1 Corinthians chapter 11

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Instructions for Public Worship

I am so glad that you always keep me in your thoughts, and that you are following the teachings I passed on to you. But there is one thing I want you to know: The head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. A man dishonors his head if he covers his head while praying or prophesying. But a woman dishonors her head if she prays or prophesies without a covering on her head, for this is the same as shaving her head. Yes, if she refuses to wear a head covering, she should cut off all her hair! But since it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut or her head shaved, she should wear a covering.

A man should not wear anything on his head when worshiping, for man is made in God’s image and reflects God’s glory. And woman reflects man’s glory. For the first man didn’t come from woman, but the first woman came from man. And man was not made for woman, but woman was made for man. 10 For this reason, and because the angels are watching, a woman should wear a covering on her head to show she is under authority.[e]

11 But among the Lord’s people, women are not independent of men, and men are not independent of women. 12 For although the first woman came from man, every other man was born from a woman, and everything comes from God.

13 Judge for yourselves. Is it right for a woman to pray to God in public without covering her head? 14 Isn’t it obvious that it’s disgraceful for a man to have long hair? 15 And isn’t long hair a woman’s pride and joy? For it has been given to her as a covering. 16 But if anyone wants to argue about this, I simply say that we have no other custom than this, and neither do God’s other churches.

Order at the Lord’s Supper

17 But in the following instructions, I cannot praise you. For it sounds as if more harm than good is done when you meet together. 18 First, I hear that there are divisions among you when you meet as a church, and to some extent I believe it. 19 But, of course, there must be divisions among you so that you who have God’s approval will be recognized!

20 When you meet together, you are not really interested in the Lord’s Supper. 21 For some of you hurry to eat your own meal without sharing with others. As a result, some go hungry while others get drunk. 22 What? Don’t you have your own homes for eating and drinking? Or do you really want to disgrace God’s church and shame the poor? What am I supposed to say? Do you want me to praise you? Well, I certainly will not praise you for this!

23 For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord himself. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread 24 and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it.” 26 For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.

27 So anyone who eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily is guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup. 29 For if you eat the bread or drink the cup without honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God’s judgment upon yourself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died.

31 But if we would examine ourselves, we would not be judged by God in this way. 32 Yet when we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned along with the world.

33 So, my dear brothers and sisters, when you gather for the Lord’s Supper, wait for each other. 34 If you are really hungry, eat at home so you won’t bring judgment upon yourselves when you meet together. I’ll give you instructions about the other matters after I arrive.


This chapter starts with one of those almost controversial subjects; head coverings. It does appear Paul is saying men must uncover their heads to pray and women must cover their head to pray. The other thing Paul talks about is the head of man is Christ, and the head of woman is man. So two things seems to be happening here, he is talking about something physical and something spiritual.

Now the easy answer to this is to say “head covering were a thing for that culture”, and actually, that would be partly correct, I don’t thing we can discount that part. In that day, men and women wore head coverings all the time. So when it came to prayer time, men were to remove that covering as a sign of respect and submission to Christ. As for the women, in that time, removing a head-covering in public was a sign of loose morals and sexual promiscuity. Paul says she might as well have her hair shaved off. Shaved heads indicated the woman either had been publicly disgraced because of some shameful act or refusal to be in submission to her husband. So it was not that she needed to cover her head before prayer, but rather keep it covered.

So through this we can see the spiritual implications. Men were to respect their head; Christ, and women were to respect their head; their husband. And in doing so, they were respecting Christ. This was the order that God put into place. Man, who was created first, is to have authority over his wife (1 Timothy 2:11-14) and because she was made from his body (Gen. 2:21-24)

Now the question is: is this still relevant for today? Should women be putting on a physical head covering when they pray? My answer is yes and no. Yes because their are many who believe they should wear this covering as a sign of respect. Great! On the other hand, in our North American culture, uncovered hair is not a sign of promiscuity or loose morals so maybe the head covering is not necessary. The bottom line, though, is we need, as men, to submit to Christ in everything, and women still need to honor and respect their husbands, which in itself is a sign of submission to Christ. The spiritual aspect has not changed, but we know that physical acts do not save us or condemn us, so we all must do what we feel is correct in our hearts.


Do we ever criticize someone for doing something different, like wearing head-covering, and say “don’t they realize their freedom in Christ, they don’t have to do that” or snicker at them for holding on to “old traditions”? I want to challenge that thought and remember that they are doing what they feel is right before God, who are we to judge? The better use of our energy would be to look at our own life and honestly evaluate if we are being submissive to Christ in the way He has laid it out. The verses about not pointing at the speck in your brothers eye while there is still a plank in our own comes to mind.


Lord we submit to you this morning. God show me areas where I have been claiming my own authority and not yours. Thank you that we find freedom in this! God you are awesome and we love you, thank you for another incredible day of life, sunshine and another day full of opportunities. In the name of Jesus, amen.

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