KJV -- "Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better,
but for the worse. For first of all, when, ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions
among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are
approved may be made manifest among you. When ye come together therefore into one place, this is
not to eat the Lord's Supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is
hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the
church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I
praise you not.
"For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same
night in which he was betrayed took bread: and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said,
Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same
manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood:
this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
"For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.
Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty
of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread,
and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to
himself, not discerning the Lord's body.
"For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge
ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we
should not be condemned with the world.
"Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger,
let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order
when I come."
The apostle could not praise the Corinthian church, but rather condemned it. Their
assemblies rather than being a means of their betterment, were working to make them
Firstly, Paul brings forth the divisions at Corinth. He has already made mention of the
existence of the factious spirit in this church (1 Corinthians 1:10-12; 3:3,4). Now, as they
assemble together (the church in this context is used of the assembly) . The apostle to the
Gentiles points out he has heard they were divided, and, in part, he believes it. For
such division must take place so that those approved of God might be revealed. Without
such division one could not tell the sheep from the goats. With their problems, the righteous
could not bear to be with the heretics and must (at least after a fashion) remove themselves.
When the Corinthians came together into one place, it was not to eat the Lord's Supper. The
divisions (heresies--factions) at Corinth made this impossible. With wrangling, fussing, and
fighting going on among themselves, they couldn't eat the Lord's Supper. They might
consume the bread and fruit of the vine, but they couldn't possibly remember
the body and blood of Christ. They were grabbing the bread and juice before the other could
get it. They were satisfying their hunger and thirst. They had turned a memorial into a
common meal (or possibly
even less) by their conduct. Didn't they have their homes to eat and drink in? Did they
despise the worship assembly? Were they trying to shame the poor which did not have
anything? There was a time and place to fill the belly and satisfy the needs of the flesh. The
worship assembly was not that time or place! What could brother Paul say? Could he praise
them? Absolutely not? They were in error. They were "guilty of the body and blood of the
Lord." They were eating and drinking "damnation," "not discerning the Lord's body."
He who was born Saul of Tarsus now reveals the institution of the Supper. He "received of
the Lord" what he told them As he wrote the churches of Galatia "But I certify you, brethren,
that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man For I neither received it of man,
neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ" (Galatians1:11,12). He goes on
to point out, "I conferred not with flesh and blood: neither went I up to Jerusalem to them
which were apostles before me" (Galatians 1:16). So here Paul states, "I have received of
the Lord that which also I delivered you." It is a matter of revelation, not testimony of the
apostles who were there. It is not hearsay.
"The Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread" That fateful night
Judas Iscariot performed the vilest deed humanity has ever recorded -- the betrayal of the
sinless Son of God to the godless Jews who slew him -- Jesus had met in the upper room
with the twelve to observe the Passover meal. It was at this feast of unleavened bread,
He took bread "and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my
body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me." The bread of the Passover
was "the bread of affliction" (Deuteronomy 16:3); the bread of the Lord's Supper is "the bread
of the broken body of the Lord." It is a memorial of the suffering Savior's afflictions It is a
"remembrance" of the Lord (See Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke. 22:19,20.)
In the same way Jesus took the cup, "saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this
do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me." The fruit of the vine, the grape juice,
was a memorial of the blood of the Savior. The blood of the Passover lamb was placed upon
the sideposts and upperposts of the doors as a sign to the Lord so He would pass over that
house in killing the firstborn (Exodus 12:7,13). Paul has already told the Corinthians in this
same epistle, "Christ our passover is sacrificed for us" (1 Corinthians 5:7). Now the blood of
the New Testament was that which caused God to pass over a house in visiting His wrath. It
is the blood of Christ which sets men free from the bondage of sin. If the blood of. a lamb
was ;remembered fpr its deliverance, how much more should we remember the blood
which flowed from the hands, feet, and side of the Savior, the only begotten Son of God. The
cup was a memorial of His blood Whenever it was partaken of, His blood was to be
Whenever the Lord's Supper is partaken of, it is a proclamation of the Lord's death From the
book of Acts (20:1) and history we know that the early disciples partook of the Lords Supper
upon the first day. Of the week (Sunday). This was not a spasmotic event, but was a weekly
(every week) occurance. Each time this observance was engaged in (and is today), it was
(and is) a showing of faith in the death of Christ till He comes again. Its purpose is to
remember what that body and blood mean.
v. 27 v. 28 v. 29
With the purpose of the Supper and its elements before us, we can see why the apostle
would tell the Corinthians: "whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord,
unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord." The manner of partaking of the
Supper is of utmost importance. It is a memorial, a remembrance; thus, the frame of mind
must be that of remembrance of the "broken body" of the Lord. If the manner is incorrect, if it
is partaken of unworthily, then the one who eats and drinks is "guilty of the body and blood of
the Lord." They are guilty of trampling underfoot His body and blood. It is a matter of
disrespect of the Son of the Most High. It is blasphemy of the Savior of men.
Realizing the seriousness of the impure action in eating the Supper, "let a man examine
himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup." Each one who partakes of
the Supper must look within his heart, mind, and soul. He needs to examine himself to
make sure that his thoughts are correct and his motives are pure "For he that eateth and
drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's
body." The consequences of incorrect partaking of the Lord's Supper is damnation It is
serious business Let no man think lightly of the Supper. Let no man be frivolous in his
observance of it Let us remember its importance and purpose, and act accordingly.
The incorrect observance of the Lord's Supper was the reason many of the Corinthians were
spiritually "weak and sickly” and "many sleep.” Their spiritual condition was weak, and
sickly, with many of them dead because they unworthily partook of the Supper.
If Christians, in observing the Supper would judge themselves, examine themselves, they
would not be judged -- they would not be condemned.
The judging is for a purpose -- "we are chastened by the Lord, that we should not be
condemned with the world." By hearing of our sin and mistake, we can make correction and
not be condemned. Christians should not be "condemned with the world;" they should learn
from chastisement and change their ways.
The gathering together of brethren ought to be characterized by love
and service. Paul admonishes, "tarry one for another." "And if any man hunger, let him eat at
home; that ye come not together unto condemnation." The apostle closes with the problem
he began with, a filling of the belly and the satisfying of the physical needs. In view of all he
has had to say, it is obvious that the time and place for satisfying hunger is not in the
worship assembly in the Lord's Supper. If they are hungry, let them eat at home to avoid
"And the rest will I set in order when I come." The problems which Paul has discussed are
not the only ones the Corinthians have, but the "one born out of due season" will wrestle with
those in person.