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The Meaning of the Breaking of Bread

The Breaking Of Bread: Self Examination (1 Corinthians 11)

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"Condemned with the world" [1]

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1 Corinthians 11

Headcoverings in the church
Be imitators of me, even as I am of Christ.
   2 Now I praise you who remember me in all things, and hold fast the traditions, as I delivered them to you. 3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ, the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonours his head. 5 But every woman praying or prophesying with her head unveiled dishonours her head. For it is one and the same thing as if she were shaven. 6 For if a woman is not veiled, let her also be shorn; but if it is a shame to a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be veiled. 7 For a man indeed ought not to have his head veiled, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of the man. 8 For the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man. 9 For neither was the man created for the woman, but the woman for the man. 10 For this cause ought the woman to have a sign of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless, in the Lord, neither is the woman without the man, nor the man without the woman. 12 For as the woman is of the man, so is the man also by the woman; but all things are of God.
   13 Judge for yourselves. Is it appropriate that a woman pray to God unveiled? 14 Does not nature itself teach you, that if a man has long hair it is a dishonour to him? 15 But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her. For her hair is given her for a covering.
   16 But if anyone seems to be contentious, let them know we have no such custom, neither do the churches of God.

The breaking of bread service
   17 But in giving you this instruction, I do not praise you- for you come together not for the better but for the worse. 18 For first of all, when you come together in the church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and I partly believe it. 19 For there must also be factions among you, that they that are approved may be revealed among you. 20 When you come together, it is not the Lord's supper that you eat. 21 For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. 22 What, have you not houses to eat and to drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who do not have? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I do not praise you!
   23 For I received of the Lord that which I in turn delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said: This is my body, which is for you. This do in remembrance of me. 25 In the same manner also 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 the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.
   27 Therefore whoever shall eat the bread or drink the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he that eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he does not discern the body of the Lord. 30 For this cause many among you are weak and sickly and not a few sleep. 31 If we would condemn ourselves, we would not be condemned. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.
   33 Therefore, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, that your coming together be not to condemnation. About the other things I will give instruction when I come.


11:1 Paul isn’t someone to just be admired from a distance, as we may admire a painting; we really are to see him as our model, so that we might follow Christ better.

11:3 The head of Christ is God- Even now, after Jesus’ mortal life, He is still subservient to God.

11:19 Our response to division in the church reveals whether we are approved of God or not.

11:23-29 This section can be usefully read just before we take the bread and wine at the breaking of bread service. We can break bread alone; and this is an appropriate Bible passage to read.

11:28,29 A few moments of silence before we take the bread and wine are necessary- so that we can examine ourselves. As we reconstruct in our own imaginations the death of Christ, we naturally will examine ourselves, because our conscience will be touched.

11:31 ‘Judge’ is being used in the sense of ‘condemn’. We cannot avoid the day of judgment; but if we condemn ourselves in our self-examination today, realizing that we are not worthy, then, we will not be condemned. This will work out to be the greatest paradox of all existence.

11:32 Condemned with the world- Those rejected at the day of judgment will simply be sent back into the world to share the world’s judgment. If in this life we prefer to be with the world rather than with Jesus and His people, then we will be sent back into the world when He returns.