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Bible Commentaries

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

1 Corinthians 11

Verse 2

Keep the ordinances ; the directions which I have given you. The apostle being compelled to censure certain practices in the Corinthian church, is careful to manifest towards them his candor and good will by commending their general regard to his precepts-an example which all who have occasion to censure their brethren will do well to imitate. A disposition to commend in others whatever is commendable is essential in those who are called to administer reproof; and the manifestation of such a disposition tends to prepare men to receive reproof with kindness, and to be rightly affected by it.

Verse 3

Head ; rightful governor or ruler.

The head of Christ is God ; in the work of redemption, Christ, as Mediator, was subject to the Father, and acted in obedience to him. So Christians should be subject to Christ, and the woman to the man. It is the will of God that there should be a difference of condition, and this requires a difference in their appearance.

Verse 4

Prophesying ; see note to chap 1 Corinthians 12:28 .

Having his head covered ; the apostle regards a covering on the head as a sign of subjection. He would have the men prophecy and pray with their heads uncovered, that they may not disown the dignity which God has conferred upon them as, under Christ, the head of the human family; their uncovered heads will be a sign that they have no earthly lord.

Dishonoreth his head ; according to some, his own head; according to others, Christ. Both interpretations come to the same thing, since it is through the dishonor which the man puts on his own head that he dishonors Christ, by seeming thus to subject himself to an earthly head.

Verse 5

Dishonoreth her head ; her husband, by appearing as if she were not in subjection to the man.

That is even all one as if she were shaven ; it has the same significance, and therefore puts the same dishonor upon her head. The apostle means that one thing may as properly be done as the other. But all acknowledge the latter to be a reproach to her. The former was therefore a reproach also.

Verse 6

Let her also be shorn ; have her hair cut off.

Let her be covered ; veiled, as a token of subjection to man.

Verse 7

The image and glory of God ; his representative, and reflecting his glory as ruler of this lower world. Genesis 1:26-31 ; Genesis 2:16 ; The glory of the man ; her excellence is an expression of his dignity and worth, since she was formed of him and for him. Genesis 2:18 ; Genesis 2:22-23 . It is the will of God that there should be due subordination of one class of persons to another, and that this should be manifested in their dress and deportment. Our character, usefulness, and enjoyment very much depend upon suitable recognizing the relations which God has established, and acting in accordance with them.

Verse 10

Power ; that is, a veil, as the token of her husband’s rightful authority over her, and of her subjection to him.

Because of the angels ; probably the holy angels, who, as "ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation," were present in the Christian assemblies, and witnessed the propriety or impropriety of their conduct, as reflecting honor or dishonor on Christ and his cause.

Verse 11

In the Lord ; according to his arrangement. Though one is subject to the other, both, on believing in Christ, are accepted of him. They are equally needful to, and should be equally respected and beloved by each other.

Verse 14

It is a shame unto him ; because it makes him appear like a woman. God has made the two sexes different, and placed them in different stations; and a proper regard to him and one another requires that this difference should be seen in their apparel and deportment.

Verse 15

A covering ; in the sense already explained, a token of her subjection to man. As God has made a distinction between men and women, nature and common-sense teach that in their appearance it should be duly observed.

Verse 16

Contentious ; should any at Corinth contend that it was proper for women, in their worship, to appear like men, or men like women, Paul informed them that it was contrary to the teaching of the apostles and to the practice of the churches, and should be avoided.

Verse 17

In this ; what he was about to mention.

Verse 18

Come together in the church ; meet as a church, to worship God and celebrate the Lord’s supper.

Verse 19

There must be also heresies ; the word here means parties, divisions, sectaries. Such was human nature that these would exist; and one object of God in suffering them was, that it might be seen who were his friends. Divisions among professed Christians spring from their wickedness, and are productive of great evils; yet God in suffering them is wise and good. He often overrules them to show who are his true disciples.

Verse 20

This is not to eat the Lord’s supper ; such a mode of procedure cannot be a true eating of the Lord’s supper; you cannot thus eat it in a proper or acceptable manner.

Verse 21

Every one taketh before the other ; in connection with the Lord’s supper they had a collation, consisting of what each one brought from his own home. This ought to have been shared by the poor equally with the rich. But instead of this, the shameful abuse prevailed here censured by the apostle.

Verse 23

Received of the Lord ; it was communicated to Paul by Christ himself.

Verse 24

This is my body ; a representation of it. Chap 1 Corinthians 10:4 .

Verse 25

Testament in my blood ; covenant, ratified by my blood. As Christ instituted the ordinance of the supper, showed the proper mode of its administration, and commanded his disciples to observe it in remembrance of him till his second coming, all should be careful to obey his command.

Verse 26

Eat this bread ; Christ does not call it flesh, and it was not flesh which they ate, but it was bread, representing the flesh or body of Jesus Christ, which was broken or crucified for the sins of men; and they were to do this from time to time, as a public expression of their faith in him, and devotion to his service.

Verse 27

Unworthily ; in a careless, irreverent, and wicked manner.

Be guilty of the body and blood ; of casting and contempt on Christ himself, resembling that which was cast upon him by his crucifiers.

Verse 28

Examine himself ; as to his love to the Saviour, and his desire to honor him; as to his hatred of sin, and his longing for deliverance from it; his trust in the Redeemer, and disposition to imitate his example.

Verse 29

Damnation ; judgment; he exposes himself to divine judgments.

Not discerning the Lord’s body ; not discerning in the bread and wine the symbols of Christ’s body and blood, but partaking of them irreverently, as if it were a common feast.

Verse 30

For this cause ; on account of their irreverent and wicked manner of celebrating the Lord’s supper.

Many sleep ; are dead. God had sent sickness among them, and many had died.

Verse 31

If we would judge ourselves ; properly examine and decide concerning ourselves.

We should not be judged ; not punished of the Lord.

Verse 32

Not be condemned ; the object of God in chastising his children in this world is, to lead them to repentance and reformation, that they may not in the future world be condemned. In chastising his people for their sins, God is kind. He does not afflict them because he delights in it, but for their profit, that they may be partakers of his holiness, and thus escape endless condemnation. They should therefore in trials be submissive, search out and forsake their sins, be grateful for mercies, and commit themselves and all their interests to his gracious disposal.

Verse 33

To eat ; in the celebration of the Lord’s supper.

Tarry ; let no one partake till others are ready, and do all things decently and in order, to the honor of Christ and their own spiritual good.

Verse 34

The rest ; other things which might need correction, Paul would regulate when he should visit them.

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Bibliographical Information
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 11". "Family Bible New Testament". American Tract Society. 1851.