Lange Commentary - 1 Corinthians 11:17 - 11:34

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Lange Commentary - 1 Corinthians 11:17 - 11:34

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

B. On the contrast between the rich and poor at church-feasts, as inconsistent with the idea of the Lord’s Supper, and provocative of the Divine judgments


      17Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not [But this I command you, not praising you, ðáñáããÝëëù ïὐê ἐðáéíῶí ], that ye come together not for thebetter, but for the worse. 18For first of all, when ye come together in the church [a public assembly, ἐí ἐêêëçóßᾳ ] I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly19[in some degree, ìÝñïò ôé ] believe it. For there must be also heresies [sects, áἱñÝóåéò ] among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.20When ye come together therefore into one place, this [it] is not to eat the Lord’s supper. 21For in eating every one taketh before other his own [private, ôὸ ἴäéïí ] supper:22and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What! [For, ãὰñ ] have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that havenot? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not. 23For I have [om. have, ðáñÝëáâïí ] received of the Lord that which also I [have, ðáñὲäùêá ] delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed,took bread: 24And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat [om. Take eat]; this is my body, which is broken [om. broken] for you: this do in remem-brance of me. 25After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament [covenant, äéáèÞêç ] in my blood: this do ye, asoft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this [the] cup, ye do shew [proclaim, êáôáããÝëëåôå ] the Lord’s death till hecome. 27Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and [or, ] drink this cup of theLord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and [the] blood of the Lord. 28But let a man examine [make trial of, äïêéìáæÝôù ] himself, and so let him eat of that [the ôïῦ ] bread, and drink of that [the, ôïῦ ] cup. 29For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, [om. unworthily] aateth and drinketh damnation [judgment, êñῖìá ] to him-30self, not discerning the Lord’s [if he does not discern the, ìὴ äéáêñßíùí ] body. For31this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For [But, äὲ ] if we would judge [had judged, äéåêñßíïìåí ] ourselves, we should not be [have beenjudged, ïὐê ἄí ἐêñéíüìåèá ] judged. 32But when we are judged [now that we are judged, êñéíüìåíïé ], we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with theworld. 33Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And [om. And] if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not34together unto condemnation [judgment, êñῖìá ]. And the rest will I set in order when I come.


[In order to the right understanding of this section it must be premised: 1. That it was the primitive custom to celebrate the Lord’s Supper in private houses (Act_2:46); although there is reason to believe, as will soon be seen, that the Corinthians had already a specific place for public worship. Yet, supposing this to have been the case, it would be natural to infer that the habits and sentiments attaching to the observance at the private house, would be transferred to what might be called “ the church.” 2. That the Lord’s Supper was held “daily” (Act_2:46), and was usually connected with an ordinary meal; although even in this respect the language of the text seems to imply a change to a less frequent observance; perhaps the first day of the week, as was afterwards the custom (Act_20:7). 3. That this meal was often made up of contributions brought by the communicants, to be enjoyed in common, and which came to be called an Agape ( ἀãÜðç ) or love-feast, where the fellowship of the Christian community was exhibited and cultivated in a social festival. 4. That the custom of enjoying such social repasts existed also among the Greeks. With them these repasts were termed ἔñáíïé , club feasts, which were associated with plans of mutual relief or charity toward the poor, where the practice was for each guest to eat that which he brought with him in his own basket. And what an influence this heathen observance, so often attended with disorder and rioting, would have upon the minds of recent converts present at a similar Christian festival, can be readily imagined. Bearing these four facts in mind, we shall be able the more readily to appreciate the nature of the difficulties which had arisen in the church, and the occasion of the Apostolic rebuke and injunction. And in all this we shall see an illustration of the old proverb, that “evil customs give rise to good laws.” See these facts more fully brought out in Stanley’s valuable note, and also in articles under “Lord’s Supper,” in Kitto’s Biblical Cyclopædia, Alexander’s Ed.; and Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible; Riddle’s Christian Antiquities, p. 600; Neander, Plant. and Train. of the Christian Church, pp. 23, 163; Schaff, Hist. of the Apostolic Church, p. 185 ff.].

1Co_11:17. Now this I command.—He here refers to the foregoing precept; and through a participial clause expressing a contrast with what he says in 1Co_11:2, he connects with it a rebuke of further evils in their church assemblies—Not praising (you).—We should have expected to see the sentence here differently constructed, having the main verb in the form of a participle, and the participle in the form of the main verb; since it is on the latter that the emphasis evidently lies. Hence the ordinary reading, which for this very reason is not to be maintained. If, however, with Lachmann [and Stanley], we include 1Co_11:16 in this paragraph, then the words ôïῦôï ðáñáããÝëëù would point to what follows, and be rendered: ‘Now this I declare unto you’ [as the E. V.], which rendering would be contrary to the New Testament usage. And to this we may add that the previous paragraph requires just such a conclusion as is found in 1Co_11:16. There is no need whatever of supposing that the strifes and schisms alluded to in 1Co_11:18 refer to the contentiousness spoken of in 1Co_11:16. Besides, the reference of ôïῦôï , this, to what follows is inadmissible, since no directions do follow immediately; and in order to find any, we must look onward to 1Co_11:33 ff., which would be too remote. Still further, there is no need of looking for them here, since the close connection with the precepts immediately preceding by means of the participial clause, is sufficiently motived by that which is common to the two paragraphs, viz., disorders in the church assembly; and to this we may add the contrast between the “not praising” and the “I praise” of 1Co_11:22, q. d. ‘But this precept I give not praising you, as in the former instance, in that,’ etc.that ( ὄôé , not, because, as Alf., Words.] ye come together.—“Hitherto he has been speaking only of the ambitious few; but now he feels obliged to rebuke the whole church for a prevailing evil.” Neander.—Not for the better, but for the worse.—These phrases do not indicate the way and manner of their assembling, but rather its result or fruit, implying that by means of it they were injured rather than improved; and so the issue was not edification, which it was incumbent on all to aim at, but the opposite; instead of furthering, it hindered their communion with their Lord and with each other.

1Co_11:18-19. For first of all. ðñῶ ôïí ìÝí followed by no ἔðåéôá äÝ , just as is the case in Rom_1:8; Rom_3:2. Accordingly the second matter of rebuke many think they find in 1Co_11:20, introduced by ïὔí , therefore, because this is to be regarded as a result of the “schism” spoken of in the next clause. What, then, does he mean by these “schisms?” Is it what he more fully discussed in chapter 1Co_1:11 ff.? Were this so, could he have alluded to them here in so incidental a manner? This is hardly possible; for he must then have had in mind certain reports of their schismatic ways in their church assemblies different from that particularly specified in 1Co_11:20, and which ought to have been more fully detailed. The correct view, therefore, undoubtedly is that the second disorder which he rebukes is not to be found in 1Co_11:20 ff., and that in the word “schisms” he only indicates generally what he there more fully defines, and to which the words “when ye come together” and the “therefore” which resumes the argument, refer; and that there, for the first time, the proper rebuke follows (1Co_11:22). The “schisms,” then, denote ruptures, disorders in fellowship of love as they appeared in the church feasts, and which he speaks of more fully in 1Co_11:21. The second matter, then, which he has to rebuke, we are to look for in chap. 12, viz., the disorders arising in their church assemblies from an unbecoming use of “gifts.” But the connection is loosely indicated, and is to be understood along the more extended exposition which intervenes.—When ye come together in the Church. ἐí ἐêêëçóßᾳ shows the form of their coming together, i.e., in a church assembly. To suppose a pregnant construction for åἰò ἐêêëçóßáí is unnecessary; still less is the word ἐêêëçóéá , church, to be regarded as denoting the place of assembling; which use of the term did not spring up until later times. Yet perhaps we might say, with Meyer and de Wette, that the congregation is here regarded in the light of a locality.—I hear.—He thus vividly presentiates the whole circumstance, as though what had been communicated to him were still sounding in his ears.—that there are schisms among you.—[These, as intimated above, are specifically those occurring at the love-feasts; but on the mention of them he breaks off to show that such divisions were to be no matters of surprise, but were ordained to test them. The original term is ó÷ßóìáôá , whence our schisms; but here it designates simply cliques, separated from each other by social distinctions and petty alienations of feeling. Those who were thus divided were outwardly still one body].—and I partly believe it.—The word “partly” has a softening effect, q. d., ‘I think too well of you to believe all that has been reported to me.’

He next proceeds to assign a higher reason for the partial belief which he was constrained to give to what he heard, viz., a Divinely ordained necessity in the circumstances alluded to, as instrumental to a Divine result, “according to that law of Divine administration by which evil, so far from hindering, is made tributary to good.” Burger (Mat_18:7; Mat_26:54).—For there must be also heresies among you. In explaining this passage the chief question is, what did Paul mean by áἱñÝóåéò , lit., heresies? The word occurs elsewhere with Paul only in Gal_5:20, specifying one of the works of the flesh, and is one of the expressions denoting hostility and division. It occurs besides in Act_5:17; Act_15:5; Act_24:5; Act_24:14; Act_28:22, of religious parties or sects; and in Tit_3:10, áἱñÝôéêïò denotes one who occasions divisions in the church by turning aside from sound doctrine (comp. áἱñÝóåéò , 2Pe_2:1). “Originally in classic usage áἱñÝóåéò signifies nothing bad. It implies choice, hence an opinion, then a party, which arises through choice, especially in the schools. It came to possess a bad significance, first in Christian usage; and this is in consequence of our Christian modes of thinking and viewing things. On the stand-point of worldly wisdom, diversity of views and tendencies in regard to religious things is allowable; but on the Christian stand-point it is required that every thing within us be subjected to one Divine principle of life, and be brought into one fellowship of faith and love.” Neander. In our text the current exposition wavers between the identification of the word with ó÷ἱóìáôá so as to make it imply only the divisions alluded to in the following context, and the later ecclesiastical signification of the word, viz., ‘heresy’—a departure from the fundamental truth of the Gospel, and the divisions arising in consequence; thus distinguishing it from ‘schism,’ which implies a division simply in the matter of discipline. Between these extremes we give the explanation, ecclesiastical divisions, in the broader sense of the word [that is, divisions without any formal separation]. And this explanation is the only correct one, and suited to the character of the clause wherein the word occurs, which is only a digression by way of confirmation (Meyer). In this case the êáἱ before áἱñÝóåéò will mean not even, but also, i. e., among other evils it is necessary that there should be also ‘heresies.’ The main emphasis lies upon “must” ( äåῖ ), rather than upon “heresies,” as required by the logical relation of this to the preceding verse.—The objective clause, “in order that those who are approved may be made manifest among you,” involves the idea of a sifting process performed on the Church. “The approved” ( äὀêéìïé ) are the rightly disposed, who devote themselves without reserve to the whole body of Christian truth, and hence to the Spirit of the Lord; and it was necessary that such should be “made manifest,” inasmuch as the impurity and weakness of the Christian life, the yet remaining power of a carnal and selfish nature, often unfolds itself in such a way that many cleave one-sidedly to particular individuals, and to peculiar kinds of talents, and to certain specific tendencies and opinions, without, however, becoming distinctly heretical; although in the Judaistic and anti-judaistic modes of thought, and in the denial of the resurrection of the dead (chap. 15), significant germs and leanings toward heresy might have been formed. The sifting accordingly leads, and was intended to lead, to a higher development of the life of faith and love in the Church, which had been thus obstructed and disturbed. “The Apostle’s view of history thus brought out stands opposed as much to a pantheistic conception of necessity as to an atomistic view of freedom. It recognizes in history room for the play of freedom, yet at the same time asserts the guidance of a higher law.” Neander. [“The Church has been constrained by the rise of heresies to search Scripture more carefully; and thus heresies have served as occasions for bringing forth more fully the articles of faith in her creeds.” Wordsworth. “But the advantage here spoken of we ought not to ascribe to heresies, which, being evil, can produce nothing but what is evil, but to God, who, by His infinite goodness, changes the nature of things, so that those things are salutary to the elect, which Satan had contrived for their ruin. The cause here implied is the secret counsel of God, by which things that are evil are overruled in such a manner as to have a good issue.” Calvin].—Vv. 20,21. In these verses Paul intimates that what transpired in their Church assemblies rendered the celebration of the Lord’s Supper impossible; and then he states more definitely wherein the inconsistency was to be found; so that this appears as explaining and confirming what is before asserted.—When then ye come together.—[“1Co_11:19 being an interruption, the connection with 1Co_11:18 is resumed by the particle ïõ ̇͂ í then.”]—into one place. ἐðὶôὸáὐôὀ is to be construed locally (Act_7:15; Act_2:1), and denotes the place where the Church assembled. [From this some have inferred that the Corinthians had already come to have a room or building particularly set apart for religious services].—(it) is not.—Some translate ïὐêἔóôéí this is not; [referring to what they did on coming together, and which he goes on to specify]; but then ôïῦôï should have been expressly given as the subject. Lit.: ‘there is no such thing as your eating,’ i.e., ‘it is impracticable,’ ‘impossible;’ not, however, from lack of bread and wine (Bengel), but because there was a lack of the requisite disposition. An accusative before the infinitive is here not necessary. [Bloomfield detects a sarcastic point in this sentence, q. d. ‘To eat the Lord’s Supper surely is not, cannot be the purpose of your meeting (since that you do not eat): for your meal is not common, but separate; every one eats his own Supper’].—to eat the Lord’s supper. êõñéáêὸíäåῖðíïí , ‘a feast appertaining to the Lord,’ or as Osiander says, “one consecrated to the Lord and instituted by Him.” (Comp. êíñéáêἡ ἡìåñá Rev_1:10). By this the Apostle designates neither the agapae (Judges 12), the so called church feasts, [as Romanists interpret who would thus elude the argument furnished by this passage against their sacrificial theory of the Eucharist]; nor yet, the Holy Supper (1Co_11:23) by itself; but the combination of the two as it was to be found in Christian Churches, according to the original Apostolic custom, and in accordance with the first institution of the Supper, which, as we know, followed upon a regular meal. The “Supper” spoken of in the text was a festival, to which each one contributed a portion, and which concluded with the Lord’s Supper proper. That, however, which was brought by individuals, was to have been enjoyed in common, so that the fellowship of love, unbroken by social distinctions, might be the more clearly exhibited. Thus was the agape, or love-feast, a suitable preparation for the Lord’s Supper, in its more restricted sense, where all ate of one bread, and drank of one cup. But in Corinth such a meal as this, where all appeared as one family living on a common property, could not take place; since by reason of the cooling of their love, each one kept and enjoyed for himself the portion which he had brought [according to the heathen custom of the ἔñáíïé —see above]; so that the distinction between the rich and the poor, which ought to have melted away in Church communion, re-appeared—and this to such a degree that while one class suffered from a sense of want, others were satiated to a degree which, in some cases, amounted even to drunkenness.—For in eating ἐí ôῷ öáãåῖí is not to be taken as defining more fully the preceding verb, ðñïëáìâÜíåé ; but it is simply a note of time, q. d., ‘while eating.’—every oneviz., who has brought something with him.—takes before other ðñïëáõâἁíåé , a suitable expression for the selfish and hasty appropriation of what had been brought without waiting to put all together and divide it for the common good.—his own supper. [In contrast with the Lord’s Supper, and this in the Lord’s House, and not in his own private house. The abuse seems to have grown out of the primitive practice of sometimes annexing the love-feast to the Holy Communion. And here, in this case the former seems to have crowded the latter almost entirely aside, and the natural want was gratified to the overlooking of the spiritual need].—and one hungers and another is drunken. ìåèὐåé . [The use of this word in Joh_2:10 shows that it need not be always taken to denote intoxication; but this is its natural meaning in most passages, and there is no need of softening it here. As Meyer says, “Paul draws the picture in strong colors and who can say that the reality was less strong?” “It is wonderful and well nigh portentous that Satan could have accomplished so much in so short a time.” Calvin].

1Co_11:22. The blame just indicated is here sustained.—For, have ye not houses to eat and to drink in?q. d., ‘if this is what you have to do, viz., to hold your private meals, why, you have your own houses for this object. To use the assembly of the Church for such a purpose is needless.’—Or despise ye the church of God and shame those who have not?—A second reason for the blameworthiness of their conduct—the disparaging of the Church of God, whose meetings were abused to festivities derogatory to its holy character by the introduction of secular distinctions there, and by the contemptuous treatment of the poorer members of the Church—a course of conduct which involved a disparagement of the Church in its members; inasmuch as these were shamefully thrust into the back-ground by reason of a difference which ought to have led only to an equalizing distribution of the good things in the fellowship of a holy love. These two reasons are closely connected.—The term “Church” is not to be interpreted locally, as is plain from the adjunct “of God.” It stands first, because of the emphasis (“the Church of God,” His sanctuary, His temple); on the contrary, in the second clause the stress lies on the verb, “despise ye.” [ ôïὺòìὴ ἔ÷ïíôáäthose not having. There is a question as to what is the real object of the participle here which must be supplied. Alford, and others, say, “houses to eat and to drink in,” and suppose that in this fact we have the reason ‘for their coming to the love-feast to be fed. But Meyer, Stanley, Hodge, and others, construe the phrase more generally.’ Those “not having” are those who have nothing, and are the poor in contrast with the rich. This is both consistent with Greek usage and gives a better sense].—What am I to say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.—The rebuke here is couched in mild expressions, and its interrogatory form is calculated to awaken reflection. There is, however, a sharp rap in the concluding words, which is, in fact, very severe. In saying “I praise you not,” he refers back to 1Co_11:17 (comp. Osiander).

1Co_11:23. The concluding question of the previous verse implies an answer in the negative, and this is now confirmed by a reference to the original institution of the Supper, wherein its character and worth are clearly set forth, even as he himself had received it by reliable tradition, coming directly from the Lord, and had so transmitted it to them.—For I received from the Lord. ðáñÝëáâïí ἀðὸ ôïῦ êõñßïõ . The sense in which these words are to be taken, is very questionable. Are we to understand them as implying a direct, special revelation to Paul of the circumstances of the institution (for the text says nothing of a mere confirmation of testimony otherwise received, or of any special illumination respecting the significance of the circumstances)? if so, was it by means of a vision (as Tholuck, Olshausen, Osiander suppose)? or, as a tradition starting from the Lord, and transmitted to the Apostles? The first supposition is supported, not indeed by the force of the verb ðáñÝëáâïí , I received, but by the force of the prep. ἀðü , from, which implies [a remote source,] an indirect derivation; [instead of which ðáñÜ would have been more likely to be used, had he intended a direc t communication (Winer, P. ÉÉÉ ., § 47)]; as well as by the internal probabilities of the case, since he could have resorted to an accurate tradition of the whole circumstance. The second supposition is opposed by the force of the pronoun ἑãþ I, standing out prominently; since indeed, according to this supposition, Paul would only have placed himself on an equality with all others who had, in like manner, received the Apostolic tradition; [whereas he here brings himself specially into view, as one who had derived his knowledge from original sources, and had the right to speak authoritatively in the premises]. We might suppose with Meyer, Ed. 2, that this important circumstance had been accurately communicated to him through Ananias, or some other person, in obedience to a special commission of the Lord, and that this communication was made to him with the understanding that the Lord had given a special commission for him in this particular by means of a vision. This might have been connected in some way with his baptism, or with those special disclosures which he had received in relation to his future calling. Or we may suppose (according to Meyer, Ed. 3), that since, in consequence of its essential connection with the Gospel, and indeed with the fundamental doctrine of Paul concerning the work of atonement, the whole subject excluded human intervention according to Gal_1:12; Gal_1:16, the communication was made in some indefinable manner, either through the inspiration of the Spirit, or through the manifestation of angels, or in ecstatic vision. [Hodge argues with great force in favor of a direct derivation, and shows conclusively that this is invalidated neither by the use of ἀðü , nor by the supposition that no special revelation was necessary, on the ground that the facts connected with the institution were generally known; nor yet by the assumption that not historical facts, but only ideas and truths, may be communicated by visions and inward influences; but that, on the contrary, it is required by the context, and is in harmony with what Paul elsewhere claims for himself. He concludes: “It was not only of importance for the Corinthians, but for the whole Church, to be assured that this account of the Lord’s Supper was communicated immediately by Christ to the Apostle. It shows the importance which our Lord attributes to this ordinance”].—what I also delivered unto you,—[i.e., during his ministry among them; so that he is here only reminding them of precious instructions.—On the following words Stanley well remarks: “They form probably the earliest record of the institution of the Eucharist, and they contain also the earliest recorded speech of our Lord. To explain them at any length, or to adjust their relation to the other three verses in St. Matthew, St. Mark and St. Luke, would be to encroach upon questions belonging only to the Gospel narrative; yet those who are familiar with those questions, will observe: 1. That their almost exact coincidence with the account in St. Luke, is important, as confirming the tradition of the author of that Gospel being the same as the companion of St. Paul. 2. That in this, the most ancient record, of certainly one of the most important speeches of our Lord, it is possible to discern elements of the discourses in St. John’s Gospel, viz., Joh_6:35-58; Joh_15:1 to Joh_6:3. That even in the four extant versions of this short passage, there are yet verbal variations of such an extent as to show that it was the substance, rather than the exact words, which the Apostle and the Evangelists aimed at producing. 4. That there is all the appearance of a familiar and fixed formula, especially in the opening words. 5. That it implies on the part of his hearers a full acquaintance with the history of the Betrayal and Passion.”].—What he had received by means of such a revelation, and had also imparted to them, is—that the Lord Jesus—(a solemn expression intimating His supreme dignity, and His character as Saviour)—in the same night in which He was being betrayed.— ðáñåäßäïôï , Imp., indicating that the scheme of betrayal was still in progress, and not yet fulfilled when He performed this act. By this circumstance the touching and affecting nature of the transaction is more prominently brought to view in contrast with the trifling character exhibited by the Corinthians at their love-feasts. It was the last transaction of our Lord just before encountering death, by means of which He intended to set forth what immediately awaited Him, and also establish a solemn memorial of the sacrifice which He was about to make. [“There is,” says Stanley, “an appearance of fixed order, especially in these opening words, which indicates that this had already become a familiar formula”].—Took bread ἄñôïí á a loaf—the last of the passover meal yet remaining. [“It was the thin passover bread of the Jews. But as no part of the significancy of the rite depends on the kind of bread used, as there is no precept on the subject, and as the apostles, subsequently in the celebration of the ordinance used ordinary bread, it is evidently a matter of indifference what kind of bread is used. It was, however, for a long time a subject of bitter controversy.” Hodge],—And having given thanks.—That this included praise for divine grace manifested in the work of redemption, is to be assumed from the nature of the transaction; and it was naturally suggested by the preceding Passover meal which commemorated the deliverance of Israel. [In Matt, and Mark the expression is, “having blessed it;” but in Luke the same word is used as here. Both expressions mean the same thing, and declare the act of consecration by a grateful acknowledgment of God’s mercy, and invocation of His blessing—as the two are united in the “grace said” before meals]. He brake it.—[“This circumstance is included in all the accounts; in those of Matt., Mark, and Luke, as well as in Paul’s. This is one of the significant parts of the service, and ought not to be omitted as is done by Romanists, by the Greek Church, and by Lutherans.” Hodge].—And said—[“The words uttered by our blessed Lord are differently reported. The proper inference from this diversity is, that the words were uttered; but as the ideas which they express were sufficiently indicated by the gesture of reaching the bread to His disciples, they were omitted by some of the narrators as unnecessary. The idea, however expressed, is of importance. The bread was to be taken and eaten; there must be a distribution of the elements to those participating in the service. Otherwise it is not a communion, as it is not in the Romish Mass where the priest alone eats the consecrated wafer.”—Hodge].—This is my body that for you.—With these words he signifies the act of breaking that had just taken place. “This,” which has just been broken, “is my body;” and the object of this He at once defines— ôὸ ὑðὲñ ὑìῶí sc . ὄí .,“which is or suffices for your salvation,” namely, by reason of this, that in it is fulfilled what the breaking of the bread indicates, to wit: violent dissolution and breaking up. This thought is expressed in the apparently well-attested, yet undoubtedly interpolated expression ‘broken,’ instead of which some authorities have ‘given,’ borrowed from Luke. Meyer in 3d Edition speaks of it, ‘as the calm utterance of deep earnest feeling excited by the occasion.’ The symbolic character of the words is almost unmistakable, although we are not at liberty to translate ἔòôéí signifies, or yet ìïõ ôὸ óῶìá the token of my body. He means to say ‘this bread is my body, intended for your salvation, inasmuch as the breaking of it exhibits the slaying of my body which redounds to your salvation.’ That it is not, however, a mere memorial, but a token which offers, imparts, and therefore carries the fact in itself, and so is a means of communicating, and a conveyance of the same cannot be proven from the words of the institution itself. This thought is first obtained through the authentic apostolic exposition in 1Co_10:16. We recognize in this the interpretation given by the spirit of Christ, which perpetually works in the unfolding thoughts of Christendom, and which has obtained in the substance of the Lutheran article of doctrine an essentially correct expression—while the Romish doctrine of transubstantiation carries the appearance of fancy; and the exposition of the Reformed Church in its various modifications, in part, presses a dry exegesis too far, and, in part, stops with a rationalizing separation of the matters involved, and does not attain to a truly Christianlike intuitive union of them, inasmuch as it produces nothing more than the conception of an ideal or symbolic means of communication, to wit: that the bread presentiates the body of Christ to the believers, and is the pledge of a redemption achieved for them, and so mediates the operation of the Holy Spirit which contemporaneously with their physical participation effects a union with the heavenly life of Christ.Do this in remembrance of me.—This injunction, on the one hand, exhibits to us the subjective side of the ordinance, to wit, that believers should do this which He was now doing, i, e., should break the bread with thanksgiving and divide it, in order to realize more vividly the sacrifice which He in His own person was about to make for them; on the other hand, it gives us to understand that our Lord wished to have this ordinance continually observed to all future time. That this is the import of the injunction is shown more clearly in 1Co_11:25, where, in presenting the cup, He says, “this do, as oft as ye drink of it, i.e., as often as ye hold communion with one another through the cup” (Meyer), [showing plainly the perpetuity of the rite]. Others, however, make the words “do this” mean the simple receiving of the elements at the time; which, indeed, both in itself and in relation to what follows, would be suitable enough, but here, where the words “take, eat,” are not to be retained, it is hardly to be supposed. [The import of the command, then, is nothing less than the imposing of a solemn duty upon the church, to be performed until it should meet to drink anew with our Lord in His Father’s kingdom; and the prime object of the observance is remembrance—a remembrance, however, which implies the real representation to their minds and hearts of their risen yet omnipresent Lord. “The bread is His body because it assuredly testifies, that the body which it represents is held forth to us, or because the Lord, by holding out to us that symbol, gives us at the same time His own body; for He is not a deceiver, to mock us with empty presentations.” Calvin.]. Less simple are the words employed in the distribution of the cup which was passed around after the Passover had been concluded. In like manner the cup after He had supped.—[An intimation that the cup ought to be separated from the common meal. (Bengel.)]. Saying, this cup is the new Covenant in my blood.—He does not say merely “this is my blood.” That which in Matthew and Mark is added to the words “my blood” byway of further qualification, viz: “of the new Covenant,” is here joined directly with “this cup” as a predicate—“this cup is the new Covenant;” and as a further qualification there is added “in my blood,” in accordance with Luke’s narrative which almost literally agrees with that of Paul, and was no doubt derived from it. The words “in my blood” are related either to “the new Covenant,” so that the clause shall mean “the Covenant which is established in my blood”—a construction which conflicts with the absence of the article which is here indispensable, especially since ἐóôß intervenes: or it may be connected with the whole clause, q. d., “this cup is the New Covenant in virtue of my blood.” In other words, His blood is that whereby the New Covenant was established, in so far as this Covenant, in distinction from the Old Covenant of the law (the institution of which is described in Exo_24:8 in the very same terms), is the Covenant of grace, i.e., of sin-forgiving love. And this forgiveness was mediated through the shedding of His blood, through His holy self-sacrifice which is at once the sacrifice of the Covenant and of expiation (comp. Osiander, and in reference to the New Covenant Mat_26:28; Heb_8:8; Jer_31:31 ff.).—“ Äéáèῄêç properly denotes an ordinance or institution in general, then an agreement, a covenant, an institution which establishes a mutual relation between God and men.” Neander.—The cup then, with the wine it contains, symbolizes the New Covenant, and this Covenant is established in the blood of Christ, which the wine, poured into the cup and poured out of it for their participation, sets forth as shed for the expiation of sinful men and to be appropriated by those who drink of the cup. “According to a very common metonymy the cup here stands for the wine—the thing containing for the thing contained.” Steudel. “The wine, as the symbol of the blood of Christ, is the symbol of the New Covenant, and of our participation in it. But this is the more significant as it is a real symbol, i.e., the ‘wine of blessing (1Co_10:16) is the communion of the blood of Christ,’ as the channel or means by which it is communicated.” Kurtz.—The thing treated of here is a covenant—a relation between God and man resting upon promise, and not simply a fellowship among guests at a table united as brethren in Christ, whose union is symbolized by the wine contained in one cup (Schultheiss); although such a fellowship does indeed result from the Covenant.—The Covenant is called “new,” not merely to indicate a relation of time, but of character also, it being different in kind from the “old” (Jer_31:31 ff.).—The various accounts given by the Evangelists and Paul agree essentially, and supplement each other. It is also conceivable that during the presentation of the bread and distribution of the cup, the Lord in various ways expressed the significance of the act, or the fundamental ideas embodied in the institution.

1Co_11:26.—Here follow the words not of Jesus, but of Paul, explanatory of the injunction: “do this in remembrance of me,” by a reference to the actual practice of the church which confirmed it.—For as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup ye do proclaim the Lord’s death.—In place of the word “remembrance” we have here the word “proclaim” ( êáôáããÝëëåôå ) representing the Supper as a solemn liturgical exhibition of the fact that the Lord suffered a sacrificial death in behalf of His church, and thereby achieved their redemption—just as there was a proclamation or “showing forth” of the deliverance of Israel at the Passover. [“These words are emphatically introduced in order to introduce the continuance and identity of the original meal through its subsequent celebrations.” Stanley.].—We have here, however, no injunction; hence the verb êáôáããÝëëåôå is not Imperative but Indicative. The “proclamation” is that confession with thanksgiving which is connected with the rite itself, and being made in its very terms and forms, whether it proceed, in individual cases, from a heart penetrated by the love of God or not. The repetition of the words “as often as ye drink”—thus echoing the language of our Lord (1Co_11:25)—is quite in Paul’s manner. (’ ÅÜí in 1Co_11:25-26, which is the reading best sustained, is an incidental form of ἄí used by the later inspired writers).—Until He come, ἄ÷ñéò ïõ ̇͂ ἔëèῃ .—The omission of the ἄí here shows the time to be definitely fixed; and this time is the second advent of the Lord, until when this Supper shall continue to be observed as the compensation for His absence and the pledge of His return. [“This remembrance is of the closest and most vivid kind, like the remembrance by children of parents, by a wife of her husband, by a brother of brother, united with faith, love, desire, hope, joy, obedience, and summing up the Christian condition. This relation is in force from the close of the last feast with His disciples till His coming (Mat_26:29). Thus this mystery unites the extremes of the two periods or dispensations.” Bengel.]

1Co_11:27-29.—From the fact that the Supper was a proclamation of Christ’s death, He at once deduces an inference (v. 27), followed by an exhortation (v. 29) which is enforced by means of a threat in case of unsuitable deportment.—Wherefore,—since at every celebration of the Supper ye proclaim the death of our Lord.—whosoever shall eat this bread and drink this cup.—The particle , or, here connecting the two verbs (which is critically well supported, since êáß and, has only few authorities in its favor), has been the theme of no little controversy. The Romanists use it as a sanction for the separation of the elements, and for withholding the cup from the laity; as though the propriety of using the cup alone might not just as well be deduced from it. In order to rebut their inference, however, there is no need of taking the “or” as equivalent to “and.” The two things are thus disjoined for the purpose of setting forth the guilt involved by unworthy conduct, whether it be in eating or drinking; and from this it would seem that in the primitive celebration of the Supper the distribution of the elements did not follow immediately upon each other (comp. Meyer and Osiander).—Unworthily. ἀíáîßåò admits of various interpretations—impenitently, unbelievingly, unlovingly. “He partakes unworthily,” says Neander, “who does not keep in view the holy purport and aim of the solemnity; but treats it as an ordinary meal which, in its observance, does not show forth the death of the Lord.” At all events, the unworthiness lies in a lack of living active faith in the atonement which has been achieved by the death of Christ; and this is the source of the various moral disqualifications by which the celebration of the Supper may be dishonored (Meyer Ed. 3). Among these we may mention a selfish, unloving conduct as one of the chief—such conduct as the rich at Corinth manifested towards the poor, and which exhibited a striking contrast with the love of Christ shown in the sacrifice of Himself for all, and set forth in the Holy Supper wherein the benefits of it are extended to every one.Shall be guilty,—especially in the judicial sense. Elsewhere ἔíï÷ïò is connected with the dative of the words expressing punishment prescribed by the law, and the complaint made, and also the crime committed. But the latter stand at times also in the genitive, and this construction is in the New Testament the prevailing one. Here as in Jam_2:10, the object against which sin is committed is put in the genitive. Crimini et pœnæ corporis et sanguinis Christi violati obnoxius erit: “shall be liable to the crime and punishment of having violated the body and blood of Christ.” But the idea is not that the unworthy participant is as guilty as if he had taken part in the death of Christ, and is to be regarded as one of His crucifiers. The connection points only to the body and blood of Christ as exhibited in the elements of the Supper, “towards these he will stand in guilty relation from the very moment he partakes unworthily.” Meyer.—This declaration holds good whether we suppose a symbolical or a real presence of the body and blood of the Lord. Irreverent or contemptuous conduct towards the symbol is in fact a desecration of the object symbolized. The guilt, however, appears in a stronger light when that which is unworthily partaken of is regarded as the very vehicle of the body and blood of Christ. The same remark is true of 1Co_11:29. [“All that is necessary here to observe is, that the warning is directly against the careless and profane, and not against the timid and the doubting. It is not the consciousness of unworthiness that makes a person unworthy, nor yet is it any misgiving in regard to a suitable preparation; for although this may be an evidence of weak faith it certainly indicates a better state of mind than indifference or false security.” Hodge].—In 1Co_11:28 Paul indicates a way in which this sin and danger are to be guarded against.—But äἑ , shows the advance in discourse, and turns it into a contrast, q. d., ‘but in order not to incur this guilt’—let a man examine himself, ἄíèñùðïò as in iv. 1, [a general term suited for both sexes]. The expression äïêéìÜæåéí ἑáõôüí cannot mean to make one’s self fit; for it nowhere occurs in this sense not even, in 2Co_13:5; Gal_6:4; 1Th_2:4; but it means to examine one’s self, and here, as to whether he is morally and religiously qualified for the ordinance. Where such examination is not sincerely made, and is not accompanied with an earnest desire to be in a suitable frame of mind, there a proper self-knowledge will not be likely to exist, nor will a person be likely to avoid that selfish, haughty, unloving temper which is so disturbing to a worthy communion.—and so,i.e., after having examined himself and discovered some reason humbly to hope that he may partake worthily.—let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.—[“The case in which the self-examination ends in an unfavorable verdict does not come under consideration, because it is assumed that such a verdict will lead to repentance and amendment.” Alford].—The above exhortation he enforces by referring to the penalty incurred by unworthy communion.—For he that eateth and drinketh, eateth and drinketh condemnation to himself,—That participation which ought to be to the communicant the means for appropriating salvation, he converts into the opposite, he makes it a means of destruction, and draws down condemnation therewith upon himself. The word êñßìá does not denote an absolute damnation, but points primarily to those impending Divine judgments which are spoken of in 1Co_11:26 f.—According to the ordinary text [which inserts the word “unworthily”] he asserts this of unworthy communicants; and then adds as a yet further reason explaining the unworthiness predicated,—not discerning the body.—The verb äéáêñßíåéí is translated either, to distinguish—in this case from ordinary food and drink, or, in order to escape the necessity of adopting a different signification from that in 1Co_11:31, to judge., i. e., in regard to the body of Christ, whose symbol he receives;—in other words, to make a careful estimate of its sanctity and importance (Meyer). But it may be asked whether the legitimate signification of the word is not here transcended; and whether both the judging of the body of Christ and the judging of one’s self, is not to be explained analogously. In the most important MSS. (A. B. C. [Cod. Sin.)], we find neither ἀíáîßùò , unworthily, nor ôïῦ êõñßïõ the Lord’s. But the latter words are at all events implied, and to be derived from the connection; the former, however, cannot be so readily understood. If we do not choose to suppose(with Meyer) that any abuse is intended in the clause, “he that eateth and drinketh,” and regard the expression as merely designating one who partook of the sacrament simply as an act of eating and drinking (comp. 1Co_11:22; 1Co_11:34), then must we translate the participle ìὴ äáêñßíåí , if he does not discern (de Wette), which is better and more expressive than that emphasis put upon the clause, “he that eateth and drinketh,” and it does not suffer from meaningless expansion; rather it is made as terse as possible, since we understand by it eating of the bread and drinking of the cup. “Not to discern the body,” is to fail of the very thing which should be aimed at in examining ourselves, viz., that we possess that frame of mind which belongs to him who has qualified himself, not to partake of ordinary bread, but of that which is the body of the Lord. In this case also we are not compelled to connect, as Osiander does, the words “condemnation to himself,” with the clause, “he that eateth and drinketh,” as if it read, ‘he that eateth and drinketh condemnation to himself;’ in which case we should have to translate ìὴ äéáêñßíùí , without discerning, i. e., he that eats and drinks judgment to himself, eats and drinks without discerning the body. Such a rendering would not only be harsh, but also incorrect, for the sense requires that “condemnation” be joined with the predicate.

1Co_11:30-31. He here applies what has just been said directly to the Corinthians.—Therefore,i.e., on account of such unworthy communion, or in consequence of the judgments superinduced by it.—many are weak and sickly among you, and many Sleep.—To suppose that the natural results of intemperance are here alluded to, is both absurd and contrary to the immediate context. Neither can we understand him to mean by the word “sleep,” the decay and extinction of the spiritual life, since this word every where denotes natural death; and still less can we suppose him to mean a union of the spiritual and temporal death (as Olsh.). Rather, the Apostle here alludes to some extraordinary wide-spread weakness and disease prevailing at that time in the Church, and often proving fatal, which he regarded as a divinely inflicted punishment on their desecration of the Lord’s Supper (so Calvin, Neander and many others). The word êïéìῶíôáé . may be rendered, they sleep, i. e., dying as a continual process. But whether this intended a euphonism to denote their entrance into rest with a hope of resurrection to life (Osiander), is at least very doubtful; although from what is said in 1Co_11:32, we are not obliged to suppose the cutting off of all hope. [Wordsworth says: “He does not say êåêïßìçíôáé , the term which is used to describe the peace of the saints who have fallen asleep in Jesus (see 1Co_15:20; 1Th_4:13) but êïßìῶíôáé , a tense which is less expressive of a permanent condition of rest than the other]. The words ἀóèÝíåéò êáὶ ἄῤῤùóôïé , weak and sickly, may be distinguished either by taking the former to denote mere indisposition, and the latter severe disease; or the former a chronic, and the latter an acute disease; or, which is indeed more correct, the former denotes those whose very powers fail, i.e., confirmed invalids; and the latter those in whom they are only weakened. Something analogous to these judgments is presented to us in 1Co_5:5; Jam_5:15; and also in the O. T. examples mentioned in 1Co_10:6 ff.—In what follows he next gives them to understand how such judgments might be avoided.—But if we would judge ourselves.—The ãÜñ , for, of the received text implies another view of the connection, q. d., ‘therefore, in consequence of the Divine judgment, there are many sickly among you; for if we only judged ourselves, then would such judgment not befall us.’ The äéáêñßíåéí , judge, refers back to äïêéìÜæåéí , prove. It denotes the thorough-going self-condemnation which springs from earnest self-examination—a self-condemnation which involves self-punishment, and a thorough se