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- Become imitators of me, just as I also imitate the Anointed.
On Men and Women
- Now, I commend you because you did – and do – remember me in everything, and you hold tightly to the traditions just as I delivered them to you.
- And I want you to know(1)literally “to did – and do – know” because the Greek word here is the perfect tense, which is (sort of) a combination of our past a present tenses. that the Anointed is the head of every man, and the man is the head of woman, and God is the head of the Anointed.
- Every man who is praying or prophesying while having something hanging down from(2)“hanging down from” is the Greek word “κατὰ” (kata), often translated “on” here. It primarily means “down” or “down from”, but it has many uses and one of the largest semantic ranges of any Greek word. Here it’s used in the sense of “hanging down from”, of which there are two main interpretations. (1) Paul is referring to head coverings. In Rabbinic custom, men wore a prayer shawl called a “Tallit”, which they would drape over their heads while they prayed out of reverence for God, to indicate they weren’t worthy to look on His face. This shawl would thus “hang down” from their heads. (2) The second view says Paul is referring to hair which is long enough to “hang down”. This makes much more sense contextually because verses 2-16 have a chiastic structure, and verse 4’s counterpart in verse 14 is clearly referencing long hair on men. his head dishonors his head.
- But every woman praying or prophesying with her head uncovered dishonors her head. For she is one and the same with the woman who did – and does – shave her head.(3)“the woman who did – and does – shave her head” could also be translated “the woman who was – and is – shaved” because the endings for the Greek middle and passive voice are the same for this word. This almost certainly refers to the women of the Isle of Lesbos, not terribly far from Corinth. (It’s likely where the term “lesbian” came from.) Lucian of Samosata (125 – 180 AD) wrote in Dialogues of the Courtesans about a character named Megilla who was a “rich Lesbian woman” who had the “skin of her head which was shaved close“. He also writes of: “women like that in Lesbos, with faces like men, and unwilling to consort with men, but only with women, as though they themselves were men“. These women from the Isle of Lesbos rejected every form of male authority, and signified this partially by shaving off their hair, or cutting it very short like men did.
- For if a woman won’t cover her head, let her also cut off her hair.(4)“let her… …cut off her hair” is more literally “sheer herself”, which is a technical term specifically referring to sheering sheep. After being sheered, a sheep’s hair is extremely short – ideally less than an inch (25mm) – like a modern buzz cut. But if it’s shameful for a woman to cut off her hair,(5)“to cut off her hair” see previous note. or to be shaved, let her cover her head.
- For indeed, man is morally obligated(6)“is morally obligated” is one word in Greek, with that exact meaning. It was originally a financial term that literally meant to owe or be indebted to. (It’s used of debts in Matthew 18:28, 30, and 34.) This included moral obligations to deities and others. In New Testament times, it referred to anything which someone was legally or morally obligated to do. not to cover his head since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.
- For man didn’t come from(7)literally “isn’t out from” woman, but woman from man.
- For also, man wasn’t created for woman, but woman for man.
- Because of this, the woman is morally obligated(8)“is morally obligated” is one word in Greek, with that exact meaning. It was originally a financial term that literally meant to owe or be indebted to. (It’s used of debts in Matthew 18:28, 30, and 34.) This included moral obligations to deities and others. In New Testament times, it referred to anything which someone was legally or morally obligated to do. to have(9)Many translations add the phrase “a symbol of” before the word authority, altering the sense to be about a hat or veil. (Thankfully, some italicize it to show it’s an addition) authority on(10)“on” Some translations pervert this verse by making it sound as if the woman has authority over her own head. However, that isn’t the intention of the Greek. The authority on “her head” is another’s authority over her. her head, because of the angels.(11)“because of the angels” These three Greek words (διὰ τοὺς ἀγγέλους) are among the most confusing, and therefore most commented on in the whole Bible. The most common interpretations are: (1.) The early church believed that angels were present during their gatherings. Thus this could be either an example for them showing the women were under authority, or because it was fitting because of the angelic presence. (2.) Paul is using an analogy/example as a warning, and the angels referred to here are the fallen angels before they fell. They fell because they rebelled by refusing to observe their place in God’s created order. (Jude 1:6) This theory says Paul is saying women must observe their place in God’s order (under male authority) or else they are rebelling like the angels did. (3.) This theory says “διὰ ” (dia, here translated “because of”) should be translated “through” which is another one of its primary meanings. The idea is the authority is conveyed or applied through the angels somehow. (4.) This refers to head coverings, and that women should have their heads covered like the angels covered their faces in Isaiah 6:2.
- Yet in the Lord, neither is woman separate from man, nor man separate from woman.
- For just as the woman came out of the man, so also the man is born through the woman; But everything comes from God.
- Judge for yourselves: is it proper for an uncovered woman to pray to God? (12)Most translations move the word “uncovered” to the end of the sentence, and add “with her head” so it reads “…to pray to god with her head uncovered?” However, that changes the word uncovered from adjectival to substantive, which isn’t keeping with the Greek.
- And doesn’t nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it’s indeed a disgrace to him?
- But if a woman has long hair, it’s a glory to her? For the long hair was – and is – given to her instead of(13)“instead of” many translations translate this “for” here, which is correct in some cases. (Example: Matthew 5:38, “and eye for an eye”) However, it more properly means “in exchange for” or “instead of” because the Greek word refers to a substitute. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon specifically mentions this passage as a place where “instead of” is the correct translation. a cloth covering.(14)“cloth covering” The Greek word used here is specific to clothing of some kind, including veils, mantles, robes, etc. It is different than the words for covering used earlier, which can indicate any kind of covering, including hair.
- But if anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no other custom; nor do the churches of God.
The Lord’s Supper
- Now, in instructing this I don’t commend you because you don’t assemble for the better, but for the worse.
- For first: when you’re gathering in the church assembly, I hear there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it.
- For it’s necessary for factions(15)“factions” this Greek word refers to a division of a religious group that is separated from the main group and follows its own tenants. It’s often translated “sect” in the context of the Pharisees and Sadducees being a sect of Judaism. Modern denominations are a good example of “sects” of Christianity. to be among you so the genuine(16)“genuine” This Greek word was used to describe coins that had been verified to not be counterfeit or corrupted. ones among you might become evident.
- Therefore, when you’re assembling at the same place, it’s not to eat the Lord’ supper.
- For each takes their own dinner to eat before others have opportunity;(17)“takes… …before others have opportunity” is one word in Greek. and indeed, one is hungry but another is drunk.
- Don’t do that! For don’t you have houses to eat and to drink? Or do you scorn the church of God and shame the men who have nothing? What should I tell you? Should I commend you in this? I don’t commend you!
- For I received from the Lord what I delivered to you; that the Lord Jesus – on the night He was betrayed – took bread.
- And giving thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, broken for your benefit; do this in remembrance of Me.”
- And likewise after supper He took the cup saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. As often as you drink this, do it in remembrance of me.”
- For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.
- Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the Lord’s body and blood.
- But let a man examine(18)“examine” The Greek word here doesn’t focus on proving something is bad, but rather on testing and/or examining something to show it’s good. himself, and in this manner let him eat of the bread and let him drink of the cup.
- For the man who eats and drinks without considering the body eats and drinks judgement on himself.
- Because of this, many among you are weak and sick, and plenty(19)“plenty of you” is more literally “sufficient” or “ample”, and is a different word than is used earlier in this verse. of you sleep.(20)“sleep” the Greek word can also be used of the “sleep” of death, and hence can mean to die.
- For if we were evaluating ourselves, we wouldn’t be coming under judgement.
- But when we’re being judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so we won’t be condemned with the world.
- So my brothers, wait for one another when you’re assembling to eat.
- If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home so you won’t be assembled for judgment. And I will arrange the rest as soon as I come.
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