In all of life there is an order to be followed. God designed order so that there would be peace and tranquility. He even asked Job where he was when He laid the foundation of the earth for that is when He instituted order in creation. In chapter 10 Paul reminded the Corinthians that orderly public worship brings glory to God. Later Paul will remind the Corinthians: 1Co 14:33 for God is not characterized by disorder but by peace. Thus the principle is this: without order there is disorder and confusion, without order we cannot glorify God, without humility before God we bring dishonor and confusion to our public worship.
Now in the Corinthian church there seems to have been some disorder and confusion and it related to praying and prophesying and the Lord ’s Supper. To set the stage Paul writes: “But I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.” Further on Paul remarks: “I hear that there are divisions among you and in part I believe it.” Paul notes that this has occurred due to their misunderstanding regarding headship, specifically noted with the issue of head coverings in public worship and their confusion as they take the Lord’s Supper. From this premise Paul speaks to both men and women that they know, understand, and follow this order for one reason; OUR PURPOSE IS TO GLORIFY GOD.
What does this entire section have to do with understanding? What is the bottom line issue that we need to grasp? To help us understand we might look at the parable of the Publican and the Pharisee in Luke 18. Jesus used this parable to teach a principle: God looks at the heart and that is the important issue. In this parable the Pharisee stood and prayed about himself. The Publican stood far off and would not even look up to heaven. One was proud and one was humble. The issue the Corinthians were facing was a problem with pride and arrogance as we have been discussing and this parable reflects where they were spiritually. Paul is saying not only is order needed in the church during public worship but also there must be humility for Jesus taught that it was the Publican that went home justified not the Pharisee.
The relevant issue is this: When we pray or prophesy, when we partake of the Lord’s Supper, we are to be humble before God and before men that God is glorified. The Lord spoke to Samuel “God does not view things the way men do. People look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”