|1 Corinthians 11 |
1 Be followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
2 Now I praise you, brothers, that you remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.
3 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 head of Christ is God.
4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. [From the word within: "God will oppose the proud, i.e., too proud to remove their hats in prayer."]
5 But every woman who prays or prophesies1 with her head uncovered dishonors her head, because that is the same as if her head had been shaved.
6 For if the woman is not covered, let her have her hair cut off; but if it is a shame for a woman to have her hair cut off or shaved, let her be covered.
7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, for he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of the man.
8 For the man is not from the woman, but the woman from the man.
9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
10 For this cause the woman ought to have a covering on her head because of the angels.
11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, nor the woman without the man, in the Lord.
12 For as the woman is from the man, even so is the man also born of the woman; but all things are from God.
13 Judge for yourselves; is it proper that a woman pray to God uncovered?2
14 Does not even nature itself teach you, that if a man has long hair, it is a shame to him?
15 But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her. For her hair is given to her for a covering.
16 And if anyone wants to be contentious, we have no other custom, nor do the churches of God.
17 Now in this that I next instruct you I do not praise you: that when you come together, it is not for the better but for the worse.
18 For first of all, when you come together in the church, I hear that there are divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
19 For there must be factions among you, so that those who are approved may be made manifest and recognized.
20 When you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord's supper,
21 For as you eat, everyone starts eating his own supper before others even arrive; and one goes hungry while another is drunk.
22 What? Do you not have houses to eat and to drink in? Or do you despise the church of God, and shame those who are without food? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you.
23 For I have received from the Lord what I have also delivered to you: That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread;
24 And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me."
25 After the same manner, when he had eaten, he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new testament in my blood. Do this as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."
26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you remember the Lord's death until he comes. [It would be a cruel hoax to be waiting on Him to appear (come) if in the past 2000 years, believers actually had no hope of ever seeing Him (come).]
27 Therefore whoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread, and drink of the cup.
29 For he who eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.3
30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep [remaining spiritually dead to the life of God].
31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.
32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, so that we may not be condemned with the world.
33 Therefore, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.
34 And if any man is hungry, let him eat at home; so that you do not come together in condemnation. The rest will I set in order when I come.
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1 But every woman who prays or prophesies, To prophesy is not just to predict the future; it is to speak for edification, and exhortation, and comfort. 1 Cor 14:3. Here Paul shows that women who prophesy, that is who speak from the Holy Spirit's promptings and teachings to them, are speaking in the Church. To prophesy is to speak out in the presence of listeners who are interested in what is said — women speaking in the church, but speaking under control of the Spirit. This proves Paul's restriction to women asking their husband a question, should not speak — those were women who were newly initiated in the Church, whose tongues were not yet under control of the Spirit of God, which Spirit was poured out on all men and women at Pentecost: 'And it shall come to pass in the last days, said God, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all men; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.
2 Paul was writing in a different era, where it was very common and considered proper for a woman to wear a covering on her head. The covering was in fact a full veil, to hide her face and neck in modesty. Here are several quotations that show this was the custom throughout the early Church :
Clement of Alexandria, an elder writing from Egypt around the year 190, counseled:
"Let the woman observe this, further. Let her be entirely covered, unless she happens to be at home. For that style of dress is grave, and protects from being gazed at. And she will never fall, who puts before her eyes modesty, and her shawl; nor will she invite another to fall into sin by uncovering her face. For this is the wish of the Word, since it is becoming for her to pray veiled." [Clement, The Instructor 3.12]
Hippolytus, a leader in the church at Rome around the year 200, compiled a record of the various customs and practices in that church from the generations that preceded him. His Apostolic Tradition contains this statement:
And let all the women have their heads covered with an opaque cloth, not with a veil of thin linen, for this is not a true covering. [Hippolytus Apostolic Tradition]
In a book by Dr Lloyd Llewellyn Jones, of the University of Exeter, he has traced women commonly using a full veil of head and face in ancient Greece between 900BC and 200AD. Roman women wore veils rather than hats because hats covered up their elaborate hair-styles.
From the word of God within: "women of that era who prayed with their heads uncovered were considered unstable souls." I don't think this generation can comprehend the degree to which culture can completely prejudice its members. For example, in 17th Century England, a man without a hat out-of-doors was considered insane. Culture can persuade us beyond simple reasoning. This is exactly the same kind of cultural taboo that existed in the Apostles early church, only in that time it applied to women's heads being covered in their meetings.
Today, at least in the western industrialized nations, you do not see women wearing veils or even hats; rather any hats worn by women are typically baseball caps in their outdoor recreation to be in fashion. So, I follow Paul's instructions in verse 13 above: Judge for yourself, is it proper that a woman pray to God uncovered? Yes; today in the western world it is widespread, typical, and not at all considered unmannerly or improper for a woman to pray without a hat, veil, burka, or any other covering. So to suggest that all women of a group must wear a covering on their heads, creates a distasteful display of religion, rather than conformance to an accepted or proper standard of society. In other cultures where it is considered proper for a woman to cover her head or even wear a veil, so she should be covered in prayer.
In all ages, the Lord will give commands for gospel order within the assemblies of believers meeting in the true hope, true gospel, and true faith. These commands can differ from age to age. For example, the early Quakers were given several commands including: 1) to address all individuals as thee and thou, and not you; for at the time, you was demanded by important people who were insulted if addressed as thee or thou, which was how the commoners were addressed, and 2) to never address anyone as Mister, because it was a contraction of the word Master, only given again to important people. Both were terms that expressed honor to men. The commands made sense at the time, but today they clearly don't because the words do not demonstrate a respect to only important men; so the Lord no longer desires these commands to be observed. The same can be said about some of Paul's commands of his time, particularly relating to the covering of the woman's head. To automatically retain elements of gospel order from centuries past, results in a form being created; the form being external observations, rituals, or practices that supposedly grant godliness, but in fact betray faith, grace, and obedience to the word heard from within.
These commands are different than the outward law and moral law that is written on every man's heart: do not steal, do not lie, do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not covet, etc.; those never change with the time, and extend through the entire New and Old Testaments.
Finally, even George Fox in Letter 199 spoke against the necessity of women wearing hats in prayer at a time when almost every woman wore a bonnet; he said it was an outward form, the practice of which was making differing sects.
3 The early church ate their meals together, giving them more time to hear the Apostles preach the word of God to them and for fellowship, encouragement, exhorting, etc. This is what is referred to as the love feasts in Jude 12, agape. Some were so poor they had no food or homes. Paul is saying that the brothers who ate without waiting on the others to arrive were showing contempt for the body of believes, the Lord's body, in which all are one, like the bread which Christ broke into pieces, to signify that his body was to be broken, so it could then be raised in many, and which we should remember each time we eat and drink, until he returns to us. But, by eating without waiting on the poor brothers, they showed contempt for the believers' body of Christ, (including themselves), and therefore ate condemnation on themselves.
We are to call him to remembrance every time we eat bread and drink wine after a meal, until his appearance in our hearts.
Notice: this in no way speaks of eating and drinking as a "sacrament" or ceremony to be performed periodically during a weekly meeting- (bread was part of a supper, wine afterwards). It was to be done as often as they ate bread or drank wine, as a remembrance of Christ's broken body and shed blood, so that we might live in and through Him upon his personal appearance in us. And, as did the disciples, those who have received the completion of Christ's appearance in them, would not continue this practice after supper.
George Fox has an excellent writing on the two suppers Christ; 1) the last supper in the same night that he was betrayed, before he was crucified; and 2) the supper after he was risen, which he calls people to in Rev 3:20, “To hear his voice, and open the door, and he will sup with them, and they shall sup with him.”
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