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May 3, 2015

First Corinthians – Part 27


Last time we looked at the application of practical teaching from the Acts period considering the apparent tension between 10:21 “Ye cannot” and 10:25 “Whatsoever is sold .. that eat”. We discovered that when an issue of truth was destroyed by compromize then it would be better to offend man than God.

Today we look at chapter 11

Chapter 11:1-16

The apostle begins chapter 11 with an imperative “Be…” (γίνεσθε)

KJG  1 Corinthians 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
TBT  1 Corinthians 11:1 μιμηταί μου γίνεσθε, καθὼς κἀγὼ Χριστοῦ. (1Co 11:1 TBT)

The word translated “followers” is μιμηταί (pl) and is used in 7 verses

1Co 4:16  Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers <3402> of me.
1Co 11:1  Be ye followers <3402> of me, even as I also am of Christ.
Eph 5:1  Be ye <3402> therefore followers <3402> of God, as dear children;
1Th 1:6  And ye became followers <3402> of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:
1Th 2:14  For ye, brethren, became followers <3402> of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:
Heb 6:12  That ye be not slothful, but followers <3402> of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
1Pe 3:13  And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers <3402> of that which is good?

While the lexical meaning is “imitate”, it has in this time a meaning of falsity – an imitation is not the real thing. A follower is more real. The KJV has been careful to keep this translation in all 7 verses. Note that in verses 1 Cor 4:16, 11:1; 1Th. 1:6 there is the repeated idea to follow Paul. The Corinthians were to follow Paul in the same way that Paul was a follower of Christ. The question is where was Christ leading Paul and with what instructions? The Lord’s Acts ministry had Israel first with a hope that was rooted and grounded in Israel’s spiritual things. To follow Paul in his acts ministry would be to adhere to the instructions given here and elsewhere in the epistles written during that momentous time.

 2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.
TBT  1 Corinthians 11:2 Ἐπαινῶ δὲ ὑμᾶς, ἀδελφοί, ὅτι πάντα μου μέμνησθε, καὶ καθὼς παρέδωκα ὑμῖν τὰς παραδόσεις κατέχετε. (1Co 11:2 TBT) 

Not only were they to follow Paul but were to remember him in all things. They were to hold the traditions (for this is the word τὰς παραδόσεις  here translated ordinances) which were delivered to them. The word for ordinances is used in the following verses.

Mt 15:2  Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition <3862> of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.
Mt 15:3  But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition <3862>?
Mt 15:6  And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition <3862>.
Mr 7:3  For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition <3862> of the elders.
Mr 7:5  Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition <3862> of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?
Mr 7:8  For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition <3862> of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
Mr 7:9  And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition <3862>.
Mr 7:13  Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition <3862>, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
1Co 11:2  Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances <3862>, as I delivered them to you.
Ga 1:14  And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions <3862> of my fathers.
Col 2:8  Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition <3862> of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
2Th 2:15  Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions <3862> which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
2Th 3:6  Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition <3862> which he received of us.

It can be seen from the above concordance that traditions can be good or bad. Paul gives very strong warning against certain traditions in Col. 2:8 but also tells the Thessallonians to keep the traditions that they were taught either orally or by epistle. (2 Th. 2:15). Clearly some of these traditions though “good” in their economy were still a part of a system that was to be done away and hence a part of the shadows then present.

 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.

This is clearly true and the reality. This is not a shadow but the substance. The word head here has the meaning of “source” or from which something comes. Man comes from Christ he was created by Him. The head of Christ is God — that is where Christ comes from in the sense that Christ’s substance is God — God spoke (the word) man into being. The head of the woman is the man, woman came from man — a rib was taken from man and woman formed as a helpmeet to man. 
 4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.

This was how the teaching was symbolized and signed. This is consistent witht the Acts period that where truth is there was a symbol associated and would be understood by those who kept the traditions as Paul had delivered them. These traditions were not only given by Paul but he interpreted them as well. Here history teaches us that the Gentile women had a previous tradition about veils and modesty (prostitutes were uncovered) and the Jewish men were accustomed to wearing a covering on their head when praying — now Paul makes a new tradition and interprets it for them. The Jewish men would now have to alter their custom and the Gentile women would need to re-interpret their tradition. A man praying or prophesying with a covering on his head dishonoreth his head (Christ). It would be starnge for this praying and prophesying not to be audible in the fellowship since prophesying is usually the telling or teaching of new revelation for others to be edified with.

 5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven
.TBT  1 Corinthians 11:5 πᾶσα δὲ γυνὴ προσευχομένη ἢ προφητεύουσα ἀκατακαλύπτῳ τῇ κεφαλῇ, καταισχύνει τὴν κεφαλὴν ἑαυτῆς· ἓν γάρ ἐστι καὶ τὸ αὐτὸ τῇ ἐξυρημένῃ. (1Co 11:5 TBT)

Chapter 14 has a number of statements relating to women and men speaking in church assemblies. In verse 5 above it would be reasonable to assume she did have the right to be heard in an Acts assembly as long as the Pauline tradition of head coverings was observed since prophesying is audible.  The last clause needs to be looked at with care: ” for that is even all one as if she were shaven” — meaning that is all one and the same thing as if she were shaven. So the dishonor goes to her head (the man).

 6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.
 7 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.
 8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.
 9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

Here is the basic reasoning as discussed above. Headship is in terms of source where things come from, cause and effect. The woman was created for the man and proceeds out of the man.

 10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.

The context of not wearing a veil is very negative — dishonor to the man. But Paul adds more danger to this “because of the angels”  (Gen 6, Jude 6) — these angels must still have had some access to women — either directly or indirectly (demons). The Acts age was filled with demonic activity and the presence of angels.

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

Paul now brings the balance as he does in his writings. Despite the source and functional reason for the creation of the sexes with their differences — there is also unity. All things of God. In the end analysis we all are of God and are His creations – we should accept our stations in life and see and observe equality in importance before the creator. 

 13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?
 14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?

Paul now uses two questions. Judge! Surely this is very dependent to time and circumstance — in the Acts this was obvious. 

 15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
 16 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.
TBT  1 Corinthians 11:16 εἰ δέ τις δοκεῖ φιλόνεικος εἶναι, ἡμεῖς τοιαύτην συνήθειαν οὐκ ἔχομεν, οὐδὲ αἱ ἐκκλησίαι τοῦ Θεοῦ. (1Co 11:16 TBT)
 (1Co 11:1-16 KJG)

Long hair was given the woman for a covering — this is the example from nature. Paul concludes that there is no place to go amongst the apostles or other churches for a custom that would contradict the above teaching.