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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
1 Corinthians 11

 

 

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Verse 1

1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

Ver. 1. Be ye followers of me] This verse properly belongs to the former chapter. The distinguishing of the books of Scripture into chapters is not very ancient. But that of verses was devised and done by Robert Stephens, Pio quidem at tumultuario studio, as Scultetus saith well, with a good intent, but with no great skill, as appears here and in various other places. The apostles, 1 Corinthians 10:33, had showed his own practice: here he calls upon them to do accordingly. As the ox follows the herd, so will I follow good men. Etiamsi errant, saith Cicero, although they do amiss. Sicut bos armenta, sic ego bones vires. (Cic. ad Attic.) This was more than St Paul desires. Be ye followers of me, saith he; but only so far as I am of Christ, not an inch further. Christians are not bound, as Latimer saith, to be the saints’ apes; labouring to be like them in everything. It is Christ’s peculiar honour to be imitated in all morals absolutely.


Verse 2

2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.

Ver. 2. And keep the ordinances] Gr. the traditions or doctrines by word of mouth. These are, 1. Dogmatic, concerning faith and practice, 2 Thessalonians 2:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-17. Ritual; and these again are, 1. Perpetual, as that of the manner of administering the two sacraments. 2. Temporary, as that of abstaining from certain meats, Acts 15:28-29. And those other pertaining to the observing of external order and decency in Church assemblies. And of these the apostle here speaketh. (Sclater.)


Verse 3

3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

Ver. 3. The head of the woman is man] Were it not an ill sight to see the shoulders above the head, the woman usurp authority over the man αυθεντειν, 1 Timothy 2:12. A prudent wife commands her husband by obeying, as did Livia.


Verse 4

4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.

Ver. 4. Dishonoureth his head] As they accounted it then and there. In other places it is otherwise. The French preach covered. The Turks neither kneel nor uncover the head at public prayer, as holding those postures unmanly. Several countries have their several customs. Basiliades, duke of Muscovy, showed himself a tyrant in nailing an ambassador’s hat to his head, for not uncovering it before him.


Verse 5

5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.

Ver. 5. Praying or prophesying] That is, joining with the man that prayeth or prophesieth, and going along with him in her heart. Thus the king and all Israel with him offered sacrifice before the Lord, 1 Kings 8:62. And thus the unlearned say Amen, 1 Corinthians 14:16. {See Trapp on "Romans 16:1"}


Verse 6

6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.

Ver. 6. For a woman to be shorn] Our Hic muliers hold it now no shame. If Henry VI had seen such creatures, he would have cried out, as once he did at the sight of naked breasts, Fie, fie, ladies, in sooth you are to blame. (Daniel’s Hist.)


Verse 7

7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.

Ver. 7. He is the image and glory of God] Even as an image in the glass doth look toward us, from whom it is reflected. So, saith one, doth God’s image in us make the eyes of our minds view him the author of it in us. (Bayn’s Letters.) And as the eye becometh one with that which it seeth, and is after a sort in that light it beholdeth; so are we by the vision of God, which is begun in us, one with him and in him.

The woman is the glory of the man] Either because he may glory in her, if she be good; or because she is to honour him, and give glory to him.


Verse 8

8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.

Ver. 8. But the woman of the man] Of a bone she was made, and but one bone, Ne esset ossea, saith a divine (Vitis Palatina); a bone of the side it was, not of the head (she is not to be his mistress), not of the foot (she is not to be his handmaid), but of the side, to show that she is a companion to her husband. A bone from under the arm, to mind the man of protection and defence to the woman. A bone not far from his heart, to mind him of dilection and love to the woman. A bone from the left side, to put the woman in mind that, by reason of her frailty and infirmity, she stands in need of both the one and the other from her husband.


Verse 9

9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

Ver. 9. For the woman] sc. To serve her, unless it be some women (as Artemisia, Zenobia, Blandina), specially called to and qualified for government. Among whom Queen Elizabeth, that female glory, is famous, of whom a great French duchess said, that she was Gloriosissima, et omnium quae unquam sceptrum gesserunt faelicissima femina. Besides her sex, there was nothing in her woman-like or weak.


Verse 10

10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.

Ver. 10. To have power] That is, a veil, called in Hebrew Radid, of Radad, to bear rule. And indeed what was this subjection to the husband, but a kind of power and protection derived to the wife, in respect of her former estate?

Because of the angels] Present in the assemblies of the saints. This was set forth of old by the hangings of the tabernacle wrought with cherubims within and without. Others understand this text of ministers, frequently called angels, Haggai 1:12-13, Revelation 2:1; Revelation 2:8; Revelation 2:12; Revelation 2:18; Revelation 3:1; Revelation 3:7; Revelation 3:14, 2:1; (that angel is thought to be Phineas); Ecclesiastes 5:6; "Neither say thou before the angel" (i.e. before the Lord’s priest) "it was an error." (Vorstius.) Some think the apostle argues from the example of the angels; we should imitate their modesty, who were wont to cover their faces, to testify their subjection toward God.


Verse 11

11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.

Ver. 11. Nevertheless neither is] This is added for the woman’s comfort. There must be all mutual respects and melting-heartedness between married couples, which being preserved fresh and fruitful, will infinitely sweeten and beautify the marriage state. Love is a coin that must be exchanged between them, and returned in kind. "Husbands, love your wives," Colossians 3:19. He saith not, Rule over your wives, as he had said, Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, but Love your wives; yea, let all your things be done in love: for neither is the man without the woman; he is not complete without her, he wants a piece of himself; neither is the woman without the man, she cannot subsist without him, as the vine cannot without a supporter. The rib can challenge no more of her than the earth can of him, &c.


Verse 12

12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.

Ver. 12. But all things of God] God consulted not with man to make him happy, saith one. As he was ignorant while himself was made, so he did not know while a second self was made out of him. Both that the comfort might be greater than was expected; as also that he might not upbraid his wife with any great dependence or obligation, he neither willing the work, nor suffering any pain to have it done.


Verse 13

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

Ver. 13. Judege in yourselves] All Christ’s sheep are rational, able to discern the things that differ, having their senses thereunto exercised, Hebrews 5:14. But some sins are condemned by common sense, as here; and religion is founded upon so good reason, that though God had not commanded it, yet it had been our wisest way to have chosen it. But lust doth often so blear the understanding, that a man shall think he hath reason to be mad, and that there is great sense in sinning.


Verse 14

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

Ver. 14. That if a man hath long hair] Bushes of vanity, which they will never part with, said Marbury, until the devil put a candle into the bush. But our gallants object, that the apostle here intendeth such hair as is as long as women’s hair. Whereunto we answer, That Homer calleth the Greeks hair-nourishing men ( καρηκομοωντας αχαιους, Homer), who yet did not wear their hair long as women. How Cromwell handled the shag-haired ruffian, see Acts and Monuments of the Church, fol. 1083. How God hath punished this unnatural sin by that loathsome and horrible disease in the hair, called Plica Polonica, see Hercules de Saxonia; and out of him Mr Belfort in his Four Last Things, page 40. It begun first, saith he, not many years ago in Poland; it is now entered into many parts of Germany. And methinks our monstrous fashionists, both male and female, the one for nourishing their horrid bushes of vanity, the other for the most unnatural and cursed cutting their hair, should every hour fear and tremble, lest they should bring it upon their own heads, and among us in this kingdom. Our Henry I repressed the wearing of long hair, which though it were a gaiety of no charge, yet for the indecency thereof, he reformed it, and all other dissoluteness. (Daniel’s Hist.) See Mr Prins’ Unloveliness of Love Locks. See also a book entitled Diatriba Theologica de capillis, constans disputatione Textuali, ad 1 Corinthians 11:14-15.


Verse 15

15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.

Ver. 15. Her hair is given her] Now it is a vile thing to go against nature. Cyprian and Austin say that garish apparel is worse than whoredom; because whoredom only corrupts chastity, but this corrupts nature.


Verse 16

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

Ver. 16. Seem to be contentious] A doctore glorioso, et pastore contentioso, et inutilibus questionibus, liberet Ecclesiam suam Domiuus, said Luther. From a vain-glorious doctor, from a contentious pastor, and from endless and needless controversies, the good Lord deliver his Church. The word rendered "seem," signifieth, "is pleased to be, desires and hath a will to be, yea, boasts and prides himself in it," δοκει δοκησισοφος. This is a foul fault in any, but especially in ministers; who must see (saith Luther) that those three dogs follow them not into the pulpit, pride, covetousness, and contentiousness. A quarrelsome person is like a cock of the kind, ever bloody with the blood of others and himself; and divisions are Satan’s gun powder plot to blow up religion.

We have no such custom] viz. To strive about trifles, but to submit to our teachers, Hebrews 13:17. It is a vile thing, saith Bifield, {on 1 Peter 3:1-22} to vex our ministers by our obstinace; yea, though they were not able to make so full demonstration, yet when they reprove such things, out of a spiritual jealousy and fear that they corrupt the people’s hearts, they are to be heard and obeyed.


Verse 17

17 Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.

Ver. 17. I praise you not] q.d. I discommend and dispraise you. The Corinthians were in many things faulty and blameworthy. St Paul deals plainly and freely with them, and would not therefore take their offered kindness, 2 Corinthians 12:14-18, lest he should be engaged to them, and by receiving a courtesy, sell his liberty.


Verse 18

18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.

Ver. 18. There be divisions] Gr. σχισματα, schisms, rents, yea, and that about the sacrament of the Lord’s supper (that bond of love), through Satan’s malice. Now there can be no greater sin committed, saith Chrysostom, than to break the peace of the Church. Cyprian saith, It is an inexpiable blemish, such as cannot be washed off with the blood of martyrdom. {a} The error of it may be pardoned (saith Oecolampadius in his epistle to the Lutherans of Snevia) so there be faith in Christ Jesus; but the discord we cannot expiate though we should lay down our lives to do it.

{a} Hom. 11. ad Ephes.


Verse 19

19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

Ver. 19. There must be heresies] Therefore much more schisms, which also, for the most part, do degenerate into heresies; as an old serpent into a dragon. In the time of Pope Clement V, Frederick, king of Sicily, was so offended at the evil govermnent of the Church, that he began to question the truth of the Christian religion. But Arnoldus de Villanova confirmed and settled him by this and such like places of Scripture, "Offences must come, there must be heresies," &c., God having so decreed and foretold it. It behoves that there be heresies in the Church; as it is necessary there should be poison and venomous creatures in the world, because out of them God will work medicines.

May be made manifest] As they are now, if ever, in these shedding and discriminating times. So in the Palatinate they fell to Popery, as fast as leaves in autumn.


Verse 20

20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper.

Ver. 20. This is not to eat, &c.] When the Lord’s supper therefore is not rightly administered, it is no longer his; especially if the substantials thereof be omitted. As in those sacrifices, Hosea 9:4; "Their bread for their soul shall not come into the house of the Lord;" that is, the bread for their natural sustenance. He speaks of that meat offering, Leviticus 2:4, appointed for a spiritual use, yet called the "bread for their life or livelihood;" because God esteemed it no other than common meat. So Jeremiah 7:21, in scorn he calls their sacrifice, flesh, &c.


Verse 21

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

Ver. 21. Every one taketh] Eateth and communicateth with those of his own sect and faction only, not staying for others. Such among the Philippians were those of "the concision," 1 Corinthians 3:2, that made divisions, and cut the Church into little pieces and sucking congregations, making separation.


Verse 22

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

Ver. 22. What, have ye not houses?] Here he abolished their love feasts, for the disorder that happened therein. The Greek Church nevertheless retained them; but the Roman Church laid them down, as Justin Martyr witnesseth.


Verse 23

23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:

Ver. 23. For I have received] Rectum est regula sui et obliqui. The apostle seems to rectify them, by reducing them to the first institution; and by letting them know that he had his authority from heaven; he received what he delivered, and delivered what he received, keeping nothing back, Acts 20:27.

The same night, &c.] It was his last bequeath to his Church, for a καθαρτηριον αλεξικακον, as Ignatius hath it, a sovereign both purgative and preservative.


Verse 24

24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

Ver. 24. This is my body] En praeclaram illam consecrationem, Behold that goodly consecration (saith Beza) for the which the shavelings say that they are more holy than the very Virgin Mary; for that Mary only conceived Christ, but they create him. Whereunto the Virgin might well reply, that she carefully nourished Christ, whom they cruelly devour. Dost thou believe (said the doctor to the martyr) that Christ’s body and blood is in the eucharist really and substantially? I believe, saith he, that that is a real lie, and substantial lie. When Cranmer was brought forth to dispute in Oxford, Dr Weston, Prolocutor, thus began the disputation, Convenistis hodie, fratres, profligaturi detestandam illam haeresin de veritate corporis Christi in Sacramento, &c. We are gathered today, brothers to overthrow that wicked heresy concerning the truth of the body of Christ in the sacrament, At which mistake, various learned men burst out into a great laughter.


Verse 25

25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

Ver. 25. He took the cup] {See Trapp on "Matthew 26:27"}


Verse 26

26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

Ver. 26. Ye do show] We need no other crucifix to mind us of Christ’s passion. Hence this sacrament was by some ancients termed a sacrifice, viz. representative and commemorative, but not properly, as the Papists make it.

Till he come] There shall be a Church then, and the pure worship of God, till the world’s end, maugre the malice of tyrants and heretics.


Verse 27

27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

Ver. 27. Shall be guilty] Because they profane the holy symbols and pledges of Christ’s blessed body and blood. These are in some sense as guilty as those that spit upon Christ’s face, or that spilt his blood. As the Donatists, that cast the holy elements to dogs; or as that wretched Booth, a Bachelor of Arts in St John’s College in Cambridge, who being popishly affected, at the time of the communion took the consecrated bread, and forbearing to eat it, conveyed and kept it closely for a time, and afterwards threw it over the college wall. Not long after this, he threw himself headlong over the battlements of the chapel and so ended his life. (Bishop Morton, Instit. of the Sac.)


Verse 28

28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

Ver. 28. Let a man examine] A metaphor from metallaries or lapidists, as they try their metals or precious stones, and do it exactly, that they be not cozened; so here, men must make an exact scrutiny.

And so let him eat] After preparation, participation. The heathens had their caena pura, pure supper the night before their sacrifices. The Russians receive children after seven years old to the communion, saying, that at that age they begin to sin against God. But can they say, that at that age they can examine themselves and receive preparedly? Chrysostom calleth the Lord’s table, that "dreadful table" ( φρικωδης), and the ancients call the sacraments, "dreadful mysteries" ( τα φρικτα μυστηρια).


Verse 29

29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

Ver. 29. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily] He saith not unworthy (for so we are all), but unworthily, that is, unpreparedly, for a good work may be spoiled in the doing, as many a good tale is marred in the telling, and many a good garment in the making.

Eateth and drinketh damnation] He that came in without a wedding garment on his back, went not away without fetters on his feet. He was taken from the table to the tormentors. God’s table becomes a snare to unworthy receivers; they eat their bane, they drink their poison. Henry VII, emperor of Germany, was poisoned in the sacramental bread by a monk; Pope Victor II by his sub-deacon in the chalice; and one of our bishops of York by poison put into the wine at sacrament. God will deal with ill communicants as Job 20:23. They will speed no better than Amnon did at Absalom’s feast; or than Haman did at Esther’s. Sin brought to the sacrament, picks out that time to petition against them, as Esther did against Haman at the banquet of wine, Ezra 7:2; Ezra 7:6. So that they shall cry out as that emperor beforementioned did, Calix vitae calix mortis, The cup of life is to us a cup of poison.


Verse 30

30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

Ver. 30. Many are weak] The mortality at Corinth began at God’s house, and that for unworthy communicating. God will be sanctified of all that draw near to him. He loves to be acquainted with men in the walks of their obedience, and yet he takes state upon him in his ordinances, and will be served like himself, or we shall hear from him. What manner of men therefore ought we to be that come so near to God in this holy ordinance? Nadab and Abihu can tell you that the flames of jealousy are hottest about the altar. Uzzah and the Bethshemites, though dead, do yet tell you that justice as well as mercy is most active about the ark. Judgment begins at God’s own house, 1 Peter 4:17; and the destroying angel begins at the sanctuary, Ezekiel 9:6.


Verse 31

31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

Ver. 31. We should not be judged] God should be prevented, and the devil put out of office, as having nothing to say against us, but what we have said before. Let us therefore up and be doing at this most needful but much neglected work of self-judging, that God may acquit us. First search and try our ways, as examiners, Lamentations 3:40. Next, make a bill of indictment, and confess against ourselves, as informers; aggravating all by the circumstances. Thirdly, step from the bar to the bench, and pass sentence upon ourselves, as so many judges: when we are to come to the Lord’s supper especially. Otherwise blind Popery shall rise up in judgment against us and condemn us. We read of William de Raley, bishop of Winchester, A. D. 1243, that being near death, he had the sacrament brought unto him. And perceiving the priest to enter his chamber with it, he cried out, "Stay, good friend, let the Lord come no nearer to me: it is more fit that I be drawn to him like a traitor, that in many things have been a traitor unto him." (Godwin’s Catalogue.) His servants therefore, by his commandment, drew him out of his bed unto the place where the priest was, and there with tears he received the sacrament; and spending much time in prayer afterwards, he so ended his life. The like is reported of William Langespe, base son of King Henry II, and Earl of Salisbury; that lying very sick, the bishop brought the sacrament. He understanding of the bishop’s coming, met him at the door half naked, with a halter about his neck, threw himself down prostrate at his feet, and would not be taken up until, having made confession of his sins with tears and other signs of sincere repentance, he had received the sacrament in most devout manner.


Verse 32

32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

Ver. 32. That we should not, &c.] Ferre minora volo, ne graviora feram. I to bear the lesser punishments so that I will not bear the heavier ones.


Verse 33

33 Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.

Ver. 33. Wherefore, my brethren] He that reproveth and adviseth not, doth as it were snuff the lamp and not pour in oil.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 11:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-corinthians-11.html. 1865-1868.

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Friday, November 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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