March 29, 2015: Daily Bible Reading with Commentary for 1 Corinthians 11-12
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Context: Once again, it is important to remember that Paul was addressing several cultural specific problems in his letter, such as the covering, or uncovering of heads. Verse 13 address the culturally specificity - we are to judge for ourselves based on the culture around us. The more important point in this section is that husbands and wives should act in a manner that is honoring to their spouse. Communion today, or the Lord's Supper, is often an additional 15 minutes tacked on the end of the regular Sunday worship service. During the early church, the Lord's Supper was an event. Some churches today host Love Feasts, which mirrors how the Corinthians celebrated. However, the Corinthians were incorporating worldly rituals into their gatherings. The rich ate and drank first, while the poor stood, hungry, and waited. At times, there was nothing left for the poor. Is this how the church is to act?! Of course not! All are to be treated as equal. Paul even says that if you are able, you are to eat at home, so that there may be more for the poor. The Lord's Supper is a time to bring the church together, not divide it. Paul then, in chapter 12, responds to a question about spiritual gifts. Paul stresses that all spiritual gifts, given by the Lord, are great. We are not to take pride in our spiritual gift or be ashamed of it. One is not better than the other, rather we are to use the ability God gave us to serve Him. We are all one body under Christ. Why would we want to alienate or cut off part of the body? A body works best when whole and working in unison.
World History: In Rome, men often used their togas to cover their heads during Pagan rituals. Paul did not want the Corinthians imitating such actions. Additionally, in the 1st Century, it was common to shave the heads of adulterous woman. Later, a shaved head on a woman was a sign she was a lesbian.