Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
ABUSES AT THE
1. Rather belonging to the end of the tenth chapter, than to this
of Christ--who did not please Himself
but gave Himself, at the cost of laying aside His divine glory, and
dying as man, for us
Php 2:4, 5).
We are to follow Christ first, and earthly teachers only so far as they
2. Here the chapter ought to begin.
ye remember me in all things--in your general practice, though
in the particular instances which follow ye fail.
ordinances--Greek, "traditions," that is, apostolic directions
given by word of mouth or in writing
(1Co 11:23; 15:3;
The reference here is mainly to ceremonies: for in
as to the LORD'S SUPPER,
which is not a mere ceremony, he says, not merely, "I delivered
unto you," but also, "I received of the Lord"; here he says only, "I
delivered to you." Romanists argue hence for oral traditions. But the
difficulty is to know what is a genuine apostolic tradition
intended for all ages. Any that can be proved to be such ought
to be observed; any that cannot, ought to be rejected
Those preserved in the written word alone can be proved to be such.
3. The Corinthian women, on the ground of the abolition of
distinction of sexes in Christ, claimed equality with the male sex,
and, overstepping the bounds of propriety, came forward to pray and
prophesy without the customary head-covering of females. The Gospel,
doubtless, did raise women from the degradation in which they had been
sunk, especially in the East. Yet, while on a level with males as to
the offer of, and standing in grace
their subjection in point of order, modesty, and
seemliness, is to be maintained. Paul reproves here their
unseemliness as to dress: in
as to the retiring modesty in public which becomes them. He
grounds his reproof here on the subjection of woman to man in the order
the head--an appropriate expression, when he is about to treat of
woman's appropriate headdress in public.
of every man . . . Christ--
of . . . woman . . . man--
1Ti 2:11, 12;
1Pe 3:1, 5, 6).
head of Christ is God--
(1Co 3:23; 15:27, 28;
Lu 3:22, 38;
Joh 14:28; 20:17;
"Jesus, therefore, must be of the same essence as God: for, since the
man is the head of the woman, and since the head is of the same essence
as the body, and God is the head of the Son, it follows the Son is of
the same essence as the Father" [CHRYSOSTOM]. "The
woman is of the essence of the man, and not made by the man; so, too,
the Son is not made by the Father, but of the essence of the Father"
[THEODORET, t. 3, p. 171].
4. praying--in public
prophesying--preaching in the Spirit
having--that is, if he were to have: a supposed case to illustrate
the impropriety in the woman's case. It was the Greek custom (and so
that at Corinth) for men in worship to be uncovered; whereas the Jews
wore the Talith, or veil, to show reverence before God, and their
unworthiness to look on Him
however, MAIMONIDES [Mishna] excepts cases
where (as in Greece) the custom of the place was different.
dishonoureth his head--not as ALFORD, "Christ"
but literally, as "his head" is used in the beginning of the verse.
He dishonoreth his head (the principal part of the body) by
wearing a covering or veil, which is a mark of subjection, and which
makes him look downwards instead of upwards to his Spiritual Head,
Christ, to whom alone he owes subjection. Why, then, ought not man to
wear the covering in token of his subjection to Christ, as the woman
wears it in token of her subjection to man? "Because Christ is not
seen: the man is seen; so the covering of him who is under Christ is
not seen; of her who is under the man, is seen" [BENGEL]. (Compare
5. woman . . . prayeth . . .
prophesieth--This instance of women speaking in public worship is
an extraordinary case, and justified only by the miraculous gifts which
such women possessed as their credentials; for instance, Anna the
prophetess and Priscilla (so
The ordinary rule to them is: silence in public
(1Co 14:34, 35;
1Ti 2:11, 12).
Mental receptivity and activity in family life are recognized in
Christianity, as most accordant with the destiny of woman. This passage
does not necessarily sanction women speaking in public, even though
possessing miraculous gifts; but simply records what took place at
Corinth, without expressing an opinion on it, reserving the censure of
1Co 14:34, 35.
Even those women endowed with prophecy were designed to exercise their
gift, rather in other times and places, than the public congregation.
dishonoureth . . . head--in that she acts against the
divine ordinance and the modest propriety that becomes her: in putting
away the veil, she puts away the badge of her subjection to man, which
is her true "honor"; for through him it connects her with Christ, the
head of the man. Moreover, as the head-covering was the emblem
of maiden modesty before man
and conjugal chastity
so, to uncover the head indicated withdrawal from the
power of the husband, whence a suspected wife had her head
uncovered by the priest
ALFORD takes "her head" to be man, her symbolical,
not her literal head; but as it is literal in the former clause, it
must be so in the latter one.
all one as if . . . shaven--As woman's hair is given
her by nature, as her covering
to cut it off like a man, all admit, would be indecorous: therefore, to
put away the head-covering, too, like a man, would be similarly
indecorous. It is natural to her to have long hair for her
covering: she ought, therefore, to add the other (the wearing of a
head-covering) to show that she does of her own will that which
nature itself teaches she ought to do, in token of her
subjection to man.
6. A woman would not like to be "shorn" or (what is worse) "shaven";
but if she chooses to be uncovered (unveiled) in front, let her be so
also behind, that is, "shorn."
a shame--an unbecoming thing (compare
Thus the shaving of nuns is "a shame."
7-9. Argument, also, from man's more immediate relation to God, and
the woman's to man.
he is . . . image . . . glory of God--being
created in God's "image," first and directly: the woman,
subsequently, and indirectly, through the mediation of
man. Man is the representative of God's "glory" this ideal of man being
realized most fully in the Son of man
(Ps 8:4, 5;
Man is declared in Scripture to be both the "image," and in the
"likeness," of God (compare
But "image" alone is applied to the Son of God
"Express image," Greek, "the impress." The Divine Son is not
merely "like" God, He is God of God, "being of one substance
(essence) with the Father." [Nicene Creed].
woman . . . glory of . . . man--He does not say,
also, "the image of the man." For the sexes differ: moreover, the woman is created in the
image of God, as well as the man
(Ge 1:26, 27).
But as the moon in relation to the sun
so woman shines not so much with light direct from God, as with light
derived from man, that is, in her order in creation; not that
she does not in grace come individually into direct
communion with God; but even here much of her knowledge is mediately
given her through man, on whom she is naturally dependent.
8. is of . . . of--takes his being from ("out
of") . . . from: referring to woman's original
creation, "taken out of man" (compare
The woman was made by God mediately through the man, who was, as it
were, a veil or medium placed between her and God, and therefore,
should wear the veil or head-covering in public worship, in
acknowledgement of this subordination to man in the order of creation.
The man being made immediately by God as His glory, has no veil between
himself and God [FABER STAPULENSIS in BENGEL].
9. Neither--rather, "For also";
Another argument: The immediate object of woman's creation. "The man
was not created for the sake of the woman; but the woman for the sake
of the man"
(Ge 2:18, 21, 22).
Just as the Church, the bride, is made for Christ; and yet in both the
natural and the spiritual creations, the bride, while made for the
bridegroom, in fulfilling that end, attains her own true "glory," and
brings "shame" and "dishonor" on herself by any departure from it
(1Co 11:4, 6).
10. power on her head--the kerchief: French
couvre chef, head-covering, the emblem of "power on her head"; the
sign of her being under man's power, and exercising delegated authority
under him. Paul had before his mind the root-connection between the
Hebrew terms for "veil" (radid), and "subjection" (radad).
because of the angels--who are present at our Christian assemblies
"gods," that is, angels), and delight in the orderly
subordination of the several ranks of God's worshippers in their
respective places, the outward demeanor and dress of the latter being
indicative of that inward humility which angels know to be most
pleasing to their common Lord
HAMMOND quotes CHRYSOSTOM,
"Thou standest with angels; thou singest with them; thou hymnest with
them; and yet dost thou stand laughing?" BENGEL
explains, "As the angels are in relation to God, so the woman is in
relation to man. God's face is uncovered; angels in His presence are
Man's face is uncovered; woman in His presence is to be veiled. For her
not to be so, would, by its indecorousness, offend the angels
(Mt 18:10, 31).
She, by her weakness, especially needs their ministry; she ought,
therefore, to be the more careful not to offend them."
11. Yet neither sex is insulated and independent of the other in the
Christian life [ALFORD]. The one needs the other in the sexual relation;
and in respect to Christ ("in the Lord"), the man and the woman together
(for neither can be dispensed with) realize the ideal of redeemed
humanity represented by the bride, the Church.
12. As the woman was formed out of (from) the man, even so is
man born by means of woman; but all things (including both man and woman)
are from God as their source
They depend mutually each on the other, and both on him.
13. Appeal to their own sense of decorum.
a woman . . . unto God--By rejecting the emblem of
subjection (the head-covering), she passes at one leap in praying
publicly beyond both the man and angels [BENGEL].
14. The fact that nature has provided woman, and not man, with long
hair, proves that man was designed to be uncovered, and woman covered.
The Nazarite, however, wore long hair lawfully, as being part of a vow
sanctioned by God
Compare as to Absalom,
and Ac 18:18.
15. her hair . . . for a covering--Not that she does not need
additional covering. Nay, her long hair shows she ought to cover her
head as much as possible. The will ought to accord with nature
16. A summary close to the argument by appeal to the universal
custom of the churches.
if any . . . seem--The Greek also means
"thinks" (fit) (compare
If any man chooses (still after all my arguments) to be
contentious. If any be contentious and thinks himself
right in being so. A reproof of the Corinthians'
self-sufficiency and disputatiousness
we--apostles: or we of the Jewish nation, from whom ye have received
the Gospel, and whose usages in all that is good ye ought to follow:
Jewish women veiled themselves when in public, according to
[ESTIUS]. The former explanation is best, as the Jews are not referred
to in the context: but he often refers to himself and his fellow
apostles, by the expression, "we--us"
(1Co 4:9, 10).
no such custom--as that of women praying uncovered. Not as
"that of being contentious." The Greek term implies a usage,
rather than a mental habit
The usage of true "churches (plural: not, as Rome uses it, 'the
Church,' as an abstract entity; but 'the churches,' as a number
of independent witnesses) of God" (the churches which God
Himself recognizes), is a valid argument in the case of external
rites, especially, negatively, for example, Such rites were
not received among them, therefore, ought not to be admitted among us:
but in questions of doctrine, or the essentials of
worship, the argument is not valid [SCLATER]
(1Co 7:17; 14:33).
neither--nor yet. Catholic usage is not an infallible test of
truth, but a general test of decency.
17. in this--which follows.
I declare--rather, "I enjoin"; as the Greek is always so used.
The oldest manuscripts read literally "This I enjoin (you) not praising
that--inasmuch as; in that you, &c. Here he qualifies his praise
"I said that I praised you for keeping the ordinances delivered to
you; but I must now give injunction in the name of the Lord, on a
matter in which I praise you not; namely, as to the Lord's Supper
not for the better--not so as to progress to what is better.
for the worse--so as to retrograde to what is worse. The result of
such "coming together" must be "condemnation"
18. first of all--In the first place. The "divisions"
(Greek, "schisms") meant, are not merely those of opinion
but in outward acts at the love-feasts (Agapæ),
He does not follow up the expression, "in the first place," by "in the
second place." But though not expressed, a second abuse was in
his mind when he said, "In the first place," namely, THE
ABUSE OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS, which also created disorder in
their assemblies [ALFORD],
(1Co 12:1; 14:23, 26, 33, 40).
in the church--not the place of worship; for ISIDORE OF
denies that there were such places specially set apart for worship in
the apostles' times [Epistle, 246.2]. But, "in the assembly" or
"congregation"; in convocation for worship, where especially love,
order, and harmony should prevail. The very ordinance instituted for
uniting together believers in one body, was made an occasion of
partly--He hereby excepts the innocent. "I am unwilling to believe
all I hear, but some I cannot help believing"
[ALFORD]: while my
love is unaffected by it [BENGEL].
19. heresies--Not merely "schisms" or "divisions"
which are "recent dissensions of the congregation through
differences of opinion" [AUGUSTINE, Con.
Crescon. Don. 2.7, quoted by TRENCH, Greek
Synonyms of the New Testament], but also "heresies," that is,
"schisms which have now become inveterate"; "Sects" [CAMPBELL, vol. 2, pp. 126, 127]: so
Ac 5:17; 15:5
translate the same Greek. At present there were dissensions at
the love-feasts; but Paul, remembering Jesus' words
(Mt 18:7; 24:10, 12;
foresees "there must be (come) also" matured separations, and
established parties in secession, as separatists. The "must be" arises
from sin in professors necessarily bearing its natural fruits: these
are overruled by God to the probation of character of both the godly
and the ungodly, and to the discipline of the former for glory.
"Heresies" had not yet its technical sense ecclesiastically, referring
to doctrinal errors: it means confirmed schisms. ST. AUGUSTINE'S rule is a golden
rule as regards questions of heresy and catholicity: "In doubtful
questions, liberty; in essentials, unity; in all things, charity."
that . . . approved may be made manifest--through the
disapproved (reprobates) becoming manifested
20. When . . . therefore--Resuming the thread of
this is not to--rather, "there is no such thing as eating
the LORD'S Supper"; it is not possible
where each is greedily intent only on devouring "HIS
OWN supper," and some are excluded altogether, not having been
where some are "drunken," while others are "hungry"
The love-feast usually preceded the Lord's Supper (as eating the
Passover came before the Lord's Supper at the first institution of the
latter). It was a club-feast, where each brought his portion, and the
rich, extra portions for the poor; from it the bread and wine were
taken for the Eucharist; and it was at it that the excesses took place,
which made a true celebration of the Lord's Supper during or
after it, with true discernment of its solemnity, out of the
21. one taketh before other--the rich "before" the poor,
who had no supper of their own. Instead of "tarrying for one another"
hence the precept
(1Co 12:21, 25).
his own supper--"His own" belly is his God
"the Lord's Supper," the spiritual feast, never enters his
drunken--The one has more than is good for him, the other less
22. What!--Greek, "For."
--"at home." That is the place to satiate the appetite, not the
assembly of the brethren [ALFORD].
despise ye the church of God--the congregation mostly composed
of the poor, whom "God hath chosen," however ye show contempt for them
compare "of God" here, marking the true honor of the Church.
shame them that have not--namely, houses to eat and drink in,
and who, therefore, ought to have received their portion at the
love-feasts from their wealthier brethren.
I praise you not--resuming the words
23. His object is to show the unworthiness of such conduct from the
dignity of the holy supper.
I--Emphatic in the Greek. It is not my own invention, but the
received of the Lord--by immediate revelation
Ac 22:17, 18;
The renewal of the institution of the Lord's Supper by special
revelation to Paul enhances its solemnity. The similarity between
Luke's and Paul's account of the institution, favors the supposition
that the former drew his information from the apostle, whose companion
in travel he was. Thus, the undesigned coincidence is a proof of
night--the time fixed for the Passover
though the time for the Lord's Supper is not fixed.
betrayed--With the traitor at the table, and death present before His
eyes, He left this ordinance as His last gift to us, to commemorate His
death. Though about to receive such an injury from man, He gave this
pledge of His amazing love to man.
24. brake--The breaking of the bread involves its
distribution and reproves the Corinthian mode at the love-feast,
of "every one taking before other his own supper."
my body . . . broken for you--"given"
for you (Greek, "in your behalf"), and "broken," so as to be
distributed among you. The oldest manuscripts omit "broken," leaving it
to be supplied from "brake." The two old versions, Memphitic and
Thebaic, read from Luke, "given." The literal "body" could not have
been meant; for Christ was still sensibly present among His disciples
when He said, "This is My body." They could only have understood
Him symbolically and analogically: As this bread is to your bodily
health, so My body is to the spiritual health of the believing
communicant. The words, "Take, eat," are not in the oldest manuscripts.
in remembrance of me--(See on
25. when he had supped--Greek, "after the eating of supper,"
namely, the Passover supper which preceded the Lord's Supper, as the
love-feast did subsequently. Therefore, you Corinthians ought to
separate common meals from the Lord's Supper [BENGEL].
the new testament--or "covenant." The cup is the parchment-deed, as
it were, on which My new covenant, or last will is written and sealed,
making over to you all blessings here and hereafter.
in my blood--ratified by MY blood:
"not by the blood of goats and calves"
as oft as--Greek, "as many times soever": implying that it is an
ordinance often to be partaken of.
in remembrance of me--Luke
expresses this, which is understood by Matthew and Mark. Paul twice
and here) as suiting his purpose. The old sacrifices brought
sins continually to remembrance
(Heb 10:1, 3).
The Lord's Supper brings to remembrance Christ and His sacrifice
once for all for the full and final remission of sins.
26. For--in proof that the Lord's Supper is "in remembrance" of Him.
show--announce publicly. The Greek does not mean to
dramatically represent, but "ye publicly profess each of you, the
Lord has died FOR ME"
[WAHL]. This word, as "is" in Christ's
(1Co 11:24, 25),
implies not literal presence, but a vivid realization, by
faith, of Christ in the Lord's Supper, as a living person, not a
mere abstract dogma, "bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh"
and ourselves "members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones,"
"our sinful bodies made clean by His body (once for all offered), and
our souls washed through His most precious blood" [Church of England
Prayer Book]. "Show," or "announce," is an expression applicable to
new things; compare "show" as to the Passover
So the Lord's death ought always to be fresh in our memory; compare in
That the Lord's Supper is in remembrance of Him, implies that He
is bodily absent, though spiritually present, for we cannot be said to
commemorate one absent. The fact that we not only show the Lord's
death in the supper, but eat and drink the pledges of it,
could only be understood by the Jews, accustomed to such feasts after
propitiatory sacrifices, as implying our personal appropriation
therein of the benefits of that death.
till he come--when there shall be no longer need of symbols of His
body, the body itself being manifested. The Greek expresses the
certainly of His coming. Rome teaches that we eat Christ present
corporally, "till He come" corporally; a contradiction in terms. The
showbread, literally, "bread of the presence," was in the sanctuary, but
not in the Holiest Place
so the Lord's Supper in heaven, the antitype to the Holiest Place,
shall be superseded by Christ's own bodily presence; then the wine
shall be drunk "anew" in the Father's kingdom, by Christ and His people
together, of which heavenly banquet, the Lord's Supper is a spiritual
foretaste and specimen
Meantime, as the showbread was placed anew, every sabbath, on
the table before the Lord
so the Lord's death was shown, or announced afresh at the
Lord's table the first day of every week in the primitive Church. We
are now "priests unto God" in the dispensation of Christ's spiritual
presence, antitypical to the HOLY PLACE: the
perfect and eternal dispensation, which shall not begin till Christ's
coming, is antitypical to the HOLIEST PLACE, which
Christ our High Priest alone in the flesh as yet has entered
(Heb 9:6, 7);
but which, at His coming, we, too, who are believers, shall enter
(Re 7:15; 21:22).
The supper joins the two closing periods of the Old and the New
dispensations. The first and second comings are considered as
one coming, whence the expression is not "return," but "come"
27. eat and drink--So one of the oldest manuscripts reads. But
three or four equally old manuscripts, the Vulgate and CYPRIAN, read, "or." Romanists quote this reading in
favor of communion in one kind. This consequence does not follow. Paul
says, "Whosoever is guilty of unworthy conduct, either in eating
the bread, or in drinking the cup, is guilty of the body and
blood of Christ." Impropriety in only one of the two elements,
vitiates true communion in both. Therefore, in the end of the
verse, he says, not "body or blood," but "body and blood." Any
who takes the bread without the wine, or the wine without the
bread, "unworthily" communicates, and so "is guilty of Christ's
body and blood"; for he disobeys Christ's express command to partake of
both. If we do not partake of the sacramental symbol of the Lord's
death worthily, we share in the guilt of that death. (Compare "crucify
to themselves the Son of God afresh,"
Unworthiness in the person, is not what ought to exclude any,
but unworthily communicating: However unworthy we be, if we
examine ourselves so as to find that we penitently believe in Christ's
Gospel, we may worthily communicate.
28. examine--Greek, "prove" or "test" his own state of mind in
respect to Christ's death, and his capability of "discerning the Lord's
(1Co 11:29, 31).
Not auricular confession to a priest, but self-examination is
so--after due self-examination.
of . . . of--In
where the receiving was unworthily, the expression was, "eat
this bread, drink . . . cup" without "of." Here the "of"
implies due circumspection in communicating [BENGEL].
let him eat--His self-examination is not in order that he may stay
away, but that he may eat, that is, communicate.
29. damnation--A mistranslation which has put a stumbling-block in the
way of many in respect to communicating. The right translation is
"judgment." The judgment is described
not discerning--not duty judging: not distinguishing in judgment (so the Greek: the sin and its punishment
thus being marked as
corresponding) from common food, the sacramental pledges of the Lord's
body. Most of the oldest manuscripts omit "Lord's" (see
Omitting also "unworthily," with most of the oldest manuscripts, we
must translate, "He that eateth and drinketh, eateth and drinketh
judgment to himself, IF he discern not the body"
The Church is "the body of Christ"
The Lord's body is His literal body appreciated and discerned by
the soul in the faithful receiving, and not present in the elements
30. weak . . . sickly--He is "weak" who has naturally no strength:
"sickly," who has lost his strength by disease [TITTMANN,
Greek Synonyms of the New Testament].
sleep--are being lulled in death: not a violent death; but one the
result of sickness, sent as the Lord's chastening for the individual's
salvation, the mind being brought to a right state on the sick bed
31. if we would judge ourselves--Most of the oldest manuscripts, read
"But," not "For." Translate also literally "If we duly judged ourselves,
we should not be (or not have been) judged," that is, we should
escape (or have escaped) our present judgments. In order to
duly judge or "discern [appreciate] the Lord's body," we need to "duly
judge ourselves." A prescient warning against the dogma of priestly
absolution after full confession, as the necessary preliminary to
receiving the Lord's Supper.
with the world--who, being bastards, are without chastening
33. tarry one for another--In contrast to
The expression is not, "Give a share to one another," for all the
viands brought to the feast were common property, and,
therefore, they should "tarry" till all were met to partake together of
the common feast of fellowship [THEOPHYLACT].
34. if any . . . hunger--so as not to be able to
"tarry for others," let him take off the edge of his hunger at home
the rest--"the other questions you asked me as to the due celebration
of the Lord's Supper." Not other questions in general; for he does
subsequently set in order other general questions in this Epistle.