1 Corinthians 11:1-11
1 Corinthians 11:1
Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

The Apostle Paul is now asking the Corinthians to be a follower of him. Now he is not seeking a following as the word “followers” in the Greek is the word for “imitate.” He is asking the people to note his obedience and dedication to the Lord Jesus Christ and he wants these Corinthians to be followers in the same manner. He just laid down some strong principles in the preceding chapter and is now desiring these Christians to adopt them as he has adopted them into his own life. He wants them to realize that following Christ is not something which is done half-heartedly. His life testifies of his full dedication to Christ.

1 Corinthians 11:2
Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.

Paul now commends these Christians in that they need to remember what Paul has delivered to them. The word “ordinances” is the Greek word for “traditions.” He is not speaking of anything such as the tradition of the elders which would be placing apostasy into the church. He is stating that they are to keep in mind the traditions which he brought them, which would be specifically for the new church. It would be more like an apostolic direction for the new church. That direction comes in either oral or written form such as this letter to the Corinthians. Since there were many new Christians in this church, much direction was needed to bring order and a semblance of Christian discipline to the assembly as we will see in the following chapters.

1 Corinthians 11:3
But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

Head - Authority

Here Paul introduces the first of two main subjects in this chapter. The first section deals with authority and the second half deals with the Lord’s Supper. First, this verse has been used by those who oppose the deity of Christ. They try to use this verse to prove that Christ was less than God and that is why He was in submission to the Father. What is being taught here, and for our benefit, is a chain of command.

(Luke 2:51 KJV) And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.

When the Lord Jesus was a child, He was subject unto Joseph and his mother. He was under their authority as his earthly parents.

(Heb 5:8 KJV) Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

Here we see another verse which teaches that the Lord Jesus was obedient. This obedience was to the Father and to the written word of God that the Messiah should come into the world and die for the Elect. This teaches us that the Lord Jesus Christ was obedient unto the point of death as we see in the revealing verse below.

(Phil 2:8 KJV) And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

The obedience of Christ, in no way took away from his deity. His obedience unto the point of death was an example to us. It established an earthly chain of command. God is the head of Christ, then we see that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of every woman is man. This does not mean that women are inferior to men but God is establishing a line of command for the purpose of order in the churches. He has already established the authority order in marriage as far back as the Garden of Eden.
(Gen 3:16 KJV) Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. Now since the church was new, a pattern of authority had to be established in the church. The word “head” in 1 Corinthians 11:3 means “authority or governing” in the Greek and is used three times so there is no mistaking that there must be an authority chain. If women were allowed to have authority roles in the church, and the husband of the woman was part of that church, then he would be under her authority, which would violate the rules of marriage which God had already established.

1 Corinthians 11:4
Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.

As a sign of deference to the Lord Jesus Christ, it would be dishonoring to Him if a man who was praying, prophesying, or even preaching had some type of hat on his head. It is like a man comes into the presence of a nobleman and shows him honor by removing his hat in his presence. It is the same way that a man who publicly ministers, removes his head garment as a sign of honoring the Lord Jesus Christ. For many years, whenever a man walked into a public building, they would remove their hat. Why? Because the public building represented the government which was appointed by God. Those religions where men keep their head garments on are showing their contempt for the authority of God. By keeping their head garments on, they are showing that they are the authority.

1 Corinthians 11:5
But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.

Here we have a situation whereby if the woman is praying or prophesying, then she is to have her head covered. This covering means that she is in submission to her head, which is her husband. It also showed that she was modest. Her ultimate head is the Lord Jesus Christ but through the order which God has set up, she would be dishonoring her husband. If she dishonored her husband, than that dishonor would pass back on to her. When a woman has her head shaved, it is a sign of dishonor to her. If she had her head shorn, it would show the entire church that she was disobedient to her husband.

1 Corinthians 11:6
For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.

Paul now states plainly, that if she refuses to cover her head, then she should be shorn as a sign to the community and to her that she is a disobedient woman. A shorn head on a woman was also a sign of dishonor, yet many women in modern times have almost all their hair cut off and many of them look very masculine because of it.

(Deu 21:10-12 KJV) When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the LORD thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive, {11} And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife; {12} Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails;

To have a head shorn was akin to being taken as a slave from among a defeated people. To shave the head was a sign of forced humiliation among the women. If she has had her head shorn in humiliation, she can still show deference to her husband by wearing a veil over her head.

1 Corinthians 11:7
For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.

Now Paul goes back to the time of the creation that man was originally made in the image of God and that creation represented the glory of God. However, since the fall of man, that image has been marred because of sin. When a person becomes saved, they are then born again in the image of God and that salvation of the individual is the glory of God. This is why men are never to preach or teach with anything on their head so there is no marring of the relationship between God and his children. In like manner, the woman is the glory of man. As man reflects the glory of God, the woman reflects the glory of the man in her subjection and modesty, since she was formed from Adam and for him.

1 Corinthians 11:8
For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.

Here we see the order of creation. Man did not originally come from the woman but Eve was taken from Adam.
(Gen 2:22 KJV) And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

1 Corinthians 11:9
Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

God did not originally create the man for the woman but He created the woman to be a help meet for the man.
(Gen 2:18 KJV) And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

1 Corinthians 11:10
For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.

This is one of those mysterious verses which we can gain some understanding by looking at some other verses. The beginning of this verse states, “For this cause.” For what cause? It goes back to what we have been looking at, the fact that a woman is to have her head covered so she will not be disobedient to the divine chain of command which God has set up. Notice also in this verse we are told that she must do this because of the angels. The word “power” in this verse is the Greek word for “authority.” We saw that when a woman coves her head when praying or prophesying, she then is under the authority of her husband. That is the authority she has over her. In the case of a single woman, she remains under the authority of her father. Keep in mind that the ultimate authority that she is under is the Lord Jesus Christ. Now let us look at why the angels have been mentioned.

(Job 1:6 KJV) Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.

Notice in this verse in Job, that the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord and Satan came also. In this instance the sons of God are the angels. If you notice, the angels came but the conversation God had was only with Satan. The conversation centered on the obedient nature of Job. Job was a saved man, therefore God showed Satan that the redeemed Job was an obedient and righteous man. Now it seems that the reason the angels were present, was to be a witness to this event. They may have had some part in this scenario with Job and Satan but the Bible is silent on it. Now it seems that the angels have an interest in the salvation which God grants to His Elect and we see this in the next verse in 1 Peter.

(1 Pet 1:12 KJV) Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

The word “desire” in this verse carries with it the meaning of a lusting or very strong desire. However, the word is not used in a sexual context. It speaks of the good type of desire or lust. For example, a true Christian lusts for righteousness and holiness. That is the way this word is used. It seems that in this verse, as in the Job verse, the angels were desirous to understand God’s salvation plan. This is because Christ died for the ungodly and not for them, because they were the Elect angels who did not rebel with Satan.
(1 Tim 5:21 KJV) I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality. In the Job verse, we see that God was showing Satan a righteous man by reason of salvation and the angels were there. In 1 Peter 1:10, the Bible tells us that the Prophets of old had also searched the matter of salvation which was to come through Christ.

(Gen 19:1 KJV) And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;

In the above verse, we see that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by two angels but before the destruction took place, they were sent to get Lot and his family out of there. We see then that angels were not only interested in salvation, they were also dispatched by God for various purposes.

Back to 1 Corinthians 11:10, we see that the angels are also interested in the local church where all the true believers meet. They are there looking into the things which pertain to salvation. They are there for the purpose of looking at the obedience of the women in the congregation as they observe their obedience to God in the matter of the divine chain of command. If the congregation lacks obedience, then Jesus will remove the candlestick. Those churches which have women preachers will have their candlestick removed. Women preachers preach with their head uncovered, which is rebellion before God. Before we leave this subject, there is one more interesting verse to look at.

(Rev 3:5 KJV) He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

Those who overcome, the true believers, will have their name confessed by the Lord Jesus Christ before the Father and His angels. Just like Job was confessed by the Father as being upright in the presence of the holy angels, we too will be confessed in front of the Holy Angels.

1 Corinthians 11:11
Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.

Paul was just discussing the divine order of authority and he wants us to know that both men and women are on an equal footing in the eyes of God. They each have different callings but that does not mean one is inferior or one is superior to the other. (Gal 3:28 KJV) There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. The Lord Jesus Christ has redeemed both men and women and has been building his true eternal church since the first salvation took place, whether it be Adam and Eve or Abel.