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1Corinthians 11:10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on
her head because of the angels.
Volume 1, Sermon 1 Paul teaching on the Lord's Supper
out of context –
A good example
of a verse being taken out of its context is 1Corinthians 11:10. Years
ago I heard teaching on “women being disobedient” and the speaker used
among other things this verse. And regarding this verse the teaching
stated that angels can be tempted toward Christian women in the church;
and therefore some rules of the church should be reconsidered.
Ah, but such a
concept has nothing to do with the Apostle Paul’s teaching to the
Corinthians. Discussed here, then, is what Paul actually taught and the
teaching is extremely important, to which Christians today should be
reminded. Please note that 1Corinthians 11, from beginning to end, is
about the Lord’s Supper and the dangers for many Christians in
partaking of it.
We will be using Strong’s Bible
11:10, the word ‘power’
First we need
to discuss the part of the chapter that gives modern Christians
difficulty. So let us dive right into the verses and some of the Greek
For the word ‘power’, Strong's number is 1845. It
means ‘privilege’, and when
used regarding an object (i.e. in this passage something upon the head)
the word implies ‘a token of control
upon’ the person (i.e. she is under
the authority of another). Also the meaning is ‘positive’, meaning that the one
under such authority is ‘privileged’
to be included under that particular
warrior proudly wore a helmet with the insignia of his king. A police
officer wears a badge with the identification of the district in which
he serves; and no person of authority can approach him with orders ...
except through the authoritative line of command associated with the
person in his district who ‘controls’ him.
badge implies ‘freedom’ for
the officer to perform his duties without restrictions from outside the
authority that is over him.
Also implied is
that there is a ‘force’ (by
means the authority) acting upon the officer such that he has ‘freedom from other forces’ (i.e.
from other authorities).
example: The Spirit of the Father became placed upon His Son,
Jesus Christ. Thus then, the Spirit was equivalent to a Heavenly Badge
signifying to Israelites that their God, the God of Israel, had sent
unto them their Messiah.
the Spirit upon Jesus was much like the long lovely hair of a woman as
she walked and worked properly within the authority upon her. The
apostles also had such Spirit-Badges upon them, which caused
spirit-walking Christians to recognize them as directly from Jesus
regards to this verse, ‘power on her
head’ signified that the woman was married and was walking 'freely'
under her husband’s authority and force or power. Paul mentioned that
the woman's lovely long hair (which she proudly and beautifully
maintained) was a ‘token’ or ‘badge’ of her ‘privilege’ under her husband’s
care, and thus being ‘free’
from interference by other men.
11:10, the word ‘on’
The word ‘on’ means ‘superimposed upon’ (i.e. by
something higher) and it implies ‘distribution’.
Therefore, at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit’s coming was ‘superimposed upon’ the gathered
ones in Christ. This gives us a word-picture which implies ‘distribution’. In other words, the
Holy Spirit that was ‘superimposed’
upon them was also ‘distributed’
in such a manner as to be ‘on’
each person. This clearly means that each person present had been
inclusively chosen by God to be at this meeting at this particular time
to receive that which God would ‘distribute
unto each’ … even as also He was ‘superimposing the arrival of the Holy
Spirit unto’ His entire Church.
The same was
equally true of ‘the token of
privilege’ ‘on’ the
woman (i.e. tokenized by means of the lovely long hair) that indicated
to everyone that she was ‘chosen’
by her husband. Thus, by means of her hair she proudly wore a badge of ‘being his choice’.
In that early
society and time, by using the example of a woman's hair, Paul taught
about proper attitude within a
structure of authority needed by Christians to function properly in
their walk with the Lord;
and this includes ... from the Father to the Son, and on down to God's
chosen leaders, and on down to each Christian man, and to each
Christian woman, and to each child. It is God’s Structure of Authority
in simple form. To discuss this Structure, then, Paul began at the low
level were man and woman live in a family structure.
11:10, the words ‘because of the angels’
The phrase ‘because of the angels’
was a reference to “the Preacher” of the Book of Ecclesiastes. Through
the later ages, Israelites considered the Book of Ecclesiastes to be one great sermon
unto their society and especially unto individuals. They considered it
“never outdated”. In referring to it, Paul certainly considered the
phrase pertinent to the early Church.
thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no
pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.
Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow
and not pay.
Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; (therefore) neither say thou
before the (arriving from
angel, that it was an error (i.e.
should God be angry at thy voice, and [further command the angel to]
destroy the work of thine hands?
verse is 5:6 where God might very well command His sent angel to
further ‘destroy (even) the work of thine hands (also)’.
In this case the ‘angel’
would be sent to a person to chastise him so that he might truly know
and understand the Lord’s position on a particular matter. However ...
sinning with the mouth can be even more dangerous by saying to the
angel, “You do not need to chastise me because it was only a mistake.”
At this point then (God overhearing what is going on) the angel may
receive a new instruction to not only chastise you, but also now to
destroy the work of your hands.
Ecclesiastes chapter 5 has to do with the potential of folly within and
among God's people ... which can lead either to destruction of a person
or of a person’s work. In our modern time, we have seen this occur in
various ministries. God’s destruction of a work (which He had been
using) is a sad commentary regarding those who had created the work …
or regarding those who had taken over the work. The same has been true
of churches which at one time had been a blessing to God’s people in a
community. The reader probably can think of other examples.
consider the righteous priest Zechariah in Luke 1:5-25 and 1:57-80. The
priest and his wife were chosen of God to function within the overall
coming of the Lord Christ Jesus. When the priest challenged the angel,
what happened? In God's heavenly ordained Plan God did not destroy the
work of His own Hands. Neither did He destroy the work of the priest’s
hands. Nevertheless, we see what can happen when an angel of the Lord
is challenged in any manner. What happened to righteous Zechariah was
within the angel’s authority to do. But what if God spoke to the angel
about ‘destruction’ regarding
this priest? It was righteous Zechariah’s mouth that got him into
trouble. The priest should never have suffered his ‘mouth to cause his flesh to sin’.
Far too many
Christians think their words (even when used loosely or errantly) are
“not that big of a deal”.
“Quiet” is best. Especially in times of fear
or perspiration ... “Quiet” is best.
Ecclesiastes chapter begins with -
Keep thy foot (i.e. humbly step softly) when thou goest to the house of
God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools (i.e.
a fool's sacrifice of lips giving praise without true repentance): for they (i.e. such fools) consider not that they do evil (i.e.
in the house of God … when they should be falling on their faces in
It used to be (and
in the Law it always had been) that the house of God was primarily the Place of Repentance;
for repentance was always considered the very first order of business
in a person’s prayer to God. In righteous Zechariah’s case, God spoke
to him through the angel (messenger). How often do we invite the Spirit
to chastise us?
messenger spoke God’s message during the temple’s Time of Prayer of the
The priest had entered behind the great curtain to perform the priestly
duty of burning incense and it occurred at this special hour each day
and it signified that the prayers of the people were also as ‘incense unto the Lord’.
Dedication of the Temple: 2Chronicles 6:19-27 -
Have respect therefore to the prayer of thy servant, and to his
supplication, O LORD my God, to hearken unto the cry and the prayer
which thy servant prayeth before thee:
Note the word ‘servant’
throughout King Solomon's dedication-prayer; and it incorporates any
and every Israelite no matter where he or she happened to be in the
world. This dedication-prayer implies “in
the temple, but also everywhere else”
in regards to an Israelite approaching God in prayer. Moreover, it
applies throughout the ages of the Mosaic Law. And it applies in the
Preacher’s chapter of Ecclesiastes 5. And it had everything to do with
Paul's teaching in our study passage.
That thine eyes may be open upon this house day and night, upon the
place whereof thou hast said that thou wouldest put thy name there; to
hearken unto the prayer which thy servant prayeth toward this place.
Here we see that the person is away from the temple and that he and/or
she is honoring Solomon’s dedication of the temple ... which God had accepted and made permanent.
Hearken therefore unto the supplications of thy servant, and of thy
people Israel, which they shall make toward this place: hear thou from
thy dwelling place, even from heaven; and when thou hearest, forgive.
Here we see the
foremost emphasis on such a prayer is its humility toward God ... in repentance and requesting forgiveness.
Whatever else the prayer would entail, it would be preceded by and in
union with ‘repentance’.
If a man sin against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him to
make him swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house;
Then hear thou from heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, by
requiting the wicked, by recompensing his way upon his own head; and by
justifying the righteous, by giving him according to his righteousness.
King Solomon understood that governmental justice was at best very
poor. Therefore, the king asked that God Himself hear and requite the wicked ones and justify the
(to which of course God was already aware). This meant that God Himself
would sit in judgment regarding any prayer ascending from any and all
sinful Israelites. Therefore, this worked among the Israelites to
always request ... within repentance
... regarding anything in prayer. Israelites were always free to
approach their God upon His throne … and here King Solomon was
introducing into the equation the
sacredness of the temple because God’s chosen place for Himself
was (is) in the heart (temple) of each Israelite.
And if thy people Israel be put to the worse before the enemy, because
they have sinned against thee; and shall return and confess thy name,
and pray and make supplication before thee in this house; Then hear
thou from the heavens, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and
bring them again unto the land which thou gavest to them and to their
people Israel, which they shall make prayer toward this place: hear
thou from thy dwelling place, even from heaven; and when thou hearest,
When the heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have
sinned against thee; yet if they pray toward this place, and confess
thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou dost afflict them; Then
hear thou from heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy
people Israel, when thou hast taught them the good way, wherein they
should walk; and send rain upon thy land, which thou hast given unto
thy people for an inheritance.
(Today note that Muslims continue praying toward their sacred place. No
doubt some Jews still pray toward Jerusalem.)
5:2 (Therefore) Be
not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any
thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore
let thy words be few.
Here was one of the real and true dangers of each Israelite: That in
their following the instructions of King Solomon in his
dedication-prayer ... they could too quickly get into trouble with
their lips in speaking to God.
is one of the real and true dangers for Christians in our churches: In
our usual lack of humility, we think too highly (spiritually) of
ourselves. Too often, we think we can substitute spiritual words for
to 1Corinthians 11
5:1 'Keep thy foot (i.e.
humbly step softly) when thou goest
to the house of God’ is the word ‘keep’. According to Strong, the
Greek means ‘keep safe or keep from
harm, as regarding something treasured’. Therefore, in verse 2
of 1Corinthians 11, Paul has ‘keep the
ordinances’ which refers to the Lord's Supper, which Paul
reiterates for his readers in verses 23–32.
Note again that
this entire Chapter 11 has to do with the
Lord's Supper and Its sacredness. Moreover, it has to do with
the potential dangers as Christians
partake too lightly of it before the Lord.
This is why ... in discussing the example of women being within the
structure of authority ... that Paul deferred to the Ancient Preacher
of Ecclesiastes (5:6).
Furthermore, we must note here that all of the New Testament writers
constantly either referred to or directly quoted from a great many
passages of the Old Testament which was their own and only Bible. It
was true of Jesus in the Gospels and all the way through Revelation
where Jesus himself gave revelations to the Apostle John.
Be ye followers (i.e. 'imitators') of me, even as I also am of Christ.
Paul begins Chapter 11 with the Line of Authority he is in ... that is
under (and thus he himself ‘follows’ by 'imitating') Christ. Within
this Line is his position of both apostle and teacher; and Jesus had
personally instructed Paul to go unto the churches. Here, then, Paul
was teaching to church members, warning them.
11:2 Now I praise you, brethren, that
ye remember me in all things, and (also) keep the ordinances (of the Lord's
Supper), as I (earlier had) delivered them to you.
Here we see that the
Christians of Corinth were keeping the Lord's Supper as it should be
kept “in letter”.
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.
Christians were not
keeping it entirely “in spirit”. In Hebrews 11:6 we see that a proper thing must be done in faith
because only then can any proper
thing please God.
11:16 But if any man seem to be
contentious (i.e. there were some in Corinth who thought
differently from Paul on this subject),
we (i.e. the apostles) have no
such (different) custom,
neither the (other many) churches
especially for the Lord’s Supper, Paul teaches that God was displeased
with these Christians.
reader, for something to be
done in faith it must also be done according to God's ordained
structure of authority.
Thus, Paul (before getting to the subject of the Lord’s Supper) in
verses 3-15 dealt with the subject of authority; and he began with
man-and-woman in general, and with husband-and-wife in specific. Paul
emphasized that if a man and/or a woman be not
in a properly structured relationship before God then he and/or she
would be in danger of God’s displeasure when entering into the Lord’s
walk with God, all should be right between him and/or her and the Lord
before joining into such a sacred ceremony. Like the Israelite of the
Mosaic Law ... wherever he and/or she happened to be located ... true humble repentance was expected
first when addressing God. Therefore, how much more so before entering
into the Lord’s Supper?
Here Paul moves on to another part of his overall subject: the proper
(i.e. worthy) taking of the Lord's Supper -
Now in this that I declare unto you I
praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the
worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear
that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there
must be also heresies (i.e. those that choose divergent
concepts) among you, (so) that they which are approved (i.e.
approved by God and His Spirit) may be
made manifest among you (i.e. become apparent to all as men and
women of God and not just being of church members).
This means that those whom we think are godly in their teachings may
not be so. When God so chooses, He may do something out of the ordinary
to manifest others as special unto Him, and that all should give them
ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God,
and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise
you in this? I praise you not.
When ye come together (i.e.
gather) therefore into one place, this (i.e. your gathering) is not to
eat the Lord's supper. For in eating (i.e. in your gathering) every one
taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is
words, those who bring their favorite food and drink in abundance to
this Lord's supper also go first in line so as to abundantly partake of
their favorite foods and drink; and they sit with their cliques of
friends such that those who have brought little or nothing are left
with little or nothing to eat or drink (except the ceremony itself of
the Lord’s supper in bread and wine ... which in Corinth was
accomplished according to Paul’s early instruction).
For I have
received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the
Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when
he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body,
which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same
manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is
the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in
remembrance of me. For (Paul
continues) as often as ye eat this
bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.
(therefore) let a man examine
himself, and so let him (in spirit) eat
of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh
unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, (because
not discerning the Lord's body.
The Greek meaning of
‘shew’ is ‘broadcast, declare, make public’ as truth ... Or as a 'substantial proclamation' (i.e.
like the initial governmental proclamation that World War Two was over…
a glorious moment in American history).
this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
Wherefore (Paul continues)
whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord,
unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
The Greek word ‘discerning’
means ‘separate thoroughly’.
Therefore, during this sacred occasion, the Christian should discern
(i.e. 'separate thoroughly') ‘the Lord’s body’, which means unite into the purpose of Jesus’ death
and therefore into his final
commandment: ‘to love
(agape) one another’.
in Corinth the more well-to-do folks in the congregation were failing God’s condition to partake. And as such, each ‘eateth and drinketh damnation to himself’.
if we would judge
to scripture and Jesus’ words), we
should not be
judged (by God).
But when we (in
fact really) are judged, we are (i.e.
become) chastened of the Lord, that we (should learn and)
chastisement that we) not be condemned (along) with
my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.
The Greek for ‘tarry’
means ‘accept from’ (i.e. 'accept from a giving' Source, like
Thus, each Christian was supposed to ‘await
one for another’ so as to
‘accept from’ the Lord his
Coming and his Fulfilled Promises. Indeed,
those who had the necessary means to help 'others’ were to provide ...
in the spirit of God’s family ... ‘one
for another’ ... Thereby,
awaiting their Lord.
(i.e. moreover,) if
man hunger (like
those hungrily eating and drinking), let
him eat at
home; that ye come not together (i.e. gather in church) unto
condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.
It was like this:
well-to-doers would bring a feast-of-foods (which they thought
befitting such a special occasion). Therefore, during the day they
would wait at home not eating (saving their eating for the dinner) in
anticipation of banqueting upon what they and the other well-to-doers
For this cause many
are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
Such occasions typically produced cliques. By
cliques leave out others … and these others then understand they should
attempt to gather in their own clique or find one that will accept them
Barbara and I have firsthand knowledge of God’s miraculous healing when
He brought our baby son out of certain death. (You can read the account
in my book God’s Hook, a book about faith and is free for download.)
God healed baby Ben not once but two separate times in less than ten
days, and He did it in a manner such that everyone involved (us,
friends, family, doctors, nurses, etc.) knew that each healing was
nothing but a miracle.
Yet, we have
not since observed another sure,
proven, witnessed-by-experts miracle. Even so, we have observed
and been part of praying to God for Him to do such healings.
The Lord has so
often answered our prayers ... yet, in ways such that we could not prove that it was God
like we could have proved when Ben was born. And so, whenever we cannot prove that something is
accomplished by God Himself then we do not claim that “God did
this or that”.
Barbara and I
are entirely convinced that God can "prove" Himself when and as He
desires to do so … and He does not need us in doing it. Yet, with baby
Ben we were surely glad and amazed to witness it along with the many
individually, and in groups, and in whole churches (sometimes across
the land, as in praying for America) sincerely ask God to heal. And so
yes, there is much teaching of others that our God is a healing God.
We, too, have
brothers and sisters in the Lord that believe and teach varied concepts
of “healing” ... yet, seldom do any "move" God to heal in a manner such
that “the healing” can be
acknowledged by all (Christians and non-Christians alike) as having been accomplished by God Himself.
We know that
our God is Mighty to save,
Mighty in compassion, and can
Mightily heal. Even so, ‘For this cause many are weak and sickly
among you, and many sleep.’
Dear reader, we
must not miss the emphasis that Paul placed on the Structure of Authority. After
he introduced the subject matter of Chapter 11 (verses 1, 2) he
immediately entered into the
Structure of Authority. He entered the Structure on the low level were
we are (verses 4 through 16). Paul inferred that Christians who fail to live correctly at our low level
and fail to honor the Structure of
Authority given by God are in danger before Him ... especially
as they enter sacred ordinances like
the Lord’s Supper.
In our modern
age we must not think that God has changed (i.e. modernized) the Structure of Authority ...
which Structure includes
proper instruction and raising of children. Therefore, he who lacks the Structure of Authority within
his family … he cannot legally under
God fill a position of spiritual leadership within the Family of
We have read of
Paul, and of the Preacher of Ecclesiastes, and of King Solomon’s
dedication-prayer of the temple. Paul refers to the Preacher, and the
Preacher refers to King Solomon.
God’s entire Word is One. Jesus and his chosen
apostles, shortly before the Crucifixion, lived the Lord’s Supper
before us in Scripture. For us, then, God has seen fit that we have the
opportunity to –
‘…let a man
examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that
cup… discerning the Lord's body.’
the Lord's body’ is not celebrating; it is both examining and
PS. I had begun this
sermon with this
A good example of a
verse being taken out of its context is 1Corinthians 11:10. Years ago
I heard teaching on “women being disobedient” and the speaker
used among other things this verse. And regarding this verse the
teaching stated that angels can be tempted toward Christian women in
the church; and therefore some rules of the church should be
but that concept has nothing to do with the Apostle Paul’s teaching
to the Corinthians.
is it not how misappropriating a verse can lead a person into concepts
very different from the actual concept intended, which usually can be
very meaningful, like Paul commenting on authority regarding the sacredness of the Lord's Supper.
PPS. I seldom want to stray out of a Bible
text once I have begun in it, but because
I had to move around in the Word to present this sermon I had to create
a section in the website for sermons. I will see if the Lord might want
me to do more sermons.
can also download this study as a pdf file.
Johnson at Christian Wilderness Press -
the website click on the logo at the top of the page.