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Acknowledgments I wish to express my deep appreciation to my brothers in Christ who over the years have helped me to come to a better understanding of the meaning of the elements of the Lord's table. Former pastors: H. LaVern Schafer, Th.D., David J. Eckman, Ph.D., and more recently professors David K. Spurbeck, Th.M, and his brother Dale R. Spurbeck, M.Div., of the Dispensational Theological Seminary, Cherry Grove, OR, who assisted me with much of the research for this article. Background On three different occasions during the past year I have been involved in discussions about my understanding of the meaning of the "bread" of the Lord's table. The first time was with a prominent Christian who was to be speaking at a summer Bible conference which traditionally ends with a celebration of the Lord's table. The second time occurred in my adult Sunday school class. The third time, I was relating the prior incidents to a fellow believer and he wanted to hear more and suggested this article. In all three cases, I was surprised at the ignorance of such a view, especially in my own church where the pastor alludes to this teaching at every occasion of the Lord's table. As mentioned above, my initial understanding goes back at least 35 years to two prior pastors. At that time I also wrote a couple of hymn poems: The Fellowship*1 and The Body*2. These are included with the endnotes. PREMISE It is my expectation via the evidence and arguments presented here to demonstrate that the term "body" in First Corinthians 11:24, 27, 29 is "The Body of Christ",--"The Church". The purpose here is not to discount the significance of the physical body of Christ, nor to ignore the blood of the New Covenant, but to restore what I believe to be the original emphasis and meaning intended by the Lord Jesus at the Last Supper and in His direct revelation to the Apostle Paul as recorded in First Corinthians 11; compared also with chapters 10 and 12. CLEANING HOUSE! Throwing Out The Bath water, But Not The Baby Perhaps some questions you should ask are: "Who and/or what are we talking about?" "When was it broken?" "Where did it happen?" "Why didn't they fix it?" and "How can it be fixed?" For more than 300 years no New Testament Greek manuscripts of First Corinthians 11:24 contained the word "broken" (Greek, klwmen). About 350 A.D. the word first appeared as a marginal note and was retained by a number of subsequent copyists. It would be another 150 years or more before it was integrated into the text of the Epistle. Quite probably this was done under the influence of the Romanist church because its inclusion helped to support their doctrine of transubstantiation so widely believed in one form or another today. Furthermore, a majority of modern critical texts agree that "broken - klwmen" should be omitted on the basis of ancient manuscript evidence. (See Bernhard Weiss, Nestles, &c.) (See below for "of the Lord" in verse 29.) Additionally, the inclusion of the word "broken" (implying the physical body of Christ) in the phrase "this is My Body which is broken for you" must be considered a direct contradiction to the fulfillment of prophecy as reported by the Apostle John in his Gospel (19:36, cf. PS 34:20; EX 12:46; NU 9:12). There it states that "A bone of him shall not be broken". If the original autograph is to be our basis for belief and practice, should one then be building doctrine on an obvious interpellation by addition to the text? David Spurbeck also observes: ... Every time a communion service is held, bread is broken. In the Upper Room Christ took a single loaf and broke it and distributed the pieces to the individual disciples. Christ was anticipating the fact that the single loaf would be identified as His Body. Though the loaf is broken in pieces now, the Father sees it as one loaf by imputation. Some will accept the Romanist tradition that the body is Christ's physical body as did some of the later copyists of 1 Corinthians. In 11:24 a minority who accepted the Roman view added the word "broken" to the original text to give their theology credibility. The Authorized Version follows their copies with the translation "which is broken for you." An accurate translation of the Lord's statement (as it is in the gospels] is "Take, eat, this is my Body which is in the place of you; this be doing in remembrance of me (1 Cor. 11:24)." *3 Inasmuch as the comparison of Scripture with Scripture combined with historical evidence fails to support the inclusion of "broken" in the original text, we must conclude that the addition of the word by a copyist is initially one man's subjective opinion at best and should not be given preference in any consideration of a worthwhile evaluation of its principle meaning. Thus any translation of the statement in question in First Corinthians 11:24 might be better rendered: "... this is my body, the one which is for you: ..." The remaining discussion will reflect this viewpoint. TAKING WORDS OUT OF CONTEXT! Something that has always been of interest to me is the matter of how we men are able to take words and phrases out of context in order to prove our misconceptions, prejudice, and especially ignorance. As an illustration of this, I would like to briefly relate a recent experience of mine. Because I am blind, I use a voice synthesizer and screen reading software when at the computer. As I was working my way through the Gospel of John, chapter 6 and verse 12, in the Greek New Testament, my attention was suddenly arrested by what sounded like the words "Santa Claus". Did I really hear that? Yes! What's more, it was right in the middle of the passage describing the feeding of the 5000. Now just imagine with me for a moment. What could 5000 hungry people, with their bellies now full, want more than a real Santa Claus? The rest I'll leave to your own imagination. Silly isn't it? However, the syllables of the name are there in two Greek words "perisseu-santa klas-mata", and they have nothing to do with my crazy imagination, but are to be understood in the full illumination of "context! context! context!" While in John chapter 6, let's take a look at two additional quotes from W.E. Vine and A.C. Gaebelein regarding the misapplication of this passage to the Lord's body and the celebration of the Lord's Supper. First W.E. Vine writes: NOT THE LORD'S SUPPER: A DISTINCTION (John 6:53-58) What He says in this sixth chapter has no reference to the Lord's Supper. And for the following reasons: (a) Had the Supper been in view, to eat of the bread of the Supper would constitute the participant a partaker of eternal life apart from the condition of faith in Christ; (b) the paramount subject in this part of the discourse is eternal life: that subject is never mentioned in connection with the Lord's Supper; (c) to take His teaching to refer to that, is to give a literal application, whereas He plainly indicates that His words concerning His flesh and blood were not so intended; (d) He says that the giving of His flesh is "for the life of the world;" the Lord's Supper was instituted not for the world but for His disciples; (e) in His instruction concerning the Supper He speaks of His body, whereas here He speaks of His flesh. (John: His Record of Christ: p. 70) From A.C. Gaebelein's annotated Bible Commentary on John 6 we read: The great discourse on the Bread of Life follows. It is connected with the sign of the feeding of the multitude. When He speaks of being the Bread from Heaven He refers to His incarnation. "For the bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven and giveth His life for the world." They rejected that Bread. Then He speaks of eating His flesh and drinking His blood both for the reception of life and for the sustenance of that life. These words have nothing whatever to do with the Lord's supper. Bishop Ryle, who was a leader in a ritualistic church, repudiated this wrong interpretation in the following words: "For one thing, a literal 'eating and drinking' of Christ's body and blood would have been an idea utterly revolting to all Jews, and flatly contradictory to an often-repeated precept of their law.--For another thing, to take a literal view of 'eating and drinking,' is to interpose a bodily act between the soul of man and salvation. This is a thing for which there is no precedent in Scripture. The only things without which we cannot be saved are repentance and faith.--Last, but not least, to take a literal view of 'eating and drinking,' would involve most blasphemous and profane consequences. It would shut out of heaven the penitent thief. He died long after these words were spoken, without any literal eating and drinking. Will any dare to say he had 'no life' in Him?--It would admit to heaven thousands of ignorant, godless communicants in the present day. They literally eat and drink, no doubt! But they have no eternal life, and will not be raised to glory. Let these reasons be carefully pondered." And so, we return to the word "body" in First Corinthians 11:24 and its contextual meaning. David Spurbeck notes: A number of terms describe the Body of Christ in grace revelation as has been seen. These include the Church (Eph. 1:22, 23), the Body (1 Cor. 10:16, 17; 12:12, 13; Eph. 1:23; 4:4, 12, 16), the new man (Eph. 2:15; 4:24), the new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) and the Christ (1 Cor. 12:12). *4 In First Corinthians 10:16-17 Paul gives to us the fundamental definition for the metaphor "the Body" as used in chapters 10, 11, and 12 of this epistle. 16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 17 For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. (KJV) Kenneth Wuest in his Expanded translation of the Greek New Testament, quoted here and elsewhere, says it like this: 16. The cup of the blessing (which our Lord consecrated by giving thanks) which we consecrate with prayer, is it not a symbol of our joint-participation in the blood of the Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a symbol of our joint-participation in the body of Christ? 17 Seeing that there is one loaf of bread, we, the many, are one body, for we all share with one another in eating from the one aforementioned loaf of bread. David Spurbeck writes concerning unity: The Communication of the Oneness in the Body of Christ God chose three figures of speech to describe oneness: a loaf of bread, a human body and a man. Each of these demonstrates a compound unity. There is always one--only one. Diversity exists in the unity but there are no diverse unities. Specific emphasis is made when each figure of speech is used. The first figure of speech is the metaphor of one bread or one loaf. "The cup of blessing (i.e. that which is well-spoken of) of which we are speaking well, is it not a fellowship (i.e. sharing in common) with reference to the blood of Christ? The bread that we are breaking, is it not a fellowship of the Body of Christ? Because we the many continually are one loaf ("bread"), one body; for we are all partaking out of one loaf (1 Cor. 10:16, 17)." Here the bread of the Lordian table is seen to represent the Church that is the Body of Christ. A key rule for the interpretation of Scripture is the observation of context in order to understand the meaning of the text. 1 Corinthians ten is the obvious context for 1 Corinthians eleven. It clearly establishes the meaning of the bread in the communion service. There is no Christ on a crucifix here. In fact 1 Corinthians 10:16, 17 is the source of the term "communion" used to describe the Lordian table.... *5 Previously Spurbeck wrote: God sees the believers in the local church to be a part of the unity. The unity of the Body of Christ is naturally represented in a spiritual local gathering. A truly biblical New Testament church will be a demonstration of the unity that is in Christ. The Christ is not a multi-bodied Head but one Head with one Body that can be manifested in the local assembly. "The Body" is never used in the New Testament to describe the local church. Unity exists in the mind of God as He imputes oneness to all who are in Christ. Such a oneness is similar to the oneness that exists between the members of the Godhead. Even though there are three Persons, they share in a single essence and hence are one (cf. 1 Jn. 5:7). In 1 Corinthians Paul rebuked the Corinthian believers for their abuse of the oneness during the agape feast (1 Cor. 11:17-22). The very bread that they broke was being refuted by their practice in the meal accompanying the Lordian supper.*6 A.T. Robertson comments: "... Of the one bread [tou henos artou]. Of the one loaf, the article [tou] referring to one loaf already mentioned. One body [hen swma]. Here the mystical spiritual body of Christ as in 12:12f., the spiritual kingdom or church of which Christ is head (Col 1:18; Eph 5:23)." *7 Robertson appears to make no distinction between the bread of verse 16 and that of 17, but rather affirms their agreement in definition, the Body, the Church. See also Colossians 1:24. By imputation God sees us in Christ's physical body having been crucified, buried, and raised; this accomplished by the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit (RO 6:2-11) 2 "... How is it possible for us, such persons as we are, who have been separated once for all from the sinful nature, any longer to live in its grip? 3 Do you not know that all we who were placed in Christ Jesus, in His death were placed? 4 We therefore were entombed with Him through this being placed in His death, in order that in the same manner as there was raised up Christ out from among those who are dead through the glory of the Father, thus also we by means of a new life imparted may order our behavior. 5 For in view of the fact that we are those who have become permanently united with Him with respect to the likeness of His death, certainly also we shall be those who as a logical result have become permanently united with Him with respect to the likeness of His resurrection,... 8 Now, in view of the fact that we died once for all with Christ, we believe that we shall also live by means of Him, ... 11 Thus, also, as for you, you be constantly counting upon the fact that, on the one hand, you are those who have been separated from the sinful nature, and, on the other, that you are living ones with respect to God in Christ Jesus." (Wuest) Again, God sees me participating in the physical body of the Beloved and I am to see not only myself there but the other members of the spiritual Body of Christ there as well. To consider the bread to represent only His physical body seems to me to border on a form of idolatry against which Paul had just warned. Certainly there is a significance to be recognized in the instrument of His physical body. However, of greater import, if you will, is the end product of what took place, a significant part of which is the spiritual Body of Christ, the Church, with Christ as its Head. ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED "In the Beloved" accepted am I, Risen, ascended, and seated on high; Saved from all sin thro' His infinite grace, With the redeemed ones accorded a place. "In the Beloved"-- how safe my retreat, In the Beloved accounted complete; "Who can condemn me?" In Him I am free, Savior and Keeper forever is He. "In the Beloved" I went to the tree, There, in His Person, by faith I may see Infinite wrath rolling over His head, Infinite grace, for He died in my stead. "In the Beloved," God's marvelous grace Calls me to dwell in this wonderful place; God sees my Savior, and then He sees me, "In the Beloved," accepted and free. -- Civilla D. Martin
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FLEE FROM IDOLATRY At this point I would like to address another critical issue, that of idolatry--making an idol out of the Lord's physical body. Some would contend that Paul's reference to the Body in chapter 10:16-17 only pertains to believers knowingly not eating anything offered to a pagan idol. But doesn't the "wherefore" of 10:14 point back to another time and place? Namely, Exodus 32:1-8. There we discover the children of Israel, God's chosen people, declaring that a molten calf is Elohim and in connection with this Aaron proclaiming a feast to the LORD! Is it any wonder Paul writes "But with many of them God was not well pleased." (First Corinthians 10:5) 10:11 Now, these things were happening to them from time to time by way of examples, and they were written for our admonition to whom the ends of the ages have come... 14 Wherefore, my beloved ones, be fleeing from the idolatry. (Wuest) Is it possible that like Aaron and the children of Israel, men living in the dispensation of grace are putting the Lord to an all-out test by making the physical body of Christ an idol? Was it not the instrument by which the Son of God manifested His Person to man? Was it not the instrument that carried His blood to the cross where it was poured out in payment for sin? Was it not laid dead in the tomb? Is it not now a resurrected, glorified physical body? the instrument by which the blood of the New Covenant was carried into the Holy of Holies in heaven where it seals our eternal redemption? (HE 9:12, 12:24) Is that body still hanging on a cross? still in the grave? Are we to worship a lifeless carcass? For that matter, are we to be giving worship to a living "body"? When Thomas met the Lord after His resurrection and fell at His feet, did he say, "Oh, body, thou art worthy!"? NO! He addressed the Person when he cried, "My Lord and my God!" (JN 20:28) We should be worshipping the Person, not His instrument. IDENTIFYING THE BODY Now then, let's examine the text of 1 Corinthians 12:12-14. First, the KJV: 12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many. Here is Wuest's translation: 12. For even as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body being many, are one body, thus also is the Christ, 13 for indeed by means of one Spirit we all were placed into one body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether slaves or free men. And we all were imbued with one Spirit. 14 For, indeed, the body is not one but many members. As seen above, Paul provides further doctrinal instruction in chapter 12. Again, Robertson remarks: ... What Paul here means is Christ as the Head of the Church has a body composed of the members who have varied gifts and functions like the different members of the human body. They are all vitally connected with the Head of the body and with each other. This idea he now elaborates in a remarkable manner. *8 Paul begins with a reference to the physical body and how it works as a unit. He then transfers the metaphor over to the spiritual Body of the Christ, the Church represented by its believer members with Christ as the Head. Here's an additional comment from Spurbeck: "Body" is the metaphor used most often. Believers are participants in one Body. "For in a similar way we have many members in one Body, but every member does not have the same practice, so we, being the many are one Body in Christ, and each one members of one another (Rom. 12:4, 5)." Paul gives the reason for the simile as many members who share in a single unity. In 1 Corinthians 12 he uses a metaphor with a simile. "For like as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of the body being many are one body, so also is the Christ; for indeed we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body ... for indeed the Body is not one member but many (1 Cor. 12:12-14)." An unruffledness of mind (peace) should be acting as an umpire in the Body of Christ because of God's calling the believer to salvation (Col. 3:15). *9 Thus we can clearly see in the context of chapters 10 and 12 that the use of the metaphor "the Body" is unmistakably representative of "the Church". Also in 12:12 it is described as "the Christ" as well as symbolized in the bread (or loaf) of 10:16-17. With this background let's take a closer look at the issue under discussion in chapter 11. CONTEXT! CONTEXT! CONTEXT! Sandwiched in between the doctrinal statements of 10:16-17, 11:23-26, and those of chapter 12 are a number of issues relating to the carnal practices of the Corinthian church which in one fashion or another bear directly on their attendance at the Lord's table. Most of these can be summed up under the general heading of "a failure to properly value the Body of the Christ and its individual members". This can be traced all the way back to chapter 1 and verse 13 where Paul asks the question, "Is The Christ divided?" He then goes on to point out that the practicing by some of "popularity contests," failure to rightly judge sin in the Body, the abuse of Christian liberty with respect to brothers weak in the faith, submission to the divine order of authority, and in 11:17-34 the total disregard of the "haves" for the "have nots" at the so-called "love feast" are all a failure to correctly value and behave in the Body, the Christ, and toward its individual members. (Dare we call the last of these "spiritual munchkins"? -- Forgive me! Please!) 11:17-22 from Wuest's translation reads: 17. Moreover, when giving you this charge, I am not praising you, because you are not coming together (in the local assembly) for the better but for the worse. 18 For indeed, first of all, when you come together in the assembly, I am hearing that divisions have their regular place among you, and I partly believe it, 19 for it is a necessity in the nature of the case also for factions to be among you, in order that also those who have been put to the test and have met the specifications and have been approved might become identified as such among you. 20 Therefore, when you come together to the same place, it is not possible to eat a supper the character of which is that it could be a supper designated as belonging to the Lord. 21 For each one in the eating (of the supper) takes his own private supper beforehand. And one indeed is hungry and another is intoxicated. 22 Do you not have houses for the eating and the drinking? Or, the Church of God are you despising, and are you making those ashamed who do not have the means (by which to buy food)? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I am not praising you. Taking into account the equating of the Body in 10:16-17 to the bread and/or loaf, and that Paul makes reference to "the Church" in verse 22, another term for "the Body", it seems to be most logical to understand, in this context, the use of the terms bread and Body in the following verses, 23 and 24, along with 27 and 29, to represent the Body of Christ, the Church. 11:23. For, as for myself, I received by direct revelation from the presence of the Lord that which also I in turn passed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night during which He was being betrayed took bread, 24 and having given thanks, He broke it and said, This is my body which is (given) on your behalf. This be doing with a view to remembering me. (Wuest) When the Lord Jesus Christ introduced the elements of the Lordian table at the Last Supper, He was anticipating not only the shedding of His blood and death but also the day of Pentecost and the formation of the Church--the Body. As He broke off pieces from the loaf, He was not introducing a symbol of His "broken physical body" contrary to Scripture (cf. JN 19:36 and PS 34:20). Now then, if the breaking does not relate to Christ's physical body, what does it mean? Doubtless, the disciples in attendance at the last supper understood much of the meaning of the Jewish Passover, however, it is quite reasonable to think that they had little or no true comprehension of the meaning of what Christ was establishing at that exact moment. In fact, didn't even Jesus himself say in John 16:12, "I have yet many things to be saying to you, but you are not able to be bearing them now so far as your understanding and receiving of them is concerned." (Wuest) It has been suggested that the fragmented loaf represents the Body, (the Church), and its parts, now resident both in heaven and on earth. This interpretation offers an acceptable explanation for the meaning behind our breaking of the bread. When one snaps off a fragment of the loaf, he/she is recognizing not only the value of his/her relationship to the Head of the Body of Christ, but just as importantly, to the Body and its individual member parts. Such a view can also be demonstrated to be in full agreement with the subsequent verses referring to the Body. *A William Kelly comments: ... But the supper, besides being the memorial of Christ and emphatically His death, is now bound up with the body of Christ, as we have seen in chapter 10:16, 17. This is so true that he who willfully or under an act of discipline does not partake of that one loaf ceases to enjoy the privileges of God's assembly on earth; he who partakes of it cannot free himself from the responsibilities of that holy fellowship. And as Paul was the chosen vessel by whom was to be revealed the mystery of Christ and the church, so did it seem good to the Lord that he should receive a special revelation of His supper, the standing sign of its unity and public witness of its communion. It is striking to observe that, plainly as the Lord has revealed His mind here, even the Protestant Reformers failed to recover its lineaments. They have individualized the Lord's supper. They make it "for thee." "Take thou," &c. This is consistent. They had not seen the one body and one Spirit. Even if they had limited it to those who were believed to be justified by faith, still this would have been only an aggregate of individuals. They never received the truth of the church as Christ's body on earth. On the contrary they began the system of distinct or independent national churches on earth; they relegated the unity of the church to heaven. The one body, as an existing relationship to which the Christian belongs now, and on which he is bound to act continually, was unknown as a present reality; and this ignorance betrayed itself even in their mode of celebrating the sacrament, as it does to this day. *10 11:25 In like manner also He took the cup after the partaking of the food, saying, This cup is the covenant new in its nature, a covenant which is within the sphere of my blood. This be doing as often as you are drinking it, with a view to remembering me. 26 For as often as you are eating this bread and drinking this cup, the death of the Lord you are proclaiming until that time whenever He may come. (Wuest) In reflecting on the New Covenant by His blood, one is reminded as well of the words of God recorded in Leviticus 17:11. For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement (covering) for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement (covering) for your soul. (KJV) Under the Law the life sustaining blood of the sacrifice was poured out in death in order to provide a covering for the sins of the one presenting the sacrifice. How much better we have it. Our sacrifice, the Lamb of God, and our High Priest, by means of His own blood has entered once and for all time into the Holy of Holies in heaven there to secure for us eternal redemption (HE 9:12). Just think of it--His blood, sprinkled eternally in heaven (HE 12:24), not only paid the price for sin, but provides for us eternal life--With Him! Romans 5:8 But God is constantly proving His own love to us, because while we were yet sinners, Christ in behalf of us died. 9 Much more therefore, having been justified now by His blood, we shall be saved through Him from the wrath. 10 For though, while being enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by the life He possesses. 11 And not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom now we received the reconciliation. (Wuest) Furthermore, as we participate in the Lord's supper our actions are once again proclaiming the Gospel so clearly defined by Paul in chapter 15:3-5a: For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures: and that he was seen ... (KJV) Our witness should be a living illustration of the effectiveness of that Gospel as a reminder to all of what was accomplished by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ at Calvary. Until He comes! Ah! What expectation should be ours while at His table. Not only do we share in a unity with Him, His Body--the saints, His death and resurrection, but also in anticipation of His sudden and promised return. We look back and thank God for what has been done. We look 'round and thank God for what He is doing in us. We look up and say, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus." The Fallout The remaining verses of chapter 11, 27-34, emphasize the importance of one's relationships, both with the Lord, and with the Church--His Body--of which He is the Head. Verses 30-32 spell out the consequences for those who fail to perform an appropriate self-examination regarding their personal relationships with and estimation of Christ and the members of His Body. 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of (liable to) the body and blood of the Lord. (KJV) 27 So that, whoever is eating the bread or drinking the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. (Wuest) The Lord Jesus had many things to say in the Upper Room which are recorded in John's Gospel chapters 13-17. Probably because he does not include the breaking of bread and passing of the cup, we overlook many of the truths spoken on that occasion. Note the emphasis on unity, or oneness, in His final prayer: JN 17:11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.... 21 That they all may be ONE; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (KJV) (cf. JN 14:20) As Paul clearly states in 10:17, this oneness is to be seen in the bread, "the Body"--the Church. And twice Jesus also states the purpose for this unity, this oneness: "that the world may believe" and "that the world may know". The world should be seeing this unity lived out in the life of the Body which is also a proclamation of the reality and power inherent in His death, burial and resurrection. The failure on our part to give an appropriate value to the Body and its individual parts destroys that witness to the world and our relationship to God because of the value He places on each individual member of the Body--the Christ. In this we can see how the Corinthians were liable for their attitudes and actions toward their brothers in the Body. Their sin was in not properly evaluating the Body--the true Church (11:29; cf. 12:13 and 10:17). Manifesting their partiality and divisive spirit, they contradicted the truth of oneness in Christ. For this, they were "guilty" [enochos] (perhaps better liable or answerable to). 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the [Lord's] body. (KJV) 28 But let an individual be putting himself to the test for the purpose of approving himself and finding that he meets the prescribed specifications, let him thus be eating of the bread and drinking of the cup. 29 For the one who eats and drinks is eating and drinking so as to bring judgment upon himself if he does not properly evaluate the body. (Wuest) Again in this passage, verse 29, there is a similar textual problem to that of "broken" in verse 24. "Of the Lord" [tou kuriou] is a late addition to the manuscripts and is rejected by many modern critical scholars as not belonging to the original autograph. Removing this late addition to the text allows the term the "Body" to be in better agreement with its proper designation as the Body of the Christ--the Church. T. Teignmouth Shore writes: (2) The fault which St. Paul was condemning was the practice which the Corinthians had fallen into of regarding these gatherings as opportunities for individual indulgence, and not as Church assemblies. They did not rightly estimate such gatherings as being corporate meetings; they did not rightly estimate themselves as not now isolated individuals, but members of the common Body. They ought to discern in these meetings of the Church a body; they ought to discern in themselves parts of a body. Not only is this interpretation, I venture to think, the most accurate and literal interpretation of the Greek, but it is the only view which seems to me to make the passage bear intelligibly on the point which St. Paul is considering, and the real evil he seeks to counteract. (3) To refer these words directly or indirectly to the question of a physical presence in the Lord's Supper, is to divorce them violently from their surroundings, and to make them allude to some evil for which the explicit and practical remedy commended in verses 33 and 34 would be no remedy at all. Moreover, if the word "body" means the Lord's physical body, surely the word "Lord's" would have been added, and the words, "and the blood," for the non-recognition of the blood would be just as great an offence. (4) St. Paul never uses the word "body" in reference to our Lord's physical body, without some clear indication that such is meant. (See Rom. 7:4; Phil. 3:21; Col. 1:22.) On the other hand, the use of the word "Body," or "Body of Christ," meaning the Church, is frequent. We have had it but a few verses before, in reference to this very subject (chap. 10:17). It is also to be found in Rom. 12:5; Eph. 1:22, 23; 5:23, 30. (In this last passage, "of His flesh and of His bones," are not in the best MSS., and destroy the real force of "Body," which means "Church.") *11 Shore's interpretation of verse 29 certainly supports the argument in the immediate context for "the Body" being the Church. "Despising the Church of God", (verse 22), is a failure, in the context, to properly evaluate "the Body", thus making one liable (verse 27). Alan Redpath remarks: First, when I meet around the Lord's table I am to remember the Lord's body. I believe in this sense the word suggests to us not simply His body that hung on the cross, but the body of Jesus Christ in the world today, His church. I am to discern that I am part of this, and if in my life I am in any way sinning against the body of Jesus Christ, I am grieving the Lord, and am therefore eating unworthily. *12 And Then There Were ... 11:30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. (KJV) 30 Because of this, among you are many who have infirmities and are in continued ill health, and a considerable number are sleeping (dead). 31 Now, if we properly evaluated and formed a right estimate of ourselves, in that case we would not be judged. 32 But when we are being judged by the Lord, we are the subjects of a disciplinary judgment in order that we may not be condemned with the world. (Wuest) Lastly Warren W. Wiersbe has this to say: Finally, we should look around (11:33-34). We should not look around in order to criticize other believers, but in order to discern the Lord's body (v. 29). This perhaps has a dual meaning: we should discern His body in the loaf, but also in the church around us--for the church is the body of Christ. "For we being many are one bread, and one body" (I Cor. 10:17). The Supper should be a demonstration of the unity of the church--but there was not much unity in the Corinthian church. In fact, their celebration of the Lord's Supper was only a demonstration of their disunity. *13 My Conclusion What Paul received from the Lord and then related to the Corinthians in 11:24 is His explanation of what He meant by My "body" when anticipating the observance of the Lord's Table after Pentecost. Taking into account the disunity of 11:17-22; its direct connection to the reason for and judgment of verses 27-32; the definition and analogy of the "Body" given in the larger context of chapters 10 and 12; combined with the Lord's Prayer in John 17, emphasizing oneness, all contribute to the conclusion that the term "body" (swma) in 11:24 is to be understood as the Body of the Christ, the Church. "In that day you shall know experientially that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you." (JN 14:20, Wuest) 11:33 Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. 34 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. (KJV) 33 So that, my brethren, when you are coming together for the purpose of eating, be waiting for one another. 34 In the event that anyone is hungry, let him be eating at home in order that you do not come together with the result that you will be judged. And the other matters which remain I will dispose of whenever I come. (Wuest) * * * * * ENDNOTES *A ADDENDUM After the initial posting of this article, I was asked to prove from 11:24 that [to swma] meant the spiritual body of Christ. So, seeking the help of others highly experienced in Greek exegesis, I offer the following. 1) First, I observed that Matthew, Mark & Luke all have the same five Greek words in the same order, [touto estin to swma mou], describing the bread/loaf. Paul gives a different order to those words [touto mou estin to swma] in First Corinthians 11:24. Significance? possibly for emphasis. 2) In every instance of [mou] it can be seen as the ablative case, or genitive of source, implying separation from. Possible translation: [touto mou estin to swma] -- "This from Me [to you] is the body." In the Upper Room discourse, (JN 16:7), Christ said He would send the Holy Spirit. And, we know that when the Spirit came at Pentecost He formed the "body" of the Christ, the Church. In this we see that the Christ was anticipating the day of Pentecost. 3) [to huper humwn] are 3 additional words given to Paul by the Lord which helps to explain the meaning of "body". The article [to], translation "the one" and pointing to the previous word "body"; the preposition [huper] translated "on behalf"; the pronoun [humwn] translated "of you [pl.]", a genitive of description. Thus, "The one on behalf of you." Wuest translates this phrase "which is (given) on your behalf." The inclusion of (given) seems to me to support the ablative or genitive of source argument for the translation of mou. 4) Translation: "This from me to you [pl.] is the Body, the one on your behalf." 5) If Scripture has a primary meaning for what it says, and I support that view, then only one interpretation can be considered correct. I believe the spiritual body is the correct interpretation because of the immediate context (11:17-34), the definitions found in the nearby Context (10:16-17, 12:12-14), and the greater CONTEXT of Scripture, with special emphasis to include the Upper Room Discourse (JN 13-17).
*1 The Fellowship Click here to listen
There is fellowship in Jesus, Fellowship divine and sweet, As we gather 'round the table, From the Savior's table eat-- When we break the bread of union, Lift the cup of grace sublime, We are one in blest communion, We are one by blood divine. In the loaf I see you brother, And in you I see the Lord; Let us praise our heav'nly Father For the beauty of accord; For the Body He created, For the Savior at its head; For our unity as stated In the symbol of the bread. Lift the cup and pause--to savor Of the meaning deep within By His death we know God's favor, By His blood we're cleansed from sin! The New Covenant in glory By His blood has now been sealed; Ever there to prove the story Of God's love to man revealed. Oh, how sweet the contemplation Of the Savior's love and grace; Oh, the thrill of expectation, Soon to look upon His face; He who's calling us His brethren, In whose life and death we share; We who know Him seek no other, But to meet Him we prepare.
*2 The Body Click here to listen
(tune: Madrid) We are one Body all Baptized into Christ the Lord; Work by the Spirit done As revealed in sacred word. Prejudice shall not be, In Christ equality; When saved we're made to be Many parts with unity. Placed by the Spirit's will, Given a gift a work to fill. Whether 'tis Head or feet, All are needful to complete. Sharing the Word and hand, Edified we shall stand. With fervent love and care, Joys and sufferings all to share. As through this life we move, Let us use our gifts in love. Love that shall stand the test Seeks to serve the others best. If we would edify, Such love we must apply; Loving not just in word, But in deed as to the Lord. *3 The Christian "In Christ", An Introduction to "In Christ" Truth, The Believer's Position and Possessions In Christ, p. 158: (C) 1999 by David K. Spurbeck, Sr., Know to Grow In Christ Publishing, 1601 Limpas Lane, Forest Grove, OR 97116-1356 *4 Ibid. p. 145 *5 Ibid. p. 158 *6 Ibid. p. 157 *7 A. T. Robertson in Word Pictures in the New Testament - 1 Corinthians, 10:16-17, p. 53: Christian Classics Etherial Library, www.ccel.org/ccel/robertson_at/wordpictures.html *8 Ibid. p. 63 *9 The Christian "In Christ", p. 158 *10 Notes On The First Epistle Of Paul The Apostle To The Corinthians with A New Translation, pages 180-181- by William Kelly, 1878. *11 "St. Paul's Epistles To The Corinthians: The First Epistle with Commentary" page 114 -- by T. Teignmouth Shore, edited Charles John Ellicott, 1910). *12 The Royal Route To Heaven: Studies in First Corinthians, Alan Redpath, page 137. (C) 1960, Fleming H. Revell *13 Be Wise: What a Difference Between Man's Knowledge and God's Wisdom: I Corinthians, pages 118-119- by Warren W. Wiersbe: (C) 1983, Scripture Press Publications
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