First Corinthians 11

1 Corinthians 11

1 Corinthians 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

Jesus Christ taught us to live by EVERY WORD of God the Father in Christ-like zeal (Mat 4:4) in all things at all times!

Jesus Christ is the ONLY High Priest, effectual sacrifice and intercessor with God the Father. ONLY he can save us!

Judge and test the words of all men against the Word of God!

11:2 Now I praise you, brethren, [because] that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances [every Word of God], as I delivered them to you.

11:3 But I would have you know, that the head [ruler, authority over] of every man is Christ; and the head [ruler, authority over] of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ [ruler, authority over] is God.

11:4 Every man praying or prophesying, [with his head covered dishonors God] having his head covered, dishonoureth his [his ruler, his LORD] head.

Therefore if the hair is the covering, all men ought to shave their heads and go bald! Obviously the hair is not the covering; which covering is specifically a cloth; an akatakaluptos!

11:5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered [akatakaluptos: specifically not being covered with a cloth] dishonoureth her head: [her husband and her husband’s LORD; who is her head] for that is even all one as if she were shaven.

For a man to cover his head, or for a woman to fail to cover her head, while worshiping and praying is disrespectful, dishonoring God. Men ought not to cover their heads in prayer or worship, and it is disrespectful to God for a woman to refuse to cover her head in prayer or worship.

11:6 For if the woman be not covered [with an akatakalupto: specifically a cloth covering], let her also be shorn: . . .

If the woman’s hair is her covering; why should she be shorn for not covering her head with her hair? If her hair is her covering, then her head is already covered so why should her hair be shorn?

And if the woman have no hair to cover her head: how can she then be shorn? Therefore since the covering is NOT her hair, if a woman refuse to cover her head with a cloth in respect for God during prayer and worship; she should have her head shorn.

11:6 . . . but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered [with a akatakalupto: specifically a cloth covering].

If she is ashamed to have her head shorn, then let her cover her head in respect for God during worship and prayer.

11:7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, [If the hair is the covering; then all men ought to go bald!] forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.

11:8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. 11:9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. 11:10 For this cause ought the woman to have power [a cloth covering as a symbol of respect for authority] on her head because [as an example for] of the angels.

11:11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. 11:12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.

11:13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely [proper] that a woman pray unto God uncovered [without an akatakaluptos; a cloth hat, shawl or veil]? 11:14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?

For a man, long hair is a shame; but to a woman her hair is a glorious crown that should be covered in respect for her head [God and her husband] during prayer and worship.

11:15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering [A peribolaion: a glory [a covering not of cloth, but her glorious hair]; quite different from v 6 and 7 katakalupto meaning a cloth

The word group katakalupto which includes the words translated “cover” and “uncover” in verses 5, 6, 7, and 13 is never used anywhere to refer to the hair, but is used to refer to some other type of covering. cover, cloth, veil.

In verses 6 and 7 translates katakalupto which means cover, cloth, veil and in the middle voice “cover oneself.” The word occurs only here in the New Testament, but it is found several times in the LXX. It is used in Genesis 38:15 of Tamar where it is said that she had “covered” her face. It can easily be seen from the preceding verse that she did not cover her face with her hair but with a veil. Similarly the word is used in three manuscripts in Esther 6:12 where it says that Haman hurried to his house in mourning with his head “covered.” Here again it is obvious that Haman had not grown his hair long to show his shame, but had thrown something over his head. “Uncovered” (“unveiled”—ASV, RSV of verse 5)

In verses 5 and 13 uncover is translated from akatakaluptos which simply means “uncovered.” The word in Leviticus 13:45 where it is said that one with a leperous baldness should “uncover” his head. (For this see the King James Version; the Hebrew literally says, “let the hair of his head hang loose.”) Here again it can be seen that “uncover” is not cutting off the hair but is removing a cloth.

The words “cover” in verse 6 and “covering” in verse 15 translate from two entirely different Greek words.

The noun translated covering in verse 15 is not katakalupsis or katakalumma, but peribolaion, which is a generalized covering of any kind, not specifically of cloth like katakalupsis; the fact that Paul uses an entirely different and very general word for hair; shows that he is not referring to the same type of covering as katakalupsis [a cloth].

Paul’s point in verse 15 is that since nature gives woman one type of covering [her hair], she ought also to wear another type of covering over the first covering while praying.

A woman’s hair is her covering crown of glory, her mantle or veil of glory. Therefore she must show respect and cover her crown of glory in the presence of her God to show humility before her head. More below.

11:16 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

This instruction is in response to the Jewish practice of men covering their heads in prayer and Corinthian women praying without being covered by a cloth.

That was NOT the custom of the Ekklesia and Paul says that no argument in this matter is to be tolerated. In the Ekklesia the men do not cover their heads with a cloth [or anything else] while praying or in worship; and the women DO cover their heads with a cloth while praying or in worship.

Paul teaches that a man is the head of the woman; and as such the man is a figure of Christ; while the woman is a figure of the Church and is to show respect before her God by covering her crown of glory in humility, when coming before God in prayer or worship.

ALL scripture is for US as Paul himself explains, and this is not merely a Corinthian cultural issue. it is absolutely appropriate for women to cover their heads in respect for God and as a symbol of the bride of Christ, showing respect for Christ, during study and in prayer or in a formal church services.

I know that in our ultra liberal and permissive society this is not a popular position; yet I will stand with Paul. This is my position and is not open to argument.

Our salvation does not depend on whether we cover our heads, but our salvation IS dependent on our obedience, humility and teachableness before God.

Remember the story of Naaman in 2 Kings 5; if we are not wiling to do as the scriptures command, perhaps the issue is pride?

If one will not even place a cloth on the head during worship or prayer it begs the question: Is eternal life and the treasures of the Kingdom of God worth so little that we will not even place a cloth on our head?

This is one of the “little things,” yet one who is faithful in little things will be faithful in much; and one who is not faithful in little things cannot be expected to be faithful in other things. The “little things” are TESTS as to whether we can be trusted with bigger things.

Paul now instructs about taking the Passover

11:17 Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. It is shameful that your gatherings bring strife among you.

11:18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions [disputing] among you; and I partly believe it. 11:19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

A departing from the way by the faithless has come today as well, so that the faithful can be clearly seen and known.

11:20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the [a full Passover meal] Lord’s supper.

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

11:22 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. 11:23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you,

Paul is instructing that on Passover the people meet to partake of the Unleavened Bread and Wine, in memory of the Sacrifice of our Lord; and are not to meet for the purpose of eating our fill which can be done at our homes.

. . . That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 11:24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

11:25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament [the symbol of the shed blood of Christ which effects reconciliation with God the Father and opens up the New Covenant] in my blood: this do ye, as oft [This is an anniversary of the event of Christ’s death on Passover and therefore should be done annually on the Passover day; following the example of Jesus Christ who himself instituted this service at his last Passover in the flesh.] as ye drink it, [do so] in remembrance of me.

11:26 For as often as ye eat this [unleavened Passover bread] bread, and drink this cup [Passover wine], ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, [without sincere repentance from all things contrary to the Word of God] shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

Without sincere repentance and an honest commitment to stop sinning; one remains guilty of sin, for the atonement will not be applied to the unrepentant and habitual sinner.

11:28 But let a man examine himself, [sincerely repent] and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 11:29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily [without repentance and without understanding that we are committing to keep every Word of God through the power of Jesus Christ dwelling in us], eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

Not understanding the meaning of Christ’s sacrifice and the need to turn away from all commandment breaking. The unrepentant will be corrected by God, for they are making a mockery of the Lord’s sacrifice.

11:30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep [are dead].

Many are estranged from God and subject to correction because of the sin of making the sacrifice of Christ a license to continue in sin.

11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

If we examine ourselves and STOP living contrary to the Word of God; God will not need to correct us.

11:32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord [in the hope of saving us], that we should not be condemned with the world.

When it is needful that our God correct us; he does so to save us from being condemned and damned. Sometimes it is necessary to afflict the flesh to save the spirit.

That is what the great tribulation is about. It is to correct God’s people by afflicting the flesh so that the spirit might be saved. We have become so full of pride and so self-righteous that the only way to save us is for God to administer: major, serious, loving and merciful correction; upon the Church of God.

11:33 Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry [wait for] one for another. 11:34 And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.


Head Covering

Let me begin by asking: Who was Paul writing to? To whom was this epistle addressed?

It was addressed to the brethren in Corinth, who were mainly Greek Corinthian converts.

Now let me ask: Why was this issue addressed by Paul?

The various pagan religions of Corinth were mainly dedicated to fertility and the goddess Aphrodite [Dianna, Astarte etc are different names for the same goddess]; the Queen of heaven [Her statue is prominent in New York today, called “Liberty”].

In Corinth women had a major part of these religions; acting as priestesses, pagan prophets, and income earners as temple prostitutes.

The point is that:

1. The women of Corinth had NEVER covered their hair in worship and therefore it was totally unnecessary for Paul to instruct them that they need not cover their hair.

2. That in the pagan religions, women usurped the role of men and officiated as priestess teaching their religion, which Paul forbade.

The Religions Of Corinth

The temple of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, stood atop the Acrocorinth.

“A famous temple to Aphrodite had stood on the summit of Acrocorinth in the Classical Age… It had fallen into ruins by Paul’s time, but successors to its 1,000 cult prostitutes continued to ply their profession in the city below. Many of them were no doubt housed in the lofts above the 33 wine shops uncovered in the modern excavations. Corinth was a city catering to sailors and traveling salesmen. Even by the Classical Age it had earned an unsavory reputation for its libertine atmosphere; to call someone ‘a Corinthian lass’ was to impugn her morals. It may well be that one of Corinth’s attractions for Paul was precisely this reputation of immorality.” (The Biblical World In Pictures).

The city was filled with sailors who gladly spent their money there. The name “Corinth” became a synonym for immorality. This temple gave Corinth it’s reputation for gross immorality of which Paul often spoke (1 Cor. 6:9-20; 2 Cor. 12:20-21).

“She [Corinth] had a reputation for commercial prosperity, but she was also a byword for evil living. The very word korinthiazesthai, to live like a Corinthian, had become a part of the Greek language, and meant to live with drunken and immoral debauchery … Aelian, the late Greek writer, tells us that if ever a Corinthian was shown upon the stage in a Greek play he was shown drunk. The very name Corinth was synonymous with debauchery and there was one source of evil in the city which was known all over the civilized world.

Above the isthmus towered the hill of the Acropolis, and on it stood the great temple of Aphrodite, the goddess of fertility. To that temple there were attached one thousand priestesses who were sacred prostitutes, and in the evenings they descended from the Acropolis and plied their trade upon the streets of Corinth, until it became a Greek proverb, ‘It is not every man who can afford a journey to Corinth.’

In addition to these cruder sins, there flourished far more recondite vices, which had come in with the traders and the sailors from the ends of the earth, until Corinth became not only a synonym for wealth and luxury, drunkenness and debauchery, but also for filth.” (William Barclay, The Letters To The Corinthians, p. 2-3).

Of equal fame in Corinth was the temple of Poseidon, ruler of the sea (on which Corinth’s commercial life depended) and maker of earthquakes (a frequent danger in the area). Poseidon had a very large temple at a nearby village where the biennial Isthmian Games were held.

Numerous other temples in Corinth include ones to Apollo, Hermes, Venus-Fortuna, Isis, and one dedicated to “All The Gods” (Pantheon). On the slopes of the Acrocorinth was the sanctuary of Demeter, which dates from the 6th and 7th centuries B.C.

In Corinth, as often found in other parts of ancient Greece, there was a shrine dedicated to Asklepios, the god of healing, and his daughter, Hygieia. The museum at Corinth has hundreds of terra-cotta votive offerings presented to Asklepios by pilgrims who sought a cure or who wanted to thank the god for a healing they attributed to him. Among these votives can be seen limbs, hands, feet, breasts and genitals.

In a time-honored tradition, petitioners to Asklepios had dedicated replicas of the particular parts of the body in which they were afflicted. (1 Cor. 12:12, 15-17).

The temple of Apollo stood on the hill overlooking the Roman city’s main forum which served as a reminder of Corinth’s ancient splendor, and was 700 years old by Paul’s time, but it was in ruins. At one time a bronze statue of Apollo stood in the temple. To Paul it would have served merely as a sermon illustration of the impotence of the Greek’s pagan gods. There were several sanctuaries to Apollo inside the city.

Paul was writing to and teaching the Corinthian converts, who had a background of seeing women as having a major part on the city’s religions. And it was the custom of these women in pagan religions in Corinth, to preach and prophesy with their heads and hair uncovered.

It was to people who had come out of this praying without covering their hair religious society, that Paul wrote to teach them the proper and godly conduct that God expects from women in the faith.

In short; these Corinthian women had NEVER covered their heads and hair in worship of God; therefore there was absolutely NO NEED for Paul to say that they need not cover their hair! or to even mention the issue; unless he was correcting their engaging in religious worship with their heads and hair uncovered as they had always done!

1 Corinthians 11 Head Covering

Paul begins by teaching that the Head of all things is God the Father and under him Jesus Christ; and under Christ the man, and under the man is the woman which is the biblical arrangement of godly headship and leadership. In teaching this, Paul is rebuking the pagan system of women usurping men in religion.

1 Corinthians 11:3 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.

Paul then teaches that a man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, is shaming himself, disrespecting God and dishonoring his leadership position; because the man has an office of headship from God; and because the family of man is an allegory of the family of God!

In the physically family the man has the position of headship, leadership, example, teacher and authority; as commanded by God! This is to teach us that God the Father is also the HEAD, LEADER, AUTHORITY, EXAMPLE and TEACHER of his spiritual family!

We are to live by every word of the Father in heaven.

11:4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head

Therefore if the hair is the covering, all men ought to shave their heads and go bald! Obviously the hair is not the covering! The man as the physical head of his family, represents the HEAD of the spiritual family God.

Yet every woman praying or prophesying with her head and glorious hair not covered; is shaming herself and disrespecting God and should have her head shaved.

11:5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered [katakaluptos: her head not covered with a cloth] dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.

How can a woman be shaved of her hair, for not wearing her hair?

It is obvious that her hair is not the covering referred to; for if she refuses to be covered, her hair should be shorn. Now if she refuses to wear her covering of hair; how can her hair be shorn? And if it is shameful for a woman to have her hair shorn; then she should cover her hair.

11:6 For if the woman be not covered [katakaluptos: with a cloth], let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered [with a katakalupto: specifically a cloth covering].

The man should not have his hair covered because he is on a headship position representing the HEADSHIP of God the Father.

Yet the woman is the glory of man and should cover that glorious covering of hair, out of respect for her husband as the head of her family, and out of respect for God the Father as the head of the spiritual family.

In other words the woman should not usurp the position of the man as her head; even as the members of the spiritual; family of the Father should respect and not seek to usurp God’s HEADSHIP.

The man as head and leader, reflects and represents, the HEADSHIP of God the Father; while the woman represents the bride, the wife of Christ, the spiritual Called Out family of God!

11:7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, for asmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.

In physical terms the man was made first by God and the woman was made by God from man; nevertheless from that time on, all men came forth from woman; therefore they are ONE FAMILY; with the man as head of the physical family by God’s design!!

This is an allegory and object lesson to teach us the spiritual Family of God is ONE FAMILY and that God the Father is the HEAD of that family; while Jesus Christ is the head of his bride!

11:8 For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. 11:9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

In the allegory of family, the husband is representative of Jesus Christ the Husband and HEAD of the Bride; and the physical father is a figure of God the Father; as the HEAD of the family.

The woman is an allegory of the Bride of Christ; and her respect and submission to her husband by God’s design, is an allegory of the bride of Christ being subject to him in all things.

11:10 For this cause ought the woman to have power [a demonstration of the authority of her husband over her head; as an example that the Called Out Ekklesia (the Bride) have the authority of their Husband Jesus Christ over them] on her head because of [as an example for others] the angels.

11:11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. 11:12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.

Paul then says that the hair is given to woman for a glorious crown, representing the Beauty of the Bride of Christ, but long [meaning effeminate] hair is a shame to a man because it dishonours the headship leadership position of the man; making him look feminine as one who is to obey and not to lead.

The woman’s hair is her glorious covering crown, covering her head with glory; which should be covered as a symbol of humility and respect for authority, in prayer and prophesying.

This godly custom of the Ekklesia is to cover the hair as a sign of respect for the Husband Jesus Christ and God the Father; when praying or in worship, and was contrary to the Corinthian practice of women praying and prophesying with the head and hair uncovered; and the pagan women usurping the authority of the men as priestesses teaching in the assemblies.

Because the headship of a man as designed and commanded by God over his bride is an allegorical representation of the headship of Jesus Christ over his spiritual bride; it is not appropriate that a woman come before the Father in heaven, not being covered by a veil or scarf; to indicate her humility before him.

11:13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered [katakaluptos, without a cloth covering her head]? 11:14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?

11:15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering. [A peribolaion; a general word for a covering of any kind, for her glorious hair; a quite different word from v 6 and 7; katakalupto specifically meaning a cloth]

Paul then says that in the Church of God, there is no such custom as men praying with covered heads, or of women praying or prophesying without their head and glorious hair being covered. with a cloth.

11:16 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

The women are not to be elders [priestesses] and are not to teach men religion in formal services as the pagan priestess did; and they are to show proper respect for their husbands by asking questions of their husbands first; and if he cannot answer, he should ask the true faithful to God, ministry.

Nevertheless if a woman does not have a converted husband or father; then she should ask the elder in private and not disrupt a service.

This is about the godly system of headship and leadership in the family that the woman not usurp the headship of her husband; and that elders not usurp the authority of the husband by end arounding the husband, to interface with the wife without her husbands knowledge.

What of Deborah and the other women of God?

They NEVER usurped the authority of the godly priesthood! They did not claim to be priests; and even the daughters of Aaron were not priests.

These were godly wise women to whom others came for advice and judgment but they were not priests.

There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with men seeking advice from women.

What is praying and prophesying?

I think we all know what prayer is; and that men are to remove their hats out of respect when praying. When a woman is praying or is in a service where prayer is being made, she should have her hair and head covered.

A woman can certainly pray without her head covered in emergencies or unexpected situations; but that should be the exception and not the rule. Further a woman should cover her hair in any planned and formal prayer; such as services and bible studies.

1 Corinthians 14:34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. 14:35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church [properly in the assembly of meeting] .

Godly women should not exercise authority in the assemblies, nor usurp their husband, their HEAD; and should cover their hair in any prayer, formal service, or Bible Study.

Does that mean that when someone asks them a question, a woman needs to rush off to cover her head before giving an answer? NO! She is merely answering a question and not teaching in the sense of an elder standing before a congregation.

Most certainly she should be diligent to teach the word of God to her children and to answer any questions put to her by others, and if she cannot answer them she should ask her husband to explain the answer to her so she can pass it along. In this way women have an opportunity to learn to teach others when they are Chosen to enter the resurrection of the Chosen.

Women can teach outside of formal church services; the issue of speaking in the services is not about women teaching, but about proper decorum and order during formal services.

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