So I taught 1 Corinthians 11 last night in Bible class and it wasn’t until I got home that I remembered I forgot to teach this one little part. I was on a roll and just sort of rolled on by it.
The context of the first half of the chapter relates to head-coverings. There was a culture in Corinth that expected a woman to have a head-covering when she was in a worship assembly. The same culture insisted that men have their heads uncovered. Paul spends a lot of time talking about how we need to be respectful of culture even though we are a transformed people in Christ, no longer beholden to the world.
In the course of that, Paul makes this statement…
For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.
(1 Corinthians 11:10)
Basically, according to Paul, a woman in Corinth needed to keep her head covered, among other reasons, “because of the angels.” What’s up with that? What do angels suddenly have to do with this?
The Jews had a traditional belief that angels often stooped down from their heavenly dwelling place to observe the worship done by men. Angels of course engage in their own worship to God (you can read that in various Old Testament texts) but according to tradition they are also interested in the worship we bring the Father.
Paul uses that tradition.
He says “you wouldn’t want an angel to look over at our worship and find us doing something disrespectful!”
Now the issue of head-coverings in Corinth was purely a cultural issue; our western culture doesn’t insist on it. That being said, the application can be made: Heaven is watching what we do. Whether the angels are interested or not, we know God cares. God is watching our worship. So when we bring our glory to God, Paul says, remember that Heaven is watching, so don’t bring an offering that’s disrespectful.
Our worship isn’t about us; it’s about Him!