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1st Corinthians Chapter 11

THE first verse in this chapter properly belongs to the preceding, and is the conclusion of the discussion which the apostle had been carrying on in that and the previous chapters. It has been improperly separated from that chapter, and in reading should be read in connexion with it. The remainder of the chapter is properly divided into two parts:

I. A discussion respecting the impropriety of a woman's praying or prophesying with her head uncovered, (1 Co 11:2-16;) and,

II. A reproof of their irregularities in the observance of the Lord's Supper, 1 Co 11:17-34.

I. In regard to the first, it seems probable that some of the women who, on pretence of being inspired, had prayed or prophesied in the Corinthian church, had cast off their veils after the manner Of the heathen priestesses. This indecent and improper custom, the apostle reproves. He observes, therefore, that the pre-emmence belongs to man over the woman, even as pre-eminence belonged to Christ over the man; that it was a dishonour to Christ when a man prayed or prophesied with his head covered, and in like manner it was regarded everywhere as dishonourable and improper for a woman to lay. aside the appropriate symbol of her sex, and the emblem of subordination, and to be uncovered in the presence of the man, (1 Co 11:3-6;) that if a woman was not veiled, if she laid aside the appropriate emblem of her sex and of her subordinate condition, she might as well part with her hair, which all knew would be dishonourable and improper, (1 Co 11:6;) that the woman had been created for a subordinate station, and should observe it, (1 Co 11:7-9;) that she should have power on her head because of the angels, (1 Co 11:10;) and yet, lest this should depress her, and seem to convey the idea of her utter inferiority and unimportance, he adds, that in the plan of salvation they are in many respects on an equality with the man, that the same plan was adapted to both, that the same blessings are appointed for both sexes, and the same high hopes are held out to both, (1 Co 11:11,12;) and that nature on this subject was a good instructor, and showed that it was uncomely for a woman to pray with her head uncovered, that her hair had been given her for an ornament and for beauty, and that, as it would be as improper for her to remove her veil as to cut off her hair, nature itself required that this symbol of her subordination should not be laid aside in public, 1 Co 11:13-16.

II. Next, as to the irregularities in the observance of the Lord's Supper, the apostle observes, (1 Co 11:17,) that he could not commend them for what he was about to say. There had been, and there were, irregularities among them, which it was his duty to reprove. In 1 Co 11:18-22, he states what those irregularities were. He then (1 Co 11:23-26) states the true nature and design of the Lord's Supper, as it was very evident that they had not understood it, but supposed it was a common feast, such as they had been accustomed to observe in honour of idols. In 1 Co 11:27-29, he states the consequences of observing this ordinance in an improper manner, and the proper way of approaching it; and in 1 Co 11:30-32, observes that their improper mode of observing it was the cause of the punishment which many of them had experienced. He then concludes by directing them to celebrate the Lord's Supper together; to eat at home when they were hungry; and not to abuse the Lord's Supper by making it an occasion of feasting; and assures them that the other matters of irregularity he would set in order when he should come among them.

Verse 1. Be ye followers of me. Imitate my example in the matter now under discussion. As I deny myself; as I seek to give no offence to any one; as I endeavour not to alarm the prejudices of others, but in all things to seek their salvation, so do you. This verse belongs to the previous chapter, and should not have been separated from it. It is the close of the discussion there.

Even as I also am of Christ. I make Christ my example. He is my model in all things; and if you follow him, and follow me as far as I follow him, you will not err. This is the only safe example; and if we follow this, we can never go astray.

{a} "ye followers" Eph 5:1; 1 Th 1:6 {*} "followers" "Imitators"

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