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1Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.


Head Coverings

2 I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions just as I handed them on to you. 3But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the husband is the head of his wife, and God is the head of Christ. 4Any man who prays or prophesies with something on his head disgraces his head, 5but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled disgraces her head—it is one and the same thing as having her head shaved. 6For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or to be shaved, she should wear a veil. 7For a man ought not to have his head veiled, since he is the image and reflection of God; but woman is the reflection of man. 8Indeed, man was not made from woman, but woman from man. 9Neither was man created for the sake of woman, but woman for the sake of man. 10For this reason a woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man or man independent of woman. 12For just as woman came from man, so man comes through woman; but all things come from God. 13Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head unveiled? 14Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him, 15but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. 16But if anyone is disposed to be contentious—we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God.

Abuses at the Lord’s Supper

17 Now in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. 18For, to begin with, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you; and to some extent I believe it. 19Indeed, there have to be factions among you, for only so will it become clear who among you are genuine. 20When you come together, it is not really to eat the Lord’s supper. 21For when the time comes to eat, each of you goes ahead with your own supper, and one goes hungry and another becomes drunk. 22What! Do you not have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you show contempt for the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What should I say to you? Should I commend you? In this matter I do not commend you!

The Institution of the Lord’s Supper

23 For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, 24and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Partaking of the Supper Unworthily

27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord. 28Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29For all who eat and drink without discerning the body, eat and drink judgment against themselves. 30For this reason many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31But if we judged ourselves, we would not be judged. 32But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

33 So then, my brothers and sisters, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34If you are hungry, eat at home, so that when you come together, it will not be for your condemnation. About the other things I will give instructions when I come.


18. When ye come together in the Church, I hear there are divisions Some take the words divisions and heresies, as referring to that disorder (ἀταξίαν) of which he speaks soon afterwards. I consider them as having a more extensive signification, and certainly it is not likely that he would employ terms so improper and unsuitable for the purpose of exposing that abuse. 647647     “Qu’il leur remonstrera qu’ils fout en la Cene;” — “Which he will show that they have fallen into as to the Supper.” For as to their alleging that he has expressed himself in more severe terms, with the view of exposing more fully the heinousness of the offense, I would readily grant this, if the meaning corresponded. It is, then, a reproof of a general kind — that they were not of one accord as becomes Christians, but every one was so much taken up with his own interests, that he was not prepared to accommodate himself to others. Hence arose that abuse, as to which we shall see in a little — hence sprung ambition and pride, so that every one exalted himself and despised others — hence sprung carelessness as to edification — hence sprung profanation of the gifts of God.

He says that he partly believes it, that they might not think that he charged them all with this heinous crime, and might accordingly complain, that they were groundlessly accused. In the meantime, however, he intimates that this had been brought to him not by mere vague rumor, but by credible information, such as he could not altogether discredit.

19. For there must be also heresies He had previously spoken of divisions (1 Corinthians 11:18.) Now he uses the term heresies, with the view of amplifying the more, as we may infer, too, from the word also, for it is added for the sake of amplification. (προς αὔξησιν.) It is well known in what sense the ancients used those two terms, 648648     “Schisme et Heresie;” — “Schism and Heresy.” and what distinction they made between Heretics and Schismatics. 649649     “Voyez l’Institution;” — “See my Institutes,” (volume 3.) Heresy they made to consist in disagreement as to doctrine, and schism, on the contrary, in alienation of affection, as when any one withdrew from the Church from envy, or from dislike of the pastors, or from ill nature. It is true, that the Church cannot but be torn asunder by false doctrine, and thus heresy is the root and origin of schism, and it is also true that envy or pride is the mother of almost all heresies, but at the same time it is of advantage to distinguish in this way between these two terms.

But let us see in what sense Paul employs them. I have already expressed my disapprobation of those who explain heresy as meaning the setting up of a separate table, inasmuch as the rich did not partake of their Supper along with the poor; for he had it in view to point out something more hateful. But without mentioning the opinions of others, I take schism and heresy here in the way of less and greater. Schisms, then, are either secret grudges — when we do not see that agreement which ought to subsist among the pious — when inclinations at variance with each other are at work — when every one is mightily pleased with his own way, and finds fault with everything that is done by others. Heresies are when the evil proceeds to such a pitch that open hostility is discovered, and persons deliberately divide themselves into opposite parties. Hence, in order that believers might not feel discouraged on seeing the Corinthians torn with divisions, the Apostle turns round this occasion of offense in an opposite direction, intimating that the Lord does rather by such trials make proof of his people’s constancy. A lovely consolation! “So far, says he, should we be from being troubled, or cast down, when we do not see complete unity in the Church, but on the contrary some threatenings of separation from want of proper agreement, that even if sects should start up, 650650     “De tous costez;” — “On all sides.” we ought to remain firm and constant. For in this way hypocrites are detected — in this way, on the other hand, the sincerity of believers is tried. For as this gives occasion for discovering the fickleness of those who were not rooted in the Lord’s Word, and the wickedness of those who had assumed the appearance of good men, so the good afford a more signal manifestation of their constancy and sincerity.”

But observe what Paul says — there must be, for he intimates by this expression, that this state of matters does not happen by chance, but by the sure providence of God, because he has it in view to try his people, as gold in the furnace, and if it is agreeable to the mind of God, it is, consequently, expedient. At the same time, however, we must not enter into thorny disputes, or rather into labyrinths as to a fatal necessity. We know that there never will be a time when there will not be many reprobates. We know that they are governed by the spirit of Satan, and are effectually drawn away to what is evil. We know that Satan, in his activity, leaves no stone unturned with the view of breaking up the unity of the Church. From this — not from fate — comes that necessity of which Paul makes mention. 651651     “De la vient ceste necessite de laquelle S. Paul fait mention, et non pas de ce Fatum que les Stoiques ont imagine, que l’on nomme communeement Destinee. Voyez l’ Institution;” — “From this comes that necessity of which St. Paul makes mention, and not from that Fate of which the Stoics have dreamed, and which is commonly called destiny. See the Institutes.” (Volume 1, p. 241.) We know, also, that the Lord, by his admirable wisdom, turns Satan’s deadly machinations so as to promote the salvation of believers. 652652     “Conuertit au profit et salut des fideles les machinations de Satan horribles et pernicieuses;” — “Turns the horrible and pernicious machinations of Satan to the advantage and salvation of believers.” Hence comes that design of which he speaks — that the good may shine forth more conspicuously; for we ought not to ascribe this advantage to heresies, which, being evil, can produce nothing but what is evil, but to God, who, by his infinite goodness, changes the nature of things, so that those things are salutary to the elect, which Satan had contrived for their ruin. As to Chrysostom’s contending that the particle that (ἴνα) denotes not the cause, but the event, it is of no great moment. For the cause is the secret counsel of God, 653653     “Car a parlet proprement, la cause de ceci depend du secret conseil de Dieu;” — “For, properly speaking, the cause of this depends on the secret counsel of God.” by which things that are evil are overruled in such a manner, as to have a good issue. We know, in fine, that the wicked are impelled by Satan in such a manner, that they both act and are acted upon with the consent of their wills. 654654     “Ce qu’ils font, et ce que Satan lear fait faire, ils le font volontairement, et non point par force;” — “What they do, and what Satan makes them do, they do voluntarily, and not from force.” Hence they are without excuse.

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