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 Main Index : Commentaries : Geneva Study Bible : 1st Corinthians Index : Chapter 11

1st Corinthians, Chapter 11
Chapter 10 | Chapter 12
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11:2 1 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered [them] to you.

    (1) The fifth treatise of this epistle concerning the right ordering of public assemblies, containing three points, that is of the comely apparel of men and women, of the order of the Lord's supper, and of the right use of spiritual gifts. But going about to reprehend certain things, he begins nonetheless with a general praise of them, calling those particular laws of comeliness and honesty, which belong to the ecclesiastical policy, traditions: which afterward they called cannons.
11:3 2 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 a head of Christ [is] God.
    (2) He sets down God, in Christ our mediator, as the end and mark not only of doctrine, but also of ecclesiastical comeliness. Then applying it to the question proposed, touching the comely apparel both of men and women in public assemblies, he declares that the woman is one degree beneath the man by the ordinance of God, and that the man is so subject to Christ, that the glory of God ought to appear in him for the preeminence of the sex.
    (a) In that Christ is our mediator.
11:4 3 Every b man praying or prophesying, having [his] head covered, dishonoureth his head.
    (3) By this he gathers that if men do either pray or preach in public assemblies having their heads covered (which was then a sign of subjection), they robbed themselves of their dignity, against God's ordinance.
    (b) It appears, that this was a political law serving only for the circumstance of the time that Paul lived in, by this reason, because in these our days for a man to speak bareheaded in an assembly is a sign of subjection.
11:5 4 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with [her] head uncovered dishonoureth her head: 5 for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
    (4) And in like manner he concludes that women who show themselves in public and ecclesiastical assemblies without the sign and token of their subjection, that is to say, uncovered, shame themselves.
    (5) The first argument taken from the common sense of man, for so much as nature teaches women that it is dishonest for them to go abroad bareheaded, seeing that they have given to them thick and long hair which they do so diligently trim and deck, that they can in no way abide to have it shaved.
11:7 6 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.
    (6) The taking away of an objection: have not men also hair given to them? "I grant that", says the apostle, "but there is another matter in it. For man was made to this end and purpose, that the glory of God should appear in his rule and authority. But the woman was made so that by profession of her obedience, she might more honour her husband."
11:8 7 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.
    (7) He proves the inequality of the woman by the fact that from the man is the substance of which woman was first made.

11:9 8 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

    (8) Secondly, by the fact that the woman was made for man, and not the man for the woman's sake.
11:10 9 For this cause ought the woman to have c power on [her] head because of the 10 angels.
    (9) The conclusion: women must be covered, to show by this external sign their subjection.
    (c) A covering which is a token of subjection.
    (10) What this means, I do not yet understand.
11:11 11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, d in the Lord.
    (11) A digression which the apostle uses, lest that which he spoke of the superiority of men, and the lower degree of women, in consideration of the policy of the Church, should be so taken as though there were no measure of this inequality. Therefore he teaches that men have in such sort the preeminence, that God made them not alone, but women also. And woman was so made of man, that men also are born by the means of women, and this ought to put them in mind to observe the degree of every sex in such sort, that the marriage relationship may be cherished.
    (d) By the Lord.
11:13 12 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?
    (12) He urges the argument taken from the common sense of nature.
11:15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for [her] hair is given her for a e covering.
    (e) To be a covering for her, and such a covering as should procure another.
11:16 13 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.
    (13) Against those who are stubbornly contentious we have to oppose this, that the churches of God are not contentious.
11:17 14 Now in this that I declare [unto you] I praise [you] not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.
    (14) He passes now to the next treatise concerning the right administration of the Lord's supper. And the apostle uses this harsher preface, that the Corinthians might understand that whereas they generally observed the apostle's commandments, yet they badly neglected them in a matter of greatest importance.
11:18 15 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
    (15) To celebrate the Lord's supper correctly, it is required that there is not only consent of doctrine, but also of affections, so that it is not profaned.
11:19 16 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are f approved may be made manifest among you.
    (16) Although schisms and heresies proceed from the devil, and are evil, yet they come not by chance, nor without cause, and they turn to the profit of the elect.
    (f) Whom experience has taught to be of sound religion and godliness.
11:20 When ye come together therefore into one place, [this] is g not to eat the Lord's supper.
    (g) This is a usual metaphor by which the apostle flatly denies that which many did not do well.

11:21 For in eating every one taketh h before [other] his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.

    (h) Eats his food and does not wait until others come.
11:22 17 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.
    (17) The apostle thinks it good to take away the love feasts because of their abuse, although they had been practised a long time, and with commendation used in churches, and were appointed and instituted by the apostles.
11:23 18 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:
    (18) We must take a true form of keeping the Lord's supper, out of the institution of it, the parts of which are these: touching the pastors, to show forth the Lord's death by preaching his word, to bless the bread and the wine by calling upon the name of God, and together with prayers to declare the institution of it, and finally to deliver the bread broken to be eaten, and the cup received to be drunk with thanksgiving. And touching the flock, that every man examine himself, that is to say, to prove both his knowledge, and also faith, and repentance: to show forth the Lord's death, that is, in true faith to yield to his word and institution: and last of all, to take the bread from the minister's hand, and to eat it and to drink the wine, and give God thanks. This was Paul's and the apostles' manner of ministering.
11:24 And when he had given thanks, he brake [it], and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is i broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
    (i) This word "broken" denotes to us the manner of Christ's death, for although his legs were not broken, as the thieves legs were, yet his body was very severely tormented, and torn, and bruised.
11:27 19 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink [this] cup of the Lord, k unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
    (19) Whoever condemns the holy ordinances, that is, uses them incorrectly, are guilty not of the bread and wine, but of the thing itself, that is, of Christ, and will be grievously punished for it.
    (k) Otherwise than how such mysteries should properly be handled.
11:28 20 But let l a man examine himself, and so let him eat of [that] bread, and drink of [that] cup.
    (20) The examination of a man's self, is of necessity required in the supper, and therefore they ought not to be admitted to it who cannot examine themselves: such as children, furious and angry men, also such as either have no knowledge of Christ, or not sufficient, although they profess Christian religion: and others that cannot examine themselves.
    (l) This passage overthrows the idea of the faith of merit, or undeveloped faith, which the papists maintain.
11:29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not m discerning the Lord's body.
    (m) He is said to discern the Lord's body that has consideration of the worthiness of it, and therefore comes to eat of this food with great reverence.
11:30 21 For this cause many [are] weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
    (21) The profaning of the body and blood of the Lord in his mysteries is harshly punished by him, and therefore such wrongs ought diligently to be prevented by each one judging and correcting himself.
11:31 For if we would n judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
    (n) Try and examine ourselves, by faith and repentance, separating ourselves from the wicked.
11:33 22 Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.
    (22) The supper of the Lord is a common action of the whole church, and therefore there is no place for private suppers.
11:34 23 And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. 24 And the rest will I set in order when I come.
    (23) The supper of the Lord was instituted not to feed the belly, but to feed the soul with the communion of Christ, and therefore it ought to be separated from common banquets.
    (24) Such things as pertain to order, as place, time, form of prayers, and other such like, the apostle took order for in congregations according to the consideration of times, places, and persons.

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