Breaking Bread- The Meaning of the Lord’s Supper Part 13

This entry is part 13 of 17 in the series The Meaning of the Lord's Supper

“Heresies” come from the Greek word which did not mean erroneous opinions but it means party factions.  The word soon acquired a bad sense as in referred to in Acts 5:17; 24:5; Galatians 5:20 and many other places. The primary meaning in Paul’s letter to the Corinthian Church of Christ was that of “division.”  The mutually railing factions, which in their factions bandy about their false and rival charges of “heresy,” are illustrating the virulence of their sin they are professing to denounce; the “sin of factions.”  “That they which are approved may be made manifest among you.”  1 John 2:19; 1 John 2:10, speaks of the aberrations of false teachers as destined to prove that they did not belong to the true Church.  It is not questioned whether they were eating where they assembled, it was stated.  For some to convince themselves that they were not, shows they have not read the text.

These brethren were “coming into one place.”  Wonder what “place” they coming to?  As of yet, the church did not have a place to meet, that would force us to understand that they were meeting in private houses: “for in your eating, every one-all who had contributed a share of the meal-were abusing the connection of the “agape supper,” or love feast, or social gathering, with the Lord’s Supper.  These “club fests” (eranoi in the Greek) were making a distinction between brethren.  “One is hungry.”  The poor saint who has been unable to contribute to the meal, looked on with grudging eyes and craving appetite, while the rich had ample.  They, who were rich, “were drunken.”  Many of the heathen converts were unable to at once 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 at Corinth.  Discipline had to be forth coming.  It is unbelievable how fast Satan had moved in such a short time.

The “club meal,” often called the agape meal was something higher than a mere gratification of appetite.  Though not a symbol of Christ death and suffering, it was an accompaniment of the Lord’s Supper and had to enhance the Lord’s remembrance and not detract from it.  This was not happening.  Paul continues; “have you not houses (of your own) to eat and drink in.”  Those who were coming with the food and drink were pointed out.  They were making mockery of the Church of Christ.  Paul affirms: “despise you, the Church of God?”

“Despise you, those that have not.”  It would have been natural for members of the Body to supply “houses.”  Paul ask the question, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for they seemed to have forgotten that slaves at any rate could hardly be said to have “houses of their own,”  and that not a few of the Corinthian Christians were slaves.  For this, Paul writes, “I praise you not.”  As in verse 17 of the same chapter this is an instance of what is called litotes, which is a mild expression suggesting a meaning much stronger than the words themselves allow.

“For,” Paul is about to give to them the reason for thus strongly blaming their irregularities, “I have received of the Lord Jesus. “  He had reference to the revelation to some special time, and this seems to point to the conclusion that he is not referring to any other 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, Himself.  The terms in which Paul describes the institution of the Lord’s Supper is similar and most nearly those of that of which he gave in the book of Luke with which he penned the account like that of Matthew and Mark. Matthew 26:29; Mark 14:22-25  “When He was betrayed;” rather than was being betrayed.”

“When He had given thanks.”  The same word for “thanks” is used in Luke, and is the origin of the name Eucharist.  Mark, perhaps Matthew have “having blessed it” which is the word eulogesas. What Paul received was a Supper of thanksgiving, opposite to what many have conceived of as being a Supper of pain and anguish from the Lord.  Christ was expressing thanks for the betrayal, not anguish of heart!!  For this reason, we celebrate this Supper as a “sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.”

“Partake” or share in this thanksgiving, as expressed by our Lord, and “remember” this is how it is to be observed!  “This do” is also in the gospel of Luke but not in Matthew and Mark.  This variation shows that it was the essential main fact.  “In remembrance of Me” may also be rendered” to bring Me to your remembrance.”  Sadly this seemed not the purpose for which “they had come together.”

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Joe David Wilson

Joe David Wilson

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