Verse 1 – Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.
Paul was not being arrogant. He wanted the Corinthians to follow his example. The Corinthians knew very little of what Christ was like, after all, the New Testament had not been written. Paul had spent two years with the Corinthians, so they knew him.
Verse 2 – Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions as I delivered them to you.
Paul had already spoken of divisions and disorders of the church. This section focuses primarily on proper attitude and conduct in worship, not on the marriage relationship or on the role of women in the church.
Verse 3 – But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
There were two cultures that were clashing in Corinth, the Jews and the Greeks. Jewish women always covered their heads during worship, not covering their head showed loose morals. However, the Greek women did not. Theses were petty issues.
The phrase “the head of the woman is man,” is not used to indicate control or supremacy. God ordained submission in certain relationships to prevent chaos. Submission is not withdrawal or apathy. Submission between equals is by choice, not force.
Verse 4 – Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head.
A man was to remove any head covering when praying to a superior God. Out of respect. Paul didn’t want the Christians to do as the Romans did by pulling down the “toga” while they bowed down to pagan gods.
Verse 5 – But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved.
Pagan women at Corinth sometimes shaved their head and dedicated their locks as a token of worship or a vow to a pagan god. If a Christian woman’s head was uncovered during worship, it caused divisions between devotion to the true God and false gods.
Verse 6 – For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered.
When studying Scripture, one has to take in consideration of the culture where the author is talking about. That’s why Paul said to the Corinthian church, “If it is shameful (where you live) for a woman to pray while the head is uncovered or to shave the head, cover it up!” He did not make this a commandment. He only said this to make peace among the different cultures.
Verse 7 – For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man.
The man was not to cover his head during worship to imitate the pagan worshiper of covering their head during worship.
Verse 8 – For a man is not from woman, but woman from man.
Verse 9 – Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man.
Verse 10 – For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.
This is one of the hardest verse to interpret. Perhaps because angels are witness to our worship and they recognize that the woman understands the role of authority when her head is covered.
Verse 11 – Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord.
Verse 12 – For as the woman was from the man also through the woman; but all things are from God.
Verse 13 – Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?
Verse 14 – Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him?
Concerning coverings for the head during prayer – Paul says that believers look and behave in ways that are honorable to their own culture. (In Corinth, a man with long hair was a sign that the man was a male prostitute in the pagan temple.)
Verse 15 – But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering.
Verse 16 – But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God.
To someone who would likely cause an argument over this, Paul says there is no custom. Paul plainly says that in no other churches that they have founded, do they have this custom. Nor is this custom practiced in the church of God.
Rebuke of Disorders at the Lord’s Supper
Verse 17 – Now in giving these instructions I do not praise you, since you came together not for the better but for the worse.
Verse 18 – For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it.
Verse 19 – For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you.
There were differences among the church members, and they were destructive to the congregation. Paul said in Romans 16:17 to note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to doctrine, avoid them.
Verse 20 – Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper.
Verse 21 – For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk.
verse 22 – What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you.
When the Lord’s Supper was celebrated in the early church, it included a feast, a fellowship meal. It had become a time when some ate and drank excessively while others went hungry. This was not showing love or unity within the body of believers.
Verse 23 – For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread;
Verse 24 – and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
Verse 25 – In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in, MY blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
Please don’t ever take the Lord’s supper lightly. It is to be done in reverence and remembrance of what Christ did for us.
verse 26 – For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
Verse 27 – Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
Paul was speaking to the church members who were rushing into the Lord’s Supper without showing respect to its meaning. When we as Christians take communion today, we should take a self-examination. Forgiveness of others can remove barriers with our relationship with Christ. In reality, none of us are worthy, but we are forgiven and loved by a loving God and should respect this time of communion with fellow believers.
Verse 28 – But let man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup.
True faith in Jesus Christ is a sincere desire to live the life as a Christian and to be like the Son of God and be saved and washed by His blood.
Verse 29 – For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgement to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
Verse 30 – For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.
Some had even died due to the way they had behaved at the Lord’s Supper. Do you see from Paul’s words how serious the taking of the Lord’s supper is? I also see that correcting ourselves when necessary, repenting, and showing respect, during communion can keep you healthy. Agree or disagree. All I know is; My Jesus suffered bled, gave His life, and rose again, so that I might be free of sin and guilt and have an abundant life. So why would I not follow Paul’s instructions in taking part during a gathering of communion – remembrance?
Verse 31 – For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.
Verse 32 – But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.
Verse 33 – Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.
Verse 34 – But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come.
The Lord’s Supper is not a common fest, nor is it to be where one comes to gratify their appetite. It is a commemoration, distinguished from the ordinary feast or festival. And I might add, the communion is for believers only.