1 Corinthians 11:17-34

1 Corinthians 11:17-34
Narrative Lectionary


17 Now in the following instructionsI I do not commendII you, because when you come together it is not for the betterIII but for the worse.IV 

Notes on verse 17

I “instructions” = paraggello. From para (from beside, by) + aggello (to announce, report) {from aggelos (angel, messenger – supernatural or human envoy of God); probably from ago (lead, bring, drive, carry, guide, go)}. This is to send a message, order, notify, command. It is a charge – a proper command as a military term that has followed proper channels. It can also mean to entreat solemnly.
II “commend” = epaineo. 6x in NT. From epi (on, upon, against, what is fitting) + aineo (to praise, praise God); {from ainos (praise, saying, story, proverb)}. This is to praise or laud. It is to give someone the credit that they are due.
III “better” = kreisson. 4x in NT. From kreitton (stronger, better, more dominant or nobler; better in the sense that it is mastered or developed); from the same as kratistos (strongest, noblest – high in dignity or honor; used to speak to a high ranking Roman; can also differentiate an equestrian from a senator); from kratus (strong); from kratos (strength, power, dominion; vigor in a literal or figurative sense; power that is exercised). This is better or stronger – holding an advantage.
IV “worse” = hetton. 2x in NT. From hesson (inferior, less); from eka (a little). This is less, worse, inferior.

18 For, to begin with,V when you come together as a church,VI I hearVII

Notes on verse 18a

V {untranslated} = men. This is truly, indeed, even, in fact. Often, it is not translated, but used to emphasize affirmation.
VI “church” = ekklesia. From ek (from, out from) + kaleo to call by name, invite, to name, bid, summon, call aloud) {related to keleuo (to command, order, direct); from kelomai (to urge on)}. This is properly a calling out or an assembly. It was used to refer to a church.
VII “hear” = akouo. This is hear or listen, but it also means to understand by hearing. This is where the word “acoustics” comes from.

that there areVIII divisionsIX among you; and to some extentX I believeXI it. 

Notes on verse 18b

VIII “are” = huparcho. From hupo (by, under, about, subordinate to) + archo (to rule, begin, have first rank or have political power). This is to begin or be ready, to exist or possess. It is what one already has or possesses.
IX “divisions” = schisma. 8x in NT. From schizo (to split, divide, tear, sever; split in a literal or figurative sense). This is a split or a tear. Figuratively, it can refer to a schism, division, or dissension. This is where the word “schism” comes from and also “schizophrenia” (literally “split mind”).
X “extent” = meros. From meiromai (to get your allotment or portion). This is a part, a share, or a portion.
XI “believe” = pisteuo. From pistis (faith, faithfulness, belief, trust, confidence; to be persuaded or come to trust); from peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). This is to believe, entrust, have faith it, affirm, have confidence in. This is less to do with a series of beliefs or doctrines that one believes and more to do with faithfulness, loyalty, and fidelity. It is trusting and then acting based on that trust.

19 Indeed, there have toXII be factionsXIII among you, for only so will it becomeXIV clearXV who among you are genuine.XVI 

Notes on verse 19

XII “have to” = dei. From deo (to tie, bind, compel; declare unlawful). This is what is necessary or proper. It is what is needed or what one should do – a duty or something inevitable. This refers to something absolutely necessary.
XIII “factions” = hairesis. 9x in NT. From haireo (to take, choose, or prefer); {probably related to airo (raise, take up, lift, remove)}. This is a choice, contention, heresy, or sect. It is making a person choice so, by implication, choice of a separate party or faction. It is where the word “heresy” comes from.
XIV “become” = ginomai. This is to come into being, to happen, become, be born. It can be to emerge from one state or condition to another or is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth.
XV “clear” = phaneros. 18x in NT. From phos (light, a source of light, fire, or radiance; light with specific reference to what it reveals; luminousness whether natural or artificial, abstract or concrete, literal or figurative); from phao (to shine or make visible, especially with rays of light); from the same as phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear). This is visible, apparent, clear, shining.
XVI “genuine” = dokimos. 7x in NT. From dechomai (to warmly receive, be ready for what is offered, take, accept, or welcome; to receive in a literal or figurative sense) or dokeo (to have an opinion, seem, appear, suppose; a personal judgment; to think); {from dokos (opinion)}. This is what passes the test, approved, acceptable, genuine, verified.

20 When you come together, it is not really to eatXVII the Lord’sXVIII supper.XIX 

Notes on verse 20

XVII “eat” = phago. This is to eat or figuratively to consume like rust does.
XVIII “Lord’s” = kuriakos. 2x in NT. From kurios (a respectful address meaning master or sir; one who has control or power greater than one’s own; applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord); from kuros (authority, supremacy). This is related to or belonging to the Lord. In scripture, it is used of the Lord’s supper and the Lord’s day.
XIX “supper” = deipnon. 16x in NT. From the same as dapane (cost or expense); from dapto (to devour). This is a dinner or a feast – a meal in the afternoon or, more commonly, the evening.

21 For when the time comes to eat,XX each of you goes aheadXXI with your ownXXII supper,

Notes on verse 21a

XX “time comes to eat” = phago. Same as “eat” in v20. See note XVII above.
XXI “goes ahead” = prolambano. 3x in NT. From pro (before, first, in front of, earlier) + lambano (active acceptance/taking of what is available or what has been offered; emphasizes the choice and action of the individual). This is to anticipate, take by surprise, take before others have the chance to, take before.
XXII “own” = idios. This is something that belongs to you or that is personal, private, apart. It indicates a stronger sense of possession than a simple possessive pronoun. This is where “idiot” comes from (denoting someone who hasn’t had formal training or education and so they rely on their own understanding).

and oneXXIII goes hungryXXIV and another becomes drunk.XXV 

Notes on verse 21b

XXIII {untranslated} = men. Same as {untranslated} in v18. See note V above.
XXIV “goes hungry” = peinao. From peina (hunger); related to penomai (working for a living; laborer, poor person; to work for daily bread); from peno (to toil to survive day by day). This is to hunger, be needy, or desire earnestly. It can be being famished in a definitive sense or in comparison to someone or something else. Figuratively, this means to crave.
XXV “becomes drunk” = methuo. 6x in NT. From methu (wine) OR from methe (drunkenness, an intoxicant). This is to drink freely, be drunk.

22 What! Do you not haveXXVI homesXXVII to eatXXVIII and drinkXXIX in?

Notes on verse 22a

XXVI “have” = echo. This is to have, hold, posses.
XXVII “homes” = oikia. From oikos (house – the building, the household, the family, descendants; the temple). This is a house, household, goods, property, family, or means.
XXVIII “eat” = esthio. This is to eat or figuratively to devour or consume like rust.
XXIX “drink” = pino. This is to drink, literally or figuratively.

Or do you show contemptXXX for the church of GodXXXI and humiliateXXXII those who have nothing? What should I say to you? Should I commend you? In this matter I do not commend you!

Notes on verse 22b

XXX “show contempt” = kataphroneo. 9x in NT. From kata (down, against, among, according to) + phroneo (to think, judge, use one’s mind, have an opinion, shape one’s opinion through action); from phren (diaphragm, heart, intellect, understanding; figurative for personal opinion or inner mindset; thought regulating action; sympathy, feelings, cognition); perhaps from phrao (to rein in or curb). This is to disregard despise look down, think little of. It can be active scorn or a generally hostile view. It can be disregarding or ignoring something because it is considered of little importance. This can also be thinking someone unworthy and hating them. Additionally, it can be to think against something.
XXXI “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
XXXII “humiliate” = kataischuno. 13x in NT. From kata (down, against, according to, among) + aischunomai (to dishonor, put to shame, shrink, disfigure); {from aischos (shame, disgrace, disfigurement)}. This is literally to shame down, which is to say disgrace or implying make someone blush. It can be frustrate, dishonor, confound or shame.

23 For I receivedXXXIII from the LordXXXIV what I also handed onXXXV to you,

Notes on verse 23a

XXXIII “received” = paralambano. Related to “goes ahead” in v21. From para (beside, by, in the presence of) + lambano (see note XXI above). This is to receive, take, acknowledge, associate with. It can also mean to take on an office or to learn.
XXXIV “Lord” = Kurios. Related to “Lord’s” in v20. See note XVIII above.
XXXV “handed on” = paradidomi. From para (from beside, by) + didomi (give, offer, place, bestow, deliver; give in a literal or figurative sense). This is literally to hand over – hence to deliver, abandon, or betray. It implies a personal involvement.

that the Lord JesusXXXVI on the night when he was betrayedXXXVII tookXXXVIII a loaf of bread,XXXIX 

Notes on verse 23b

XXXVI “Jesus” = Iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be)} + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone)}. This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
XXXVII “betrayed” = paradidomi. Same as “handed on” in v23. See note XXXV above.
XXXVIII “took” = lambano. Related to “goes ahead” in v21 & “received” in v23. See note XXI above.
XXXIX “loaf of bread” = artos. Related to “factions” in v19. Perhaps from airo (see note XIII above). This is bread or a loaf. It is a loaf as raised.

24 and when he had given thanks,XL he brokeXLI it and said, “This is my bodyXLII that is for you. DoXLIII this in remembranceXLIV of me.” 

Notes on verse 24

XL “given thanks” = eucharisteo. From eu (good, well, well done, rightly) + charis (grace, kindness, favor, gratitude, thanks; being inclined to or favorable towards – leaning towards someone to share some good or benefit; literal, figurative, or spiritual; grace as abstract concept, manner, or action); {from chairo (to rejoice, be glad; used to say hello; properly, delighting in the grace of God or experiencing God’s favor); from char– (to extend favor, lean towards, be inclined to be favorable towards)}. This is giving thanks, being thankful. It is a recognition that God’s grace is good and actively showing gratitude. It can also be used for saying grace before eating. This is where “eucharist” comes from.
XLI “broke” = klao. 14x in NT. This is to break, to break in pieces as one breaks bread.
XLII “body” = soma. Perhaps from sozo (to save, heal, rescue); from sos (safe, well, rescued). This is body or flesh. It can be body in a literal or figurative sense (as the body of Christ). This is where the word “somatic” comes from.
XLIII “do” = poieo. This is to make, do, act, construct, abide, or cause.
XLIV “remembrance” = anamnesis. 4x in NT. From anamimnesko (to remind, admonish; to follow the path of memory); {from ana (up, again, among, anew) + mimnesko (to remind or remember; memory through an active, intentional process or being mindful; not incidentally or accidentally remembering); {from mnaomai (to remember; by implication give reward or consequence); perhaps from meno (to stay, abide, wait, endure)}}. This is intentional remembering to re-experience the effect of the event. It is active, motivated as a memorial.

25 In the same way he took the cupXLV also, after supper,XLVI saying, “This cup is the newXLVII covenantXLVIII in my blood.XLIX Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 

Notes on verse 25

XLV “cup” = poterion. Related to “drink” in v22. From pino (see note XXIX above). This is a drinking vessel. Figuratively, it can refer to one’s lot, to fate, or to what God has in store for you.
XLVI “supper” = deipneo. Related to “supper” in v20. 4x in NT. From deipnon (see note XIX above). This is to eat the main, evening meal.
XLVII “new” = kainos. This is not new as in new versus old. This is new in the sense of novel, innovative, or fresh.
XLVIII “covenant” = diatheke. From diatithemi (to place separately – to make a will or covenant; this is arranging ahead of time how things will be accomplished); {from dia (through, because of, across, thoroughly) + tithemi (to put, place, set, fix, establish in a literal or figurative sense; properly, this is placing something in a passive or horizontal position)}. This is a will, covenant, contract, or agreement.
XLIX “blood” = haima. This is blood in a literal sense as bloodshed. Figuratively, it can also be used to refer to wine or to kinship (being related).

26 For as often as you eatL this bread and drink the cup, you proclaimLI the Lord’s deathLII until he comes.

Notes on verse 26

L “eat” = esthio. Same as “eat” in v22. See note XXVIII above.
LI “proclaim” = kataggello. Related to “instructions” in v17. 18x in NT. From kata (down, against, according to, throughout, among, daily) + aggello (see note I above). This is to proclaim openly and confidently a very specific message. It can also be celebrate, preach, or teach.
LII “death” = thanatos. This is death, whether literal or spiritual. It can also refer to something that is fatal.

27 Whoever, therefore, eatsLIII the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy mannerLIV will be answerableLV for the body and blood of the Lord. 

Notes on verse 27

LIII “eats” = esthio. Same as “eat” in v22. See note XXVIII above.
LIV “in an unworthy manner” = anaxios. Related to “instructions” in v17 & “proclaim” in v26. 1x n NT. From anaxios (unworthy, inadequate; failed a test, unfit, falling short; not matching anticipated value); {from a (not, without) + axios (weight, worth, suitable, corresponding, deserving; corresponding value); from ago (see note I above)}. This is unworthily or irreverently.
LV “answerable” = enochos. Related to “have” in v22. 10x in NT. From enecho (to hold in, ensnare, be angry at); {from en (in, on, at, by, with) + echo (to have, hold, possess)}. This is bound by, liable to, deserving, guilty, subject, in danger of.

28 ExamineLVI, LVII yourselves, and only then eatLVIII of the bread and drink of the cup. 

Notes on verse 28

LVI “examine” = dokimazo. Related to “genuine” in v19. From dokimos (see note XVI above). This is to test, examine, prove. It is to approve after subjecting to a test to determine if it is real or acceptable. It is to test in a literal or figurative sense.
LVII {untranslated} = anthropos. Probably from aner (man, male, husband) + ops (eye, face). This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.
LVIII “eat” = esthio. Same as “eat” in v22. See note XXVIII above.

29 For all who eatLIX and drink without discerningLX the body, eatLXI and drink judgmentLXII against themselves. 

Notes on verse 29

LIX “eat” = esthio. Same as “eat” in v22. See note XXVIII above.
LX “discerning” = diakrino. Related to “judgment” in v29. 19x in NT. From dia (through, across to the other side, thoroughly) + krino (see note LXII below). This is to judge, separate, contend, investigate, thoroughly judge.
LXI “eat” = esthio. Same as “eat” in v22. See note XXVIII above.
LXII “judgment” = krima. From krino (to judge, decide, think good, condemn, determine, pass judgment, stand trial, sue; judging whether in court or in a private setting; properly, mentally separating or distinguishing an issue – to come to a choice or decision, to judge positively or negatively in seeking what is right or wrong, who is innocent or guilty; can imply trying, condemning, punishing, or avenging). This is judgment, sentence, verdict. Sometimes, this can have a negative sense – condemnation. It is the decision and the full force of its effect negative and positive.

30 For this reason manyLXIII of you are weakLXIV and ill,LXV and someLXVI have died.LXVII 

Notes on verse 30

LXIII “many” = polus. This is much, often, plenteous – a large number or a great extent.
LXIV “weak” = asthenes. From a (not) + sthenes (strong, vigor); {from the base of sthenoo (to strengthen so that one can be mobile); from sthenos (strength)}. This is without strength so weak, sick, helpless, frail, feeble. It can also be unimpressive or impotent. It can be used for physical or moral weakness.
LXV “ill” = arrostos. 5x in NT. From a (not, without) + rhonnumi (to strengthen, be firm, have health; used as a salutation in letters at the end); {probably from rhoomai (to move quickly) probably akin to rhoumai (to pull to oneself, rescue from danger, snatch up, set free); akin to eruo (to drag) or rheo (to flow, to flow like water, overflow)}. This is literally not strong so it refers to a chronic illness that persists. It is infirmity, feeble, or sick person.
LXVI “some” = hikanos. From hikneomai (to reach, come to, attain). This is sufficient, suitable, adequate, competent, ample.
LXVII “died” = koimao. 18x in NT. From keimai (to lie, recline, set, be appointed, be destined). This is to sleep or put to sleep. Figuratively, it can mean to die. In the New Testament, it is used 15x for death and 3x for sleep.

31 But if we judgedLXVIII ourselves, we would not be judged.LXIX 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplinedLXX so that we may not be condemnedLXXI along with the world.LXXII

Notes on verses 31-32

LXVIII “judged” = diakrino. Same as “discerning” in v29. See note LX above.
LXIX “be judged” = krino. Related to “judgment” and “discerning” in v29. See note LXII above.
LXX “are disciplined” = paideuo. 13x in NT. From pais (child, youth, servant, slave); perhaps from paio (to strike or sting). Properly, this is training or teaching children so it is educate, correct, discipline, and punish. This is the root of “pedagogy.”
LXXI “be condemned” = katakrino. Related to “judgment” and “discerning” in v29 & “be judged” in v31. 18x in NT. From kata (down, against, throughout, among) + krino (see note LXII above). This is judging down, which is to say to vote guilty or deserving of punishment, to condemn. This is a decisive judgment of guilt. It can also be to damn someone.
LXXII “world” = kosmos. Perhaps from the base of komizo (to carry, convey, recover); from komeo (to take care of). This is order, the world, the universe, including its inhabitants. Literally, this is something that is ordered so it can refer to all creation. It can also refer to decoration in the sense that something is better ordered and, thus, made more beautiful. This is where “cosmos” and “cosmetics” come from.

33 So then, my brothersLXXIII and sisters, when you come together to eat,LXXIV wait forLXXV one another. 

Notes on verse 33

LXXIII “brothers” = adelphos. From a (with, community, fellowship) + delphus (womb). This is a brother in a literal or figurative sense. It is also used of another member of the Church.
LXXIV “eat” = phago. Same as “eat” in v20. See note XVII above.
LXXV “wait for” = ekdechomai. Related to “genuine” in v19. 7x in NT. From ek (from, from out of) + dechomai (see note XVI above)}. This is to take or receive, expect, await; to welcome someone from your heart; focusing on the goal of waiting or the outcome.

34 If you are hungry,LXXVI eatLXXVII at home,LXXVIII so that when you come together, it will not be for your condemnation.LXXIX About the other thingsLXXX I will give instructionsLXXXI when I come.

Notes on verse 34

LXXVI “are hungry” = peinao. Same as “goes hungry” in v21. See note XXIV above.
LXXVII “eat” = esthio. Same as “eat” in v22. See note XXVIII above.
LXXVIII “home” = oikos. Related to “homes” in v22. See note XXVII above.
LXXIX “condemnation” = krima. Same as “judgment” in v29. See note LXII above.
LXXX “other things” = loipos.  From leipo (to leave behind, be lacking). This is the rest, remained, remnant, other, residue.
LXXXI “give instructions” = diatasso. 16x in NT. From dia (through, across to the other side, thoroughly) + tasso (to arrange, appoint, determine). This is to arrange thoroughly, charge, appoint, give orders to. It is a command that is a proper order, given with the chain of command and so binding. This is from ancient military language.

Image credit: “Still life with Fruit in a Blue Bowl” by Albert König, 1923.

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