The Meal and the Supper (4)

D.  The meal and the Supper

It seems that only the disciples of Achaia had the problems in their assemblies that are discussed in the context of 1 Corinthians 11-14. It seems that they had the problems because the disciples of Achaia had a unique provincial assembly during the Isthmian Games. Paul’s instructions concerning the women keeping silent in this combined provincial meeting would be appropriate. The instructions concerning the women keeping silent in such a combined assembly would answer some of the problems that came from women speaking out of order, and thus causing more confusion (1 Co 14:34,35).

However, in their ordinary weekly house meetings, the women would simply remain in their subjective relationship with their own husbands in the presence of visiting neighborhood families who assembled in their homes on Sunday. It would be unreasonable to think that the wife should keep silent in the home assembly simply when another family stepped into her living room for a time of praise and worship. If indeed a wife was not submissive to her own husband before the assembly, then she would be out of order in her relationship with her husband, as well as with guests, who would be attending the couple’s house assembly (See 1 Tm 2:12).

We are told that the Corinthians in their regular weekly house fellowships came together on the first day of the week throughout Achaia (1 Co 16:2). However, we are not told that the meal of 1 Corinthians 11 was a combined weekly gathering of all the house groups. Throughout Achaia such would have been impossible on a weekly basis.

The 1 Corinthians 11 meeting may have been a periodic regional meeting in Corinth wherein the division that was going on among the individual house fellowships manifested itself in the general love feast that took place in the city of Corinth. Add to this the problem of some disciples in Corinth not waiting for those who came from great distances from throughout Achaia. Their lack of love for one another was revealed by their gluttony of eating all the food before others arrived.

Whatever the historical setting, we must be careful that we do not read our modern-day system of institutional assembly behavior into the context. We do know, however, that the Corinthian disciples were continuing the Passover meal tradition through the love feast/Lord’s Supper as part of a celebration feast, just as the disciples in Troas. We assume that they were so committed to the love feast/Supper that they were willing to keep such even during an occasional provincial meeting in Corinth.

[Continued]

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