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1 CORINTHIANS 11.

2732: THE LORD OF THE MEAL



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A Paper
Presented to
Dr. Jay E. Smith
Dallas Theological Seminary

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In Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Course
NT335 The Book of 1 Corinthians

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by
Richard Morris
December 2012
Box #1024

Words: 5,280


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EXEGETICAL IDEA

The reason the community was afflicted by the Lord was because individuals had
partaken of the meal with attitudes and behaviors incongruent with the Lords sacrifice signified
in the meal. (vv. 2732)

EXEGETICAL OUTLINE

I. The reason a person incurred guilt from the Lord was because she had partaken of the Supper
without understanding how his sacrifice should have informed her conduct. (vv. 2729)

A. The reason a person was guilty of committing a crime against the sacrifice of the Lord
was because she had partaken of the Supper without understanding its significance. (v.
27)

B. The manner in which a person should have partaken of the Supper was by testing if her
attitudes and behavior during the meal corresponded to its significance. (v. 28)

C. The reason a person incurred the Lords judgment was because she was not mindful of
the uniqueness of Christ who was to be remembered at the meal. (v. 29)

II. The means by which the Lord disciplined the community for its faulty self-assessment was
by afflicting it in order to save it from the fate of the world. (vv. 3032)

A. The result of individuals being unmindful of the uniqueness of Christ during the meal
was that the community suffered physical ailments and death. (v. 30)

B. The condition on which the Lords judgment depended was the communitys faulty
evaluation of its attitudes and conduct during the Supper. (v. 31)

C. The means by which the Lord disciplined the community was the Lords judgment of the
community. (v. 32a)

D. The purpose for which God disciplined the community was to save the community from
sharing in the fate of the fallen world. (v. 32b)






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EXEGETICAL COMMENTARY

Introduction
When we step into 1 Corinthians 11.2732, we enter into a strange world. The central
focus of the paragraph is the Christian sacrament of the Eucharist. But the paragraph is chock-
full with legal and judicial language, which is more fitting for a courtroom hearing than a
discussion of a religious ritual.
1
Behind it all we see hints of social stratification surfacing during
the Supper. The apostle will not stand for any one within the Corinthian community to be
mistreated at the Lords Table because of her economic standing, and the Lord has proven that
he will not allow it either.
The paragraphs structure is as follows. First, Paul will draw an inference in v. 27 from
his discussion of the institution of the Lords Supper. His conclusion is that when someone
partakes of the Eucharist in an improper way, she is guilty of committing a crime against the
Lord. Second, Paul then explains in v. 28 how the meal can be partaken of in the correct manner.
Third, Paul reiterates in v. 29 what he has already said in vv. 2728, but he will say it in such a
way that many scholars disagree on what exactly Paul meant. Fourth, Paul will give us a window
into how the Corinthian community has suffered because of their sin during the Supper (v. 30).
Fifth and finally, Paul tells the community how to prevent the Lords judgment and how the Lord
prevents the communitys final condemnation (vv. 3132). All in all, we will see that the reason
the Corinthian community was afflicted by the Lord was because individuals had partaken of the
meal with attitudes and behaviors incongruent with the Lords sacrifice which was signified in
the meal.

1
Collins (436) lists the following words: unworthily (a|at.,); answerable (. |e,e,); scrutinize
(eesta,.); judgment (sta); judge (etast|. and st|.); chastise (:ate.u.); and condemn (saast|.).
3

I. Personal Conduct during the Lords Supper (vv. 2729)
Pauls concern was on the individuals which composed the Corinthian community in vv.
2729 (as opposed to the community at large in vv. 3032). This is evidenced by the high
frequency of third person singular verbs and singular substantival participles. It is as if the
apostle looked each person in the eye and commanded him or her to think through his or her
actions at the Lords Supper. The structure of this section is easy to follow: first, Paul draws a
conclusion from the previous paragraph in v. 27; second, Paul continues the discussion of the
Lords Table by introducing the concept of self-examination in v. 28; third, Paul provides a
clarification or reiteration of vv. 2728 in v. 29. In this section the reader is challenged to
consider what it means to partake of the Lords Supper without inviting the anger of the Lord.
A. Guilty of a Crime (v. 27)
Apparently, the divisions within Corinth extended beyond attraction to theological
personalities (1.1013). There were also economic disparities which evidenced through the
unseemly behavior of certain congregants during the Eucharist (11.22).
2
Once these disparities
surfaced they completely distorted the nature of the Lords Supper (11.20). Therefore, Paul
reiterated for the congregation in vv. 2326 the tradition of the Lords Supper in order to correct
their behavior.
3
Central to Pauls reiteration was the reality that with each time the sacrament
was celebrated, Christs death was announced.
4


2
The same word Paul used for division in 1.10, c,tca, is used again in 11.22. See Gerd Theissen, The
Social Setting of Pauline Christianity (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1982), 96. Theissen concludes: All that is
certain is that at the Lords Supper there emerged social differences, a split between the haves and the have nots.

3
It is our understanding that Paul has already shared the institution of the Lords Supper with the
Corinthian church since the community was already practicing the Supper.

4
The adverb ecast, captures the iterative nature of the Lords Supper (L-N 67.36). For announced in v.
26 cf. BDAG s.v. saa,,. ., a.
4

An integral part of Pauls correction of the Corinthian congregation was his appeal to the
death of Jesus Christ. In order to combat the divisions in Corinth, Paul asked rhetorically: Was
Paul crucified for you? (1.13). Paul referred to the cross and the crucified Messiah in order to
squash the Corinthian concept of wisdom (1.182.5). When Paul instructed the community to
excommunicate one of its members, Paul spoke of Christ as the sacrificed Passover lamb (5.7).
In order to instill the importance of the human body into the Corinthians, Paul appealed to the
resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (6.14). Paul also exhorted certain members of the
community to voluntarily give up their Christian freedoms for the sake of their weaker brothers
and sisters for whom Christ died (8.11). All in all, Christs death has become for the apostle
paradigmatic for Christian ethics.
Much of Pauls reiteration of the institution of the Eucharist from vv. 2326 was
subsumed in v. 27. This is first seen with the repetition of key verbs and nouns such as: to eat
(.ct.); to drink (:t|.); the bread (e| ae|); the cup (e :ete|); and the Lord (eu
suteu). This is also seen with the coordinating conjunction .c. used to draw an inference from
the immediate discussion.
5
But Pauls focus in v. 27 has changed from the temporal to the
personalin v. 26 his concern was the proclamation of the Lords death whenever (ecast, .a|)
the sacrament was celebrated; in v. 27 his focus was upon the celebrant of the sacrament (e, a|).
According to the apostle, the celebrant can partake of the sacrament improperly
(a|at.,).
6
We believe this will be expounded in v. 29 and so we will save our comments until
that time. Those who partook of the Eucharist in an improper way were answerable [to God] for

5
Moule, Idioms, 144.

6
L-N raise the interpretive possibility that not the manner but the celebrant himself or herself can be said to
be unworthy (65.19). Their only reference to defend this interpretation is the use of the adjective a|ate, in 1 Cor
6.2. But here, the use of the adjective does not concern the individual worth of members of the Corinthian
congregation, but the congregations competence in dealing with day-to-day legal affairs (cp. BDAG 69).
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sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.
7
It is unlikely that Paul has elevated the
significance of the elementsthe bread and the winein this passage (Conzelmann). It is more
likely that the answerability Paul had in mind was in reference to what was raised in v. 26
(Ciampa-Rosner, Collins, Fee, Thiselton, etc.). In other words: when the congregation behaved
unseemly during the meal, they violated the significance of the mealnamely, the death of the
Lord. Thus the body and the blood of the Lord is a figure of speech referring to the totality of
Christs sacrifice. Members of the Corinthian congregation, who had flaunted their wealth to the
embarrassment of their Christian siblings during the Supper, were incurring guilt as ones who
had killed the Lord (Conzelmann, Fee). This passage will only grow spookier to the modern
reader!
B. Testing Genuineness (v. 28)
In contrast to participating in the Lords Supper improperly and thus incurring judgment,
Paul exhorted each Corinthian to engage in self-evaluation (eesta,...aue|).
8
What exactly
does this self-evaluation entail? Many a modern church goer has been encouraged to spend time
in thoughtful and personal introspection before she partakes of the Eucharist. The Eucharist with
this understanding of self-assessment becomes a time to confess personal sin and to get right
with the Lord. But is this what Paul had in mind in 1 Cor 11.28?
Paul used the verb examine (eesta,.) in a similar way in two other letters. Paul
commanded this same congregation to test themselves to see if they were in the faith (2 Cor
13.5). Paul also commanded each member of the Galatian congregation to examine her work
apart from the deeds of others in order to avoid an overinflated self-perception (Gal 6.4). These

7
Cf. BDAG s.v. .|e,e, 2b,; Thiselton, 889.

8
We say each because of the third singular imperative eesta,.., and also because of the noun
a|.:e, used as an indefinite pronoun (MHT 2.433). For the reflexive active verb see ExSyn, 41314.
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verses from other letters are helpful in determining the meaning of examine in the present
verse. Not once is Pauls command for deep introspection by seeking out the sins in ones life;
instead, the apostle means that each person should assess her genuineness.
9

The behavior of some congregants had not been praiseworthy to the apostle, and the
behavior betrayed an attitude which was unconscionable to the apostle (1 Cor 11.22). Paul
therefore exhorted each member to test her genuineness. This called for each person to consider
her behavior and her underlying attitudes (or motives) whenever she partook of the Eucharist.
10

The implicit question may be, Does my behavior during the Eucharist celebration reflect the
solemnity of the occasion? Put differently: Do my actions during the Eucharist meal honor the
memory of the death of Jesus Christ?
As we will see, the theme of judgment runs throughout vv. 2734; in fact, there is a
paronomasiaemploying different senses of the same word group (sta bis; etast|. bis;
st|. bis; saast|.)of judgment related words within these verses.
11
It is not an over
statement to suggest that judgment forms part of the backdrop of the Christians existence: The
awaiting judgment, and constant submission to the divine scrutiny, fashion a mode of life
oriented to testing, and indeed to the testing of assured salvation in the concrete situation of daily
life.
12

In v. 28, apart from the scrutiny of God and the watchful eye of fellow congregants, Paul
invited the Corinthians to engage in self-scrutiny. In this manner (eu.,)in the manner of

9
BDAG 225.1.

10
We understand the present tense imperatives as iterative (ExSyn, 722).

11
BDF 488.1B.

12
Grundmann, TDNT 2:258.
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examining the genuineness of ones behavior and underlying attitudesthe Corinthians were to
partake of the elements of the Lords Supper.
13

C. Judgment for the Crime (v. 29)
14

If the previous verses had been at all confusing for the Corinthians, they were offered
clarification by the apostle Paul in v. 29.
15
According to the apostle, the celebrant who practices
the Lords Supper can eat and drink judgment against himself (sta .au. .ct.t sat
:t|.t).
16
The noun judgment (sta) had a wide semantic range in Koine Greek. It could refer
to anything from the judges deliberation process to the judgment a judge sentenced.
17
But the
judgment Paul has in mind will be made explicit in the next versenamely, weakness, illness
and death. Therefore, judgment in the present verse refers to divine judgment.
18
The Judge had
tried the case of the Corinthians indecent behavior during his memorial and had found them to
be guilty. Thus he sentenced some with infirmities and some with death. But how had the

13
Perhaps it is appropriate at this point to note the use of the anaphoric articles before bread (eu aeu)
and cup (eu :eteu) in the present verse. They were also in vv. 2627. They likely refer to the cup and the
bread which Jesus distributed during the Supper (v. 23, 25; cp. 10.16). If our understanding of the anaphoric articles
is correct, Paul does not elevate the bread and wine to be something otherworldly (i.e. becoming the body and blood
of Christ). But he does seem to imagine that the Corinthians ongoing practice of the Lords Supper is a participation
in the historic Lords Supper. In other words: the Corinthians with a different cup and fresh bread are transposed to
the night of the Lords Supper during the mealthe Eucharist is a participation in the events of that fateful night. It
may be going too far to suggest Christs real presence at the Table. But it may not be too farfetched to suggest the
Corinthians real presence at the Table beside the reclining Christ and disciples.

14
Some manuscripts include the adverb a|at., after :t|.| (
2
C
3
D F G ) but several witnesses of the
first order do not (|
46
* A B C*). Likewise, the omission of eu suteu after c.a is supported by several
witnesses of the first order (|
46
* A B C*). The shorter reading is to be preferred in both cases. The additions likely
represent a scribes attempt of making the text more lucid.

15
Cf. BDAG s.v. ,a 2.

16
The dative reflexive noun . au. is a dative of disadvantage (ExSyn, 143).

17
See BDAG 567; cf. L-N 56.20, 22, 24, 30.

18
EDNT 2:317.
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Corinthians incurred judgment from the Lord? The participial phrase by not discerning the
body ( etast|.| e c.a) provides the answer.
19

There are three traditions of interpretation for the participial phrase by not discerning the
body. (1) Some hold that what is in view is distinguishing the sacredness of the elements of the
Supper from ordinary bread and wine (Ciampa-Rosner, Weiss, Godet). In other words: the
Corinthians were punished because they had failed to recognize the unique presence of Christ
with the bread and wine of the Eucharist. (2) Others hold that Pauls concern was the Corinthians
disrespect for the congregation of believers (Collins, Fee, Hays, Witherington).
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(3) Still others
hold that the Corinthians had failed to reflect on the uniqueness of Christ and thus the theological
weight of his self-giving death (Fitzmyer, Garland, Thiselton). Interpretive options (2) and (3)
merit the most attention.
21

There are three strengths for view (2). First, the parallel use of the body as referring to
the Body of Christ within the context of the Supper in 10.1617. But this parallel may be too far
away for its influence to be felt in 11.29. Second, Paul has repeated the actions (eating and
drinking), elements (bread and cup), and symbols (body and blood) in pairs throughout vv. 17
34; it would seem odd that he uses the term body absolutely in the present verse if he did not
intend the Body of Christ. But it is likely that the term stands for both the body and the blood;
thus the second strength is unpersuasive for or against any view. Third, this view sees Paul

19
The adverbial participle etast|.| is usually thought to be a participle of condition (Robertson, 1129;
MHT 1:230; ExSyn, 633). However, the sense of the passage has been until this point a concern with how the meal is
sharedthe words in an improper manner (a|at.,) and in this way (eu.,) clearly point in this direction.
Thus, manner or means is the appropriate classification for the participle. It therefore answers the question: How
did the Corinthian congregation bring upon itself judgment from the Lord?

20
Even theological dictionaries take stances on this issue: When they transgress against their brothers and
sisters they also transgress against him who was sacrificed body and blood for them (EDNT 3:323; cf. 2:317). So,
this resource sides with the second view.

21
To read an apt summary and critique of the first view see Fee, 563.
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directly addressing the Corinthians misconduct toward each other mentioned in vv. 2022. Yet
Paul, as we saw in v. 27, often appealed to Christ to correct the Corinthians misconduct; as
Thiselton puts it: The social is founded in the salvific (893). In other words: Paul often goes
for what is beneath the Corinthians behavior. We see Paul still developing his appeal to Christ
in v. 29 and he will not address their misconduct directly until vv. 3334.
The inherent weaknesses which come with the strengths of view (2) have led us to favor
view (3). As we have already seen, the immediate context for vv. 2732 is the preceding
paragraph (vv. 2326). Death hung low over the entire paragraph and came to the forefront at v.
26. Perhaps Paul thought that the Corinthiansonce they realized their participation in the death
of Christ by their presence at the Tablewould see the need to correct their behavior. In this
way, no new ideas are introduced at v. 29; we are only seeing a reiteration or clarification of
what Paul has intended all along.
22
How had the Corinthians incurred divine judgment? They had
done it by missing the meaning the elements conveynamely, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on
their behalf. Each members attitude and behavior toward other members would change with the
memory of Christs self-giving sacrifice central to the meal.
While we side with the third view for theological reasons, we recognize that each view is
commendable for the same reason: each imagines the Corinthian congregation encountering the
crucified Messiah in a real and not merely symbolic way at the Eucharist meal. The first view
sees the Corinthians meeting with Christ through the elements on the Table. The second view
sees the assembled saints meeting with Christ through the presence of the gathered community.
The third view sees them meeting with the crucified Savior through the memory of his death.
Why was misconduct at the Eucharist so offensive to the Lord? It was because in some true

22
And this certainly seems reasonable with the explanatory conjunction at the head of this verse.
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sense he was there with them. Each view grapples with the question of how but that may beyond
the intent of the apostle.
II. The Communitys Affliction by the Lord (vv. 3032)
Pauls attention now shifts to the whole community in vv. 3032. This is evidenced by
his use of plural pronouns, plural finite verbs and participles. How had a few members lack of
discernment affected the whole church of God in Corinth? We learn that the community at large
has undergone severe setbacks, ailments, and has even had to bury some of its members (v. 30).
Paul makes the connection between these physical realities and the communitys practice of the
Lords Supper. From here Paul provides a basic principle, though stated negatively, on why the
community had invited the Lords discipline (v. 31). But all is not lost. The Lords discipline is
one of the ways in which he prevents his people from sharing the eternal fate of the sinful world
(v. 32). We will observe the kindness and severity of the Lord in his dealings with his Church in
the exposition which follows.
A. Plagues against the Church? (v. 30)
With an inferential therefore Paul brings together the Corinthians theological error and
their current physical circumstances.
23
It was because the Corinthians had failed to grasp the
weightiness of the death of Christ during the Eucharist (v. 29) that they were now suffering
various complications. Weak (ac.|,) does not refer to the weak of conscience from 8.7ff;
rather, it refers to those who were physically incapacitated without necessarily denoting illness.
24

Ill (a.ce,) refers to those who had succumbed to disease.
25
In the Gospels, the a.cet

23
As Fee notes, this may be a function of Pauls prophetic ministry (565). Paul, by Gods power, was given
the ability to see the connection between the congregations theology and experience.

24
L-N 79.69.

25
Cf. L-N 23.147.
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where people who came to Jesus in order to be healed (Matt 14.14; Mark 6.5, 13). Finally, to
fall asleep (setaeat) was a well-known Christian euphemism for dying.
26
There is a gradation
from bad to worse as the list advances. One final observation will control the remainder of our
commentary on this verse.
There is not a one-to-one relationship between those who were afflicted by God and those
who misunderstood the significance of the Lords Supper. In other words: the abusers were not
necessarily the afflicted. This observation depends upon the assumption that our reconstruction
that the haves were mistreating the have nots is correct (11.2122). We know from Paul that not
many (eu :eet) of the Corinthians were well-to-do (1.26), and yet many (:eet) were
suffering Gods judgment. We recognize that we may be reading too much into the apostles
word choice; however, if it is not an over-reading, then it may reveal that the whole Christian
community was being affected by the actions of a few of its members. The spookiness continues!
Could this be similar to what happened to the sons of Israel?
Achan, a member of the tribe of Judah, stole items that were devoted (Joshua 7).
Achans sin caused the LORDs anger to burn against the whole nation (Josh 7.1) and, as a result,
Israel suffered an unexpected military defeat (7.35). One persons sin affected the entire nation,
just as a few members actions during the Lords Supper had caused the whole Christian
community in Corinth to suffer.
First Corinthians 11.30, among other passages, conveys the interconnectedness of the
community of the people of God; when one believer misbehaved the whole community was
answerable. This passage also conveys that even the New Testament people of God can be
visited by plagues and death for irreligious behavior. It should cause the Christian community to

26
EDNT 2:302; it is the fate of church members who die before Christs parousia and the resurrection:
1 Cor 7.39; 11.30; 15.6, 18, 20, 51; 1 Thess 4.13, 14, 15.
12

reconsider Pauls typological comparison of Israel to the Church in the previous chapter (10.1
13). Furthermore, the Christian community should carefully heed the apostles warning against
putting Christ to the test (10.910).
B. Disingenuous Evaluation (v. 31)
Paul continues his discussion of the Lords Supper in v. 31.
27
The focus shifts from the
communitys ailments to a general principle concerning judgment. What is unusual is that the
apostle lumps himself into the discussion: And if we examined ourselves, then we would not be
judged (.t e. .aueu, et.st|e.|, eus a| .st|e.a).
28
The apostle assumes an untruth, with
himself included, for the sake of argument.
29
It is perhaps more accurate to say that he has
assumed an untruth and has included himself for the sake of instruction. The Lords judgment
against the Corinthians was not uncalled-for; rather, the Corinthians had invited his judgment by
their misdeeds. But all this could be changed.
We see the verb etast|. resurface in v. 31. In v. 29 Paul was concerned about not
discerning the body ( etast|.| e c. a) which we understood as comprehending the
uniqueness of Christ and thus the theological significance of his self-giving death. In v. 31 there
is a different direct object for the verbthe reflexive pronoun .aueu, (ourselves).
30
Earlier
we analyzed Pauls command for each Corinthian to examine his or her genuineness
(eesta,...aue|) in v. 28. The question which arises naturally is whether or not Paul was
introducing a new idea at this point or simply repackaging an aforementioned concept. And if he

27
Cf. BDAG s.v. e. 1.

28
What is apparent in the Greek text which is not apparent in the English translation is that both verbs share
a common st|-root.

29
Second class condition; BDF 360.4; ExSyn, 696.

30
MHT (3:42) note this as one of the times when the 3rd person reflexive pronoun is used in place of the
1st or 2nd person pronoun.
13

was not introducing a new concept, which one (examining ones genuineness or discerning the
body) was he referencing in v. 31?
We recommend that v. 31 is the apostles restatement of what he has already said in v.
28. We reached this conclusion when we discovered the semantic overlap between the verbs to
examine (eesta,.) and to test (etast|.).
31
To say it plainly: the apostle believed that if he
and the Corinthians had put their genuineness to the test (like in v. 28), which they had not done,
then they would not be judged by the Lord.
32
But why not just repeat the verb eesta,. if that
was what he meant? It is for rhetorical effecthaving the two st|-words (etast|. and st|.)
used in close proximity with different nuances. One wonders if Paul was trying his hand at
introducing a new slogan into the community.
There is a cause and effect relationship between the behavior of the Corinthians and the
Lords judgment of the Corinthians. But it was, as we have already seen, not a one-to-one
relationship where the abuser became the afflicted (v. 30). The point is upheld from v. 28 that if
the Corinthians had critiqued their behavior and their underlying motives, and if they had
coupled this with a proper understanding of whom they were encountering at the Eucharist meal,
then all of the ailments and deaths which the community had suffered could have been avoided.
C. The Lords Discipline of His People (v. 32a)
Pauls discussion about the Lords Supper was drawing to a close. In contrast to the
community being judged by the Lord because it has failed to judge itself (cf. BDAG s.v. e. 4a),

31
By comparing the various senses offered in our lexical tools, we determined that the words are largely
synonymous in their basic sense with different connotations depending upon the context (for eesta,. please see L-
N 27.45 and BDAG 255.1; and for etast|. please see L-N 30.109 and BDAG 231.3a).

32
The passive voice of the verb . st|e.a lends itself naturally to having the Lord as the agent/actor (cp.
v. 32).
14

Paul adds one more note on the kind of judgment the Lord brought on his people and the Lords
motive in punishing his people.
33

It seems that Paul just cannot conclude on a negative note (Fee). So Paul told the
Corinthian congregation that when the community was judged (and he included himself in the
equation) they were actually being instructed by the Lord (u:e [eu| suteu :ate.ue.a).
34
The
verb to instruct or to discipline (:ate.u.) was used infrequently by the apostle and mostly in
his later writings (2 Cor 6.9; 1 Tim 1.20; 2 Tim 2.25; Titus 2.12). The verb takes on either a
positive or negative connotation depending upon the context of its use.
35
Given the context of
judgment throughout our passage, discipline with an eye toward judgment is in view (BDAG
749.2a).
D. A Different Fate (v. 32b)
Why did the Lord discipline his people through judgment? The Lord disciplined his
people in order that they might not be condemned with the world (t|a cu| . sec.
saast..|). Again we have a play on st|-words in this verseif we are judged, its so that
we might not be judged. The judgment in view within this purpose clause is the final judgment.
By the Lord judging his people now he prevents them from sharing the same sentence with the
unbelieving world later (BDAG s.v. saast|.).
This purpose clause reveals two interesting details about the Christians Lord. First, the
Lord distinguished his people from the world through temporal judgment so that they might not
be punished eternally. It is certainly interesting to compare the fact that the Lord distinguished

33
The Lord is the ultimate agent of this discipline (ExSyn, 433). In other words: Christ disciplines the
community which has been joined to him.

34
It may be important to mention that the prepositional phrase by the Lord can either be coupled with the
passive participle (st|e.|et) or the passive finite verb (:ate.ue .a). To see the difference please compare HCSB,
NASB to ESV and NET.

35
Cf. BDAG 749.1, 2.
15

the Corinthians from the world through discipline with the fact that the Corinthians were
chastised for not distinguishing the self-giving life of the Lord during the Eucharist (v. 29). In
other words: the Lord did with his people what the Corinthians failed to do with their Lord.
Second, when the Lord punished the community it was not an act of condemnation but of
gracious prevention. Put differently: the Lord used the judgments described in v. 30 to preserve
and to persevere his saints to the end. The Corinthians had sinned, and their God had judged. But
even with so severe a judgment as death, all was not lost. The Lord was correcting their behavior
and adjusting their attitudes for their future times of communion at the Lords Table.
Conclusion and Preview of 11.3334
The major points we encountered in 11.2732 are: (1) the Lords Supper is not a casual
Christian ritualeach congregant has the responsibility of taking of it in the proper way (v. 27);
(2) the way one properly partakes of the Lords Supper is by evaluating the genuineness of her
motives and behaviors during the meal against the Lords sacrifice (v. 28); (3) if someone does
not take the Lords Supper correctly she invites the Lords judgment of the whole community
(vv. 2931); and (4) the Lords judgment is not to condemn the congregation but to rescue it
from sharing the fate of the sinful world (v. 32). In this paper we wrestled with a reconstruction
of how the Corinthian community was put together, and we also dabbled in Pauline ethics by
analyzing the apostles frequent appeal to the crucified Messiah.
In the verses that follow the apostle will provide two explicit directives for how the
community ought to conduct the Lords Supper from then on. (1) The community should wait for
all its members to arrive before they begin to eat (v. 33). This point possibly adds to our
reconstruction of the social stratification within the Corinthian congregation. Perhaps the haves
arrived earlier than the have nots because of their different labor obligations. (2) Hunger is no
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excuse for unseemly behavior at the Lords Tableso eat at home (v. 34a, b)! And by adhering
to these simple rules the communitys gatherings would not result in the Lords judgment (v.
34c).
The apostles goal throughout his instruction in 11.1734 has not been to engender fear in
the Corinthians resulting in their refusal to practice the Eucharist; quite the contrary, his goal has
been to engender awe with reference to Christ and respect with reference to their fellow
Christians during the Eucharist by rooting their practice of it in their Lords death.

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