Finney, in his article on 1 Corinthians, brings out three issues that Paul deals with here in chapter 11, headship, head-coverings, and honor. Paul begins in verse 3 by telling them that the man is to submit to the headship of Christ and the woman is to submit to the man. Now, this is the same type teaching that Paul gives to us in Ephesians but there he is more specific in that he says wife submit to husbands and husband as Christ be willing to die for your wife. This issue is one that throughout the chapter Paul reflects back to as he does in verse 7-9 letting us know the order of headship as God sees it in the structure of the family.
From there we have the second issue, which is covering the head by both men and women. Finney believed Unlike many scholars that this was not something that Paul had changed on but it was something that should have been known by the church already. The act of covering or not covering one’s head was all about the perception of worship. In pagan worship of that day, Finney says that the men would cover their heads as a sign of honor to the many gods of Rome. Now to me, the unusually parts were that in the pagan worship was the one place other than the home that the women had an option wearing to cover her head or not. I believe the reason that Paul addresses this is because he does not want the worship of Jesus to be perceived as just the worship of any other god. He wants them to realize that Jesus is the one true God. For men he wants them to uncover they head and tells them in and shares with them in verse 7 that they are the image of God. For the women, the same holds true and maybe even more reasons. The covering of the head was a sign of respect and honor and I believe that Paul wanted that to be a part of worship.
Lastly, we see honor in the verses. Paul is dealing with showing honor to God and one another. The church had a problem with division and Paul is trying to get them to see that there must be honor in serving God. For the women not having their head covered according to Finney was a sigh of shame and Paul does not want this to be in the church in any way. One other thing that I saw was Finney talked briefly of the virgin that would wear the head covering in both Roman and Jewish culture. I believe because women could have been being saved out of the temple and off the street that maybe this was a sign of their regeneration and their purity to God.
The second questions we can see in the fact that the church was broken up into two subgroups because it was too large to meet in one place. Therefore class groups would have met and then when they did get together we see that the influential people were lead to the Triclinium and the lower class was lead to the Atrium. People of means were given the best of the food while the others were given whatever was lift over. We can see where this would have build resentment and would have seemed as if nothing had changed at all. Because the houses were small they had to break up into groups but the matter in which they separated caused the problems.
In Corinth, we really see the Eucharist (Communion) as more of an ancient dinner party than something that was holy. I mean it was nothing more than people getting together and eating and eating. I mean those with means were in the Triclinium lying down and because they had means were able to come early and eat a lot. They were offered the best of the food while those in the working class were in the Atrium where they would have arrived later and served anything. The issue is that there seems to me no humility, or worship that was focused on Jesus.
As far as was this an interpolation I really do not weather I agree or disagree but if I had to choose I guess I would lean toward agreement. I mean first I do see where this had of the gloss is believed to have happened in the Bible before and I could see where this could have happened here. I think the strongest case for this is how then in chapter 11 Paul has given the women permission to preach and pray and yet now is telling them to be silent. In one place Fee says that one thought is that they were talking among themselves but I do not see this being the case because the verse clearly states that they were to see the answers from their husbands at home. I believe this could have been an interpolation also because it could have been a problem that was arising in the church as women were coming in and in the early church had an active role and yet very little understanding. The verse could have been dealing with a problem that had arisen where there was a disruption in the worship service. Lastly, we see where they were women mentioned such as Prisca that played active roles in the church at the time Paul wrote this, therefore, this could have been something added later because of a rising problem.
If I were writing a sermon on Chapter 11 my first point would be use verse 12 as the text “For as the woman is of the man, so is the man also by the woman: but all things are of God”. Point 1 Our worship belongs to God and should bring honor to Him. I would talk of how that Paul tells the men to uncover their heads and the women to cover because worshipping Jesus is not like worship the pagans. I would share with the church today that when we worship it is not about what we want or what we think it should look like but it is what brings honor to God. The songs that we sing should be not about the modern beat but more about do they bring honor to God. The way we act and dress and the way we carry ourselves daily does it bring honor to God? Point 2: Our relationships are given by God and do we treat people in a way that honors God? I would talk about how that even in the Eucharist they were divided and mistreated people based on what they had. To the church of today are we even in worship and even in the community of believers treated people differently because of what they have or do not have. Are we making a mockery of the things of God because we are mistreating the people of God? Point 3: All things are of God. No matter what we do or what we have it is all God’s. How we act and how we live either brings honor or dishonor to God and we must be aware of that at all times.