1 Corinthians 11


The apostle reprehends the Corinthians for several

irregularities in their manner of conducting public worship;

the men praying or prophesying with their heads covered, and

the women with their heads uncovered, contrary to custom,

propriety, and decency, 1-6.

Reasons why they should act differently, 7-16.

They are also reproved for their divisions and heresies, 17-19.

And for the irregular manner in which they celebrated the Lord's

Supper, 20-22.

The proper manner of celebrating this holy rite laid down by

the apostle, 23-26.

Directions for a profitable receiving of the Lord's Supper,

and avoiding the dangerous consequences of communicating

unworthily, 27-34.


Verse 1. Be ye followers of me] This verse certainly belongs

to the preceding chapter, and is here out of all proper place and


Verse 2. That ye remember me in all things] It appears that

the apostle had previously given them a variety of directions

relative to the matters mentioned here; that some had paid strict

attention to them, and that others had not; and that contentions

and divisions were the consequences, which he here reproves and

endeavours to rectify. While Paul and Apollos had preached among

them, they had undoubtedly prescribed every thing that was

necessary to be observed in the Christian worship: but it is

likely that those who joined in idol festivals wished also to

introduce something relative to the mode of conducting the idol

worship into the Christian assembly, which they might think was an

improvement on the apostle's plan.

Verse 3. The head of every man is Christ] The apostle is

speaking particularly of Christianity and its ordinances: Christ

is the Head or Author of this religion; and is the creator,

preserver, and Lord of every man. The man also is the lord or

head of the woman; and the Head or Lord of Christ, as Mediator

between God and man, is God the Father. Here is the order-God

sends his Son Jesus Christ to redeem man; Christ comes and lays

down his life for the world; every man who receives Christianity

confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the

Father; and every believing woman will acknowledge, according to

Ge 3:16, that God has placed her in a dependence on and

subjection to the man. So far there is no difficulty in this


Verse 4. Praying, or prophesying] Any person who engages in

public acts in the worship of God, whether prayer, singing, or

exhortation: for we learn, from the apostle himself, that

προφητευειν, to prophesy, signifies to speak unto men to

edification, exhortation, and comfort, 1Co 14:3. And this

comprehends all that we understand by exhortation, or even


Having his head covered] With his cap or turban on,

dishonoureth his head; because the head being covered was a sign

of subjection; and while he was employed in the public

ministration of the word, he was to be considered as a

representative of Christ, and on this account his being veiled or

covered would be improper. This decision of the apostle was in

point blank hostility to the canons of the Jews; for they would

not suffer a man to pray unless he was veiled, for which they

gave this reason. "He should veil himself to show that he is

ashamed before God, and unworthy with open face to behold him."

See much in Lightfoot on this point.

Verse 5. But every woman that prayeth, &c.] Whatever may be

the meaning of praying and prophesying, in respect to the man,

they have precisely the same meaning in respect to the woman. So

that some women at least, as well as some men, might speak to

others to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. And this

kind of prophesying or teaching was predicted by Joel, Joe 2:28,

and referred to by Peter, Ac 2:17. And had there not been such

gifts bestowed on women, the prophecy could not have had its

fulfilment. The only difference marked by the apostle was, the

man had his head uncovered, because he was the representative of

Christ; the woman had hers covered, because she was placed by the

order of God in a state of subjection to the man, and because it

was a custom, both among the Greeks and Romans, and among the Jews

an express law, that no woman should be seen abroad without a

veil. This was, and is, a common custom through all the east, and

none but public prostitutes go without veils. And if a woman

should appear in public without a veil, she would dishonour her

head-her husband. And she must appear like to those women who had

their hair shorn off as the punishment of whoredom, or adultery.

Tacitus informs us, Germ. 19, that, considering the greatness

of the population, adulteries were very rare among the Germans;

and when any woman was found guilty she was punished in the

following way: accisis crinibus, nudatam coram propinquis expellit

domo maritus; "having cut off her hair, and stripped her before

her relatives, her husband turned her out of doors." And we know

that the woman suspected of adultery was ordered by the law of

Moses to be stripped of her veil, Nu 5:18. Women reduced to a

state of servitude, or slavery, had their hair cut off: so we

learn from Achilles Tatius. Clitophon says, concerning Leucippe,

who was reduced to a state of slavery: πεπραταιδεδουλευκενγην

εσκαψενσεσυληταιτηςκεφαληςτοκαλλοςτηνκουρανορας. lib.

viii. cap. 6, "she was sold for a slave, she dug in the ground,

and her hair being shorn off, her head was deprived of its

ornament," &c. It was also the custom among the Greeks to cut off

their hair in time of mourning. See Euripides in Alcest., ver.

426. Admetus, ordering a common mourning for his wife Alcestis,

says: πενθοςγυναικοςτηςδεκοινουσθαιλεγοκουραξυρηκεικαι

μελαμπεπλωστολη. "I order a general mourning for this woman! let

the hair be shorn off, and a black garment put on." Propriety and

decency of conduct are the points which the apostle seems to have

more especially in view. As a woman who dresses loosely or

fantastically, even in the present day, is considered a disgrace

to her husband, because suspected to be not very sound in her

morals; so in those ancient times, a woman appearing without a

veil would be considered in the same light.

Verse 6. For if the woman be not covered] If she will not

wear a veil in the public assemblies, let her be shorn-let her

carry a public badge of infamy: but if it be a shame-if to be

shorn or shaven would appear, as it must, a badge of infamy, then

let her be covered-let her by all means wear a veil. Even in

mourning it was considered disgraceful to be obliged to shear off

the hair; and lest they should lose this ornament of their heads,

the women contrived to evade the custom, by cutting off the ends

of it only. Euripides, in Orest., ver. 128, speaking of Helen, who

should have shaved her head on account of the death of her sister

Clytemnestra, says: ειδετεπαρακραςωςαπεθρισεντριχαςσωζουσα

καλλοςεστιδεηπαλαιγυνη: "see how she cuts off only the very

points of her hair, that she may preserve her beauty, and is just

the same woman as before." See the note on the preceding verse.

In Hindostan a woman cuts off her hair at the death of her

husband, as a token of widowhood; but this is never performed by a

married woman, whose hair is considered an essential ornament.

The veil of the Hindoo women is nothing more than the garment

brought over the face, which is always very carefully done by the

higher classes of women when they appear in the streets.-Ward's


Verse 7. A man indeed ought not to cover his head] He should

not wear his cap or turban in the public congregation, for this

was a badge of servitude, or an indication that he had a

conscience overwhelmed with guilt; and besides, it was contrary to

the custom that prevailed, both among the Greeks and Romans.

He is the image and glory of God] He is God's vicegerent in

this lower world; and, by the authority which he has received from

his Master, he is his representative among the creatures, and

exhibits, more than any other part of the creation, the glory and

perfections of the Creator.

But the woman is the glory of the man.] As the man is, among

the creatures, the representative of the glory and perfections of

God, so that the fear of him and the dread of him are on every

beast of the field, &c.; so the woman is, in the house and family,

the representative of the power and authority of the man. I

believe this to be the meaning of the apostle; and that he is

speaking here principally concerning power and authority, and

skill to use them. It is certainly not the moral image of God,

nor his celestial glory, of which he speaks in this verse.

Verse 8. For, the man is not of the woman] Bishop Pearce

translates ουγαρεστινανηρεκγυναικοςαλλαγυνηεξανδρος,

thus: "For the man doth not BELONG to the woman, but the woman to

the man." And vindicates this sense of εκ, by its use in

1Co 12:15. If the foot shall say, ουκειμιεκτουσωματος, I am

not of the body, i.e. I do not belong to the body. He observes

that as the verb εστιν is in the present tense, and will not allow

that we should understand this verse of something that is past,

γαρ, for, in the following verse, which is unnoticed by our

translators, will have its full propriety and meaning, because it

introduces a reason why the woman belongs to the man and not the

man to the woman. His meaning is, that the man does not belong to

the woman, as if she was the principal; but the woman belongs to

the man in that view.

Verse 9. Neither was the man created, &c.] καιγαρουκ

εκτισθη. for the man was not created upon the woman's account.

The reason is plain from what is mentioned above; and from the

original creation of woman she was made for the man, to be his

proper or suitable helper.

Verse 10. For this cause ought the woman to have power on her

head because of the angels.] There are few portions in the

sacred writings that have given rise to such a variety of

conjectures and explanations, and are less understood, than this

verse, and 1Co 15:29. Our translators were puzzled with it; and

have inserted here one of the largest marginal readings found any

where in their work; but this is only on the words power on her

head, which they interpret thus: that is, a covering, in sign that

she is under the power of her husband. But, admitting this

marginal reading to be a satisfactory solution so far as it goes,

it by no means removes all the difficulty. Mr. Locke ingenuously

acknowledged that he did not understand the meaning of the words;

and almost every critic and learned man has a different

explanation. Some have endeavoured to force out a meaning by

altering the text. The emendation of Mr. Toup, of Cornwall, is

the most remarkable: he reads εξιουσα, going out, instead of

εξουσιαν, power; wherefore the woman, when she goes out, should

have a veil on her head. Whatever ingenuity there may appear in

this emendation, the consideration that it is not acknowledged by

any MS., or version, or primitive writer, is sufficient proof

against it. Dr. Lightfoot, Schoettgen, and Bishop Pearce, have

written best on the subject, in which they allow that there are

many difficulties. The latter contends, 1. That the original

should be read, Wherefore the woman ought to have A power upon her

head, that is, the power of the husband over the wife; the word

power standing for the sign or token of that power which was a

covering or veil. Theophylact explains the word, τοτου

εξουσιαζεσθαισυμβολοντουτεστιτοκαλυμμα, "the symbol of being

under power, that is, a veil, or covering." And Photius explains

it thus: τηςυποταγηςσυμβολοντοεπιτηςκεφαληςκαλυμμαφερειν;

to wear a veil on the head is a symbol of subjection. It is no

unusual thing, in the Old and New Testament, for the signs and

tokens of things to be called by the names of the things

themselves, for thus circumcision is called the covenant, in

Ge 17:10, 13,

though it was only the sign of it.

2. The word angels presents another difficulty. Some suppose

that by these the apostle means the fallen angels, or devils;

others, the governors of the Church; and others, those who were

deputed among the Jews to espouse a virgin in the name of a lover.

All these senses the learned bishop rejects, and believes that the

apostle uses the word angels, in its most obvious sense, for the

heavenly angels; and that he speaks according to the notion which

then prevailed among Jews, that the holy angels interested

themselves in the affairs of men, and particularly were present in

their religious assemblies, as the cherubim, their representation,

were present in their temple. Thus we read in Ec 5:6:

Neither say thou before the ANGEL, it was an error; and in

1Ti 5:21:

I charge thee before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect

ANGELS, &c. Parallel to these is what Agrippa says in his oration

to the Jews, Josephus, War, b. ii. chap. 16: I protest before God,

your holy temple, and all the ANGELS of heaven, &c. All which

passages suppose, or were spoken to those who supposed, that the

angels know what passes here upon earth. The notion, whether just

or not, prevailed among the Jews; and if so, St. Paul might speak

according to the common opinion.

3. Another difficulty lies in the phrase διατουτο, wherefore,

which shows that this verse is a conclusion from what the apostle

was arguing before; which we may understand thus: that his

conclusion, from the foregoing argument, ought to have the more

weight, upon account of the presence, real or supposed, of the

holy angels, at their religious meetings. See Bishop Pearce,

in loc.

The learned bishop is not very willing to allow that the

doctrine of the presence of angelic beings in religious assemblies

is legitimate; but what difficulty can there be in this, if we

take the words of the apostle in another place: Are they not all

ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be

heirs of salvation? Heb 1:14. And perhaps there is no time in

which they can render more essential services to the followers of

God than when they are engaged in Divine ordinances. On the

whole, the bishop's sense of the passage and paraphrase stands

thus: "And because of this superiority in the man, I conclude that

the woman should have on her head a veil, the mark of her

husband's power over her, especially in the religious assemblies,

where the angels are supposed to be invisibly present."

The ancient versions make little alteration in the common

reading, and the MSS. leave the verse nearly as it stands in the

common printed editions. The Armenian has a word that answers to

umbram, a shade or covering. The AEthiopic, her head should be

veiled. The common editions of the Vulgate have potestatem,

power; but in an ancient edition of the Vulgate, perhaps one of

the first, if not the first, ever printed, 2 vols. fol., sine ulla

nota anni, &c.: the verse stands thus: Ideo debet mulier velamen

habere super caput suum: et propter angelos. My old MS.

translation seems to have been taken from a MS. which had the same

reading: Wherefore the woman schal haue a veyl on her heuyd; and

for aungels. Some copies of the Itala have also velamen, a veil.

In his view of this text, Kypke differs from all others; and

nothing that so judicious a critic advances should be lightly

regarded. 1. He contends that εξουσιαν occurs nowhere in the

sense of veil, and yet he supposes that the word καλυμμα, veil is

understood, and must in the translation of the passage be

supplied. 2. He directs that a comma be placed after εξουσιαν,

and that it be construed with οφειλει, ought; after which he

translates the verse thus: Propterea mulier potestati obnoxia est,

ita ut velamen in capite habeat propter angelos; On this account

the woman is subject to power, so that she should have a veil on

her head, because of the angels. 3. He contends that both the

Latins and Greeks use debere and οφειλειν elegantly to express

that to which one is obnoxious or liable. So Horace:-

---- Tu, nisi ventis

Debes ludibrium, cave.

Carm. lib. i. Od. xiv. ver. 15.

Take heed lest thou owe a laughing stock to the

winds; i.e. lest thou become the sport of the

winds; for to these thou art now exposing thyself.

So Dionys. Hal. Ant. lib. iii., page 205: καιπολληνοφειλοντες

αισχυνηναπηλθονεκτηςαγορας. They departed from the market,

exposed to great dishonour. So Euripides, οφειλωσοιβλαβην.

I am exposed to thy injury.

4. He contends that the words taken in this sense agree

perfectly with the context, and with διατουτο, wherefore, in this

verse, "Because the man was not created for the woman, but the

woman for the man, therefore she is subject to his authority, and

should have a veil on her head as a token of that subjection; and

particularly before the holy angels, who are present in the

congregations of the saints."

For Dr. Lightfoot's opinion, that by angels we are to

understand the paranymphs, or messengers who came on the part of

others, to look out for proper spouses for their friends, I must

refer to his works, vol. ii. fol., p. 772. The reader has now

before him every thing that is likely to cast light on this

difficult subject, and he must either adopt what he judges to be

best, or else think for himself.

After all, the custom of the Nazarite may cast some light upon

this place. As Nazarite means one who has separated himself by

vow to some religious austerity, wearing his own hair, &c.; so a

married woman was considered a Nazarite for life; i.e. separated

from all others, and joined to one husband, who is her lord: and

hence the apostle, alluding to this circumstance, says, The woman

ought to have power on her head, i.e. wear her hair and veil,

for her hair is a proof of her being a Nazarite, and of her

subjection to her husband, as the Nazarite was under subjection to

the Lord, according to the rule or law of his order.

See Clarke's notes on Nu 6:5-7.

Verse 11. Neither is the man without the woman] The apostle

seems to say: I do not intimate any disparagement of the female

sex, by insisting on the necessity of her being under the power or

authority of the man; for they are both equally dependent on each

other, in the Lord, ενκυριω: but instead of this reading,

Theodoret has εντωκοσμω, in the world. Probably the apostle

means that the human race is continued by an especial providence

of God. Others think that he means that men and women equally

make a Christian society, and in it have equal rights and


Verse 12. For as the woman is of the man] For as the woman

was first formed out of the side of man, man has ever since been

formed out of the womb of the woman; but they, as all other

created things, are of God.

Verse 13. Judge in yourselves] Consider the subject in your

own common sense, and then say whether it be decent for a woman to

pray in public without a veil on her head? The heathen

priestesses prayed or delivered their oracles bare-headed or with

dishevelled hair, non comptae mansere comae, as in the case of the

Cumaean Sibyl, AEn. vi., ver. 48, and otherwise in great disorder:

to be conformed to them would be very disgraceful to Christian

women. And in reference to such things as these, the apostle

appeals to their sense of honour and decency.

Verse 14. Doth not-nature-teach you, that, if a man have long

hair] Nature certainly teaches us, by bestowing it, that it is

proper for women to have long hair; and it is not so with men.

The hair of the male rarely grows like that of a female, unless

art is used, and even then it bears but a scanty proportion to the

former. Hence it is truly womanish to have long hair, and it is a

shame to the man who affects it. In ancient times the people of

Achaia, the province in which Corinth stood, and the Greeks in

general, were noted for their long hair; and hence called by

Homer, in a great variety of places, καρηκομοωντεςαχαιοι, the

long-haired Greeks, or Achaeans. Soldiers, in different

countries, have been distinguished for their long hair; but

whether this can be said to their praise or blame, or whether

Homer uses it always as a term of respect, when he applies it to

the Greeks, I shall not wait here to inquire. Long hair was

certainly not in repute among the Jews. The Nazarites let their

hair grow, but it was as a token of humiliation; and it is

possible that St. Paul had this in view. There were consequently

two reasons why the apostle should condemn this practice:-1.

Because it was a sign of humiliation; 2. Because it was womanish.

After all it is possible that St. Paul may refer to dressed,

frizzled and curled hair, which shallow and effeminate men might

have affected in that time, as they do in this. Perhaps there is

not a sight more ridiculous in the eye of common sense than a

high-dressed, curled, cued, and powdered head, with which the

operator must have taken considerable pains, and the silly patient

lost much time and comfort in submitting to what all but senseless

custom must call an indignity and degradation. Hear nature, common

sense, and reason, and they will inform you, that if a man have

long hair, it is a shame unto him.

Verse 15. But if a woman have long hair] The Author of their

being has given a larger proportion of hair to the head of women

than to that of men; and to them it is an especial ornament, and

may in various cases serve as a veil.

It is a certain fact that a man's long hair renders him

contemptible, and a woman's long hair renders her more amiable.

Nature and the apostle speak the same language; we may account for

it as we please.

Verse 16. But if any man seem to be contentious] ειδετις

δοκειφιλονεικοςειναι. If any person sets himself up as a

wrangler-puts himself forward as a defender of such points, that a

woman may pray or teach with her head uncovered, and that a man

may, without reproach, have long hair; let him know that we have

no such custom as either, nor are they sanctioned by any of the

Churches of God, whether among the Jews or the Gentiles. We have

already seen that the verb δοκειν, which we translate to seem,

generally strengthens and increases the sense. From the attention

that the apostle has paid to the subject of veils and hair, it is

evident that it must have occasioned considerable disturbance in

the Church of Corinth. They have produced evil effects in much

later times.

Verse 17. Now in this-I praise you not] In the beginning of

this epistle the apostle did praise them for their attention in

general to the rules he had laid down, see 1Co 11:2; but here he

is obliged to condemn certain irregularities which had crept in

among them, particularly relative to the celebration of the Lord's

Supper. Through some false teaching which they had received, in

the absence of the apostle, they appear to have celebrated it

precisely in the same way the Jews did their passover. That, we

know, was a regular meal, only accompanied with certain peculiar

circumstances and ceremonies: two of these ceremonies were, eating

bread, solemnly broken, and drinking a cup of wine called the cup

of blessing. Now, it is certain that our Lord has taken these two

things, and made them expressive of the crucifixion of his body,

and the shedding of his blood, as an atonement for the sins of

mankind. The teachers which had crept into the Corinthian Church

appear to have perverted the whole of this Divine institution; for

the celebration of the Lord's Supper appears to have been made

among them a part of an ordinary meal. The people came together,

and it appears brought their provisions with them; some had much,

others had less; some ate to excess, others had scarcely enough to

suffice nature. One was hungry, and the other was drunken,

μεθυει, was filled to the full; this is the sense of the word

in many places of Scripture. At the conclusion of this irregular

meal they appear to have done something in reference to our Lord's

institution, but more resembling the Jewish passover. These

irregularities, connected with so many indecencies, the apostle

reproves; for, instead of being benefited by the Divine ordinance,

they were injured; they came together not for the better, but for

the worse.

Verse 18. There be divisions among you] They had σχισματα,

schisms, among them: the old parties were kept up, even in the

place where they assembled to eat the Lord's Supper. The

Paulians, the Kephites, and the Apollonians, continued to be

distinct parties; and ate their meals separately, even in the same


Verse 19. There must be also heresies] αιρεσεις. Not a common

consent of the members of the Church, either in the doctrines of

the Gospel, or in the ceremonies of the Christian religion. Their

difference in religious opinion led to a difference in their

religious practice, and thus the Church of God, that should have

been one body, was split into sects and parties. The divisions

and the heresies sprung out of each other. I have spoken largely

on the word heresy in Ac 5:17, to which place I beg leave to

refer the reader.

Verse 20. This is not to eat the Lord's Supper.] They did not

come together to eat the Lord's Supper exclusively, which they

should have done, and not have made it a part of an ordinary meal.

Verse 21. Every one taketh before-his own supper] They had a

grand feast, though the different sects kept in parties by

themselves; but all took as ample a supper as they could provide,

(each bringing his own provisions with him,) before they took what

was called the Lord's Supper. See Clarke on 1Co 11:17.

Verse 22. Have ye not houses to eat and to drink in?] They

should have taken their ordinary meal at home, and have come

together in the church to celebrate the Lord's Supper.

Despise ye the church of God] Ye render the sacred assembly

and the place contemptible by your conduct, and ye show yourselves

destitute of that respect which ye owe to the place set apart for

Divine worship.

And shame them that have not?] τουςμηεχοντας, Them that are

poor; not them who had not victuals at that time, but those who

are so poor as to be incapable of furnishing themselves as others

had done. See Clarke on Mt 13:12.

Verse 23. I have received of the Lord] It is possible that

several of the people at Corinth did receive the bread and wine of

the eucharist as they did the paschal bread and wine, as a mere

commemoration of an event. And as our Lord had by this

institution consecrated that bread and wine, not to be the means

of commemorating the deliverance from Egypt, and their joy on the

account, but their deliverance from sin and death by his passion

and cross; therefore the apostle states that he had received from

the Lord what he delivered; viz. that the eucharistic bread and

wine were to be understood of the accomplishment of that of which

the paschal lamb was the type-the body broken for them, the blood

shed for them.

The Lord Jesus-took bread] See the whole of this account,

collated with the parallel passages in the four Gospels, amply

explained in my Discourse on the Eucharist, and in the notes on

Matt. 26.

Verse 24. This do in remembrance of me.] The papists believe

the apostles were not ordained priests before these words. Si

quis dixerit, illis verbis, hoc facite in meam commemorationem,

Christum non instituisse apostolos sacerdotes, anathema sit: "If

any one shall say that in these words, 'This do in remembrance of

me,' Christ did not ordain his apostles priests, let him be

accursed." Conc. Trid. Sess. 22. Conc. 2. And he that does

believe such an absurdity, on such a ground, is contemptible.

Verse 26. Ye do show the Lord 's death] As in the passover

they showed forth the bondage they had been in, and the redemption

they had received from it; so in the eucharist they showed forth

the sacrificial death of Christ, and the redemption from sin

derived from it.

Verse 27. Whosoever shall eat-and drink-unworthily] To put a

final end to controversies and perplexities relative to these

words and the context, let the reader observe, that to eat and

drink the bread and wine in the Lord's Supper unworthily, is

to eat and drink as the Corinthians did, who ate it not in

reference to Jesus Christ's sacrificial death; but rather in such

a way as the Israelites did the passover, which they celebrated in

remembrance of their deliverance from Egyptian bondage. Likewise,

these mongrel Christians at Corinth used it as a kind of

historical commemoration of the death of Christ; and did not, in

the whole institution, discern the Lord's body and blood as a

sacrificial offering for sin: and besides, in their celebration of

it they acted in a way utterly unbecoming the gravity of a sacred

ordinance. Those who acknowledge it as a sacrificial offering,

and receive it in remembrance of God's love to them in sending his

Son into the world, can neither bring damnation upon themselves by

so doing, nor eat nor drink unworthily. See our translation of

this verse vindicated at the end of the chapter. See Clarke on 1Co 11:34.

Shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. If he use

it irreverently, if he deny that Christ suffered unjustly, (for of

some such persons the apostle must be understood to speak,) then

he in effect joins issue with the Jews in their condemnation and

crucifixion of the Lord Jesus, and renders himself guilty of the

death of our blessed Lord. Some, however, understand the passage

thus: is guilty, i.e. eats and drinks unworthily, and brings on

himself that punishment mentioned 1Co 11:30.

Verse 28. Let a man examine himself] Let him try whether he

has proper faith in the Lord Jesus; and whether he discerns the

Lord's body; and whether he duly considers that the bread and wine

point out the crucified body and spilt blood of Christ.

Verse 29. Eateth and drinketh damnation] κριμα, Judgment,

punishment; and yet this is not unto damnation, for the judgment

or punishment inflicted upon the disorderly and the profane was

intended for their emendation; for in 1Co 11:32, it is said, then

we are judged, κρινομενοι, we are chastened, παιδευμεθα,

corrected as a father does his children, that we should not be

condemned with the world.

Verse 30. For this cause] That they partook of this sacred

ordinance without discerning the Lord's body; many are weak and

sickly: it is hard to say whether these words refer to the

consequences of their own intemperance or to some extraordinary

disorders inflicted immediately by God himself. That there were

disorders of the most reprehensible kind among these people at

this sacred supper, the preceding verses sufficiently point out;

and after such excesses, many might be weak and sickly among them,

and many might sleep, i.e. die; for continual experience shows

us that many fall victims to their own intemperance. How ever,

acting as they did in this solemn and awful sacrament, they might

have "provoked God to plague them with divers diseases and sundry

kinds of death." Communion service.

Verse 31. If we would judge ourselves] If, having acted

improperly, we condemn our conduct and humble ourselves, we shall

not be judged, i.e. punished for the sin we have committed.

Verse 32. But when we are judged] See Clarke on 1Co 11:29.

Verse 33. When ye come together to eat] The Lord's Supper,

tarry one for another-do not eat and drink in parties as ye have

done heretofore; and do not connect it with any other meal.

Verse 34. And if any man hunger] Let him not come to the

house of God to eat an ordinary meal, let him eat at home-take

that in his own house which is necessary for the support of his

body before he comes to that sacred repast, where he should have

the feeding of his soul alone in view.

That ye come not together unto condemnation] That ye may

avoid the curse that must fall on such worthless communicants as

those above mentioned; and that ye may get that especial blessing

which every one that discerns the Lord's body in the eucharist

must receive.

The rest will I set in order, &c.] All the other matters

relative to this business, to which you have referred in your

letter, I will regulate when I come to visit you; as, God

permitting, I fully design. The apostle did visit them about one

year after this, as is generally believed.

I HAVE already been so very particular in this long and

difficult chapter, that I have left neither room nor necessity for

many supplementary observations. A few remarks are all that is


1. The apostle inculcates the necessity of order and

subjection, especially in the Church. Those who are impatient of

rule, are generally those who wish to tyrannize. And those who

are loudest in their complaints against authority, whether civil

or ecclesiastical, are those who wish to have the power in their

own hands, and would infallibly abuse it if they had. They alone

who are willing to obey, are capable of rule; and he who can rule

well, is as willing to obey as to govern. Let all be submissive

and orderly; let the woman know that the man is head and

protector; let the man know that Christ is his head and redeemer,

and the gift of God's endless mercy for the salvation of a lost


2. The apostle insisted on the woman having her head covered in

the Church or Christian assembly. If he saw the manner in which

Christian women now dress, and appear in the ordinances of

religion, what would he think? What would he say? How could he

even distinguish the Christian from the infidel? And if they who

are in Christ are new creatures, and the persons who ordinarily

appear in religious assemblies are really new creatures (as they

profess in general to be) in Christ, he might reasonably inquire:

If these are new creatures, what must have been their appearance

when they were old creatures. Do we dress to be seen? And do we

go to the house of God to exhibit ourselves? Wretched is that man

or woman who goes to the house of God to be seen by any but God


3. The Lord's Supper may be well termed the feast of charity;

how unbecoming this sacred ordinance to be the subject of dispute,

party spirit, and division! Those who make it such must answer

for it to God. Every man who believes in Christ as his atoning

sacrifice should, as frequently as he can, receive the sacrament

of the Lord's Supper. And every minister of Christ is bound to

administer it to every man who is seeking the salvation of his

soul, as well as to all believers. Let no man dare to oppose this

ordinance; and let every man receive it according to the

institution of Christ.

4. Against the fidelity of our translation of 1Co 11:27 of

this chapter, Whosoever shall eat this bread, AND drink this cup

unworthily, several popish writers have made heavy complaints, and

accused the Protestants of wilful corruption; as both the Greek

and Vulgate texts, instead of και and et, AND, have η and

vel, OR: Whosoever shall eat this bread, OR drink this cup. As

this criticism is made to countenance their unscriptural communion

in one kind, it may be well to examine the ground of the complaint.

Supposing even this objection to be valid, their cause can gain

nothing by it while the 26th and 28th verses stand, both in the

Greek text and Vulgate, as they now do: For as often as ye eat

this bread, AND drink this cup, &c. Let him eat of that bread,

AND drink of that cup. But although η, OR, be the reading of the

common printed text, και AND, is the reading of the Codex

Alexandrinus, and the Codex Claromontanus, two of the best MSS. in

the world: as also of the Codex Lincolniensis, 2, and the Codex

Petavianus, 3, both MSS. of the first character: it is also the

reading of the ancient Syriac, all the Arabic, the Coptic, the

margin of the later Syriac, the AEthiopic, different MSS. of the

Vulgate, and of one in my own possession; and of Clemens

Chromatius, and Cassiodorus. Though the present text of the

Vulgate has vel, OR, yet this is a departure from the original

editions, which were all professedly taken from the best MSS. In

the famous Bible with out date, place, or printer's name, 2 vols.

fol., two columns, and forty-five lines in each, supposed by many

to be the first Bible ever printed, the text stands thus: Itaque

quicunque manducaverit panem, ET biberit calicem, &c.; Wherefore

whosoever shall eat this bread AND drink this cup, &c.: here is no

vel, OR. The Bible printed by Fust, 1462, the first Bible with a

date, has the same reading. Did the Protestants corrupt these

texts? In the editio princeps of the Greek Testament, printed by

the authority of Cardinal Ximenes at Complutum, and published by

the authority of Pope Leo X., though η, OR, stands in the Greek

text; yet, in the opposite column, which contains the Vulgate, and

in the opposite line, ET, and, is found, and not VEL, or; though

the Greek text would have authorized the editor to have made this

change: but he conscientiously preserved the text of his Vulgate.

Did the Protestants corrupt this Catholic text also? Indeed, so

little design had any of those who differed from the Romish Church

to make any alteration here, that even Wiclif, having a faulty MS.

of the Vulgate by him, which read vel instead of et, followed that

faulty MS. and translated, And so who ever schal ete the breed or

drinke the cup.

That και, AND, is the true reading, and not η, or, both

MSS. and versions sufficiently prove: also that et, not vels is

the proper reading in the Vulgate, those original editions formed

by Roman Catholics, and one of them by the highest authority in

the papal Church, fully establish: likewise those MSS., versions,

fathers, and original editions, must be allowed to be, not only

competent, but also unsuspected and incontrovertible witnesses.

But as this objection to our translation is brought forward to

vindicate the withholding the cup from the laity in the Lord's

Supper, it may be necessary to show that without the cup there can

be no eucharist. With respect to the bread, our Lord had simply

said, Take, eat, this is my body; but concerning the cup, he says

Drink ye all of this; for as this pointed out the very essence of

the institution, viz. the blood of atonement, it was necessary

that each should have a particular application of it, therefore he

says, Drink ye ALL of THIS. By this we are taught that the cup is

essential to the sacrament of the Lord's Supper; so that they who

deny the cup to the people, sin against God's institution; and

they who receive not the cup, are not partakers of the body and

blood of Christ. If either could without mortal prejudice be

omitted, it might be the bread; but the cup as pointing out the

blood poured out, i.e. the life, by which alone the great

sacrificial act is performed, and remission of sins procured, is

absolutely indispensable. On this ground it is demonstrable, that

there is not a popish priest under heaven, who denies the cup to

the people, (and they all do this,) that can be said to celebrate

the Lord's Supper at all; nor is there one of their votaries that

ever received the holy sacrament. All pretension to this is an

absolute farce so long as the cup, the emblem of the atoning

blood, is denied. How strange is it that the very men who plead

so much for the bare, literal meaning of this is my body, in the

preceding verse, should deny all meaning to drink ye all of this

cup, in this verse! And though Christ has, in the most positive

manner, enjoined it, they will not permit one of the laity to

taste it! See the whole of this argument, at large, in my

Discourse on the Nature and Design of the Eucharist.

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