This Week's Focus Passage

‘The cup of blessing which we bless.’

Focus Passage: 1 Corinthians 10:16

‘The cup of blessing which we bless.’

The pericope out of which the above line is taken reads in its entirety;

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a communion with the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a communion of the body of Christ? seeing that we, who are many, are one bread, one body: for we all partake of the one bread.

This cup of blessing; what is it? This bread which we break; what is it? Paul asserts that the cup is a communion of the blood of Christ. He insists that the bread is a communion of the body of Christ. The chapter that follows this tenth chapter of Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth contains the well-known injunction, if you will, something of a preface which is very often employed as believers in Jesus Christ approach the Lord’s Table. Paul declares in verses 23-26 of that eleventh chapter:

For I received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which he was betrayed took bread; and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, This is my body, which is for you: this do in remembrance of me. In like manner also the cup, after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood: this do, as often as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

Returning to our focus passage, the apostle has stated in an interrogative form; that is to say, with the query, in this case, being, is it not?,the positive assertion, with the implication being, that this cup is indeed a communion of the blood of Christ. The word rendered communion might equally be translated as a participation which many of our copies of the Bible have placed in the margin as a helpful alternative to communion, for it is intended to be a participation in and with the blood of Christ. It correspondingly represents participation in the death of Christ, for Scripture teaches us that the life is in the blood. Paul says elsewhere of himself—and he is representing a reality for all believers in this, when he says that,

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith.—Galatians 2:20.

Referring to the apostle’s interrogatory statement, is it not a communion with the blood of Christ….with the body of Christ; John Gill (1697-1771) offers the helpful response in his commentary, “It is; that is, it is a sign, symbol, and token of fellowship with Christ in his death; it is a means of having communion with him, and of enjoying the blessings of grace which come through his blood; such as righteousness, peace, pardon, and atonement; all which true believers are made partakers of; and this part of the Lord’s supper; the cup being drank of, is a testimony and an indication of the same.” We witness in this Baptist’s comment, perhaps not intentionally, two words which also define communion; namely, fellowship and partaker. Fellowship is yet another translation of the Greek koinonia, while the word, partake, which Paul himself uses in the very context under our consideration, is yet another Greek word which shares a conspicuous corollary with participation. Yea, the theme of the cup and the loaf may be said to be participation. We come to the table of the Lord to partake of the wine and the bread; to participate in the blood and the body of our Lord Jesus Christ; to fellowship with Him and, at the same time, to fellowship with brothers and sisters who have also been made partakers of Him through the regenerating grace of God the Holy Spirit.

It is not, in itself, a ‘converting ordinance’ as some have taught in bygone days; most notably perhaps, the grandfather of Jonathan Edwards, the venerable—although mistaken in this matter—Solomon Stoddard. It is surely a remembrance of Christ as He Himself directed us, this do in remembrance of me, yet we believe that it is much more than a remembrance. Many have lost something of the blessings of this ordinance of Christ by limiting it and allowing it to be nothing more than a remembrance. Many speak of the Lord’s table as a ‘means of grace,’ not intending by this expression that they communicate grace, but rather, as one of the provisions God has made for us to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as Peter has exhorted us to do in his second epistle, 3:18.

“In His grace and in His wisdom, God has provided ways by which we may regularly have our faith in His promises fortified. Historically, we have referred to these ways of strengthening our faith as the ordinary means of grace. Prayer, the preaching of the Word, and the sacraments are not elaborate or fancy methods of giving us what we need to confirm our trust in Christ.” Human speech employed in prayer, bread and wine used in the Lord’s table, water as an instrument in baptism; these things, these instruments are common elements, yet they are brought into use by faith and the work of God the Holy Spirit for an uncommon work—“the confirmation of our trust in Jesus and the strengthening of our wills to flee from sin and rest in Christ alone.” Another indispensable means granted unto His people by our Lord Jesus Christ is the gathering of the saints together under these means. Jesus has promised to be with us when we are gathered together. The writer to the Hebrews has warned us about forsaking our own assembling together. We come [commune] together to praise and worship God; to seek to magnify His name; to exalt the Savior; but also to embrace the means God has provided for our spiritual nourishment.

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church

Leave a Comment

Comments for this post have been disabled.


Join us Sunday at