New Defender's Study Bible Notes
11:2 ordinances. This word can also be translated “traditions.” Before the New Testament Scriptures were written down, the apostles had to provide instructions for guidance of the churches and their order.
11:3 the man. The man is not superior to the woman, as God is not superior to Christ, being of the same essence. However, as there is divine order in the relative functions of the three persons of the Trinity, so it was appropriate for God to ordain a divine order in the functions of the family (husband, wife, children). God established this pattern in the very beginning, when Adam was first formed, then Eve (I Timothy 2:13), and then the children (Genesis 1:28) followed.
11:7 glory of the man. This section (I Corinthians 11:2-16) has to do with church order as an extension of the divine order in the basic institution of the family. Women, in keeping with their divinely established subordinate role (subordinate in role, not in importance or essence), appropriately should indicate this by a covering on their heads—the most suitable covering being long hair (I Corinthians 11:15). An additional shawl or hat or other covering, while appropriate, is not necessary. Men, however, in their leadership role, are to leave their heads uncovered in the church (short hair, no hat, etc.), as symbolic of their direct openness to their own head, which is Christ. Both men and women are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), but that image is especially transmitted, as it were, from father to son (Genesis 5:3), with the woman sharing the divine image in her father and in her husband, as reflected from the formation of the body of the first woman from that of the first man.
11:8 not of the woman. Ever since Adam, men (and women) have been born of women. But the first woman was made from man (Genesis 2:21-24). Here (as in Romans 5:12-19, and other passages) the New Testament draws important doctrinal inferences from a literal acceptance of the creation record in Genesis. The standard evolutionary scenario for the origin of men and women makes no sense whatever in this context. The man and the woman were uniquely created by God, not evolved by chance from ape-like progenitors (I Corinthians 11:9).
11:10 the angels. Angels are “sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Hebrews 1:14), and are intensely interested in the progress of the gospel and the people in the churches (I Peter 1:12; Ephesians 3:10). Evidently every true church has been assigned one or more angels to try to guard and guide it (note the seven letters from Christ to the churches, recorded in Revelation 2 and 3, each addressed to “the angel of the…church” (e.g., Revelation 2:1). Paul was reminding the women in the Corinthian church to keep the sign of “power” (or “authority”) on their heads, in view of the invisible presence of angels observing the church and its congregation.
11:14 long hair. Although there is here no specific definition of how long is “long,” the context indicates that there should be a clear distinction between the long, beautiful hair of women and the short hair of men. The modern unisex fad, with men wearing long hair, earrings and other traditionally feminine accoutrements—especially when taken up by professedly Christian men—is one more sign of rebellion against our Creator. The common depiction of Jesus with long flowing hair must, therefore, be incorrect. In fact, Josephus and other writers of that day indicate that most men, both Jewish and Roman, were usually beardless and short-haired.
11:25 This cup. In the observance of the Lord’s supper, the “cup” represents the New Covenant of God with His people, based on the shed blood of Christ offered in substitutionary sacrifice for our sins. The “cup,” with whatever contents it holds, is often used in Scripture to symbolize some great truth. For example, there is the cup of God’s wrath (Revelation 14:10), which is to be drunk by those who have previously imbibed the cup of Babylonian wickedness (Revelation 17:4). When Christ drank the bitter cup of sin’s wages for us (John 18:11), our own cup becomes a “cup of salvation” (Psalm 116:13) and “runneth over” (Psalm 23:5) with blessing.
11:30 many sleep. “Sleep” is used as a euphemism for death only in the case of Christians (e.g., I Thessalonians 4:13; I Corinthians 15:51). Persistent or unconfessed sin, by a Christian, especially when hypocritically partaking of the Lord’s Supper, risks serious judgment by the Lord, even though not the loss of salvation.
11:31 judge ourselves. Self-judgment is an action encouraged by the Lord’s Supper, and is far better than being chastened by the Lord. But even the latter is far better than being judged with the ungodly world.