1 Corinthians 11:17 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. 20 So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, 21 for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. 22 Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter!
23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night 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; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. 32 Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.
33 So then, my brothers and sisters, when you gather to eat, you should all eat together. 34 Anyone who is hungry should eat something at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment.
And when I come I will give further directions.
This is from the commentary.
One takes his supper ahead of the others… one is hungry: Why would some be hungry at the church common meals? Because among the Corinthian Christians, some were more wealthy than others, and the poorer ones were being neglected (Or do you… shame those who have nothing?).
i. In that day, at common meals, it was expected that the “upper class” would receive better and more food than the “lower class.” This cultural custom was carried over into the church, and the Christians weren’t really sharing with one another. At the agape feast, the rich brought more food and the poor brought less food; but in Corinth they were not sharing the food fairly.
ii. Ancient culture, much more than modern American culture, was extremely class conscious. It was respect of these class divisions that grieved Paul so much.
iii. Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God: Paul’s message is both strong and plain - “If you want to eat or drink selfishly, do it at home!”
The commentary goes into the differences between transubstantiation and consubstantiation. I'm not going to get into that... It's way over my pay grade, but essentially, it's about the bread and wine being the body and blood. The Catholic Church teaches one thing and the Protestant Church teaches another. If you are curious, please read the commentary for yourself. It's really quite clear.
I want to get into verses 17 through 22. The church would meet for what we would call pot luck. According to the commentary, the rich would bring lots of rich dishes and the poor would bring smaller plainer dishes. The food was not shared, according to the commentary. The rich ate what they brought and either ate themselves into a stupor or they would drink themselves into a drunken state and leave, while the poor would be left hungry. In other words, it wasn't "The Last Supper" they were observing, it was a class heavy dinner. The rich got full while the poor stayed starving. The notion of the rich sharing with the poor just did not take hold.
I remember the first time I noticed my mom denying communion. We were in a Baptist Church in New London, Conn. They passed the wine and the bread and although my dad took communion, my mom did not. After church, I asked my mom why she didn't take the wine and bread. She said it was because she had not yet publicly accepted Jesus. Mom said only Christians shared communion. It's one of those lessons I never forgot. My mom was Baptized the same day I was. That was back around 1961 or 1962.
I think Paul is trying to explain the difference between "Pot Luck" and "Communion". Just because you may communicate with your buddies and make new friends at a "Pot Luck", it's not "the Last Supper" or "Communion". One is sharing food and conversation with others. The other is a reverent remembrance of our Lord and just how far He went for us. Big difference, Right?
One ended with some going home with empty tummies, while the other ended with an empty tomb. That's a big difference.
So, my online Bible titled these verses as "Correcting an abuse of the Lord's Supper". I think I would call it something a little different.
Pot Luck V. Communion