1 Cor 10:16-11:34 chiastic structure:
1a) 1 Cor 10:16, The communion of the Lord’s table, the blood and body of Christ;
1b) 1 Cor 10:17, Though many, we are united as one bread and one body;
1c) 1 Cor 10:18-22, Observe Israel after the flesh (a natural example teaches a spiritual truth);
1d) 1 Cor 10:23-24, All things are lawful, but let no one seek his own welfare, but that of another;
central axis) 1 Cor 10:25-28, two point theme repeated twice (not transgressing conscience);
1.1) 1 Cor 10:25, Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience’ sake;
1.2) 1 Cor 10:26, The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness;
2.1) 1 Cor 10:27-28a, At an unbeliever’s, eat whatever is set before you, asking no questions for conscience’ sake;
2.2) 1 Cor 10:28b, The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness;
2d) 1 Cor 10:29-33, Seek the profit of others rather than your own;
1a) 1 Cor 10:29a, Not your own conscience but another’s;
1b) 1 Cor 10:29b-30, Even though I have perfect liberty to partake of that for which I give thanks;
central axis) 1 Cor 10:31, Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God;
2b) 1 Cor 10:32, Give no offense;
2a) 1 Cor 10:33, Not your own profit but that of many;
2c) 1 Cor 11:2-16, Head coverings for men and women (a natural example teaches a spiritual truth);
1a) 1 Cor 11:2, I praise you that you hold firm the traditions as I delivered them to you;
1b) 1 Cor 11:3-7a, Every woman praying or prophesying with her head unveiled dishonors her head;
1a) 1 Cor 11:3-4, Headship/ every man praying + prophesying with head covered dishonors his head;
1b) 1 Cor 11:5a, Every woman praying or prophesying with her head unveiled dishonors her head;
central axis) 1 Cor 11:5b-6a, For it is one and the same thing as if she were shaved. For if a woman is not covered, let her hair also be cut off;
2b) 1 Cor 11:6b, But if it is shameful for a woman to be have her hair shaved, let her be covered;
2a) 1 Cor 11:7a, For a man ought not to have his head covered;
1c) 1 Cor 11:7b-9, Man not from woman + created for woman, but woman from man + created for man;
central axis) 1 Cor 11:10, The woman ought to have authority on her head, because of the angels;
2c) 1 Cor 11:11-12, Woman + man not independent/ woman came from man, so man comes through woman;
2b) 1 Cor 11:13-15, Is it appropriate that a woman pray to God unveiled/ nature itself teaches you;
2a) 1 Cor 11:16, If any is contentious, we have no such custom, neither do God’s assemblies.
2b) 1 Cor 11:17-19, Divisions among you, even though one church;
2a) 1 Cor 11:20-34, The communion of the Lord’s table, His body and blood.
The D pair reveals something fascinating, and this is a theme Paul has been hammering home in Corinthians: it might be perfectly legal for you to do something. But if the welfare of another is transgressed in your pursuit of perfect legality, then you have fallen short of the Law. You have not imitated Christ (been a follower or disciple of Jesus), because the Law can be summed up by the verb Love, and Love does no harm to a neighbor.
Do not be in such hot pursuit of perfect legality that you cause others to stumble, because that does not bring glory to God.
Now, this is not a license to throw out standards. If you do not eat meat when you are allowed to do so, how has a standard of holiness been transgressed? It hasn’t. If you do not divorce when you are allowed to do so, how has a standard of holiness been transgressed? It hasn’t. Do not let the enemy twist this logic into permission to ignore standards of holiness because someone is offended by righteous standards. That is not what Paul is saying.
He is saying, Lay down what you want, no matter how just it is for you to have what you want, if what you want will hurt someone else. So simple, and yet so hard for the flesh to let go of its bone! What bone have we got between our teeth today? Help us to drop it at Your feet, Lord!
For further study:
1 corinthians 11, the Lord’s supper
1 corinthians 11, head coverings (full disclosure: I do cover my hair)
Does the Torah command headcovering? – Anne’s Coffee Break
What does “because of the angels” refer to in 1 Cor 11:10? – Bible Hermeneutics