Letters of Paul

1 Corinthians

The Lord’s Supper – Discussion Questions

Questions for Further Study:

1. Some scholars think that Paul is especially concerned about a whole group of women prophets who are praying with their heads uncovered, living as if they were already in the last days, and generally making life difficult for Paul. Do you see any evidence of such a designated sub-group in the Corinthian community?

2. The material about the Lord’s Supper in 11:23-25 is one of the few places where Paul draws on words attributed to Jesus himself. How is this important for Paul’s argument?

3. The suggestion that some of the Corinthians have become ill and others have died because of mistaken communion practices seems both harsh and strange to us. Are there ways to make a link between Paul’s kind of spiritual “realism” and our frequent division between spiritual matters and bodily consequences?

Questions for Discussion:

1. Do Paul’s distinctions between what is appropriate for a male and what is appropriate for a female provide any guidance for appropriate socialization in the church today—or is he simply hopelessly hierarchical?

2. Where are the specific places where class, economic and educational distinctions in our churches are evident today?

3. If you were to rethink the practice of the Lord’s Supper in your church on the basis of 1 Corinthians 11, what—if anything— would you do differently?

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Take notes on this lesson

2 Notes

  1. Adrian Bruder

    Questions for Further Study:
    1. Some scholars think that Paul is especially concerned about a whole group of women prophets who are praying with their heads uncovered, living as if they were already in the last days, and generally making life difficult for Paul. Do you see any evidence of such a designated sub-group in the Corinthian community?
    I try to look at this from a cultural context. It was the cultural norm at the time for married women to cover their head. What would you say today if Sister Sharon or Brother Mathew went to church services with their wedding rings removed? I am not really sure if that’s how it related culturally back then, but a wedding ring is the closest thing I could come up with. I’d like to think Paul wasn’t as sexist as most men at the time.
    2. The material about the Lord’s Supper in 11:23-25 is one of the few places where Paul draws on words attributed to Jesus himself. How is this important for Paul’s argument?
    I think he is trying to prove the point that the LORD’s super is serious and should be taken seriously. What better way than to quote JESUS on how serious it is and to bring the heaviness of the historical context that the ceremony is based on to prove that point.
    3. The suggestion that some of the Corinthians have become ill and others have died because of mistaken communion practices seems both harsh and strange to us. Are there ways to make a link between Paul’s kind of spiritual “realism” and our frequent division between spiritual matters and bodily consequences?
    I take Communion seriously and I think it should be open to all but revered. I would never condone the act not being revered but I wouldn’t be able to speak about what happens when you do not revere that sacred act. I think that’s between GOD and the person that partakes.
    Questions for Discussion:
    1. Do Paul’s distinctions between what is appropriate for a male and what is appropriate for a female provide any guidance for appropriate socialization in the church today—or is he simply hopelessly hierarchical?
    I think Paul is referring more to cultural rather than moral principles. See my answer in question 1.
    2. Where are the specific places where class, economic and educational distinctions in our churches are evident today?
    I think denominationally. There are denominations with lavish churches and different classes of congregants. Also, the neighborhood a church is located in probably plays a large role in this also. I would assume most people do not drive very long distances for church services.
    3. If you were to rethink the practice of the Lord’s Supper in your church on the basis of 1 Corinthians 11, what—if anything— would you do differently?
    Make it known why it exists, and while being open to all, letting people know how important and act it is.

  2. Adrian Bruder

    1. Some scholars think that Paul is especially concerned about a whole group of women prophets who are praying with their heads uncovered, living as if they were already in the last days, and generally making life difficult for Paul. Do you see any evidence of such a designated sub-group in the Corinthian community?

    I think in Corinth at the time married women covered their heads I don’t think this was exclusive to the Christian and Jewish faith but I could be wrong. This might have been bringing up a contentious debate on the Corinthian Church both within and outside the Church.

    2. The material about the Lord’s Supper in 11:23-25 is one of the few places where Paul draws on words attributed to Jesus himself. How is this important for Paul’s argument?

    He is using JESUS’ own words to show some inconsiderate members of the Body of the Corinthian Church they are ignoring JESUS by not thinking of him and excluding some members.

    3. The suggestion that some of the Corinthians have become ill and others have died because of mistaken communion practices seems both harsh and strange to us. Are there ways to make a link between Paul’s kind of spiritual “realism” and our frequent division between spiritual matters and bodily consequences?

    In the Bible there seems to be times when things are the way they are because of a spiritual elements, and others where it’s simply the way it is. To say that these things are just superstition is invalidating what Paul is saying. I don’t know if ignoring and looking down on certain members of the Body of Christ would open the door to things that are unseen, but to completely dismiss Paul you would have to dismiss Jesus, at least the way he is presented in some of the gospels.

    Questions for Discussion:

    1. Do Paul’s distinctions between what is appropriate for a male and what is appropriate for a female provide any guidance for appropriate socialization in the church today—or is he simply hopelessly hierarchical?

    I don’t believe so, It’s been a very long time since this was written. That would be like me trying to convince my spouse that I need another spouse because it’s in the bible. It just doesn’t fly anymore.

    2. Where are the specific places where class, economic and educational distinctions in our churches are evident today?

    The denomination itself. There are denominations that have primarily different racial and economic majority and the lenses that the see The WORD in tends to align to that majority.

    3. If you were to rethink the practice of the Lord’s Supper in your church on the basis of 1 Corinthians 11, what—if anything— would you do differently?

    Have it at a set time (later or at night if necessary), make sure you can’t come to the Supper early, and have a limit to what you can drink and eat.