Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chapter/Verse markings were added...

- I see that the New Living Translation editors view the opening line of this chapter as part ot the conclusion of the previous topic. The New American Standard Version places this first line into the context of the upcoming discussion.

- This serves as a reminder that the original manuscripts do not contain chapter and verse designators, or topical headings. These are elements added by editors but Chapter/Verse citations have become standardized.

1 And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.

Instructions for Public Worship

2 I am so glad that you always keep me in your thoughts, ...


Christian Order

1 Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ. 2 Now I praise you because you remember me ...

- This section about head coverings is generally viewed as a discussion around cultural conventions of that time and place, as today few Christians give it much regard. During the sixties, when long hair for men was in vogue, verse 14 got a lot of attention :

1 Corinthians 11:14 (NLT)
Isn't it obvious that it's disgraceful for a man to have long hair?

- I remember someone responding to this with the statement that Jesus himself had long hair - at least according to the popular art of the day, which I think was itself a cultural anachronism from the Renaissance Era. Most current depictions accentuate Jesus' Jewishness, with a more moderate hair "do."

This section of the bible is also used to justify keeping men in the top pastoral and administrative roles. Which raises the question, why is that part valid if the rest of it is taken as a culurally-specific discussion?

The statement about woman first coming from a man, and that this should therefor be the persistant model throughout history, loses steam in my thinking, when we get into Paul's own words elsewhere contrasting how the first man, Adam, was "of the earth" and brought sin and destruction, while the "second man" from above, Jesus Christ, brought grace and salvation... (paraphrasing from memory - if anyone knows the chapter/verse citation off hand, please feel free to add it in the comments.)

1 Corinthians 11:16 (NLT)
But if anyone wants to argue about this, I simply say that we have no other custom...

- Significantly, Paul's himself calls this a custom... One that has changed (albeit slowly) as the church has spread beyond middle eastern cultural times and settings.

1 Corinthians 11:19 (NLT)
But, of course, there must be divisions among you so that you who have God's approval will be recognized!

- Whew! Paul is not above using a little sarcasm. The general tone of this letter indicates that the Corinthian church was working through some "issues." Again I find this a little comforting to realize that our fractious human nature has always been troblesome to church-life, so I need not be overly-upset when I see churches still struggling along today. If anything, it should remind me that when anything good spring forth from church life (and much does!!), it is always attributable to God's presence and power.

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