Barry Newman's Blog

July 2, 2010

Christ Centred Communion – Further Thoughts (part XX)

Filed under: Christ Centred Communion — barrynewman @ 8:56 am

An Aside – Proclaiming the Lord’s Death and the Drinking of a Cup (continued)

Furthermore, in the following two verses, the phrases “Whoever … drinks the cup of the Lord” and “Let a man examine himself, and so … drink of the cup” could be references to the same practice.  (It should be noted that it is never “the bread of the Lord”, only “the cup of the Lord”.) The same might also be true of the phrases, “the cup of blessing” and “a cup of the Lord” in 1 Corinthians 10: 16 and 21.  Indeed, the phrases “the cup of the Lord” (to poterion tou kuriou) and “a cup of the Lord” (poterion kuriou) could be translated, “the cup, ‘To the Lord’ ” and “a cup, ‘To the Lord’ ” respectively.  Certainly the phrases would appear to carry overtones of something like “in honour of the Lord” with possibly a special cup being assigned for the purpose of giving him praise[1].  A cry similar to, “To Jesus the Saviour” or “To the Lord” in association with the drinking from a common cup may have become an established custom.

Similarly, with respect to Passover meals, the drinking from the various cups in each case would most likely have been associated with some note of praise or thanks to God.  Concerning the Last Passover meal, Jesus gave thanks in association with a cup over which he uttered the words of remembrance (Matthew 26: 27 and Mark 14: 23) and gave thanks in association with an earlier cup taken before the breaking of bread (Luke 22: 17).


[1] See for example, Athenaeus,  xi, 461 b in Athenaeus, The Deipnosophists, V, LOEB Classical Library, op. cit., 1980, pp. 8-11, where reference is made to a large cup assigned to the Heroes in their honour, and xi, 781 c in the same work, pp. 34, 35, where it is said, “Achilles … kept his cup as a special treasure, ‘and neither did any other man drink of it, nor did he pour libation from it to any god excepting Zeus’ ”.

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