23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes (1 Corinthians 11:23–26, NKJV).
The Lord’s Supper is not a rite or ritual, although many churches have turned it into one. The Scriptures do not call it the “Eucharist” or a sacrament; those descriptions are of Catholic origin. The Scriptures do not teach the substance of the bread and fruit of the vine changes into the actual body and blood of Jesus in the Mass. That is also a Catholic invention. The Scriptures do not elevate the Supper to a place superior to other acts of worship; therefore, neither should we. But they explain its value and meaning so that we will partake of it worthily instead of condemning ourselves when we eat and drink it (1 Cor. 11:27-29). The Lord’s Supper is a memorial of the death of Jesus (of His body and blood) that Christians eat on the first day of the week (v. 24, 25; Acts 20:7). The bread is emblematic of the body of Jesus sacrificed for the sins of the world (Heb. 10:5, 10). The cup (the fruit of the vine, Mark 14:23-25) is emblematic of Christ’s blood that dedicated the new covenant that provides remission of sins (Heb. 9:13-15, 18-22). The Lord’s Supper is a proclamation of the Lord’s death that Christians will eat until Jesus returns (v. 26). Always eat the Supper to remember and proclaim Christ’s death.
23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. (1 Corinthians 11:23–26, NKJV)
The Lord’s supper, initiated by Christ, revealed by the Holy Spirit, and eaten by Christians, is simple, solemn, and sacred. Far from the rituals and ceremonies attached to it through the centuries, the communion of the body and blood of Christ (“breaking of bread,” Acts 2:42; 20:7) is identified in today’s passage as a memorial and a proclamation (v. 24-26). The Corinthians were corrupting it by divisively perverting its purpose (1 Cor. 11:17-22). Corruption of the supper continues still. It is not called a “sacrament” or the “Eucharist” in Scripture. These are theologian inventions of Roman Catholic tradition. Scripture does not teach the elements change in substance, becoming the actual blood and body of Jesus (another Catholic departure). Scripture shows it is a weekly memorial, not an occasional option (Acts 20:7). By what right do men tamper with it? Only by their own, misguided, unscriptural presumptions. How about we just follow the Bible? Simple. Solemn. Sacred.
30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. (1 Corinthians 11:30–32, NKJV)
The spiritual condition of many of the Corinthian Christians was in jeopardy. The terms “weak,” “sick,” and “sleep” have spiritual (not physical) significance. These were without spiritual strength, some were spiritually ill, and some were already dead. (See John 11:11-13, where Jesus used “sleep” to mean Lazarus was dead.) We must judge our eating of the Lord’s supper in order to avoid such spiritual demise (which, by the way, shows Christians can indeed sin and be lost). This context shows we must judge our heart and our conduct in the Lord’s supper by using the Lord’s instructions about the supper (1 Cor. 11:23-26, 27-29). Such personal examination helps us avoid divine judgment, as well as condemnation with the world (v. 31, 32). Paul’s rebuke of their sin in this matter was the Lord’s discipline, to correct their error and preserve their souls. Eating the Lord’s supper is not a mindless ceremony. It is not a liturgical sacrament by which the mere partaking of it God grants sanctifying grace to the worshiper. It is a moment of solemn, proclamation and reverential remembrance of the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Christians who turn it into anything else expose themselves to condemnation, not glory.
23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” (1 Corinthians 11:23–24, NKJV)
The Lord’s supper is not a church tradition that was developed by centuries of human customs and adaptations. Neither do the Scriptures describe it as a sacrament of the church (that is, an outward sign causing grace in the soul of a person). By revelation, the apostle received the teaching he now gives concerning the eating of and the purpose of the Lord’s supper (cf. Gal. 1:11-12). While eating the Passover meal with His apostles, Jesus instituted something new and different that would be eating in the kingdom of God (Lk. 22:14-20; Matt. 26:26-29). The unleavened bread would bear new meaning, representing the body of Christ (the bread is not the actual body of Jesus). Eating this bread is a solemn remembrance of Christ’s body that He sacrificed for us. Thus, “the bread which we break” is “the communion of the body of Christ” (1 Cor. 10:16). The bread of the Lord’s supper does not satisfy the belly – it is not a table meal. It serves to awaken our memory of the death of Christ, whose body hung suspended on a cross for our sins. Eating the bread of the Lord’s supper is designed to focus our attention on Christ’s body, reverently remembering His unselfish love toward us.