1 Corinthians 11

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Small Group Material: 
Week Commencing: 
24 May 2009
Bible Base: 
1 Corinthians 11

Background
There seems to have been an issue at Corinth about their celebration of the Lord’s Supper. There are two things to remember about those days. First, it seems that the celebration of the Lord’s Supper may have still included a meal at this point. Second, the church at Corinth would have met in people’s homes.
 
The problem that Paul was addressing was that the way they did the Lord’s Supper accentuated the issues at Corinth about status. It looks as though the well off had more food and possibly better food. There is some archaeological evidence that Roman villas of that period had dining rooms which were well furnished but did not cater for many; the more important guests ate there while the others ate in the entrance hall.
 
Discussion Questions
1)      Verses 17-22 describe the issues Paul is concerned about. Here the divisions are not quite the same as those of the early chapters of 1 Corinthians. These are divisions of status – humiliating those who have nothing (v 22). How does Paul’s gospel of the cross (see chs 1 and 2) speak to this problem?
2)      Verses 23-26 are familiar. How does the shape of our communion service reflect the sequence of actions of Jesus described here?
3)      Remembrance here means bringing the effects of Jesus’ death into the present day. Share in the group what the communion service means to each of you.
4)      The Lord’s Supper is centred upon the death of Jesus, to be proclaimed until he comes. How does what the Corinthians were doing fail to proclaim the Lord’s death?
5)      Verses 27-32 are often misunderstood. People think that ‘not discerning the body’ is something to do with not understanding the symbolism of the bread and wine. However, in the context of the problem Paul has identified, what is it more likely to mean?
6)      “Eating and drinking judgment” (v 29). How might their attitudes of pride and status seeking be bringing judgment on themselves? (See Matt 7:1-5) In the light of the cross, how should you view the person next to you at the communion rail?
7)      Are there any ways in which our worship can ‘humiliate those who have nothing’, or emphasise someone else’s faults or lack of status?  
8)      What have these verses to say to the issue of children taking communion before they are confirmed? (Be careful – they can be used on both sides of the argument!!)