Barry Newman's Blog

October 8, 2012

The Sacraments (part III)

Filed under: The Sacraments — barrynewman @ 10:31 pm

A Cup to the Lord

Given the lack of the definite article in 1 Corinthians 10: 21a and the references to cups drunk in connection with the gods in the Greek literature external to the New Testament a reasonable translation for this text would be, “You cannot drink a cup to the Lord and to demons”. That is, Paul is exclaiming, “You are not able to toast or honour the Lord and at the same time, toast or honour any of the deities at your meals by your use of wine.  It is not possible. Honour any of the deities and you do not honour the Lord. You may only toast the Lord!”  In order to pay the Lord the honour due to him they can no longer toast, “Zeus, Saviour”.  Their toast will only be to “The Lord, the only Saviour”.  The text does not appear to have any relationship with the Lord’s Supper.

A Table of the Lord

The definite article is also lacking in 1 Corinthians 10: 21 b. The general context relates to not eating or drinking idolatrously.  In the Greek literature external to the New Testament, “table” (trapeza) can refer to a physical object, a particular serving at a meal, or a meal itself.  Given the general context and the lack of a definite article in v. 21b “table” most likely refers to a meal. The verb, “metexo” (to partake of) with the noun “table” in the genitive case, is consistent with this understanding. The verse simply reads, “You are not able to partake of a table of the Lord and of a table of demons.” Verse 21b recognises the impossibility of taking part in meals where the Lord is honoured and at the same time, in the same meal, or in a different meal, where demons are honoured. Verse 21 as a whole indicates that eating and drinking genuinely under the auspices of the Lord means that eating and drinking under the auspices of any of the gods is not possible.  Paul gives no indication that he is referring to meals which are reflective of the last Passover meal. The text does not appear to have any reference to the Lord’s Supper.

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