Barry Newman's Blog

October 8, 2009

Christ Centred Communion (part XII)

Filed under: Christ Centred Communion,Lord's Supper — barrynewman @ 9:18 pm

The Christian Corinthian Community Meals: 1 Corinthians 11: 17-34 (continued)

What of the phrase, “the Lord’s Supper” (1 Cor. 11: 20)?  There is no definite article “the” in the Greek and the word “Lord” is the adjective, rarely used in the New Testament, not the very commonly used noun.  The adjective implies “ownership” and is sometimes used of an emperor who “owns” a decree – it has his authority or stamp upon it. Verse 20 literally reads, “When you come together it is not to eat a meal that is owned by the Lord” – that is, has his stamp upon it.  “The Lord’s Supper” or more correctly, “A meal of the Lord” is not a title to any Christian ceremony or rite. 

Perhaps the first English text to translate the Greek as “the Lord’s Supper” was made by Wycliffe in the 14th century.  He believed it was a reference to a Christian ceremony, understood as a rite, the common name for which was the “Eucharist”.  Possibly, Protestants who wanted to avoid or at least have a substitute for the term “Eucharist” could see the value of using a term, “The Lord’s Supper” or later, the term, “Holy Communion.”  Of course, the Roman Catholics, the Lutherans and the Reformed Protestants all understood the Christian ceremony, understood as a rite, differently but all thought that Paul was referring to a Christian ceremony, that is a rite, somewhere in 1 Corinthians 11.  We must not blame the reformers for not getting it all right.  How could they? Their problems were so immense, their tasks so great.

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