1 Corinthians 11

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1 Corinthians 11
POxy1008 (1Co 7.33-8.4).jpg
1 Corinthians 7:33-8:4 in Papyrus 15, written in the 3rd century.
Book First Epistle to the Corinthians
Bible part New Testament
Order in the Bible part 7
Category Pauline epistles

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.[1][2] In this chapter, Paul writes on the conduct of Christians while worshiping together.



This chapter can be grouped:

Verse 1

New King James Version

"Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ."'[3]

King James Version

"'Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ."[4]

These words more properly close the preceding chapter, than begin a new one, and refer to the rules therein laid down, and which the apostle would have the Corinthians follow him in, as he did Christ: that as he sought, both in private and public, and more especially in his ministerial service, to do all things to the glory of God, and not for his own popular applause, in which he imitated Christ, who sought not his own glory, but the glory of him that sent him; so he would have them do all they did in the name of Christ, and to the glory of God by him: and that as he studied to exercise a conscience void of offence to God and man, in doing which he was a follower of Christ, who was holy in his nature, and harmless and inoffensive in his conversation; so he was desirous that they should likewise be blameless, harmless, and without offence until the day of Christ: and that whereas he endeavoured to please men in all things lawful and indifferent, wherein he copied after Christ, who by his affable and courteous behaviour, and humble deportment, sought to please and gratify all with whom he conversed; so he would have them not to mind high things, but condescend to men of low estates, and become all things to all, that they might gain some as he did: and once more, that as he sought not his own pleasure and advantage, but the salvation of others, in imitation of Christ, who pleased not himself, but took upon him, and bore cheerfully, the reproaches of men, that he might procure good for them; so the apostle suggests, that it would be right in them not to seek to have their own wills in every thing, but rather to please their neighbour for good to edification.[5]

Woman's headcovering

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

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

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

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.[6]

Bushnell view

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

In verses 17 through 33, Paul chastises the Corinthian church for their behavior while eating the agape feast. His description of Jesus at the Last Supper is common in eucharistic liturgy.

See also


  1. Halley, Henry H. Halley's Bible Handbook: an abbreviated Bible commentary. 23rd edition. Zondervan Publishing House. 1962.
  2. Holman Illustrated Bible Handbook. Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee. 2012.
  3. 1 Corinthians 11:1
  4. 1 Corinthians 11:1
  5. John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible, - 1 Corinthians 11:1
  6. Brauch, Manfred T. (1989). Hard Sayings of Paul. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press. ISBN 978-0-8308-1282-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[page needed]

Texts at Wikisource

Further reading

  • 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Padgett, Alan G. (1994). "The Significance of 'Anti in 1 Corinthians 11:15" (PDF). Tyndale Bulletin. 45 (1): 181–7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links