SGA 13th. Street Baptist Church I Corinthians Lesson 21


Lesson 21
I Corinthians 11:1-16

E-Mail - Henry Mahan

(Vs. 1.) The apostle exhorts the Corinthians to follow his teachings, his example and his advice only as he followed the teachings and commandments of Christ. The words of our Lord are our only certain rule of faith and practice. Our ministers and leaders are only to be obeyed and followed as they teach and practise the teachings of Christ.

(Vs. 2.) He praised them that, even in his absence, they remembered his ministry and kept the doctrines, traditions and instructions that he had delivered to them when he was among them.

(Vs. 3.) Christ is the head of every individual human being (John 17:2; Rom. 14:9; Matt. 28:18), but in this sense we understand "every man" to mean every member of his body, the church (Col. 1:18). "The head of the woman is the man" (Gen. 3:16; 1 Cor. 14:34, 35; Eph. 5:22.24). "The head of Christ is God," not as to his divine nature, for in that respect they are one! Christ is equal to the Father and is possessed of the same divine perfections; but in respect of his office as Mediator, the Son is come to do the will of the Father. In Christ there is neither male nor female in respect of essence, nature and position; but as to office, leadership and authority in the church and in the home, the woman is in subjection and under the rule of the man (1 Tim. 2:11,12).

(Vs. 4-6.) Interpreters rightly agree that this and the following verses are to be interpreted in the light of the customs of countries as long as the principles of the Scriptures are not violated or compromised. In those Eastern countries it signified either shame or subjection for a person to be "veiled" or A woman never appeared in public without a covering on her head and a veil over her face. If she did, it was an act of rebellion against authority and a demand for equality socially with men. This is not true in our generation where being bare-headed speaks of subjection and being covered betokens superiority and dominion! For a man in Corinth to pray or worship with a covering on his head would indicate that he recognized some human head or authority other than Christ and would be dishonouring to Christ, who is the only head of men. For a woman in Corinth to take off her covering in prayer and worship would indicate that she did not agree with her part in the Fall, nor the authority of her husband over her, nor the commandment of God to be in subjection. This would dishonour her husband and would be as shameful as if she had shaved her head. For her to appear in the dress and manner of her superior would indicate her rebellion God's order.

(Vs. 7, 8.) The sexes should not attempt to change places. The order in which God has placed persons is best, and to endeavour to change it is to introduce confusion (Deut. 22:5). The woman should keep to the rank God has chosen for her. She was made out of man, made for man and made to be the glory of man. She should always conduct herself according to this divine plan in the home and in the church.

The man was first made and made head of the creation here below, and therein he is the image or representative of God's dominion. The woman was made out of the man to be his helpmeet, to be in subjection to him, and therein she is the glory of her husband and his representative. A woman's attitude and behaviour are a reflection of her husband, either for glory or for shame.

(Vs. 9.) Man was not created for woman, to be ruled by her nor for her benefit, but woman was made for man's use, help and comfort, and naturally made subject to him (Gen. 2:18, 22, 25; Eph. 5:22-25).

(Vs. 10.) A woman should behave in such a way (in this case and country the veil was considered the symbol of subjection) as to show her subjection because of the presence of angels. Some say these are the evil angels. The woman was first in the transgression, being deceived by the evil angel, Lucifer (1 Tim. 2:14; 2 Cor. 11:3), and the presence of evil spirits among us would capitalize on a woman's effort to again usurp authority. Others say these are the elect angels who minister to and among us (Heb. 1:14), who would be grieved.

(Vs. 11, 12.) Nevertheless, lest this order of the sexes be carried too far and men become overbearing, harsh and independent of women, and women become slaves without spirit, lose their spiritual interest and initiative and hesitate to witness, pray and serve the Lord, Paul declares men and women need each other! They were made to be a mutual comfort and blessing to one another in the Lord (1 Peter 3:5-7). As woman was first formed out of man, the man is ever since born of woman, nourishment and comforted by her.

(Vs. 13-15.) "Consult your own reason; listen to what nature teaches. Should there not be a distinction kept up between the sexes? The man - the leader, the provider, strong and masculine; the woman – in subjection, feminine, with longer hair, which is a natural sign of her character and person. But for a man to dress or wear his hair as a woman is a token of softness and effeminacy." It should be our concern in our assemblies to break no rules of natural distinction.

(Vs. 16.) "Now if anyone is disposed to be contentious about this matter, let him know that the apostles and all the churches hold this position."

Henry Mahan is pastor of
Thirteenth Street Baptist Church
Ashland, Ky.