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Chapter 11

11:1 Imitators of me [mimētai mou]. In the principle of considerate love as so clearly shown in chapters 1Co 8-10 and in so far as [kathōs] Paul is himself an imitator of Christ. The preacher is a leader and is bound to set an example or pattern [tupos] for others (Tit 2:7). This verse clearly belongs to the preceding chapter and not to chapter 11.

11:2 Hold fast the traditions [tas paradoseis katechete]. Hold down as in 15:2. [Paradosis] (tradition) from [paradidōmi] [paredōka], first aorist active indicative) is an old word and merely something handed on from one to another. The thing handed on may be bad as in Mt 15:2f. (which see) and contrary to the will of God (Mr 7:8f.) or it may be wholly good as here. There is a constant conflict between the new and the old in science, medicine, law, theology. The obscurantist rejects all the new and holds to the old both true and untrue. New truth must rest upon old truth and is in harmony with it.

11:3 But I would have you know [thelō de humas eidenai]. But I wish you to know, censure in contrast to the praise in verse 2. The head of Christ is God [kephalē tou Christou ho theos]. Rather, God is the head of Christ, since [kephalē] is anarthrous and predicate.

11:4 Having his head covered [kata kephalēs echōn]. Literally, having a veil [kalumma] understood) down from the head [kephalēs] ablative after [kata] as with [kata] in Mr 5:13; Ac 27:14). It is not certain whether the Jews at this time used the tallith, “a four-corned shawl having fringes consisting of eight threads, each knotted five times” (Vincent) as they did later. Virgil (Aeneid iii., 545) says: “And our heads are shrouded before the altar with a Phrygian vestment.” The Greeks (both men and women) remained bareheaded in public prayer and this usage Paul commends for the men.

11:5 With her head unveiled [akatakaluptōi tēi kephalēi]. Associative instrumental case of manner and the predicative adjective (compound adjective and feminine form same as masculine), “with the head unveiled.” Probably some of the women had violated this custom. “Amongst Greeks only the [hetairai], so numerous in Corinth, went about unveiled; slave-women wore the shaven head—also a punishment of the adulteress” (Findlay). Cf. Nu 5:18. One and the same thing as if she were shaven [hen kai to auto tēi exurēmenēi]. Literally, “One and the same thing with the one shaven” (associative instrumental case again, Robertson, Grammar, p. 530). Perfect passive articular participle of the verb [xuraō], later form for the old [xureō]. It is public praying and prophesying that the Apostle here has in mind. He does not here condemn the act, but the breach of custom which would bring reproach. A woman convicted of adultery had her hair shorn (Isa 7:20). The Justinian code prescribed shaving the head for an adulteress whom the husband refused to receive after two years. Paul does not tell Corinthian Christian women to put themselves on a level with courtesans.

11:6 Let her also be shorn [kai keirasthō]. Aorist middle imperative of [keirō], to shear (as sheep). Let her cut her hair close. A single act by the woman. If it is a shame [ei de aischron]. Condition of first class assumed to be true. [Aischron] is old adjective from [aischos], bareness, disgrace. Clearly Paul uses such strong language because of the effect on a woman’s reputation in Corinth by such conduct that proclaimed her a lewd woman. Social custom varied in the world then as now, but there was no alternative in Corinth. To be shorn or shaven [to keirasthai kai xurasthai]. Articular infinitives subject of copula [estin] understood, [keirasthai] first aorist middle, [xurasthai] present middle. Note change in tense. Let her be veiled [katakaluptesthō]. Present middle imperative of old compound [kata-kaluptō], here alone in N.T. Let her cover up herself with the veil (down, [kata], the Greek says, the veil hanging down from the head).

11:7 The image and glory of God [eikōn kai doxa theou]. Anarthrous substantives, but definite. Reference to Ge 1:28; 2:26 whereby man is made directly in the image [eikōn] of God. It is the moral likeness of God, not any bodily resemblance. Ellicott notes that man is the glory [doxa] of God as the crown of creation and as endowed with sovereignty like God himself. The glory of the man [doxa andros]. Anarthrous also, man’s glory. In Ge 2:26 the LXX has [anthrōpos] (Greek word for both male and female), not [anēr] (male) as here. But the woman [gunē] was formed from the man [anēr] and this priority of the male (verse 8) gives a certain superiority to the male. On the other hand, it is equally logical to argue that woman is the crown and climax of all creation, being the last.

11:9 For the woman [dia tēn gunaika]. Because of [dia] with accusative case) the woman. The record in Genesis gives the man [anēr] as the origin [ek] of the woman and the reason for [dia] the creation [ektisthē], first aorist passive of [ktizō], old verb to found, to create, to form) of woman.

11:10 Ought [opheilei]. Moral obligation therefore [dia touto], rests on woman in the matter of dress that does not [ouk opheilei] in verse 7) rest on the man.) To have a sign of authority [exousian echein]. He means [sēmeion exousias] (symbol of authority) by [exousian], but it is the sign of authority of the man over the woman. The veil on the woman’s head is the symbol of the authority that the man with the uncovered head has over her. It is, as we see it, more a sign of subjection [hypotagēs], 1Ti 2:10) than of authority [exousias]. Because of the angels [dia tous aggelous]. This startling phrase has caused all kinds of conjecture which may be dismissed. It is not preachers that Paul has in mind, nor evil angels who could be tempted (Ge 6:1f.), but angels present in worship (cf. 1Co 4:9; Ps 138:1) who would be shocked at the conduct of the women since the angels themselves veil their faces before Jehovah (Isa 6:2).

11:11 Howbeit [plēn]. This adversative clause limits the preceding statement. Each sex is incomplete without [chōris], apart from, with the ablative case) the other. In the Lord [en Kuriōi]. In the sphere of the Lord, where Paul finds the solution of all problems.

11:12 Of [ek] —by [dia]. Ever since the first creation man has come into existence by means of [dia] with genitive) the woman. The glory and dignity of motherhood. Cf. The Fine Art of Motherhood by Ella Broadus Robertson.

11:13 Is it seemly? [prepon estin;]. Periphrastic present indicative rather than [prepei]. See on Mt 3:15. Paul appeals to the sense of propriety among the Corinthians.

11:14 Nature itself [hē phusis autē]. He reenforces the appeal to custom by the appeal to nature in a question that expects the affirmative answer [oude]. [Phusis], from old verb [phuō], to produce, like our word nature (Latin natura), is difficult to define. Here it means native sense of propriety (cf. Ro 2:14) in addition to mere custom, but one that rests on the objective difference in the constitution of things.

11:15 Have long hair [komāi]. Present active subjunctive of [komaō] (from [komē], hair), old verb, same contraction [-aēi=āi] as the indicative [aei = āi], but subjunctive here with [ean] in third class condition. Long hair is a glory to a woman and a disgrace to a man (as we still feel). The long-haired man! There is a papyrus example of a priest accused of letting his hair grow long and of wearing woollen garments. For a covering [anti peribolaiou]. Old word from [periballō] to fling around, as a mantle (Heb 1:12) or a covering or veil as here. It is not in the place of a veil, but answering to [anti], in the sense of [anti] in Joh 1:16), as a permanent endowment [dedotai], perfect passive indicative).

11:16 Contentious [philoneikos]. Old adjective [philos, neikos], fond of strife. Only here in N.T. If he only existed in this instance, the disputatious brother. Custom [sunētheian]. Old word from [sunēthēs] [sun, ēthos], like Latin consuetudo, intercourse, intimacy. In N.T. only here and 8:7 which see. “In the sculptures of the catacombs the women have a close-fitting head-dress, while the men have the hair short” (Vincent).

11:17 This [touto]. Probably the preceding one about the head-dress of women, and transition to what follows. I praise you not [ouk epainō]. In contrast to the praise in 11:2. For the better [eis to kreisson]. Neuter articular comparative of [kratus], but used as comparative of [kalos], good. Attic form [kreitton]. For the worse [eis to hēsson]. Old comparative from [hēka], softly, used as comparative of [kakos], bad. In N.T. only here and 2Co 12:15.

11:18 First of all [prōton men]. There is no antithesis [deuteron de], secondly, or [epeita de], in the next place) expressed. This is the primary reason for Paul’s condemnation and the only one given. When ye come together in the church [sunerchomenōn hēmōn en ekklēsiāi]. Genitive absolute. Here [ekklēsia] has the literal meaning of assembly. Divisions [schismata]. Accusative of general reference with the infinitive [huparchein] in indirect discourse. Old word for cleft, rent, from [schizō]. Example in papyri for splinter of wood. See on 1:10. Not yet formal cleavages into two or more organizations, but partisan divisions that showed in the love-feasts and at the Lord’s Supper. Partly [meros ti]. Accusative of extent (to some part) like [panta] in 10:33. He could have said [ek merous] as in 13:9. The rumours of strife were so constant (I keep on hearing, [akouō].

11:19 Must be [dei einai]. Since moral conditions are so bad among you (cf. chapters 1 to 6). Cf. Mt 18:7. Heresies [haireseis]. The schisms naturally become factions or parties. Cf. strifes [erides] in 1:11. See on Ac 15:5 for [haireseis], a choosing, taking sides, holding views of one party, heresy (our word). “Heresy is theoretical schism, schism practical heresy.” Cf. Tit 3:10; 2Pe 2:1. In Paul only here and Ga 5:20. That [hina]. God’s purpose in these factions makes the proved ones [hoi dokimoi] become manifest [phaneroi]. “These [haireseis] are a magnet attracting unsound and unsettled minds” (Findlay). It has always been so. Instance so-called Christian Science, Russellism, New Thought, etc., today.

11:20 To eat the Lord’s Supper [Kuriakon deipnon phagein]. [Kuriakos], adjective from [Kurios], belonging to or pertaining to the Lord, is not just a biblical or ecclesiastical word, for it is found in the inscriptions and papyri in the sense of imperial (Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East, p. 358), as imperial finance, imperial treasury. It is possible that here the term applies both to the [Agapē] or Love-feast (a sort of church supper or club supper held in connection with, before or after, the Lord’s Supper) and the Eucharist or Lord’s Supper. [Deipnon], so common in the Gospels, only here in Paul. The selfish conduct of the Corinthians made it impossible to eat a Lord’s Supper at all.

11:21 Taketh before [prolambanei]. Before others. Old verb to take before others. It was conduct like this that led to the complete separation between the Love-feast and the Lord’s Supper. It was not even a common meal together [koinon deipnon], not to say a Lord’s [deipnon]. It was a mere grab-game. This one is hungry [hos de peināi]. Demonstrative [hos]. Nothing is left for him at the love-feast. Another is drunken [hos de methuei]. Such disgusting conduct was considered shameful in heathen club suppers. “Hungry poor meeting intoxicated rich, at what was supposed to be a supper of the Lord” (Robertson and Plummer). On [methuō], to be drunk, see on Mt 24:49; Ac 2:15.

11:22 What? Have ye not houses? [Mē gar oikias ouk echete;] The double negative [mē—ouk] in the single question is like the idiom in 9:4f. which see. [] expects a negative answer while [ouk] negatives the verb [echete]. “For do you fail to have houses?” Paul is not approving gluttony and drunkenness but only expressing horror at their sacrilege (despising, [kataphroneite] of the church of God. That have not [tous mē echontas]. Not those without houses, but those who have nothing, “the have-nots” (Findlay) like 2Co 8:12, in contrast with [hoi echontes] “the haves” (the men of property). What shall I say to you? [ti eipō humin;] Deliberative subjunctive that well expresses Paul’s bewilderment.

11:23 For I received of the Lord [ego gar parelabon apo tou Kuriou]. Direct claim to revelation from the Lord Jesus on the origin of the Lord’s Supper. Luke’s account (Lu 22:17-20) is almost identical with this one. He could easily have read I Corinthians before he wrote his Gospel. See 15:3 for use of both [parelabon] and [paredōka]. Note [para] in both verbs. Paul received the account from [para—apo] the Lord and passed it on from himself to them, a true [paradosis] (tradition) as in 11:2. He was betrayed [paredideto]. Imperfect passive indicative (irregular form for [paredidoto], Robertson, Grammar, p. 340). Same verb as [paredōka] (first aorist active indicative just used for “I delivered”).

11:24 When he had given thanks [eucharistēsas]. First aorist active participle of [eucharisteō] from which word our word Eucharist comes, common late verb (see on 1:14). Which is for you [to huper humōn]. [Klōmenon] (broken) of the Textus Receptus (King James Version) is clearly not genuine. Luke (Lu 22:19) has [didomenon] (given) which is the real idea here. As a matter of fact the body of Jesus was not broken (Joh 19:36). The bread was broken, but not the body of Jesus. In remembrance of me [eis tēn emēn anamnēsin]. The objective use of the possessive pronoun [emēn]. Not my remembrance of you, but your remembrance of me. [Anamnēsis], from [anamimnēskō], to remind or to recall, is an old word, but only here in N.T. save Lu 22:19 which see.

11:25 After supper [meta to deipnēsai]. [Meta] and the articular aorist active infinitive, “after the dining” (or the supping) as in Lu 22:20. The new covenant [hē kainē diathēkē]. For [diathēkē] see on Mt 26:28. For [kainos] see on Lu 5:38; 22:20. The position of [estin] before [en tōi haimati] (in my blood) makes it a secondary or additional predicate and not to be taken just with [diathēkē] (covenant or will). As oft as ye drink it [hosakis an pinēte]. Usual construction for general temporal clause of repetition [an] and the present subjunctive with [hosakis]. So in verse 26.

11:26 Till he come [achri hou elthēi]. Common idiom (with or without [an] with the aorist subjunctive for future time (Robertson, Grammar, p. 975). In Lu 22:18 we have [heōs hou elthēi]. The Lord’s Supper is the great preacher [kataggellete] of the death of Christ till his second coming (Mt 26:29).

11:27 Unworthily [anaxiōs]. Old adverb, only here in N.T., not genuine in verse 29. Paul defines his meaning in verse 29f. He does not say or imply that we ourselves must be “worthy” [axioi] to partake of the Lord’s Supper. No one would ever partake on those terms. Many pious souls have abstained from observing the ordinance through false exegesis here. Shall be guilty [enochos estai]. Shall be held guilty as in Mt 5:21f. which see. Shall be guilty of a crime committed against the body and blood of the Lord by such sacrilege (cf. Heb 6:6; 10:29).

11:28 Let a man prove himself [dokimazetō anthrōpos heauton]. Test himself as he would a piece of metal to see if genuine. Such examination of one’s motives would have made impossible the disgraceful scenes in verses 20ff.

11:29 If he discern not the body [mē diakrinōn to sōma]. So-called conditional use of the participle, “not judging the body.” Thus he eats and drinks judgment [krima] on himself. The verb [dia-krinō] is an old and common word, our dis-cri-minate, to distinguish. Eating the bread and drinking the wine as symbols of the Lord’s body and blood in death probes one’s heart to the very depths.

11:30 And not a few sleep [kai koimōntai hikanoi]. Sufficient number [hikanoi] are already asleep in death because of their desecration of the Lord’s table. Paul evidently had knowledge of specific instances. A few would be too many.

11:31 But if we discerned ourselves [ei de heautous diekrinomen]. This condition of the second class, determined as unfulfilled, assumes that they had not been judging themselves discriminatingly, else they would not be judged [ekrinometha]. Note distinction in the two verbs.

11:32 Ye are chastened of the Lord [hupo tou Kuriou paideuometha]. On this sense of [paideuō], from [pais], child, to train a child (Ac 7:22), to discipline with words (2Ti 2:25), to chastise with scourges see on Lu 23:16 (Heb 12:7), and so by afflictions as here (Heb 12:6). [Hupo tou Kuriou] can be construed with [krinomenoi] instead of with [paideuometha]. With the world [sun tōi kosmōi]. Along with the world. Afflictions are meant to separate us from the doom of the wicked world. Final use of [hina mē] here with [katakrithōmen] (first aorist passive subjunctive).

11:33 Wait one for another [allēlous ekdechesthe]. As in Joh 5:3; Ac 17:16. That is common courtesy. Wait in turn. Vulgate has invicem expectate.

11:34 At home [en oikōi]. If so hungry as all that (verse 22). The rest [ta loipa]. He has found much fault with this church, but he has not told all. I will set in order [diataxomai]. Not even Timothy and Titus can do it all. Whensoever I come [hōs an elthō]. Common idiom for temporal clause of future time (conjunction like [hōs] with [an] and aorist subjunctive [elthō].

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