“NEVERTHELESS, IN THE LORD …”
Paul continues to identify the many things the believers in Corinth were failing to do properly. Human nature has always been inclined toward competition, the initial competition as to which of them would be the greatest among the disciples is an example of this [Luke 22 v.24], but after the resurrection this never happened, Peter could write of himself as simply being a “fellow elder” [1 Peter 5 v.1]
Paul spells out the order of responsibility very plainly in v.3 of today’s chapter (1 Cor.11). “I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” Then Paul writes of outward appearances that symbolise this order of responsibility, “… a wife … let her cover her head” but “a man ought not to cover his head” [v.6,7] This is “when you come together” [v.18] to worship, but we must note v. 11 as this spells out another vital principle, “Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman.”
Life in the Lord demands teamwork – “working together” [2 Cor. 6 v.1, see also Eph. 4 v.16] “for the glory of God” [Rom. 15 v.7] as the disciples had learnt to do. Yet human nature keeps failing, sadly it seems inevitable, it certainly was in Corinth at that time – and we ponder the point Paul makes in v.19, “… there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognised.” The sequel that eventually arises from this is spelt out by John in his 1st letter, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us”.
Paul spells out the well-known description of how the Lord’s last supper should be kept – this is followed by a warning against doing so “in an unworthy manner” [v.27]. Those who do so will “be condemned along with the world” [v.32] and the climax of that condemnation is getting very close as we recognise how our world has become a latter-day Babylon, so let us try ever harder, as Paul expresses it in his first verse to “be imitators of me (Paul) as I am of Christ.”