1Cor. 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
The Greek for the word followers defines it as meaning to imitate or mimic. Paul is saying that he is an imitator or follower of Christ, and the Corinthian believers should imitate or follow him in the same way that he does Christ. You would think that the Holy Spirit would have Paul tell us to follow Christ. In reality, Paul was the only one among them that had had personal interaction with the Lord Jesus. Since they could relate to him on a personal level, it made more sense to direct the body of believers to imitate Paul. What a somber responsibility!
In truth, every believer should be able to make that same statement. Paul didn’t hesitate; he was confident that he was walking in submission and obedience to the Lord.
What does it mean to follow Christ? A few things immediately come to mind.
Š To love others unconditionally.
Š To put others before self.
Š To live with integrity.
Š To know the scripture.
Š To live in submission and obedience to the Father.
Already the plate is full to overflowing. We have no legitimate excuses. The Spirit tells us through Paul’s letter to the Philippians:
Phil. 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
And to Timothy:
2Tim. 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2Tim. 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
1Cor. 11:2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.
Paul is congratulating the Corinthians for the way they have tried to live according to the way he had taught them. This doesn’t seem to ring true when considering the previous content of this letter--for example:
1Cor. 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
1Cor. 5:1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.
1Cor. 5:2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that
hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
1Cor. 6:8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.
(4/11) I decided to rethink this section and started by looking at the word “ordinances.” It seems to be referencing rules for the church assembly. So maybe Paul is saying that though they were having problems regarding living moral lives, they were faithful to follow the instructions Paul had given them regarding orderly assembly to worship. The Corinthians evidently needed further clarification regarding head coverings for men and women and the proper practice of “The Lord’s Supper.”
1Cor. 11:3 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.
This verse establishes God’s sovereignly chosen delegation of authority:
The hardest part of this chain to understand is the position of Christ under God since they are one and the same; that is totally beyond my understanding.
On the other hand Christ is the Son of God, and the relationship of Son is always to be submissive to the Father. Christ Jesus is also God in flesh; and, therefore, has complete authority over mankind. That’s as far as my mind will stretch.
I am reminded that man and woman were created equal—complements to one another. They were each obviously created with differences that the other would complement to make the whole in a relationship. The woman gave up her position by allowing herself to be deceived by the serpent and encouraging her partner to join her in disobedience. Part of the curse incurred by that act was that the woman would now be placed under the rule of her husband.
Gen. 3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
Paul is establishing this truth to lay the foundation for the following instruction. The focus is on delegated authority—not that man is better than woman or the woman less important than man in the eyes of God. That truth will come out more clearly in the following verses.
1Cor. 11:4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.
1Cor. 11:5 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.
Paul is evidently addressing a question that the Corinthian believers had regarding the appropriate guidelines for prayer and prophesying. In keeping with the context of previous content, Paul is hammering home the point of self-denial in consideration for the spiritual well being of others. I could find no verses regarding head coverings or veils for women except in reference to their being put on or taken off, for example:
Num. 5:18 And the priest shall set the woman before the LORD, and uncover the woman’s head…
Gen. 24:64 And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel.
Gen. 24:65 For she had said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us? And the servant had said, It is my master: therefore she took a vail, and covered herself.
These verses indicated that there were times that women did cover their head and even their faces and times that they did not. Nowhere could I find a directive given by God concerning this custom.
(4/11) A light bulb went off in my head as I read this section again. In verse 5 the first use of “head” referenced her physical being, the second referenced her husband (in context with v3). The same Greek word for “head” is used in verses 3-5; it is the context that provides the understanding.
My instinct upon reading this passage was that it had to do with cultural issues. In doing some research on the internet, I found an article by Sapere Aude at www.users.qwest.net/~rogrdl123/headcover.htm that he/she prepared after doing some research on this passage. Some pertinent points made in that paper are quoted below:
Š Customs will change but the universal truths will remain. Behind the question of culture is the question of freedom. Customs have a way of limiting my freedoms. As a freethinking, conscientious person, free in Christ, I decide whether to keep the custom or abandon it.
Š In society, what is customary is often associated with what is righteous. When we speak about righteousness we speak about what ought to be done.
Š Since social customs are not on the same moral plane as murder, theft and adultery, we are free to abandon certain social customs as we gain enlightenment. However, as we encounter others who do not share our enlightenment we must be careful to inflict no harm to their faith – give no offence. If in their eyes our behavior sends the message that we take a cavalier attitude toward holiness and purity, then we should voluntarily limit our freedom for their sake.
Š It was customary for a man to remove his hat in public when he prayed. "Paul is writing here to the Corinthian Christians who, living in Greece, customarily complied with Greek traditions: men had their heads uncovered and the women covered theirs; which, however, was contrary to the Jewish tradition." Hebrew Greek Key Study Bible by: Spiros Zodhiates, Th.D. This was done out of respect and honor to God. A woman wore a head covering out of respect and honor to her husband.
Š Since it was customary for Greek men to uncover their head, this may explain why Paul said, "Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head." According to Jewish custom, this would not be true but according to Greek custom, it was. The issue remains the same for the women. If women are going to have equal status and access in the Christian church, should they uncover their head like the men, or keep their hats on?
Š As I see it, Paul decided that God would understand if the woman left her hat on to pray. To take her hat off was a disgraceful thing to do in the eyes of her culture. Therefore, it is better to leave the hat on and avoid the mistaken idea that Christianity promotes unholy behavior.
Š Also, It is important to keep in mind that Paul is asking women to limit their freedom, not to punish them, but to make it possible for them to be included in public worship. His intent is to bring unity to the church and expand public worship to include women. Just like he had to help the Jews and Gentiles get together, he had to help men and women get together.
I do not know anything about the person that authored this paper, but he/she prepared a credible explanation from what appeared to be some pretty good research. This is a passage that has particularly bothered me in time past, and this explanation seems to make the best sense of any I’ve heard or read to this point. What do you think?
1Cor. 11:6 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.
I actually think the wording of the NLT helps give enlightenment on this verse.
Yes, if she refuses to wear a head covering, she should cut off all her hair. And since it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut or her head shaved, then she should wear a covering.
I think these verses go on to strengthen the argument for a cultural consideration of the question.
1Cor. 11:7 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.
1Cor. 11:8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.
I think the main point of these verses is again emphasizing the hierarchy of God-established authority—God, man, woman. I think it is interesting to note that man is identified as the “image and glory” of God, while the woman is identified as the “glory” of the man. Verse 8 can be confusing unless understood in light of creation. Obviously, women are the vessels of birth for both men and women. At creation, however, the man was created first from the dust of the ground in the image of God. Woman was fashioned after the fact using the rib of a man.
Gen. 2:21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
Gen. 2:22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
Gen. 2:23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
In looking at the Greek for “glory” I noticed that the root word included the thought of pleasure. That made sense to me in that scripture tells us that we were created for God’s pleasure. I think the specific pleasure has reference to fellowship or friendship. Man was created for God’s pleasure and woman was created for man’s pleasure and in turn God’s pleasure/glory.
Psa. 147:11 The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.
Psa. 149:4 For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation.
Rev. 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
Is. 43:7 Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.
1Cor. 11:9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
Emphasis in this verse is on the fact that the woman was created “for” the man. The Genesis record is clear that woman was created to be the “help meet” for man.
Gen. 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
1Cor. 11:10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.
This is an interesting verse. We know that the angels are a higher level of creation than man, yet they were created as God’s servants whom He assigned to be ministering spirits to the “heirs of salvation.”
Heb. 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
Heb. 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
The angels and evil powers and principalities are a real part of this world. Some angels are even manifest among us.
Heb. 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Our testimony is important to the angels. They are ever at work doing God’s bidding, guarding His honor and giving Him praise.
Rev. 5:11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
Rev. 5:12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
Rev. 7:11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,
Rev. 7:12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
They care whether or not we are glorifying and honoring God with our actions.
The question becomes—What is the covering of “power” on the woman’s head?
1Cor. 11:11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.
1Cor. 11:12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.
It seems that verse 11 is saying that men and women as individuals are on equal footing “in the Lord.” Verse 12 seems to be saying that although the woman was made from man, man is given birth through the woman. The important truth is that we are all creations of God.
1Cor. 11:13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?
1Cor. 11:14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
1Cor. 11:15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
These verses seem to be a unit and make a connection with the covering in reference to the length of the man/woman’s hair. God created the sexes to be distinct. Men and women have different physical characteristics. These verses indicate that the long hair of the woman had more than an aesthetic purpose. It is an indication of her acceptance of her God-given position as subordinate to man. In the eyes of God, men and angels this only adds to her honor and position. Our culture has warped our thinking to consider that submission is equivalent to weakness. God looks at the woman’s submission as a mark of honor and worship toward Him.
Seeing that these verses seemed to simplify the discussion more pointedly to long and short hair, I decided to do some further research and found that Burton Coffman has another reasonable explanation following that line of thinking regarding this section in Corinthians in his commentary.
The culture still comes into play, but more to the point of avoiding association with idol worship. Evidently, the prostitutes at the pagan temples wore cropped hair. In that culture, it was unusual for a woman to have short hair unless it was associated with idolatrous worship.
“The shaving of any woman's head was considered either a sign of deep mourning, or a fitting punishment for adultery; and the overwhelming inference here is not that the Corinthian women had thrown off the oriental style "veil" that obscured almost all of the female person, there being no evidence at all that first-century Christian women ever wore such a thing, but that they had adopted the chic hair-styles of the women of Aphrodite.”
“The sin was not in cutting off hair, but in cutting it off in such a manner as to obscure the sexes or to imitate the shameless prostitutes of the pagan temples.”
He goes on to quote S. Lewis Johnson:
"The fact of short hair for men and long hair for women is a divine suggestion in nature itself."
Regarding verse 15 he goes on to say: “It is a glory to her ...
This would have been the ideal place for Paul to have said that a mantle thrown over a woman's head and shoulders is a glory to her, if he ever had such a thing in mind. On the contrary, it comes out here, as it does in every verse in the whole passage, his subject was "hair"!”
I think the key point in the whole section is regarding acceptance of God’s established positions of authority and the importance of being more concerned about how your actions show your submission to that authority.
1Cor. 11:16 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.
I’ve read through more commentaries than I care to enumerate, and this verse is still unclear. It seems to me that Paul is aware that there are still going to be men who are going to argue his teaching. It comes across to me that this was a problem that was unique to the church at Corinth and possibly some other locations where temple prostitutes were a dominant part of the culture and/or where the differentiation of the sexes was becoming more blurred. I really don’t know.
I am convinced, however, that submission to God-ordained authority and the guarding of His honor in the life of the believer are the key issues in this section. Obviously, our culture poses its own problems for believers today. The points of contention may differ, but the principle that applies to how we deal with those points are the same. We are to sacrifice our freedom so as to not to offend weaker believers or give the wrong testimony to unbelievers about our God. We should be far more concerned about guarding the honor of God when we claim Him as Lord than we are about the small sacrifices that might be required on our part in guarding His honor.
1Cor. 11:17 Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.
1Cor. 11:18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
Paul seems to change subjects at this point—the subject being “coming together” with specific intent. As I continue to read, it becomes clear that this is making reference to the Lord’s Supper. It would seem that the church at Corinth had allowed the Lord’s Supper to degenerate into a social event without the proper spiritual emphasis. It wasn’t the time of spiritual unity and worship that it was meant to be.
My first thought was: Why would Paul say that he “partly” believes it? After reading several translations, I thought Darby’s gave more insight.
“For first, when ye come together in assembly, I hear there exist divisions among you, and I partly give credit [to it].”
I was hung up on the word partly rather than the options for believe. Darby’s translation seems to tie in more directly to verse 19.
1Cor. 11:19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
“heresies” = a choice, disunion, sect
Most all of the translations seem to agree with Young’s understanding of this verse.
“for it behoveth sects also to be among you, that those approved may become manifest among you;”
(4/11) Heresy identifies truth by contrast.
In other words, Paul recognizes that for the truth to be upheld in the church you have to be able to identify the points of disagreement and deal with them. And this church seemed to have many areas that needed correction.
1Cor. 11:20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper.
1Cor. 11:21 For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.
It would seem that when the Corinthian believers gathered for church, they would bring their dinner with them. Instead of sharing everything (what we would call a pot-luck dinner), each person brought his own food. Some had too much and others had too little. Some even drank to excess. They were obviously not focused on spiritual preparation for partaking of the Lord’s supper. Nor does it seem that they made a distinction between “the bread and the cup of remembrance” from the rest of the meal.
1Cor. 11:22 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.
Paul is basically saying, “Your homes are the place to enjoy regular meals.” Gatherings of the believers for church were to be times of spiritual focus, growth and renewal. Paul is expressing his disapproval of their lack of discernment and concern for one another. The body of believers called the “church” is supposed to build each other up and promote unity; it should not be a place of class distinction or a place where people are belittled and made to feel that they don’t belong.
1Cor. 11:23 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:
1Cor. 11:24 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.
Paul is reminding this body of believers, that he had taught them specifically according to the Lord’s instruction to him. It’s interesting to me that Paul is the one apostle who was taught after the fact—from a perspective of being able to understand based on the perspective of past prophecy and its fulfillment in Jesus as the Messiah. The other disciples didn’t really get many of the things that Jesus taught them until after the fact. Paul was privileged to get one-on-one instruction from the Lord Himself, and I think that was important to equip him for the tremendous task God had for him in spreading the gospel and the truth of God to the Gentiles. Not only that, I believe he was used mightily in helping the other apostles come to understanding regarding some of the “hard to understand” truths of God.
2Pet. 3:15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
2Pet. 3:16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
We are privileged to enjoy the same instruction, albeit through the ministry of the Spirit rather than the Lord’s physical being, with the same perspective. We are yet continuing to see the truth of God’s prophetic word unfold before us. How can we not have a strong faith! I’m sorry—I digressed.
Paul was taught that the Lord instituted this time of remembrance on the very night that He was betrayed. First, the Lord gave thanks to His Father for His provision. We generally interpret that to be thanks for the food. In this instance, I believe the Lord was giving thanks for God’s provision for man (including His many earthly friends) through His coming sacrifice.
After giving thanks, the Lord broke the bread and instructed His disciples to eat it. He explained that it represented His body that would be broken for them. The eating of this bread was to be an act of remembrance regarding the sacrifice He was making for them.
1Cor. 11:25 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.
After distributing the bread, the Lord then took the cup and again instructed His disciples to drink its contents in remembrance of His sacrifice. Through that sacrifice, the shedding of His blood, He was establishing a “new testament” or a “new covenant” to replace the old covenant of the law as the basis of fellowship between God and man. This “new covenant” was spoken of by the prophet Jeremiah.
Jer. 31:31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
Jer. 31:32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
Jer. 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Yes, the covenant is directed to Israel, but Paul makes clear in his letter to the Romans that we are included in that new covenant. People of faith, both Jew and Gentile, are branches of the same tree.
Rom. 11:2 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew….
Rom. 11:5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
Rom. 11:6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace….
Rom. 11:11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.
Rom. 11:19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.
Rom. 11:20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith….
Rom. 11:24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?
Rom. 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
We are privileged to be part of that branch of Gentile believers rooted in Christ Jesus. The new covenant applies just as surely to us as it does to Israel. Our position in Christ is a gift of His grace. We have the precious seal of the Holy Spirit to guard our hearts and secure our faith.
(4/11) It is important to note that the cup represented the “new testament” being established by His shed blood. He was standing before them, and it is obvious that He was not declaring the cup to be His actual blood or the bread to be His actual body.
1Cor. 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.
In this verse, it is clear that partaking of the Lord’s Supper is to be a part of our worship on a regular basis. It’s an opportunity to express our gratitude to the Savior and our confidence in His return to fulfill every detail of God’s plan.
1Cor. 11:27 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.
“unworthily” = irreverently
This verse is a bit confusing. We are all guilty regarding the death of Jesus on the cross. The Complete Jewish Bible seemed to make a clearer statement.
“Therefore, whoever eats the Lord’s bread or drinks the Lord’s cup in an unworthy manner will be guilty of desecrating the body and blood of the Lord!”
Webster defines desecration as follows:
“To divest of a sacred character or office; to divert from a sacred purpose; to violate the sanctity of; to profane; to put to an unworthy use….”
In other words, we are to have an attitude in our heart of thankfulness and awe of the wonderful gift God gave us through the willing sacrifice of His Son when we participate in the Lord’s Supper. There’s just no way we can understand such a sacrifice or such love. All we can do is humbly thank Him and try to honor Him through submission and obedience. If we are truly partaking in remembrance of His death on our behalf, that will be our heart attitude. If it is just another “routine” of assembling together, we are partaking unworthily.
1Cor. 11:28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
“examine” = to test (literally or figuratively); by implication, to approve:—allow, discern….
In other words, Paul is saying that before participating at the Lord’s table we are to test ourselves, to discern our intent and attitude in participation and to approve that we are reverencing the Lord through our participation.
1Cor. 11:29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
1Cor. 11:30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
Paul is saying that if we don’t take the Lord’s Supper with the right heart attitude and preparation, we are basically asking for God’s judgment. Sometimes that judgment comes in the form of physical weakness and/or sickness and even death. I think the word that stood out to me was the word “many.” When we claim God as Lord and then choose to act in ways that dishonor Him, He doesn’t take it lightly. I wonder how many of us have ever stopped to consider whether our physical problems could be a result of our dishonoring God’s name in some way.
These verses remind me of the commandment regarding taking His name in vain.
Ex. 20:7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
It also reminds me of recent studies in Isaiah and Ezekiel in which God declares the importance of protecting His honor among unbelieving peoples through those that claim His name.
Is. 48:10 Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.
Is. 48:11 For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.
Ezek. 36:20 And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, These are the people of the LORD, and are gone forth out of his land.
Ezek. 36:21 But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went.
Ezek. 36:22 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.
Ezek. 36:23 And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.
Ezek. 39:6 And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD.
Ezek. 39:7 So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.
These passages all speak of judgment upon Israel because of their profaning of God’s name. The glorious promise, however, includes the truth that God will intervene for His people for the sake of His name. Judgment will come to an end. Again, the principles by which God dealt with Israel apply to the church as well.
1Cor. 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
1Cor. 11:32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that
we should not be condemned with the world.
Verse 31 ties directly to verse 28. When I looked at the Greek for “judge,” it included “withdraw from, hesitate, discern.” It seemed to emphasize to me that it would be better not to participate in the Lord’s Supper than to participate unworthily. The Greek for “judged” is a different word that references “punishment.” We are much better off to be careful about our own actions than to put ourselves in a position to be punished or chastened by the Lord.
If, however, we place ourselves in that unfortunate position, God is faithful. Scripture is clear that when necessary, chastening is sure for the child of God.
Heb. 12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
Heb. 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
God’s chastening in the life of the believer is for our good. It’s part of the process of our sanctification, making us more holy.
Heb. 12:10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
Heb. 12:11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
God is a faithful Father. Many Christians seem to think that their salvation excuses them from judgment of any kind. That’s the same mistake that Israel made. They assumed that as God’s chosen people, they were immune to a certain degree from terrible judgment. We, as they, misinterpret God’s longsuffering with His apathy or understanding of the fact that we are sinners. Or, as I said earlier, sometimes we just don’t recognize His judgment. God is faithful to forgive the repentant sinner. He is also a very responsible Father. He will always let us experience the consequences of sin. He doesn’t abandon us during that time of judgment. He will provide for us in every way to bring us through victoriously and wiser than before if we will but look to Him and seek to learn.
Verse 32 reminds me of another verse in Hebrews.
Heb. 12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
Point being—The child of God can expect chastening for his sin. The unbeliever can expect to be “condemned with the world” for his sin.
1Cor. 11:33 Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.
1Cor. 11:34 And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.
Paul is saying that the coming together of a body of believers to partake of the Lord’s Supper should be a time of unity, worship and fellowship. It’s not a time for satisfying one’s physical appetite; that is to be done at home. By coming to the Lord’s table with the right heart attitude and preparation, you avoid God’s judgment or punishment.
Evidently there were still some other instructions Paul wanted to give the Corinthians regarding proper worship, but has determined that he has given them sufficient instruction for the time being. He intends to give instruction regarding these other matters when he comes to see them personally.
I mentioned to you on the phone the other day that I found an article that gave added insight on communion, and I’m going to add the following to the comments at 1Corinthians 10:16 since I believe it fits in more in context in that section.