A Bible Study on 1Cor.11
Before we begin our study on 1 Cor. 11:1-16, we must check the background of the book of 1 Corinthians as a whole to get a grasp of it’s content and context before we proceed to chapter eleven as our main focus:1 Cor. 1:1-2.
1. “Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
2. Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their’s and our’s:”
An apostle is a sent one, and Paul was such a one; not self appointed but called by the Lord. His apostleship was authentic (1 Cor. 9:1-5; 2 Cor. 12:11-12; cf. 2 Cor. 11:13; Rev. 2:2), having authority of God’s New Testament administration (2 Cor. 10:8; 13:10). Based on this position with this authority the apostle wrote this Epistle, not only to nourish and build up the saints in Corinth, but also to regulate and adjust the church there by establishing God’s order!
Paul addressed the church in Corinth as the church of God! Not the church of Cephas, of Apolllos, of Paul, of any doctrine or practice, but of God. Also, in spite of all the division, sin, confusion, abusing of spiritual gifts, and heretical teaching in the church in Corinth, the apostle still called it “the church of God”, because the divine and spiritual essence which makes the assembled believers the church of God were actually present there.
Although the Corinthian believers had received all the initial gifts in life and were lacking in none of them (1 Cor. 1:7), they did not grow in the life. However, after receiving the gifts of the Spirit, they remained infants in Christ, as those who were not spiritual but carnal and fleshy (1 Cor. 31-3). Their deficiency and need here was to grow in the Christ life to maturity, to be full grown, bearing the fruit of the Spirit (1 Cor. 2:6; Col. 1:28; Gal. 5:22-23).
Church is a composition of the saints and, and the saints are the constituents of the church. The two should not be considered separate entities; individually, we are the saints; corporately, we are the church. The church is constituted of the universal God, but it exists on earth in many localities, one of which was Corinth.
In nature the church is universal in God, but in practice the church is local in a definite place. Hence, the church has two aspects: the universal and the local. Without the universal aspect, the church is void of content; without the local aspect, it is impossible for the church to have any expression and practice in a locality.
In this Epistle the apostle dealt with eleven problems among the believers in Corinth. The first six problems, dealt with from chapters 1-10, may be considered one group; they are concerned with matters in the realm of the human life. The last five problems, dealt with in chapters 11-16, constitute another group group; they are concerned with matters in the realm of God’s administration. They are as follows :
1. The matter of division (chapters 1-4), which is related mainly to the natural life of the soul; which pertains to the strife that comes from pride. Division is nearly always the leading problem, bringing in all other problems among believers; it may be considered the root of the problems among the believers. Hence, in dealing with the problems in the church at Corinth, the apostle’s axe first touched the root, that is, the division among the believers there.
The first virtue of the believer’s walk that is worthy of God’s calling is the keeping of the oneness of the Body of Christ (Eph. 4:16).
2. The sin of fornication (chapter 5) which is related to the lust of the flesh; it involved incest with one’s stepmother, which is morally more gross than division.
3. The problem of one brother going to law against another (chapter 6:1-11), this is not a sin like division initiated by the soul, nor gross sin like incest, carried out by the lustful body.
This is a case of claiming legal rights, being unwilling to suffer wrong and unwilling to learn the lesson of the cross.
4. The abuse of freedom in foods and in the body chapter 6:12-20). Foods is for man to exist and sex (pertaining to the body) for man to propagate are both necessary and ordained by God.
Man has the right to use them, however, he should not abuse them; nor be under their power, controlled and enslaved by them.
5. The matter of marriage (chapter 7), it dealt with it according to the same principles established in number four above.
6. The eating of things sacrificed to idols (chapters 8:1-11:1); involves walking in love and putting others into consideration, not allowing your right to become a stumbling block.
7. Deals with the head covering (chapter 11:1:16) – Note that, this is the first problem in this latter group, it concerns the headship of Christ and of God in the divine government. In Eph. 1:22-23, the headship of Christ over all things is to His Body, the church; but here, the headship of Christ over every man is related to individual saints. Christ is the Head of the Body, the church (Eph. 5:23), corporately, and the believers individually; He is the Head of everyone of us directly.
In the apostle’s dealing with the Corinthians’ problems related to God’s administration and not related to the realms of human life, the headship of Christ and God was his first concern (1 Cor. 11:3).
8. The problem concerning the Lord’s supper (chapter 11:17-34). The second problem in this category of matters relating to God’s divine administration and government, which also is in 1 Cor. 11, hence, falling into our focus for consideration.
9. The problem of spiritual gifts (chapters 12-14), in relation to God’s administration and operation.
10. Dealing with the matter of resurrection (chapter 15).
11. Matters concerned with money, mammon, and material possessions (chapter 16) – All of fallen mankind is under the domination of mammon and material possessions.
Let’s bear in mind that our focus bothers on numbers 7 and 8 on the list above, and the issues dealt with there relates purely to God’s divine administration and government, not among those relating to the realm of human life and living.