Thursday, January 2, 2014

Bible Study - 1 Corinthians Part 13 - The Lord's Supper

1 Corinthians provides our only clear window into how the Lord's Supper was practiced by the first Christians, and what the apostles taught about it. While Paul speaks does speak about the "table of the Lord" a bit earlier in 10:14-22, his main discussion of the Lord's Supper comes here in 11:17-34. As with most things in the life of the church in Corinth the Lord's Supper had become a source of division rather than unity. But as with all of the other issues addressed in this letter it provided Paul an opportunity to provide Christians down the ages with important teaching.
  • Read 1 Cor. 11:17-22. How do divisions, injustices and broken relationships affect our ability to worship God faithfully? How might authentic worship (that is focused on God and his call to love) help to heal and set right our brokenness?
  • Read 1 Cor. 11:27-34. In light of what Paul says in verses 17-22 what might he mean when he speaks of eating the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner? What kind of self-examination is Paul requiring from his church?  What kind of self-examination should we practice today? 
  • The Lord's Supper is a free gift from Jesus to his disciples. Yet Paul's teaching suggests that it's important to open our hearts and lives to receive that gift and it's spiritual benefits. How can we seek God's help to prepare our hearts, minds and lives to receive the Lord’s Supper today?
  • Read 1 Cor. 11:23-26. This passage is used all the time in our celebrations of the Lord’s Supper. How has reading of the rest of 1 Cor. 11:17-34 affected how you hear these words? What role does the faithful practice of the Lord’s Supper have in fostering Christian love and unity in the church?

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