MAN & WOMAN’S IDENTITY (1 Corinthians 11: 1 – 16)
“But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” (v. 3)
Paul continues his instruction to the Corinthian church by addressing the topic of head coverings. He breaks down the role that man and woman play in the way God has created them. We are all interconnected under God’s rulership, from the woman being created from man to Christ bringing glory to God. Paul practically instructs the church to show honor and respect to the Lord by distinguishing the practices of men and women. Whereas men are to pray without any head coverings or long hair, women are to cover their heads because their honor is from man. Paul also includes that women and man are not to be without one another, as this was how God made things to be.
FALSE FELLOWSHIP (1 Corinthians 11: 17 – 22)
“But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse.” (v. 17)
Paul rebukes the Corinthian church by pinpointing two major issues: 1) there are divisions amongst the members and 2) instead of honoring the Lord’s supper, they selfishly eat and drink to their desires. Paul shows us that gathering as a church body does not necessarily mean fellowship is honored by God. With sinful intentions, the body of Christ can do more harm than good, such as not feeding the hungry and drinking recklessly in the presence of others – these are not attributes of Christ and are not honoring to Him.
TRUE COMMUNION (1 Corinthians 11: 23 – 34)
“For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.” (v. 29)
Lastly, Paul retells the account of the Last Supper where Jesus took bread and wine to represent his body and blood. He emphasizes how the church is to take communion with sober minds and discerning hearts, for whoever does so in an unworthy manner is considered guilty. Paul goes on to even say that this is the reason why some of the Corinthians fell sick or died. Communion is not simply a ritual that Christians are required to do – it is a holy sacrament that requires self reflection and examination on the meaning of Jesus’ death on the cross. What does his sacrifice mean for us? What sins were, are, and will be covered by his blood and body broken for us?
Paul ends the chapter by reminding the Corinthian church that discipline from the Lord is an act of love to keep us from the condemnation of the world. Therefore, we can trust God to lead us throughout this life. And until He returns, Paul exhorts the church to love one another by exhibiting true fellowship: putting others above the self and feeding the hungry. Although Paul mentions that there are further directions he wishes to share, he has made his point clear about what it looks like to have true fellowship and communion. Throughout this chapter, Paul emphasized the holiness of Christ and rebuked the church for not living out a life that fears the Lord.