Thursday, 13 November 2014
Now in giving these instructions I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse. 1 Corinthians 11:17
In verse 2, Paul began his discourse on the head and head coverings with a word of praise –
“Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you.”
Now, he is transitioning to a new discourse, a most sensitive and important matter, which concerns the Lord’s Supper. In this, he begins with “Now in giving these instructions, I do not praise you…” We know then that his coming words are words of instruction on a matter which require correction. He has gotten word concerning it and he isn’t pleased with what he has heard.
The word “you” is not in the original. Rather it says, “Now in giving theses instructions I do not praise…” The lack of praise isn’t directed toward the people so much as it is directed toward the actions of the people. This is then set in contrast to verse 2 where he directly praised the people. Here, the actions of the people are not to be praised. And the reason is noted – “since you come together not for the better but for the worse.”
The people are gathering, but the actions of the gathering are more harmful than edifying. He will explain this in the verses to come, but this verse has set the stage for it in a tactful and yet firm manner.
Life application: Paul’s writing in 1 Corinthians 11 shows us a sound way of addressing others over delicate issues. He has praised the people but withheld praise from their actions. Additionally, he first began with praise and then moved to the withholding of praise. This sets a much more positive tone than immediately entering into rebuke; something which would only cause his readers to tune out at the beginning. We can and should learn from this style of approach.
Heavenly Father, I thank You for the blessing, privilege, and honor of worshipping with the people I meet up with each week. Together we open Your word and learn from it; together we sing songs to You as a united voice; together we pray for one another and others as well; and together we share in the Table of the Lord, remembering His death until He comes again. What time could be better spent? Thank You for this wonderful part of my week, without which, I would be far less able to handle the other affairs that come up. Thank You and Amen!