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1follow me in this attitude, my brethren, as I follow the Christ.
Paul's views on woman in the church
2You do remember and mark my words, I know, and you do keep the rules and the instructions which I lay down. I commend you as an obedient flock, and therefore listen now to another rule, a tradition I wish to be observed in our churches. 3Let men be bareheaded at our meetings, but let the women still wear the head-covering, as has always been the custom, and not thinking themselves free, as they begin to do, appear bareheaded like to men. 4-9And why? There is a reason. If a woman is to appear bareheaded like a man, then let her cut her hair, and wear it in the way that men wear theirs. That would be ugly, you say, and I agree. There is then a difference between the man and the woman; and what is our interpretation of it? Mine is this. Man stands for God; but woman stands for man. The head of the man is the type of Christ governing the body, and the head of Christ is God. The man then in every way stands as the type of the divine, the image and likeness of God, and with unveiled head he stands in the presence of God. 10But woman represents the glory of man; and in the presence of the angels of God man's glory should be veiled. A woman's beauty is her modesty. Her long hair is her glory, because it clothes and covers her. 11The male comes first as the representative of God, and the female next as the representative of man. 12In the second chapter of Genesis the difference made between the creation of man and of woman lies, as I interpret it, in these two different types, the one of God, the other of man; 13-15and so I advise you to keep the old custom whereby men wear their hair short, and bare their heads in prayer or preaching, but women wear their hair long, and in praying or in preaching they keep their heads covered. 16I advise you, I say, to keep this rule, but if you intend to argue the point with me — then I declare I am ignorant of any such custom, and the churches of God know it not!
Divisions and abuses at the Lord's table
17Now in this next point I cannot add any commendation to the advice I am going to give you, for the reason that things are far from well, and that you are receiving harm where you ought to get only good. 18It is an excellent thing that you assemble yourselves together that you may get mutual profit thereby, but not if thereby differences and divisions arise amongst you. This I have heard to be the case, and so in a measure I believe it to be; 19because these divisions, it would seem, have a part to play in our faith, whereby the false are separated from the true, and true faith is tried and tested. 20-21Similarly taking food and drink in common, arriving at this meal hungry and thirsty, is no part of our faith. To dine all together is not to eat the supper of the Lord, especially when some are far better provided than others, and there are great differences in the way you fare at this common feast, and excess even and want are found seated at the same table. 22I like not such customs as that. Why not take your meals in the ordinary way at home? To eat and drink in such a way is to hasten the doom that is coming on all flesh — that doom and judgment of the flesh which is seen in the sickness, the ill-health and the death that still is found amongst your numbers. Now through the eternal body and blood of the Christ we are released from that fate and judgment that come upon the flesh. We look forward to the appearance and coming of the eternal Christ, and we show forth that peculiar death of his which overcame death and releases us from it.
The last supper described
23That is what the Lord Jesus meant by his words at that last supper the night on which they took him, when he handed the cup to his disciples, and broke the bread for them. I taught you his words and his action on that occasion, as they were given me by those who were present. 24After taking the bread, he gave thanks, spoke the usual blessing, and handed it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is surrendered on your behalf. In future, when you break bread thus, and give thanks, remember my body, remember me.” 25-26In handing the cup after dinner, he said, “This is the new covenant, sealed in my blood. In future, whenever you take wine thus together, think of this new covenant, remember my blood.”
Its spiritual meaning explained
27Do you then my brethren, when you come together, eating and drinking, with the intention of carrying out his injunction, and recalling his words, do you really discern beneath this semblance and type of bread and wine the eternal body of Christ to which we belong? Do you really celebrate that wondrous death of his, which differed from all other deaths in that it is to be followed by his second coming and eternal presence in the world? 28Examine yourselves on these points, and assemble together in that spirit only. Otherwise you will only eat and drink the doom of all flesh, as it comes upon the whole world. 29But if you discerned that infinite eternal body, if you understood the meaning of Christ's death in the flesh, and what is signified by the shedding of his blood, and the giving up of his mortal life and material body — 30-31then, my brethren, there would not be so much sickness and disease and death in your midst as there still is. 32-33You would not be bound up with the world in the common doom of perishing mortality, but by first judging yourselves, you would then escape the general ruin. 34Such feasts as you observe, where the eating and drinking predominate over the teaching, have little in keeping with the Lord's supper and this can be avoided by eating first at home, and then when you come together, giving place to one another, and taking the bread and wine as it comes to you. There are other details in connection with this matter which I will arrange when I see you.
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1 # 1 Cor 4.16; Phil 3.17 Imitate me, then, just as I imitate Christ.
Covering the Head in Worship
2I praise you because you always remember me and follow the teachings that I have handed on to you. 3But I want you to understand that Christ is supreme over every man, the husband is supreme over his wife, and God is supreme over Christ. 4So a man who prays or proclaims God's message in public worship with his head covered disgraces Christ. 5And any woman who prays or proclaims God's message in public worship with nothing on her head disgraces her husband; there is no difference between her and a woman whose head has been shaved. 6If the woman does not cover her head, she might as well cut her hair. And since it is a shameful thing for a woman to shave her head or cut her hair, she should cover her head. 7#Gen 1.26–27A man has no need to cover his head, because he reflects the image and glory of God. But woman reflects the glory of man; 8#Gen 2.18–23for man was not created from woman, but woman from man. 9Nor was man created for woman's sake, but woman was created for man's sake. 10On account of the angels, then, a woman should have a covering over her head to show that she is under her husband's authority. 11In our life in the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. 12For as woman was made from man, in the same way man is born of woman; and it is God who brings everything into existence.
13Judge for yourselves whether it is proper for a woman to pray to God in public worship with nothing on her head. 14Why, nature itself teaches you that long hair on a man is a disgrace, 15but on a woman it is a thing of beauty. Her long hair has been given her to serve as a covering. 16But if anyone wants to argue about it, all I have to say is that neither we nor the churches of God have any other custom in worship.
The Lord's Supper
(Mt 26.26–29; Mk 14.22–25; Lk 22.14–20)
17In the following instructions, however, I do not praise you, because your meetings for worship actually do more harm than good. 18In the first place, I have been told that there are opposing groups in your meetings; and this I believe is partly true. 19(No doubt there must be divisions among you so that the ones who are in the right may be clearly seen.) 20When you meet together as a group, it is not the Lord's Supper that you eat. 21For as you eat, you each go ahead with your own meal, so that some are hungry while others get drunk. 22Haven't you got your own homes in which to eat and drink? Or would you rather despise the church of God and put to shame the people who are in need? What do you expect me to say to you about this? Shall I praise you? Of course I don't!
23For I received from the Lord the teaching that I passed on to you: that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took a piece of bread, 24gave thanks to God, broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in memory of me.” 25#Ex 24.6–8; Jer 31.31–34In the same way, after the supper he took the cup and said, “This cup is God's new covenant, sealed with my blood. Whenever you drink it, do so in memory of me.”
26This means that every time you eat this bread and drink from this cup you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. 27It follows that if anyone eats the Lord's bread or drinks from his cup in a way that dishonours him, he or she is guilty of sin against the Lord's body and blood. 28So then, you should all examine yourselves first, and then eat the bread and drink from the cup. 29For if people do not recognize the meaning of the Lord's body when they eat the bread and drink from the cup, they bring judgement on themselves as they eat and drink. 30That is why many of you are weak and ill, and several have died. 31If we would examine ourselves first, we would not come under God's judgement. 32But we are judged and punished by the Lord, so that we shall not be condemned together with the world.
33So then, my brothers and sisters, when you gather together to eat the Lord's Supper, wait for one another. 34Anyone who is hungry should eat at home, so that you will not come under God's judgement as you meet together. As for the other matters, I will settle them when I come.