I Corinthians 11
1 “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” Be ye followers of me.
Rather, imitators of me; follow herein my example, as I follow Christ’s. What Christ’s
example was, in that He too “pleased not Himself,” Paul sets forth in Romans 15:1-3;
and the general principle of self abnegation for the sake of others in Philippians 2:4-8.
This verse ought to be included in ch. 10. It sums up the whole argument, and explains
the long digression of ch. 9 - “even as I also am of Christ.” This limits the reference
to his own example. I only ask you to imitate me in points in which I imitate Christ.
Men are imitative beings, and, from a law of their nature, those whom they most
admire and with whom they most associate, they become like in spirit and in
character. The request of Paul here, at first sight, seems somewhat arrogant:
“Be ye followers of me.” No man has a right to make such an unqualified claim
on another. Hence Paul puts the limitation. “Even as I also am of Christ.” The
postle undoubtedly refers to the preceding verses, in which he speaks of himself
as not seeking his own pleasure or profit, but that of others. This Christ did. We
are told that He “pleased not Himself.” (Romans 15:3) He means to say,
“Be like me in this respect, as I in this respect resemble Christ.” Here is the
principle that should regulate our imitation of men; imitate them just so far as they
resemble Christ. Children should not imitate their parents, pupils should not imitate
their teachers, congregations should not imitate their ministers, only so far as they
Rules and Principles Respecting the Covering of the Head by Women
in Church Assemblies (vs. 2-16)
2 “Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the
ordinances, as I delivered them to you.” Now; rather, but, on the other hand.
That ye remember me in all things, and keep, etc. This is probably a quotation
from their letter. He thanks them for this kind message, but points out one
particular in which their practice was not quite commendable. The ordinances.
The word literally means traditions, but is here rightly applied to rules which he
had delivered to them. The Vulgate has praecepta. The word is used in
Matthew 15:2 of the rules and precedents laid down by the rabbis.
3 “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ;
and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”
But I would have you know. Rather, but I wish you to know. That the head of
every man is Christ. Paul, as was customary with him, applies the loftiest principles
to the solution of the humblest difficulties. Given a question as to what is right or
wrong in a particular instance, he always aims at laying down some great eternal fact
to which the duty or decision is ultimately referable, and deduces the required rule
from that fact. The headship of Christ is stated in Ephesians 1:22; 4:15; and its
application to the superiority of man is laid down also in Ephesians 5:23. The
subordinate position of the woman is also stated in I Timothy 2:11-15; I Peter
3:1, 5-6. This, however, is merely an ordinance of earthly application. In the
spiritual realm “there is neither male nor female” (Galatians 3:28) – The head of
the woman is the man. In Christ the distinctions of the sexes are done away.
It was, perhaps, an abuse of this principle which had led the Corinthian women
to assert themselves and their rights more prominently than decorum warranted.
The head of Christ is God. That Christ is “inferior to the Father as touching His
manhood,” that His mediatorial kingdom involves (so far) asubordination of His
coequal Godhead, has been already stated in ch.3:23, and is further found in
ch.15:27-28. This too is the meaning of John 14:28, “My Father is greater than I.”
The principle of subordination, it would seem, prevails throughout the spiritual
universe; one rising above another in regular gradation up to God Himself. God is
over Christ, Christ is over man, man is over woman. (This may fly in the face of
today’s political correctness but the warning in v. 10, the example of angels
[many feel that this is a reference to their losing “their first estate” – Jude 1:6;
when they with Satan’s leadership, tried to overthrow God] and if so, for any
in the universe to usurp the order in which God put them is a very serious charge –
for those angels God has “reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto
the judgment of the great day” - ibid. CY – 2010)
4 “Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoreth
his head.” Prophesying (preaching). Having his head covered. This was a Jewish
custom. The Jewish worshipper in praying always covers his head with his tallith.
The Jew (like Orientals generally) uncovered his feet because the place on which
he stood was holy ground; but he covered his head by way of humility, even as
the angels veil their faces with their wings. AEneas is said by Servius to have
introduced this custom into
pray with the head uncovered. Paul — as some discrepancy of custom seems to
have arisen — decided in favor of the Greek custom, on the high ground that
Christ, by Hisincarnation, became man, and therefore the Christian, who is
“in Christ,” may stand with unveiled head in the presence of his Father.
Dishonoureth his head. He dishonoureth his own head, which is as it were a
sharer in the glory of Christ, who is Head of the whole Church. “We pray,” says
Tertullian, “with bare beads because we blush not.” The Christian, being no
longer a slave, but a son (Galatians 4:7), may claim his part in the glory
of the eternal Son. The head was covered in mourning (II Samuel 15:30;
Jeremiah 14:3), and the worship of the Christian is joyous.
5 “But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered
dishonoreth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.”
Or prophesieth. Although Paul “thinks of one thing at a time,” and is not here
touching on the question whether women ought to teach in public, it appears
from this expression that the rule which he lays down in ch.14:34-35, and
I Timothy 2:12 was not meant to be absolute. See the case of Philip’s daughters
(Acts 21:9 and 2:17). With her head uncovered. For a woman to do this in a
public assembly was against the national custom of all ancient communities,
and might lead to the gravest misconceptions. As a rule, modest women
covered their heads with the peplum or with a veil when they worshipped
or were in public. Christian women at
of the “inflation” which was characteristic of their Church before they
could have acted with such reprehensible boldness as to adopt a custom
identified with the character of immodest women. Dishonoureth her
head. Calvin, with terse good sense, observes, “As the man honors his
head by proclaiming his liberty, so the woman by acknowledging her
6 “For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame
for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.” Let her also be shorn.
Not a command, but, a sort of scornful inference, or reductio ad absurdum (a method
of proving the falsity of a premise by showing that its logical consequence is absurd
or contradictory.) If it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven. When a
woman was tried by “the ordeal of the water of jealousy,” her head was uncovered
by the priest (Numbers 5:18). To be shorn or shaven was a sign of mourning
(Deuteronomy 21:12), and was a disgrace inflicted on adulteresses.
7 “For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is
the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.”
He is the image and glory of God. Because he reflects and partakes in the
glory of Christ, who is the effulgence of God and the impress of his substance
(Genesis 1:27; Psalm 8:6; Hebrews 1:2) The woman is the glory of the man.
Man reflects God; woman, in her general nature in this earthly and temporal
dispensation, reflects the glory of man.
8 For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man.” An allusion
to Genesis 2:21-22.
9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.”
As expressly stated in Genesis 2:18).
10 “For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the
angels.” To have power on her head. A great deal of irrelevant guesswork has
been written on this verse. Under this head must be classed the idle attempts to twist
the word exousia, power, or authority, into some other reading — an
attempt which may be set aside, because it is not sanctioned by a single manuscript.
We may also dismiss the futile efforts to make have any other primary
meaning than “authority.” The context shows that the word has here a secondary
sense, and implies some kind of covering. The verse, therefore, points the same
lessons as Genesis 24:64-65. This much may be regarded as certain, and this view
is adopted by the steadfast good sense of our English translators, both in
the Authorized and Revised Versions. The only question worth asking is
why the word had come
be used for “a veil,” or “covering.” The simplest answer is that just as the
word “kingdom” in Greek may be used for “a crown” (compare regno as the
name of the pope’s tiara), so “authority” may mean “a sign of authority”
(Revised Version), or “a covering, in sign that she is under the power of
her husband” (Authorized Version, margin). The margin of the Revised
Version, “authority over her head,” is a strange suggestion. Some have
explained the word of her own true authority, which consists in accepting
the rule of her husband; but it probably means a sign of her husband’s
authority over her. Similarly
the traveler Chardin says that in
women wear a veil, in sign that they are “under subjection.” If so, the best
comment on the word may be found in the exquisite lines
illustrate the passage in other ways also:
“She, as a vei1, down to the slender waist
Her unadorned golden tresses wore…
As the vine curves her tendrils, which implied
Subjection, but required with gentle sway,
And by her yielded, by him best received.”
The fact that Callistratus twice uses of “abundance of hair” is
probably a mere coincidence, resembling the Irish expression “a power of
hair.” Nor can there be any allusion to the isolated fact that Samson’s
strength lay in his hair. The very brief comment of Luther sums up all the
best of the many pages which have been written on the subject. He says
that means “the veil or covering, by which one may see that she is
under her husband’s authority” (Genesis 3:16). Because of the angels.
In this clause also we must set aside, as idle waste of time, the attempts to
alter the text, or to twist the plain words into impossible meanings. The
word “angels” cannot mean “Church officials,” or “holy men,” or
“prophets,” or “delegates,” or “‘bridegroom’s men,” or anything but
angels. Nor can the verse mean, as Bengel supposes, that women are to
veil themselves because the angels do so (Isaiah 6:2), or (as Augustine
says) because the angels approve of it. The only question is whether the allusion
is to good or bad angels. In favor of the latter view is the universal tradition among
the Jews that the angels fell by lust for mortal women, which was the Jewish way
of interpreting Genesis 6:1-2. This is the view of Tertullian (‘De Virg. Vel.,’ 7)
in writing on this subject. A woman, in the opinion and traditions of Oriental
Jews, is liable to injury from the shedim, if she appears in public unveiled; and
these evil spirits are supposed to delight in the appearance of unveiled women.
The objection to this view, that angeloi - – angelous - angels; alone is
never used of evil but always of good angels, is not perhaps decisive (see ch. 6:3).
The verse may, however, mean (in accordance with the Jewish belief of those days)
that good angels, being under the possibility of falling from the same cause as their
evil brethren, fly away at once from the presence of unveiled women. Thus Khadijah
tested that the visitant of her husband Mohammed really was the angel Gabriel,
because he disappeared the moment she unveiled her head. On the whole, however,
the meaning seems to be, out of respect and reverence for the holy angels, who
are always invisibly present in the Christian assemblies. (On this point, see Luke
15:10; Ephesians 3:10; Hebrews 1:14; 12:1; Ecclesiastes 5:6; Psalm 138:1
[Septuagint]; Tobit 12:12. See Latimer’s ‘Sermons,’ p. 253). “Reverence the
angels” is St. Chrysostom’s remark. (My personal view is that this is a warning
to women who want to usurp the authority of man which is analogous to the angels
trying to overthrow God – I recommend The Spirit World by Clarence Larkin –
CY – 2010) (One other note: if angels frequent Christian assemblies, what is
the significance of modern dress in contemporary services? Perhaps Bro.
Bob Lawrence was right after all! CY – 2018)
11 “Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman
without the man, in the Lord.” Nevertheless. The verse is meant to correct any
tendency on the part of men to domineer. Man and woman are “all one in
Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
“The two-celled heart, beating with one
full stroke — Life.”
(One of my favorite verses in the Bible is we are “heirs together of the grace of life”
I Peter 3:7 -- CY – 2010)
12 “For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman;
but all things of God.” By the woman; that is, “born of a woman” (Job 14:1) –
But all things of God. And all things also “of Him, through Him and to Him,
are all things: to whom be glory for ever” (Romans 11:36).
13 “Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?”
An appeal to the decision of their instinctive sense of propriety.
14 “Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long
hair, it is a shame unto him? Doth not even nature itself teach you?
Nature here has much the same sense as “instinct.”
“His fair large front and eye sublime declared
Absolute rule; and hyacinthine locks
Round from his parted forelock manly hung
Clustering, but not beneath his shoulders broad:
She, as a veil, down to the slender waist
Her unadorned golden tresses wore.”
15 “But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given
her for a covering.” Because it is at once beautiful and natural; and as Bengel
says, “Will should follow the guidance of nature.”
16 “But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom,
neither the churches of God.” But if any man seem to be contentious”
Paul cuts the question short, as though impatient of any further discussion of a
subject already settled by instinctive decorum and by the common sense of
universal usage. “Seem to be contentious” is (like the Latin videtur) only a
courteous way of saying “is contentious.” If any of you wish to be disputatious
and quarrelsome about this minor matter of ritual, I must content myself with
saying that he must take his own course (for a similar use of the euphemistic
“seem,” see Philippians 3:4; Hebrews 4:1, James 1:26). We have no such custom.
emphatic “we” means the
apostles and the leaders of the Church at
appearing with uncovered heads. Neither the churches of God. If you Corinthians
prefer these abnormal practices in spite of reason, common sense, and my arguments,
you must stand alone in your innovations upon universal Christian practice. But
custom is against your “self opinionated particularism.”
Discreditable Irregularities at the Lord’s Supper and Agape Feast
17 “Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together
not for the better, but for the worse.” Now in this that I declare unto you I
praise you not; rather, as in the Revised Version, But in giving you this charge,
I praise you not. A reference to the “I praise you” of v. 2. Ye come together.
As he advances, his rebukes become more and more serious; for the present
reproach does not affect a few, but the Church assembly in general.
18 “For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that
there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.” First of all. The
“second” rebuke is not clearly stated, but is no doubt meant to refer to the abuses
in “speaking with the tongue.” In the Church; rather, in congregation, or assembly.
The reference is not to a particular building. The Lord’s Supper was administered
frequently (originally every day, Acts 2:46), and often in private houses.
Divisions; schisms (ch. 1:10, 12). Here, however, he is referring to cliques
and quarrels at the love feasts. Partly! I cannot think, he says, in a tone of
kindness, that these reports are wholly false. There must be some ground
for them, even if the facts have been exaggerated. No real spiritual unity
can exist where there is not a supreme affection for the same being.
Christ is the only uniting Center of souls.
19 “For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved
may be made manifest among you.” There must be also heresies among you.
Jesus had warned“It is impossible but that offences will come” (Luke 17:1).
Heresies. The word does not mean “erroneous opinions,” but party factions.
Originally the word only means “a choice,” and is not used in a bad sense;
but since the opinionativeness of men pushes “a choice” into a “party,” and
since it is the invariable tendency of a party to degenerate into a “faction,” the
word soon acquires a bad sense - (see its use in Acts 5:17; 15:5;
24:5,14; 28:22; Galatians 5:20; Titus 3:10; II Peter 2:1)
The Greek word for heresy is - hairesis - a choosing,
choice – then that which is chosen, and hence an opinion, especially
a self-willed opinion, which is substituted for submission to the power
of truth and leads to division, the formation of sects and finally,
APOSTASY FROM GOD! (Think of the origins, influences and
roles of PRO-CHOICE and the AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES
ALL BEGAN WITH A CHOICE – a la – HERESY – CY -2009)
Such a man is a living lie against the truth.
That they which are approved may be made manifest among you. Similarly John
(I John 2:19) speaks of the aberrations of false teachers as destined to prove that
they did not belong to the true Church. Good is educed out of seeming evil
(James 1:3; 1 Peter. 1:6-7). Approved; standing the test ( - dok’-ee-mos),
the opposite of the – adokimos - reprobate of ch.9:27.
The mutually railing factions, which in their Church newspapers and
elsewhere bandy about their false and rival charges of “heresy,” are
illustrating the virulence of the very sin which they are professing to
denounce — the sin of factiousness.
20 “When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat
the Lord’s supper.” Into one place. There were as yet no church houses.
The Lord’s Supper was held in private homes. This is not; or perhaps, it is
not possible. The Lord’s supper. The fact that there is no article in the Greek
shows the early prevalence of this name for the Eucharist.
The Lord’s Supper a Showing Forth (v. 20)
Considering how much has been made of the sacrament of the Lord’s
Supper by the Christian Church it is remarkable that the passage connected
with this text should be the only apostolic teaching we have respecting its
observance. We have in the Gospels the records of the incident from which
it takes its origin, but though we should have expected Peter or
John to give us complete counsels for its observance, neither of them refers
to it. Paul alone deals with it, and it is a singular thing that he makes no
allusion to it when writing to Timothy and Titus, and seeking to fit them,
and others through them, for their pastoral work. It even seems that, but
for the accident of an abuse creeping into the
should have been left entirely without apostolic precedent or instruction
concerning it. Our text, and the verses connected with it, contain hints of
the way in which the Lord’s Supper was then observed; indications of the
kind of abuses likely to creep in; and teachings concerning those great
principles which were to regulate its management. We can clearly see that
it was then a meal, not a service; a feast, not a fast; a communion, not an
administration; a means of remembrance, and not a mystical presence. Our
Lord kept the ordinary Passover meal, and into one of the customary
incidents of it He put a new and spiritual significance. Now, see what
actually occurred in the early Church. Those having a common faith
naturally sought fellowship together. The Eastern idea of fellowship is
partaking of the same food together. In this way grew up the agapae, or
love feasts, and these seem to have been observed in all the Churches that
were founded. These agapae could easily be connected in thought with our
Lord’s last meal with His disciples, and on the closing part of them a special
significance was probably made to rest. When Christianity touched
Western life, the old Eastern agapae naturally dropped away. Feeding
together is not so familiar a sign of fellowship in the West as in the East.
So in the West a part of the meal was retained and became a sacrament, a
service, and a mystery. Paul helps us to understand the special
significance put into a part of the meal. It was a showing forth;
but we ask:
Ø Of a fact of history: the “Lord’s death.” Remember that Paul usually
goes on to the Resurrection, as revealing the significance of the death.
The Lord’s death is shown forth in:
o the substance of the sacrament — bread, which is crushed in the mill
before it can become food; wine, which is trodden in the wine press
before it can become drink;
o the form of the food in the sacrament — it is broken, and poured out.
Impress the importance of keeping up the remembrance of this fact:
ü as affirming the actual historical character of the Gospel records;
ü as keeping for the death of Christ its central place in Christian
ü as renewing, on men’s souls, the special moral influence
of Christ, the life persuasion, the “constraining” of his cross.
Ø Of a fact of faith: “Till He come.” That is “shown forth” in keeping up
the observance, and in the manifest fact that He is now sensibly absent. We
declare that the only president of the feast is Christ, as spiritually present.
The importance of showing forth this fact is seen in its:
o testifying to the resurrection and present life of Christ;
o in its affirming the foundation of the Church to be faith, not
doctrine, or knowledge, or experience; and
o in its renewing the Church’s great hope, and witnessing to the reality
and value of things unseen, future, and eternal.
Ø To God; as assuring Him that we value His great Gift.
Ø To ourselves; as quickening our own feeling, remembrance, and
Ø To our fellow Christians; as bidding them rejoice with us in the
common salvation which we all share.
Ø To the world; as testifying that the despised “spiritual” is nevertheless
the “true” and the “eternal.” In conclusion, show the value of symbolic
helps in religious life, and the claim that rests on us to show forth
Christ’s death, if we have faith in Him and the hope of His coming again.
21 “For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one
is hungry, and another is drunken.” For in eating; rather, in your eating.
Every one. All who have themselves contributed a share to the common meal.
Taketh before other his own supper. It is as if they had come together only to eat,
not to partake of a holy sacrament –The abuse rose from the connection of the
Lord’s Supper with the ἀγάπη – agape - or love feast, a social gathering of
Christian brothers, to which each, as in the Greek eranoi, or “club feasts,”
contributed his share. The abuse led to the separation of the agape from the
Holy Communion, and ultimately to the entire disuse of the former at religious
gatherings. One is hungry. The poor man, who has been unable
to contribute to the meal which was intended to be an exhibition of
Christian love, looked on with grudging eyes and craving appetite, while
the rich had more than enough. Is drunken. “Paul draws the picture in
strong colours, and who can say that the reality was less strong?” (Meyer).
Calvin says, “It is portentous that Satan should have accomplished so much
in so short a time.” But the remark was, perhaps, dictated by the wholly
mistaken fancy that the Church of the apostolic days was exceptionally
pure. On the contrary, many of the heathen converts were unable at once
to break the spell of their old habits, and few modern Churches present a
spectacle so deplorable as that which we here find in the apostolic Church
in abeyance if such grave scandals could exist uncorrected and apparently
22 “What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the
church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to
you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.” To eat and to drink in.
The object of the agape was something higher than the mere gratification of
appetite. Though not a sacrament, it was an accompaniment of the Lord’s Supper,
and was itself intended to be a symbolical and sacred meal. Despise ye the Church
of God! The congregation of your fellow Christians. Shame; rather, disgrace,
or put to shame. Them that have not. It would be natural to supply
“houses.” But the commentators found it difficult to suppose that any of
the Corinthians had not “houses to eat and to drink in.” Hence most
commentators give to the phrase its classic sense, in which “those who
have” means the rich, and “those who have not,” the poor. They seem,
however, to have forgotten that slaves at any rate could hardly be said to
have “houses of their own,” and it is certain that not a few of the
Corinthian Christians were slaves. I praise you not. As in v. 17, this is
an instance of what is called litotes (an ironic understatement in which an
affirmative is expressed by the negative of its contrary - e.g., you won't be sorry,
meaning you'll be glad). For. He is about to give his reason for thus strongly
blaming their irregularities.
23 “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto
you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed
took bread:” I have received. Rather, I received. He thus refers the revelation
to some special time, and this seems to point to the conclusion that he is not referring
to any account of the institution of the Lord’s Supper, which may have been given
him by Peter or one of the twelve, but to some immediate revelation from Christ.
The terms in which he describes the institution of the Eucharist resemble most nearly
those of Luke, who may very probably have derived his information from Paul.
This passage should be compared with Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke
22:15-20. Was betrayed; rather, was being betrayed.
24 “And when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat: this
is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.”
When He had given thanks. The same word is used in Luke (εὐχαριστήσας –
eucharistaesas – thanking; giving thanks), and is the origin of the name Eucharist.
Mark and perhaps Matthew have “having blessed it” (eulogaesas –
blessing). Hence the Eucharist is “this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.”
Take, eat. These words are omitted by all the best uncials, Which is broken for you.
The word “broken” is of doubtful authenticity. Some manuscripts have
“given,” and one (D) a milder word for “broken,” as though to avoid any
contradiction of John 19:36, where, however, the word is “shall not be
crushed.” Since the participle is omitted altogether by,, A, B, C, there
can be no doubt that it is a gloss, and accordingly the Revised Version
reads, “which is for you.” The “broken” is nevertheless involved in the “He
brake it,” which was a part of the ceremony as originally illustrated. The
breaking of the bread ought not, therefore, to be abandoned, as in the case
when “wafers” are used. This do. Luke also has this clause, which is
not found in Matthew or Mark. The variations show that it was the
main fact which was essential, not the exact words spoken. In remembrance
of me. The words may also be rendered, for a memorial of me, or to bring
me to your remembrance.
He brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken
for you: (Christ died on the cross for you, me, and the sins of the world – CY – 2010) –
“this do in remembrance of me.” – For a memorial of me, or to bring me to your
remembrance. From the apostolic age down to this hour, through twenty long centuries,
it has been attended to by all the branches of the true Church. Since its origin hundreds
of generations have passed away, many systems have risen and disappeared, nations
have been organized, flourished, and broken up; but this ordinance continues; and what for?
To commemorate the great central fact of the gospel, that CHRIST DIED FOR YOU
AND ME! (See “How to be Saved” - # 2 – this web site) This is a gospel for sinners.
It is they who need a gospel, sunk as they are in sin, exposed as they are to
condemnation and destruction. This is a gospel for you. (This is a gospel for me –
CY – 2009) Whoever you are, you need it; and, in your heart of hearts, you are
well aware that it is so. God sent His Son that you might be saved. Christ gave
Himself for you. Unto you is the word of salvation sent. Christ has suffered that
you might escape, has died that you might live. In Him there is for you pardon
for the past and strength for the present and hope for the future. “Believe in the
Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” This is a gospel from God. Only He
could send news adapted to the case of sinners, and He has sent such news.
Here is the expression of His deepest sympathy, His tenderest solicitude, His
most Fatherly love. Coming from Him, the gospel cannot be an illusion; it may
be trusted. It is the wisdom of God and the power of God (ch.1:24) unto salvation.
Yet, what is this gospel to those who believe not? Good news to those who reject
it is all the same as bad news. There is every reason, every motive, for believing it.
Christ will be glorified, God will be rejoiced, angels will sympathize and sing with
gladness, (Luke 15:10) and YOU WILL BE SAVED! The gospel is worthy of belief
in itself, and IT IS EXACTLY AND PERFECTLY ADAPTED TO YOU! BELIEVE
IT AND BELIEVE IT NOW!
Remembering Christ (v. 24)
The Lord’s Supper is very specially a feast of remembrance. Is there in it a
suggestion that we are very prone to forget Christ? This is, alas! our
tendency, and here we are in strange contrast to our Lord. He needs
nothing to keep us in His remembrance; He ever thinks of His people. In the
institution of the Lord’s Supper He thinks of our forgetfulness, of its perils,
of its certain sorrows. He remembers that we are prone not to remember
Him. What should we remember concerning Christ?
best of human leaders have been marked by defects, but our Leader was
“without blemish.” In the lives of heroes there is always something which
we should be glad to forget; but there is nothing in the life of Christ.
Jealousy, hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness could find in Him “no
fault.” Many great men have grown small, many holy men questionable in
character, many honored men dishonorable, under the ruthless criticism
of modern times; BUT NOT JESUS
been focused upon His earthly course; the brains of skeptic and of scoffer
have been racked in prolonged endeavor to discover the flaw; but it has not
been discovered yet! The voices of all the centuries cry;
Ø “Without fault!” (Luke 23:14; John 19:4)
Ø “Holy and undefiled!” (Hebrews 7:26)
Ø “Separate from sinners!” (ibid.)
Well may we remember that life.
of the world seem to have nothing to teach upon matters of high moment.
At best they guess, and often they guess folly. He teaches with the
authority of knowledge; all other teachers seem hidden in the valley,
imagining what the landscape may be. He alone has climbed the hill and
beholds what He speaks about. We need to remember, more than we are
accustomed to do, the utterances of the world’s great Teacher. Seekers
after knowledge should be careful lest after all they miss the richest mine of
truth. Learned scoffings and atheistical ribaldries are naught but devil
blinds to hide from our view the beautiful form of truth as it is in Christ. In
Him “are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).
When God broke the dread silence upon the Mount of Transfiguration
it was to exclaim, “This is my beloved Son: hear Him.” (Matthew 17:5)
The Holy Ghost was promised as One who would “bring to remembrance”
what Christ had declared. (John 14:26) Through the Lord’s Supper, as a
means, the Divine Spirit works now for this end.
before her God. How weak the mightiest of the earth are compared with
this mighty One! When the
and shattered and generally annihilated by blatant wiseacre warriors, with
their skeptical pea shooters and atheistical popguns, I laugh as I remember
that it is the
in mind what Christ did when He was upon earth, and then to say quietly to
ourselves, “The same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) WHAT
HE DID, HE CAN DO; WHAT HE WAS, HE IS! His miracles illustrated
His beneficence. They meant the supply of human need, the binding up of
wounds, the restoration of the outcast, the arrest of sorrow, the wiping away
of tears, the cheer of lonely hearts. We must remember His miracles; they
show so truly what the Christ was. With ALL HIS OMNIPOTENCE,
how gentle and tender!
the great title of Saviour; to it the Lord’s Supper specially points. We must
remember Him as the One who laid down His life for us, who bore our
griefs and carried our sorrows, who was wounded for our trangressions
and bruised for our iniquities, who died the just for the unjust that He
might bring us to God. The Lord’s
Supper leads us to
the motley crowd, past the weeping Marys, beyond the penitent thief, to the
central figure in the Judaean tragedy, and there we see SALVATION!
“Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed
each other” (Psalm 85:10). Remembrance of Christ’s death will mean
remembrance of OUR SINFULNESS! And when we remember that
“He endured the cross, despising the shame” (Hebrews 12:2), we may
ask ourselves the suggestive question, “What would be our present
condition and prospect if He had not done so?”
for the remembrance of Christ both after He had died and after He had risen
from the dead. We must not forget the dying Christ; but neither must we
forget the triumphing Christ. The resurrection of Christ is the counterpart
of the cross; one is not without the other, The Lord died, BUT THE LORD
IS RISEN INDEED! (This we commemorate this weekend – April 1, 2018 –
CY) He came to this world in abasement; He lived so, He died so,
but He did not depart so. He rose from the dead, and ever liveth. We
remember the dying Christ, but we remember also the living Christ, exalted
at God’s right hand, our Advocate, preparing our heavenly home, looking
down upon us, present with us by His Spirit. We remember the reigning
Christ, the One who has completed His glorious redemptive work, who has
triumphed openly, and we remember Him thus “till he come.”
instant of His course. In His coming; in His words, deeds, spirit; and
preeminently in His sufferings and death. GOD is love; CHRIST is GOD;
CHRIST is love.
what He was AND IS!. All His acts and words of beneficence and love
were only expressions of Himself. They were but manifestations of what
dwells in perpetual fullness in His heart. REMEMBER HIM! “This do in
remembrance of me.” This is a dying request. Are we observing it? The
dying request of Him who “gave Himself” for us.
25 “After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying,
This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in
remembrance of me.” When he had supped (see Luke 22:27). ‘The cup, like the
cos haberachah, was given after the meal was ended. The new testament;
rather, the new covenant. The Greek word – diatheke - covenant is indeed
a “will,” or “testament;” but in the Septuagint, on which the Greek of the apostles
was formed, it always stands for berith, covenant. The Jews knew nothing of
the practice of “making wills” till they learned it from the Romans. The only
passage of the New Testament (an expression derived from this very
passage through the Vulgate) in which means a “testament” is
Hebrews 9:16, where the writer reverts for a moment only to this
signification of the word to introduce a passing illustration. In my blood.
The cup was a symbol of the blood of Christ, because the gospel covenant was ratified
by the shedding of His blood. The Jews had an absolute horror, at once religious and
physical, of tasting blood. This was the reason why the Synod of Jerusalem forbade
even to the Gentiles the eating of “things strangled.” If the apostles had not fully
understood that our Lord was only using the ordinary language of Semitic imagery,
and describing only a sacramental symbol, the words, “this is my blood” would
have been to them a horror and repulsion
26 “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s
death till He come.” Ye do show the Lord’s death. The word literally means, ye
announce, or proclaim, with reference to the repetition of the actual words used by
our Lord. It will be seen that Paul does not lend the smallest, sanction to the
unfathomable superstition” of a material transubstantiation. Till he come.
Accordingly the antiquity and unbroken continuance of this holy rite is one
of the many strong external evidences of the truth of the gospel history.
The is omitted in the Greek, to indicate the CERTAINTY OF CHRIST’S COMING.
The same Greek idiom is hopefully and tenderly used in Galatians 4:19.Here we are
distinctly told that it is to “show the Lord’s death.” No language can more clearly
show that it is purely commemorative. The text tells us it is to “show” or to teach;
it is an educational ordinance. It’s celebration is to commemorate the world’s
greatest Benefactor, Jesus Christ, my Lord, -CY – 2010 – our Savior. It is to
keep Christ in the memory of man. Here is a Benefactor that has:
The Sacred Feast (vs. 23-26)
Paul’s description is singularly beautiful. His information apparently came
directly from Christ (Galatians 1:12). Additional importance attaches to
the observance of the Lord’s Supper, since an express revelation was made
to the great apostle of the Gentiles. The supper was for the Gentile world
as well as the Jewish. Its institution was associated with the preaching of
the gospel throughout the world.
Ø Personally. Evidently important in His eyes. Specially precious to us
because instituted personally by our Master. Appropriate; for He in His
great redemptive work is set forth. Christ is “all in all” at his table. As
Christ was present at the first celebration, He should be looked for at every
Ø Under most affecting circumstances. “The same night in which He was
betrayed;” whilst betrayal was proceeding — and this known to Him.
o He thought of others rather than of Himself. He might have been
expected to think of His sufferings; He thought of our needs.
He had sorrow, but no selfish sorrow. The unselfishness of Christ
is here shown in unrivalled beauty.
o His love was not quenched by treachery. The betrayal by Judas did not
dry up His fount of affection. When treachery was at its height, love
was at its height also. When men are most anxious to injure us, we
should be most anxious to do them good.
o His sacrifice was not arrested by hate. The multitude were hotly against
Him when He prepared to give Himself for them. Outside the upper room
and inside in the breast of Judas there was bitter hate, but Christ was not
checked in His purpose for an instant. He resolved to go on and to fulfill
all that had been foretold respecting Him, and so He quietly and calmly
instituted the supper which should in every after age testify to
incomparable self sacrifice under all — adverse conditions. If we would
be like Christ, hostility must not hinder sacrifice.
Ø Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving for the bread and wine. We should not “say
grace” but really “give thanks.” Perhaps to teach us that our thanksgivings
should ascend for what the bread and wine typify.
o Symbolic of Christ’s body. Not actually His body, seeing that that was
intact and before the eyes of the disciples. If
the disciples would have required a very lengthy explanation to enable
them to grasp the meaning. We have no such explanation recorded; we
might have expected it in this place, if anywhere.
o Broken. Many see in this a symbol of the violent death of Christ. But
the better rendering of v. 24 is, “This is my body which is for you.”
Breaking the bread was, I rather think, the mere adoption of a custom
suited to the kind of bread used at that time in
“A bone of Him shall not be broken.” (Exodus 12:46; Numbers
9:12; Psalm 34:20; John 19:36)
o Eaten. Indicating that we are to feed upon Christ spiritually, to
appropriate, to assimilate, him.
Ø Wine. Symbolic of Christ’s blood shed for the remission of sins.
Partaken of to indicate the application of the blood of Christ to our hearts
and consciences. The blood must not only be shed, it must be applied.
Ø Remembrance of Christ. Of His dying love specially; and of His life,
Ø Communion with Christ and with each other. (See ch. 10:16-17.)
Ø A feast. We feed upon Christ spiritually. As bread and wine support the
body, so He supports the soul. There is a physical symbol and a spiritual
reality. Joy should be one element in the observance; it is a feast, not a
Ø A covenant. We enter into covenant with God for pardon, peace,
service, and the covenant is ratified by the blood of Christ typified by wine:
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood.” (v. 25; Luke 22:20) The
Hebrews entered into covenant with God when the blood of the heifer was
sprinkled upon them; they bound themselves to obedience, and God
bound Himself to bestow the promised blessings; so when we receive the
cup, we commemorate the covenant which we have entered into with God
through the shed blood of Christ and the covenant which he has entered
into with us.
Ø Proclamation of Christ’s death. Christ’s death is the great central fact
shadowed forth. The cross is exalted. Not a new sacrifice offered, but the
old yet ever new sacrifice of
(“By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the
body of Jesus Christ ONCE FOR ALL!”)
Ø A pledge of THE LORD’S SECOND COMING! “Till He come.” HE WILL
COME! (II Peter 3:10) and it is not for us to say, “My Lord delayeth His
coming.” (Matthew 24:48) He will come not too soon and not too late.
“Till He come” we must be watching!
command. Some believers have many excuses for not coming to the Lord’s
table; they do not find one here: “This do.” Last requests of loved ones are
held precious: should not the request of this loved One be also? In this
command our welfare is consulted as in all Divine commands laid upon us.
We lose much if we refrain from doing this in remembrance of our Master
— much spiritual joy, enlightenment, strengthening, and not a little
usefulness. The Lord’s table is the Elim of Christians; we act foolishly if we
fail to embrace opportunities of resting beneath its palm trees and drinking
from its many wells of living water. (Exodus 15:27; Numbers 33:9)
The Lord’s Supper (vs. 23-26)
Paul had not been an eyewitness of the sacred incident that he here
relates. Nor had he gained his knowledge of it by the report of others. He
had “received it of the Lord.” At what time and in what way this took
place we know not, We may, perhaps, best attribute it to that remarkable
transition period immediately after his conversion, the “three years” that he
spent in Arabia and
his apostolic ministry (Galatians 1:17-18). We can well believe that it
was during that time of lonely, silent contemplation that the grand verities
of the gospel message were divinely unveiled to him; and this may have
been among the things that he then “received of the Lord.” The simplicity
of the way in which he describes the institution of this sacred rite is in
perfect harmony with the simplicity of the gospel record. One can only
wonder how it can have been possible for such an incident to be turned, as
it has been, into a weapon of sacerdotal pretence and spiritual oppression.
The too prevalent neglect of the observance has, no doubt, to a great
extent been the natural and inevitable result of this abuse. The false or
exaggerated use of anything always provokes to the opposite extreme. We
may urge its claims on the Christian conscience and heart by looking at it in
three different aspects — as a memorial, as a symbol, and as a means of
this bread, and drink the cup, ye proclaim the Lord’s death till He come.”
Christ’s own words set it forth as an act of personal remembrance, Paul’s
as a time long witness to the great sacrifice. Taking the two together, it
appears as a memorial of “Christ and Him crucified” — of Himself in all the
truth and meaning of His earthly manifestation, of His death as the issue in
which the fullness of that meaning was gathered up and consummated. We
may regard this memorial in its relation both to those who observe it and to
those who observe it not; as a method of keeping the fact of Christ’s self
surrender vividly before the minds of those who believe in Him and love
Him, and as a testimony that appeals with silent eloquence to a thoughtless,
careless world. In this respect it resembles other Scripture memorials
(Genesis 22:14; 28:18-19; Exodus 12:24-27; Joshua 4:20-24;
I Samuel 7:12). And when we think how easily things the most
important fade away from our memories while trifles linger there, and
sacred impressions are obliterated by meaner influences, we may well
recognize with devout thankfulness the wisdom and love which ordained
such a mode of perpetuating the remembrance of the most momentous of
all events in human history, while, in spite of all its perversions, the simple
fact of the continuance of such a sacred usage of the Church is a proof that
it rests on a Divine foundation.
invisible. Not merely is bread a fitting emblem of the Saviour’s body and
wine of His blood, and the breaking of the one and the pouring out of the
other of the manner of His death; but the service itself symbolizes the
personal union of the soul with Him, the method alike of its origin and its
support. It bears witness, as in a figure, to the deeper reality of the life of
faith. It sets forth, in the form of a significant deed, what our Lord set forth
in the form of metaphoric words when he said, “Except ye eat the flesh of
the Son of man,” etc. (John 6:53-58). And in both cases “it is the Spirit
which quickeneth.” Mysticism has thrown its false halo, its bewitching
glamor, around these Divine words; and the sacred ordinance that would
otherwise have made its simple appeal to the insight of the Christian
understanding and the tenderness of the Christian heart has become mere
food for superstition. But there is no Scripture warrant whatever for this.
From the gross materialism of the Romish “Mass” to the subtler refinement
of thought that regards the Lord’s spiritual presence as being in some
mystic sense inherent in the bread and wine, speaking of the sacrament
being “administered,” as though it had some occult virtue in it, a kind of
spiritual medicament conferred by priestly hands, and “taken” by the
faithful for their souls’ healing, — all these shades of opinion alike
substitute a physical mystery for a SPIRITUAL TRUTH, and engender a
superstitious faith that fixes its attention on the material emblems and
something that is supposed to be true of them; rather than the intelligent
faith that discerns the unseen Saviour through them, very much as we look
through our window upon the golden glory of the setting sun without
thinking of the transparent medium through which we behold it (see ‘Christ
the Bread of Life,’ J. McLeod Campbell, p. 21, et seq.). (This can be
CY – 2018).
reason of the memorial and the symbol. It is more than a “transparent
medium” through which the soul may gaze upon the crucified Christ; it is a
channel of spiritual influence by means of which the soul’s fellowship with
Him may be deepened and strengthened. It accomplishes this end, not by
any magic power that it may wield over us, but by virtue simply of the
influence it is naturally fitted to exert on mind and conscience and heart,
and by the grace of that good Spirit whose office it is to testify of Christ.
(John 14:26) We may be fully alive to the dangers that lurk in the use of all
symbolic religious rites, the danger especially of attributing to the sign an
efficacy that lies only in that which is signified. And we may see in this the
reason why the rites of Christianity are so few. But what Christian heart can
be insensible to the high spiritual value of an observance such as this?
Moreover, the obligation is plain. “Do this,” says our dying Lord, “in
remembrance of me.” May not such an appeal be expected to draw forth a
ready response from any soul that has ever “tasted that He is gracious”?
(I Peter 2:3) Its being the behest of love rather than the stern requirement of
law, makes it doubly imperative, while the simplicity of the deed it enjoins
makes it doubly efficacious as a bond of affection and a vehicle of moral
power. We all know what a charm there is in even the most trivial mementos
of those whom we have loved and lost, especially if it be some object with
which the personal memory is most closely associated by familiar daily use,
some little thing that tender hands we can no longer grasp and a loving voice
that is now forever still have bequeathed to us. With what a glow of grateful
affection will the sight of it sometimes suffuse our hearts! How near does it
bring the departed to us again! How closely does it draw us into sympathy
and fellowship with their personal life! (I have handed down to me in the
family a pocket watch with the chain being made from my paternal great-
grandmother’s hair, which she gave to my great-grandfather [after whom
I am named] prior to their marriage – circa. late 1860’s – CY - 2018).
And shall not this be expected to be pre-eminently true of these simple
memorials of our loving, suffering, dying Lord? The realization of this,
however, must always depend on something in ourselves. The influence we
receive from the outward observance will depend on what we are prepared to
receive, i.e. on what we bring to it in the conditions of our own inward thought
and feeling. It will never of itself create right feeling. Come to it with a worldly
spirit, with a divided heart — cold, careless, carnal, frivolous, prayerless,
or in any way out of harmony with the Divine realities it represents — and you
can expect to find no uplifting and inspiring power in it. You are not likely to
“discern the Lord’s body.” (v. 29) Christ is never further from us than when
we desecrate sacred scenes and services by our discordant mental and moral
conditions. But come with your soul yearning after Him, and He will unveil
to you His glory and fill you with the joy of His love. “Let a man prove
himself, and so let him eat of the bread, and drink of the cup.” (v. 28)
The Church’s Proclamation (v. 26)
What so fitted to rebuke those who profaned the Supper of the Lord, what
so fitted to arouse them to a sense of their high calling, as a solemn
declaration like this? The noisy, greedy, quarrelsome gatherings which
one of the highest mysteries of the Christian faith, naturally awakened the
indignation and the reproaches of the apostle. Recalling them to a sense of
the dignity of their position as witnesses to God in an ignorant and sinful
world, the apostle summons the Corinthian Christians so to eat the bread
and drink the cup of the Eucharist as to declare to all the sacred tidings of
a Redeemer’s death.
Lord’s death was an admitted fact; and if anything was needed to establish
the historical fact, the existence of this ordinance was sufficient and more
than sufficient for the purpose. But men may forget and lose sight of an
event which they do not dream of denying. And it seemed good to Divine
wisdom that the crucifixion and sacrifice of the Son of God should be held
in everlasting memory by means of this simple but most significant
observance. It was not simply as an historical fact that the death of Christ
was to be recorded, but as a Christian doctrine. Christ’s was a redeeming,
atoning, reconciling death; and as such was cherished in everlasting
memory by those who profited by it, who owed to it their eternal hopes.
“Ye set forth, or proclaim, the Lord’s death,” says the apostle. And from
his expression, “as often,” it may be inferred that periodically and
frequently the primitive Christians kept the feast, remembering and
declaring that “Christ our Passover is slain for us.” (ch. 5:7) There is
something very affecting and at the same time very inspiring in this
representation. From generation to generation and from age to age the
sacrament of the Lord’s body and blood publishes salvation to mankind,
telling of Him who tasted death forevery man, and in His cross reconciled
the world unto God. It is an aspect of the Holy Communion which should
not be left out of sight, upon which great stress should be laid; for some,
whom words may fail to reach, may have their hearts opened to the grace
and love of Christ by witnessing the silent yet eloquent declaration concerning
the Saviour which is presented when the members of Christ’s Church partake
of the symbols of their redemption.
He come!” Our Lord, in instituting the ordinance, had turned the gaze of
His disciples towards the future, speaking of drinking wine new in the
on to the glory which shall be revealed when he who came to die shall
come to judge, shall come to reign!
“And thus that dark betrayal night
With the last advent we unite
By one bright chain of loving rite,
Until He come!”
27 “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord,
unworthily” (in a careless, irreverent, defiant spirit) shall be guilty of the body
and blood of the Lord.” And drink this cup. This ought to be rendered, or drink
this cup. It seems to be one of the extremely few instances in which the
translators of our Authorized Version were led by bias into unfaithful
rendering. They may have persuaded themselves that the apostle must have
meant “and;” but their duty as translators was to translate what he said, not
what they supposed him to have meant. What he meant was that it was
possible to partake in a wrong spirit either of the bread or the cup. King
James’s translators thought that, by rendering the word or, they might
seem to favor communion in one kind only. Paul’s meaning was that a
man might take either element of the sacrament unworthily. Unworthily.
We are all “unworthy” — “ unworthy so much as to gather up the crumbs
under Christ’s table;” yet not one of us need eat or drink unworthily, that
is, in a careless, irreverent, defiant spirit. Guilty of. The guilty one draws on
himself the penalty due to “crucifying to himself the Son of God afresh,”
by “putting him to an open shame.” (Hebrews 6:6)
28 “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and
drink of that cup.” Let a man examine himself. The verb means “let him
test his own feelings;” put them to the proof, to see whether they be sincere or
not. He must “wash his hands in innocency,” (Psalm 26:6) and so come to
God’s altar (see Matthew 5:22-23; II Corinthians 13:5). And so let him
eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.” Soberly, that is; seriously,
humbly, and with due reverence.
29 “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh
damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.” Unworthily.
The word is not genuine here, being repeated from v. 27; it is omitted by
א, A, B, C. Eateth and drinketh damnation to himself; rather, eateth and
drinketh judgment to himself - There is reason to believe that the word
“damnation” once had a much milder meaning in English than that which it now
popularly bears. In King James’s time it probably did not of necessity mean more
than “an unfavorable verdict.” Otherwise this would be the most unfortunate
mistranslation in the whole Bible. It has probably kept thousands, as it kept
Goethe, from Holy Communion. We see from v. 32 that this “judgment” had
a purely merciful and disciplinary character – Not discerning the Lord’s body.
Any one who approaches the Lord’s Supper in a spirit of levity or defiance, not
discriminating between it and common food, draws on himself, by so eating and
drinking, a judgment which is defined in the next verse.
30 “For this cause many are weak and sickly among you and many sleep.”
Paul directly connects this general ill health with the abuse of the Lord’s Supper.
It is not impossible that the grave intemperance to which he alludes in v. 21 may
have had its share in this result; but apart from this, there is an undoubted connection
between sin and sickness in some, though not, of course, in all cases (John 5:16)
Many. The word is different from the previous word for “many,” and means a
larger number — “not a few,” “a considerable number.” Sleep; i.e. are dying.
31 “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 32 But when
we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned
with the world.” For if we would judge ourselves, etc. These verses are
very unfortunately mistranslated in our Authorized Version. They should
be rendered (literally), For if we discerned (or, discriminated) ourselves,
we should not be undergoing judgment (namely, of physical punishment);
but, in being judged by the Lord (by these temporal sufferings), we are
under training, that we may not be condemned with the world. The
meaning is that “if we” (Paul here identities himself with the
Corinthians) “were in the habit of self discernment — and in this self
discrimination is involved a discrimination between spiritual and common
things — we should not be undergoing this sign of God’s displeasure;
but the fact that His judgments are abroad among us is intended
to further our moral education, and to save us from being finally condemned with the
world.” Discernment - – diakrinomen - ; from (ω –diakrino –
judicial estimation: discern (-ing), disputation - by saving us from eating unworthily
(Psalm 32:5; I John 1:9), would have obviated the necessity for penal judgments -
κρίμα – krima - condemnation; but yet is disciplinary – παιδευόμεθα - paideuometha -
we are being disciplined; we are being trained as children), to save us from
final doom - κατακριθῶμεν - katakrithomen - we may be being condemned.
Unworthy eating, then, so far from involving necessary or final “damnation,”
is mercifully visited by God with temporal chastisement, to help in the
saving of our souls. “Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Lord”
(Psalm 94:12; Hebrews 12:5-12).
33 "Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for
another." Wherefore. He now briefly sums up the practical remedies for
these discreditable scenes. My brethren. Introduced, as often, into a stern
passage to show that the writer is only actuated by the spirit of love. Tarry
one for another. This would prevent the scrambling greediness which he
has already condemned in v. 21.
34 "And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye may come not
together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come."
And if any man hunger, let him eat at home. A reminder of the sacred
character of the agape as a symbol of Christian love and union. Unto condemnation;
rather, judgment. In Greek, the same word (κρίμα) is used which in v. 29 is so
unhappily rendered “damnation.” But even “condemnation” is too strong; for
that is equivalent to κατάκριμα - katakrima. The rest; all minor details. It is not
improbable that one of these details was the practical dissociation of the agape
from the Lord’s Supper altogether. Certainly the custom of uniting the two
seems to have disappeared by the close of the first century. When I come; rather,
whenever. The Greek phrase (ὡς ἂν – hos an – as ever - implies uncertainty.
apostle’s plans for visiting
disturbed by the unfavorable tidings as to the conditions of the Church.
Memory and the Holy Spirit (v. 24)
“This do in remembrance of me” - In a previous discussion (ch. 10.) Paul had referred to
a specific aspect of the Lord’s Supper as a communion or participation. Beyond this the
argument then in hand did not require him to go. Now, however, he is full and explicit as to
details — the time when it was instituted, the circumstances, the manner of the Lord Jesus,
the formula employed; so that nothing might escape observation, but the utmost depth and
solemnity of impression be secured. “In remembrance of me” is the heart of the holy
ordinance — the “remembrance” of the broken body and the shed blood — the penalty
of the violated Law endured, satisfaction offered to the Lawgiver, the sense of justice met
in the human heart, the love of God expressing itself as the grace of God, and the means
therewith provided for the sense of God’s grace to be awakened and developed in the
human heart. Memory is the power in man this holy institution addresses. “In
remembrance of me.” Now, looking at memory in its position among the mental faculties,
we may perchance get some light on the words just quoted. Memory is a very early and
energetic activity of the mind. It begins our development and is the chief stimulant of
progressive development. It is the spinal column of the faculties. Sensation, perception,
imagination, associative and suggestive functions, reasoning and conclusions reached,
are all very intimately identified with its operations. Memory is the first of the intellectual
powers to attain perfection, as judgment is the last, and this law of rapid maturity would
seem to indicate, by its exceptional character, that memory sustains a very near relation
to the growth of our moral nature. It is clear that the Lord Jesus adopted the method of
storing facts in the minds of the twelve apostles, and leaving them in latency, the truths in
these facts being reserved for subsequent realization. And it is equally certain that one of
the chief offices of the Holy Ghost, as the Executive of the Father and the Son, was
“to bring all things” to their “remembrance.” (John 14:26) - Naturally, indeed, a past
was formed in the memories of the twelve, but it was made a spiritual past by the Divine
agency of the Spirit as a Remembrancer. Furthermore, the apostles were to be witnesses,
or testifiers: “Ye also shall bear witness;” but the importance of the Spirit as a
Remembrancer exhibits itself in this, that, out of the miscellaneous mass of facts deposited in
the memories of the twelve, selection was to be made, for, according to the fourth Gospel,
there were “many other things which Jesus did” that were not “written,” (John 20:30)
while those “written” (ibid. v. 31) were such as were adapted to Christian faith. It seems,
then, that memory was inspired by the Holy Ghost in accordance with the principle contained
in the words, “These are written” — only these — “that ye might believe that Jesus is
the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his Name.”
(ibid.) Aside, however, from the apostles, is there not a principle here which is recognized
by the Spirit in all its gracious administrations? Memory is ordinarily the starting point in
religious life when that life becomes positive and decided. It enters largely into conviction
for sin and into repentance. Further back than recollection extends, impressions of God’s
goodness and the need of Christ for pardon and peace were made on the soul, and there
they lay like old deposits in the strata of the globe, till the Holy Ghost uncovered them to
our consciousness, God keeps for us His witness in this faithful register of the past.
We may well believe that memory is the master organ through which grace is imparted to
men. A simple hymn of Dr. Watts’s or Mrs. Barbauld’s learned in childhood; the little
prayer, “Now I lay me down to sleep;” (I personally remember my mother, Aline
Shadoan Yahnig, praying this prayer with me at bedtime before I was six years old –
that being at least sixty years ago - CY – 2010) and most of all, “Our Father which
art in heaven,” taught by a mother’s lips; our first sight of death; our first walk in a
graveyard; — come back to us in after years, and suddenly the hard grip of the world on
our hearts is relaxed, and the “little child is set in the midst” of life’s scenes, and we know
that Jesus has set it there for our restoration to its long lost image. No wonder, then, that
it should have pleased the Lord Jesus to make the Holy Supper an institution appealing to
memory. There, in that upper room, a few hours on earth remaining to Him, the past three
years with His disciples were gathered in a few most solemn moments. The righteousness
of His perfect life of obedience, all He had taught and done and suffered, had come into
this final interview, and were going forward into His expiatory death. The motive and
blessedness of the act in the celebration of the Eucharist are drawn from “In remembrance
of me.” Christ in all His fulness, Christ in His one personality as Son of God and Son
of man, Christ in the entire compass of mediation, is in this “me.” At the same time,
the act shows forth the “Lord’s death till He come,” and accordingly is prospective.
As a natural fact, memory is the great feeder of the imagination, and is ever exciting it to
picture the future. Except for memory, the imagination could not exist, or, if existing, would
be a very imperfect because torpid faculty. As a religious organ, the medium as we
have seen of the Spirit, the memory stimulates the imagination and qualifies it to “show the
Lord’s death till He come.” Paul mentions first the “remembrance” in connection with
the broken body and again with the blood, and then comes the idea of showing, or
proclaiming. Of course, the supper had to be a memorial before it could be an anticipation,
but the order involves more than chronological sequence. It is an inner order of ideas, and
it states, we think, with force and precision the relativity of these ideas. If this analysis be
correct, then the determinative idea in the institution is its memorial character (remembrance),
and by this idea we are to judge its nature and influence. Yet not alone by this abstractly
viewed, since memory is supplemented by imagination and its vivid sense of futurity. From
this point of view we understand why Paul should protest so strongly against the shocking
abuse of the Lord’s Supper among the Corinthians. With this feast, instituted and consecrated
by Christ Himself, its purpose being to bring Him back into their midst and to enable them to
realize His coming again, the two ideas being closely joined, — with this tender remembrance
and expectation they had associated sensual pleasures, eating and drinking to excess,
into classes, despising the
upon themselves. What of Christ was in all this? Instead of memories of His sacrificial death,
instead of their personal recollections of His providence and grace in their behalf, instead of
touching and humbling recallings of how He had dealt with each of them, what utter
forgetfulness, what a closing up of every avenue of the past opening into the present, and what
a concentration in the animal gratifications of the hour! Instead of anticipation and joyous
hope, looking to the Lord’s coming, what blindness to all but the transient festivities of the
carnal senses! On this account (therefore) “many are weak and sickly among you, and
many sleep.” The reference is not to the weakness and sickliness that follow the violations
of natural laws, nor is the sleep the falling asleep in Jesus, but a punishment sent from God
and executed under the directive agency of providence. Just in proportion as a man realizes
Christ in the past will he realize Him in the future. Just in the degree that he loses Him from
the past of his own heart, in that same degree will he vacate the future of His glorious image.
The present is all, and it is all of the senses. And when God arises to judgment, as in the case
of the Corinthians, what a sudden intensity surcharges the present, the blessedness of the old
yesterdays and the awaiting tomorrows all extinguished, and the immediate moments, once so
fugitive and so eager to glorify themselves by larger additions, lingering now and lengthening in
the keener consciousness of pain and remorseful anguish! “Judge yourselves,” O Corinthians!
Examine your hearts; return to your memories and expectations; go to the cross of Christ and
learn the lesson of its self sacrifice; condemn and punish yourselves for the guilty past; and
make this discipline of self a chastening for future well being. But let no true and humble soul
be tortured by the thought of eating and drinking “unworthily,” and thereby incurring
“condemnation.” Whoever comes to the Lord’s Supper after a close self examination aided
by the Spirit, and brings to it a meek and trustful mind; whoever repairs to it after he has
communed with his memories of Christ’s goodness to him, — will be a worthy participant in
the sacred rite, and may surely expect the seal of God’s approbation. A Christian child may
understand the essential idea and spirit of the institution. And yet it has connections that
transcend all thought, and the soul of every devout communicant welcomes the
mysterious glory with which it is invested. Charles Wesley sings for every
believer when he says --
“His presence makes the feast,
And now our bosoms feel
The glory not to be expressed,
The joy unspeakable.”
From generation to generation and from age to age the sacrament of the Lord’s body
and blood PUBLISHES SALVATION TO MANKIND, telling of Him who
tasted death for every man, and in HIS CROSS RECONCILED THE WORLD
Thanks be unto God for His “unspeakable gift”! (II Corinthians 9:15)
The meaning of the Lord’s Supper is to remember Christ! Let us always remember
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