1 Corinthians 10:14-11:1 - The Lord's Supper - Believer's Freedom

1. What kind of idols is Paul speaking about in Verse 10:14? (Exodus 32:1-6)

A: He’s talking about the real physical idols like the calf the Israelites asked Aaron to make when they lost faith that Moses would come down from Mt. Sinai during the Exodus from Egypt.

Exodus 32:1 - When the people saw how long it was taking Moses to come back down the mountain, they gathered around Aaron. “Come on,” they said, “make us some gods who can lead us. We don’t know what happened to this fellow Moses, who brought us here from the land of Egypt.”
      4 - Then Aaron took the gold, melted it down, and molded it into the shape of a calf. When the people saw it, they exclaimed, “O Israel, these are the gods who brought you out of the land of Egypt!”
      6 - The people got up early the next morning to sacrifice burnt offerings and peace offerings. After this, they celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry.

Corinthians had come from a background of paganism with temples built for Apollo, Demeter, Aphrodite, and many other pagan gods and goddesses. For the Corinthians, the worship of Aphrodite, with its many sacred prostitutes, was a particularly strong temptation.

2. In 10:16, is Paul talking about literally drinking the blood of Christ and eating his body? (Luke 22:19-20)

A: Some people believe that the wine or grape juice is actually transformed into Christ’s blood and the wafer or bread into his flesh when they drink and eat it. However, most people believe that drinking the wine and eating the bread is a symbolic memorial of fellowship with the crucified Christ. Even when Jesus instituted the ceremony, what we now call the Lord’s Supper, he said to eat the bread and drink the wine to remember him.

Luke 22:19-20 - He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.

3. Many denominations, Lutheran for example, believe that the drinking of the wine implies the forgiveness of your sins. Where did this idea come from?

A: In Luke 22:20, in the last part of the verse Jesus notes that the agreement between God and his people is confirmed by Jesus’ own blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you. In other words, Jesus sacrificed his pure life for your sinful life and by his blood, God took away (or forgave) your sins.

4. In verse 10:17, Paul talks about eating from one loaf. Does this mean that for communion we should have one big loaf of bread from which we break pieces?

A: Our church occasionally does have one large loaf and some churches always use just one loaf for communion. However, if you carry that to the extreme as in verse 17, it would literally mean one loaf of bread from which all Christians in the world would break off a piece. Obviously, that’s not what Paul meant.

Paul is speaking symbolically as Jesus did in John 6:35 (Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.) Also, John 6:51 (I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.”). Also, John 6:58 (I am the true bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will not die as your ancestors did (even though they ate the manna) but will live forever.”)

So the idea of one loaf of bread stems from Jesus being the one and only true way. As Christians, we do not partake of the loaf of bread representing Jesus and another loaf representing Mohammad, and another loaf representing Buddha, and another loaf representing some new age belief in reincarnation, and so on.

5. Think about verse 10:21 and what it means today. What is an example of drinking from the cup of the Lord and from the cup of demons, too?

A: In the 40's, Gotham City District Attorney Harvey Dent became one of Batman’s most famous villains, Two Face, after a criminal disfigured half of his face with acid. This has often seemed to me the perfect illustration of someone who goes to church every Sunday, supports his family, and claps for his kids in the class play, but on a business trip joins in a snort of cocaine, drops a week’s salary at the blackjack table, and hits on anything with boobs and a skirt. Maybe that’s a bit extreme, but let’s hear your example.

6. Verse 10:23 is one of those Bible verses that packs a huge lifelong lesson in just a few words. Give some examples of something that is permissible (or allowed or lawful) but not good for you (or constructive or beneficial). How about something that is permissible for you but is bad for someone else (verse 10:24)?

7. In verses 10:25 to 32, Paul reiterates what he previously said in verses 8:4 to 13. Can you summarize it.

A: As a Christian, you can eat anything, even leftover meat from a sacrifice that was sold in the market or food served by an unbeliever. However, if someone makes an issue of the fact that a portion of the meat you were served had been sacrificed to idols and you eat it, the man—whether a believer or an unbeliever—might think that you condone the worship of the idols to which the meat had been sacrificed. In eating the meat you might offend a new believer’s conscience by causing him to think it is alright to eat meat sacrificed to idols even though he has doubts about it. Or if he is an unbeliever, he might think that Christians worship both God and a pagan idol.

8. In verse 10:32, Paul says not to offend Jews, Gentiles, or Christians. Why is he concerned with not offending Jews or Gentiles?

A: Paul’s main goal in life was bringing Gentiles to believe in the Lord Jesus, in having them become Christians. If he offends them, even by such a simple thing as what he eats, how likely are they to listen to his message of Christianity?

9. If Paul were to write this verse today, he might say, “Don’t give offense to Muslims, atheists, Buddhists, or Christians.” How do you feel about this?

10. When Paul says in verse 32, “...please everyone in everything I do...” does that mean he will compromise the Gospel to please a Jew or Muslim?

A: No, no, no. He is saying that he will be considerate of others and will not cause anyone’s conscience to be offended by his daily life, thus keeping that person from receiving the Gospel.

11. (Verse 11:1) How are you doing at imitating Paul who, in turn, is imitating Christ?

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