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11. Propriety in Worship

1Be ye imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ. 2Now I praise you that ye remember me in all things, and hold fast the traditions, even as I delivered them to you. 3But 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. 4Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoreth his head. 5But every woman praying or prophesying with her head unveiled dishonoreth her head; for it is one and the same thing as if she were shaven. 6For if a woman is not veiled, let her also be shorn: but if it is a shame to a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be veiled. 7For a man indeed ought not to have his head veiled, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. 8For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man: 9for neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man: 10for this cause ought the woman to have a sign of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11Nevertheless, neither is the woman without the man, nor the man without the woman, in the Lord. 12For as the woman is of the man, so is the man also by the woman; but all things are of God. 13Judge ye in yourselves: is it seemly that a woman pray unto God unveiled? 14Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a dishonor to him? 15But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering. 16But if any man seemeth to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God. 17But in giving you this charge, I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better but for the worse. 18For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and I partly believe it. 19For there must be also factions among you, that they that are approved may be made manifest among you. 20When therefore ye assemble yourselves together, it is not possible to eat the Lord's supper: 21for in your eating each one taketh before other his own supper; and one is hungry, and another is drunken. 22What, have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and put them to shame that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you? In this I praise you not. 23For I received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which he was betrayed took bread; 24and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, This is my body, which is for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25In like manner also the cup, after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood: this do, as often as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink the cup, ye proclaim the Lord's death till he come. 27Wherefore whosoever shall eat the bread or drink the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. 28But let a man prove himself, and so let him eat of the bread, and drink of the cup. 29For he that eateth and drinketh, eateth and drinketh judgment unto himself, if he discern not the body. 30For this cause many among you are weak and sickly, and not a few sleep. 31But if we discerned ourselves, we should not be judged. 32But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. 33Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, wait one for another. 34If any man is hungry, let him eat at home; that your coming together be not unto judgment. And the rest will I set in order whensoever I come.

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4. Every man praying Here there are two propositions. The first relates to the man, the other to the woman He says that the man commits an offense against Christ his head, if he prays or prophesies with his head covered. Why so? Because he is subject to Christ, with this understanding, that he is to hold the first place in the government of the house — for the father of the family is like a king in his own house. Hence the glory of God shines forth in him, in consequence of the authority with which he is invested. If he covers his head, he lets himself down from that preeminence which God had assigned to him, so as to be in subjection. Thus the honor of Christ is infringed upon. For example, 622622     “Mais afin de mieux entendre ceci, prenons vn exemple;” — “But, that we may understand this better, let us take an example.” If the person whom the prince has appointed as his lieutenant, does not know how to maintain his proper station, 623623     “Se maintenir, et vser de son authorite;” — “To keep his place, and maintain his authority.” and instead of this, exposes his dignity to contempt on the part of persons in the lowest station, does he not bring dishonor upon his prince? In like manner, if the man does not keep his own station — if he is not subject to Christ in such a way as to preside over his own family with authority, he obscures, to that extent, the glory of Christ, which shines forth in the well regulated order of marriage. The covering, as we shall see ere long, is an emblem of authority intermediate and interposed.

Prophesying I take here to mean — declaring the mysteries of God for the edification of the hearers, (as afterwards in 1 Corinthians 14,) as praying means preparing a form of prayer, and taking the lead, as it were, of all the people — which is the part of the public teacher, 624624     “Du ministre et docteur de l’Eglise;” — “Of the minister and teacher of the Church.” for Paul is not arguing here as to every kind of prayer, but as to solemn prayer in public. Let us, however, bear in mind, that in this matter the error is merely in so far as decorum is violated, and the distinction of rank which God has established, is broken in upon. For we must not be so scrupulous as to look upon it as a criminal thing for a teacher to have a cap on his head, when addressing the people from the pulpit. Paul means nothing more than this — that it should appear that the man has authority, and that the woman is under subjection, and this is secured when the man uncovers his head in the view of the Church, though he should afterwards put on his cap again from fear of catching cold. In fine, the one rule to be observed here is το πρέπονdecorum If that is secured, Paul requires nothing farther.




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