Love – We Cant Operate without it – 1 Corinthians chp 13 – Matthew Cordiner

Just added, a new message preached by Mr Matthew Cordiner from 1 Corinthians chapter 13:


Love – We Cant Operate without it – 1 Corinthians chp 13 – Matthew Cordiner – 24102017

When God’s Grace is Second Best – 1 Corinthians Chp 16 vs 10 to 12

Just added, a new message in our series on 1 Corinthians:


1 Corinthians Chp 16 vs 10 to 12 – When Gods Grace is Second Best – J Stewart Gillespie – 13122016


The King, The Crook and the Conman – When I Know Tomorrow I Die – 1 Corinthians chp 15 vs 32

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




Destroying the Destroyer – 1 Corinthians chapter 15 vs 1 to 26

Just added, a new message preached from 1 Corinthians chapter 15 by J Stewart Gillespie:


1 Corinthians chp 15 vs 1 to 26 – Destroying the Destroyer – J Stewart Gillespie – 28082016


Preparing for Perfection – 1 Corinthians chapter 13 vs 8 to 13

Just added, a new message in our series on 1 Corinthians:


1 Corinthians chp 13 vs 8 to 13 – Preparing for Perfection – JS Gillespie – 22032016


1 Corinthians chapter 13 verses 1 to 3 – When Love is Absent

Just added, a new message preached by Dr J Stewart Gillespie from 1 Corinthians chapter 13:


1 Corinthians chp 13 vs 1 to 3 – When Love is Absent – J S Gillespie – 19012015


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

Headship and Headcoverings – 1 Corinthians chapter 11

Just added, a new message preached by J Stewart Gillespie:


1 Corinthians chp 11 vs 1 to 6 – Headship and Headcoverings – J Stewart Gillespie – 21092015.mp3


Outline notes for this message:


In verse 3 we see the principle of Headship, operative throughout the whole of Gods administration.

What do I mean by headship?

κεφαλή‘ : is used in at least 3 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)

Not superior / inferior; ‘head of Christ is God’

cf. John 5:19,30,36; John 8:28-29,38; John 14:13,31

Just because you are a man, doesn’t make you better / more spiritual than a woman, but it does mean that we have a role / responsibility to step up to!


In verse 3 we see:

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

Notice the structure of Headship in verse 3; not only the fact or system by which God operates but note the structural detail to that headship:


Woman to man

to man to Christ

to Christ to God

Notice the structure, the overlapping steps in this Headship Structure


This detailed understanding of Headship feeds into our interpretation of verse 4.


V4 – the covering of the man’s anatomical head dishonours the man’s spiritual head

2 ways to read verse 4

If verse 4 was read in isolation from the chapter the simplest way to read it would be; ‘if a man prays with his anatomical head covered he dishonours his anatomical head’

We would naturally take the same word, appearing in the same sentence, with the same possessive pronoun to refer to the same object, but it is critical that the meaning of headship in verse 3 continues into verse 4 otherwise verse 3 would have no real reason for being there. Verse 3 would open up and expound a subject; headship:

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

Which would then be completely dropped, if that symbolic meaning of ‘κεφαλή does not continue into verse 4.

So in verse 4 the covering of the man’s physical head dishonours the mans symbolic head.

Once we are clear on that, we see the parallel with Verse 5; that the uncovered head of the woman brings dishonour on the woman’s spiritual head – the man.

Notice that the reality of headship of male over female continues.


  1. What was the headcovering?

Is it hair (v15)

After the objection that this chapter can be dismissed on cultural grounds, probably the second commonest way of dismissing headcoverings is with the argument that a womans hair is the covering expected in verse 5.

This would never have taken off was it not for the NIV, which very naughtily introduced a footnote interpretation to the text of 1 Corinthians chapter 11: “and every woman who prays or prophesies with no covering of hair on her head dishonours her head…”

That is not a translation it is a very dishonest interpretation.

It is also completely untenable:

  • It is bad exegesis to read verse 5 retrospectively in the light of the later verse.
  • The word for uncovered in verse 5 is: ‘ἀκατακάλυπτος‘ – a covering hanging down like a vail; and the word for covering in verse 15 is: ‘περιβόλαιον‘ – covering around about
  • This makes no sense in the context of verse 4 where the man is to pray uncovered. If hair is a covering then for the man to be uncovered would require a shaver to be taken to his head before coming to the assembly, some of us may find that no great sacrifice!
  • So in a last ditch attempt to make their theory work you may hear it claimed, ah but it is not hair that is the covering ‘it is long hair.’ So the woman is to have long hair and man short hair. In response to that I can only encourage believers to read their bible. Long hair is not a covering in verse 15; hair is a covering in verse 15, long hair is a glory, when present, hair is the covering wither long or short.
  1. When was it to be worn

In the assembly – certainly (11:16-18); but not exclusively (11:5) (cf John Heading and WE Vine)

The simplest way to take verse 5; is that Paul has in mind spiritual activities beyond what we might regard as assembly gatherings; otherwise we are left with something of a difficulty in which Paul legislates on something he later condemns (1Co14:34).

It is difficult to understand the rational of legislating on how something should be done if we believe it aught not to be done!

We would be left with a verse instructing us on how to do something Paul does not want us to do?

Furthermore the apostle appears to give a further endorsement of something very similar in verse 13; asserting that it is comely for a woman to pray providing she has a head covering!

Some have suggested that in verse 5 Paul condemns both the uncovered head and the praying and prophesying with a double condemnation of:

  • ‘dishonour’
  • ‘as if she were shaven’

The man on the other hand has only a single condemnation in verse 4 for his covered head.

If this is the case however it would seem to remove any need for the head covering in verse 5 which is surely there because of the spiritual exercise of the woman and it would do violence to verse 13.

  1. Does it really matter?
  1. Symbol
  2. Significance
  3. Some not too Serious objections
  1. Symbol

At first it may seem strange to give place / credence to an object on someones head, we may be tempted to think that perhaps this idea of head coverings belongs to a time and place now long gone, at best lost in translation for the present day, until we consider that far from being an extraordinary practice, significance is attached to this practice right through the Word of God and even in social structures today:

  1. King

Does it matter what we put on a kings head?

Baseball cap do?

A fascinator will suffice?

  • So I stood upon him, and slew him, because I was sure that he could not live after that he was fallen: and I took the crown that was upon his head, and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them hither unto my lord.” (2Sa 1:10)
  • And he took their king’s crown from off his head, the weight whereof was a talent of gold with the precious stones: and it was set on David’s head. And he brought forth the spoil of the city in great abundance.” (2Sa 12:30)
  • And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!” (Mat 27:29)
  • The crown symbolic of rule, reign, authority and dignity, at times of the transfer of that rule from conquered to conqueror
  1. Priest
  • And he put the mitre upon his head; also upon the mitre, even upon his forefront, did he put the golden plate, the holy crown; as the LORD commanded Moses.” (Lev 8:9)
  • And they made the plate of the holy crown of pure gold, and wrote upon it a writing, like to the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD.” (Exo 39:30) – What difference a head covering? Holiness
  • Neither shall he go out of the sanctuary, nor profane the sanctuary of his God; for the crown of the anointing oil of his God is upon him: I am the LORD.” (Lev 21:12) – What difference a head covering? Life and death!
  1. Prophet
  1. Significance

The significance of the symbol appears dependany upon:

  1. The System of Headship
  2. The Structure of Headship

Note the structure of headship in verse 3:

The step wise progression:

from woman to man

from man to Christ

to Christ to God

Yet here in verse 4, the woman is praying and prophesying.

This Christian woman has a relationship directly to Christ

When she prays she does not need to go through a man, seek a Levite nor a priest or ask a brother to pray for her.

She too is a child of God, born again, and is able to cry “Abba Father”

She has equal access, as the man to the throne of grace, to find help in time of need!

A problem arises however, in the ordained temporal order, the head of the woman is the man, not Christ directly.

In the eternal sphere of course all male and female distinctions will be lost; “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” (Mat 22:30)

Our spiritual blessings and privileges in Christ are a foretaste of those eternal privileges, yet we are not in heaven yet.

Both male and female, are now children of God.

That leaves no room for one having headship over the other in the spiritual sphere; and in the spiritual sphere we do not (Gal 3:28)

Does God then destroy the headship order which still persists in creation and marriage within the temporal sphere?

No He does not!

The order of the temporal is maintained, whilst the new order in the spiritual is being enjoyed!

As the sister prays she is looking forward to heaven, as she covers her head she is looking back at earth.

The headship of the man is respected

The liberty in Christ is acknowledged

In verse 5 the head covering is not simply to cover the glory of man, as it is in verse 7, but in verse 5 we have an additional thought, that the spiritual exercise of the woman would cause ‘dishonour’ to the man, her ‘head’, presumably in by passing that head to god directly to Christ.

Why does the covering prevent that dishonour?

Does it symbolise a temporary covering over of man; her head; so that this exercise belongs to a different sphere – that of the heavenly and eternal?

This is Christs Church, Christs body, in which there is only one head – Christ.

The man need not feel that he is being overstepped or sidelined, the mans position of head is recognised, yet the veil reminds that this is a spiritual exercise, in which the sister has perfect liberty and freedom from the hierachy of male and female.

I would judge that this explains v5b; “that is even all one as if she were shaven” – here would be a further step in dismissing and despising the headship of the man; she would cast off her feminity and look like a man, usurping his place as a man.

It would also explain the reassurance of verse 11 that having said all that he has said, Paul wishes to reassure us that nonetheless he maintains the headship and pattern of male and female relationships, so what he has been teaching must in some way appear to bring unity and liberty for the woman in the spiritual sphere.

  1. The Spiritual exercise of the woman
  1. Some not too Serious objections

Pauls presentation of head coverings does not depend upon culture:

  1. Church practice (11:16)
  2. Principles of headship (11:3)
  3. Biblical significance of head coverings (11:4-6)
  4. Creatorial order (11:7-9)
  5. Testimony to angels (11:10)
  6. Personal sense of decency (11:13)
  7. Natural order (11:14)

Gathering Together and Building up


Just added – a new message preached by J Stewart Gillespie, at Bridgend Gospel Hall, New Cumnock, from 1 Corinthians chapter 10 verse 23:

1 Corinthians chp 10 vs 23 – Gathering Together and Building Up – J Stewart Gillespie – 25083015


Outline notes available from this message:


1 Corinthians chapter 10 approaches this issue of freedom and guidance in the decisions we make by asking 4 key questions in the exercise of freedom:

  1. Does it build me up? (v23)
  2. Does it bless others? (v24)
  3. Does it bring Glory to God (v31)?
  4. Does it bring others to Gods Glory? (v33)


  1. Does it build me up? (v23)

all things are lawful” – Christian behaviour is not founded on the principle of law

Restricting Christian behaviour cannot be done on the basis of law

That Christian behaviour is not constrained by law is not to say that Christian behaviour is not constrained!

expediency‘ : sumpheo: ‘sun’ – together and ‘pheo’ – to bring – to bring it together

edification‘ : oikodomeo: to build, construct

  • bring it together
  • build it up


You might think, well that is all very well, Christian behaviour not dictated by law, but surely in reality there are rules, surely it makes sense, surely its easier if there is a kind of agreed code of conduct:

  • places you don’t go
  • things you don’t do
  • jobs you can’t do

Lets just stick to some basic laws!

The greatest building projects in the Word of God have been accomplished, not by law but by Grace:

  • The law did not build the tabernacle – many details given in the law and yet many details absent! What does a cherubim look like? How were the colours arranged in the curtain; blue, purple, scarlet and fine twinned linen? What were the dimensions of the lampstand? Consider Exodus 25:31-40 – the lampstand – notice anything important missng? How big was it? I mean how can you build it if you don’t know how big it is? Illust: Not that long ago, needed a new back door, had some work men out, first thing they wanted to know – what size was it? No point in saying, well all I need is a back door! The cynic, skeptic and unbelieving mind would rejoice in this, there is plenty for us all to rejoice in, in the Word of God! Here is a tabernacle they could never build because the basic detail ain’t in the rule book! The tabernacle wasn’t built purely according to the rule book. Let me show you how the tabernacle was built. For this Bezaleel must be filled with the Spirit of God (Exodus 31:2)
  • The law did not build Davids Kingdom – The Spirit did (1 Sam 16:13; Ps 51:11)
  • The law didn’t build Zerubabels temple – The Spirit did (Zech 4:6)
  • The law did not build Christs church – The Spirit did (Acts 1:5, 7-8; 2:1-4, 38, 41, 47)


A second word is used here:

expediency‘ : sumpheo: ‘sun’ – together and ‘pheo’ – to bring – to bring it together

I was asked a very good question; ‘what’s the difference between ‘expedient’ and ‘edify’?’

  1. ‘expedient’ – is a horizontal word
  2. ‘edify’ – is a vertical word

that whilst:

  1. Expedient – has to do with gathering together
  2. Edify – has to do with building up

The order is significant

The distinction is real

They are distinct but complementary

We can discern them going hand in hand right the way through the Word of God:

First the gathering together and then

The building up



David brought together all that was needed for the temple (1 Chron 22:14)

Solomon would build the temple from that provision (1 Chron 22:6ff)


The Israelites would bring all the raw materials for the tabernacle (Exodus 25:1ff; 35:29)

Bezaleel would then build it (Exodus 35:30ff)


A little lad would bring of his 5 loaves and 2 fishes

The great miracle of feeding would be performed by the Lord

in this miracle there was in a sense a double gathering together and building up:

John 6:13they gathered them together and filled 12 bushels with the fragments of 5 barley loaves…”

and a second building up:

12 baskets – one for each disciple (Luke 9:17)


Whilst it goes beyond the context of 1 Corinthians chp 10; in the Christian life, individually, personally, we can see this pattern being worked out:

First – you gather together

Then – you build up

If we are going to build up we must first gather together

On a personal / individual way if we are going to build up one another, if we are going to build up the church, if we are going to preach the gospel, teach the younger ones, do a work for the Lord, there must first be a gathering together!

If there is no gathering together in time, prayer, study, then there will be no building up.

1 Corinthians 10:23 does not really have personal preparation as the context, although we can see this as a pattern and as an application.

The context in 1 Corinthians chp 10 was that of friction in the church, the bringing together then of verse 23 has an eye on that which would bring together the body of Christ (cf chp 1, 3 &12) rather than that which would cause schism and friction!

Their behaviour was splitting and fissuring the people of God apart (chps 1,3,8,10).

Here is a practical and sobering thought for these Corinthians:

personal vertical growth

is founded upon

collective horizontal growth

we first:

gather together

and then we

build up

In despising one another with schism (chp 3) and trampling over one anothers conscience (chp 8 + 10) and envying one another (1 Co 12)

In causing all of that schism and disruption we destroy the very best environment for our own spiritual growth and prosperity.

We are part of the body of Christ; “and wither one member suffer all the members suffer with it.” (1 Co 12:26).

In despising one another, they destroy their own spiritual growth.