe what he thus hears; these divisions were inevitable: “For indeed parties must needs exist among you”.— affirms a necessity lying in the moral conditions of the case (see note on , 1 Corinthians 11:7).— (see parls., and note on 1 Corinthians 1:11; from , to choose) is more specific than , implying mental tendency—in philosophy a school, Richtung, then a sect or party formed on a basis of opinion: see Cr[1693], s.v.; also Trench, Syn. § 4; “Heresy is theoretical schism, schism practical heresy”. These words designate, as yet, parties within the Church; in Titus 3:10, 2 Peter 2:1, they verge toward their ecclesiastical use.—Now there is a true purpose of God fulfilled in these unhappy divisions; they serve to sift the loyal from the disloyal. “in order that also the approved may become manifest among you”. These are a magnet attracting unsound and unsettled minds, and leaving genuine believers to stand out “approved” by their constancy; see 2 Thessalonians 2:11 f., where the same thought is differently applied; also Romans 5:4, , 1 Peter 1:7; alsoTert[1694], De Prœscr. Hœret., 4, “ut fides habendo tentationem habeat etiam probationem”. For , accepted on proof, see parls., esp. 1 Corinthians 9:27; those approved with God thus “become manifest” to men; “l’effet est de manifester au grand jour les membres de l’église sérieux et de bon aloi” (Gd[1695]). “Dominus talibus experimentis probat constantiam suorum. Pulchra consolatio!” (Cv[1696]).

[1693] Cremer’s Biblico-Theological Lexicon of N.T. Greek (Eng. Trans.).

[1694]ert. Tertullian.

[1695] F. Godet’s Commentaire sur la prem. Ép. aux Corinthiens (Eng. Trans.).

[1696] Calvin’s In Nov. Testamentum Commentarii.



Verses 20-21

1 Corinthians 11:20-21 resume with emphasis the circumstantial clause of 1 Corinthians 11:18 and draw out, by , the disastrous issue of the : they produce a visible separation at the common meal of the Church, destroying the reality of the Lord’s Supper. Ch. 1 Corinthians 1:12, 1 Corinthians 3:3 f., 1 Corinthians 4:6, showed that the Cor[1697] divisions were of a partisan character, and 1 Corinthians 1:19 that intellectual differences entered into them (cf.1 Corinthians 8:1-7); but distinctions of wealth contributed to the same effect. The two latter influences conspired, the richer and more cultivated Cor[1698] Christians leaning to a self-indulgence which they justified on the ground of enlightenment; the sloped down toward .— , “to the same (spot)”.— . . . can hardly mean, “it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper” (so Al[1699] and others)—for the Cor[1700]intended this, but by unworthy behaviour (1 Corinthians 11:26 f.) neutralised their purpose: P. says either “it (sc. your feast) is not an eating of the Lord’s Supper” (A.V., Bz[1701], Est., D.W[1702], Bt[1703], Hn[1704], EL[1705], Gd[1706]: “ce n’est pas là manger, etc.”); or, “it is not (possible) to eat the Lord’s Supper” (R.V., Bg[1707], Mr[1708], Hf[1709], Ed[1710], Ev[1711])—such eating is out of the question. 1 Corinthians 11:21 bears out the last interpretation, since it.describes a state of things not merely nullifying but repugnant to any true ; carries this strong sense, negativing the idea as well as fact, in Hebrews 9:5, and often in cl[1712] Gr[1713]—The adj[1714] (= ) stands in emphatic contrast with , the termination - signifying kind or nature: “It is impossible to eat a supper of the Lord, for each man is in haste to get ( prœoccupat, Bz[1715]) his own supper when he eats,”—or “during the meal” (Ev[1716]; , in edendo, Bz[1717]; not ad manducandum, as in Vg[1718]). Instead of waiting for one another (1 Corinthians 11:33), the Cor[1719], as they entered the assemblyroom bringing their provisions, sat down at once to consume each his own supply, like private diners at a restaurant; - suggests, in view of 1 Corinthians 11:22, that the rich even hurried to do this, so as to avoid sharing with slaves and low people at a common dish (1 Corinthians 11:22).—The . was a kind of club-supper, with which the evening meeting of the Church commenced (18a, 20a), taking place at least once a week on the Lord’s Day (cf.Acts 20:7 ff.). This Church-supper, afterwards called the Agapé (see Dict. of Christian Antiq. s.v.; also Ed[1720]ad loc[1721]) was analogous to the and held by the guilds and friendly societies then rife amongst the Greeks. Originating as a kind of enlarged family meal in the Church of Jerus. (Acts 2:46), the practice of the common supper accorded so well with social custom that it was universal amongst Christians in the first century (see Weizsäcker’s Apost. Age, vol. ii., pp. 279–286). Gradually the Eucharist was separated from the Agapé for greater decorum, and the latter degenerated and became extinct; here they are one, as in the Last Supper itself. The table was provisioned at Cor[1722] not from a general fund (as was usual in the or collegia), but by each guest bringing his contribution in kind, a practice not uncommon in private parties, which had the disadvantage of accentuating social differences. While the poor brought little or nothing to the feast and might be ashamed to show his fare, the rich man exhibited a loaded basket out of which he could feed to repletion. All was destroyed; such vulgarity would have disgraced a heathen guild-feast. The Lord, the common Host, was forgotten at His table. sc. the poor man, whose small store was insufficient, or who arriving late (for his time was not his own) found the table cleared (cf. ). , “but another is drunk!” or in the lighter sense suggested by , plus satis bibit (Gr[1723], Hn[1724]), “drinks to the full” (cf.John 2:10); the scene of sensual greed and pride might well culminate in drunkenness. Of all imaginable schisms the most shocking: hunger and intoxication side by side, at what is supposed to be the Table of the Lord! This is indeed “meeting for the worse”.—For the demonstr. use of the rel[1725] pron[1726] with and , see Wr[1727], p. 130.

[1697] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[1698] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[1699] Alford’s Greek Testament.

[1700] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[1701] Beza’s Nov. Testamentum: Interpretatio et Annotationes (Cantab., 1642).

[1702].W. De Wette’s Handbuch z. N. T.

[1703] J. A. Beet’s St. Paul’s Epp. to the Corinthians (1882).

[1704] C. F. G. Heinrici’s Erklärung der Korintherbriefe (1880), or 1 Korinther in Meyer’s krit.-exegetisches Kommentar (1896).

[1705] C. J. Ellicott’s St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.

[1706] F. Godet’s Commentaire sur la prem. Ép. aux Corinthiens (Eng. Trans.).

[1707] Bengel’s Gnomon Novi Testamenti.

[1708] Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary (Eng. Trans.).

[1709] J. C. K. von Hofmann’s Die heilige Schrift N.T. untersucht, ii. 2 (2te Auflage, 1874).

[1710] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.2

[1711] T. S. Evans in Speaker’s Commentary.

[1712] classical.

[1713] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

[1714] adjective.

[1715] Beza’s Nov. Testamentum: Interpretatio et Annotationes (Cantab., 1642).

[1716] T. S. Evans in Speaker’s Commentary.

[1717] Beza’s Nov. Testamentum: Interpretatio et Annotationes (Cantab., 1642).

[1718] Latin Vulgate Translation.

[1719] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[1720] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.2

[1721] ad locum, on this passage.

[1722] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[1723] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

[1724] C. F. G. Heinrici’s Erklärung der Korintherbriefe (1880), or 1 Korinther in Meyer’s krit.-exegetisches Kommentar (1896).

[1725] relative pronoun.

[1726]ron. pronoun.

[1727] Winer-Moulton’s Grammar of N.T. Greek (8th ed., 1877).



Verse 22

1 Corinthians 11:22. . . .; “For is it that you have not houses to eat and drink in?” See 1 Corinthians 11:34, and note. The brings in an ironical excuse: “For I suppose you act thus because you are houseless, and must satisfy your appetite at church!” cf. ; Acts 8:31.—If this voracity cannot be excused by a physical need which the offenders had no other means of supplying—if, that is to say, their action is deliberate—they must intend to pour scorn on the Church and to insult their humbler brethren: “Or do you despise the church of God, and cast shame on those that are without means?” For , an expression of awful dignity, see 1 Corinthians 1:2, 1 Corinthians 10:32. , “the have-nots” (cf.2 Corinthians 8:12)— in cl[1728] Gr[1729] signifies “the men of property”; (of the point of view) rather than (of the fact), for the poor with their beggarly rations are shamed by the full-fed on this very account. What could show coarser contempt for the Church assembly?—P. shows a fine self-restraint in the litotes of the last sentence: ; . . .: “What am I to say to you? Should I praise (you)? In this matter I praise you not”. , deliberative aor[1730] sbj[1731], like , for the question refers not to the future, but to the situation depicted (see Wr[1732], p. 356). has great point and emphasis when attached to the following (so R.V. marg., after early Verss., Bz[1733], Est., Mr[1734], Hn[1735], Gd[1736], Bt[1737], El[1738], Ed[1739]); thus also better matches , and the last clause prepares for the important of the ensuing ver.

[1728] classical.

[1729] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

[1730] aorist tense.

[1731] subjunctive mood.

[1732] Winer-Moulton’s Grammar of N.T. Greek (8th ed., 1877).

[1733] Beza’s Nov. Testamentum: Interpretatio et Annotationes (Cantab., 1642).

[1734] Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary (Eng. Trans.).

[1735] C. F. G. Heinrici’s Erklärung der Korintherbriefe (1880), or 1 Korinther in Meyer’s krit.-exegetisches Kommentar (1896).

[1736] F. Godet’s Commentaire sur la prem. Ép. aux Corinthiens (Eng. Trans.).

[1737] J. A. Beet’s St. Paul’s Epp. to the Corinthians (1882).

[1738] C. J. Ellicott’s St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.

[1739] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.2



Verses 23-24

1 Corinthians 11:23-24. Amongst the things the Ap. had “delivered” to his readers, that they professed to be “holding fast” (1 Corinthians 11:2), was the story of the Last Supper of the Lord Jesus, which the Church perpetuates in its communion-feast.— antithetical to : I the imparter, you the receivers, of these solemn facts.— neither excludes, nor suggests (cf.1 Corinthians 1:30, 1 Corinthians 14:36, etc.) as might have done (Galatians 1:12, 1 Thessalonians 2:13), independent impartation to P.; “it marks the whence of the communication, in a wide and general sense” (El[1741]); the Ap. vouches for it that what he related came authentically from the Lord. denotes “receiving a deposit or trust” (Ed[1742]). “The Lord Jesus,” see 1 Corinthians 1:8.—The allusion to “the night in which He was betrayed” (graphic impf[1743], “while the betrayal went on”), is no mere note of time; it throws into relief the fidelity of Jesus in the covenant (1 Corinthians 11:25) thus made with His people, and enhances the holy pathos of the recollection; behind the Saviour lurks the Traitor. Incidentally, it shows how detailed and matter-of-fact was the account of the Passion given to Paul’s converts. For the irreg. impf[1744], , see Wr[1745], p. 95, note 3.— , “took a loaf” (ein Brod: cf. the of 1 Corinthians 10:17)—one of the flat and brittle unleavened cakes of the Passover Table. . . ., “and after pronouncing the blessing, broke it and said, etc.” This was apparently the blessing inaugurating the meal, which was followed by the symbolic bread-breaking, whereas “the cup” was administered (1 Corinthians 11:25); cf.Luke 22:17 ff. (see notes ad loc[1746] in vol. i.), whose account is nearly the same as Paul’s, differing in some important particulars from that of Matt. and Mark. Luke, however, introduces a preparatory cup of renunciation on the part of Jesus, “prolusio cœnæ” (Bg[1747]). The fractio panis, the sign of the commencement of a household or social meal (Luke 24:30; Acts 2:42), is prominent in each narrative; this act supplied another name for the Sacrament.—Regarding the words pronounced over the broken loaf, we bear in mind (1) that Jesus said of the bread “This is my body,” Himself sitting there in His visible person, when the identification of substance could not occur to any one; (2) that the parl[1748] saying concerning “the cup” expounds by the word “covenant” (covenant in my blood, in Luke and P.; my blood of the covenant in Matt, and Mark) the connexion of symbol and thing symbolised, linking the cup and blood, and by analogy the loaf and body, as one not by confusion of substance but by correspondence of relation: what the blood effects, the cup sets forth and seals. The bread, standing for the body, “is the body” representatively; broken for Christ’s disciples, it serves materially in the Supper the part which His slain body is about to serve spiritually “for the life of the world”. Our Lord thus puts into an acted parable the doctrine taught by figurative speech in John 6:48 ff. “ is here the copula of symbolic being; otherwise the identity of subject and predicate would form a conception equally impossible to Speaker and hearers” (Mr[1749]).— ( an early gloss), “that is for you”—in all its relations subsisting for men; for our advantage He wore the (2 Corinthians 8:9, Philippians 2:7, Hebrews 2:14 ff., etc.).—The clause is peculiar to Luke and Paul: their witness is good evidence that the words are (1 Corinthians 11:23). The sacrificial sense put on by many “Catholic” exegetes (as though syn[1750] with the Homeric , and ‘asah of Exodus 29:39, etc.) is without lexical warrant, and “plane præter mentem Scripturæ” as the R.C[1751] Estius honestly says; see also El[1752]ad loc[1753] (cf. , 1 Corinthians 15:31) , in mei memoriam (Cv[1754]); Ed[1755] reads it “My commemoration” in contrast to that of Moses (1 Corinthians 10:2), making . correspond to of 1 Corinthians 11:25.

[1741] C. J. Ellicott’s St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.

[1742] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.2

[1743]mpf. imperfect tense.

[1744]mpf. imperfect tense.

[1745] Winer-Moulton’s Grammar of N.T. Greek (8th ed., 1877).

[1746] ad locum, on this passage.

[1747] Bengel’s Gnomon Novi Testamenti.

[1748] parallel.

[1749] Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary (Eng. Trans.).

[1750] synonym, synonymous.

[1751].C. Roman Catholic.

[1752] C. J. Ellicott’s St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.

[1753] ad locum, on this passage.

[1754] Calvin’s In Nov. Testamentum Commentarii.

[1755] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.2



Verses 23-34

1 Corinthians 11:23-34. § 38. UNWORTHY PARTICIPANTS OF THE LORD’S BREAD AND CUP. The behaviour of the wealthier Cor[1740] at the Church Supper is scandalous in itself; viewed in the light of the institution and meaning of the Eucharistic ordinance, their culpability is extreme (1 Corinthians 11:23-27). The sense of this should set the readers on self-examination (1 Corinthians 11:28 f.). The sickness and mortality rife amongst them are a sign of the Lord’s displeasure in this very matter, and a loud call to amendment (1 Corinthians 11:30-32). Two practical directions are finally given: that the members of the Church should wait until all are gathered before commencing supper; and that where hunger forbids delay, food should first be taken at home (1 Corinthians 11:33 f.).

[1740] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.



Verse 25

1 Corinthians 11:25. : “In the same fashion also (He gave) the cup”. The two ritual actions correspond, and form one covenant.— (as in Luke)—“postquam cœnaverunt” (Cv[1756]), or better “cœnatum est” (Rom. Liturgy)—is studiously added to “emphasise the distinction between the Lord’s Supper and an ordinary evening meal; cf.1 Corinthians 11:20 f.—The eating of the bread originally formed part of the common meal (consider Matthew 26:26, Mark 14:22, ), and may still have so continued, but the cup was certainly afterwards” (El[1757])—a solemn close to the .—“This cup is (see note 24: wanting in Luke) the new covenant, in my blood”; cf. notes on 1 Corinthians 10:16 f. for ., and the relation of to . The cup, given by the Lord’s hand and tasted by each disciple in turn, is a virtual covenant for all concerned; in His blood it becomes so ( . . is made by its position a further predicate, not a mere adjunct of .: cf.Romans 3:25), since that is the ground on which God grants and man accepts the covenant. For , see Cr[1758], s.v.; this term, in distinction from , indicates the initiative of God as Disposer in the great agreement. For P.’s interpretation of . , see Romans 3:23 ff., Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 2:13 ff., Colossians 1:20; also parls. in Ep. to Heb., Revelation 1:5, 1 John 1:7, 1 Peter 1:18 f. For “new covenant,” see parls.: , new in nature, contents, as securing complete forgiveness and spiritual renovation (Jer[1759] 31:31 ff., etc.).“This do ’ for the commemoration of Me”: see 1 Corinthians 11:24 b; includes, beside the act, the accompanying words, without which the is imperfect. (late Gr[1760] for ) : “so many times as (quotiescunque) you drink (it)”—the cup of the context; not “so often as you drink” (Hf[1761]), sc. at any table where Christians meet. Our Lord prescribed no set times; P. assumes that celebration will be frequent, for he directs that, however frequent, it must be guided by the Lord’s instructions, so as to keep the remembrance of Him unimpaired.

[1756] Calvin’s In Nov. Testamentum Commentarii.

[1757] C. J. Ellicott’s St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.

[1758] Cremer’s Biblico-Theological Lexicon of N.T. Greek (Eng. Trans.).

[1759] Jerome, Hieronymus.

[1760] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

[1761] J. C. K. von Hofmann’s Die heilige Schrift N.T. untersucht, ii. 2 (2te Auflage, 1874).



Verse 26

1 Corinthians 11:26. Familiarity helped to blunt in the Cor[1762] their reverence for the Eucharist; hence the repeated : “for so many times as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you are proclaiming the Lord’s death, until He come”. has its proper explicative force: Christ bade His disciples thus perpetually commemorate Him (1 Corinthians 11:24 f.: , “go on to do”—sustained action), “for it is thus that you publish His death, and in this form the testimony will continue till He comes again.” (see parls.), on this view ind[1763], is the active expression of : “Christus de beneficio mortis suae nos admonet, et nos coram hominibus id recognovimus” (Cv[1764]). The ordinance is a verbum visi-bile, a “preaching” of the entire Church in silent ministry: “Christi sanguis scripturarum omnium sacramento ac testimonio effusus prœdicatur” (Cyprian, quoted by Ed[1765]). states the terminus ad quem given in the words of Jesus at the Table, Luke 22:18, Matthew 26:29. The rite looks forward as well as backward; a rehearsal of the Passion Supper, a foretaste of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Paul thus “associates with the of the celebrants the fear and trembling that belong to the Maranatha of 1 Corinthians 16:22” (Mr[1766]). The pathos and the glory of the Table of the Lord were alike lost on the Corinthians.

[1762] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[1763] indicative mood.

[1764] Calvin’s In Nov. Testamentum Commentarii.

[1765] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.2

[1766] Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary (Eng. Trans.).



Verse 27

1 Corinthians 11:27 draws the practical consequence of 1 Corinthians 11:20-26, stating the judgement upon Cor[1767] behaviour at the Supper that a right estimate of the covenant-cup and bread demands: “So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily, will be held guilty ( ; reus tenetur, Bz[1768]; rather, tene-bitur) of the body and blood of the Lord”; it is this that he ignores or insults; cf.1 Corinthians 11:29. On with ind[1769], see note to 1 Corinthians 3:7. What “unworthily” means is patent from 1 Corinthians 11:20 ff.—The or, for and, between and supplies the single text adducible for the R.C[1770] practice of lay communion in one kind: “non leve argumentum,” says Est., “non enim sic loqueretur Ap., si non sentiret unam speciem sine altera sumi posse”. But and appeared in just the same connexion in 1 Corinthians 11:26, and reappears in 1 Corinthians 11:28 f.; “or” replaces “and” when one is thinking of the parl[1771] acts distinctly, and the same communicant might behave unworthily in either act, esp. as the breaking of the bread and taking of the cup at this time came in probably at the beginning and end respectively of the Church Supper, and were separated by an interval of time; see notes on and . . (1 Corinthians 11:24 f.). (from - , to hold in some liability) acquires in late Gr[1772], like , a gen[1773] of person against whom offence is committed; see Ed[1774]in loc. To outrage the emblem is to outrage its original—as if one should mock at the Queen’s picture or at his country’s flag. Except , the vbs. throughout this passage are pr[1775] in tense, relating to habit.

[1767] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[1768] Beza’s Nov. Testamentum: Interpretatio et Annotationes (Cantab., 1642).

[1769] indicative mood.

[1770].C. Roman Catholic.

[1771] parallel.

[1772] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

[1773] genitive case.

[1774] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.2

[1775] present tense.



Verse 28

1 Corinthians 11:28. “But (in contrast with the guilt described, and in order to escape it) let a man put himself to proof, and so from the bread let him eat and from the cup let him drink.” , replacing (1 Corinthians 11:27), is qualitative, “containing the ideas of infirmity and responsibility” (Gd[1776]); cf.1 Corinthians 3:4, 1 Corinthians 10:13. On , see 1 Corinthians 3:13, and parls.; it signifies not judicial examination ( , 1 Corinthians 4:3, etc.), nor discriminative estimate ( , 31), but self-probing (probet se ipsum, Vg[1777]; not exploret se, Bz[1778]) with a view to fit partaking; any serious attempt at this would make the scene of 1 Corinthians 11:20 ff. impossible: the impv[1779] is pr., enjoining a practice; the communicant must test himself habitually by the great realities with which he is confronted, asking himself, e.g., whether he “discerns the Lord’s body” (1 Corinthians 11:29).— : scarcely sic demum (Bg[1780]), but hoc cum animo; cf. Philippians 4:1. , —a solemn fulness of expression, in keeping with the temper of mind required; the prp[1781] implies participation with others (cf.1 Corinthians 9:7; 1 Corinthians 9:13, 1 Corinthians 10:17).

[1776] F. Godet’s Commentaire sur la prem. Ép. aux Corinthiens (Eng. Trans.).

[1777] Latin Vulgate Translation.

[1778] Beza’s Nov. Testamentum: Interpretatio et Annotationes (Cantab., 1642).

[1779] imperative mood.

[1780] Bengel’s Gnomon Novi Testamenti.

[1781] preposition.



Verse 29

1 Corinthians 11:29. Participation in the bread and cup is itself a : “For he that eats and drinks, a judgment for himself (sentence on himself) he eats and drinks”. The single art[1782] of , combining the acts, negatives the R.C[1783] inference from the of 1 Corinthians 11:27 (see note). Contact with Christ in this ordinance probes each man to the depths (cf.John 3:18 f., John 9:39); it is true of the Lord’s verbum visibile, as of His verbum audibile, that he who receives it (John 12:48). His attitude toward the Lord at His table revealed with shocking evidence the spiritual condition of many a Cor[1784] Christian—his carnality and blindness as one “not distinguishing the body”.—The two senses given by interpreters to are, as Hn[1785] says, somewhat blended here (“Beruht jedes Urtheilen auf Entscheiden und Unterscheiden”), as in dijudicans (Vg[1786]): one “discerns (judges clearly and rightly of) the (Lord’s) body” in the sacrament and therein “discriminates” the rite from all other eating and drinking—precisely what the Cor[1787] failed to do (1 Corinthians 11:20 ff.). They did not descry the signified in the sign, the Incarnate and Crucified in His memorial loaf and cup, and their Supper became a mere vulgar matter of meat and drink. This ordinance exposed them for what they were— (1 Corinthians 3:3).— (cf.1 Corinthians 11:24 ff.)—a reverent aposiopesis, resembling in 1 Corinthians 3:13 (see note); the explanation of some Lutherans, that means “the substance” underlying the material element, is foreign to the context and to Apostolic times. On “the serious doctrinal question” as to what the unfaithful receive in the sacrament, see El[1788]ad loc[1789] Distinguish (unhappily rendered “damnation” in A.V.), a judicial sentence of any kind, from , the final condemnation of the sinner (32; Romans 5:16).

[1782] grammatical article.

[1783] Roman Catholic.

[1784] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[1785] C. F. G. Heinrici’s Erklärung der Korintherbriefe (1880), or 1 Korinther in Meyer’s krit.-exegetisches Kommentar (1896).

[1786] Latin Vulgate Translation.

[1787] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[1788] C. J. Ellicott’s St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.

[1789] ad locum, on this passage.



Verse 30

1 Corinthians 11:30. In evidence of the “judgment” which profanation of the Lord’s Table entails, the Ap. points to the sad fact that “amongst you many are sick and weakly, and not a few are sleeping”.— applies to maladies of any kind, to cases of debility and continued ill-health—ægroti et valetudinarii (Bz[1790]). The added (the Christian syn[1791] for ) shows that P. is speaking not figuratively of low spiritual conditions, but literally of physical inflictions which he knows to be their consequence ( ). We must be careful not to generalise from this single instance (see John 9:3). The mere coincidence of such afflictions with the desecration of the Eucharist could not have justified P. in making this statement; he must have been conscious of some specific revelation to this effect. For (a sufficient number—something like our “plenty of you”), see parls.; “something less than , though sufficiently numerous to arouse serious attention” (El[1792]). The “sleepers” had died in the Lord, or this term would not have been used of them; it does not appear that this visitation had singled out the profaners of the Sacrament; the community is suffering, for widely-spread offence. Both in the removal and infliction of physical evil, the inauguration of the New Covenant, as of the Old, was marked by displays of supernatural power.

[1790] Beza’s Nov. Testamentum: Interpretatio et Annotationes (Cantab., 1642).

[1791] synonym, synonymous.

[1792] C. J. Ellicott’s St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.



Verses 31-32

1 Corinthians 11:31-32. Such chastisements may be averted; when they come, it is for our salvation: “If however we discerned (or discriminated: dijudicaremus, Vg[1793]) ourselves, we should not be judged”.— is taken up from 1 Corinthians 11:29 (see note); it is distinguished from , which in turn is contrasted with (1 Corinthians 11:32).— in the sequel explains the bearing of here: it expresses a discriminating judgment, by which the Christian rightly appreciates his own status and calling, and realises his distinctive character, even as the of 1 Corinthians 11:29 realises the diff[1794] between the and a common . The alliterative play on and its compounds is untranslatable; cf.1 Corinthians 2:13 ff., 1 Corinthians 4:3 ff. For the form of hypothesis, see 1 Corinthians 2:8; for the pers. of , 1 Corinthians 6:7.— assumes, from 1 Corinthians 11:30, as a fact the consequence hypothetically denied in the last sentence: “But under judgment as we are, we are being chastised by the Lord, in order that we may not with the world be condemned” ( , judged-against, to our ruin). Thus hope is extracted from a sorrowful situation; cf.Hebrews 12:6 f., Revelation 3:19; (Cm[1795]). On , to treat as a boy, see Trench, Syn., § 32. Plato describes as ; cf. the proverb, . Ch. 1 Corinthians 5:5 is the extreme case of such “chastening” unto salvation; cf.Psalms 119:67, etc.— (p[1796].), a disciplinary proceeding; (aor[1797]), a definitive pronouncement; cf.Acts 17:31, etc. P. associates himself, by 1st pers[1798] pl[1799], with the readers, sharing his Churches’ troubles (2 Corinthians 11:28 f.).

[1793] Latin Vulgate Translation.

[1794] difference, different, differently.

[1795] John Chrysostom’s Homiliœ († 407).

[1796] present tense.

[1797] aorist tense.

[1798] grammatical person, or personal.

[1799] plural.



Verses 33-34

1 Corinthians 11:33-34 a. The “charge” (1 Corinthians 11:17) proceeds from inward to outward, from self-examination (1 Corinthians 11:28) to mutual accommodation respecting the Lord’s Supper. Religious decorum depends on two conditions,—a becoming spirit associated with fitting external arrangements, such as good sense and reverence dictate: “And so, my brothers, when you meet for the meal, wait for one another”.— adds a touch of affection to what has been severely said.— carries us back to 1 Corinthians 11:17; 1 Corinthians 11:20; the same train of admonition throughout.— embraces the entire Church Supper; see notes on 1 Corinthians 11:20 f.; the order (invicem expectate, Vg[1800]) forbids the hasty and schismatic (1 Corinthians 11:21); no one must begin supper till the Church is gathered, so that all may commence together and share alike. To wait for others presumes waiting to feast with them.— never means excipio (receive: so Hf[1801], and a few others), but always exspecto in the N.T.; with the former sense in cl[1802] Gr[1803], it signifies to receive (a person) from some particular quarter.—Some might object that hunger is pressing, and they cannot wait; to these Paul says, “If any one is hungry, let him eat at home”—staying his appetite before he comes to the meeting; cf.1 Corinthians 11:21-22 a. The Church Supper is for good-fellowship, not for bodily need; to eat there like a famished man, absorbed in one’s food—if nothing worse happen—is to exclude Christian and religious thoughts.— , not (1 Corinthians 11:18: note the absence of the art[1804]).—“Coming together ” (for a judgment) defines the “coming together ” of 1 Corinthians 11:17 in terms of 1 Corinthians 11:29-32. , pr[1805] sbj[1806], of the stated meetings, as in 1 Corinthians 11:18, etc. This warning ( ) closes the introduced in 1 Corinthians 11:17. For a clear and impartial account of the various doctrines of the Lord’s Supper connected with this passage, see Bt[1807], pp. 206 ff.

[1800] Latin Vulgate Translation.

[1801] J. C. K. von Hofmann’s Die heilige Schrift N.T. untersucht, ii. 2 (2te Auflage, 1874).

[1802] classical.

[1803] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

[1804] grammatical article.

[1805] present tense.

[1806] subjunctive mood.

[1807] J. A. Beet’s St. Paul’s Epp. to the Corinthians (1882).

1 Corinthians 11:34 b. , an etcetera appended to the charge—“other matters,” probably of detail connected with the Church Supper and the . Ed[1808] takes this as the antithesis to the of 1 Corinthians 11:18 (see note), and supposes to refer to other different matters, of which P. would postpone discussion till his arrival—addressing himself notwithstanding to one of the principal of these in 1 Corinthians 12:1 ff.— , “according as I may come”: the Ap. is uncertain when and under what circumstances he may next visit Cor[1809] (cf.1 Corinthians 16:5-9); his intention to set matters in order is subject to this contingency.— (see parls.) refers, presumably, to points of external order, such as those just dealt with. Romanists (see Est.) justify by this text their alleged unwritten apostolic traditions respecting the Eucharist: fasting communion, e.g., is placed amongst the unspecified .

[1808] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.2

[1809] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.



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Bibliographical Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 11". The Expositor's Greek Testament. 1897-1910.