Monday, 17 November
For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk. 1 Corinthians 11:21
In the previous verse, it was noted that when they came together, it wasn’t in the manner of the Lord’s Supper (literally – “it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper.”) Paul now explains why this is so. In evaluating it, all we need to do is think of a modern “potluck supper.”
“For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others.” Instead of bringing along the food and leaving it for all to share in (which is what the known customs of the time reveal) the people would get right into the food they brought, thus there wasn’t a fellowship in the meal, but rather a sense of greediness in it. People were just diving in to make sure they got a full belly, regardless of what others received.
Because of this, the result was that “one is hungry and another is drunk.” The contrasts are obvious. One person who may have been poor and couldn’t bring much was left with an empty stomach; the other who got right into the meal overindulged and got “drunk.” As hunger implies deprivation and as drunkenness implies over-indulgence, the two are noted to highlight the situation. Because there was a lack of fellowship and sharing, it thus could not be the Lord’s Supper of which they partook. Rather, it was a feast of self-interest, not humble remembrance.
A final point on this verse is that the word “drunk” is the Greek word methuó. It means exactly as translated, “drunk.” In an honest evaluation of the passage, it can be taken in no other way. Although highly unpalatable to many, the obvious conclusion to be made is that the gatherings of the early church included alcohol. Whether this was acceptable or not will be realized in verse 22. The conclusion is obvious from the text itself.
Life application: It is proper to objectively evaluate issues found in the Bible without inserting presuppositions about the matter at hand. In other words, we are to “let the chips fall where they may.” Only then can we be considered to properly handle and rightly divide the word of God.
Lord, I love You. Who else would step down from an instrument of torture and death and say to the person who put Him there, “It’s ok, I did it for you.” Who else would be willing to carry away my evil heart, my wicked deeds, and my faithless life in this way? How great You are. Lord, I love You. Amen.