1 Corinthians chapter 11 verses 7 to 16 – Glory Glory Glory

Just added, a new message in our series on 1 Corinthians, preached by Dr J Stewart Gillespie:


1 Corinthians chp 11 vs 7 to 16 – Glory Glory Glory – J Stewart Gillespie


Outline notes are available for this message:

We have previously noted that in 1 Corinthians chapter 11 Paul continues his concern for the unity of the church at Corinth, a concern running through chapters 1,3,6,8-10

Far from the headship truth of 1 Corinthians chp 11 being a separate issue, it is part and parcel of Paul’s desire to keep the assembly together.

What could be more unifying than appreciating that we are all under the one head?

A nation will will unite under one leader, one flag, one anthem and one monarch.

The church as a body will unite under one head : Christ

In verse 3 we saw :

  1. The system of headship
  2. The source of headship
  3. The structure of headship

From woman to man to Christ

In verse 4 we noted the symbol of that headship: that the physical head is the symbol of the spiritual head

It is important to be consistent and coherent in our interpretation of the section.

Verse 4: since Christ is mans spiritual head then in acknowledgement of this man leaves his physical head uncovered

Verse 5: when it comes to the woman in verse 5, man is her spiritual head and therefore the covering of her physical head symbolises the covering of mans headship. If the woman was to leave her head uncovered she would really be saying, I am under the headship and authority of man. It is important to see this, because over the years it has been common to suggest that a womans head covering represents the symbol of mans headship over the woman. It is clear from verse 4 that it is the uncovering of the physical head which declares spiritual headship and not covering it.

If we wish to declare and display the symbol of mans headship that would be symbolised by a woman with an uncovered head.

The uncovered head of the woman in the church is really thus saying : ‘I’ve wandered into this gathering of Gods people in exactly the same way as I wander the streets of this village, in exactly the same way I order my life at work and at home, as a woman in a mans world and under the headship of man ,and I expect to go no higher and no further.

But when the woman covers her head in the assembly she recognises a higher headship than that purely present within creation, she recognises a headship over creation, a headship with which she is now directly connected by redemption. In Christ she has been brought into something higher, something better, something altogether more glorious.

The symbol of the covered head declares that on an equal basis :

I approach the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:14-16)

I have the hope of eternal life (Hebrews 10:19ff)

I find grace to help

I have a place prepared in heaven (John 14)

I have the prospect of being filled with the Holy Spirit

I have the standing of sonship before God

These blessings are mine, mine, mine

That is the simple testimony of that little head covering.

Does that mean that the function of the men and women in the assembly is the same?

The answer lies in the question.

So long as there are men and women there are distinctions

We do not cease to be men and women.

We have been brought into the same; blessings, prospects, hope, salvation and joy, all because of Christ, we are not yet at Matthew 22:30

Headship specifies the authority under which we operate, it does not specify the nature of that operation: 1 Corinthians 12:5-6

Every believer has the same :

  • Hope of eternal life
  • Guarantee of a home in heaven
  • Prospect of being filled by the Holy Spirit
  • Access to the throne of grace
  • Standing of sonship

But quite clearly not every believer will express those privileges or exercise those liberties in exactly the same way (1 Corinthians 12:4-5)

In verses 7-16 we are going to see the reasons behind the system, structure and source of headship and this symbol of of head coverings

What is it all about?

Verses 7 – 10 give us the reason for head coverings based on headship structure

V7 ‘for a man… ‘

V10 ‘for this cause… ‘

Down through this section we can discern at least 6 reasons, distinct reasons for the practice of headship :

  1. Mans relationship with God (v7)
  2. Womans relationship with man (v7-9)
  3. Angels (v10)
  4. Common sense of decorum (v13)
  5. Natural president (v14)
  6. Practice of the churches (v16)

6 reasons are maybe a bit too many to remember but perhaps I can remember 3 reasons, especially if they are all the same.

  1. Glory of God (v7)
  2. Glory of man (v7)
  3. Glory of the woman (v15)


  1. Glory of God

Mans purpose is the glory of God

Revelation 4:11; 5:12

So man ought to operate under the headship of Christ for His Glory

When a man preaches

When a man teaches

When a man serves

When a man prays

When a man praises

It all ought to be done for the Glory of God

When a man gives of his time, treasure and his talent

When a man serves then he must do it with all of his might for a greater Glory, the Glory of God.

Surely every Christian must sense the tragedy as we glimpse the empty purposeless lives of men and women satisfied with their time and talents being robbed, setting their hearts on nothing more than :

Accumulating wealth

Pursuing a hobby

Scoring a goal

Potting a ball

Building a business

Topping up a sun tan

In all of that missing the purpose for which they were created ; to live for the glory of God

This often lies at the root of problems which arise over head coverings, a failure amongst the men in stepping up to the mark to live for the glory of God.

If our collective experience is the enjoyment of the Glory of God, we will be satisfied with this and not looking for something else less than the Glory of God.

If we are not enjoying the Glory of God, then a lesser Glory will do

Humanity beats with a pulse that flows from the heart of God, if any feature of humanity guarantees our ultimate victory, it is this, that people need Christ, for man was made in His Image.

  1. Glory of man

The glory of man is to be covered

  1. Glory of woman

Womans glory – her hair is likewise covered in the sight of God

All might be for His Glory

One Body under Christ Indivisible – 1 Corinthians chp 11 vs 1 to 3 – J Stewart Gillespie

Just added, a new message preached by Dr J Stewart Gillespie from 1 Corinthians:


1 Corinthians chp 11 vs 1 to 3 – One Body under Christ Indivisible – J Stewart Gillespie – 15092015.mp3



outline notes available for this message:

The pledge of allegiance:

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. ”

I can see Paul with his hand upon his heart, stand at the end of 1 Corinthians chapter 10, have addressed division after division; in chapters 1, 3, 6, 7, 8 to 10 with an aspiration resonating at the same pitch:

‘One Body under Christ Indivisible’

Mind you the apostle Paul has a job on his hands!
We have previously noted the outline and themes of 1 Corinthians:

1 Corinthians chp 1 vs 31:

1. Wisdom
2. Righteousness
3. Sanctification
4. Redemption


1. Moral problems – chp 5
2. Material problems – chp 6
3. Marital Problems – chp 7
4. Meat offered to idols – chps 8 to 10
5. Meeting problems – chps 11 to 14
6. Miracle of Resurrection – chp 15
7. Money problems – chp 16

Yet if there is ever a sub theme it is surely:

1. Sanctification
2. Unity

If we appreciate the importance of unity in the midst of schism, we will appreciate the significance of 1 Corinthians chapter 11
This is no minor issue
This is no secondary chapter

Chapter 11 is significant in its content and marked by a majesty in its scope:

Commences with Creation (11:7ff)
Continues through with the work of Calvary (11:24-25)
Concludes at the return of Christ (11:26)

The key to unlock the chapter is to be found in a verse that many neglect (11:1)

Outline of 1 Corinthians chapter 11:

1. Leadership (10:33-11:2)
2. Headship (11:3-16)
3. Fellowship (11:17ff)


1. Leadership (10:33-11:2)

Almost every commentator will point out that 11:1 is really the conclusion to chapter 10
EACH of the previous 3 chapters concludes with a personal application of the truth to Paul himself; 8:13; 9:27; 10:33
The truth of 10:33 is a truth / a way of life which Paul has received from Christ; cf. 2 Co 8:9; Phil 2:5ff, and so having taken his lead from Christ (10:33) Paul can conclude 11:1..
Yet 11:1 is not only a fitting conclusion to 10:33 it is also a suitable commencement to 11:2.
We can have confidence in following the traditions and teachings given by Paul (11:2) in so far as we have seen the kind of person he is (11:1); following the Lord with the souls of men his concern.
The evidence that Paul follows Christ is seen in his priorities (v33); “that they may be saved”
Notice in 11:1:

Pauls Mission
Pauls Method

Pauls Desire which informs the whole of the chapter is that in his leadership they might see past him and past all distractions, past the man, past the ministry, past the minister, to Christ (11:1)
Pauls method:

Christ brought Paul to them, that Paul might bring Christ to them, that Paul bring them to Christ.


Maybe we fail in bringing men to Christ because we fail in bringing Christ to them! Paul has the same mindset as John the Baptist, just a sign post pointing to Christ, just a voice in the wilderness; ‘prepare ye the way of the Lord’.

2. Headship (11:3-16)

Notice for being slighted as a peripheral subject, unimportant issue, something which some feel free to dismiss on the transient whims of changing culture, that this teaching is founded on one of the most fundamental themes of the Bible:

Divine Order

Themes underpinning not only 1 Corinthians chapter 11 but the administration of God throughout the Bible:

1. Creation

Note the Order of Genesis chapter 1:

Separation of day and night
Separation of land and sea
Creation of plants
Creation of aquatic life and marine life
Creation of mammals
Creation of man

Notice not only order but authority

Genesis 1:16: “to rule the day… To rule the night”
Genesis 1:18: “to rule over”
Genesis 1:26 “let them have dominion”


2. Human government

1 Samuel 24:6
David 2:37-38; 4:17
Romans 13:1-3


3. Service and commerce

Ephesians 6:5ff


4. Families

Ephesians 6:1ff


5. Marriage

Genesis 3:16ff

1 Corinthians chapter 11 vs 3 not only teams us about the reality of headship; the system of Headship which is integral to all of Gods structures and administrations but 1 Corinthians chp 11 vs 3 goes beyond that and gives us the reason for these structures of headship:

Headship is part and parcel of the character and nature of God Himself.

What God does is a reflection of who God is!

This truth of headship, presented in verse 3 is not not simply there as a general introduction to the subject of head coverings and head ship.
This truth of the headship of Christ, over all, is the goal and object of the chapter!
That each member of this divided, dysfunctional and split assembly might be brought to perfect unity under Christ, as head, that they may be as a church, United, one body under Christ Indivisible.
Verse 3 presents:

1. System of Headship
2. Source of Headship
3. Structure of Headship
4. Symbol of Headship

What is headship?
‘head’ : ‘kephale’ is used in 3 / 4 distinct ways in the NT:

1. Physical head – majority of uses
2. Place / Position / Power / Dignity / Authority – Matt 21:42; Acts 4:11; Ephesians 1:22; Ephesians 4:15; 5:23-24
3. One one definite occasion of origin (Colossians 2:19)

Headship is not dictatorship (11:3)
Note the inherent protection of: “head of every man is Christ”
Headship is not restricted to the church “head of every man is Christ”

1. Headship Explored (v3)
2. Headship Expressed (v4-6)
3. Headship Explained (v7-10)
4. Headship Experienced (v11-16)