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E. Concluding admonition to live in such matters so as to profit one another, and to glorify God
s 1 Corinthians 10:23—1 Corinthians 11:1
23All things are lawful for me [om. for me],9 but all things are not expedient; all things are lawful for me [om. for me],1 but all things edify not. 24Let no man seek [that which is] his own, but every man10 [that which is] another’s wealth [om. wealth]. 25Whatsoever is sold in the shambles [meat-market], that eat, asking no questions for conscience’ sake: 26For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof. 27If11 any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no questions for conscience’ sake. 28But if any, man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols [om. unto idols],12 eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience’ sake: for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness 29thereof [om. for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof]:13 Conscience, I, say, not thine own, but of the other:14 for why is my liberty judged of another man’s 30conscience? For [om. for] if I by grace be a partaker [if I partake with, thankfulness εἰ ἐγῶ χάριτι μετέχω], why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks? 31Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do [or do any thing, ἐίτε τὶ ποιῖετε], do all to the glory of God. 32Give none offence, neither to the Jews,15 nor tothe Gentiles [Greeks, Ἕλλήσιν], nor to the church of God: 33Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of [the] many,16 that they may be saved.
1 Corinthians 11:1 Be ye followers [imitators, μιμηταἰ] of me, even as I also am of Christ.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
1 Corinthians 10:23-24. He here anticipates an objection that might be raised against his previous injunctions on the score of Christian liberty, by pointing out the ethical limitations which restrict that liberty.—All things are in my power.—[This is the old statement made in vi. 12, setting forth the broad privileges of the Christian freeman, and to which the Apostle in a measure assents.]—But all things are not expedient.—This is the first limitation of expediency. But expedient for whom? The word συμφέρει might, in view of the previous warning, seem to imply ‘expedient for the subject himself.’ It were better, however, to take the word in its broadest application, ‘advantageous not only to the subject, but also to all others concerned.’—But all things edify not.—The second limitation; since it is the duty of every Christian to make edification a special object. In the verb ‘edify’ the reference to others is more fully brought out, and here it denotes the furtherance of the welfare of the Church.—In the next verse this limitation is more definitely expressed in the form of a maxim inculcating the exercise of an unselfish love. It is a general truth which he by no means intends to limit simply to the case in hand.—Let no man seek his own (wealth), but (every man) that of another.—Here the negation is to be taken absolutely, and not relatively, as though it meant, ‘seek not merely his own wealth, but also that of another.’ The ‘seeking of one’s own’ denotes the selfish attempt to make one’s own enjoyment, one’s own liberty, one’s own rights the sole paramount consideration, regardless of the good of others; and this falls under an absolute prohibition as being a violation of the great law of love. “The idea here is, that even what is indifferent in itself becomes sinful when done to the prejudice of a neighbor.” Neander. From μηδείς we obtain for the nominative in the positive clause an ἔκαστος—a ease of Zeugma. Like expressions occur in 1 Corinthians 13:5; Philippians 2:4; Romans 15:2 f.
1 Corinthians 10:25-26. First he asserts that the eating of flesh exposed for sale in the market, and thus disconnected from idolatrous worship—even though it may have been cut from sacrificial victims, was altogether innocent, since this meat as well as the whole earth and all things in it belonged unto God.—Whatsoever is sold in the meat-market.—μακέλλῳ, a word taken from the Latin and=κρεωπωλίῳ. [The sale of the portion of the sacrificial meat, which fell to the priests, formed a part of their revenue, and was not to be distinguished from ordinary meat, except perhaps by its excellence, as the animals offered at the altar were usually of a superior kind.] that eat, without special inquiry.—μηδὲν , carefully searching nothing, i. e., as to whether it had been offered in sacrifice or not.—on account of conscience.—διὰ τὴν συνείδησιν. [What is this to be joined with? Some say the previous participle, as setting forth the particular point as to which the inquiry is made, and meaning ‘on the score of conscience;’ others connect it with the whole participial clause, as assigning the ground for not inquiring, being equivalent either to: ‘in order that your conscience may not be disturbed,’ or: ‘because your conscience being well informed as to the real nature of idols needs no inquiry’]; it had best however be joined with the whole previous sentence, and the meaning would then be: ‘eat without inquiry in order that the conscience be not burdened or troubled.’ [Such is the view of Meyer and Alford. Hodge gives another interpretation which he considers the simplest and most natural: “buy what you want and eat, making no matter of conscience in the thing. You need have no conscientious scruples, and, therefore, ask no question as to whether the meat had been offered to idols or not.”—By reason of what is said in 1 Corinthians 10:28, one may be led to suppose that it was the conscience of an observer that was meant, which by that act might become disquieted or sullied, inasmuch as he too might be influenced through the example of one deemed stronger in the faith to eat likewise in spite of his scruples. [So De Wette, Bengel, Rückert]. And in justification of this, reference is made to 1 Corinthians 10:29, where the conscience of another person is particularly specified. But the cases are not parallel; and in 1 Corinthians 10:29, the reference to others is distinctly denoted through the preliminary clause in 1 Corinthians 10:28, and there being no such reference here, it were far more natural to suppose the conscience of the inquirer to be intended.—The exhortation in our passage applies to all parties, especially to the weak, who would anxiously ask about their duty in the premises. Yet it was also suited for the strong whose freedom of opinion might suffer damage through the inquiry, since their conscience had been quickened by the Apostle’s instruction in reference to this whole matter.—The act of eating he justifies, by a citation from Psalms 24:1, [“which was the common form of Jewish thanksgiving before the meal, and hence probably was the early Eucharistic blessing, and thus alluded to in this place.” Stanley].—for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof.—The word πλήρωμα denotes that with which a thing is filled, being passive, as everywhere in the New Testament. That which belongs to God can never pollute, and His children need have no scruple about using and enjoying it freely. [And this meat which had been offered to idols, was in fact no less His than any other meat. An idol being nothing could not vitiate it for its original use], (Comp. on 1 Corinthians 8:6; 1 Timothy 4:4; also Osiander in hoc loco, and the citations from Calvin and Melancthon by him).
1 Corinthians 10:27-30 : The same maxim is here applied to their conduct at a banquet given at a private house by a heathen to which they might be invited.—If any of the unbelievers invite you.—The invitation here is not to a sacrificial feast, for in such a case the person would not need to be told whether the meat set before him had been offered to idols, [nor yet would it be allowable for a Christian to be present here].—and ye desire to go.—A slight hint that remaining away would be a little better; since heathenish customs were everywhere in vogue, and the temptation to deny their Master on the part of those not firmly established was very strong. He here has in view the more liberal-minded whose liberty he did not wish to retrench, and inasmuch as the case often involved the relations of family and friendship, by means of which the truth might be brought home to those who were still unbelievers.—whatsoever is set before you eat, asking no question on account of conscience.—See comments on 1 Corinthians 10:25.—The case, however, is altered when the attention of the guest has been turned to the sacrificial character of the meat presented.—But if any man say unto you,—not the host, as is clear from the repetition of the τις, and from what is added further, which cannot in any case be referred to an unbeliever. For the same reason, we cannot explain it, of a heathen fellow-guest who might indicate the fact to the Christian, either from love of mischief, or from a wish to test him, or even out of good-will. Only a Christian can here be meant, and that too some weak brother who has discovered the fact pointed out, and now warns his fellow-believer of it. “Not a Jewish Christian, since such a one would not ordinarily accept the invitation of a heathen; but some converted Gentile, infected with Jewish prejudices, who regarded idols as demoniac powers, and in partaking of the sacrificial flesh, felt himself brought into contact with them.” Neander. Even a weak brother might be supposed to partake of such a meal, being influenced by his particular relations, and yet with a determination to refrain from every thing polluting.—This is offered in sacrifice.—ἱερόθοτον. and not εἱδωλόθυτον, see critical notes. The former is a neutral word, and is used advisedly to represent what would be said at a heathen’s table; but the latter is a contemptuous expression, which we could hardly suppose would be employed there.—eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience’ sake.—The latter expression is explanatory of the former, and the connecting καί, and, specifies only the particular point to which the more general statement that precedes applies. If the informant were a heathen, then this expression, “for conscience’ sake,” would be unsuitable, or we should have to regard it as a second reason derived from the weaker brother, whose conscience we must suppose to be meant. Or we must take it to mean that the person must refrain from eating in order not to allow the heathen informer to suppose that the participant still had to do with idols, and in order not to violate the conscience of weak Christians—obviously, a forced interpretation. [Evidently then it is some weaker brother that is here meant, for whose sake it was duty to abstain. “The union of the most enlightened liberality with the humblest concession to the weakness of others here exhibited, may well excite the highest admiration. The most enlightened man of his whole generation was the most yielding and conciliatory in all matters of indifference.” Hodge]. He next explains himself more fully, putting it beyond a doubt whose conscience is referred to.—Conscience I say, not thine own,—τήν εαυτοῦ, i.e., of any one who may come into such circumstances (not=τὴν σεαυτοῦ).—for why is my liberty judged of another’s conscience?—This is not to be taken as expressing the defiant remonstrance of the liberal-minded to his weaker brother, who objected to be governed by his prejudices. Such an interpretation would be unsuitable both by reason of the “for,” which in this case would be inapposite, and also because the following exposition gives no reply to it. Several other interpretations here offer themselves. Rückert and others think they find here a further reason for the command not to eat (1 Corinthians 10:28), taking the words to moan that the liberal-minded should not by eating give occasion for others to judge and blaspheme. But in this case they arbitrarily insert the thought, “to give occasion,” and entirely pass over what precedes.17—To this there is joined another interpretation, which would find in this verse a vindication of the freedom of conscience, which the Apostle maintained in the name of the liberal-minded, q. d., ‘About one’s own conscience I am not now speaking; for it is altogether improper for my liberty to be judged by another’s conscience. If I am blamed for that which I for my part thankfully enjoy, so that by my thanksgiving such enjoyment is sanctified, this unfounded condemnation neither violates nor endangers my own conscience; so that in not eating, my concern is chiefly for the conscience of another—some weak brother which ought to be spared, and not mine own.’ [This is Meyer’s explanation, who finds here the reason asserted why Paul did not mean the person’s own conscience, for the sake of sparing which he enjoined abstinence from eating in the case mentioned in 1 Corinthians 10:28, but the conscience of
another. The man’s own conscience, he says, did not need such consideration, for it is not affected by another’s judging and blaspheming, since both are ground-less. The reason therefore for abstaining, could only be found in the conscience of another, and not in the danger done to one’s own conscience; and this also is Bengel’s view].—The. ἵνα τι ἱνα τί γένηται, in order that what may happen?—why? a form for introducing a question about something which has no object or ground, as here, and the verb ‘judge’ (κρίνειν) here denotes a disapproving, condemning judgment, as is seen in the parallel verb, βλασφήμειν, in the next clause.—If I with grace do partake.—Here χάριτι corresponds to εὐχαριστῶ in what follows, and is not to be understood of the goodness of God, which allows of such participation, or gives me the light which liberalizes my spirit, and hence is not to be translated ‘through grace’ [or ‘by grace,’ as the E. V. has it], but it means, with thanks, referring to the Eucharistic blessing which accompanied the social meal, as may be seen in the expression still common in many places—“to say grace.” As the object of the verb ‘partake,’ we are to supply ‘meat and drink.’—why am I evil spoken of respecting that for which I give thanks?—βλασφήμειν, lit., to blaspheme, a sharp word, denoting the bitter condemnation pronounced on the liberal-minded, as on one false to his principles. In the use of it there lies a sharp rebuke of the lack of love exhibited by the person judging (comp. Romans 15:3; Romans 14:16).
1 Corinthians 10:31—1 Corinthians 11:1. His exhortation here turns to the Church in general, describing the end and aim which should control the entire conduct of every Christian. And this he connects directly with the last word in the previous verse, εὑχαριστεῖν, which denotes an ascription of honor to God.—Therefore,—q. d., ‘in like manner, as ye thank God for your nourishment, so in all your eating and drinking,’ etc. Or if this mode of connection does not satisfy, we may take the ‘therefore’ to indicate the logical inference of a general truth from the special one,—whether ye eat, whether ye drink, whether any thing ye do.—The first ποιεῖτε may be taken either as generic, including under itself also the eating and drinking, or, it may be taken as expressing action, in contrast to enjoyment. In the first case, the emphasis would lie upon τι, as equivalent to ὁτιοῦν, whatsoever; in the second, it would lie upon the verb,—but this is hardly to be preferred, [though Alford does prefer it]. In like manner, Colossians 3:17. “From what has been said, Paul here deduces a general didactic inference; he exhorts them so to adjust and use every thing, however indifferent, that God’s name may be hallowed.” Neander.—Do all to the glory of God.—[“This may mean either, ‘Do all things with a view to the glory of God;’ Let that be the object constantly aimed at; or, ‘Do all things in such a way that God may be glorified.’ There is little difference between these modes of explanation. God cannot be glorified by our conduct, unless it be our object to act for His glory. The latter interpretation is favored by a comparison with 1 Peter 4:11, “That God in all things may be glorified.” See Colossians 3:17, all the special directions given in the preceding discussion are here summed up. ‘Let self be forgotten. Let your eye be fixed on God. Let the promotion ofHis glory be your object in all ye do. Strive in every thing to act in such a way that men may praise that God whom you profess to serve.’ Hodge]. This thought is further expanded negatively.—Give none offence, neither to Jews, nor to Greeks, nor to the church of God.—He here specially addresses the liberal-minded, as in 1 Corinthians 10:31, who by the reckless use of their liberty were putting a stumbling-block as well in the way of the Jews to whom every approach to heathenism was an abomination, as in the way of the heathen who beheld in their lax conduct a want of fidelity to a religion which professed to separate itself so strictly from heathenism, and would become disgusted at the divisions thus created among Christians; and also in the way of the Church of God, both at Corinth and elsewhere, which would feel injured by conduct so ambiguous and so prejudicial to its unity. And while thus the recognition of the true God in Christ would be obstructed both among Jews and Gentiles, and the Church would be hindered in its happy success, the result would be, in its final bearings, dishonorable to the glory of God. The regard here paid to Jews and heathen, should not so surprise us, as to force us to the supposition that Jewish and heathen converts were meant; for in 1 Corinthians 9:20 also, we find the Apostle laying just as great a stress on the duty of taking pains to win both.—This exhortation he finally strengthens by a reference to his own example.—Even as I please all, in all things.—Comp. 1 Corinthians 9:19 ff.—πάντα, the accusative of more exact definition. The verb ‘please,’ as in Romans 15:2, means to seek to please, try to prove acceptable to, and is to be taken in a good sense, as the subsequent explanations show. It is otherwise in Galatians 1:10.—Not seeking,—[μὴ ζητ̣ῶν, the use of the subjunctive negative here, shows the implication of a particular affection, which he ascribes to himself, and brings into the supposition, q. d., ‘as one who, as far as I can, am seeking,’ see Winer, p. III. , §55, 5, 13],—mine own profit, but that of the many.—Here he puts in contrast over against his own single self, the vast multitude (as in Romans 5:15) whose interests were the object of his pure and affectionate endeavor. Their profit which he sought, was the highest conceivable,—that they might be saved.—Comp. 1Co 9:22; 1 Corinthians 1:18.—Assured of this his purpose, he urges them to imitate his example (comp. 1 Corinthians 4:16) even as he himself imitated the example of Christ, in the exercise of a love which renounced all selfish interests.—Be ye imitators of me, as I also am of Christ.—“Only in so far should they imitate him, as he set forth the image of Christ. Of course the whole picture of Christ’s life stood before the eyes of the Apostle. But then Paul must have had a historical portrait of the acts and sufferings of Christ, just as it is exhibited in the traces sketched by the Evangelists, and in this we have an argument against the mythical view of the life of Christ.” Neander.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. The Christian’s inheritance in this earth, and the duties consequent upon it. “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” In this one sentence there is opened to the Christian an inexhaustible wealth of joy and satisfaction, as well as a wide sphere of sacred obligations. If the earth, with all that fills and adorns it, belongs to the Lord, because it is His work, then in every earthly good which nourishes and quickens him, which strengthens and delights him, ought the Christian to taste the favor and the goodness of his God (Psalms 136:1; Psalms 34:8), to perceive His power and glory, and to receive it all as the gift of His love. In all his observations and researches, he ought to mark the footsteps of the Divine wisdom and greatness; of the Divine faithfulness and care for His creatures, and above all, for His human creatures made in His own image. Wherever he turns, the thoughts of God which are expressed in the manifold productions of earth, will reveal themselves to his thought. The earth itself, with all its rich and varied life, will become to him a manifestation of the Divine glory and grace; and the more he searches, the more clearly will this open before him. Thus he acquires a large open heart, and becomes ever more capable of enjoyment. Every thing narrow and contracted about him will drop away by degrees. What once seemed strange and mysterious will become known and familiar; he will be able to rejoice in it, freed from all anxious thoughts.—Such results are, however, conditioned on the fact that he walks as in the presence of God, that the earth appears to him as a sanctuary, where he ventures to tread, only after he has taken off his shoes, i. e., only after he has divested himself of the commonness of his earthly sense, of vain and proud thoughts, of selfish and interested projects and endeavors, and after he has become collected in spirit; so that out from the midst of all the manifold phenomena around him, the one Divine ground and aim had in them, the Divine idea in forming, and so richly unfolding itself therein, shall shine out upon his spirit. His God, who furnishes him all this fulness for his use and enjoyment, for his study and comprehension, has by this means put him under obligations also, i. e., inwardly bound him to Himself, so that he shall be dependent on Him, as on the One who is the ground and goal of all things; so that all participation and all joy of discovery shall issue in thanksgiving and praise to His great and good name, and so that he, as the priest of God, shall conduct His creatures to Him in an intelligent, susceptible, and worshipful spirit, moulding and fashioning them out of his own spirit, in such a way as to awaken in them Divine thoughts and endeavors, and to cause the natural to wear the impress more and more of the spiritual. In this is included a tender, delicate, gracious treatment of all creatures, and also a temperance and modesty in their use, to the exclusion alike of all conduct that is crude, severe, arbitrary, reckless and excessive; and of all mismanagement as well through unmercifulness, as through foolish fondling and petting.—Cf. Scriver;—Gotthold’s: “Four hundred occasional prayers;” Paul Gerhard’s: “Go forth, my heart, and seek my joy,” etc.; and much in J. Böhme, Oetinger, Herder, Schubert, etc.
2. The success, perfection and development of the church of Christ is conditioned on the prevailing power of righteousness, which, on the one hand, takes account of the weakness of unconfirmed and scrupulous natures in considerate, tolerant self-denying love, honors the severity of earnest Christians even though oftentimes abrupt and inordinate, and presents an offering of self-denial to one another with perfect willingness; yet, on the other, injures in no respect the right of evangelical liberty, but avows it and maintains it, and, with all readiness to deny itself of this and that in order to give no occasion of offence, also insists upon the fact that the conscience of a person living in faith is not dependent upon the scruples, and narrow thoughts and judgments of another, but, on the contrary, stands free and far above them, inviolable, in untroubled calmness and clearness. It is thus that, a true advance can be made towards the sound expansion and softening of a narrow and stringent mode of thought, as well as towards the healthy restriction of that which is broad and free; and thus the glory of God be promoted and strengthened in His Church.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
Starke:—1 Corinthians 10:33 (Spener). A God-loving Christian willingly refrains from needlessly doing anything which may awaken doubts as to its propriety. It is not enough to have truth in view, and according to this our rights, and according to our rights our liberty; but the rules of Christian prudence and moderation, directed to general edification, require compliance with love, that true mistress, which, though it often yields its rights, never loses its good conscience.—1 Corinthians 10:24. Since self-love has become so far corrupt as to lift us not only above our neighbor, but also above God, self-denial has come to be the first rule of Christianity, in order that our love may be properly balanced; since there is no danger of our ever absolutely forgetting self. Indeed, the equity of love demands that we, in many circumstances, prefer our neighbor to self, i. e., the profit of his soul to our own bodily convenience.—(Hed.) “Let every one seek what is another’s”—so, in fact, selfishness and avarice say, i. e., “take, rob, get by fraud what is another’s.” But mark what is added: “Let no one seek his own.”—1 Corinthians 10:25. The Christian is free to eat everything, provided no offence is given to his neighbor. Useless inquiries and curious subtleties awaken many scruples. Against all such, simple-mindedness is a sure antidote.—1 Corinthians 10:26 (Luther). Christ is Lord, and free, and so are Christians, in all things.—Oh, man, thou art not lord-proprietor, but only steward in God’s domain! What a rich Father we have if we are God’s children.—1 Corinthians 10:29 (Luther). My conscience shall remain unbound, though I outwardly comply with my neighbor for his good. We may eat what we will, provided we have it righteously, take it as a gift from God, and receive it with thanksgiving.—1 Corinthians 10:31. All acts, however small, are sanctified and ennobled by a single reference to the glory of God; and this is promoted, when we do that which accords with a well ordered love toward ourselves and our neighbor, and abstain from whatever deseorates God’s name.—1 Corinthians 10:32. Believers ought to walk unreprovably, not only among brethren, but also among unbelievers and hypocrites, in order that such may find no occasion for blaspheming Christian doctrine.—All have one common Father; we ought, therefore, to be serviceable to one as well as to another.—1 Corinthians 10:33. Ministers should be an example to their hearers, in order that they may not retract with the left what they give with the right.—1 Corinthians 9:1. Christ is the perfect pattern of a holy life, who, for our sakes, renounced all comfort and personal convenience. To follow in His steps is the preëminent token of a true minister. Such imitation is possible through the privilege we have of drawing from His fulness (John 1:10).
Berlenb. Bible:—1 Corinthians 10:23. A soul truly emancipated may, by reason of its innocence and simplicity, do much which is not only not displeasing, but even acceptable to God; nevertheless, it. may not be always advisable to do it Love must be the standard in all things.—1 Corinthians 10:24. Let none say, ‘why must I consult for another? Why must he be so weak?’ Wherefore, then, didst thou wish to become a member of the Church if thou art unwilling to inquire after its members?—In this way thou severest thyself from the Head.—1 Corinthians 10:25. We must deal very tenderly with the conscience on account of our corrupt state. Many are scrupulous where they might be unhesitating, and reckless where they ought to be careful.—1 Corinthians 10:26. What the earth produces is good; the great point is, how is it used?—1 Corinthians 10:27. The liberty which Christ has earned for us should be guarded as a priceless jewel, that Christ may have His own.—1 Corinthians 10:28 ff. A person may possess something and yet refrain from its use, preserving his liberty intact.—1 Corinthians 10:31. A Christian must order his entire life, so as to render it a perpetual God-service. Even our calling is a service of God; therefore refrain not from it. If with singleness of purpose thou dost consecrate all thy labor to God, then does it become a divine service. This rule put in exercise, sanctifies everything, even our natural work; and converts every meal into a sort of sacrament, so that it, in its own way, as if an acted prayer, shall receive its reward. By this means our most general works are hallowed, and without this our costliest works are punishable. Such searching method in the service of the Spirit many call legal. But it is the right method of faith, whereby the Son makes us free from the law of sin and death. The believer does, according to the spirit, nothing but good so far as he is a believer; he pleases God in all things by virtue of the divine life in him, which he has by faith. His doing, thinking, speaking, all transpires in God and before God.—1 Corinthians 10:32. If a person desire to honor God, and yet set his neighbor aside, his eye would be playing the rogue. Be void of offence!—
1 Corinthians 11:1. Christ’s example is both a gift and an influence. If we put on His example, His Spirit, His compassion, He makes out everything which can happen in our outer and inner life. He is the original, according to which all must be fashioned. The Apostles, indeed, referred to themselves; but they had a good conscience.
Rieger:—1 Corinthians 11:1. Christ is certainly the most perfect example; yet, since it is difficult for us, in all our varied circumstances, always to track His footsteps, the types of Christ seen in the Old Testament, and the patterns after Him found in the New Testament, serve to present to us His mind in a form adapted to our every day conditions.
1 Corinthians 10:30. Giving thanks at meals sanctifies all food, denies the authority of idols, and acknowledges that of God.
1 Corinthians 10:24. The Christian pays a tender regard to the conscience of others, without proudly asserting his own rights, and without loftiness of spirit.
1 Corinthians 10:29. In doubtful cases, do not insist upon another’s deciding according to your own conscience.
1 Corinthians 10:30. Since a thankful spirit sanctifies every enjoyment, all that thou canst, with a clear conscience, give thanks for and ask a blessing on, is allowable.
1 Corinthians 10:31. Also in the society of the unholy ought a Christian to keep in view his highest aim, i. e., to glorify God by his life; hence he should join in nothing that dishonors God.
1 Corinthians 10:32. By carefully avoiding offences, a Christian should preserve his own honor and that of his Church. The immoralities of professing converts may prove a cause of stumbling even to unbelievers.
1 Corinthians 10:33. The Christian’s pleasing is a holy pleasing. It aims not at his own enjoyment, but at the spiritual good of others; it proposes to win them, and the agreeable exterior is designed to open a way to the interior—the sanctuary within.—1 Corinthians 11:1. Christ has taken care to provide for us a multitude of examples, in order to show us that we likewise may follow Him.
W. F. Besser:
1 Corinthians 10:24. Liberty is given thee in all sorts of things, not to use them for thine own sake at pleasure, but rather to serve thy neighbor therewith, and to seek his prosperity.
1 Corinthians 10:25. There is a hunting after conscientious scruples, in which many persons carry out their whole Christianity, ending, alas! oftentimes, in straining out gnats and swallowing camels.
1 Corinthians 10:33. Paul pleased men in all things, and yet he says, if I pleased men I should not be the servant of Christ, Galatians 1:10. From the context in the former case, it appears plain that the things in which the Apostle pleased all men require to be restricted to such things as tend to their “profit, that they may be saved.” Whereas the things in which, according to the latter passage, he could not please men, and “yet be the servant of Christ,” were of a contrary tendency. Such were the objects pursued by the false teachers whom he opposed, and who desired to make a fair show in the flesh, lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ, 1 Corinthians 6:12. The former is that sweet inoffensiveness of spirit which teaches us to lay aside all self-will and self-importance, that charity which “seeketh not her own,” and “is not easily provoked;” it is that spirit, in short, which the same writer elsewhere recommends for the example of Christ Himself: “We, then, who are strong, ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.—Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification; for even Christ pleased not Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.”—But the latter spirit referred to is that sordid compliance with the corruptions of human nature, of which flatterers and deceivers have always availed themselves, not for the glory of God or the good of men, but for the promotion of their own selfish designs].
1 Corinthians 10:23. They who allow themselves in everything not plainly sinful in itself, will often run into what is evil by accident, and do much mischief to others. Circumstances may make that a sin, which in itself is none.
1 Corinthians 10:27. Christianity does by no means bind us up from the common offices of humanity, or allow us an uncourteous behaviour to any of our own kind, however they may differ from us in religious sentiments or practices.
1 Corinthians 10:33. A preacher may press his advice home with boldness and authority, when he can enforce it with his own example. He is most likely to promote a public spirit in others, who can give evidence of it in himself. And it is highly commendable in a minister to neglect his own advantages, that he may promote the salvation of his hearers. This shows that he has a spirit suitable to his function. It is a station for public usefulness, and can never be faithfully discharged by a man of a narrow spirit and selfish principles].
[F. W. Robertson:
1 Corinthians 10:29. The duty of attending to appearances.—Now we may think this time-serving; but the motive made all the difference: “Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other.” Study appearances, therefore, so far as they are likely to be injurious to others. Here, then, is the principle and the rule; we cannot live in this world indifferent to appearances. Year by year we are more and more taught this truth. It is irksome, no doubt, to be under restraint, to have to ask not only, “Does God permit this?” but, “Will it not be misconstrued by others?” and to a free, open, fiery spirit, such as the Apostle of the Gentiles, doubly irksome, and almost intolerable. Nevertheless, it was to him a most solemn consideration: Why should I make my goodness and my right the occasion of blasphemy? Truly, then, and boldly, and not carelessly, he determined to give no offence to Jews or Gentiles, or to the Church of God, but to please all men. And the measure or restraint of this resolution was, that in carrying it into practice he would seek not his own profit, but the profit of many, that they might be saved].
1 Corinthians 10:16; 1 Corinthians 10:16.—The verb ἐστίν, is sometimes placed after κοινωνία, and sometimes after Χριστοῦ. The latter position has the best authority in its favor. [Tischendorf, in both questions of this verse, puts ἐστίν immediately after κοινωνία. In the first question he follows A. B. Sahid. Copt. Syr. Cyr. Aug. Beda. Lachmann, Bloomfield, Alford, Stanley and Words., place it at the close of the sentences, not only on account of external evidence (C. D. F. K. L., Sinait., Ital., Goth., Chrys., Theodt., Ambst.), but because the other order seems to be a correction to avoid the harshness of this verb at the end of the sentence, and in such close proximity to the other ἐστίν. In the second question, the Sahid. omits ἐστίν altogether, and B. agrees with those authorities which placed it after Χριστοῦ in the first, in putting it at the end of this sentence; and only A. Copt. Syr. Cyr. Aug. and Bede make it precede τοῦ σώματος—C. P. W.].
[1 Corinthians 10:17.—Before μετέχομεν, D. E. F. G., the Ital. and several copies of the Vulg. (not amiat.), Ambrst., Pelag. and Bede insert καὶ τοῦ ἑνὸς ποτήριου. D. and E., however, omit ἑνὸς.—C. P. W.].
1 Corinthians 10:19; 1 Corinthians 10:19.—In the Rec. the words ἐίδωλόν and ἐίδωλόθυτόν occur in their inverse order, but the authority for such an order is feeble. The second word was probably thrown out by the copyist through mistake, and then was reinserted where it seemed most fitting (the cause before the effect). [The Rec. is sustained by K. L. and most of the cursives, the Syr. and Gothic versions, and Chrys. and Theodt., and is adopted by Bloomfield, Osiander and Reiche. Some MSS., including A.C. (1st hand) Sinait. and Epiph. entirely omit the question relating to ἐίδώλον. In favor of putting ἐίδωλόθυτόν in the former, and ἐίδώλον in the latter question, we have B. C. (2d hand) D. Sinait. (1st hand), Vulg., Copt., Æth., Aug., Ambrst., Pelag., Bede. and this order is preferred by Tisch., Alford, Stanley and Wordsworth.—C. P. W.].
1 Corinthians 10:20; 1 Corinthians 10:20.—Rec. has θύει τὰ ἔθνῃ, δαιμονίαις θύει, but it is opposed by decisive authorities. The interpolation of τὰ ἔθνη made necessary the alteration of θύουσιν into θύει. Lachmann puts the second θύουσιν after θεῷ, in accordance with A. B. C., et al. [In favor of τα ἔθνη, we have A.C. K. L. (placing the words after ὅτι), Sinait., el at., Vulg., Goth., Copt., Sahid., Syr. Chrys., Theodt., Orig., Aug., Bede. In favor of θύουσιν (twice) we have A. B. C. D. E. F. G., Sinait. The text as given by Tisch. is: ὅτι ἃ θύουσιν δαιμονἰοις θύουσιν καὶ οὐ θεῷ. Alford and Stanley have the same text, only they place the second θεῷ.—C. P. W.].
[‘It is observable that two of the Evangelists, Matthew (Matthew 26:26) and Mark (Mark 14:22), use the word εὐλογήσας, having blessed, in their description of Christ’s action at the institution of the Lord’s Supper, before the consecration of the bread; and Luke (Luke 22:19) and Paul (1 Corinthians 11:24) use the word εὐχαριστήσας, having given thanks; but in the benediction of the cup Matthew (Matthew 26:27) and Mark (Mark 14:23) use the word εὐχαριστήσας, whereas Paul uses the word εὐλογία here. This variety of expression gives us a fuller and clearer view of the nature of the act here spoken of. It was eucharistic and also eulogistic; it was one of thanksgiving and one of benediction, and in the application of each of the terms to each of the elements, we learn more fully and clearly what the true character of the Holy Communion is, and what are our duties in its administration and reception.2Wordsworth (ad sensum)].
[We here give Stanley’s ingenious and valuable note entire. “From this passage his meaning has often been taken to be that, although the particular divinities, as conceived under the names of Jupiter, Venus, etc., were mere fictions, yet there were real evil spirits, who under those names, or in the general system of pagan polytheism, beguiled them away from the true God. (So Psalms 96:5, πάντες οὶ θεοὶ τῶν ἐθνῶν δαιμόνια). Such certainly was the general belief of the early Christians. But the strong declaration in 1 Corinthians 8:4, reiterated here in 1 Corinthians 10:19, of the utter non-existence of the heathen divinities, renders it safer to understand him as saying that in the mind of the heathen sacrificers, whatever Christians might think, the sacrifices were really made to those whom the Old Testament called δαιμόνια. It is in fact a play on the word δαιμόνιον. The heathen Greeks (as in Acts 17:18, the only passage where it is so used in Biblical Greek) employed it as a general word for ‘Divinity,’ and more especially for those heroes and inferior divinities, to whom alone (according to the belief of this later age), and not to the supreme rulers of the universe, sacrifices as such were due. The writers of the New Testament and the LXX., on the other hand, always use it of ‘evil demons,’ although never, perhaps, strictly speaking, for the author of evil, who is called emphatically ‘Satan,’ or the ‘Devil.’ It is by a union of these two meanings that the sense of the passage is produced. ‘The words of Deuteronomy 32:17, truly describe their state, for even according to their own confession, although in a different sense, they sacrifice to demons.’ A similar play on the same word, although for a different object, occurs in the Apology of Socrates, where he defends himself against the charge of atheism, on the ground that he believed in a demon (δαιμόνιον); and that demons (δαιμόνια) being sons of gods (θεῶν παίδες), he must therefore be acknowledged to believe in the gods themselves”].
[We let our author’s statement of sacramentarian theories, and his expressed preference, pass without debate. The main point of doctrine he has well brought out in the first paragraph; and some will think that the Calvinistic theory of the “Real Presence” will answer all its demands. In the words of the Westminster Catechism, the sacrament of the Supper may be said “to represent, seal, and apply Christ and the benefits of the new covenant to all believers.” And this is done through the Spirit who takes of the things that are Christ’s, and shows them unto us in His ordinances according to their intent. Those interested in the question here mooted, we would refer to the current works on Dogmatic Theology, also to Hooker. Ecc. Pol., B. V., 100:67; Edward Irving, “Homilies on the Lord’s Supper.” Coll. Writings, Vol. II., p. 439 ff. J. M. Mason, “Letters on Frequent Communion.” Works, Vol. I. p. 372 ff.—D. W. P.].
1 Corinthians 10:23; 1 Corinthians 10:23.—The Rec. has μοι after πάντα in each clause, bat it is opposed by the best authorities, and was probably taken from 1 Corinthians 6:12. [As the Apostle was here unquestionably repeating the same expression as was used in 1 Corinthians 6:12, the internal evidence would seem to be in favor of μοι (Bloomfield, Rinck). But the documentary evidence in its favor (H. E. L. Sin. (3d hand), the Syr. both, one copy of the Vulg., Chrys., Theodt., Orig, August, and some inferior MSS., which omit πάντα ἔξ., ἀλλ’ οὐ π. οἰκοδ.) is too feeble, and that in opposition to it [A. B. C. (1st hand) D. Sin. (with Clem., Athan., Damasc., Iren., Tert. and many others), too strong to warrant its insertion.—C.P. W.].
1 Corinthians 10:24; 1 Corinthians 10:24.—The Rec. also inserts ἕκαστος after τοῦ ἑτέρου, but it was perhaps borrowed from a similar passage in Philippians 2:4. [It is not found in A. B. C. D. F. G. H., Sin., six cursives, the Ital, Vulg., Copt., Sahid. and Arm. versions, and some Greek and Latin Fathers. Even Bloomfield, who at first defended it, now brackets it.—C. P. W.].
1 Corinthians 10:27; 1 Corinthians 10:27.—The δὲ is wanting after εἰ in some good manuscripts [A. B. D. (1st hand) F. G. Sin, and some cursives, the Ital., Copt, and Vulg. versions, and Antioch., Chrys., Theodt., Aug., Ambrst.], and was probably, inserted because it was supposed to be needed as a connecting particle. [It is retained by Tisch. with C. D. (3d hand) E. H. K. L., some Sahid., Syr., Goth. versions, Theodt., Theophyl. and Œcum, but it is cancelled by Lach., Alf., Mey., Stanl. and Wordsworth. D. E. F. G:, the Ital., Vulg. and Copt, versions, and Ambrst., Pelag. and Bede (not the Aug.) insert εἰς δεῖπνον after ἀπίστων.—C. P. W.].
1 Corinthians 10:28; 1 Corinthians 10:28.—The Rec. has εἰδωλόθυτον, but it is probably a gloss which has been substituted in the text for the more uncommon ἱερόθυτον. Neither word was common, but ἱερόθ. was of the classical, and εἰδολόθ. of the Hellenistic Greek (Bloomfield). The former had a neutral, and the latter a contemptuous signification (Stanley), and hence some have thought that no one would be likely to use the latter at the table of an unbeliever, unless, as Bloomfield suggests, by a weak fellow-Christian in an under tone, or aside. The former word is not too respectful for the Apostle to use, and it would imply nothing false. It is adopted by Griesb., Lachm., Tisch., Meyer, Alford and Stanley, on the authority of A. B. H. Sin., two cursives adduced by Bloomf.; the Sahid. version and some indirect testimonies produced by Tischendorf. Julian quotes Paul as using this word in this connection, and his opponent Cyril admits the same (Tisch). The Latin versions of D. and F. use the word immolaticium, to which some Vulg. MSS. add idols, one (amiat.) has immolatium (2d cor. has immolativum) idolis, and the Vulg. (ed.) has immolatum idolis. The Rec. is favored by C. D. E. F. G. K. L., Chrys. and Theodt., and it is defended by Scholz, Reiche, Bloomfield and Wordsworth.—C. P.W.].
1 Corinthians 10:28; 1 Corinthians 10:28.—The Rec. after συνείδ. has τοῦ γὰρ κυρίου ἡ γῆ καὶ τὸ πλήρωμα αὐτῆς, but these words are not found in the best MSS., and are a repetition of 1 Corinthians 10:26. [They are left out in A. B.C. D. E. F. G. H. (1st hand), Sin., the Ital., Vulg., Copt., Syr., Sahid. and Arm. versions, and Damasc, August., Ambrst., Pelag. and Bede, and are retained in H. (2d hand) K. L., the Goth., Slav., some Syr. and Arm. versions, and Chrys., Theodt., Phot., Œcum. and Theophyl.—C. P. W.].
1 Corinthians 10:30; 1 Corinthians 10:30.—The Rec. after εἰ inserts δὲ, but it is feebly sustained.
1 Corinthians 10:32; 1 Corinthians 10:32.—The Rec. has γίνεσθε καὶ ’Ιουδ., but καὶ ’Ιουδ. γίνεσθε, is better sustained by the MSS. [The latter has for it A. B. C. Sin., 17, 37, 73, Orig., Didym., Cyr., while D. E. K. L. Sin. (3d hand), some cursives, and Chrys., Theodt. and Damasc. are in favor of the Recep.—C. P. W.].
1 Corinthians 10:33; 1 Corinthians 10:33.—The Rec. has συμφέρον, but σύμφορον has better authority. [The former is more usual, and is sustained by D. E. F. G. K. L. Sin. (3d hand), while the latter is sustained by A. B. C. Sin. Comp. on the same variation of reading in 1 Corinthians 7:35.—C. P. W.].
[Kling here hardly does justice to the interpretation he so summarily sets aside, and which is advocated by Chrys. and the Greek commentators, Heyd., Billr.. Olsh., Neand., Hodge, Stanley, and many others. This takes κρίνεται for κατακρίνεται, in the sense of condemn, and finds here a valid reason for enjoining the liberal-minded brother not to eat against the convictions and prejudices of the weaker one, who has pointed out to him the objectionable meat. The reason is that there is no propriety in doing that which seems censurable to another, and gives occasion for observers to blaspheme, even though it may be right in our own esteem, and accompanied with thanksgiving to God. “This.” as Hodge well says, “brings the passage into harmony with the whole context, and connects it with the main idea of the previous verse, and not with an intermediate and subordinate clause”].
APOSTOLIC INSTRUCTIONS IN RELATION TO THE CONDUCT BECOMING CHURCH ASSEMBLIES
1 Corinthians 11:2-34
A. In respect of apparel; in the covering of the head by the women, and the uncovering of it by the men
(1 Corinthians 11:2-16)
2 Now [But, δὲ]1 I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep [firmly hold, κατέχετε] the ordinances [traditions, παραδόσεις]2, as I delivered them to you. 3But I would have you [I wish you to, θέλω]3 know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the [om. the] woman is the man; and the head of Christ Isaiah 4:0 God. 4Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered [anything down, depending from his head, χατὰ χεφαλῆς ἔχων],5 dishonoureth his head. 5But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her [own, ἑαυτῆς]6 head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. 6For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn [let her hair be cut off, χειράσθω]: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn7 or shaven, let her be covered. 7For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: 8but the woman is the glory of the [om. the] man. For the [om. the] man is not [out] of the [om. the] woman; but the [om. the] woman [out] of the [om. the] man. 9Neither was the man [For man was not] created for the woman; but the [om. the] woman for the man. 10For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. 11Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man [neither is woman without man, nor man without woman], in the Lord. 12For as the woman is [out] of the man, even so is the man also by 13[means of] the woman; but all things of [are from, ἐκ] God. Judge in yourselves [among your own selves, ἐν ὑμῖν αὐτοῖς]: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? 14Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? 15But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering [an envelopment, περιβολαίου]. 16But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such [established, συνἠθειαν] custom, neither the churches of God.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
[“Having corrected the more private abuses that prevailed among the Corinthians, the Apostle begins in this chapter to consider those which relate to the mode of conducting public worship. The first of these is the habit of women appearing in public without a veil. Dress is in a great degree conventional. A costume which would be proper in our country, would be indecorous in another. The principle insisted upon in this paragraph is, that women should conform in matters of dress to all those usages which the public sentiment of the community in which they live demands. The veil in all eastern countries was, and to a great extent still is, the symbol of modesty and. subjection. For a woman, therefore, in Corinth to discard the veil, was to renounce her claim to modesty, and to refuse to recognize her subordination to her husband. It is on the assumption of this significancy in the use of the veil that the Apostle’s whole argument in this paragraph is founded.” Hodge.]
1 Corinthians 11:2. He begins the new lesson he was about to impart with a conciliatory introduction.—Now I praise you.—This might be attached directly to the previous injunction “be ye followers of me,” just as what follows might be subsumed under the one in the 32d verse, “give none offence,” although neither of these connections is by any means certain. At any rate the first clause is not to be taken in the way of a strong contrast with what precedes [taking the δέ in an adversative instead of transitional sense], q. d., ‘though I exhort you to imitate me, yet, nevertheless, I praise you.’ [Hodge is inclined to adopt this method of interpreting the connection, and adds: ‘the Corinthians, although backward in following the self-denying and conciliatory conduct of the Apostle, were, nevertheless, in general mindful of the ordinances or rules which he had delivered to them.’]—That ye remember me in all things.—The μου is not dependent on πάντα, so that the latter becomes the direct object of μέμνησθε, making the rendering (that ye remember all things which proceed from me). Such construction were inadmissible, if for no other reason but this, that the verb μιμνήσκειν in the New Testament never takes the accusative.—This remembrance he designates as one that proved itself in worthy deeds.—That ye keep the traditions even as I delivered (them) to you.—The personal and the official characters are here inseparably united. The traditions (παραδόσεις) he here speaks of, were both of an oral and written kind (2 Thessalonians 2:15), and embraced doctrinal, as well as ritual and practical matters. Here, indeed, he refers primarily to such instructions and ordinances as concerned the order of the church, and of divine worship. The dispute respecting Scripture and tradition obtains no hold here, inasmuch as the distinction between that which was fixed in writing, and that not so fixed did not as yet appear. [“The word translated ‘traditions’ is never used in the New Testament in reference to the rule of faith, except for the immediate instructions of inspired men. When used in the modern sense of the word tradition, it is always in reference to what is human and untrustworthy, Galatians 1:14; Colossians 2:8, and frequently in the gospels of the traditions of the elders.” Hodge.] That the particular point alluded to cannot be that mentioned in 1 Corinthians 11:3 ff. (Olsh.), is plain from the formula of introduction there used which hints at something new (comp. Osiander). κατεχέιν, to hold fast, so as to submit to it as authority, and to conduct one’s self accordingly (Meyer: by faith and obedience; Osiander: usu tenere).
1 Corinthians 11:3. But I wish you to know that the head of every man is Christ.—He here assigns the doctrinal ground for the practical instruction which follows. “In the Corinthian Church there was a departure from the prevailing custom of the East (according to which women went veiled), especially on the part of heathen converts, who, even in other respects, rather overstretched the idea of Christian liberty. Since Paul is here discussing a question of merely outward custom, it is interesting to observe how characteristically he surveys the smallest matters in connection with the greatest, and understands how to penetrate to the remotest particulars from the fundamental principles of the Christian life. He begins, not with the custom itself, but with the leading idea that ought to govern it.” Neander. By the opening words of the verse he indicates the importance of the instruction he is about to communicate. What he particularly inculcates, is the subordination of woman to the man; but this he directly connects with higher relations. Before he declares the relation which the wife sustains to the husband as her head, he points to that which the man sustains to Christ as his Head, and concludes with referring all back to God as the Head of Christ. By the term head he expresses the next immediate relation sustained. The man, that is the Christian man, has Christ for his Head to whom he is alone subordinate, while the woman who, as a member of the Church, has indeed Christ in like manner for her Head, is yet primarily subject to her husband, and in him has her support, her destiny, and her dignity.—To extend this relation to men generally, is opposed by the fact that the Apostle is here addressing the Christian Church. Nor yet is he indicating the relation of the two sexes in general, but only as it is definitely realized in marriage. But even here we are to distinguish between the inner life of faith, or in other words, the personal relation to Christ where all other distinctions are entirely swallowed up and lost (Galatians 3:28), and the social position held in the family and in the church where the wife is dependent on the man, is represented by him, and put under his care. Nevertheless, it must be remembered that this power and dignity of the husband is founded on the position he holds toward Christ as his Head, and so the dependence of the wife on him appears as a mediated dependence on Christ.—And the head of Christ is God.—Compare the remarks on 1 Corinthians 3:23; 1 Corinthians 8:6. Although the economic relation is primarily meant, wherein Christ even in His exaltation is dependent on God (1 Corinthians 15:28; Colossians 1:15; Ephesians 3:9); yet this dependence presupposes a sort of dependence also in the immanent relations of the Trinity, which, however, is perfectly consistent with essential equality of being.—[Here, then, we have a view of the unity of the heavenly kingdom in its gradual subordination to the Supreme Authority—God—Christ—Man—Woman. The dependence and submission is one of love yielding to the divinely appointed guardianship and control; the authority is that of love exercised in wisdom, and directed towards the good of the lowest and the glory of the highest. These are the conditions of the divine order in which the relations sustained between the parties are typical of each other. And on this fact is the argument of the Apostle founded. As God is the head of Christ, and as Christ is the head of the Church, so is the man the head of the woman. For a fuller development of this analogy see Ephesians 5:23-33. Let it be here understood that the subordination thus expressed involves no degradation. As the Church is not dishonored by being subject to Christ, so neither is woman dishonored by being subject to man].
1 Corinthians 11:4. From the doctrine established in 1 Corinthians 11:3, he first draws an inference for the man in the matter of his apparel while at Church.—Every man praying or prophesying,—i. e., speaking in public. And by the former is meant, not exactly the speaking with tongues which certainly occurred while in prayer, but the simple offering of supplication in general; by the latter, such a discourse as set forth the mysteries of the divine counsels or of the human life, under a divine inspiration. (Comp. 1Co 13:2; 1 Corinthians 14:24 ff.). These were the two main parts of primitive Christian worship. In the first the speaker is the organ of the congregation presenting itself before God in thanksgiving, petition, and intercession; in the second, the organ of the Divine Spirit communicating His lessons to the Church.—Having his head covered.—κατὰ κεφαλῆς ἔχων, here τι is understood—lit. ‘having aught upon his head.’ According to the usage of the Greeks, men appeared in public religious service with face and head uncovered. The case was otherwise with the Romans, and from later times with the Jews. In the Old Testament period such covering was employed only as a token of deep mourning (2 Samuel 15:30; Jeremiah 14:13).—dishonoreth his head.—Suitably with the context we must here understand, not man’s own head literally, but Christ who is dishonored when the man denying his independence seems to subordinate himself in this way to the dependent wife, or even allows the tokens of human dependence to be seen upon him. 8 Although in 1 Corinthians 11:5, we are to take the expression ‘her head’ literally, yet nothing can be deduced from this as to the meaning of 1 Corinthians 11:4, because there the meaning is established by ἑαυτῆς, and the explanation which follows. On the contrary, the relation to 1 Corinthians 11:3 is decisive as to its meaning here. Such was Meyer’s view in Exodus 2:0. On the contrary, in Exodus 3:0 he understands it as in 1 Corinthians 11:5-6; 1 Corinthians 11:14 of the natural head, on which the evidence must be seen that no human person but Christ, and through Christ God is the head of the man, and this evidence is its uncovered state. At any rate the chief stress lies upon the rebuke administered to woman’s wish to become emancipated in this particular, and that said of the man might also serve for illustrating the opposite.
1 Corinthians 11:5-6. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth.—The propriety of women’s praying or prophesying in the Church, is here passed over without comment since he is only treating of apparel; while it is rebuked and interdicted in 1 Corinthians 14:34 ff. Hence the arbitrary assumption that prophesying here means simply chiming in with inspired song is superfluous. [“In here disapproving of the one, says Calvin, he does not approve of the other. Paul attends to one thing at a time”].—with her head unveiled.—The unveiling of the head was an abuse originating in female vanity under the pretexts of Christian freedom and of equality with man; and it was so much the more disturbing to devotion as it was contrary to custom to see women unveiled out of the house.—dishonoreth her own head.—This referred to the man, would yield a good sense even in connection with what follows, inasmuch as the woman by appearing abroad so shamelessly and exposing herself to the gaze of other men might bring a blot upon her husband. But the use of the reflexive pronoun ἑαυτῆς shows clearly that it means the natural head; and this accords with what he says further, inasmuch as a shorn head was with women disgraceful—a symbol of female dishonor—a token of shamelessness,—and, indeed, was made the punishment of an adulteress—at least among the Germans (see Tac., Germ. 19; also see Wetstein in hoc loco), and, indeed, also among the Jews, Numbers 5:18. It was also a token of sorrow. Deuteronomy 21:12. [Stanley again finds in the word ‘head’ a double allusion both to her own head and her husband’s as represented by it. See Smith’s Classical Dictionary, Coma and Vestalis],—for that is one and the same thing;—the neuter is here used because it treats not of personal, but generic identity.—with her being shaven.—That is, she assumes the characteristic mark of a disreputable woman.—This identity he goes on to explain.—Let her be shorn.—This is not said permissively, but it expresses a command setting forth the legitimate consequence of the unsuitableness of her being unveiled, q. d., ‘if she will do the one thing, let her also do the other.’ If she will be so shameless as to appear with her head bare, let her act consistently, and give such a token of her shamelessness as will be seen in stripping her head entirely of its hair.—He then argues.—But if it is a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven.—ξυρᾶσθαι, to be shaved—a stronger expression than κείρασθαι, , to be cropped short. αἰσχρόν, shameful, can hardly be taken here to denote the æsthetic view of the matter as if the meaning were ‘if it, displease her,’ so that we should have here but a sarcastic thrust at woman’s vanity, as Calvin thinks [who says that ‘the conjecture has some appearance of probability that women who had beautiful hair, were accustomed to uncover their heads for the purpose of displaying their beauty, and that Paul here hints to them that so far from appearing the more beautiful by taking off their veils, they looked as badly as if they were all shaven and shorn.’] The Apostle is rather looking at the subject from a moral point of view throughout.
1 Corinthians 11:7-10. He here resumes the argument for the woman’s veiling her head, presented in 1 Corinthians 11:3. Only he drops the relation to Christ, and presents that of the man to the woman, illustrating his point antithetically.—For a man indeed ought not to veil his head.—The expression οὐκ ὀφείλει means more than ‘he is not obliged,’ it denotes ‘he should not,’ ‘it is unbecoming for him.’ The reason of this is, that—he is the image and glory of God.—By this he indicates the godlike rule and lordly majesty (comp. Genesis 1:26) which the position of the man as the head of the wife involves, or which is in a peculiar manner exhibited in it. By the expression ‘the glory of God’ he means that man carries in himself a likeness to the greatness and majesty of God in so far as he rules in his own sphere with Godlike power and freedom. [“He is created in the image of God, and therefore is the reflex of the divine glory, ‘being crowned with glory and honor,’ and having, therefore, dominion over the works of God. He, therefore, ought to have nothing on a head which represents so Divine a majesty, nothing on a countenance which reflects so Divine a glory.” Stanley].—Such is obviously the point brought out: not that he is set to show forth God’s glory, a thing which does not appertain to man exclusively; not that He is the glory of God in so far that the woman has to veil herself before him, just as the seraphim do before the majesty of Jehovah; nor is δόξα=דְסוּת for then Paul would have used the term ὁμοίωσις; nor least of all is it to be understood as Fritzsche does on Romans 3:23. Ornamentum Dei quippe quo fingendo Deus, quantum posset, manifestaverit.—But the woman is the glory of man.—This she is in so far as she could be fashioned entirely out of his rib—an evidence quanti vir sit [!] Now, the wife is the glory of the man inasmuch as in her, in her management as a housewife, the exalted position of the man is made manifest; or inasmuch as she develops an independent activity only in subordination to him, and by virtue of his plenary power, or only in connection with him attains to her proper dignity and worth. [“She always assumes his station; becomes a queen, if he is a king; and manifests to others the wealth and honor which belong to her husband.” Hodge.] Paul does not add the word “image,” since it would be unsuitable on account of the diversity of sex; others say because it would otherwise appear as if the Divine image in her were ignored. But Paul is not speaking here in a religious or ethical sense.—The higher position of the man and the dependence of the woman are still further proved from the history of their creation, (their genetic relation. Meyer.).—For man is not from woman, but woman from man.—[Here the emphasis rests on ‘is’ which is equivalent to ‘takes his being.’ The reference is to Genesis 2:23.—ἐκ τοῦ .].—But this derivation rests again upon the fact that the object of the creation of the woman is in the man—not the reverse. In other words, the dependence of existence rests on the dependence of destination.—For neither was man created on account of the woman, but woman on account of the man.—That the “for” in this clause is to be taken as parallel with the previous one is improbable, because unnecessary. [Alford however disputes the subordination of the latter ‘for’ to the former, and makes the two parallel; but without reason. Certainly the view given above, which is Meyer’s and Stanley’s also, is in better accord with the Greek, καῖ γάρ, q. d., ‘and that for this reason, for,’ etc.].—From this relation of woman to man thus proven, he now draws his inferences in regard to her true mode of apparel.—For this cause ought the woman to have power upon her head.—[“There is scarcely a passage in the New Testament which has so much taxed the learning and ingenuity of commentators as this.” Hodge. “In the difficulty of its several portions it stands alone in the New Testament, unless, perhaps, we except Revelation 13:18; or Galatians 3:20. Each part has its own particular obscurity.” Stanley]. In the first place, the term “power” (ἔξουσία) is a very remarkable one. Interpreted by the context, this can only mean the veiling of the head, standing by metonymy for that, which was the token of power or authority. So Neander, who adds: “The wife should have upon her head a symbol of the power which the man has over her, i. e., the veil.”9 The word itself, however, nowhere else occurs in this sense. As somewhat analogous to it, we have the word βασιλεία, which literally means kingdom, used evidently for diadem in Diod. Sic. I. 47 (ἔχουσιν τρεῖς βασιλείας ἐπὶ της κεφαλῆς: ‘they have three kingdoms on the head,’ meaning ‘three crowns’). A number of conjectural readings, and also varied attempts at explanation,—some strange, some arbitrary, may here be passed over. For an account of them, see Meyer, Osiander [and Stanley, whose note on this word is quite elaborate].—As an additional reason why the women should have the symbol of power on their heads, the Apostle subjoins.—on account of the angels.—Here, too, there has been a great elaboration of opinions, partly in the way of conjectural readings, and partly in attempts at explanation. The former deserve no mention [as the present reading is supported by all good authorities; although Neander can hardly help the persuasion that it was a gloss introduced anterior to all the existing manuscripts, and so perpetuated]. As far as the latter are concerned, owing to a disinclination to assume that supernatural existences were meant, it has been thought that the “angels” here spoken of were of a human kind—whether it be officers of the church,10 which can hardly be the case, from the lack of all qualifying terms (comp. Revelation 1:20 : “unto the angel of the church,” etc.; Malachi 2:7 : “The priest—is the messenger (ἄγγελος) of the Lord of Hosts”); or prophets, of which the same remark holds good; or messengers from other churches, which by no means follows from James 2:25, where Rahab is spoken of as ‘receiving the messengers:’ or whether it be unconverted husbands, or others not Christians, who might come into the congregations to make report. If, however, supernatural beings are understood to be meant, then the question arises whether these are good or bad spirits. If we suppose the latter, then the reference here would be to the danger of temptation through such evil spirits, either through the women’s being betrayed into unhallowed thoughts, or through their tempting men to indulge the same by showing themselves unveiled. But from the lack of any definite limitation of the meaning of the term, or of any hint of the kind in the context, we can hardly suppose this class of spirits to be intended. He must mean therefore the good and holy angels. Yet the phrase is not to be construed as expressing an oath which would be contrary to the usage of the language. Nor yet does it mean that women should veil their faces in presence of men, who are here declared to be the image and glory of God, because angels do this in the Divine presence (Isaiah 6:0). Nor yet does the phrase denote the purpose not to give offence to their guardian angels by an indecorous appearance; for then would he have added the pronoun ‘their’ to imply this. The most probable opinion is, that he means angels in general, who are regarded as being invisibly present with Christ in the assemblies of the church, and whose displeasure would be awakened by the violation of decency. The first trace of such an idea, which appears also to have been advocated by the early fathers, is to be found in Psalms 138:1. “Also before the angels will I sing praise to Thee.” Traces of the same belief may be found also among the Jews of a later period. (Comp. Grotius on this text). Reverentia geniorum, qui formationis hominum testes et spectatores fuerunt. The origin of the idea that angels were present at the creation of men, may be proved to have come from the rabbinical interpretations of Genesis 1:26. [The view just given Hodge declares to be “the common and only satisfactory interpretation of the passage which answers all the demands of the context].” And Alford expresses his belief in it, and adds that the reason of Paul’s thus speaking of the angels was, that he “had before his mind the order of the universal church, and prefers, when speaking of the assemblies of Christians, to adduce those beings who, as not entering into the gradation which he has here described, are conceived [of] as spectators of the whole, delighted with the decency and order of the servants of God.” Such also is Calvin’s view, who says that “this was added by way of amplifying, q. d. ‘If women uncover their heads, not only Christ, but all the angels, too, will be witnesses of the outrage.’ And this interpretation suits with the Apostle’s design, as he is here treating of different ranks.” Stanley’s note, which is full of interesting information, is too long to be quoted here, and the curious reader can only be referred to it.
1 Corinthians 11:11-12. All proud depreciation of women on the part of men, as well as all disposition to retire on the part of women, Paul now opposes by qualifying his previous expressions and bringing to view the mutual connections of the sexes in the sphere of Christian life. And these he then refers back to their relations grounded in nature.—Nevertheless neither is woman without man, nor man without woman in the Lord.—To explain the word “Lord” of God, as if the phrase “in the Lord” meant on account of ‘God’s will and ordinance,’ would be contrary to Paul’s use of language, and is by no means required by the relation of the two verses [11, 12], by which the harmony of the kingdom of grace and the kingdom of nature is indicated, or that the order of life obligatory in the sphere of redemption is grounded on that which preceded it in the sphere of creation according to the Divinely ordained development of things therein.—But the question still arises whether the expression “in the Lord” is to be taken as a predicate with ‘is’ understood, as if he meant to say that the one is not without the other in communion with the Lord; or as an adverbial expression qualifying the two clauses so as to imply that in the sphere of Christ both are inseparable. The sense is essentially the same in both constructions, and both are logically admissible. But the former better expresses Paul’s thought. He means that while the woman ought in the public assembly to show herself as one subordinated to the man in a dependence which is indicated both in her origin and in her destiny, nevertheless Christianity requires no separation of the sexes. Neither party stands for itself alone. Both belong essentially together, and point to one another. And even in relation to the Christian life there is a mutual dependence, so that the one serves to supplement the other. As Burger says: “In their relation to Christ, in that communion where both alike have the ground and aim of their spiritual life, the distinction of the sexes is resolved into a mutual dependence of love.”—In what follows, Paul points to the fact that this relation in Christ corresponds to the natural relation existing between the sexes, and is demanded by the essential harmony which prevails between the kingdom of nature and the kingdom of grace. “For were this not so, then would Christianity be opposed to the natural order of things.” Meyer.—In contrast with what is said in 1 Corinthians 11:8, and here re-stated, that—the woman is from the man—he says—so also is the man through the woman—As the former declaration refers to the origin of the woman, so does the latter refer to the progressive reproduction of the race, which even in the case of the man is effected through the woman.—And lastly, he sets this natural relation under a religious point of view.—but all things of God—i. e., God is the first principle of all things, of the existence of woman from the man, and of man through the woman. But the logical relation of the two verses does not require that we refer this to what was said in 1 Corinthians 11:11 by the expression “in the Lord.” From this brief digression he returns to his immediate subject.
1 Corinthians 11:13-15. He here appeals once more to their natural sense of propriety.—Judge in yourselves.—i. e., without reference to any external authorities by which their judgment might be biased. We are not to suppose that Paul is here accommodating himself to the fondness for philosophic proof prevalent among the Greeks, as Rückert imagines. He intends only to bring the matter closer home to their own consciousness, both softening and sharpening his reproof at the same time. [“The Apostle often recognizes the intuitive judgments of the mind as authoritative, Romans 1:32; Romans 3:8. The constitution of our nature being derived from God, the laws which He has impressed upon it, are as much a revelation from Him, as any other possible communications of His will. And to deny this, is to deny the possibility of all knowledge,” Hodge].—Is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?—By praying unto God, he does not mean silent participation in public worship, but as in 1 Corinthians 11:5, taking the lead in audible prayer.—If the women, while they were thus putting themselves upon an equality with men, deemed themselves at liberty on this account to appear like the men unveiled, it is so much the more remarkable, that Paul should refer them simply to the uncomeliness of their behavior while holding public intercourse with God, whose ordinance they were violating in so doing. Hence he here says nothing about prophesying.—That the sense of propriety required a woman to be veiled, is shown from the spontaneous teachings of nature.—Doth not nature itself teach you that if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him, but that if a woman have long hair it is a glory to her?—The οὐδέ had best be translated not even, which imparts to the whole question a greater emphasis. In regard to “nature,” the question arises whether the word is to be taken in the objective sense, as denoting the order and laws of nature, or in the subjective sense, as denoting the instinctive feelings and sentiments, the native sense of propriety existing in every individual, and which may have been more or less affected by custom and habit. The latter interpretation cannot be altogether established from the meaning of the word. But the former yields good sense, as we understand by it here to denote the natural constitution of the sexes, and the richer growth of hair in the woman. In observing these constitutional tendencies, a significant hint is derived as to what is befitting in the premises. Accordingly, in contrast with the practices of a cruder heathenism of the earlier time, when long hair prevailed, there has grown up among the most civilized nations, that good taste which declares itself in favor of short hair for men and long hair for women. Among men, the wearing of long hair is now reprobated as a mark of effeminacy and dishonoring to them, inasmuch as it prevents the free exposure of the countenance. [The Nazarites, as a distinction, allowed their hair to grow]. The main stress of the Apostle’s instruction, however, bears upon the duty of woman, and he assigns as one reason for her wearing her hair long, that—her hair is given to her instead of a covering.—From this it follows that the artificial veiling which he has spoken of above, is also an honor to the woman, while going unveiled disgraces her, since nature itself seems to have insisted upon the veiling of her head. [Chardin writes respecting the ladies of Persia: “The head-dress of the women is simple: their hair is drawn behind the head, and divided into several tresses: the beauty of this head-dress consists in the thickness and length of these tresses, which should fall even down to the heels, in default of which, they lengthen them with tresses of silk. The ends of these tresses they decorate with pearls and jewels, or ornaments of gold or silver.”(Barnes). This method of wearing the hair, is common among all Eastern nations, and it shows how woman’s hair was regarded as “a covering.” But the Apostle, it will be observed, makes no allusion to the customs of nations in the matter, nor is even the mention of them relevant. This, it will be important to observe, since many are inclined to construe his instructions as applicable only to those early times, being fashioned in accordance with customs then prevalent. So far is this, however, from being the case, that he appeals for support, solely to the Divine ordinances in nature, and therefore imparts a lesson which is applicable alike for all times].
1 Corinthians 11:16. He concludes by asserting his own custom and the custom of other Churches, as an answer to those contentious people who might refuse to concede the validity of his arguments.—But if any man seem to be contentious.—δοκεῖ does not mean incline, for this idea is expressed by τινι δοκεῖ. It may be explained as denoting either ‘thinks he is at liberty to be,’ or as a delicate turn after the fashion of the Latin videtur: hence essentially the same as ἐστίν. In the apodosis the expression is elliptical, and we must supply some such phrase as ‘let him understand that,’—we,—that is, himself and his fellow-Apostles, and those of like sentiment.—have no such custom.—It is questionable whether he means here the custom of women’s appearing unveiled, just animadverted upon, or the contentiousness he is anticipating. The latter interpretation suits with the use of the word “we,” which otherwise would suggest the thought of some Jewish custom had in mind, a thing that does not suit here; and also of the Churches of God, he could very properly say that contentious disputing was not allowed among them, and was not their custom. [Such is the view given by Chrysostom, Calvin, Meyer, de Wette, and many of the best modern commentators. But in regard to it Alford well says: “Surely it would be very unlikely that after so long a treatment of a particular subject, the Apostle should wind up all by merely censuring a fault common to their behavior on this and on all the other matters of dispute. Such a rendering seems to me almost to stultify the conclusion. But for the weighty names on the other side, it would seem hardly to admit of a question, that the custom which he here disavows, was the practice of women praying uncovered. He thus cuts off all further disputation on the matter, by appealing to universal Christian usage.” With this view agree Grot., Billroth, Olsh., Hodge, and others]. The allusion to the Churches of God carries great emphasis, as decisive of the point in question, and shutting up all strife. It might be said that here was a genuine Catholic element set in opposition to a self-opinionated particularism.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. The unity amid diversity in the Divine economy. The Sovereign of the heavenly kingdom is the Son who is one with the Father, and yet has God for His Head. Yea, as the One who is of the Father, and derives all things from the Father, so as to be able to say, “All Thine are mine,” is He dependent on the Father, and distinguishable from Him both in His unity and in His equality.—The same law reappears in the human sphere. Here man is the chief power, and woman is dependent on him. There is the same humanity in both, and the same Divine life in both. But as the woman originally derived her life from the man, and so is subordinate to him in all the relations of life, being created for him and designed to be his helper; so likewise in the spiritual sphere, in the domain of God’s Church is woman subordinate to man. Here, too, is it the life of the man through which the Lord primarily acts. Men are the bearers of the Divine message; they proclaim the Divine truth, and by virtue of it beget a spiritual life in others; and they are the shepherds who foster the life thus begotten in its onward development. And as in his doings and management the majesty of God is reflected, so is the glory of man reflected in woman, and in her activities in so far as she acts by the authority and power of the man moulding, informing and training the life received from him, and ruling in the household set up by him, to order, counsel and educate within her own sphere. This is a genuine womanliness, which manifests itself in the constant consciousness of such a dependence which every where follows the man, which regards his mind and will as the ground and rule of her action, which is never obtrusive, arrogates no functions belonging to the man, and always wears the appearance of modesty and decorum whatever may be the prevailing fashion of the times.
But as in the natural sphere, man with all his freedom and independence, is in turn conditioned upon the woman, deriving his existence through her; and as the man with all his freedom cannot isolate himself from the woman, but is obliged to find in her the complement of his whole being and existence, so is it likewise in the sphere of his Christian life. As the woman ordinarily imparts a salutary and refining influence to man’s moral and social life, tempering his strength with her mildness, and adding her plastic power to his, in the whole business of education; so is it likewise in the spiritual life. As an evidence of what she is and can do here, we can point to the lives of many distinguished men in the kingdom of God, who have owed their greatness to wise and pious mothers. If on the one hand woman, in fellowship with man, obtains through his influence energy and boldness, power and independence, freedom and breadth of character, by means of which she is raised above her natural state without injury to her feminine qualities, and is brought to share in his being without altering, but rather ennobling her womanliness; so on the other hand, through the influence of woman, the angularity and sharpness, the harshness and strength of the masculine nature become softened, and acquire a gentleness and grace, which without injuring his true manliness, adorns and ennobles his whole life. And both these effects are seen in their purest and highest forms within the sphere of Christianity. And in this sphere alone is man able to assert and realize in a truly moral way his proper position and influence, for here he has Christ as his Head. By this means, also, are the relations of the divine and the human spheres properly mediated. In a certain sense, Christ, the Son of God, the First-born of all creatures, in and through whom all things were made, the original image of God after which man was fashioned, the primeval glory of God of which human glory is but a ray, must be considered as the Head of the man, in all the spheres of earthly life, from the beginning to the end; and all true manliness, with its elevating influence upon the character of woman, must be referred back to Him:—just as in like manner the receptivity and formative activity of the woman, and the identity of the two-fold life in marriage, is grounded upon the divine act that made them partakers of one common nature. And both these are truly realized in their mutual influences in Christianity in that sphere of redemption which has been wrought out and perfected by the incarnate Son of God. Here the man depends on Christ by faith, and derives from His fulness power, wisdom and love, which enable him to prove a true support for the woman who has been redeemed by the same Christ, is united with him in faith, and is taken into personal communion with him, imparting to her what he has received from Christ, and in the love of Christ, who gave Himself for them, devotes his strength and all his qualities, and so leads her on under his influence that she is daily strengthened through the divine grace derived through him, and so becomes, in turn for him, just what she, according to her own way and destiny, can be, and ought to be by virtue of this same divine life—a true Christian wife, a veritable help—meet for him in God.
[2. Dress is not only an article of comfort and convenience, but also, in its original design and use, is a symbol: 1, Of our fallen state—betokening sin and shame. 2, Of sex—distinguishing between man and woman. 3, Of rank and station—designating by its specific differences the positions which persons hold in life. 4, Of character and sentiment—expressing in its style thepeculiarities, good or bad, of the wearer. In consequence of this, its symbolic character, it becomes every Christian to be particular as to the manner of his dress, and see to it that it properly expresses the position which he occupies in society, and in the Church of God, and that it indicates those qualities of character which it becomes him always to cherish and manifest. This rule applies alike to both sexes, and ought to be fully considered by Christians at this day, when the propensity is so strong for complying with the fashions of a world, which, in forgetting God, is too apt also to ignore and violate the just relations held by men and women in society. Above all things ought “women professing godliness to adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shame-facedness and sobriety,” resisting firmly every fashion that may prove either a dishonor to themselves or a temptation to man].
[3. Nature and Christianity. Both originating in the same God, appear in perfect harmony. The laws of nature confirm the dictates of Christianity, and Christianity accepts, authenticates and sanctifies the teachings of nature. In this mutual support we find one evidence of the truth of revelation].
[4. The New Testament confirms the truth of the Old Testament, even in those particulars which it has been too much the fashion to discredit as a mere myth or allegory. In referring for proof to the facts of the history of the creation, Paul here establishes the credibility of the Mosaic narrative in all its literalness. It is impossible, therefore, for any Christian who believes in the inspiration of the Apostles, to doubt the divine authority of the Pentateuch, or to confine the inspiration of the ancient writers to their doctrinal and preceptive statements].
[5. The authority of the Apostles is the end of controversy. To argue against what they have established is, therefore, to show a contentious and rebellious spirit, that, instead of being reasoned with, had best be let alone].
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
1 Corinthians 11:2. As a father toward his child, so does a faithful minister toward his Church use all means—praise and censure—for urging his hearers to goodness and piety (1Co 4:14; 1 Thessalonians 2:11 ff.).—As faithful ministers remember their people, to pray for, love and serve them, so should the people remember their ministers, to pray for, assist and give heed to their lessons.
1 Corinthians 11:3. For a happy marriage, it is essential, 1, that the husband acknowledge Christ as his head, and rule in his spirit; 2, that he prove the head of the wife in fact, yet not in such a way as to destroy her courage and confidence; 3, that the wife acknowledge her husband as her head—not undertaking to act as master.
1 Corinthians 11:4. In public worship, as also everywhere else, Christians ought to preserve decorum according to established usages (Exodus 19:10-11).—Spener: It is incumbent on Christians in all their religious services to indicate by their appearance and demeanor a reverence for the presence of God—man and woman conducting themselves according to the divine intent in their creation.—Hedinger: As God and nature have distinguished offices and sexes, so have they also appointed distinctions in apparel and demeanor, which should be observed according to public custom, and so as to avoid offence (Deuteronomy 22:5).
1 Corinthians 11:6. None should allow themselves to be forced to do that which is good. Willing obedience is what pleases God.
1 Corinthians 11:8. Behold the wisdom of God in fitting man and woman to the position designed for them severally in marriage.
1 Corinthians 11:9. It is a perversion of God’s ordinance, when a woman usurps authority over her husband, or when a man, from fond affection, becomes the slave of his wife.—Hed.: As the lord of the household, man must keep his place, and he commits a great mistake when from any side considerations he forms a marriage contract that requires him to yield his position. Yet “dwell with your wives according to knowledge” (1 Peter 3:7), and tenderness as “fellow heirs of the grace of life,” on whom God has enjoined obedience as a praiseworthy duty—which has, however, since the fall proved a cross to the weak and a vexation to the unregenerate.
1 Corinthians 11:10. A dress designed for the ball-room is un-suited to the house of God, where it becometh women to assume a modest attire, if not for the sake of man, yet at least for the sake of the angels present there, and for the sake of God, who has promised there to come and bless His people (Exodus 20:24).
1 Corinthians 11:11. Man and woman have an equal right to the kingdom of God; they have been redeemed at an equal cost, and may obtain like blessedness; therefore let not man plume himself on his supremacy, nor woman feel disgraced on account of her subjection.
1 Corinthians 11:12. Christ Himself was born of woman; hence men should honor and love their wives, and wives not begrudge their husbands their lordship. All things are of God—man and woman and the ordinances regulating their relations; hence, to Him belongs the honor due, in all humility and obedience. What is comely should be cultivated, because well pleasing to God no less than to man (Philippians 4:8).
1 Corinthians 11:15. Long hair is an honor to a woman; but she should not proudly parade it; rather it should be to her a sign of subjection, and serve for a covering.
1 Corinthians 11:16. True church members will never compel others to adopt their own opinions, however well grounded, nor wrangle about them; but will quietly let wranglers pass and leave them to their own responsibility.
1 Corinthians 11:2. He who will maintain the spirit of Christianity in its integrity, will show it even in little things.
1 Corinthians 11:3. All true order has its foundations above.—The distinctions which God has made between the sexes cannot be arbitrarily overridden.—Man must conduct himself according to the type set by Christ. If he prides himself on his authority, and is not at the same time obedient to his Lord, nor abides in His Spirit, he is guilty of flagrant folly. His example encourages the wife to be disobedient too. As Christ is submissive to God, and is intimately united to Him, so must man be related to Christ. He must be as a Christian, and act consistently with his profession.—Vv. 7–9. These first principles sound like old tales; but let us keep them fresh by constant application. The order of nature must be held close with the order of creation and Providence, and with the history of Moses.
1 Corinthians 11:10. Christianity consists in a life of subjection; but it is by this means that Satan is overcome.—Vv. 11, 12. Man and wife are united as head and body—the one cannot exist without the other; therefore, each should consent to unite with the other in one understanding, purpose and head. In the kingdom of grace there must be no infraction upon the kingdom of nature. They concur, and have their lesson from the Lord, and their blessing through “the seed of the woman.”—The man, however, cannot abide in the Lord unless he be condescending to his wife. It is a valuable exercise in Christianity to be referring all matters, even the least, to the Lord, whence all things come. God is the source of all things, and if we do not go back to the origin of things as revealed we shall not discover their true law and order.
1 Corinthians 11:13. God has given woman certain signatures, which shall indicate to her how she is to conduct herself outwardly. Prayer begets reverence and docility.—Vv. 14, 15. Nature must not be abandoned in common life, much less in holy services.
1 Corinthians 11:2 ff. There is something very delicate about our good standing in the kingdom of God, far more than about the most refined court-fashion in the world. If we hesitate to offend against the latter in the slightest particular of dress or deportment, how much more should we hesitate in the case of the former.—The man finds his Head in Christ, from whom he derives grace and gifts not only for himself, but also for his house; but woman is to find her head in man, even aside from the marriage relation, because in the constitution and management of the Church ail depends on men. And this should not appear hard, since in the work of redemption there exists just such a mutual relation between Christ and God. He derives everything from the fulness of the Father, and refers back to Him what He, as the Mediator, brings to us.
1 Corinthians 11:3. Every regulation should be so referred back to our religious instincts and to fundamental principles, as to be made the standard of decorum for every age.
1 Corinthians 11:7. Man is the Lord of the house—the image and representative of God—the one from whom the majesty of God should be reflected. The wife represents at home the absent man, and should exhibit his image in herself; she has authority only from him [even as she bears his name]. Hence both should so carry themselves in deportment and attire, that the supremacy of the man and the subordination of the woman shall be recognized.
1 Corinthians 11:9. It is a sad perversion of God’s ordinance, when women regard men simply as the means of their convenience, honor, or comfort.—A wife who fails to further the just interests of her husband, contravenes the appointment of God.—Christianity is innocent of that silly worship of ladies which has often been observed in Christian nations. Yet woman is not on this account to be regarded as the mere instrument of the man.
1 Corinthians 11:11. Christianity balances the inequality through the equality, secured in Christ, in whom both ought to be regarded as one. Before God all stand on one footing.
1 Corinthians 11:13. Our moral sentiments often decide a question more correctly than the understanding. Most of all, in our devotions should modesty rule and protect the heart. Can the bold, the shameless, the restless pray?
W. F. Besser:
1 Corinthians 11:11. The Greeks excluded woman from certain solemnities of their idol-worship; on the contrary, in Christianity married couples walk together to the house of God, sit side by side at the table of the Lord, unite at the morning and evening blessing, and are together in all the observances where life in the Lord is fostered. In Thee, O Lord! the man is not without the woman, and woman is not without the man; but in order that both may remain in Thee, keep Thou them steadfast in obedience to Thy will, that the woman may serve Thee in subjection to the man, and the man may be the head of the house in Thee!
1 Corinthians 11:16. A praiseworthy ordinance which has in it a sound Christian sense, should not be mutilated, deranged, and perverted, through mere love of change or selfish cunning, if for no other reason than this, that unedifying and useless strife is thereby evoked, in which each one deems his own was the best.
[Wordsworth:—4–15. St. Paul here teaches the Christian women, who more than any women in the world, needed such instruction, that by obtrusive boldness and wanton effrontery, and by presumptuous shamelessness and flaunting immodesty in public, in the House of God, they gained nothing, but forfeited that dignity, power, and grace, which God had given to women, especially under the Gospel.—Thus the Divine Apostle has left a lesson to women in every age, a lesson which in the present age deserves special attention, when the attire of some among them seems to expose them to that reproof which was spoken through him by the Holy Spirit to the women of Corinth.—Let them learn from him, that the true power of woman is in gentle submission; her most attractive grace and genuine beauty are in modest retirement and delicate reserve; her best ornament, “that of a meek and quiet spirit, which, in the sight of God, is of great price” (1 Peter 3:4)].
1 Corinthians 11:2; 1 Corinthians 11:2.—In many good MSS, etc., ἀδελφοί is found after ὑμᾶς, but it is doubtful; it is not in A. B, C. [Sinait., 4 cursives, the Copt., Sahid., Athan. (Romaned.), Arm., Athan.,Cyr., Bas., Chrys.]. Its insertion would have been very natural. If this verse were the beginning of a new section, transcribers and commentators would have expected the word, and if it had been in the original, it would not have been easily omitted. It is found in D. E. F. G. K. L., et al., the Ital., Vulg., Goth., Syr. (which, with some others, adds μου), Athan., Theodt., Damasc, Ambrst., Rel. Lachm., Alford, Stanley and Wordsw. cancel it, while Bloomf. And Tisch. (after cancelling it in his 3d edit.) insert it.—C. P. W.].
1 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Corinthians 11:3.—The article τοῦ before Χριστοῦ is not very certain. [Lachm., Tisch, and Alford admit it on the authority of A. B. D. Sin. and some Fathers. Bloomfield suggests that in these MSS, “the word, written abbreviatim, may have arisen from the preceding δὲ.” It may, however, have been removed to match the absence of the article before γυναικὸς.—C. P. W.].
1 Corinthians 11:5; 1 Corinthians 11:5.—Lachm. has adopted αὐτῆς on very considerable authority [A. C. D. (1st cor.) F. G, L. Sinait., and about a dozen cursives, with Chrys., Theodt., et al.]. This form might have arisen from an attempt to make it conform to the αὐτοῦ of 1 Corinthians 11:4. [Bloomfield thinks the true word may have been αὑτῆς, winch in Hellenistic Greek was often equivalent to εαυτῆς (Fritzsche). Tischendorf, in his early edit., had αυτῆς, but in his 3rd, and later, he has ἑαυτῆς. The latter word would have been needful, if the Apostle had wished to prevent his readers from confounding the κεφαλὴν with ὁ , as they would have been likely to do after what he had said in 1 Corinthians 11:3.—C. P. W.].
1 Corinthians 11:7; 1 Corinthians 11:7.—The Rec. omits ἡ before γυνή, but the authority for the article is very strong. It was removed so that tho phrase might conform with similar preceding and following phrases. [A. B. D.(lst cor.) F. G. Sinait. (3d cor.) 73,118, Dial., Isador., Theodt. insert it. So Lachm., Tisch., Alford, Meyer and Stanley. Bloomfield receives it, but expresses it in small print. It seems required in the same sense as in 1 Corinthians 11:10, where it is certainly genuine.—C. P. W.].
1 Corinthians 11:11; 1 Corinthians 11:11.—The Rec. has an inverted order for these words, but it is not well sustained. Meyer thinks that it was more natural to mention the man first, and that this occasioned the change. [Lachm,, Tisch., Bloomfield and Alford, with A. B. C. D. (1James , 3 d cor.) E. F. G. H. and Sinait., with several cursives, versions and Fathers, have γυνὴ χωρίς . χωρὶς γυναὶκος.—C. P. W.].
1 Corinthians 11:14; 1 Corinthians 11:14.—The Rec. has ἤ οὐδὲ αὐτή φύσις, but in opposition to decisive authorities. The ἤ was an addition to determine the connection with 1 Corinthians 11:13. [It is wanting in A. B. C. D. (1st cor.) F. G. H. Sinait., et al. Ital., Vnlg.. Copt., Syr., Arm., Tert., Ambr., Ambrst., and has been suspected to be an attempt to point the interrogation. F. G. Arm., Tert., have ἡφύσις without the αὐτή, but against better authorities; but many of the best MSS put αὐτή after φύσις.—C. P. W.].
1 Corinthians 11:15; 1 Corinthians 11:15. Lachmann, with the Rec., adds αὐτῆ after δέδοταλ, on some good but not sufficient manuscripts. It is easy to see how it may have been added. [A. B. Sinait., et al., have δέδοται αὐτῇ; C. H., with some cursives, the Vulg. and Syr. versions, and Damasc. and Ambr. have αὐτῆ δέδοται and D. E. F. G. K. L., and many others, with Chrys., Theodt., Œcum. and Tert. entirely omit αὐτῇ.—C. P. W.].
[Stanley says that both the literal and the metaphorical sense of the term head are here included. The man dishonors his head by an unseemly effeminate practice, and thereby Christ, who is his spiritual head. Here the head, as being the symbol of Christ, is treated with the same religious reverence as is the body in 1 Corinthians 6:19, as being the temple of the Spirit! Hodge, on the contrary, prefers to take the word ‘head’ in its literal sense. “1. Because in the immediately preceding clause the word is used literally. 2. Because in 1 Corinthians 11:5 the woman who goes unveiled is said to dishonor her own head, i. e., as what follows shows herself and not her husband. 3. It is more obviously true that a man who acts inconsistently with his station disgraces himself, than that he disgraces him who placed him in that station.” The force of the last argument Stanley does not allow, as will be seen above. Stanley’s view seems, all things considered, to merit the preference].
[Wordsworth says, rather “an emblem of authority which she derives through man from God; and by throwing off her covering she throws away her ἐξουσιάν, or the mark of her own authority, which consists in the essential derivation of her being through man from God. She forfeits her own claim to reverence by breaking that link of connection which binds her through man even to the throne of God.” But in opposition to this statement we need but cite a quotation made by Barnes from Chardin. Speaking of the head-covering used by the ladies of Persia, this author says, ‘ ‘only married women wear it; and it is the mark by which it is known that they are under subjection”].
[In support of this opinion, see some interesting statements in Thomson’s “ The Land and the Book,” Vol. 1, pp. 34–37].
B. On the contrast between the rich and poor at church-feasts, as inconsistent with the idea of the Lord’s Supper, and provocative of the Divine judgments
1 Corinthians 11:17-34
17Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not [But this I command you, not praising you, παραγγέλλω οὐκ ἐπαινῶν],11 that ye come together not for thebetter, but for the worse. 18For first of all, when ye come together in the church [a public assembly, ἐν ἐκκλησίᾳ]12 I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly19[in some degree, μέρος τι] believe it. For there must be also heresies [sects, αἱρέσεις] among you, that they13 which are approved may be made manifest among you.20When ye come together therefore into one place, this [it] is not to eat the Lord’s supper. 21For in eating every one taketh before other14 his own [private, τὸ ἴδιον] supper:22and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What! [For, γὰρ] have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that havenot? What shall I say to you? shall I praise15 you in this?16 I praise you not. 23For I have [om. have, παρέλαβον] received of the Lord that which also I [have, παρὲδωκα] delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed,took bread: 24And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat17 [om. Take eat]; this is my body, which is broken18 [om. broken] for you: this do in remem-brance of me. 25After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament [covenant, διαθήκη] in my blood: this do ye, asoft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this [the]19 cup, ye do shew [proclaim, καταγγέλλετε] the Lord’s death till hecome. 27Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread,20 and [or, ῆ] drink this cup of theLord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and [the]21 blood of the Lord. 28But let a man examine [make trial of, δοκιμαζέτω] himself, and so let him eat of that [theτοῦ] bread, and drink of that [the, τοῦ] cup. 29For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, [om. unworthily]22 aateth and drinketh damnation [judgment, κρῖμα] to him-30self, not discerning the Lord’s [if he does not discern the, μὴ διακρίνων] body. For31this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For [But, δὲ]23 if we would judge [had judged, διεκρίνομεν] ourselves, we should not be [have beenjudged, οὐκ ἄν ἐκρινόμεθα] judged. 32But when we are judged [now that we are judged, κρινόμενοι], we are chastened of the Lord,24 that we should not be condemned with theworld. 33Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And [om. And]25 if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not34together unto condemnation [judgment, κρῖμα]. And the rest will I set in order when I come.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
[In order to the right understanding of this section it must be premised: 1. That it was the primitive custom to celebrate the Lord’s Supper in private houses (Acts 2:46); although there is reason to believe, as will soon be seen, that the Corinthians had already a specific place for public worship. Yet, supposing this to have been the case, it would be natural to infer that the habits and sentiments attaching to the observance at the private house, would be transferred to what might be called “ the church.” 2. That the Lord’s Supper was held “daily” (Acts 2:46), and was usually connected with an ordinary meal; although even in this respect the language of the text seems to imply a change to a less frequent observance; perhaps the first day of the week, as was afterwards the custom (Acts 20:7). 3. That this meal was often made up of contributions brought by the communicants, to be enjoyed in common, and which came to be called an Agape (ἀγάπη) or love-feast, where the fellowship of the Christian community was exhibited and cultivated in a social festival. 4. That the custom of enjoying such social repasts existed also among the Greeks. With them these repasts were termed ἔρανοι, club feasts, which were associated with plans of mutual relief or charity toward the poor, where the practice was for each guest to eat that which he brought with him in his own basket. And what an influence this heathen observance, so often attended with disorder and rioting, would have upon the minds of recent converts present at a similar Christian festival, can be readily imagined. Bearing these four facts in mind, we shall be able the more readily to appreciate the nature of the difficulties which had arisen in the church, and the occasion of the Apostolic rebuke and injunction. And in all this we shall see an illustration of the old proverb, that “evil customs give rise to good laws.” See these facts more fully brought out in Stanley’s valuable note, and also in articles under “Lord’s Supper,” in Kitto’s Biblical Cyclopædia, Alexander’s Ed.; and Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible; Riddle’s Christian Antiquities, p. 600; Neander, Plant. and Train. of the Christian Church, pp. 23, 163; Schaff, Hist. of the Apostolic Church, p. 185 ff.].
1 Corinthians 11:17. Now this I command.—He here refers to the foregoing precept; and through a participial clause expressing a contrast with what he says in 1 Corinthians 11:2, he connects with it a rebuke of further evils in their church assemblies—Not praising (you).—We should have expected to see the sentence here differently constructed, having the main verb in the form of a participle, and the participle in the form of the main verb; since it is on the latter that the emphasis evidently lies. Hence the ordinary reading, which for this very reason is not to be maintained. If, however, with Lachmann [and Stanley], we include 1 Corinthians 11:16 in this paragraph, then the words τοῦτο παραγγέλλω would point to what follows, and be rendered: ‘Now this I declare unto you’ [as the E. V.], which rendering would be contrary to the New Testament usage. And to this we may add that the previous paragraph requires just such a conclusion as is found in 1 Corinthians 11:16. There is no need whatever of supposing that the strifes and schisms alluded to in 1 Corinthians 11:18 refer to the contentiousness spoken of in 1 Corinthians 11:16. Besides, the reference of τοῦτο, this, to what follows is inadmissible, since no directions do follow immediately; and in order to find any, we must look onward to 1 Corinthians 11:33 ff., which would be too remote. Still further, there is no need of looking for them here, since the close connection with the precepts immediately preceding by means of the participial clause, is sufficiently motived by that which is common to the two paragraphs, viz., disorders in the church assembly; and to this we may add the contrast between the “not praising” and the “I praise” of 1 Corinthians 11:22, q. d. ‘But this precept I give not praising you, as in the former instance, in that,’ etc.26—that (ὄτι, not, because, as Alf., Words.] ye come together.—“Hitherto he has been speaking only of the ambitious few; but now he feels obliged to rebuke the whole church for a prevailing evil.” Neander.—Not for the better, but for the worse.—These phrases do not indicate the way and manner of their assembling, but rather its result or fruit, implying that by means of it they were injured rather than improved; and so the issue was not edification, which it was incumbent on all to aim at, but the opposite; instead of furthering, it hindered their communion with their Lord and with each other.27
1 Corinthians 11:18-19. For first of all.—πρῶ τον μέν followed by no ἔπειτα δέ, just as is the case in Romans 1:8; Romans 3:2. Accordingly the second matter of rebuke many think they find in 1 Corinthians 11:20, introduced by οὔν, therefore, because this is to be regarded as a result of the “schism” spoken of in the next clause. What, then, does he mean by these “schisms?” Is it what he more fully discussed in chapter 1 Corinthians 1:11 ff.? Were this so, could he have alluded to them here in so incidental a manner? This is hardly possible; for he must then have had in mind certain reports of their schismatic ways in their church assemblies different from that particularly specified in 1 Corinthians 11:20, and which ought to have been more fully detailed. The correct view, therefore, undoubtedly is that the second disorder which he rebukes is not to be found in 1 Corinthians 11:20 ff., and that in the word “schisms” he only indicates generally what he there more fully defines, and to which the words “when ye come together” and the “therefore” which resumes the argument, refer; and that there, for the first time, the proper rebuke follows (1 Corinthians 11:22). The “schisms,” then, denote ruptures, disorders in fellowship of love as they appeared in the church feasts, and which he speaks of more fully in 1 Corinthians 11:21. The second matter, then, which he has to rebuke, we are to look for in chap. 12, viz., the disorders arising in their church assemblies from an unbecoming use of “gifts.” But the connection is loosely indicated, and is to be understood along the more extended exposition which intervenes.—When ye come together in the Church.—ἐν ἐκκλησίᾳ shows the form of their coming together, i.e., in a church assembly. To suppose a pregnant construction for εἰς ἐκκλησίαν is unnecessary; still less is the word ἐκκλησια, church, to be regarded as denoting the place of assembling; which use of the term did not spring up until later times. Yet perhaps we might say, with Meyer and de Wette, that the congregation is here regarded in the light of a locality.—I hear.—He thus vividly presentiates the whole circumstance, as though what had been communicated to him were still sounding in his ears.—that there are schisms among you.—[These, as intimated above, are specifically those occurring at the love-feasts; but on the mention of them he breaks off to show that such divisions were to be no matters of surprise, but were ordained to test them. The original term is σχίσματα, whence our schisms; but here it designates simply cliques, separated from each other by social distinctions and petty alienations of feeling. Those who were thus divided were outwardly still one body].—and I partly believe it.—The word “partly” has a softening effect, q. d., ‘I think too well of you to believe all that has been reported to me.’
He next proceeds to assign a higher reason for the partial belief which he was constrained to give to what he heard, viz., a Divinely ordained necessity in the circumstances alluded to, as instrumental to a Divine result, “according to that law of Divine administration by which evil, so far from hindering, is made tributary to good.” Burger (Matthew 18:7; Matthew 26:54).—For there must be also heresies among you. In explaining this passage the chief question is, what did Paul mean by αἱρέσεις, lit., heresies? The word occurs elsewhere with Paul only in Galatians 5:20, specifying one of the works of the flesh, and is one of the expressions denoting hostility and division. It occurs besides in Acts 5:17; Acts 15:5; Acts 24:5; Acts 24:14; Acts 28:22, of religious parties or sects; and in Titus 3:10, αἱρέτικος denotes one who occasions divisions in the church by turning aside from sound doctrine (comp. αἱρέσεις, 2 Peter 2:1). “Originally in classic usage αἱρέσεις signifies nothing bad. It implies choice, hence an opinion, then a party, which arises through choice, especially in the schools. It came to possess a bad significance, first in Christian usage; and this is in consequence of our Christian modes of thinking and viewing things. On the stand-point of worldly wisdom, diversity of views and tendencies in regard to religious things is allowable; but on the Christian stand-point it is required that every thing within us be subjected to one Divine principle of life, and be brought into one fellowship of faith and love.”28 Neander. In our text the current exposition wavers between the identification of the word with σχἱσματα so as to make it imply only the divisions alluded to in the following context, and the later ecclesiastical signification of the word, viz., ‘heresy’—a departure from the fundamental truth of the Gospel, and the divisions arising in consequence; thus distinguishing it from ‘schism,’ which implies a division simply in the matter of discipline. Between these extremes we give the explanation, ecclesiastical divisions, in the broader sense of the word [that is, divisions without any formal separation]. And this explanation is the only correct one, and suited to the character of the clause wherein the word occurs, which is only a digression by way of confirmation (Meyer). In this case the καἱ before αἱρέσεις will mean not even, but also, i. e., among other evils it is necessary that there should be also ‘heresies.’ The main emphasis lies upon “must” (δεῖ), rather than upon “heresies,” as required by the logical relation of this to the preceding verse.29—The objective clause, “in order that those who are approved may be made manifest among you,” involves the idea of a sifting process performed on the Church. “The approved” (δὀκιμοι) are the rightly disposed, who devote themselves without reserve to the whole body of Christian truth, and hence to the Spirit of the Lord; and it was necessary that such should be “made manifest,” inasmuch as the impurity and weakness of the Christian life, the yet remaining power of a carnal and selfish nature, often unfolds itself in such a way that many cleave one-sidedly to particular individuals, and to peculiar kinds of talents, and to certain specific tendencies and opinions, without, however, becoming distinctly heretical; although in the Judaistic and anti-judaistic modes of thought, and in the denial of the resurrection of the dead (chap. 15), significant germs and leanings toward heresy might have been formed. The sifting accordingly leads, and was intended to lead, to a higher development of the life of faith and love in the Church, which had been thus obstructed and disturbed. “The Apostle’s view of history thus brought out stands opposed as much to a pantheistic conception of necessity as to an atomistic view of freedom. It recognizes in history room for the play of freedom, yet at the same time asserts the guidance of a higher law.” Neander. [“The Church has been constrained by the rise of heresies to search Scripture more carefully; and thus heresies have served as occasions for bringing forth more fully the articles of faith in her creeds.” Wordsworth. “But the advantage here spoken of we ought not to ascribe to heresies, which, being evil, can produce nothing but what is evil, but to God, who, by His infinite goodness, changes the nature of things, so that those things are salutary to the elect, which Satan had contrived for their ruin. The cause here implied is the secret counsel of God, by which things that are evil are overruled in such a manner as to have a good issue.” Calvin].—Vv. 20,21. In these verses Paul intimates that what transpired in their Church assemblies rendered the celebration of the Lord’s Supper impossible; and then he states more definitely wherein the inconsistency was to be found; so that this appears as explaining and confirming what is before asserted.—When then ye come together.—[“1 Corinthians 11:19 being an interruption, the connection with 1 Corinthians 11:18 is resumed by the particle ου̇͂ν then.”]—into one place.—ἐπὶτὸαὐτὀ is to be construed locally (Acts 7:15; Acts 2:1), and denotes the place where the Church assembled. [From this some have inferred that the Corinthians had already come to have a room or building particularly set apart for religious services].—(it) is not.—Some translate οὐκἔστιν this is not; [referring to what they did on coming together, and which he goes on to specify]; but then τοῦτο should have been expressly given as the subject. Lit.: ‘there is no such thing as your eating,’ i.e., ‘it is impracticable,’ ‘impossible;’ not, however, from lack of bread and wine (Bengel), but because there was a lack of the requisite disposition. An accusative before the infinitive is here not necessary. [Bloomfield detects a sarcastic point in this sentence, q. d. ‘To eat the Lord’s Supper surely is not, cannot be the purpose of your meeting (since that you do not eat): for your meal is not common, but separate; every one eats his own Supper’].—to eat the Lord’s supper.—κυριακὸνδεῖπνον, ‘a feast appertaining to the Lord,’ or as Osiander says, “one consecrated to the Lord and instituted by Him.” (Comp. κνριακἡ ἡμερα Revelation 1:10). By this the Apostle designates neither the agapae (Judges 12:0), the so called church feasts, [as Romanists interpret who would thus elude the argument furnished by this passage against their sacrificial theory of the Eucharist]; nor yet, the Holy Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23) by itself; but the combination of the two30 as it was to be found in Christian Churches, according to the original Apostolic custom, and in accordance with the first institution of the Supper, which, as we know, followed upon a regular meal. The “Supper” spoken of in the text was a festival, to which each one contributed a portion, and which concluded with the Lord’s Supper proper. That, however, which was brought by individuals, was to have been enjoyed in common, so that the fellowship of love, unbroken by social distinctions, might be the more clearly exhibited. Thus was the agape, or love-feast, a suitable preparation for the Lord’s Supper, in its more restricted sense, where all ate of one bread, and drank of one cup. But in Corinth such a meal as this, where all appeared as one family living on a common property, could not take place; since by reason of the cooling of their love, each one kept and enjoyed for himself the portion which he had brought [according to the heathen custom of the ἔρανοι—see above]; so that the distinction between the rich and the poor, which ought to have melted away in Church communion, re-appeared—and this to such a degree that while one class suffered from a sense of want, others were satiated to a degree which, in some cases, amounted even to drunkenness.—For in eating—ἐν τῷ φαγεῖν is not to be taken as defining more fully the preceding verb, προλαμβάνει; but it is simply a note of time, q. d., ‘while eating.’—every one—viz., who has brought something with him.—takes before other—προλαυβἁνει, a suitable expression for the selfish and hasty appropriation of what had been brought without waiting to put all together and divide it for the common good.—his own supper. [In contrast with the Lord’s Supper, and this in the Lord’s House, and not in his own private house. The abuse seems to have grown out of the primitive practice of sometimes annexing the love-feast to the Holy Communion. And here, in this case the former seems to have crowded the latter almost entirely aside, and the natural want was gratified to the overlooking of the spiritual need].—and one hungers and another is drunken.—μεθὐει. [The use of this word in John 2:10 shows that it need not be always taken to denote intoxication; but this is its natural meaning in most passages, and there is no need of softening it here.31 As Meyer says, “Paul draws the picture in strong colors and who can say that the reality was less strong?” “It is wonderful and well nigh portentous that Satan could have accomplished so much in so short a time.” Calvin].
1 Corinthians 11:22. The blame just indicated is here sustained.—For, have ye not houses to eat and to drink in?—q. d., ‘if this is what you have to do, viz., to hold your private meals, why, you have your own houses for this object. To use the assembly of the Church for such a purpose is needless.’—Or despise ye the church of God and shame those who have not?—A second reason for the blameworthiness of their conduct—the disparaging of the Church of God, whose meetings were abused to festivities derogatory to its holy character by the introduction of secular distinctions there, and by the contemptuous treatment of the poorer members of the Church—a course of conduct which involved a disparagement of the Church in its members; inasmuch as these were shamefully thrust into the back-ground by reason of a difference which ought to have led only to an equalizing distribution of the good things in the fellowship of a holy love. These two reasons are closely connected.—The term “Church” is not to be interpreted locally,32 as is plain from the adjunct “of God.” It stands first, because of the emphasis (“the Church of God,” His sanctuary, His temple); on the contrary, in the second clause the stress lies on the verb, “despise ye.” [τοὺςμὴ ἔχονταδ—those not having. There is a question as to what is the real object of the participle here which must be supplied. Alford, and others, say, “houses to eat and to drink in,” and suppose that in this fact we have the reason ‘for their coming to the love-feast to be fed. But Meyer, Stanley, Hodge, and others, construe the phrase more generally.’ Those “not having” are those who have nothing, and are the poor in contrast with the rich. This is both consistent with Greek usage and gives a better sense].—What am I to say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.—The rebuke here is couched in mild expressions, and its interrogatory form is calculated to awaken reflection. There is, however, a sharp rap in the concluding words, which is, in fact, very severe. In saying “I praise you not,” he refers back to 1 Corinthians 11:17 (comp. Osiander).
1 Corinthians 11:23. The concluding question of the previous verse implies an answer in the negative, and this is now confirmed by a reference to the original institution of the Supper, wherein its character and worth are clearly set forth, even as he himself had received it by reliable tradition, coming directly from the Lord, and had so transmitted it to them.—For I received from the Lord.—παρέλαβον . The sense in which these words are to be taken, is very questionable. Are we to understand them as implying a direct, special revelation to Paul of the circumstances of the institution (for the text says nothing of a mere confirmation of testimony otherwise received, or of any special illumination respecting the significance of the circumstances)? if so, was it by means of a vision (as Tholuck, Olshausen, Osiander suppose)? or, as a tradition starting from the Lord, and transmitted to the Apostles? The first supposition is supported, not indeed by the force of the verb παρέλαβον, I received, but by the force of the prep. ἀπό, from, which implies [a remote source,] an indirect derivation; [instead of which παρά would have been more likely to be used, had he intended a direct communication (Winer, P. ΙΙΙ., § 47)]; as well as by the internal probabilities of the case, since he could have resorted to an accurate tradition of the whole circumstance. The second supposition is opposed by the force of the pronoun ἑγώ I, standing out prominently; since indeed, according to this supposition, Paul would only have placed himself on an equality with all others who had, in like manner, received the Apostolic tradition; [whereas he here brings himself specially into view, as one who had derived his knowledge from original sources, and had the right to speak authoritatively in the premises]. We might suppose with Meyer, Exodus 2:0, that this important circumstance had been accurately communicated to him through Ananias, or some other person, in obedience to a special commission of the Lord, and that this communication was made to him with the understanding that the Lord had given a special commission for him in this particular by means of a vision. This might have been connected in some way with his baptism, or with those special disclosures which he had received in relation to his future calling. Or we may suppose (according to Meyer, Exodus 3:0), that since, in consequence of its essential connection with the Gospel, and indeed with the fundamental doctrine of Paul concerning the work of atonement, the whole subject excluded human intervention according to Galatians 1:12; Galatians 1:16, the communication was made in some indefinable manner, either through the inspiration of the Spirit, or through the manifestation of angels, or in ecstatic vision. [Hodge argues with great force in favor of a direct derivation, and shows conclusively that this is invalidated neither by the use of ἀπό, nor by the supposition that no special revelation was necessary, on the ground that the facts connected with the institution were generally known; nor yet by the assumption that not historical facts, but only ideas and truths, may be communicated by visions and inward influences; but that, on the contrary, it is required by the context, and is in harmony with what Paul elsewhere claims for himself. He concludes: “It was not only of importance for the Corinthians, but for the whole Church, to be assured that this account of the Lord’s Supper was communicated immediately by Christ to the Apostle. It shows the importance which our Lord attributes to this ordinance”].—what I also delivered unto you,—[i.e., during his ministry among them; so that he is here only reminding them of precious instructions.—On the following words Stanley well remarks: “They form probably the earliest record of the institution of the Eucharist, and they contain also the earliest recorded speech of our Lord. To explain them at any length, or to adjust their relation to the other three verses in St. Matthew, St. Mark and St. Luke, would be to encroach upon questions belonging only to the Gospel narrative; yet those who are familiar with those questions, will observe: 1. That their almost exact coincidence with the account in St. Luke, is important, as confirming the tradition of the author of that Gospel being the same as the companion of St. Paul. 2. That in this, the most ancient record, of certainly one of the most important speeches of our Lord, it is possible to discern elements of the discourses in St. John’s Gospel, viz., John 6:35-58; John 15:1 to John 6:3. That even in the four extant versions of this short passage, there are yet verbal variations of such an extent as to show that it was the substance, rather than the exact words, which the Apostle and the Evangelists aimed at producing. 4. That there is all the appearance of a familiar and fixed formula, especially in the opening words. 5. That it implies on the part of his hearers a full acquaintance with the history of the Betrayal and Passion.”].—What he had received by means of such a revelation, and had also imparted to them, is—that the Lord Jesus—(a solemn expression intimating His supreme dignity, and His character as Saviour)—in the same night in which He was being betrayed.—παρεδίδοτο, Imp., indicating that the scheme of betrayal was still in progress, and not yet fulfilled when He performed this act. By this circumstance the touching and affecting nature of the transaction is more prominently brought to view in contrast with the trifling character exhibited by the Corinthians at their love-feasts. It was the last transaction of our Lord just before encountering death, by means of which He intended to set forth what immediately awaited Him, and also establish a solemn memorial of the sacrifice which He was about to make. [“There is,” says Stanley, “an appearance of fixed order, especially in these opening words, which indicates that this had already become a familiar formula”].—Took bread—ἄρτον α a loaf—the last of the passover meal yet remaining. [“It was the thin passover bread of the Jews. But as no part of the significancy of the rite depends on the kind of bread used, as there is no precept on the subject, and as the apostles, subsequently in the celebration of the ordinance used ordinary bread, it is evidently a matter of indifference what kind of bread is used. It was, however, for a long time a subject of bitter controversy.” Hodge],—And having given thanks.—That this included praise for divine grace manifested in the work of redemption, is to be assumed from the nature of the transaction; and it was naturally suggested by the preceding Passover meal which commemorated the deliverance of Israel. [In Matt, and Mark the expression is, “having blessed it;” but in Luke the same word is used as here. Both expressions mean the same thing, and declare the act of consecration by a grateful acknowledgment of God’s mercy, and invocation of His blessing—as the two are united in the “grace said” before meals]. He brake it.—[“This circumstance is included in all the accounts; in those of Matt., Mark, and Luke, as well as in Paul’s. This is one of the significant parts of the service, and ought not to be omitted as is done by Romanists, by the Greek Church, and by Lutherans.” Hodge].—And said—[“The words uttered by our blessed Lord are differently reported. The proper inference from this diversity is, that the words were uttered; but as the ideas which they express were sufficiently indicated by the gesture of reaching the bread to His disciples, they were omitted by some of the narrators as unnecessary. The idea, however expressed, is of importance. The bread was to be taken and eaten; there must be a distribution of the elements to those participating in the service. Otherwise it is not a communion, as it is not in the Romish Mass where the priest alone eats the consecrated wafer.”—Hodge].—This is my body that for you.—With these words he signifies the act of breaking that had just taken place. “This,” which has just been broken, “is my body;” and the object of this He at once defines—τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν sc . ὄν.,“which is or suffices for your salvation,” namely, by reason of this, that in it is fulfilled what the breaking of the bread indicates, to wit: violent dissolution and breaking up. This thought is expressed in the apparently well-attested, yet undoubtedly interpolated expression ‘broken,’ instead of which some authorities have ‘given,’ borrowed from Luke. Meyer in 3d Edition speaks of it, ‘as the calm utterance of deep earnest feeling excited by the occasion.’ The symbolic character of the words is almost unmistakable, although we are not at liberty to translate ἔςτιν signifies, or yet μου τὸ σῶμα the token of my body. He means to say ‘this bread is my body, intended for your salvation, inasmuch as the breaking of it exhibits the slaying of my body which redounds to your salvation.’ That it is not, however, a mere memorial, but a token which offers, imparts, and therefore carries the fact in itself, and so is a means of communicating, and a conveyance of the same cannot be proven from the words of the institution itself. This thought is first obtained through the authentic apostolic exposition in 1 Corinthians 10:16. We recognize in this the interpretation given by the spirit of Christ, which perpetually works in the unfolding thoughts of Christendom, and which has obtained in the substance of the Lutheran article of doctrine an essentially correct expression—while the Romish doctrine of transubstantiation carries the appearance of fancy; and the exposition of the Reformed Church in its various modifications, in part, presses a dry exegesis too far, and, in part, stops with a rationalizing separation of the matters involved, and does not attain to a truly Christianlike intuitive union of them, inasmuch as it produces nothing more than the conception of an ideal or symbolic means of communication, to wit: that the bread presentiates the body of Christ to the believers, and is the pledge of a redemption achieved for them, and so mediates the operation of the Holy Spirit which contemporaneously with their physical participation effects a union with the heavenly life of Christ.33—Do this in remembrance of me.—This injunction, on the one hand, exhibits to us the subjective side of the ordinance, to wit, that believers should do this which He was now doing, i, e., should break the bread with thanksgiving and divide it, in order to realize more vividly the sacrifice which He in His own person was about to make for them; on the other hand, it gives us to understand that our Lord wished to have this ordinance continually observed to all future time. That this is the import of the injunction is shown more clearly in 1 Corinthians 11:25, where, in presenting the cup, He says, “this do, as oft as ye drink of it, i.e., as often as ye hold communion with one another through the cup” (Meyer), [showing plainly the perpetuity of the rite]. Others, however, make the words “do this” mean the simple receiving of the elements at the time; which, indeed, both in itself and in relation to what follows, would be suitable enough, but here, where the words “take, eat,” are not to be retained, it is hardly to be supposed. [The import of the command, then, is nothing less than the imposing of a solemn duty upon the church, to be performed until it should meet to drink anew with our Lord in His Father’s kingdom; and the prime object of the observance is remembrance—a remembrance, however, which implies the real representation to their minds and hearts of their risen yet omnipresent Lord. “The bread is His body because it assuredly testifies, that the body which it represents is held forth to us, or because the Lord, by holding out to us that symbol, gives us at the same time His own body; for He is not a deceiver, to mock us with empty presentations.” Calvin.]. Less simple are the words employed in the distribution of the cup which was passed around after the Passover had been concluded. In like manner the cup after He had supped.—[An intimation that the cup ought to be separated from the common meal. (Bengel.)]. Saying, this cup is the new Covenant in my blood.—He does not say merely “this is my blood.” That which in Matthew and Mark is added to the words “my blood” byway of further qualification, viz: “of the new Covenant,” is here joined directly with “this cup” as a predicate—“this cup is the new Covenant;” and as a further qualification there is added “in my blood,” in accordance with Luke’s narrative which almost literally agrees with that of Paul, and was no doubt derived from it. The words “in my blood” are related either to “the new Covenant,” so that the clause shall mean “the Covenant which is established in my blood”—a construction which conflicts with the absence of the article which is here indispensable, especially since ἐστί intervenes: or it may be connected with the whole clause, q. d., “this cup is the New Covenant in virtue of my blood.” In other words, His blood is that whereby the New Covenant was established, in so far as this Covenant, in distinction from the Old Covenant of the law (the institution of which is described in Exodus 24:8 in the very same terms), is the Covenant of grace, i.e., of sin-forgiving love. And this forgiveness was mediated through the shedding of His blood, through His holy self-sacrifice which is at once the sacrifice of the Covenant and of expiation (comp. Osiander, and in reference to the New Covenant Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 8:8; Jeremiah 31:31 ff.).—“Διαθῄκη properly denotes an ordinance or institution in general, then an agreement, a covenant, an institution which establishes a mutual relation between God and men.”34 Neander.—The cup then, with the wine it contains, symbolizes the New Covenant, and this Covenant is established in the blood of Christ, which the wine, poured into the cup and poured out of it for their participation, sets forth as shed for the expiation of sinful men and to be appropriated by those who drink of the cup. “According to a very common metonymy the cup here stands for the wine—the thing containing for the thing contained.” Steudel. “The wine, as the symbol of the blood of Christ, is the symbol of the New Covenant, and of our participation in it. But this is the more significant as it is a real symbol, i.e., the ‘wine of blessing (1 Corinthians 10:16) is the communion of the blood of Christ,’ as the channel or means by which it is communicated.” Kurtz.—The thing treated of here is a covenant—a relation between God and man resting upon promise, and not simply a fellowship among guests at a table united as brethren in Christ, whose union is symbolized by the wine contained in one cup (Schultheiss); although such a fellowship does indeed result from the Covenant.—The Covenant is called “new,” not merely to indicate a relation of time, but of character also, it being different in kind from the “old” (Jeremiah 31:31 ff.).—The various accounts given by the Evangelists and Paul agree essentially, and supplement each other. It is also conceivable that during the presentation of the bread and distribution of the cup, the Lord in various ways expressed the significance of the act, or the fundamental ideas embodied in the institution.
1 Corinthians 11:26.—Here follow the words not of Jesus, but of Paul, explanatory of the injunction: “do this in remembrance of me,” by a reference to the actual practice of the church which confirmed it.—For as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup ye do proclaim the Lord’s death.—In place of the word “remembrance” we have here the word “proclaim” (καταγγέλλετε) representing the Supper as a solemn liturgical exhibition of the fact that the Lord suffered a sacrificial death in behalf of His church, and thereby achieved their redemption—just as there was a proclamation or “showing forth” of the deliverance of Israel at the Passover. [“These words are emphatically introduced in order to introduce the continuance and identity of the original meal through its subsequent celebrations.” Stanley.].—We have here, however, no injunction; hence the verb καταγγέλλετε is not Imperative but Indicative. The “proclamation” is that confession with thanksgiving which is connected with the rite itself, and being made in its very terms and forms, whether it proceed, in individual cases, from a heart penetrated by the love of God or not. The repetition of the words “as often as ye drink”—thus echoing the language of our Lord (1 Corinthians 11:25)—is quite in Paul’s manner. (’Εάν in 1 Corinthians 11:25-26, which is the reading best sustained, is an incidental form of ἄν used by the later inspired writers).—Until He come, ἄχρις ου̇͂ ἔλθῃ.—The omission of the ἄν here shows the time to be definitely fixed; and this time is the second advent of the Lord, until when this Supper shall continue to be observed as the compensation for His absence and the pledge of His return. [“This remembrance is of the closest and most vivid kind, like the remembrance by children of parents, by a wife of her husband, by a brother of brother, united with faith, love, desire, hope, joy, obedience, and summing up the Christian condition. This relation is in force from the close of the last feast with His disciples till His coming (Matthew 26:29). Thus this mystery unites the extremes of the two periods or dispensations.” Bengel.]
1 Corinthians 11:27-29.—From the fact that the Supper was a proclamation of Christ’s death, He at once deduces an inference (v. 27), followed by an exhortation (v. 29) which is enforced by means of a threat in case of unsuitable deportment.—Wherefore,—since at every celebration of the Supper ye proclaim the death of our Lord.—whosoever shall eat this bread and drink this cup.—The particle ἤ, or, here connecting the two verbs (which is critically well supported, since καί and, has only few authorities in its favor), has been the theme of no little controversy. The Romanists use it as a sanction for the separation of the elements, and for withholding the cup from the laity; as though the propriety of using the cup alone might not just as well be deduced from it. In order to rebut their inference, however, there is no need of taking the “or” as equivalent to “and.” The two things are thus disjoined for the purpose of setting forth the guilt involved by unworthy conduct, whether it be in eating or drinking; and from this it would seem that in the primitive celebration of the Supper the distribution of the elements did not follow immediately upon each other (comp. Meyer and Osiander).—Unworthily.—ἀναξίες admits of various interpretations—impenitently, unbelievingly, unlovingly. “He partakes unworthily,” says Neander, “who does not keep in view the holy purport and aim of the solemnity; but treats it as an ordinary meal which, in its observance, does not show forth the death of the Lord.” At all events, the unworthiness lies in a lack of living active faith in the atonement which has been achieved by the death of Christ; and this is the source of the various moral disqualifications by which the celebration of the Supper may be dishonored (Meyer Exodus 3:0). Among these we may mention a selfish, unloving conduct as one of the chief—such conduct as the rich at Corinth manifested towards the poor, and which exhibited a striking contrast with the love of Christ shown in the sacrifice of Himself for all, and set forth in the Holy Supper wherein the benefits of it are extended to every one.35—Shall be guilty,—especially in the judicial sense. Elsewhere ἔνοχος is connected with the dative of the words expressing punishment prescribed by the law, and the complaint made, and also the crime committed. But the latter stand at times also in the genitive, and this construction is in the New Testament the prevailing one. Here as in James 2:10, the object against which sin is committed is put in the genitive. Crimini et pœnæ corporis et sanguinis Christi violati obnoxius erit: “shall be liable to the crime and punishment of having violated the body and blood of Christ.” But the idea is not that the unworthy participant is as guilty as if he had taken part in the death of Christ, and is to be regarded as one of His crucifiers. The connection points only to the body and blood of Christ as exhibited in the elements of the Supper, “towards these he will stand in guilty relation from the very moment he partakes unworthily.” Meyer.—This declaration holds good whether we suppose a symbolical or a real presence of the body and blood of the Lord. Irreverent or contemptuous conduct towards the symbol is in fact a desecration of the object symbolized. The guilt, however, appears in a stronger light when that which is unworthily partaken of is regarded as the very vehicle of the body and blood of Christ. The same remark is true of 1 Corinthians 11:29. [“All that is necessary here to observe is, that the warning is directly against the careless and profane, and not against the timid and the doubting. It is not the consciousness of unworthiness that makes a person unworthy, nor yet is it any misgiving in regard to a suitable preparation; for although this may be an evidence of weak faith it certainly indicates a better state of mind than indifference or false security.” Hodge].—In 1 Corinthians 11:28 Paul indicates a way in which this sin and danger are to be guarded against.—But—δἑ, shows the advance in discourse, and turns it into a contrast, q. d., ‘but in order not to incur this guilt’—let a man examine himself,—ἄνθρωπος as in iv. 1, [a general term suited for both sexes]. The expression δοκιμάζειν ἑαυτόν cannot mean to make one’s self fit; for it nowhere occurs in this sense not even, in 2 Corinthians 13:5; Galatians 6:4; 1 Thessalonians 2:4; but it means to examine one’s self, and here, as to whether he is morally and religiously qualified for the ordinance. Where such examination is not sincerely made, and is not accompanied with an earnest desire to be in a suitable frame of mind, there a proper self-knowledge will not be likely to exist, nor will a person be likely to avoid that selfish, haughty, unloving temper which is so disturbing to a worthy communion.—and so,—i.e., after having examined himself and discovered some reason humbly to hope that he may partake worthily.—let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.—[“The case in which the self-examination ends in an unfavorable verdict does not come under consideration, because it is assumed that such a verdict will lead to repentance and amendment.” Alford].—The above exhortation he enforces by referring to the penalty incurred by unworthy communion.—For he that eateth and drinketh, eateth and drinketh condemnation to himself,—That participation which ought to be to the communicant the means for appropriating salvation, he converts into the opposite, he makes it a means of destruction, and draws down condemnation therewith upon himself. The word κρίμα does not denote an absolute damnation, but points primarily to those impending Divine judgments which are spoken of in 1 Corinthians 11:26 f.—According to the ordinary text [which inserts the word “unworthily”] he asserts this of unworthy communicants; and then adds as a yet further reason explaining the unworthiness predicated,—not discerning the body.—The verb διακρίνειν is translated either, to distinguish—in this case from ordinary food and drink, or, in order to escape the necessity of adopting a different signification from that in 1 Corinthians 11:31, to judge., i. e., in regard to the body of Christ, whose symbol he receives;—in other words, to make a careful estimate of its sanctity and importance (Meyer). But it may be asked whether the legitimate signification of the word is not here transcended; and whether both the judging of the body of Christ and the judging of one’s self, is not to be explained analogously. In the most important MSS. (A. B. C. [Cod. Sin.)], we find neither ἀναξίως, unworthily, nor τοῦ κυρίου the Lord’s. But the latter words are at all events implied, and to be derived from the connection; the former, however, cannot be so readily understood. If we do not choose to suppose(with Meyer) that any abuse is intended in the clause, “he that eateth and drinketh,” and regard the expression as merely designating one who partook of the sacrament simply as an act of eating and drinking (comp. 1 Corinthians 11:22; 1 Corinthians 11:34), then must we translate the participle μὴ δακρίνεν, if he does not discern (de Wette), which is better and more expressive than that emphasis put upon the clause, “he that eateth and drinketh,” and it does not suffer from meaningless expansion; rather it is made as terse as possible, since we understand by it eating of the bread and drinking of the cup. “Not to discern the body,” is to fail of the very thing which should be aimed at in examining ourselves, viz., that we possess that frame of mind which belongs to him who has qualified himself, not to partake of ordinary bread, but of that which is the body of the Lord. In this case also we are not compelled to connect, as Osiander does, the words “condemnation to himself,” with the clause, “he that eateth and drinketh,” as if it read, ‘he that eateth and drinketh condemnation to himself;’ in which case we should have to translate μὴ διακρίνων, without discerning, i. e., he that eats and drinks judgment to himself, eats and drinks without discerning the body. Such a rendering would not only be harsh, but also incorrect, for the sense requires that “condemnation” be joined with the predicate.
1 Corinthians 11:30-31. He here applies what has just been said directly to the Corinthians.—Therefore,—i.e., on account of such unworthy communion, or in consequence of the judgments superinduced by it.—many are weak and sickly among you, and many Sleep.—To suppose that the natural results of intemperance are here alluded to, is both absurd and contrary to the immediate context. Neither can we understand him to mean by the word “sleep,” the decay and extinction of the spiritual life, since this word every where denotes natural death; and still less can we suppose him to mean a union of the spiritual and temporal death (as Olsh.). Rather, the Apostle here alludes to some extraordinary wide-spread weakness and disease prevailing at that time in the Church, and often proving fatal, which he regarded as a divinely inflicted punishment on their desecration of the Lord’s Supper (so Calvin, Neander and many others). The word κοιμῶνται. may be rendered, they sleep, i. e., dying as a continual process. But whether this intended a euphonism to denote their entrance into rest with a hope of resurrection to life (Osiander), is at least very doubtful; although from what is said in 1 Corinthians 11:32, we are not obliged to suppose the cutting off of all hope. [Wordsworth says: “He does not say κεκοίμηνται, the term which is used to describe the peace of the saints who have fallen asleep in Jesus (see 1 Corinthians 15:20; 1 Thessalonians 4:13) but κοίμῶνται, a tense which is less expressive of a permanent condition of rest than the other]. The words ἀσθένεις καὶ ἄῤῤωστοι, weak and sickly, may be distinguished either by taking the former to denote mere indisposition, and the latter severe disease; or the former a chronic, and the latter an acute disease; or, which is indeed more correct, the former denotes those whose very powers fail, i.e., confirmed invalids; and the latter those in whom they are only weakened. Something analogous to these judgments is presented to us in 1 Corinthians 5:5; James 5:15; and also in the O. T. examples mentioned in 1 Corinthians 10:6 ff.—In what follows he next gives them to understand how such judgments might be avoided.—But if we would judge ourselves.—The γάρ, for, of the received text implies another view of the connection, q. d., ‘therefore, in consequence of the Divine judgment, there are many sickly among you; for if we only judged ourselves, then would such judgment not befall us.’ The διακρίνειν, judge, refers back to δοκιμάζειν, prove. It denotes the thorough-going self-condemnation which springs from earnest self-examination—a self-condemnation which involves self-punishment, and a thorough severance of the carnal from the spiritual within us (comp. Osiander). Self-judgment is in fact a diagnosis of one’s own moral state according to the Divine standard of what it should be (Burger).—The transition to the first person serves to soften the exhortation, and is not to be explained (Grotius) on the supposition that the Apostle had church discipline in mind, of which the context gives no hint.—But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord.—The judgment spoken of in 1 Corinthians 11:30 ho here represents in the light of chastisement, i. e., the infliction of pains for the benefit of the individual, so that it shall appear as an exercise of paternal love, and not of exscinding wrath (comp. Hebrews 12:6-11). The words “by the Lord” are not to be interpreted of God, but of Christ, the Lord and Educator of the church, and they are better connected with “chastened” than with “judged,” which, as in 1 Corinthians 11:31, is used without further qualification as being self-evident. The cheering and encouraging tendency of this view of the matter appears yet more definitely in the final clause,—that we should not be condemned with the world.—Through such discipline, aiming at improvement, we are said to be guarded from relapsing into a worldly state whereby we, together with the world, i.e., the mass of humanity, remaining outside of the fellowship of salvation, and abiding in hostility to Christ and God, would incur damnation, i.e., utter exclusion from the kingdom of God. The words διακρίνειν, κρίνειν, κατακρίνειν present a significant paranomasia (Osiander. Meyer says “an Oxymoron” 36). In a friendly, winning manner he next follows up his rebuke with a positive exhortation.
1 Corinthians 11:33-34. Wherefore.—ὤστε draws an inference from what precedes.—my brethren, when ye come together.—He here goes back to the point he started from in 1 Corinthians 11:20, “to eat,” i.e., at the church-feast—the agape,—tarry one for another.—ἐκδέχεσθε as the opposite of the reprehended προλαμβάνειν (1 Corinthians 11:21) means, wait, suitably to the N. T. usage elsewhere. [Wordsworth translates it receive, entertain one another, a rendering which is forbidden by the contrast which it forms with προλαμβάνειν, and is not found in any of the versions].—Finally he points to the fact that this Supper was not intended for the satisfaction of bodily wants, and that these ought to be attended to at home. This would serve to guard them against that greedy haste which destroyed the fellowship of the Supper and counteracted its sacred intent.—And if any man hunger, let him eat at home.—This exhortation he strengthens by referring once more to the judgment to which they would expose themselves by an unseemly gathering.—that ye come not together unto condemnation.—Having thus given the necessary directions in reference to the matter most urgent, he postpones all further instructions concerning Divine worship and church usage, to his personal arrival. And the rest will I set in order when I come.—From this passage the Romish theology has sought to find a support for its tradition. “All permanent instructions which are destined to have the character of Divine appointments are always referred back even by the Apostles themselves to the Lord and His Word (1 Corinthians 7:10; 1 Corinthians 9:14); and hence we justify the rule that nothing can stand as a Divine ordinance in the church which is in opposition to the recognized and definite expressions of the Lord and His Apostles.” Burger.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
[1. The Lord’s Supper. 1. Its authenticity. In Paul we have a separate and an independent witness to the genuineness of this institution. It was revealed to him as a part of that Gospel of which he certified that he neither “received it of man, neither was taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” And the essential harmony of his account with the narratives found in the synoptical gospels, while it is prior to either of them in the order of composition, puts both the fact and all its particulars beyond reasonable doubt. The mythical theory here finds most effectual refutation. 2. Its distinctive character. It is the Lord’s Supper, and is therefore to be separated from ordinary meals as designed not for the nourishment of the body, but for the soul. It is, therefore, a suitable observance for the Lord’s house, and should there be celebrated with all the solemnity which the great event it commemorates ought to inspire in devout minds. 3. Its import, a. It is a memorial of our Lord’s death. This it exhibits to us as a sacrifice for our sins. The bread betokens the body that was broken in our behalf; the wine calls to mind the blood that was shed for the forgiveness of our sins, and by which the covenant, ensuring to us eternal life, was sealed. These elements are a significant witness, therefore, of the atoning character of our Lord’s sufferings and death, and they can be rightly received only by those who so interpret that wonderful transaction, b. But while it is a memorial, the Lord’s Supper is at the same time a feast to the soul. Our Lord therein presents Himself to the church as the true bread from heaven which giveth life unto the world, and by means of which we are to eat His flesh and drink His blood, so that He shall dwell in us and we in Him. It is, therefore, no empty form, but one filled with richest substance—a substance which is nothing less than the body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which it becometh the believer to discern and appropriate by a living faith to the strengthening of his own spiritual life, and that he may be raised up at the last day. c. Besides, it is a festival of social union and communion where, in fellowship with their Head, believers knit the bonds of their common membership. d. It is, moreover, a proclamation of our Lord’s death, a significant exhibition to the world of what He has done and is still ready to do in behalf of all perishing sinners. In celebrating it the church sends forth its invitation to the world bidding every one that hungers and thirsts to come and eat without money and without price. e. 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 without spot or blemish or any such thing, and destined to go no more out from His presence forever and ever].
2. The Lord’s Supper. The proper method of its observance. The words “given for you,”—“shed for the remission of sins,”—are associated with the act of eating and drinking the elements as expressing the chief thing in this sacrament; and he who truly believes in these words is a right-worthy and well-qualified communicant. But he who does not accept their truth or doubts them is unworthy and disqualified; for all that the words “for you” require is a sincere believing heart.—Again, where this faith is fervent there the new command of our Lord, John 13:34, is observed by all the members of the New Covenant. The fire of this love, which in Christ devoted itself even unto death in behalf of all mankind, melts down human pride and selfishness. If this love of Christ truly possesses our hearts so that we can appropriate to ourselves the sacrifice it has made as offered for us, then will our natural self and all we have of this world’s advantages and goods become as nothing. Christ and his love will be our all, and in Him will the entire worth of life be included for us. We shall seem to possess worth so far as we are in Him; and everything will possess worth for us so far as it belongs to Him, proceeds from Him, is His work, partakes of His nature, bears His impress, and has Him for it’s end.—Still further, in my associates I behold One who is in them, even as He is in me, who imparts Himself to them as He does to me, who loves them as He does me, and who is beloved by them as He is beloved by me. Thus, all sense of estrangedness is removed, and a feeling of true brotherhood is awakened, and a communion established wherein we freely share with each other what we have received from Christ. When believers celebrate the Lord’s Supper in such a state of mind, then may they be said to partake worthily; then are they in condition to receive through the bread and wine the all-atoning grace of Christ, and together with this, the might of a pure love which gladly forgives; which shrinks at no self-mortification; which embraces all who are in Christ with a pure benevolence and sinks all distinctions of weak and strong, of poor and rich, of little and great, in the one life of Christ which is freely imparted to all, and alone has and gives absolute worth; which accepts with pleasure the little from the little, and rejoices also to give without stint and without selfish intent, in perfect simplicity of heart, so that we receive from our brethren what they have in Christ and what is precious and costly, however small it may appear, and give to them in turn, what we too have derived from Christ, both great and small, counting it a favor if we may but be made the instruments of His love.—When on the contrary the heart is closed against the brotherhood in selfishness and disgust, and cleaves to earthly things of whatever kind, and exalts itself by reason of their possession and looks contemptuously on the rest keeping aloof from them, then faith in the declarations, “given for you”—“shed for you” is utterly impossible; there the person is disqualified for a living union with the Lord in His Supper; then does he eat and drink in an unworthy manner. Here then is the point which every one must carefully look at who wishes to commune at the Supper; and he must examine himself honestly in presence of the great Heart-Searcher in reference to it.—And only after thorough self-examination under the instruction and guidance of Christ’s Spirit must he approach the Holy Supper where the Lord imparts His own offered life to Him being vitally present through the visible symbols.—Holding communion thus he will be greatly strengthened in the participation of Christ’s salvation and be merged more completely in the river of eternal life flowing from Jesus, and his whole nature will be quickened, refreshed and nourished for the more complete development of its spiritual powers.—But when these conditions are wanting and when persons approach the Supper in an unhallowed frame of mind, faithless and loveless, then will the life so freely offered to them, instead of proving a blessing and a nourishment work out for them a greater condemnation. The Holy Sacrament being violated and desecrated by an unworthy handling proves a stumbling-block to the communicant; his life pines away and perishes—an effect which not only took place in the apostolic churches, but which stretches on through all time to come extending even to the body itself, (comp. Calvin in loco).—Such judgment, however, is to be regarded primarily as a chastisement of the Lord by which He intends to bring back the unworthy communicants to suitable reflection and to guard them against sinking back into the world and incurring a greater damnation. From all this it will seem that an unworthy communication can only take place where through the operation of the Divine Spirit a worthy communication has been rendered possible, where a believing disposition has already existed so that the unworthiness proceeds from unfaithfulness to the divine influences and from a mind perversely resisting the grace of Christ. But the oftener such unworthy communication is repeated, the more closed does a man become against rebukes of the Spirit and the more disqualified from proper self-reflection and personal examination and purifying self-judgment, the nearer also does he approach that state of complete apostasy which brings with it damnation.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
1 Corinthians 11:20-21. No sin is so contrary and hostile to this sacrament as disunion and discord. Starke:
1 Corinthians 11:17. The minister’s commands ought to be God’s commands. Woe to the minister who commands otherwise, and woe to the hearers who do not obey! Hed.:
1 Corinthians 11:19. God turns all things for good: the juice must ferment if wine is to be produced; so must the church be agitated by false opinions and abuses in order that what is evil may foam up and pass off. By this means we learn ourselves, and the hypocrite is separated from the true Christian (1 John 2:18 f.).
1 Corinthians 11:20. Oh, what multitudes approach the table of the Lord, not as they should, but as they would; by so doing they celebrate, not the feast of the Lord, but the feast of their own condemnation.
1 Corinthians 11:21 (Hed.). The Lord’s Supper, not an ordinary meal, but a true Supper, where not the stomach, but the soul, is to be satisfied. Dost thou hunger and thirst after Jesus? Then it will be easy to fast while preparing to approach the table of the Lord for the sake of better devotion. But if thou art weak, and must needs partake of food, still this will not hinder the worthy reception of the Holy Supper.
1 Corinthians 11:22. In the Church of Christ, and in the distribution of the Supper, one is of as much consequence as another; and the rich and the noble must not take umbrage if the poor and the lowly partake first.
1 Corinthians 11:23. Abuses can best be remedied by going back to the primitive institution of a thing (Matthew 19:4).—If our Lord has instituted an ordinance, it is not allowed us, or the whole Church even, to change aught therein; for He is the Lord of the whole Church.
1 Corinthians 11:24. He says not: ‘offer it, honor it, guard it, carry it about, worship it.’ Spener: If the veritable body of the Lord has been offered for us, then must the same also be received and enjoyed by us in the Holy Supper. In the inward remembrance of the Saviour there is an actual seeking, desiring and apprehending of all His grace; and such recollection transpires in the inmost depths of the soul. The more thou thinkest upon Jesus the happier art thou: the oftener, the better! (Spener)
1 Corinthians 11:25. It is real blood that Christ has shed for us, and indeed the sacrificial blood which he has offered up in our behalf, the blood of atonement whereby we are reconciled, and hence the very thing whereby he has sealed the New Testament. Where the cup is wanting, there the supper is mutilated; for Christ did not bequeath his blood with the bread, but with the cup. As after having been born, we need food, not only once, but daily for the strengthening of our nature, so must this sacrament, which is designed to strengthen our new nature, be frequently repeated. And to this we should be urged not only by the command of the Lord, but also by a sense of our own need—because we crave the forgiveness of sins and spiritual invigoration. Besides we should be moved to it by the preeminent worth of the good things presented to us.
1 Corinthians 11:27. Judged according to our merits we are all too unworthy of food and drink, such as no angel has been honored with. Yet the super-abounding grace of our Lord Jesus Christ renders the lowest of us worthy of it. Those who approach the table of the Lord without repentance and faith, without reverence and holy resolves, without love and reconciliation, in short, without the perfect renunciation of all deliberate and presumptuous sins, offend as grievously against the body and blood of the Lord as did the godless Jews and heathen, who crucified the one and shed the other. (Hebrews 6:6).
1 Corinthians 11:28. Luther: To examine oneself means to consider whether we are fit: hence, it requires that we should not trust at once to our own thoughts, nor to the opinions of others, but keep these in abeyance until the matter has been well investigated before God and in the light of his word. And for this a person should be duly qualified. Hence, no unconverted man can properly examine himself, unless he first begins to yield to the prevenient and convicting grace of God, and thus a spark of divine light is kindled in him.—Examine thyself according to the law, as to whether thou dost realize thine own sin, and the well-merited wrath of God; also, according to the gospel, as to whether thou dost in faith comfort thyself solely with the all-availing merits of Jesus and whether this faith in thee is strengthened through a hearty love of God and of thy neighbor—through a profound hatred of all sin and evil—through a holy zeal for true godliness, through a high minded contempt of that which is seen and temporal and through a burning desire for that which is unseen and eternal. If this examination be sustained, be assured that this Holy Supper presents you that which heaven and earth cannot give. (Arndt): Prove thyself according to the language of the institution wherein the great mystery contained is set forth to be, that it exhibits to us the true body and blood of Jesus—that He, as an offered body and as atoning blood, yea as a testament with all well earned treasures and gifts is truly presented, to some for a blessing, to others for a condemnation. And remember also, that to be a worthy guest thou must be prepared by repentance and faith to be capable of spiritual communion with Christ and his spiritual body. Such are the blessed intents, fruits, operations of this mysterious testamentary feast of love and reconciliation.
1 Corinthians 11:29. It happens sometimes, that the children of God approach the table of the Lord without suitable reflection and proper preparation. These invite upon themselves severe temporal chastisements; while the utterly godless, provoke a greater damnation.
1 Corinthians 11:30. Hed.: Why are many sick? Why do many die? Why do many fall? Some reply; “it was a raging pestilence”—‘the physician failed’—‘we cannot avoid ill luck’.—I reply, ‘it is because they partake unworthily of the Lord’s Supper.’ God’s judgments yet endure. But who sees them? who suspects them?
1 Corinthians 11:31. If thou wilt judge thyself salutarily, keep from dissipating vanities; refrain from treacherous self-love; and think not to magnify the good and diminish the evil that is in thee. Pray God to enlighten thee; and take God’s word to counsel and reform thee in all particulars wherein thou canst and ought to be reformed. He who does not daily stand in judgment upon himself, cannot stand well in a state of grace. Amid many kinds of wordly avocations this may not be readily done; yet the spiritual and eternal welfare of our souls is of sufficient importance to demand and obtain some time for this purpose from every one; and time may be easily found for it if we will.
1 Corinthians 11:32. Behold the compassion of God towards the unworthy communicants at Christ’s table. He does not send them at once to hell; but searches them by means of temporal punishments, with paternal intent of leading them to repentance, and keeping them from being condemned with an impenitent world.
1 Corinthians 11:33. O happy fellowship, where in holy communion, one deems himself no higher than another, but rather each one thinks other better than himself! (Philippians 2:3).
Berlenb. Bibel: 1 Corinthians 11:16. It is always the duty of Christians to meet together, but it should be for edification. The tendency is ever to backslide. Steadfastness in the truth already known costs effort. By the grace of God only can we grow.—1 Corinthians 11:18-19. Were we to look into man’s condition and also to comprehend ourselves better, it would not astonish us to find so little perfect union among pious people. And were our hearts more simple and thoroughly freed from falsehood, how would we learn to look with others’ eyes at everything which now awakens, at first sight doubt, disgust and jealousy! We readily acquiesce in the most singular ways of Providence when we have learned how to bring good out of evil, and under all things to recognize God’s wisdom, truth, and blamelessness. Of many a church-communion at the present day Paul might well say, “How can ye, being unholy, have a holy table of the Lord? The world is full of hypocrites and mouth-Christians.
1 Corinthians 11:23. We must first receive the mystery of faith from the Lord, if we would so transmit it to others as to awaken their reverence. Those who profess to be the servants of Christ ought first to have tasted of the goodness of the Lord, and have derived strength from His love, in order that they may be the holy instruments of God in bearing witness of His gospel to others, and nourishing them with spiritual food. What is to be imparted to souls ought not to be taken at second-hand, or delivered without being first experienced in the soul.
1 Corinthians 11:24 ff. Through the apostasy, mankind have been betrayed into a frightful hatred of God, and into a slavish fear and distrust of Him. Hence they very reluctantly come to commemorate Him whom they regard only as their Judge, and not also as their Saviour and Helper.—In order to furnish weak and wretched souls with the guidance like that of a hand, Christ establishes the outward observance of the Holy Scriptures as His memorial—not as though He Himself were ever absent, since He has promised to be with us always, yea, to dwell in His own,—but because our ever forgetful disposition requires such constant reminding. Yet at the same time He aims to make such a powerful impression by means of it as shall deeply stamp on the heart His whole character and work—both what He has done and what He has suffered in our behalf.—And this memorial is intended also to effect an actual reunion and communion with the Lord; for when a poor, weary soul, in its great need, seeks anxiously for Christ, then does He knock at the heart, not only inwardly, by His attracting Spirit, but externally also, through the means of grace. And if the person opens to Him his whole heart, then does He at once become one with him forevermore; and if he is of one mind with Christ, then is he also a partaker of Him.—Through the envy and wrath of Satan, have mankind fallen into a condition of mutual hostility and passionate strife.—The hellish abyss of bitterness and falsehood lies deeply concealed in every one, and the fire of self-love and self-will burns by nature in us all. Thence arises wrath, strife, hatred, envying, and all the other hellish attributes and works of Satan, by which God’s wrath is kindled in the human heart. In this hellish torment would man be doomed to burn evermore, had not Mercy found a perfect means of deliverance in its great wisdom.—The Son of God, as the manifestation of God’s heart and love, has incorporated Himself with humanity, and thus have Divine love and grace been-again revealed and brought near to man. Those now who unite with Christ through faith become partakers of God’s life and love.—The new covenant is at the same time a Testament of the Divine promises which the Son of God has sealed for us with His death and blood. With him, who has enjoyed this blood in its purifying power, is this covenant ratified. If thou wilt then have a share in this covenant with God, thou must open thine heart to Him in order to receive His perfect will, together with all His grace and strength. For this is the power of the new covenant that God proposes to give to His saints His Spirit, whose work it is to draw us to Christ, glorify him in our eyes, and make us strong to obtain all things in Him.—He who has an earnest longing to know Christ, and to partake of Him, will find but little pleasure in transitory things, and be little disposed to think of and cleave to them. For the one must give place to the other, even in thought.
1 Corinthians 11:26. The first observance of the Supper is apt to be attended with the most earnest devotion. With time, devotion lessens. Constant reflection will, however, guard us against this evil. Our devotion ought to be ever increasing, and this will be the case if we so eat of the bread as not to forget the Lord, and devote ourselves entirely to each other, as the Lord has done for us, and thus allow the blood of Christ to kindle in us a holy zeal to be true to Him even unto death, and to stand by each other even unto blood, in the actual and active communion of the heart, and life and goods, as becometh members of one body. As we eat and drink with the mouth, so with the mouth do we also confess the Crucified, and incite each other to the fervent imitation of Him. This proclamation of His death involves our living as those who have been crucified, and are dead to the world with Christ; so that we can show that we have a perfect Saviour actually in us, who, as our High Priest has atoned for us, as our
Prophet, has instructed us, and as our Ruler, has strongly controlled us.—His death slays our death. His life quickens our life. And this we ought also to impress on each other: that as Christ died for us out of sheer love, so also ought we, out of the love which He has given as food for our souls, to die gladly unto iniquity, and to live no more unto ourselves, but unto God through Christ, who has suffered Himself to be slain in our behalf.—As the sacraments derive their power and active operation from the death of Christ, so is their most important end conformity to the death of Christ. (Philippians 3:10). Just in proportion as a person brings to mind the death of our Lord, holds Him in constant recollection, and thinks merely of His future glory, will he become dead to all evil lusts and desires from day to day. Then, when Christ comes, will He take the sovereignty, and liberate the creature from the curse, and from every evil which it has incurred in consequence of the fall. Until then we must hold fast to the memorials of His death.—He who abuses the creature in lust and vanity, and thus excites and nourishes lust and strengthens sin, poorly prepares himself for the coming of the Lord.
1 Corinthians 11:27. He who eats and drinks without true penitence and spiritual hunger, or renders himself unworthy by sorry pursuits, so far from being absolved from guilt, only doubles it.
1 Corinthians 11:28. Self-examination should be carried on by a sharp introspection and constant observance of what transpires within us—of our thoughts, aims and desires; by watching what proceeds from us in word and deed; and by reflecting on what the issue of all these things will be before God. At the same time there must shine in us the light of the Holy Spirit, who shall discover to us our secret faults, and disclose the evil we might otherwise overlook. New strength must also be invoked from Him for the overcoming of our selfishness. If we could only suffer ourselves to be examined by Him, then would questions such as these arise: ‘How is it with thee in respect to the love of God? Art not thou loving and serving the creature more than the Creator? Whereupon rests thy confidence—upon the living God, or upon thyself? Art not thou still constantly abusing the holy Name and will of God for hypocritical ends? Is there nothing false in thine act and on thy tongue? Dost thou not indeed represent thyself as more pious than thou art, and still performest in secret thine own will? Dost thou let God rest in thy heart, or art thou hindering Him with thine evil desires? How art thou dealing with God’s Word? Art thou employing the best of thy time for the true inward service of God? How does thy heart stand related to thy neighbor? Hast thou not injured or oppressed any one, so as to cause him to sigh because of thee? Is thy heart free from hatred, and envy, and wrath, even in the nicest particulars? Art thou disciplining and chastening thyself? Art thou practising nothing, even under cover of marriage, which stains thee before God? How art thou dealing with others’ goods? Art thou acting in all things honestly and truly before God?’—Under such searching inquiry, what a depth of impurity is opened up within? The discovery of it cannot but bow the heart mightily before God. This self-examination, accordingly, includes in itself the whole work of repentance which is demanded before the communion.
1 Corinthians 11:29. A person eats unworthily—1, when he fails to recognize his own need, and proves not himself; 2, when he hungers not after Christ, nor discerns His most holy and glorified Body. Such base contempt of Christ justly incurs upon itself the severest punishments. Plagues of every kind then ensue—the cause of which is not often seen—and we wonder why this or that person is so severely chastised.
1 Corinthians 11:30. The first inflictions are somewhat temporary, and they can be ameliorated by earnest repentance, so that the man shall not fall a prey to death. Under the prostration of the body, many a soul may be rescued. That there are, even among well meaning persons, so many sick and dead in faith, happens for this reason: were persons always helped, so as to go on successfully in their appointed conflicts, and to remain looking to Jesus, and to receive from Him grace and victory, they would at once give scope to their fancy, pride themselves on the gifts which they have received, and which were given to them for the purpose of being industriously improved, towards making their calling sure, and advancing in humility. But instead of this, they gradually abandon their humility, and exalt themselves. In this way their field is sown with thorns by the enemy; yet they deem it all good fruit, eat thereof, and fill full their pride and self-love.—Much evil arises when those who are weak separate themselves from such as are able to furnish them good guidance.
1 Corinthians 11:31. He who comes squarely up to the righteousness of God, and freely acknowledges himself as guilty before it, and subjects himself to its avenging sword by condemning himself, acts discreetly, and according to the mind and counsel of the Holy Spirit. For it is far more tolerable to manage our owe case with God secretly, and to take to shame ourselves, and bow before him here, than to be exposed to shame yonder in presence of the angels and of all the elect, and there incur His condemnation. A converted Christian judge himself alone, and trusts none less than himself. Such self-judgment also works in us the death of Christ, in that we judge ourselves as those who have deserved like death, yet for whom the Lord has died, in order that we, through His death, may die unto sin and live unto righteousness. How many a one would lie already in hell, if God, out of sheer mercy, had not taught him through great tribulations!
Rieger: 1 Corinthians 11:17 ff. In a church of Christ there ought to be manifest advance from year to year. In the present constitution of Christ’s kingdom, in which power is still left to the arch enemy to , and in which carnal security, levity and temerity are still peculiar to men, factions and class distinctions, those fruits of self-formed opinions, are unavoidable. Where the distinction between rich and poor is still maintained in the church, there it appears no more as it did in the upper chamber of the first Lord’s Supper.
1 Corinthians 11:23 ff. The observance of the Lord’s Supper falls in between two termini—on the one side, the night when our Lord’s ordinary intercourse with the world was broken off, and on the other His second coming, when we shall begin to eat and drink anew with him in his kingdom. It is therefore a special provision for those who, not having seen him yet believe.
1 Corinthians 11:31. To judge oneself, to be judged by the Lord, to be condemned with the world constitute three stages, just as in Mark 9:0—to be salted with the salt of heavenly discipline, or to be salted with fire, or to be cast into the fire which shall not be quenched.
Heubner: 1 Corinthians 11:17. Out from our worshiping congregations there ever depart those persons who are worse than when they came—persons who have been hardened and embittered against the word of Go.
Ver 19. God’s government in this world aims at disclosing evil in its true form, but this is ever connected with the glorification of that which is good
1 Corinthians 11:21. The holiest things are precisely those which are most exposed to desecration
1 Corinthians 11:22. The presence of God and the sanctity of His temple ought to impress every one with a sense of his own nothingness and of the vanity of earthly things
1 Corinthians 11:23. In that place where the friendship of Jesus was so bitterly requited He set up the memorial of His love; in that place where He suffered His fearful passion did He establish that ordinance through which He imparted Himself most intimately to others.
1 Corinthians 11:26. The Lord’s Supper should also refresh the sure expectation of His future coming, and be a foretaste of the heavenly Supper.
1 Corinthians 11:28. This Supper demands the most earnest preparation of mind, wherefore it becometh every Christian to experience some anxiety respecting himself as to whether he is honoring his Lord as he ought. 1 Corinthians 11:29. A deterioration of the heart is one result of unworthy communication.
1 Corinthians 11:30. the physical weakness which often gets the upper hand of us, is in various ways a sad token of moral degeneracy.
1 Corinthians 11:31. The more severe a man is upon himself, the more sparing is God toward him. To be sparing of self is to incur harm.
W. F. Besser; 1 Corinthians 11:17. Where the fountains of grace and of life are flowing, and where the guests of the Lord are to be nourished and strengthened with His body and blood, in order that they may grow in love toward each other even as Christ has loved them, these people can never assemble only to remain as they were before; they are either better or worse after it.
1 Corinthians 11:26. How can the death of our Lord move the hearts of those who habituate themselves only to carnal contentions and fleshly enjoyments?
1 Corinthians 11:29. He eats and drinks judgment to himself, who does not eat and drink blessing to himself. Therefore let every one see to it, that he does not eat and drink the judgment of the impenitent and the unbelieving.
[Calvin. 1 Corinthians 11:30. If in Paul’s times an ordinary abuse of the Supper could kindle God’s wrath against the Corinthians, so that He punished them thus severely, what ought we to think of the state of things now? We see throughout the whole extent of Popery, not merely horrid profanations of the Supper, but even sacrilegious abominations set up in its room. 1. It is prostituted to filthy lucre (1 Timothy 3:8) and merchandise. 2. It is maimed by taking away the cup. 3. It is changed into another aspect by the custom of partaking separately, communion being thus done away. 4. No explanation is given of the meaning of the sacrament, but a mumbling that would accord better with a magical incantation, or the detestable sacrifices of the Gentiles than with the Lord’s Supper. 5. It is associated with an endless number of ceremonies, partly trivial, and partly superstitious—therefore polluting. 6. There is the diabolical invention of sacrifice, which contains an impious blasphemy on the death of Christ. 7. It is fitted to intoxicate miserable men with carnal confidence, while they present it to God as if it were an expiation, and think to drive off every thing hurtful by this charm, and that too without faith and repentance. 8. An idol is there adored in place of Christ. In short, it is filled with all kinds of abominations].
1 Corinthians 11:17; 1 Corinthians 11:17.—The Rec. has παραγγέλλων οὐκ ἑπαινῶ. The authorities are about equally balanced, but the internal probabilities are in favor of παραγγέλλω ο. ἐπαινῶν, the more difficult reading. [Lachmann, Tischendorf and Alford adopt this reading, from A. C.F.G., 10 cursives, the Syr. (both), Arm., Ital., Æth., Vulg., Ambrst., Aug., Pelag., Bede. The Rec. has in its favor, D. (3d hand) E. K. L. Sinait., several cursives, the Copt., Slav., Chrys., Theodt., and is defended by Reiche and Bloomfield.D. (1st hand), 137, and Sahid., have παραγγέλλω οὐκ ἐπαινῶ, and B. with a Lambeth cursive has παραγγέλλων οὐκ ἐπαινῶν. The Rec. was probably a correction to suit 1 Corinthians 11:2; 1 Corinthians 11:22.—C. P. W.].
1 Corinthians 11:18; 1 Corinthians 11:18.—The Rec., which has τῆ before ἐκκλησίᾳ, is feebly sustained: [with Œcum., Theophyl. and a few unimportant cursives, from an idea that by ἐκκλ. was meant the church proper. Theodoret has instead of ἐν ἐκκλ. the words: ἐπὶτὸ αὐτὸ, from 1 Corinthians 11:20.—C. P. W.].
1 Corinthians 11:19; 1 Corinthians 11:19.—The καὶ after ἵνα is rather doubtful. Many very good MSS. are without it. [They are: A. C. D. (2d and 3d hand) E. F. G. K. L., Sinait., Syr. (later) Copt., Orig., Epiph., Chrys., Theodt., Damasc., Cypr.—C. P. W.].
[1 Corinthians 11:21.—For προλαμβάνει, a considerable number of cursives and Zonaras (Tisch.) have προςλαμβ., probably from an attempt to explain and make less difficult the fact here stated.—C. P. W.].
1 Corinthians 11:22; 1 Corinthians 11:22.—Lachmann has ἐπαινῶ for ἐπαινέσω, but not with sufficient authorities. It was probably a conformation to the preceding and following presents. [It is sustained only by B. F. G., the Italic, Vulg. and the Latin fathers.—C. P. W.].
[1 Corinthians 11:22.—Stephens (the Elz.), Griesb., Scholz, and Tisch., Sinait. and B. (1st cor.), the Vulg., Goth. and Syr. (later) punctuate so that ἐν πούτῳ is taken not with ἐπαινέσω, but with the following οὐκ ἔπαινῶ—C. P. W.].
1 Corinthians 11:24; 1 Corinthians 11:24.—After εἷπεν the Rec. has λάβετε, φάγετε; but the words are not genuine in this place, and are taken from Matthew 26:25, etc. [The reading of the Rec. is sustained only by C. (3d hand) K. L., a few cursives, one copy of the Syr. (both), Chrys., Theodt., Damasc, Œcum., Theophyl. The Vulg., Arm., Slav. and Ambrst. also add καὶ after λάβετε. But A. B. C. D. E. F. G., Sinait. omit both words as well as καὶ.—C. P. W.].
1 Corinthians 11:24; 1 Corinthians 11:24.—The additions κλώμενον (Rec.), θρυπτόμενον, and διδόμενον are attempts which have been made to complete our Lord’s expression. The best MSS. have simply τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν. [κλώμενον is omitted in A. B. C., Sinait., 17, 67 (2d hand). Athan., Cyr. and Vulg., but it is given by the second hands of C. D. and Sinait., and in F. K. L., the Syr. (both), Goth., Theodt., Damasc., Œcum., Theophyl. In D. (first hand) is θρυπτ, and in the Copt., and Arm. is διδόμ. The Vulgate has: quod pro vobis tradetur. Very properly the three words are thrown out by Lachm., Tisch., Bloomfield and Alford.—C. P. W.].
1 Corinthians 11:26; 1 Corinthians 11:26.—After ποτήριον the Rec. has τοῦτο, but in opposition to the best authorities. The same may be said of the ἄν instead of ἐὰν after γὰρ.
1 Corinthians 11:27; 1 Corinthians 11:27.—After ἄρτον the Rec. inserts τοῦτον, but it is feebly sustained. [The Eng. A.V. has and instead of or in this verse. Alford, in his work on “How to use the Epistles” (Sund. Mag., April, 1867), severely censures this misrendering. It is not impossible that our Translators were influenced by their hostility to the Romish construction. And yet their rendering is sustained by A., 4 cursives, one MS. of the Vulgate, the Syr. (both), Copt., Sahid., Clem., Pseudo-Athan, Orig., and some Latin writers. Some of these authorities, however, were not known to them. The ἤ is found in B. C. D. F. K. L., Sinait., Ital., Syr. (Philox.), Chrys., Theodt., Damasc., Cypr.—C. P. W.].
1 Corinthians 11:27; 1 Corinthians 11:27.—The Rec. omits τοῦ before αἵματὸς. The best MSS. insert it.
1 Corinthians 11:29; 1 Corinthians 11:29.—The words ἁναξίως after πίνων, and του κυρίου after σῶμα, are not to be found in the best MSS. See the Exegetical notes. [The former word is wanting in A. B. C. Sinait., 17, Sahid. and Æth., and the latter in the same MSS. with 67, and some copies of the Vulgate. They are thrown out by Lachm., Tisch., Meyer, Alford and Stanley, but they are defended by Osiander, Bloomfield, Wordsworth and Hodge. They seem to be a gloss from 1 Corinthians 11:27, to complete what is certainly a difficult sense without them.—C. P. W.].
1 Corinthians 11:31; 1 Corinthians 11:31.—The Rec. has γάρ but δέ is sustained by better authorities.
[1 Corinthians 11:32—Before κυρίου, Tischendorf (7th ed.) and Wordsworth insert a τοῦ after B. C. Sinait. et al.; Alford brackets it; but Lachm., Bloomfield and Stanley cancel it, as “more likely to be added than removet”—C. P. W.].
1 Corinthians 11:34; 1 Corinthians 11:34.—The Rec. after εἰ has δέ. but in opposition to decisive authorities. [It is omitted in A. B. C. D. E. E. G. Sin. the Lat., Vulg. and Copt, versions, Chrys. (in comm.) and the Lat. Fathers.—C. P. W.].
[The unnaturalness of the construction here advocated by Kling furnishes a strong argument in favor of the interpretation given by Chrys., Grot., Bengel, Lachmann and others, which makes τοῦτο refer to what follows according to the well-known classic usage (Jelf, Grammar. § 657, 2), and takes παραγγέλλω in its original meaning, announce,—or, as translated by Tindal, Cranmer, in the Geneva Bible, warn you of; we should then have a fitting introduction to his new theme: “This moreover I declare unto you, or warn you of, not praising you,” ‘as in the former case, where in many particulars you did merit approval’].
[May there not be also an allusion here to the punitive consequences more fully set forth in 1 Corinthians 11:29-30, that in coming together “and eating unworthily they ate and drank condemnation to themselves,” and exposed themselves to bodily disorders and death? So understanding this clause, do we not here find a reason for his using the word παραγγέλω, which conveys the idea of a solemn announcement or proclamation, rather than the ordinary λέγω, I say or declare? For in thus interpreting to them the tokens of the Divine displeasure, Paul was in fact acting the part of a Divine herald (ἄγγελος)].
[Illustrations of the early use of this word may be seen in Gieseler’s Ch. Hist, Vol. I., p. 149 ff., and note 3].
[But one would suppose from the καί that there was also a stress to be laid upon αἱρέσεις, as indicating something worse than σχίσματα, and pointing to what would continue to happen in the future, q. d., ‘for it is necessary that there must arise even heresies among you, as an ordeal to test and exhibit those who are approved’—a truth which the whole history of the Church has signally illustrated, as may be seen in the instances of such men as Athanasius and Augustine, and Luther, and Calvin, and Edwards, and a host of others, who have made themselves illustrious in their conflicts with heresy (M. Stuart)].
[Such an extension of the meaning of the term is altogether unwarranted and wholly needless. The Lord’s Supper properly can only mean that particular ordinance which was instituted by our Lord, viz., the solemn participation of the bread and the wine, as the memorials of His death. This was ever kept distinct from the agape, although connected with it, until at a later period they were entirely separated. Wordsworth says, that “the non-insertion of the definite article to τὸ before κυριακὸν δεῖπνον Lord’s Supper, shows that by habitual use in the Church this term had now attained the force of a proper name”].
[Is not this a valid argument in proof of the fact that the wine used at the Lord’s Supper in the primitive church, was such as could intoxicate? See Bib. Sac. for 1843, p. 507 f.].
[Wordsworth, however, takes this test as “a proof of the setting apart of places for God’s worship in primitive times, and of the reverence due to them as such.” And he refers to Joseph Meade’s Essay on this text, for evidence collected on this matter, and also to Hooker V. 12, 5. And certainly the contrast here drawn between the private house and the place of church meeting, seems naturally to suggest the local interpretation of the word church ].
[“The flesh profiteth nothing; it is the Spirit that quicke neth,’ ’ saith our blessed Lord. And herein we have a key to the interpretation of the sacrament before us. Whatever benefit we derive from the bread and wine, must then be by virtue of the Spirit, who being then present, does, in and through the symbols that set forth to our senses the great sacrifice of our redemption, take of the things of Christ, and so show them to our spirits that we, through those faculties and powers of the soul, which alone can deal with the spirit, do feed on Christ—do come into veritable communion with our risen Lord—do have our whole being—body, soul, and spirit—quickened and sanctified, and eventually glorified by that Eternal Life which in Him clothed itself in our nature for the sake of effecting this very object—so that we are grafted into His mystical body, “become partakers of His Divine nature” in its entireness, and are prepared to unite with Him in glory at the resurrection. We are joined to Christ’s body and assimilated to it, not by the mere process of eating and drinking the elements, which are either transubstantiated into, or consubstantiated with, His flesh and blood; but by the faith which receives through the Spirit the life-giving power of that sacrifice which is represented and sealed to us through them. As Calvin says: “Christ’s body is not received as dead or even inactive, disjoined from the grace and power of His Spirit.” A great mistake is made when body is confounded with “flesh and blood,”—elements which Christ no longer possesses, and of which it is said that they “shall never inherit the kingdom of God.” We partake of the bread and wine, first, as the symbols of a sacrifice made once for all, and which is not to be repeated continually (as the Romish theory would have it); and then, as the condition of uniting with and becoming conformed to Christ’s glorified body, which is now in Heaven, where He is, the Head and Representative of the Whole Church, transforming, sustaining and gathering unto Himself all who truly believe on His name, and receive His Spirit.—On this whole subject consult Hooker, B. V, Chap. 67; Edw. Irving, Coll.Writt.,Vol. 2; Calvin’s Institutes, B. 3, Chap. 17,18; Kitto’s Exerc. Art. Lord’s Supper; Smith’s Dict of the Bible, ditto; Herzog, Real. Enc. Art. Abend-Mahl; Bib. Sac. for 1843, p. 584 f.; also for 1844, pp. 111, 225].
[It is to be regretted that the translators of the English version have followed the vulgate in uniformly translating διαθήκη by testament (testamentum), a meaning it nowhere has, save in Hebrews 9:15 ff. (and that it acquires by a subtle turn of the thought, without, howrever, altogether surrendering its original signification), and which greatly obscures the sense of the passages when it occurs. On “the import and use” of this word see Fairbairn’s. Hermeneuticul Manual, pp. 338–351.]
[But here it may be asked, “If Christ is really present in the sacrament, of what does the unworthy communicant partake? Does he actually partake of Christ himself? ”Certainly not. He shares only in that which he is capable of sharing in. As Calvin says: “receives nothing but the sign.” Or as Augustine: “he eats the bread of the Lord, but not the true bread who is the Lord.” Since Christ’s presence in the Supper is through His Spirit, only the spiritually-minded can there hold real communion with Him. But the unworthiness of the communicant does not destroy the supernatural character of the institution itself. It remains the same whether the communicant believes or not. So far as the administration is concerned “Christ’s body,” as Calvin says. “is present to the wicked no less than to the good: for God does not there represent in a delusive manner, to the wicked, the body of His Son, but He presents it in reality. As to their rejection of it, that does not impair or alter any thing as to the nature of the sacrament,” On the contrary, their guilt is enhanced by the sacred character of what they offend against.]
A figure in which an epithet of a quite contrary signification is added to a word.
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Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 11". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29