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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 23

Verse 23. For, etc. In order most effectually to check the evils which existed, and to bring them to a proper mode of observing the Lord's Supper, the apostle proceeds to state distinctly and particularly its design. They had mistaken its nature. They supposed it might be a common festival. They had made it the occasion of great disorder. He therefore adverts to the solemn circumstances in which it was instituted; the particular object which it had in view—the commemoration of the death of the Redeemer; and the purpose which it was designed to subserve—which was not that of a festival, but to keep before the church and the world a constant remembrance of the Lord Jesus, until he should again return, 1 Co 11:26. By this means the apostle evidently hoped to recall them from their irregularities, and to bring them to a just mode of celebrating this holy ordinance. He did not, therefore, denounce them even for their irregularity and gross disorder; he did not use harsh, violent, vituperative language; but he expected to reform the evil by a mild and tender statement of the truth, and by an appeal to their consciences as the followers of the Lord Jesus.

I have received of the Lord. This cannot refer to tradition, or mean that it had been communicated to him through the medium of the other apostles; but the whole spirit and scope of the passage seems to mean, that he had derived the knowledge of the institution of the Lord's Supper directly from the Lord himself. This might have been when on the road to Damascus, though that does not seem probable, or it may have been among the numerous revelations which at various times had been made to him. Comp. 2 Co 12:7. The reason why he here says that he had received it directly from the Lord is, doubtless, that he might show them that it was of Divine authority. "The institution to which I refer is what I myself received an account of from personal and direct communication with the Lord Jesus himself, who appointed it. It is not, therefore, of human authority. It is not of my devising, but is of Divine warrant, and is holy in its nature, and is to be observed in the exact manner prescribed by the Lord himself."

That which also I delivered, etc. Paul founded the church at Corinth; and of course he first instituted the observance of the Lord's Supper there.

The same night in which he was betrayed. By Judas. See Mt 26:23-25, 48-50.

Paul seems to have mentioned the fact that it was on the very night on which he was betrayed, in order to throw around it the idea of greater solemnity. He wished evidently to bring before their minds the deeply affecting circumstances of his death; and thus to show them the utter impropriety of their celebrating the ordinance with riot and disorder. The idea is, that in order to celebrate it in a proper manner, it was needful to throw themselves as much as possible into the very circumstances in which it was instituted; and one of these circumstances most fitted to affect the mind deeply, was the fact that he was betrayed by a professed friend and follower. It is also a circumstance the memory of which is eminently fitted to prepare the mind for a proper celebration of the ordinance now,

Took bread. Evidently the bread which was used at the celebration of the paschal supper. He took the bread which happened to be before him—such as was commonly used. It was not a wafer, such as the papists now use; but was the ordinary bread which was eaten on such occasions. See Barnes "Mt 26:26".

 

{a} "I have received" 1 Co 15:3 {b} "the Lord Jesus" Mt 26:26 {*} "bread" "loaf"

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