1 Corinthians Chapter Eleven
I. Content of the Chapter
The Order in the Gathering of the Church
A. The church should imitate the apostle (v.1):
B. Every woman who prays or prophesies should have her head covered (v.2-16):
1. The order of the authority set by God (v.2-3);
2. Every woman who has not had her head covered dishonors her head (v.4-6).
3. Spiritual reasons why woman should have her head covered (v.7-15).
4. It is beyond all contentions (v.16).
C. Man should take part in the bread-breaking gathering in an worthy manner (v.17-34):
1. Blame for the wrong condition of the bread-breaking gathering (v.17-22).
2. Spiritual meaning of the bread-breaking gathering (v.23-26).
3. If one does not part take in the bread-breaking gathering, he must be chastened by the Lord (v.27-34).
II. Verse by Verse Commentary
1Cor. 11:1 “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”
YLT: “Followers of me become ye, as I also of Christ.”
Meaning of Words: “imitate”: follow, copy;
Literal Meaning: this verse is supposed to be the conclusion of the previous chapter.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) If one imitates Christ, we shall imitate the man so that we will also become men who imitate Christ. Otherwise, we should not imitate anyone.
2) The shepherds of the church should become examples that all believers imitate, but not be idols that believers adore. The ultimate purpose of our service in the church is not bringing men to us, but to Christ.
1Cor. 11:2 “Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you.”
YLT: “And I praise you, brethren, that in all things ye remember me, and according as I did deliver to you, the deliverances ye keep,”
Literal Meaning: “now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things”, Paul praises when praise is needed and blames when blame is needed (see v.17). He is open and sincere. He just focuses on the issue rather than the person, which is worthy of emulation.
“And keep the traditions
just as I delivered them to you”, it suggests that the epistle that the church
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Remember your leaders who have spoken to you the word of God; and considering the issue of their conversation, imitate their faith (Heb. 13:7).
2) To the Lord’s workers, we believers should not only consider (“remember”) what we have learned, received, heard and seen from them but also put them into practice (see Phil. 4:9) and “keep” them.
1Cor. 11:3 “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.”
YLT: “and I wish you to know that of every man the head is the Christ, and the head of a woman is the husband, and the head of Christ is God.”
Literal Meaning: “but I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ”, note that here it does not say “Christ is the head of the church”, so it does not refer to the relationship between Christ and the church, but that between Christ and “every man”. The Scriptures mentions that Christ gave him head over all things to the assembly and He is the head of the church (see Col. 2:19; Eph. 4:15). He is the head of all. And on the other hand, Christ is the head of everyone. That is to say, he is the head of every individual believer.
“The head of woman is man”, in the paragraph from verse three to sixteen that mentions “covering”, it relates to “man” or “woman” rather than “brother” or “sister”, which indicates that “covering” is related to the arrangement of God in His creation, not the position of brothers and sisters in Christ.
Male and female in position are equal (see Gal. 3:28). However, according to the creation of God, the functions of male and female are different. Man functions as head and plays the role of Christ. And woman functions as body and plays the role of the church (there is also someone who holds that woman functions as heart and plays the role of human beings). Actually, the head and the body are both essential with different functions. “Head” does not mean the man has the right of bullying the woman. Instead, he should nourish and cherish the body (Eph. 5:29), that is, take care of the body.
“And the head of Christ is God”, it is not “the Father is the head of the Son”, for it is not the relationship between God the Father and God the Son in the divine Trinity. Here, it mentions the relationship between God and Christ of God who was sent by God and anointed by God.
In the government of God, God has set three different kinds of heads in the universe ---- God is the head and Christ is the head and man is the head. In other words, God has set Christ as the delegated authority of God and man as the delegated authority of Christ. This is the arrangement of God in order to maintain His testimony in the world. God is the head of Christ, and yet Christ is still equal with God (Phil. 2:6). Therefore, though man is the head of woman, they are still equal.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The order that God has set in the universe is: God, Christ, man and woman. Therefore, we should learn: in the church, everything should be according to the will of the Lord. In a family, the authority of the husband as the head should be honored in everything.
2) “The head of Christ is God”, since God sent Christ to come to the world, Christ on the earth always called himself “the son of man”. This is Christ’s reality of having head covered before God. “The head of every man is Christ”. We should also obey Christ in everything so that we will honor the authority of Christ.
3) The Lord says, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). This is the oneness of God and Christ in service. And He also says, “the Father is with Me” (John 16:32). This is the fellow works. And He also says “Father is greater than I” (John 14:28). This is the authority in works. Therefore, “the head of Christ is God”. Such authority is built on the closest fellowship and their official responsibilities. The relation of Christ with everyone who believes Him is also like this. “The head of every man is Christ”. Each believer can say my Lord is with me. I am not alone, for my Lord is with me, but the Lord is greater than me. I am under His authority. He is always with me and works with me.
4) It is not doubt that sexual equality means that male and female have the equal human dignity and value. However, they have different functions in the church, so they have different responsibilities and authority (right).
1Cor. 11:4 “Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head.”
YLT: “Every man praying or prophesying, having the head covered, doth dishonour his head,”
Literal Meaning: “every man praying or prophesying”, “prophesy”: to speak for God.
“Having his head covered, dishonors his head”, man should not cover his head, for man stands for Christ. If man has his head covered, it contrarily confesses that everyone should not cover his head before Christ and Christ should have His head covered before everyone. If man has his head covered, he has dishonored his head.
1Cor. 11:5 “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.”
YLT: “and every woman praying or prophesying with the head uncovered, doth dishonour her own head, for it is one and the same thing with her being shaven,”
The Background: in the ancient times, only the nun who had no husband had her hair shorn. And harlots or women who were suspected of adultery by husbands had her head uncovered (see Num. 5:18). Therefore, it was the mark of harlots of having their heads uncovered. Having one’s hair shorn or having one’s head uncovered dishonors the man and shows that the woman has no husband.
Literal Meaning: “but every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered”, God especially commands this thing, namely, every woman who prays or prophesies should cover her head. No matter prophesying before men or praying before God, they should always cover her head in all actions concerning God.
Here, it suggests that woman can pray and prophesy in the church and. If a woman has gifts and has been called by God, she can pray and prophesy.
“Dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved”, if the woman has her head uncovered when praying or prophesying, she has dishonored her head and has dishonored her man, for she has disordered the different sexes in the church.
“As if her head were shaved”, it suggests that it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved (v.6).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The meaning of the woman who has her head covered is: I am under the authority of God and I receive the position. I can never say that I am favored so that I can abolish the authority of God. I hate to think about it and I receive God’s authority. Everyone receives Christ as his head, just like Christ receives God as His head. In like manner, woman will also receive man as her head.
2) Having one’s head covered is covering one’s head as that I have no head. In practice, it seems that only women in the church have their heads covered. However, in fact, Christ has His head covered before God and every man has his head covered before Christ.
3) God ordains that man is the head of woman. This is spoken to women who have been Christians. Today, in the days during which the authority of God is not acknowledged, only in the church, the Lord has such commandment. Therefore, such commandment has become the problem whether we are Christians or not. To take it more seriously, if you are an unbelieving man in the world, the Lord will not ask you to have your head covered. However, if you are a Christian, you should obey this commandment.
4) God asks Christians to receive the commandments concerning the government of God in the church. God asks woman to have her head covered so that His government will be manifested on the earth. That woman has her head covered is not for herself, but for delegated authority. For oneself, because I am a woman. For delegated authority, because it the represents every man and represents Christ.
1Cor. 11:6 “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.”
YLT: “for if a woman is not covered -- then let her be shorn, and if a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven -- let her be covered;”
Literal Meaning: “for if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn”, Paul means that there is no woman who has hair but have her head uncovered. If a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn or shaved.
If woman wears long hair, it shows that she receives the government concerning the woman ordained by God. Then, when she prays and prophesies, she should also receive the government ordained by God and cover her head. A woman should not receive a half of God’s government.
God has covered the head of a woman with hair (see v.15). Therefore those who have received the authority of God should cover their hair again. If one does not cover her head, it is profitable for her to have her hair shorn. In other words, if one receives what is of God, he will receive more from God. If one does not receive what is of God, he has just abolished what has received from God.
“But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered”, if a woman feels it is shameful to be shorn or shaved, she will cover her head. One should either have her hair shorn or shaved or have her hair covered. A woman should not cover her head while wearing her long hair.
1Cor. 11:7 “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.”
YLT: “for a man, indeed, ought not to cover the head, being the image and glory of God, and a woman is the glory of a man,”
Literal Meaning: “for a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God”, God created man according to His image (Gen. 1:26) in order to manifest Him and glorify Him. And God created Adam first and Eve afterwards (Gen. 2:7). Therefore, man firstly owned the image and glory of God and represented God on the earth. Therefore, man should not cover his head so as not to cover the image and glory of God.
“But woman is the glory of man”, woman is from man (see v.8; Gen. 2:22), so is the glory of man. Nevertheless, the glory of man should not be manifested before God, so the woman should cover her head. Meanwhile, if woman does not cover her head, the truth that man is the head can not be manifested.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) God creates man for the purpose of manifesting the image and glory of God on the earth by man. However, man sinned and fell into corruption and was somewhat like the devil. Today, God comes to saved us and recovers his original purpose. Therefore, we Christians should regard the manifestation of God’s image and glory as the chief mission.
2) “Woman is the glory of man”, it shows that man can manifest his glory through woman. Man is not perfect without woman. Therefore, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord (see v.11).
3) “Woman is the glory of man”, it indicates that the church is the glory of Christ. The church is not only the fullness of Christ but also the glory of Christ, for fullness is the content of glory and glory is the manifestation of fullness. The content of the church is the fullness of Christ and the testimony of the church is the glory of Christ.
1Cor. 11:8 “For man is not from woman, but woman from man.”
YLT: “for a man is not of a woman, but a woman of a man,”
Literal Meaning: “for man is not from woman”, the origin of man is of God’s creation. God did not create woman first and then woman beget the man, so here it means that man is not from woman.
“But woman from man”, God created Adam first and took a rib from him to build a woman, namely, Eve (Gen. 2:21-23), so here it mentions that woman is from man.
1Cor. 11:9 “Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man.”
YLT: “for a man also was not created because of the woman, but a woman because of the man;”
Literal Meaning: “nor was man created for the woman”, God did not create man for woman, but for Himself.
“But woman for the man”, woman was created to be a helpmate for the man (Gen. 2:18).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The order in creation was different. Woman was from man (see v.8) and was built for man. Therefore, woman should obey and cover her head for the sake of creation.
2) Woman was created for the man. Man is imperfect without woman.
1Cor. 11:10 “For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.”
YLT: “because of this the woman ought to have authority upon the head, because of the messengers;”
Literal Meaning: “for this reason the woman … because of the angels”, Satan, the archangel, rebelled against God for it desired to life up himself like God (Is. 14:13-14). When he fell, he drew the third part of the angels (Rev. 12:4). In other words, some angels fell because of disobeying the authority of God. Therefore, God bears witness of obedience to angels through men who are some little inferior to the angels (Heb. 2:7), showing that God is glorified in all those who have been redeemed by Him.
“Ought to have a symbol of authority on her head”, today, the woman covers her head and has the symbol of authority on her head so that the angels will see it. It is the best testimony to the fallen angels as well as those who have not fallen, testifying that God has got what He desires in the church.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) It is beautiful that sisters cover their heads in the church, for it is not only keeping the teachings of God but also showing the obedience before God and confessing the order and authority of God in the universe (see v.3).
2) That woman wears long hair is God’s sovereignty. And that woman covers her head is man’s amen. Therefore, if woman does not cover her head, she does not amen God’s arrangement and has rebelled against the authority of God.
3) The glorious cherub has fallen from archangel to Satan on account of its disobedience of the arrangement of God’s sovereignty (see Is. 14:12-15; Ezek. 28:16-17). Therefore, that the woman covers her head testifies against it so as to condemn it and humiliate it.
4) It is the mark of obeying the authority of having one’s head covered. The authority means that one emptied himself and denies himself with perfect willingness for the sake of the one whom he loves (see Eph. 5:25). Once a woman has known the foundation of the authority, she will obey the authority spontaneously.
5) There is the mark of authority on the woman’s head. In fact, it is the best protection to the woman of hiding under the authority arranged by God.
1Cor. 11:11 “Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord.”
YLT: “but neither a man apart from a woman, nor a woman apart from a man, in the Lord,”
Literal Meaning: “nevertheless …in the Lord”, “nevertheless” shows that having one’s head covered is merely external testimony. The internal reality is not so stiff. Male and female are equal and rely on each other in the Lord’s arrangement.
“Neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man”, it means that woman can not be without man and man cannot be without woman. Woman cannot say that she is superior or more special than man. And man can also not say that he is superior or more special than woman. They respect and support each other.
1Cor. 11:12 “For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God.”
YLT: “for as the woman of the man, so also the man through the woman, and the all things of God.”
Literal Meaning: “for as woman came from man”, from the view of creation, woman exists for the purpose of being man’s spouse and helping him.
“Even so man also comes through woman”, from the view of procreation, man was born through woman.
“But all things are from God”, “all things” here especially refer to man and woman. Both of them exist for the sake of God’s will and live by Him. Therefore, everyone should see his value and function from the view of God and obey the arrangement of God.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) All things are from God. God has His purpose of creating man and woman and has different arrangements concerning both of them. Therefore, no man can be proud and no woman can give up. Instead, everyone should fulfill his or her own responsibility in his or her own position.
2) God created man and woman. Woman came from man and man came through woman, showing that both of them were equal. However, the thing of having the woman’s head covered is of God who marks the difference between man and woman.
1Cor. 11:13 “Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?”
YLT: “In your own selves judge ye; is it seemly for a woman uncovered to pray to God?”
Meaning of Words: “judge”: distinguish, discern; “proper”: right, suitable or proper;
Literal Meaning: “judge among yourselves”, Paul here asks women themselves to judge the thing of having their heads covered before God with an imperative tone.
“Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?” ---- Is it proper for a woman to not cover her head before God or in her own feeling when doing things relating to God just like praying?
1Cor. 11:14 “Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him?”
YLT: “doth not even nature itself teach you, that if a man indeed have long hair, a dishonour it is to him?”
Literal Meaning: “does not even nature itself teach you”, “nature”, the inherent nature;
“That if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him?” ---- When a boy is grown enough to the point of being able to discern different sexes, he will spontaneously draw a conclusion: the greatest distinction between male and female in appearance lies in hair. A normal man does not wear long hair, lest he should be mistakenly assumed to be a woman. It is shameful that there is no distinction between male and female.
1Cor. 11:15 “But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering.”
YLT: “and a woman, if she have long hair, a glory it is to her, because the hair instead of a covering hath been given to her;”
Literal Meaning: “but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her”, according to the natural disposition of women, they like long hair and boast of their beautiful hair.
“For her hair is given to her for a covering”, the hair is given to her as a covering.
1Cor. 11:16 “But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God.”
YLT: “and if any one doth think to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the assemblies of God.”
Meaning of Words: “contentious”: fond of strife, disputatious; “custom”: tradition, usage;
Literal Meaning: “but if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom”, “but if anyone seems to be contentious”, it does not means that one is contentious in his natural disposition, but that they desire to contend for the matter of covering; “we” refers to Paul and other apostles; “have no such custom”, there are two kinds of meaning: 1) one should not retort upon the teaching of the apostles, for there is no such custom. 2) One should not retort upon the matter of the woman’s covering.
“Nor do the churches of God”, “the churches of God” referred to the churches of God at that time in
1Cor. 11:17 “Now in giving these instructions I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse.”
YLT: “And this declaring, I give no praise, because not for the better, but for the worse ye come together;”
Literal Meaning: “now in giving these instructions I do not praise you”, “instruction”: commandment; “not praise”, it shows that there is something wrong with them.
“Since you come together not for the better but for the worse”, the purpose of the gathering is the pursuit of better spiritual condition, but the gathing of the Corinthians brought worse effect.
1Cor. 11:18 “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.”
YLT: “for first, indeed, ye coming together in an assembly, I hear of divisions being among you, and partly I believe ,”
first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are
divisions among you”, “divisions”: the church at
“And in part I believe it.” ---- I believe it to an extent.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Divisions and strife with one another may causes the worst loss to the church (v.17), thus keeping the body of Christ from growing ---- the body of Christ cannot be built but be destroyed.
Paul did not deny the report of the church at
1Cor. 11:19 “For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you.”
YLT: “for it behoveth sects also to be among you, that those approved may become manifest among you;”
there must also be factions among you”, the divisions in the church at
“That those who are approved may be recognized among you”, “who are approved”: who have been tried and praised. When there are divisions in the church, those who really love the Lord and refuse to follow men will be manifested in such a contentious condition. Therefore, division to believers is a trial that will approve their real spiritual condition.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The preciousness of light cannot be manifested in darkness. The normal Christians will manifest their function of mainstay when the spiritual condition is abnormal.
2) God allows some difficulties in the church so that “those who are approved may be recognized”. Oh, all the difficulties in the church over the past two thousand years, no matter what is internal or external, are opportunities of thorough “expositions”. Men can not discern who is really approved in peacetime. When the difficulty comes, there will be disorder and the brilliancy of the testimony of the overcomers will yet shine forth. How about our spiritual condition today in such a disordered situation?
1Cor. 11:20 “Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord's Supper.”
YLT: “ye, then, coming together at the same place -- it is not to eat the Lord's supper;”
Literal Meaning: “the Lord's Supper” is the Lord’s table (1Cor. 10:21). Most of the Christians today call it bread-breaking gathering or the Holy Communion. Actually, in the early church time, “the Lord’s Supper” includes the loving feast (see 2Pet. 2:13; Jude 12).
The Lord’s Table focuses on the blood and body of Christ (see 1Cor. 10:16-17), through which we have satisfaction. The Lord’s Supper focuses on the remembrance of the Lord, through which the Lord has satisfaction.
1Cor. 11:21 “For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk.”
YLT: “for each his own supper doth take before in the eating, and one is hungry, and another is drunk;”
The Background: from the New Testament, we can see that believers were frequently gathered in the early church time to have fellowship and eat food and break the bread thereafter (see Acts 2:46). They called such meal before the bread-breaking gathering the loving feast. Later, the churches in different places put the loving feast and bread-breaking gathering together and called it “the Lord’s Supper” (see v.20), or “the Lord’s Table” (1Cor. 10:21). Later, the loving feast gradually disappeared, and there was only the bread-breaking gathering (or “the Holy Communion”).
Literal Meaning: “for in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others”, “in eating”: in the loving feast, not the bread-breaking gathering; “each one takes his own supper ahead of others”, it meant that they were divided into different groups or individuals in the gathering and enjoyed themselves and totally ignored the existence of other groups or believers, thus depriving of the meaning of the loving feast at all.
“And one is hungry and another is drunk”, since some individuals or groups were comparatively poor, they had little food to eat and were even hungry. However, there were also some rich individuals or groups who ate full and were even drunken.
1Cor. 11:22 “What! Do you not have
houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the
YLT: “why, have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or the assembly of God do ye despise, and shame those not having? what may I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I do not praise!”
Do you not have houses to eat and drink in?” ---- Paul was rebuking believers
“Or do you despise the
“What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you.” ---- Paul rebuked them for this condition without any dissimulation.
1Cor. 11:23 “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;”
YLT: “For I -- I received from the Lord that which also I did deliver to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which he was delivered up, took bread,”
I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you”, it shows that
when the apostle Paul preached at
“That the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread”, it is quoted from the Gospel of Matthew (26:26).
1Cor. 11:24 “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."”
YLT: “and having given thanks, he brake, and said, `Take ye, eat ye, this is my body, that for you is being broken; this do ye -- to the remembrance of me.'”
Literal Meaning: “and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said”, “give thanks”: be grateful to God; “break”: to break the bread into pieces so that every one can take a bit.
“"Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you”, “which is broken for you”, the Lord prophesied that He would give His life for all believers.
“Do this in remembrance of
You can never remember one
whom you do not know, nor remember one thing which you have not experienced.
That the Lord asks us to remember Him shows that we have known Him and we have
seen Him in
Spiritual Meaning: “bread” symbolizes the body of the Lord Jesus; “break” indicates that His body is broken on the cross for the sake of us.
Concerning the spiritual meaning of the bread and cup, there were different views through out the past two thousand years as below:
1) The “transubstantiation” in the Roman Catholic church: After thanks-giving, the bread and cup became the body and blood of Christ.
2) The “consubstantiation” of Martin Luther: After thanks-giving, Christ would hide in, existed in and be united into the bread and cup.
3) The “spiritual blessing” of Calvin: After thanks-giving, the bread and cup carried spiritual power and blessing, which could only be obtained though eating the bread and drinking the cup.
4) The “typology” of Zwingli: The bread and cup themselves were only a symbolical representation. Believers’ faith, love and hope would be stimulated through eating the bread and drinking the cup in remembrance of the Lord.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Christ was “broken” for us and delivered His divine life to us so that we had become the mysterious body of Christ (see 1Cor. 12:17, 27) by partaking of His life.
2) The Lord has given Himself to us. And what can we give to Him?
3) The Lord is so great and surpassing that He can ignore us. He is infinitely superior to man. He is so great that He needs not to care us. However, He humbles Himself and desires us to remember Him. However, it is a pity now that the condition of the Christianity has gradually made the Lord’s loving commandment fall into oblivion. Many churches pay poor attention to the bread-breaking gathering, and even have seldom gathered together to break the bread to remember the Lord.
4) Since we have all partake of that one loaf and have communion of the body of the Christ (see 1Cor. 10:16-17), we are jointed together and have the same concern one for another.
1Cor. 11:25 “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."”
YLT: “In like manner also the cup after the supping, saying, `This cup is the new covenant in my blood; this do ye, as often as ye may drink -- to the remembrance of me;'”
Literal Meaning: “in the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying”, “after supper”, it referred to the supper of the Passover that the Lord Jesus had with His disciples on the earth. Here, it is after the communion of the bread.
“"This cup is the new covenant in My blood”, “covenant”: contract or will; the Lord means that He makes the New Testament according to the blood that He shed for us (Heb. 9:14-15).
“This do, as often as you
drink it, in remembrance of
Spiritual Meaning: “cup” symbolizes the “portion” that we have received before God. In Adam, the portion to sinners was “the cup of God’s wrath” (see Rev. 14:10). However, since the Lord Jesus had drunk that cup (see John 18:11) on the cross, the nature of the cup had been transformed ---- from “the cup of God’s wrath” to “the cup of blessing” (see 1Cor. 10:16; Ps. 23:5). The blood of the Lord Jesus on the cross granted the remission of sins to those who believe Him. Thus, all the blessings of God and even Himself have become our portion in the cup (see Ps. 16:5), so the cup is called “the cup of salvation” (see Ps. 116:13).
Believers partake of the cup of salvation, showing that we have communion of the blood of the Christ (see 1Cor. 10:16), namely, having fellowship with the blood of Christ.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) “Curse to Him, and blessing to us”. He bears the punishment of sins for us so that we can partake of the best blessing.
2) The meaning of the bread-breaking gathering is to remember the Lord (see v.24). Such remembrance is distinct from the remembrance of any historical figure in the world. The latter remembrance is only recalling their great achievements in the past. The former one is that we believers “eat” the body of the Lord and “drink” the Lord’s precious blood with our spirit and enjoy His fullness and imbibe His fatness so that all that is of Him will become our spiritual provision, and such remembrance is of significant value.
3) The true remembrance of us to the Lord is receiving redemption accomplished by Him and receiving the Lord Himself who died for us and receiving Him as our life and portion through eating the bread and drinking the cup.
1Cor. 11:26 “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes.”
YLT: “for as often as ye may eat this bread, and this cup may drink, the death of the Lord ye do shew forth -- till he may come;”
Literal Meaning: “for as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup”, the Lord set the supper in order that all those who had been redeemed by Him could remember His death. He foresaw that many people would think the cross was old, so He commanded His disciples to remember His death in the supper. The Lord desired us to keep His cross in our spirit and mind freshly. If the cross in us is not old, we will surely have closer fellowship with the Lord.
It is amazing that the bread is always mentioned with the cup together in the Scriptures. And man may think that the bread is supposed to be mentioned with the fruit of the vine together and the cup with the tray together. However, it is of profound meaning of the collocation of words in the Scriptures. Every time the bread is mentioned, it is always in connection with life (John 6:33, 35 the original). The bread indicates that the Lord has delivered His life to us. It is not only we are united with the Lord but also that we believers are also jointed together. We have not only fellowship with Christ but also that with the Christ.
The bread relates to the communion and fellowship of life. The cup refers to partaking of all the rich blessings in the New Testament (see v.25 “the spiritual meaning”).
“You proclaim the Lord's death till He comes”, “proclaim”: set forth, exhibit; “proclaim the Lord's death”, show the Lord’s death to men;
Why do the bread and the cup proclaim the Lord’s death? Because man’s blood is in the flesh. When one’s blood and flesh are divided, it only declares that he has been dead. Now the Lord’s blood and flesh are divided ---- His blood in the cup and His flesh is the bread.
When you see the bread, you will see there will be bread only if the wheat is crushed. Thus, you will see the Lord’s death. There will be no wine if the vine is not pressed. The vine pressed by the vine proclaims the Lord’s death.
“Till He comes”, supper is the last meal of a day. The daylight had never come until the past two thousand years, it is still dark. The church never ate the breakfast until the daybreak. When we see the Lord face to face, the supper will pass away.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The Lord’s body was broken for us and His blood was shed for us. He made the covenant according to His blood ---- the crucified Christ is the foundation of all blessings in the New Testament.
2) The bread and the cup “proclaim the Lord's death till He comes”, which indicates that the significance of the bread and the cup includes all the full meanings concerning the humanity and the death of Christ as well as His second coming ---- which is His ultimate full manifestation.
3) The stable foundation of the bread-breaking is the crucified Christ ---- “proclaim the Lord’s death”. The glorious hope of the bread-breaking is the ultimate full manifestation of Christ ---- “till He comes”.
4) All of us who partake of the bread-breaking should “have fellowship with His sufferings” ---- “proclaim the Lord’s death” and will “be glorified with Him” (Rom. 8:17) ---- “till He comes”.
1Cor. 11:27 “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.”
YLT: “so that whoever may eat this bread or may drink the cup of the Lord unworthily, guilty he shall be of the body and blood of the Lord:”
Literal Meaning: “therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner”, what is crucially important when eating the Lord’s bread and drinking the Lord’s cup is “being in a worthy manner”. Therefore, we shall eat in a worthy manner. “Unworthily”, it is not man that is unworthy but man’s attitude that counts. If the problem lies in man, it does not matter, because how can you come if you are not of God? Since the problem is whether it is worthy, it indicates that man eats with a wrong attitude. We should never receive the body flippantly without any respect for the Lord’s body.
“Will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord”, “be guilty”: sin against; it will bring judgment to those who have fellowship with the bread and the cup (see v.29-30).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The most important and holiest gathering in the church is the bread-breaking gathering in remembrance of the Lord. If man is flippant in this gathering, he just “despises” the Lord and will be severely judged by the Lord and even fall ill and even die (see v.30). We should be in fear.
2) It is one thing that is supposed to bring us spiritual profit yet brings about loss. Therefore, we believers do not hold that as long as one comes to the gathering, everything will go well. And we should also pay attention to our attitude towards the gathering.
1Cor. 11:28 “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.”
YLT: “and let a man be proving himself, and so of the bread let him eat, and of the cup let him drink;”
Literal Meaning: “examine himself”, to examine whether we are fit for the Lord’s requirements. When we take part in the bread-breaking gathering, we should examine things as below:
1) Do we really know and honor the spiritual meaning of the bread and the cup?
2) Do we have sins that have not been remitted? If we have sin when coming to remember the Lord, we will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, won’t we?
3) Do we still have strife with others?
4) Do we still despise or hate others?
1Cor. 11:29 “For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.”
YLT: “for he who is eating and drinking unworthily, judgment to himself he doth eat and drink -- not discerning the body of the Lord.”
Literal Meaning: “for he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner … not discerning the Lord's body”, “eats and drinks”: eat the bread and drink the cup; “not discerning the Lord's body”, one does not discern the bread that symbolizes the Lord’s body from other secular food. That is to say, such man does not cherish the divine bread but regard the bread common.
“Eats and drinks judgment to himself”, the flippant attitude towards the bread and the cup will bring us under the judgment of God and cast us into sins.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) If a believer has truly discerned that the bread he takes is the Lord’s body, he will in no wise cause divisions in the church and destroy the Lord’s body while taking part in the bread-breaking gathering.
2) The more a normal Christian takes the bread and drinks the cup, the more will he enter into the loving bowel of the Lord and the more will he be willing to have fellowship with and love members that the Lord have saved by His blood and be united with one another.
1Cor. 11:30 “For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.”
YLT: “Because of this, among you many weak and sickly, and sleep do many;”
it refers to physical and mental and spiritual weakness, including weakness in
faith and conscience (see
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The Lord often disciplines His disciples by physical weakness or illness so as to bring their spiritual life into a wholesome condition. Therefore, once we believers are ill, we should ask the Lord whether we have sinned against the Lord. If it is, we shall remit and confess our sins and thus be often healed without medicine.
believers sins without confession and do not remit even in illness, they may be
most severely chastened by the Lord and even be dead in the flesh, just as the
1Cor. 11:31 “For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.”
YLT: “for if ourselves we were discerning, we would not be being judged,”
Literal Meaning: “judge ourselves”: examine ourselves and make right judgment upon ourselves and see that whether we are fit for taking the bread or drinking the cup in our present condition; Therefore, we will not be judged or disciplined by God on account of taking part in the bread-breaking gathering.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The church should not receive anyone without judging his obvious sins or disregarding his heretical words. And it is the Holy Spirit not men that will ordain with whom we can have fellowship with. However, we believers should personally take the responsibility of judging ourselves before the Lord and see that whether our own condition of the fellowship is normal.
2) To examine and judge ourselves make us less judged by God. Today, as long as we live in the flesh, if we always live under the light of the judgment-seat on that day, we will surely adjust our walking so as to pass the judgment of God in the future.
1Cor. 11:32 “But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.”
YLT: “and being judged by the Lord, we are chastened, that with the world we may not be condemned;”
Literal Meaning: “but when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord”, “chasten”: it is concerned with education and clarification and remedy. Though to be chastened is serious and even leads to illness and death, it is still grace, for it delivers us from worse death ---- condemnation.
“That we may not be condemned with the world”, “be condemned”: it is relevant of punishment and perdition. However, our end is different from men in the world. We will never perish for ever, and yet we may only be punished seriously.
1Cor. 11:33 “Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.”
YLT: “so then, my brethren, coming together to eat, for one another wait ye;”
Literal Meaning: this verse is an echo to verse 21, showing that they had to wait for one another in the loving feast before the gathering and eat together and love one another.
1Cor. 11:34 “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.”
YLT: “and if any one is hungry, at home let him eat, that to judgment ye may not come together; and the rest, whenever I may come, I shall arrange.”
Literal Meaning: “but if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home”, if one was too hungry to wait for others, he was advised to eat at home before going to the gathering instead of eating in the place where they were gathered.
“Lest you come together for judgment”, it one took part in the gathering and was yet in a bad condition, he might be judged by the Lord.
“And the rest I will set in order when I come”, “the rest”, it refers to all the problems in the practical church life. “Set in order”, teach;
III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons
The Knowledge of the Woman’s Covered Head
A. The covering is worthy of the order in the universe (v.2-3).
B. The covering is worthy of the distinction between the fair of man and woman (v.4-6).
C. The covering is worthy of the order in God’s creation (v.7-8).
D. The covering is worthy of the purpose of God’s creation (v.9).
E. The covering is worthy of the testimony in spiritual sphere (v.10).
F. The covering is worthy of human nature (v.13-15).
G. The covering is worthy of the order of obedience in the church (v.16).
The Reasons for the Woman’s Covered Head in the Gathering
A. That the woman has her head covered is a becoming manner (v.4-6);
B. That the woman has her head covered manifests glory (v.7-9);
C. That the woman has her head covered is for the sake of angels (v.10);
The Knowledge that We Should Have About the Bread-breaking Gathering
A. Which is set by the Lord personally (v.23);
B. Which is a commandment of the Lord to us (v.24-25);
C. Which is in remembrance of the Lord (v.24-25);
D. Which proclaims the death of the Lord who shed His blood for us (v.24-26);
E. Which should be done before the Lord’s second coming (v.26);
F. Which is for the purpose of hoping for the Lord’s second coming (v.26);
Sins of Eating the bread or Drinking the Cup of the Lord in an Unworthy Manner
A. If one does not discern the Lord's body, he will eat and drink judgment to himself(v.29);
B. If one does not judge himself, he will be judged and be chastened by the Lord (v.31-32);
C. If one eats without waiting for others, he has come for judgment (v.34);
── Caleb Huang《Christian Digest Bible Commentary Series》
Translated by Mary Zhou