I Corinthians 11:17-34
Perhaps no study of Passover would be complete without a study of 1Corinthians 11:17-
34.  However, this passage of Scripture is not directly about Passover – the word
Passover does not appear in this text.  Moreover, as we earlier pointed out in our study,
the "Lord's Supper" (the bread and the wine) at the end of the last evening meal that
Christ had with His disciples before His death was not on the evening for eating Passover
– for the Passover Meal came two days later on the evening that began the 15th.  
Nevertheless, as the Church of God today has been indoctrinated with the belief that
1Corinthians 11:17-34 refers to Passover, because of the assumption that Christ ate the
Passover with His disciples the evening before His death, one should make a study of
these verses, less one forms assumptions from them.

Additionally, some believe that although this is not referring to the Passover it is referring
to a ceremony, which one must keep on the 14th, either in place of or in addition to the
Passover on the following evening.  Of course, as we have seen earlier in this study, the
Messiah and His disciples ate the Last Supper on the 13th Nisan.  Therefore, if the Lord’s
Supper were an annual event, one would not keep it on the 14th Nisan.  However, we
need to look closely at what Paul has to say on this subject in 1Corinthians 11:17-34.

1Corinthians 11:17-19 (NKJV), "Now in giving these instructions I do not praise you, since you come
together not for the better but for the worse.  For first of all, when you come together as a church (an
assembly – ekklesia), I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it.  For there
must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you.

Paul corrected the Corinthians for an erroneous practice they had gotten into – not so
much the practice itself, as the manner in which they had come to conduct it.

I Corinthians 11:20-22 (NKJV), "Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the
Lord's Supper.  For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and
another is drunk.  What!  Do you not have houses to eat and drink in?  Or do you despise the church
of God and shame those who have nothing?  What shall I say to you?  Shall I praise you in this?  I do
not praise you."

They were coming together in one place and eating an evening meal, as Christ and His
disciples had done two evenings before His death.  They then ate the Lord's Supper.  This
is not to say that they were doing this at the time of the year that the Messiah and His
disciples ate the Lord’s Supper.  The scriptures of 1Corinthians do not indicate the time of
this event.  We will discuss this aspect later.  However, before taking the bread and the
wine, they ate an evening meal.  

They started this social evening meal before everyone got to the assembly
("each one takes
his own supper ahead of others")
and some were well satiated while others were hungry.  So
Paul says in verse 20,
"it is not to eat the Lord's Supper".  In other words, the primary thrust
of the evening was to eat the social meal, which came before the Lord's Supper – rather
than the Lord's Supper, which came after they had finished gorging themselves on the
evening meal.  The social feast had become more important to them.  In other words, the
Lord’s Supper had become an afterthought.  In verse 22, Paul says that they had houses
to eat in and that they should take care of their primary desire to eat and drink, in their
houses.  Paul is not condemning the practice altogether as he shows in verse 33.  
However, he is trying to bring them back to a balance.

1Corinthians 11:33 Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.

Let us take a detailed look at this statement, "it is not to eat the Lord's Supper".  Our
reason for scrutinizing this phrase is that although it is not a phrase of literal speech, some
could construe it that way.  We are dealing with a figure of speech, which can be
confusing.  The observations from the following six different commentators may prove
helpful in understanding why this phrase is a rhetorical expression rather than literal

11:20 When ye come together therefore into one place,  [this] is {g} not to eat the Lord's supper.

(g) This is a usual metaphor by which the apostle flatly denies that which many did not do well.
#1Co 11:20 When ye come together, therefore.  When they assembled these heresies and divisions
were manifest.  There was a Paulite group, an Apolloite group, and a Petrine group, who sat apart
from each other.  [See PNT "1Co 1:12".]

It is not to eat the Lord's supper.  Coming in such a spirit they were in no fit mind to eat
the Lord's supper.
V. 20.0 Therefore-That is, in consequence of those schisms.

It is not eating the Lord's supper-That solemn memorial of his death; but quite another
this is not to--rather,  "there is no such thing as eating the LORD'S Supper"; it is not possible where
each is greedily intent only on devouring "HIS OWN supper, "and some are excluded altogether, not
having been waited for (#1Co 11:33), where some are "drunken, " while others are "hungry" (#1Co 11:
this is not to eat the Lord's supper: their view in coming together was not so much to celebrate
the supper of the Lord, as to partake of their own supper, which was either the paschal supper, or
something like it;…  Now there being a great deal of good eating and drinking in this ante-supper,
many of them came together for no other end but to partake of that, at least this was their chief view,
and not the Lord's supper; or when they did meet together on this account, it was in such an irregular
and disorderly manner, and they confounded these suppers together, and behaved so ill at them, and
ate the Lord's supper so unworthily, that it could not be rightly called eating of it; or when they had
eaten their ante-supper in such an indecent way, neither staying for one another, nor keeping within
the bounds of temperance and sobriety; at least having indulged their carnal appetites to such a
degree, and raised themselves to such a pitch of gaiety and cheerfulness; it was not fit for them to eat
the Lord's supper,  to go from such a full meal to the table of the Lord. This was called the Lord's
supper, because he was the author of it; and he is the subject of it; and for him, the remembrance of
him, it is appointed, kept up, and continued.
"This is not, & etc.”  Margin, "Ye cannot eat."  The meaning of this expression seems to be
this.  "Though you come together professedly to worship God, and to partake of the Lord's supper, yet
this cannot be the  "real design" which you have in view.  It "cannot be" that such practices as are
allowed among you can be a part of the celebration of that supper, or consistent with it.  Your
greediness (ver. 21); your intemperance (ver. 21); your partaking of the food separately and not in
common, "cannot" be a celebration of the Lord's supper.  Whatever, therefore, you may profess to be
engaged in, yet really and truly you are "not" celebrating the Lord's supper."

Now, let's look at some different versions:

1 Corinthians 11:20-21 When therefore ye assemble yourselves together, it is not possible to eat the
Lord's supper: for in your eating each one taketh before other his own supper; and one is hungry, and
another is drunken.

1 Corinthians 11:20-21 But now, when you come together, it is not possible to take the holy meal of
the Lord: For when you take your food, everyone takes his meal before the other; and one has not
enough food, and another is the worse for drink.  

1 Corinthians 11:20-21 Thus, when you gather together, it is not to eat a meal of the Lord; because as
you eat your meal, each one goes ahead on his own; so that one stays hungry while another is already

1Corinthians 11:20-21 However, when you come together by yourselves, you do not do it to partake of
a supper dedicated to the Lord; for each one prepares his own individual meal to eat alone; and one
my be hungry, another, again, gorged.

1Corinthians 11:20-21 So when you gather for your meetings, it is not the Supper instituted by the
Lord that you eat, For in eating each one [hurries] to get his own supper first [not waiting for the
poor], and one goes hungry while another gets drunk.

1Corinthians 11:18-21 First of all, in your church-meetings I am told that cliques prevail.  And I
partly believe it; there must be parties among you, if genuine Christians are to be recognized.  But
this makes it impossible for you to eat the 'Lord's' supper when you hold your gatherings.  As you eat,
everyone takes his own supper; one goes hungry while another gets drunk.

From the above sampling of commentaries and versions, we get the idea that Paul is
telling them in effect, what you eat is not the Lord's supper because of your party spirit,
because of your selfishness, etc.  

The following statement, which Paul had just given in the previous chapter would tell us
why this was so.  You cannot partake of the Lord's Table and of the table of demons.  If
they were going to act like heathen, their eating the Lord's Supper was void of any good.

1 Corinthians 10:21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers
of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils.

Paul instructed them concerning the proper mood for taking the wine, and the bread.  
Although the words, Lord’s Supper, only appear one time in the New Testament, it is
clear that Paul uses this title for the wine and bread ceremony instituted by the Lord.  
The context of 1Cor 11 leaves no doubt of this perspective.

1Cor 11:20 When ye come together therefore into one place, <this is not> to eat the Lord's supper.
21 For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is

Some early 14th Passover advocates claim that Paul speaks of the Passover in
1Corinthians 11.  To arrive at that conclusion, one would need to prove that the Lord’s
Supper and Passover are synonymous terms.  The English Dictionary gives no such
indications.  While this does not prove one’s point, it does indicate the narrowness of the
view that Passover and the Lord’s Supper are synonyms.  Furthermore, as the Messiah
and His disciples ate the last supper followed by the bread and wine ceremony on the
evening that began the 13th Nisan, the two terms cannot be synonymous – from a biblical
point of view.

No one ever ate the Passover on the 13th Nisan.  Moreover, Paul does not breath a word
concerning Passover in this 1Corinthians 11 Passage.  The idea that Paul refers to
“Passover” in 1Corinthians 11 comes from an erroneous assumption that the Messiah ate
His last Passover at the beginning of the 14th Nisan and that He introduced the bread and
wine as the new Passover meal.  The bible says nothing about Christ’s introduction of the
bread and wine as new representatives of the Passover.  The Passover celebrates the one
idea of freedom from slavery in Egypt for the ancient Israelites – this types our freedom
from slavery in the world.  Therefore, Passover represents only one perspective of our
salvation: Our rescue from the world, with the sacrificial ransom of Christ’s body and

On the other hand, the bread and wine ceremony – the Lord’s Supper – covers all of the
sacrifices of ancient Israel that represented the Messiah.  The bread and wine are
symbols of the body and blood of the Christ.  He is our Sin and Trespass Sacrifices.  He is
our Burnt Offering, Meal Offering, Peace Offering and Thank Offering.  The bread and
wine represent the fullness of the Christ whereas Passover represents only one
perspective of Him.  Therefore, the bread and wine represent all of the sacrifices
including Passover.

Furthermore, Paul said that <as often> as you drink the wine and eat the bread you
proclaim the Lord’s death until He returns.  The Corinthian fellowship meals – love feasts
– were common in the early church according to many commentators.  Jude 12 and 2Peter
2:13 mention them.  The conduct displayed by the Corinthians is indicative of a familiarity
that results from doing something very often.  As a result, the Lord's Supper, which
followed these social banquets, was a farce because the participants were in no condition
to think about the implication of the body and blood of Christ and how it should be
influencing their lives.

I Corinthians 11:23-26 (NKJV), "For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you:  that
the Lord Jesus on the
same (not in original) night in which He was betrayed took bread (artos); and
when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you;
do this
in remembrance of Me."  In the same manner He also took 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."  
as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes."

Now let us look at the word “same” in 1Corinthians 11:23.  This word does not appear in
the original – nor is it implied.  It is a true statement, but by adding this word, the KJV
translators placed an emphasis here that was unintended in the Greek.  The RSV and
several other translations do not include the word “same” in this verse:

1 Corinthians 11:23  For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on
the night when he was betrayed took bread,

By adding the word – “same” – as the KJV does, it could cause one to think that Paul
indicated an observance on the night when the Messiah ate the Lord’s Supper with His
disciples – which we now know was the 13th Nisan.  However, when we read this
statement without the word – same – we do not get this impact.  As we will see later, Paul
makes provisions for keeping this ceremony often.  However, they were observing it so
often that it had become meaningless!  There is a balance to all things.  The Passover can
only cover one perspective of the blood and body of the Messiah.  To keep the “Lord’s
Supper” only once per year at Passover could highlight the Lord’s sacrifice too little.

Some want to keep the Lord’s Supper at the time the Messiah instituted the ceremony –
which we now know was the 13th Nisan.  Others want to keep the Lord’s Supper in the
afternoon of the 14th – the time Christ died.  However, as Christ is our Passover – that is,
one perspective of His body and blood – and as God requires us to keep the Feast of
Passover – at the beginning of the 15th Nisan, we should use the symbols that represent
Christ at that time.  The 13th Nisan dates the bread and wine ceremony that represents
the fullness of Christ – His body and blood.  The 14th dates the slaying of the Messiah –
Our sacrificed Savior – from all perspectives.  In other words, the Messiah did not die just
as our Passover.  The 15th Nisan begins a Holyday and its beginning dates the time when
we are to eat the Passover sacrifice.  We do not eat a sacrificed lamb today.  We do eat
the bread and wine to represent our Passover – Christ – in one of His perspectives.

We would not want to fall into the same trap that the Corinthians did by keeping the Lord’
s Supper so often that it had become meaningless.  Therefore, as the bible nowhere
commands us to keep an observance on the 13th or 14th, why would we keep the Lord’s
Super on those days, as they are so close to the 15th Nisan?  The 13th and 14th were not
Holydays.  The 13th was significant because the Messiah instituted the symbols of His
body that night; and the 14th was significant because the Passover was slain in the
afternoon of that day.  However, the Bible says,
"Christ was our Passover sacrificed for us,
therefore let us keep the feast"
which we now know for a certainty was on the 15th of Nisan.

Some say that we should not use unleavened bread to represent The Messiah.  If that is
the case, we could not eat the Lord’s Supper during the days of unleavened bread.  The
Bible does not specify what kind of bread represents The Messiah’s body.  Therefore,
common sense tells us that we should use unleavened bread during the days of unleavened
bread for the Lord’s Supper.  We discuss this issue in more detail later.

The second thing one should notice is the term "artos" used for the
“bread” of the Lord’s
Supper.  We discussed this earlier in the Scriptures that tell of Christ giving bread as a
symbol for His body.  If Paul intended to refer to the Passover in 1Corinthians 11, why
does he not use the term azumos for unleavened bread?

The third thing one should notice is the phrase,
"in remembrance of me".  The thrust of the
original word #364, is an active calling to mind.  Christ does not need us to remember
Him.  However, we do need to remember what the body and blood of Christ represent, in
connection with our salvation and the daily struggle toward a life that resembles Christ.  
We need to contemplate, as Barclay says of Verse 25, "This cup is the new covenant and
it cost my blood."  It is important that we see the enormity of the sacrifice and become
honest in the way of truth.  Not as the Corinthians who had shattered the harmony in the
church with their party spirit and grouping into cliques and shunning the other parts of the
body.  It was impossible for them to eat the Lord's Supper appropriately.

The fourth thing one should notice is the statement,
"as often as you drink" and "as often as
you eat this bread and drink this cup"
.  The wording of these verses show very plainly that this
was something that one could do more often than once each year like Passover.  Because
we thought the wine and bread represented only Passover, we have misunderstood these
verses.  We should not do something so often that it becomes meaningless as the
Corinthians did.  We should live our lives with balance.  This is exactly what Paul taught
the Corinthians here in 1Corinthians 11.  He endeavored to bring the Corinthians back to
a balance.  

Most of the commentators agree that “as often as” means on a frequent basis.  One time
per year is not frequent in the yearly biblical calendar of events.  We eat our daily bread
often to sustain us with physical life.  We must eat often of the bread of life in order to
sustain our spiritual life.  The bread and wine symbolize Christ our spiritual nourishment.  
We do recognize that this is only one perspective as prayer and bible study also help to
nourish us spiritually.  However, the wine and bread focus on the source of our

“and though there is no set fixed time for the administration of this ordinance, yet this phrase seems
to suggest that it should be often”

Matthew Henry’s Commentary:
1 Corinthians 11:23-34 PP15
[1.] That it should be frequent: As often as you eat this bread, etc.  Our bodily meals return often; we
cannot maintain life and health without this.  And it is fit that this spiritual diet should be taken often

The word as often (#3740) o`sa,kij in 1Corinthians 11:25 & 26 is the same word used in
Revelation 11:6 – the bible uses this word only 3 times in the Greek New Testament

Re 11:6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have
power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues,
as often as they will.

This shows that the two witnesses could strike the earth with plagues as often as they
desired.  Would we place a limitation on the two witnesses in this regard?  Even so, we
should not place a one-time per year limitation on how often one should observe the Lord’
s Supper!

1Corinthians 11:27-34 (NKJV), "Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in
an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.  But let a man examine himself,
and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup.  For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy
manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.  For this reason many
are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.  For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be
judged.  But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with
the world.  Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.  But if
anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment.  And the rest I will set in
order when I come.

In verse 27, Paul refers to the manner of participating in the Lord's Supper.  One should
not eat the Lord’s Supper as an after-thought.  Fellowship with Christ was more
important than their love feast, which was merely a social banquet.  Therefore, they were
guilty of sin against the body and blood of Christ.  Verse 28, Paul explains that each one
needed to prepare for taking the bread and wine in order to be able to take it in a sober
and correct manner, regardless of when they ate it.  Verse 29, Paul teaches that if one
eats and drinks the Lord’s Supper in a manner comparable to the Corinthians, he brings
judgment on himself.  In this situation, one does not recognize the unity of the church –
the Lord's body – by his party spirit and separating into cliques, not sharing with one
another.  Rather, one displays a selfish manner and despises the dignity and harmony of
the church (verse 21 indicates this was the problem of the time).  Verse 30, Many were
weak, sick and had died because of the practice they had gotten themselves into.  Verse
31, Paul gives us a principle of life.  We must possess decorum in all things.  Verse 32,
Paul teaches that if we persist in doing what is wrong, God will chasten us so we will not
receive the condemnation of the world.  

In verse 33, Paul comes back again to their love feasts, which they held before the Lord's
Supper, and admonishes them to wait for one another.  In other words, wait until everyone
has arrived and share with those who are less fortunate.  There were slaves in the church
at Corinth who could not always get to the meetings as early as could others, because of
their duties to their masters.  Moreover, they had very little or nothing to bring.  On the
other hand, the wealthy members had time and food to waste.  Therefore, Paul laid down
some rules of etiquette, saying, wait until everyone is present, and share what you have
with those who are less fortunate.  Verse 34, Paul continues, if you are so hungry that you
cannot wait for the whole assembly to arrive, then eat enough at home so you will be in
control of yourself.  Otherwise, your coming together will be for judgment and for the
worse (verse 1) not for the better.

Therefore, while the meetings mentioned above are not in reference to the Passover, the
same lessons of etiquette would apply at the Passover Feast.  We always take the Lord’s
Supper in the first part of the evening and follow that with the Passover Feast.  We feel
that the most important part of the evening should come first.  

The Passover Feast would be just as we have done in the past, although we did the Lord’s
Supper at the beginning of the 14th Nisan and the Passover Feast at the beginning of the
15th Nisan – calling it the “Night to be Much Observed”.  Of course, we were so somber
that we would hardly speak to one another at the Lord’s Supper and perhaps sometimes
too boisterous at the “Night to be Much Observed”.  The Passover is a time to be quietly
joyous – a time to speak to one another about the wonderful things of God, concerning
His Passover, and all that it means for us.  Furthermore, both of these events take place
at the beginning evening of the 15th Nisan.

Malachi 3.16-17, "Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, And the Lord listened and
heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the Lord And who
meditate on His name.  “They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, "On the day that I make them
My jewels.  And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him."