Useful Bible Studies > 1 Corinthians Commentary > chapter 11

Church meetings and their problems

1 Corinthians 11:17

The first Christians did not only meet for prayer and to study the Bible. They also met to have special meals together. From those meals we get the ceremony called communion, where Christians continue to share bread and wine together (11:23-26).

Paul approved of most things that the church in Corinth did at their meetings for prayer and Bible study (11:2). However, he could not approve of their meals. He considered that their behaviour at those meals was very wrong (11:21-22). For that reason, he told them that they should not continue to eat together (11:34). Instead, they should just share the bread and wine together, to remember Christís death (11:26).

Perhaps even Paul felt sorry that it was necessary to stop those meals. They had been a tradition since the beginning of the first Christian church (Acts 2:46). The Christians who began the tradition had very good reasons for it. They shared their food because they wanted to show love to other Christians, especially to poorer Christians. The meals were also an opportunity to meet other Christians and to talk about Christ and the Bible.

However, no tradition that is of human origin is ever perfect. After a period of time, a tradition that originally was good can start to cause serious troubles. Then, it is necessary to change the arrangement, before the good tradition becomes a bad tradition.

So, Paul told the Christians in Corinth to stop their special meals together. However, they should continue to share a little bread and wine, because that was Christís command (11:23-25).

Next part: Do arguments between Christians have any purpose? (1 Corinthians 11:18-19)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.