1 Corinthians 11
11 Imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.
2 I praise and appreciate you because you remember me in everything and you firmly hold to the [a]traditions [the substance of my instructions], just as I have passed them on to you. 3 But I want you to understand that Christ is the head (authority over) of every man, and man is the head of woman, and God is the head of Christ. 4 Every man who prays or [b]prophesies with something on his head dishonors his head [and the One who is his head]. 5 And every woman who prays or prophesies when she has her [c]head uncovered disgraces her head; for she is one and the same as the [d]woman whose head is shaved [in disgrace]. 6 If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and [e]if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, she should cover her head. 7 A man ought not have his head covered [during worship], since he is the image and [reflected] glory of God; but the woman is [the expression of] man’s glory.(A) 8 For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man;(B) 9 for indeed man was not created for the sake of woman, but woman for the sake of man.(C) 10 Therefore the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head, [f]for the sake of the angels [so as not to offend them]. 11 Nevertheless, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. 12 For as the woman originates from the man, so also man is born through the woman; and all things [whether male or female] originate from God [as their Creator]. 13 [g]Judge for yourselves; is it proper for a woman to offer prayer to God [publicly] with her head uncovered? 14 Does not common sense itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him, 15 but if a woman has long hair, it is her ornament and glory? For her long hair is given to her as a covering. 16 Now if anyone is inclined to be contentious [about this], we have no other practice [in worship than this], nor do the churches of God [in general].
17 But in giving this next instruction, I do not praise you, because when you meet together it is not for the better but for the worse. 18 For, in the first place, when you meet together in church, I hear that there are divisions among you; and in part I believe it, 19 for [doubtless] there have to be factions among you, so that those who are of approved character may be clearly recognized among you. 20 So when you meet together, it is not to eat the [h]Lord’s Supper, 21 for when you eat, each one hurries to get his own supper first [not waiting for others or the poor]. So one goes hungry while another gets drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you show contempt for the church of God and humiliate those [impoverished believers] who have nothing? What will I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? In this I will not praise you!
The Lord’s Supper
23 [i]For I received from the Lord Himself that [instruction] which I passed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is (represents) My body, which is [offered as a sacrifice] for you. Do this in [affectionate] remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant [ratified and established] in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in [affectionate] remembrance of Me.” 26 For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are [symbolically] proclaiming [the fact of] the Lord’s death until He comes [again].
27 So then whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in a way that is unworthy [of Him] will be guilty of [profaning and sinning against] the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But a person must [prayerfully] examine himself [and his relationship to Christ], and only when he has done so should he eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks [without solemn reverence and heartfelt gratitude for the sacrifice of Christ], eats and drinks a judgment on himself if he does not [j]recognize the body [of Christ]. 30 That [careless and unworthy participation] is the reason why many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep [in death]. 31 But if we evaluated and judged ourselves honestly [recognizing our shortcomings and correcting our behavior], we would not be judged. 32 But when we [fall short and] are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined [by undergoing His correction] so that we will not be condemned [to eternal punishment] along with the world.
33 So then, my brothers and sisters, when you come together to eat [the Lord’s Supper], wait for one another [and see to it that no one is left out]. 34 If anyone is too hungry [to wait], let him eat at home, so that you will not come together for judgment [on yourselves]. About the remaining matters [of which I was informed], I will take care of them when I come.
- 1 Corinthians 11:2 The following discourse covers appropriate conduct and relationships within the church, as well as within church-related activities.
- 1 Corinthians 11:4 The references to men or women prophesying (here and v 5) indicate that Paul has church meetings in mind, where the speaker is leading the congregation in prayer or addressing them.
- 1 Corinthians 11:5 In public, respectable women wore their hair done up in a modest style. In the Greco-Roman-Jewish culture of the time, hair worn down and loose would suggest a woman of questionable morals.
- 1 Corinthians 11:5 Possibly the mark of an adulteress or prostitute, but likely a sign of disgrace for any number of reasons. In one of Aristophanes’ comedies, for example, head shaving is recommended for a woman whose son is cowardly or otherwise worthless.
- 1 Corinthians 11:6 There is little doubt that this would appear disgraceful and embarrassing, but Paul is essentially providing his readers a simple way to determine for themselves if a woman should cover her head while prophesying or leading prayer in church.
- 1 Corinthians 11:10 This may be an indication that angels are present at gatherings of believers.
- 1 Corinthians 11:13 This verse acknowledges custom as another, separate argument for a woman’s head covering (v 5).
- 1 Corinthians 11:20 When Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper (or the Lord’s Table), it was the Passover meal with the special rituals and explanations that He introduced (Matt 26:26 ff; Luke 22:15 ff). The description given here indicates that the early church celebrated the Lord’s Supper in similar fashion by having a full meal (the so-called agape “love” feast) that included the special rites with the bread and wine (see v 21).
- 1 Corinthians 11:23 Many scholars believe this may be the first written description of the Lord’s Supper since this letter from Paul is dated earlier than any of the Gospels.
- 1 Corinthians 11:29 I.e. respect Christ’s sacrifice and his fellow believers for whom Christ also died.