1 Corinthians 11:34


Sunday, 30 November 2014

But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come. 1 Corinthians 11:34

As is evidenced here, the gathering at Corinth was one which eventually evolved into something like a pot-luck supper. The term for it was an agape or “love” feast. But as the ceremony evolved, it quickly left behind the very purpose that the Lord’s Supper was intended to convey. Instead of remembering the Lord and His work, it was a chance to eat and be merry. To avoid this, Paul’s words of instruction are specific that “if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home.”

A regular meal belongs in a regular place. The Lord’s Supper belongs among the Lord’s people. Paul wanted the two kept separate in order to maintain the dignity of the occasion. He had already noted the consequences of having not treated the ceremony in a dignified way (in that some were weak, sick, or even dead) and he didn’t want that to continue lest they also “come together for judgment.”

Again, Paul’s words here imply that it is a temporal, not a spiritual judgment. Some translations incorrectly say “condemnation” here. It is a bad choice of words because as Paul says elsewhere, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…” (Romans 8:1). Paul has the best intent for those in Corinth concerning both their continued earthly health and prosperity as well as their spiritual growth in Christ. And his words are recorded to help us in this same manner as well.

In closing out chapter 11 he finishes with, “And the rest I will set in order when I come.” There were other instructions, probably unique to the situation at Corinth, that needed to be set in order. However, they either weren’t pressing or maybe they were of a delicate nature that he didn’t want included in a public letter. What is apparent is that he fully intended to go to Corinth to meet with them in person.

Life application: The directions for the Lord’s Supper are given in 1 Corinthians 11 and are based on the words of the Lord as found in the gospels. There is specific instruction and yet there is much detail which is left open to individual choice for the arrangement of the rite. Adhering to what is given and not trifling over things that are left unstated will lead to a sound and healthy memorial which will also be accommodating to time, place, culture, and personal choice.

Lord, I’m so thankful for the freedom we have to arrange churches in a way which accommodates our style of worship, cultural preferences, and spiritual needs. And yet, there is also a given amount of order and structure in Your word to keep us from devolving into something not pleasing to You. Thank You for the freedom to worship You in a way which fits who we are as individuals. May our hearts be united in a worship of spirit and truth regardless of the externals. Amen.



1 Corinthians 11:33


Saturday, 29 November 2014

Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 1 Corinthians 11:33

“Therefore” is given to sum up all of Paul’s thoughts starting in verse 17. In that verse, he noted that those in Corinth had “come together not for the better but for the worse.” In explanation of that, in comments intended to correct the problem, and in justification of why his directions were so important, he laid out his points in an orderly fashion until verse 32. In an overall summery statement he then gives them his curative recommendation by beginning with “my brethren.”

The addressees, despite their mishandling of the matter thus far, were still considered among the fellowship. The loss of salvation because of their conduct is not even a consideration. And so to these brethren he says, “when you come together to eat, wait for one another.” Instead of hurriedly gobbling up the food that was brought to the meal, they should wait until all had arrived and would be willing to fellowship with others and share in what was available.

In this, the believers would truly be a united group and they would be more likely to focus on the Lord and His work rather than on their stomachs. A good way to consider how this is true would be to think of a prayer meeting. If people are continuously walking in and out, then the prayer will by its very nature be dysfunctional. Concentration will be lost, there will be a repetition of prayers already offered, and there may even be resentment by those who had been trying to concentrate because of the stream of interruptions.

Life application: A church which is not run in an orderly and pious fashion will inevitably fail to unite in mind and heart on the Lord. The worship will become less “He” centered and more “me” centered. In all things, let us remember that it is the Lord who is to be exalted during praise and worship.

Heavenly Father, Glorious God – Forgive me for my often self-centered attitude in life. I seek prosperity and ease even though I know others have such difficult times. Is my time at church really focused on You, or is it about me and what I like? My times of prayer are inevitably distracted by a thousand things which fly through my mind. Lord, help me to conduct myself in a manner which honors You every moment and in all ways. Grant this that You will receive the glory you are due. Amen.



1 Corinthians 11:32


Friday, 28 November 2014

But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. 1 Corinthians 11:32

This verse shows us that those who are noted in verse 30 as being “weak,” “sick,” or who even “sleep” (meaning have died) were still saved despite their incorrect actions which led to the judgment rendered by the Lord, termed here as being “chastened.” It then shows that the term “damnation” used by the King James translation was in fact an immensely poor choice of words.

There is still salvation for believers who erred in this way because salvation is eternal. When someone believes, they are sealed with the Holy Spirit as a guarantee that they will never again come again under condemnation. Thus Paul makes a distinction between believers and “the world” (meaning unregenerate people). For those in Christ, there is the surety of salvation; for those in the world, there is the surety of condemnation.

The chastening of believers is noted in a detailed way in Hebrews 12 and further explains Paul’s thoughts in this verse –

“For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:6-11

Life application: Chastening from the Lord has a purpose that is intended to mold us further to His image and to correctly align our lives with His intent for us. Let us look with gratitude to the Lord that His chastening proves that we are legitimate children.

Lord God, it sure is painful to face Your corrective hand, but at the same time, it lets me know that I am truly Yours. When You discipline me as a son, it means that I am Your child. And so even in this, I will be sure to accept what comes my way with gratitude, knowing that You are molding me for Your glory. Thank You for this. Amen.


1 Corinthians 11:31


Thursday, 27 November 2014

For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 1 Corinthians 11:31

In this verse, Paul makes a change to include himself in his words by saying “we.” It is a way of identifying with the Corinthians in the struggle of life and the fight against sin. And how true his words ring in any situation! “For” ties the thought directly to his previous words that “many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.” It is a type of disciplinary judgment which has been rendered upon the church at Corinth to get them to realize their state. In realization, they should then contemplate, and in contemplation, they should act.

The reason for having laws is more often than not a way of keeping people from harm. If we ignore the law, we are bound to get harmed. However, if we are caught in the act, we may receive whatever punishment the law mandates in order to get us to consider and correct our ways. The same is true with the precepts of the Bible. There is an expected standard, often explicit and often implicit. In the case of the Lord’s Supper, the standard was and is explicit. We know this because of what Paul said earlier in verse 23, “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you.”

Therefore, in the verbal instruction of the Lord’s Supper he would have given all that was necessary to avoid the judgments which had come upon them. If they had considered their ways, there would have been no weakness, sickness, or death that could be attributed to their improper conduct. However, at the same time, there would have been no instructions for the Lord’s Supper in writing for future generations either. So even in the discipline of the Corinthians, a good result has arisen. With the inclusion of these written instructions, all churches have the same information with which to conduct this rite.

Because we have this specific instruction, how much more accountable to the Lord are we! Therefore, let us judge ourselves so that we will not be judged. With your proper knowledge, don’t hesitate to note what needs correction in your own church.

Life application: Be sure to read, contemplate, and then apply the precepts of the Bible. In so doing, you will avoid many of the pitfalls which it is trying to keep you from.

How I cherish my time with You O God!
Each moment as I live, You are here with me
Every single step that I take on the path which I trod
You illuminate it so that I can see

Your word is a lamp to my feet, it is true
It is a light to my path, wherever I go
There is never a time that I am without You
I have hidden Your word in my heart, I cherish it so

Yes Lord, thank You for the sound council and guidance in Your word. As I apply it to my life, I know that I can avoid many trials and pits which would otherwise come my way. And in the times of trials that do come, I have the perfect assurance that it is being used for a good end. I don’t need to worry or fret, but to simply place those things in Your capable hands and rest in You! Thank You for this blessed assurance. Amen.


1 Corinthians 11:30


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 1 Corinthians 11:30

Because of the “unworthy manner” in which the congregants at Corinth had taken the Lord’s Supper, Paul says that “many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.” In other words, he directly equates their weakness, sickness, and deaths to their conduct at the meal. There are a couple things to note about this:

1) As he wrote this letter directly to those at Corinth, then his words about the sickness and death must be true, regardless of the reason for it.

2) As this letter specifically addresses their improper conduct at the Lord’s Supper, this certainly happened.

3) Because he is tying their health to the improper observance of the Lord’s Supper, he is fully convinced that this is the cause of the ill-health and death; it is a spiritual connection between two physical concepts.

Concerning the third point, scholars have attempted to equate the physical aspect of the meal (overindulgence) with the ill-health and death, but if that were the case then why would Paul only call them out for their overindulgence and improper attitude during the Lord’s Supper? In fact, he rhetorically asked them, “Do you not have houses to eat and drink in?” If he was concerned about their portly appearance or their over-indulgence in wine, he would have said, “You are living in an unhealthy way and you will keel over from it some day.” But instead, he ties these things directly to the Lord’s Supper.

Their weakness, sickness, and “sleep” (meaning death; it is an idiom for death to a follower of the Lord) is a direct result of improper conduct during the Lord’s Supper. Although this may have been an occurrence unique to the Apostolic period of the church, there is nothing to suggest that. If there is ill health or even premature death in a congregation, the conduct of the Lord’s Supper should be evaluated. What God chooses to use as a form of chastisement and judgment is up to Him. The fact that this is recorded in the Bible shows us that this may occur if the observance is improperly conducted.

Life application: How God judges is up to God. It is our duty to learn His word, adhere to it, and render to Him submission and obedience with a right and holy attitude.

O God, when things go bad, how can I know if it is simply the course of life or your judgment on me? At what point do I say, “This is unfair”? Lord, no matter what, I will trust that in anything that happens, there is nothing unfair in it and I will praise you through the storm. And I will also review my life and make sure that I’m following Your word as I should. If I am, then whatever happens must not be because of discipline. I will accept even the trials as grace if I am living as I should. How I love You, so be with me and strengthen me O God. Amen.