1 Corinthians


7. Congregational worship, 11:2-34

ii] Divisions in the Lord's Supper


In dealing with the issue of the poor at the Lord's Supper, Paul quotes Jesus' words, delivered at the time of its institution, and then goes on to make the point that the Corinthians have failed to understand the meaning of the meal they share together. At the Lord's Supper, God's people gather to remember Jesus' death on their behalf, and it is important that nothing undermines the spiritual significance of the meal.


i] Context: See 11:2-16.


ii] Background: See 7:6-9


iii] Structure: Divisions in the Lord's Supper:

Paul's argument is chiastic:

A. The problem + a word of censure;

[At the Lord's Supper the rich are eating their own meal while other members go hungry, v17-22].

B. Jesus' words of distribution, v23-26.

B1. Explanation and instruction;

[Given that participation in the Lord's Supper involves sharing in Christ's sacrifice, improper sharing prompts chastisement. Therefore, believers must "examine themselves" to assess that they are "discerning the body" in their participation, v27-32].

A1. Practical instruction:

"Eat together" and if hungry,

"eat something at home", v33-34.


iv] Interpretation:

The Corinthians were acting with little care for each other in the Lord's Supper. Obviously, they were missing the point of this meal. This special meal serves to focus the gathered believers on the sacrificial death of Christ. In Christ's death we become God's eternal family. How then can the Corinthian believers participate in such a meal while ignoring the needs of their other brothers and sisters? A person who acts with disregard toward their fellow believers will be held accountable for treating the visible expression of the sacrifice of Christ with disdain. So, Paul encourages the Corinthians to give due weight to what they are doing in the Lord's Supper, for if they fail to recognize the cross in the loaf and cup, they stand condemned.


The Words of Distribution: In dealing with the unseemly behavior of the Corinthians at the Lord's Supper, Paul, for the first and only time, quotes the actual words of Jesus. The sayings and deeds of Jesus were obviously prominent in the church and it is interesting that they are so rarely quoted by Paul. Paul and Luke record Jesus' words of distribution slightly differently to Mark and Matthew. The common phrases are: "took bread", "broke it and said 'This is my body'" and (took) "the cup" (and said) "'this is my blood (of the) covenant'" (Luke / Paul "This cup is the new covenant in my blood"). Paul and Luke make particular mention of "do in my remembrance." Luke follows Mark and Matthew with the sacrificial imagery of the wine "poured out for you" (Matthew adds "for the forgiveness of sins"). In v26 Paul explains that in the supper we "proclaim the Lord's death until he comes."


v] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text - 11:17

The Lord's Supper, v17-34: i] The poor go hungry, v17-22. One of the strongest censures against any congregation in the New Testament is contained in these words. With regard the previous issue over the status of women in worship, Paul was able to praise his readers (more like faint praise!), but with regard his instructions over touto, "this next issue", the congregation's behavior at the Lord's supper, Paul does not praise / commend the Corinthians.

paraggellwn (paraggellw) pres. part. "in the following directives" - [but] commanding, instructing, directing. Variant paraggellw, "this I command / I command this." The participle is adverbial, possibly modal, "in commanding this" = "in the following instructions", or with a similar sense to Paul's peri de, "now concerning", reference / respect, "with respect to the following instructions." "Regarding this next item, I'm not at all pleased", Peterson.

touto pro. "-" - this (all that follows). Cataphoric, referring forward to the issue of one going hungry and another drunk at the Lord's supper.

apainw (apainew) pres. "I have no praise for you" - i give no praise. "I do not commend you", ESV.

oJti "for" - because. Introducing a causal clause explaining why Paul does not commend the Corinthian believers.

eiV + acc. "-" - [not] to = for [the better, but] to = for [the worse you come together]. The preposition here expresses purpose, end-view / result, "you come together not for the better, but for the worse."

to kreisson comp. adj. "do more harm" - [not for] the better. The articular comparative adjective serves as a substantive. "They do more harm that good", NIV, Barclay, Phillips, ....


Paul explains why he withholds his praise from the Corinthians gar, "for ......."

gar "-" - because. Introducing a causal clause explaining why their meetings do more harm than good, "because ..... when you come together ...... there are divisions."

prwton adv. "in the first place" - first. "First of all."

men "-" - Introducing an adversative comparative construction, but without the de; "on the one hand ....... but on the other." Fee is surely right when he suggests an anacoluthon, ie., a broken syntactical construction - Paul forgets about the "on the other hand." B&L refer to Runge, Discourse Grammar, who argues that men can introduce background information leading to the more important subject matter, here beginning in v20.

uJparcein (uJparcw) pres. inf. "that ....... there are" - [i hear, coming together of you in an assembly,] to exist = that there exists [divisions in = among you]. The infinitive introduces an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what Paul hears = "I have heard", possibly the classical "I am told"

sunercomenwn (sunercomai) gen. pres. mid. part. "when [you] come together" - coming together [of you]. Genitive absolute participle, best treated as temporal, as NIV.

en + dat. "as [a church]" - in [a church, assembly, meeting]. The local "in assembly", R&P is possible, but better taken as an adverbial use of the preposition, modal, expressing manner, so "as a church"; "when you meet as an assembly."

en + dat. "among [you]" - [there exists divisions] in you. Local, expressing space; "among you."

meroV ti "and to some extent [I believe it]" - [and] part of a matter = partly [i believe that this is true]. This phrase, usually taken adverbially, has numerous meanings and so numerous translations are proposed. Paul may be expressing caution, "to some extent I believe it", Thiselton; "I believe it in part", ESV. Mock disbelief is suggested by some, "I can't believe it." Garland, following B.W. Winter, gives weight to the view that the phrase is not adverbial, but is used to identify a report of some sort, "I believe a certain report."


That divisions should exist within the Corinthian church is not unexpected, given the human condition, but at least they show up those who are true to the gospel.

kai "no doubt" - and. Possibly ascensive, "for even", or adjunctive, "for also", "for there is also this further reason for believing what I heard", Fee, or emphatic, "for indeed", as NIV.

gar "-" - for. Here reason more than cause, introducing an explanatory comment: "to some extent I believe it for ......" The scismata, "divisions", express themselves in aiJreseiV, "differences / dissensions / factions / cliques / splits", and these dei, "must [be]" - it is just the way it is under God in a world infected with sin. Such divisions have at least one positive outcome in that they bring to the fore those who are approved / tested = true believers.

einai (eimi) pres. inf. "to be" - [factions] to be. The infinitive forms a substantival construction subject of the impersonal verb "it is necessary."

en + dat. "among [you]" - in = among [you is necessary]. Local, expressing space; "among you."

iJna + subj. "to [show]" - that [the approved ones may become manifest / plain / known]. Introducing a final clause expressing purpose, "in order that", or a consecutive clause expressing result, "with the result that / so that."

en + dat. "which of you" - among you. Local, expressing space; "among you."

oiJ dokimoi adj. "have God's approval" - the approved ones, genuine ones. The adjective serves as a substantive, nominative subject of the verb "may become" - those found to be true / genuine / pure after testing.


Given that there are dissensions when the church meets, Paul's judgment is that the Corinthians can't really classify the meeting as the Lord's Supper.

oun "so then" - therefore. Inferential, drawing a logical conclusion; "accordingly".

sunercomenwn (sunercomai) gen. pres. part. "when you come together" - coming together. Genitive absolute participle, usually taken as temporal, as NIV.

epi + acc. "-" - [of you] at the same place. Spacial; "When you assemble in one place", Phillips, although as Fee notes, quoting E. Ferguson, the phrase epi to auto means "together", so here "when you come together in the assembly."

fagein (esqiw) aor. inf. "eat" - [it is not] to eat. The infinitive is adverbial, final, expressing purpose / end view; "with a view to eating the Lord's Supper."

kuriakon adj. "the Lord's [Supper]" - the lord's [supper, dinner, meal, feast, ...]. The word is used of "belonging to the Lord"; "the meal is uniquely his own", Fee. "The Lord's own meal." So, the genitive is adjectival, possessive, identifying the possession of a dependant status, but possibly extending to a derivative characteristic, ie., "pertaining to the Lord", so B&L.


Paul now explains why the meal the Corinthians are sharing is anything but the Lord's Supper. The NIV translation reflects the view that some start celebrating before the arrival of others, possibly the poor, or slaves, those who have less control over their time. The TNIV opts for a separate eating of the rich from the poor. This was not unusual practice, the rich eating in the triclinium of the villa, and the poor in the atrium, the outside courtyard. Given allhlouV ekdecesqe, "wait for one another", v33, the NIV translation is to be preferred.

gar "for" - Here, either cause or reason / causal or epexegetic.

en tw/ + inf. "as [you eat] / when [you are eating]" - in the [to eat]. Although this construction is usually causal, most commentators take it here as temporal; "at the time of eating", Thiselton = "When you join together to share in the Lord's Supper ......." Fee notes that a oJtan construction would have been a more natural way to express a temporal clause like this. So it may well be causal, possibly something like "for, because one eats, each taking his own (by himself) supper first (ahead of time), one hungers and one is drunk" = "because of your first in first served attitude to the Lord's Supper, some go hungry and others have too much to drink."

to idion adj. "your own private" - [each one takes first] the ones own = privately. They have a private meal within a common meal.

kai "as a result" - and. Consecutive; "and as a result."

o{V men .... o{V de "one ...... another" - one [hungers and] another [is drunk]. Adversative comparative construction; "on the one hand, one person...... but on the other hand another person ....."; "Some are left out, and go home hungry. Others have to be carried out, too drunk to walk", Peterson.


In a series of rhetorical questions, Paul addresses the wealthy members of the congregation. By flaunting the abundance of their means in front of the poorer members of the congregation and not sharing, they humiliate those who are less well off and show contempt for God's family.

gar "-" - More reason than cause; here the conclusive use of the conjunction in questions prompted by what precedes. Possibly here as an emphatic transitional conjunction. "What do I say about all this, don't you have homes ......", cf., BAGD 1f. "What! Do you not have houses ....", ESV.

mh ..... ouk "[Do]n't [you have houses]" - not [do you] not [have houses]. The negation mh serves to introduce a question that prompts the answer "No", but the verb ecete, "you have" carries the negation ouk, "do not have"; "Don't you do not have houses to eat and drink?" The expected answer is, "No" = "You're not trying to tell me that you don't have your own homes where you can do your private partying with your friends and family?"

eiV to + inf. "to [eat and drink]" - into the [to eat and to drink]? This infinitival construction is adverbial, final, expressing purpose; "in order to eat and drink / for the purpose of eating and drinking."

thV ekklhsiaV (a) gen. "the church [of God]" - [or do you despise] the church, assembly, congregation, meeting, gathering [of god]? Genitive of direct object after the kata prefix verb "to despise." Again the genitive tou qeou, "of God", is possessive, the church belongs to God, it is his own gathered people.

touV mh econtaV (ecw) pres. part. "those who have nothing" - [and do you shame] the ones not having? The participle serves as a substantive. "Do you think so little of the church of God that you think nothing of publicly humiliating members who are poor?" Barclay.

eipw (legw) aor. subj. "[What] shall I say" - [what] should i say. As with epainesw, "will I praise", the subjunctive is deliberative; "What am I to say to you? Am I to give you praise?", Cassirer.

uJmin dat. pro. "to you" - Dative of indirect object.

en + dat. "for [this] / in [this matter]" - [will i praise you.] in [this i do not praise you]. Adverbial use of the preposition, reference / respect; "with respect to this matter I do not praise you." "Can I commend you? On this point certainly not", REB.


ii] The institution of the Lord's Supper, v23-26. Paul reminds his readers of the institution of the Lord's Supper in order to address their improper behavior during their love-feasts, and more particularly, during their celebration of the memorial meal of bread and wine in remembrance of Christ's sacrifice. Paul first reminds his readers of the institution of the Lord's Supper, v23, then quotes the words used by Jesus at the institution of the supper, v24-25, and then draws out a particular aspect of the institution which addresses the Corinthian's improper behavior.

gar "for" - More reason than cause, explaining why the Corinthians cannot be commended; their unseemly behavior does not comply with the received words of Christ regarding the institution of the Lord's Supper.

ego "I" - Emphatic use of the pronoun.

parelabon (paralambanw) aor. "received" - i took, received [from the lord]. Paul probably received the tradition concerning Jesus' words of administration as part of his reception of the apostolic tradition. The variant para, in place of apo, indirectly supports this argument. "For the tradition I received from the Lord and also handed on to you", NJB.

apo + gen. "from" - from [the lord]. Expressing source/origin. Either direct or indirect source.

kai "also" - [that which i] also [passed on]. Adjunctive; "also".

umin dat. pro. "to you" - Dative of indirect object.

paredwka (paradidwmi) aor. "passed on" - delivered over. Having received the tradition, Paul passes it on.

oJti "-" - that [the lord jesus]. Introducing a noun clause standing in apposition to o}, "that which"; "that which / what I delivered to you, namely that the Lord ....."

en th nukti (nux nuktoV) "on the night" - in the night. Temporal use of the preposition en. Supporting the view that Jesus and the disciples were celebrating the Passover.

paredideto (paradidwmi) imperf. pas. "betrayed" - [in which] he was being delivered over, handed over. The imperfect is durative, expressing an act in progress, or that "Judas' treachery was a protracted process", Naylor. Translations now tend toward "handed over / delivered up", in the sense of given up by God to the cross, rather than "betrayed", AV. RV..., as in betrayed by Judas. Possibly "arrested", REB.

arton (oV) "bread" - [took] bread. Accusative direct object of the verb "to take"; "A loaf of bread."


In the last days of Jesus' earthly life he joined with his disciples to celebrate the Passover meal, a meal which focuses on Israel's salvation from slavery in Egypt. At the point of the blessing, Jesus takes a loaf of bread and reinterprets it as a symbol of his own "exodus" - the bodily offering of himself as "the lamb of God" for the salvation of the world ("which is for you"). A believe is to "do this", ie., share together in the story, share together in the bread, share together in faith ("remember").

eucaristhsaV (eucaristew) aor. part. "when he had given thanks" - [and] having given thanks. The participle is adverbial, forming a temporal clause. The act of declaring a blessing or thanksgiving over the bread was commonly performed by the head of a Jewish household, and was performed with particular solemnity at a Passover meal. The content of the thanksgiving is unstated.

eklasen (klaw) aor. "he broke" - he broke it. The bread (most likely something similar to Lebanese bread) is parted and shared for the purpose of dipping into a common bowl. There is probably no sacramental significance in the tearing up of the bread for the purpose of distribution since Christ's body was not torn up on the cross. In fact, when it came to breaking the legs of those crucified, Jesus was found already dead and so his legs were not broken. None-the-less, breaking could serve to image Christ's being put to death on the cross.

touto "this" - [and said] this. Nominative subject of the verb to-be. Often taken to mean "this bread which I have now give you", but the pronoun is neuter and bread is masculine. Has "this" been attracted to "body" which is similarly neuter? Winter argues in After Paul Left Corinth, 2001, that on a number of occasions in Paul's letters this neuter demonstrative pronoun represents an action. So here, Jesus' action of taking bread, breaking it and sharing it out; "this shared bread."

estin (eimi) pres. "is" - This verb to-be, assumed in the original Aramaic, has prompted endless debate. The real presence of Christ in the bread was widely accepted as a fact until the reformation. The reformers reinterpreted the real presence, ranging from a conservative reinterpretation by Luther, a mid-range approach by Calvin (Anglican - a spiritual feeding on Christ by faith) and a radical approach by Zwingli (a symbolic act serving as a reminder of Christ's sacrifice). The sense is probably "signifies, stands for, represents", cf. Engberg-Pedersen, Proclaiming the Lord's Death, 1993, yet, not of the bread, but the act of sharing out the bread.

to swma "[my] body" - the body [of me]. Predicate nominative. The bread may represent the person of Jesus, "I myself", Bruce. Jeremias says "body" means "flesh", in fact he argues that Jesus would have used the word "flesh" originally. Certainly Christ's whole being is in mind, but not in the Greek sense of "self", but in the Hebrew sense of a physical living body. Luke has "given for you", reinforcing that "for you" represents Christ's offering of himself as a substitutionary sacrifice. Doubtless, the Passover symbolism is dominant here such that Jesus' death and resurrection serve as the new exodus of a saved people in Christ, and it is this truth which is imaged in the new passover celebration in the symbols of a loaf of bread and a cup of red wine. "The breaking and sharing of this bread represents my sacrifice on your behalf."

to "which" - the. The article serves as an adjectivizer turning the prepositional phrase uJper uJmwn into an attributive modifier limiting the noun "body", a body "which is for you."

uJper + gen. "is for [you]" - for / on behalf of [you]. Expressing advantage / benification. The emphases is substitutionary; Christ's sacrifice was on our behalf. Some manuscripts add klwmenon, "which is being broken for you", although it is not a strong variant.

poieite (poiew) pres. imp. "do [this]" - [this] make, do. The present tense is durative indicating that the meal has a repetitive character; "continue to do." Luke has this phrase as a command, although Matthew doesn't. Lit. "do this as my memorial". The second touto, "this", given the context, refers to the giving of a blessing / thanksgiving over the bread, the recounting of the story, cf., v26, breaking it, distributing it and consuming it as in a meal.

eiV + acc. "in" - toward. Expressing purpose / end view; "for / with a view to a remembrance / memorial of me." Of course, result is also possible; "such that it serves as a remembrance of me."

thn ... anamnhsin (iV ewV) "remembrance [of me]" - the remembrance, reminder, memory [of me]. OT, used of a memorial sacrifice which serves to remind the participant of their sin under a merciful God. Clearly the Passover serves as our guide in understanding the business of remembering. The remembering is not a reenacting (or even a reexperiencing) of the salvation event worked by Christ on the cross (the myth-and-ritual school), nor is it just a mental imaging of the cross, but involves a personal identification with the cross, best understood as a reaffirmed faith response toward Christ's death on our behalf. Remembering involves "identity reshaping, not mere intellectual recall", Thiselton. Interesting, but unlikely, "do this in order that God may remember me by bringing about my parousia and consummating his kingdom", Jeremias.


After the meal Jesus takes the cup and states that it signifies the sacrificial outpouring of his blood to death, and as such, renews the new covenant, or agreement, between God and mankind. Again, Paul restates the phrase "do this in remembrance of me" and so underlines what believers are doing when they join in the meal, ie., we recall and recommit to the cross of Christ.

wJsautwV "in the same way" - in the same manner, likewise [and = also the cup]. Meaning, that the cup is treated in the same way as the loaf - Jesus takes it, offers a blessing, passes it around while saying words which parallel the words said while the bread is distributed. "And in the same way with the cup after supper", NJB.

meta to + inf. "after [supper]" - after the [eating of supper, dining, feasting, eating a meal]. This construction, the preposition + the articular infinitive, is used to form a temporal clause, subsequent time, "after ....", as NIV. Paul is saying that the wine is taken after the meal is completed. Disputed by some on the grounds of custom, but not grammar. "After the meal", Barclay.

to pothrion (on) "the cup" - Probably an accusative of respect; "likewise, with reference to the cup." Presumably "the cup of blessing", 10:10, ie., "the cup over which we offer a blessing", "the cup of the Lord", v27, ie., no ordinary cup, but a cup put to a special use, originally for the Passover, but now as a memorial of the cross. Most commentators agree that Christ is probably alluding to the third or fourth moment the Passover cup is used in the celebration, although it is unlikely that Jesus is locking in the exact sequence of events for future use. "The cup of the Lord", containing red wine to share, represents Christ's sacrifice, while our taking the cup and drinking expresses a faith-act of remembering (believing)." As to the issue of the content of the cup, grape juice, red wine, etc., at the Passover red wine was used, but for the Lord's Supper we have no rule on the matter. The proper approach would be to follow the Passover tradition, but it is not required.

legwn pres. part. "saying" - Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the assumed verb "he took"; "he took the cup and said."

touto pro. "this" - this [cup]. The "this" is again neuter and can be taken to refer to the neuter "cup", but again an action may be in mind, the action of giving / passing around the cup, namely the wine which serves to symbolize Christ's blood, ie., his sacrificial death on the cross; "this shared cup."

estin (eimi) pres. "is" - As in v24; "represents".

hJ kainh adj. "the new" - This "covenant" is "new" in that it realizes what was promised in Jeremiah 31:31-34 as the fulfilment of the covenant of Exodus 24:6-8. "Covenants are made through the shedding of blood. The fresh covenant relationship with God through Jesus' blood is a fulfillment of Jeremiah's prophecy", Garland. Note how the two texts are combined in Heb.10:10.

diaqhkh (h) "covenant" - agreement, treaty, covenant. The covenant / agreement established by God with his people at Mount Sinai was at the cost a sacrificial victim. So, the new / renewed agreement, the content of which is the gospel, reestablishes the agreement between God and believers, and this at the cost of Jesus' life, a blood-sacrifice. "After the meal Jesus took a cup of wine in his hands and said, 'This is my blood, and with it God makes his new agreement with you'", CEV.

en + dat. "in" - in [my blood]. The preposition here is probably instrumental; "by means of / at the cost of" Christ's sacrifice. The preposition emw/ is strong, so "my own blood." The phrase most likely modifies "the new covenant", but it may well modify "the cup." Note Luke's addition to uJper uJmwn ekcunnomenon, "in my blood being shed on your behalf." "The new relationship with God made possible at the cost of my death", Barclay.

oJsakiV ean + subj. "whenever" - [do this] as often as [you drink]. This construction introduces a temporal clause, indefinite time. Possibly referring to the wine, and possibly every time we drink wine; "as often as you drink wine", Barnett. This phrase is not in v24. Commenting on "whenever", Barnett suggests that in a normal Palestinian home, wine is not always available and so the bread will suffice for a complete memorial, but when wine is available it can be included. There are those who argue that this phrase shows that Jesus intended every meal to commence and end with a memorial to him. Fee suggests that the phrase "implies a frequently repeated action, suggesting that from the beginning, the Lord's Supper was for Christians, not an annual Christian Passover, but a regularly repeated meal in honor of the Lord." It does seem likely that "it" refers to a particular cup, a cup of wine set apart for a particular use; "whenever you share the wine from the cup of the Lord." The drinking of / from it physically expresses a faith-act focused on Christ's sacrifice. We are to "remember" whenever we share in this memorial cup; "as often as you drink the cup of the Lord."

eiV + acc. "in" - in [remembrance of me]. As in v24, expressing purpose; "with a view to a remembrance of me", ie., the sharing of the cup of wine, as with the bread, serves as a reminder of Christ's atoning sacrifice.


The eating and the drinking serves to "proclaim", or set forth, the story of the cross. In much the same way as the exodus story was recounted during the Passover meal, so the story of Christ's death and resurrection is recounted during the Christian passover meal, a meal that begins with the sharing of a loaf and ends with the sharing of a cup. As the story of Christ's sacrifice is recounted, the people reaffirm their faith (they remember), expressing that faith in a shared sacrifice / loaf and cup.

gar "for" - More explanatory than causal, explaining the "memorial character of the supper", Barrett. Fee suggests that Paul is explaining why he has repeated the words of administration at this point in his criticism of the Corinthians' failure to respect the Lord's Supper. The meal (or the memorial elements of the meal) signifies the death of Jesus, and sadly the Corinthians have failed to recognize the gravity of their behavior. So "for" = "this is what you must consider when you assemble for the Sacrament", Lenski.

oJsakiV ... ean + subj. "whenever" - as often as [you eat this bread and drink the cup]. This construction introduces a temporal clause, indefinite time, as in v15. As already noted, it is "whenever you partake of the memorial loaf and drink wine from the memorial cup", rather than "every time you eat and drink."

kataggellete (kataggellw) pres. "you proclaim" - you proclaim, announce. The present tense is durative, probably iterative, expressing repeated action. "You represent symbolically, by means of the broken loaf and the outpoured wine", Weiss. Barrett suggests it means to proclaim, as a narrative, the events concerning Christ's death during the supper in the same way as the events of the Exodus are proclaimed during the Passover meal. The word is most often used of proclaiming the gospel, of preaching Christ. "You are telling the story of the Lord's death", TH.

tou kuriou (oV) gen. "the Lord's [death]" - [the death] of the lord. The genitive is adjectival, possessive.

acri ou| + subj. "until" - until [he comes]. This construction introduces a temporal clause, indefinite future time; "until ..." Christ's death, celebrated in the Lord's Supper, has future ramifications which will be realized on his return. The celebration continues "until he comes again", Phillips.


iii] Instruction as to the proper participation in the Lord's Supper, v27-29. "It is apparently necessary for the Corinthians to be reminded that the Lord whom they meet in the sacrament is not only the Savior, but also the divine Judge", Pfitzner.

wJste "therefore / so then" - Drawing a logical conclusion / inferential; "it follows therefore."

o}V an + subj. "whoever" - whoever [eats the bread]. This construction is used to form an indefinite relative pronoun, "whoever", but in the context it also serves to introduce a relative conditional clause, 3rd. class, where the condition has the possibility of coming true; "whoever, as the case may be, eats the bread or drinks ..... then they will be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord." "The consequence is that anyone who eats ...", Barclay.

h] "or" - or [drinks the cup]. This disjunctive particle is not well attested variant kai, "and", AV, is supported by those who want to stress the sharing of both elements, bread and wine, while h], "or", is supported by those who argue for the sharing of bread only, with the wine restricted to the priesthood. Paul "intends to make his view of unworthy reception apply to any mode of such reception", Fitzmyer, such that "or" is not drawing a distinction. This is supported by the following "will be guilty of the body kai and the blood of the Lord" = "guilty of both the body and the blood of the Lord."

tou kuriou (oV) gen. "of the Lord" - The genitive is adjectival, possessive and/or attributive, limiting "bread" and "cup".

anaxiwV adv. "in an unworthy manner" - unworthily. Adverb of manner. "Unworthily" is favored by translators, but it is far too broad, given that no one is worthy to participate in the Lord's Supper. Paul's focus is not on the worthiness of the participants, but on the actions of a number of the participants who feast at the supper without considering the significance of the feast and the practical impact this has on the life of their Christian community. "In a careless manner", BAGD; "in a way that is not fitting", Thiselton; "in a way that contradicts all that the Lord meant it to be", Barclay; "in a way morally out of keeping with the nature and design of the ordinance", Meyer.

enocoV adj. + gen. "[will be] guilty" - [will be] liable, answerable, guilty [of the body and the blood of the lord]. Predicate adjective. Here "guilty" in the sense of "held accountable by God" + gen. to denote the crime; "held accountable for so treating the body and blood of the Lord", Thiselton.


de "-" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step to a contrasting point; "but rather / on the contrary, let a person examine themselves."

dokimazetw (dokimazw) pres. imp. "ought to examine" - let [a man] examine, test, approve after examination [himself]. The present tense is durative, iterative, expressing repeated / customary action. The sense of "approve after examination" is best, since a positive outcome is the intended purpose of the testing, so BAGD. Prove what? Possibly whether they are "genuine" believers, v19, although is a genuine faith in mind, or a genuine intent to participate in the Lord's Supper in a way that is fitting? The latter seems best. As noted above, an ethical testing to see whether we are "living and acting in love and charity with our neighbors", Bruce (cf., BCP), is unlikely. "Let each scrutinize whether he rightly understands what remembrance of the Lord, his Supper, and his death actually mean and whether one is disposed to proclaim them by such eucharistic reception", Fitzmyer, ie., examine understanding and motives.

ouJtwV adv. "before [he eats]" - [and] thus, so, in this way. The NIV, REB, NJB and NRSV render this adverb as if introducing a temporal clause. The literal sense, "let a man prove himself and so let him eat ..", RV, leaves us struggling with the meaning. The sense "only in this way" seems best, where this adverb refers to the antecedent, the proving of an intent to participate in the Lord's Supper in a fitting way, a way that does not contradict all that the Lord meant it to be. Such a proving enables a believer to effectively participate / share in the loaf and cup and therefore share in its blessing.

ek + gen. "-" - of, out of, from [the bread let him eat, and] of [the cup let him drink]. Expressing source, "from", or possibly partitive, "of". "And only in this way eat from / of the loaf and drink from / of the cup."


gar "for" - Introducing a causal clause explaining why a person needs to examine themselves before joining in the Lord's Supper, "for otherwise ......"

oJ ... esqiwn (esqiw) pres. part. "anyone who eats" - the one eating [and drinking]. As for "drinking", the participle serves as a substantive, as NIV.

mh diakrinwn (diakrinw) pres. part. "without recognizing / discerning [the body]" - not discerning, differentiating, separating, making a distinction [the body]. "Noting carefully the true nature of something", Pfitzner. The participle is probably conditional, setting up a condition to the eating and drinking, "if anyone / whoever eats and drinks without ...", or possibly causal, defining the ground on which effective eating and drinking is destroyed. If "body" is the gathered people of God, then "discerning the body" possibly entails "showing consideration ("respect", Robertson) for one another and so giving practical expression to our common membership of the body of Christ, which is signified in the sharing of the eucharistic bread", Bruce. Barrett and others argue that "body" is a short-hand version of "body and blood" and that the "discerning" involves "making a right judgment" when it comes to the significance of the loaf and cup, namely, the saving work of Christ on the cross. Often a knowing word entails a commitment to, rather than just knowledge by itself. This interpretation seems best. "If a person eats and drinks without recognizing the significance of the body and blood of the Lord represented in the bread and the wine, then ....."

krima "judgment" - [eats and drinks] judgment. Accusative of result. A participant in the Lord's supper who fails to recognize, in the meal, the substance of Christ's saving work, will face judgment. The judgment here seems to be more in the terms of chastisement, discipline, for Paul goes on to speak of sickness within the congregation being a direct result of their improper participation in the Lord's Supper. So, a divine judgment that entails "temporal penalties", Lenski.

eJautw/ dat. pro. "on himself / on themselves" - Dative of indirect object of "eats and drinks", the direct object being "judgment" / interest, disadvantage, "for himself."


iv] Paul now applies the teaching of v27-29 to the specific situation facing the Corinthian church, v30-32. Paul makes the point that the physical illness of some of the Corinthians, even the death of some, is at the hand of God, and is a consequence of their failure to properly address the substance of "the love feast", ie., "its power for wholeness can become a power of destruction", Dunn. Paul's observation is not easily glossed over, although, in a preaching situation, we may be inclined not to go there. Most commentators regard these "divers diseases and sundry kinds of death", BCP, as self-inflicted, the consequence of a life-style focused on self-gratification, but others regard the symptoms as signs of God's impending judgement, cf., Bruce, Conzelmann, Moule. Of course, a specific prophetic observation made of a particular congregation does not necessarily apply to all congregations. The proposition that God chastises his people clearly applies to all, but the specific chastisement facing the Corinthians, namely, sickness and death, does not necessarily apply to all. Garland, Fitzmyer, Thiselton, ... refer to Schneider's suggestion that the sick (asqeneiV, "weak"), the ill (arrwstoi, "sick") and the dying (koimwntai, "asleep") refer to those who are weak in faith, spiritually ill, and spiritually asleep; "it is this careless participation (in the Lord's Supper) which is the reason for the many feeble and sickly Christians in your church, and the explanation of the fact that many of you are spiritually asleep", Phillips.

dia touto "that is why" - because of this = therefore. This construction is often inferential rather than causal, as here; "therefore / for this reason", as NIV. Participating in the Lord's Supper in a way that is not fitting is the reason why some are sick. Conzelmann suggests is an act of divine judgment. "This is the reason why", Barclay.

en + dat. "among" - [many] among [you are]. Local, expressing space, "among", but possibly partitive, "many of you." "Many members of your church."

asqeneiV adj. "weak" - sickly. See above.

arrwstoi adj. "sick" - [and] ill, diseased. "Feeble and sick", REB.

koimwtai "have fallen asleep" - [and a number] are asleep. A euphemism for death applicable to believers, eg., "asleep in Jesus." "Have died", CEV, ..... "passed over", "at rest", ...


If we recognize what characterizes us as Christians, namely, our participation in the death of Christ on our behalf, then we will not treat our brothers and sisters lightly, and thus we will not be disciplined by the Lord.

ei + imperf. an + imperf. ind. "if" - [but/and] if. Introducing a conditional clause, 2nd class, contrary to fact, where the condition is assumed not to be true; "if, as is not the case, ..... then ...." "If we would examine ourselves, [then] we would not be undergoing the judgment of God", Barclay.

diekrinomen (diakrinw) imperf. "we judged / were more discerning " - we were evaluating, considering [ourselves]. As with v29, "recognizing our status and obligations as Christians", Thiselton, rather than judging ourselves, NIV, being critical of ourselves, NJB, or even examining ourselves, REB.

ouk ... ekrinomeqa (krinw) imperf. pas. "we would not come under such judgment" - we would not be judged. Divine passive. "Judged" is used in the sense of "disciplined / chastised", such that if we recognize our participation in the cross of Christ, when joining in the Lord's Supper, we will not find ourselves suffering abnormally from things such as weakness, illness and death (see above).


There is a difference between judgment and discipline. Discipline serves to correct behavior toward a good end, and this is God's intention for the Corinthians.

de "-" - but/and. Probably adversative here; "but, yet." Paul qualifies the "judgment" in the terms of chastisement, of "being disciplined." If we are sensitive in our participation of the Lord's table we will not be judged, but [if we have been insensitive] and now suffer the consequences (ie., sick, ill and/or dying), such should be regarded as chastisement from the Lord in order that we will not find ourselves condemned with the rest of the world.

krinomenoi (krinw) pres. pas. part. "when we are judged" - being judged. The participle is adverbial, possibly forming a temporal clause, as NIV, or again a conditional clause, "if", or causal, "since", or even instrumental, "by being judged."

uJpo "by [the Lord]" - Expressing agency; "by the hand of the Lord."

paideuomeqa (paideuw) pres. pas. "we are being disciplined" - we are being instructed, disciplined. Divine chastisement is not destructive, but serves as "purifying discipline meant to lead to deeper faith and final glory", Pfitzner, cf., Heb.2:10. "Corrected", NJB.

iJna mh + subj. "so that [we will] not" - that not. Forming a negated purpose clause; "in order that not / lest."

katakriqwmen (katakrinw) aor. pas. subj. "we will [not] be condemned" - we would be condemned, have a verdict set against. The punctiliar aorist is used for the final judgment, while the durative present is used for the other two verbs in the verse, both of which express ongoing action.

sun + dat. "with [the world]" - Expressing association, as NIV.


v] Conclusion, v33-34. As already noted, it is unclear what is actually happening when the Corinthian believers gather to share in the Lord's Supper. Taking allhlouV ekdecesqe to mean "wait for one another", it does seem likely that the wealthy, who are not constrained by commercial duties, are getting into the food before the poor and slaves arrive, so leaving them hungry. Paul's instruction is "wait for each other", NIV - note TNIV, "you should all eat together", reflecting the view that the rich are eating separately from the poor. Those of independent means are well able to eat at home if they are hungry, so leaving an abundance for those of meager means. To act otherwise is to face God's chastening hand. Paul will have more to say on this matter when he visits the church again.

wJste "So then" - therefore, thus [brothers of me]. Here inferential, drawing a logical conclusion, as v27, but here with the vocative; "therefore it follows, brothers and sisters, that ...."

sunercomenoi (sunercomai) pres. mid. part. "when you gather" - coming together. The participle is adverbial, best treated as temporal, as NIV.

eiV to + inf. "to eat" - This construction is adverbial, final, expressing purpose, "in order to eat"; "with the purpose of participating in the Lord's Supper."

ekdecesqe (ekdecomai) pres. imp. "wait for / you should [all] eat together" - wait for [one another]. The imperfect tense generalizes the instruction. The word carries a number of different meanings: "receive, accept, welcome" = practice hospitality toward each other, so Fee; "wait for" = don't start eating until all are in attendance and share as a common meal, so Barnett, Fitzmyer. "It implied that a proper distribution of food should first be made, and that all should then eat together", Barrett.


ei + ind. "-" - if [as is the case, anyone is hungry, then let him eat in home]. Introducing a 1st. class conditional clause where the condition is assumed to be true.

en + dat. "at [home]" - Local, expressing space.

iJna mh + subj. "so that [when you meet together ....] not" - lest [you may come together into judgment]. This construction is adverbial, introducing a negated purpose clause, "in order that not" = "lest".

eiV + acc. "it may [not] result in [judgment]" - into [judgment]. Here the preposition expresses purpose, end-view / result; "for judgment." "Lest your meeting together might lead to your having judgment pronounced against you", Cassirer.

de "and" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the discourse.

wJV an + subj. "when" - whenever [i come].This construction introduces an indefinite temporal clause future time, "whenever I come", but expressing a definite intention to come, although not knowing when, so "when I come."

ta ... loipa adj. "further" - the things remaining, the rest [i will set in order]. The adjective serves as a substantive, possibly to be viewed as an accusative of reference / respect; "about the other things I will give direction when I come", ESV.


1 Corinthians Introduction.



[Pumpkin Cottage]