1 Corinthians 11

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
1 Corinthians 11
POxy1008 (1Co 7.33-8.4).jpg
1 Corinthians 7:33–8:4 in Papyrus 15, written in the 3rd century.
BookFirst Epistle to the Corinthians
CategoryPauline epistles
Christian Bible partNew Testament
Order in the Christian part7

1 Corinthians 11 is the eleventh chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. It was authored by Paul the Apostle and Sosthenes in Ephesus. In this chapter, Paul writes on the conduct of Christians while worshiping together.


The original text was written in Koine Greek. This chapter is divided into 34 verses.

Textual witnesses[edit]

Some early manuscripts containing this chapter are:

Imitator of Christ[edit]

New King James Version

"Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ."'[1]

King James Version

"'Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ."[2]

Theologian John Gill suggests that these words "more properly close the preceding chapter, than begin a new one", and many commentators agree.[3] Paul concludes his argument in 1 Corinthians 4 in a similar way:

Therefore I urge you, imitate me.[4]

The Pulpit Commentary restricts Paul's call to imitation:

I only ask you to imitate me in points in which I imitate Christ.[5]

According to Gill, these words refer to the rules which Paul would have the Corinthians follow him in, as he did Christ: to do all things to the glory of God, and not for his own gain, just as Christ, who does not seek his own glory, but the glory of God who sent him, so all what they did would be in the name of Christ, and to the glory of God.[6]

Praise from Paul[edit]

I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you.[7]

The Pulpit Commentary suggests that this is probably a reference to the Corinthians' letter to Paul referred to already in 1 Corinthians 7:1.[8]

Woman's headcovering[edit]

Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you. 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. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. 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. 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.

Verses 2–16 have been the source of much confusion for interpreters. In particular, problems come from the rhetorical question that nature teaches it is a shame for a man to have long hair and telling women to cover their heads on account of the angels. Interpretations tend to fall into three informal categories.

Universal view[edit]

A minority of current Christians apply the passage universally. In this view, women should cover their heads and men should keep their hair short. As evidence they point to Paul's appeals to arguments that do not change with time, the creation of Adam and Eve, the angels, and Nature itself. Because Paul's arguments do not change, his conclusion should not change either. Therefore, these Christians cover their heads. Some cover only in church or while praying; others cover their heads all the time.

Contemporary view[edit]

Several interpretations are taken on nature teaching showing long hair is a covering for woman. The New International Version translates "the nature of things" instead of simply "nature," but other translations claim this is incorrect. Some interpret that Paul believed culture to be an extension of Nature and therefore he meant that culture taught this.[9]

Bushnell view[edit]

A minority translate the passage as commanding women to uncover their heads. This idea was pioneered by John Lightfoot and expanded by Katharine Bushnell. In their view, Paul commanded women to uncover because they were made in the image of God, Eve was created for Adam's incapacity to exist alone, all men are born from women, because of her angels, nature does not teach otherwise, and the churches have no such custom. The passage is not actually a repression of women but a herald for equality. So far no printed Bibles have accepted this translation.[citation needed]

The Lord's Supper[edit]

In verses 17 through 33, Paul chastises the Corinthians for their behaviour when they come together "as a church" (literally Greek: ἐν ἐκκλησίᾳ, en ekklēsia, "in church" or "in the assembly") [10] to share what appears to be an agape feast.[11] Paul describes his understanding of Jesus' actions at the Last Supper as having been "received from the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:23), not received from the apostles who were present or from the tradition of the church. Teignmouth Shore argues that "the whole structure of the passage seems to imply that what follows had been received by St. Paul directly from Christ" [12] but Heinrich Meyer argues, with reference to Paul's use of the words "ἀπὸ τοῦ Κυρίου (apo tou kuriou, forth from the Lord) rather than παρά τοῦ Κυρίου (para tou kuriou, coming from the Lord), that "we are warranted in assuming that he means a reception, which issued indeed from Christ as originator, but reached him only mediately through another channel".[13] Meyer notes the close similarity between Paul's account of the Last Supper and Luke's in Luke 22:19–20.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 1 Corinthians 11:1 NKJV
  2. ^ 1 Corinthians 11:1 KJV
  3. ^ Biblehub.com, Commentaries on 1 Corinthians 11:1, accessed 4 April 2017
  4. ^ 1 Corinthians 4:16 NKJV
  5. ^ Pulpit Commentary on 1 Corinthians 11, accessed 4 April 2017
  6. ^ John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible, – 1 Corinthians 11:1
  7. ^ 1 Corinthians 11:2
  8. ^ Pulpit Commentary on 1 Corinthians 11, accessed 4 April 2017
  9. ^ Brauch, Manfred T. (1989). Hard Sayings of Paul. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press. ISBN 978-0-8308-1282-0.[page needed]
  10. ^ 1 Corinthians 11:18: ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ, en tē ekklēsia in the Textus Receptus
  11. ^ Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary on 1 Corinthians 11, accessed 5 April 2017
  12. ^ T. Teignmouth Shore in Ellicott's Commentary for Modern Readers on 1 Corinthians 11, accessed 6 April 2017
  13. ^ Meyer's NT Commentary on 1 Corinthians 11, accessed 6 April 2017

Texts at Wikisource[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Murphy-O'Connor, Jerome (1976). "The Non-Pauline Character of 1 Corinthians 11:2–16?". Journal of Biblical Literature. 95 (4): 615–21. doi:10.2307/3265576. JSTOR 3265576.
  • BeDuhn, Jason David (1999). "'Because of the Angels': Unveiling Paul's Anthropology in 1 Corinthians 11". Journal of Biblical Literature. 118 (2): 295–320. doi:10.2307/3268008. JSTOR 3268008.
  • Padgett, Alan G. (1994). "The Significance of 'Anti in 1 Corinthians 11:15" (PDF). Tyndale Bulletin. 45 (1): 181–7.
  • Jervis, L. Ann (1993). ""But I Want You to Know . . .": Paul's Midrashic Intertextual Response to the Corinthian Worshipers (1 Cor 11:2–16)". Journal of Biblical Literature. 112 (2): 231–46. doi:10.2307/3267225. JSTOR 3267225.
  • Mount, Christopher (2005). "1 Corinthians 11:3-16: Spirit Possession and Authority in a Non-Pauline Interpolation". Journal of Biblical Literature. 124 (2): 313–40. doi:10.2307/30041015. JSTOR 30041015.

External links[edit]