Saturday after the Seventh Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 11:1-22 (NKJV)
11:1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.
2 Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you. 3 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. 5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved. 6 For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered.
7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man is not from woman, but woman from man. 9 Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man. 10 For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. 12 For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God.
13 Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? 15 But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering. 16 But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God.
17 Now in giving these instructions I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse. 18 For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. 19 For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you. 20 Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. 21 For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you.
The Corinthians have had a miserable track record, but they have seemed to respond to Paul’s instruction when he has given it. “Keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you.” These “traditions” that St. Paul handed over to them were the teachings of the Gospel and the worship practices.
The first point we should remember here is that the Gospel was passed down to the churches orally at this time. The Corinthian church may have had no writings other than this letter. They had no New Testament like ours today. At most they would have had only a couple of New Testament books. The “traditions” that St. Paul is passing on to them are good, and directly from Christ. This is the good meaning of tradition, as opposed to the “traditions of men.”
Secondly, this is instructive when we ask the question, “Are there instructions for us regarding worship, or private prayer, etc., in the Bible?” Perhaps not in detail, but there were already worship rubrics (so to speak) even in apostolic times. The Bible gives ideas, if not outright instructions, about things like communion frequency, the nature of confession, instructions on closed or open communion, etc. These are the traditions that should be held on to.
We pray: Lord, help us to keep the traditions as You have delivered them to us. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.