|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
11:17-22 The apostle rebukes the disorders in their partaking of the Lord's supper. The ordinances of Christ, if they do not make us better, will be apt to make us worse. If the use of them does not mend, it will harden. Upon coming together, they fell into divisions, schisms. Christians may separate from each other's communion, yet be charitable one towards another; they may continue in the same communion, yet be uncharitable. This last is schism, rather than the former. There is a careless and irregular eating of the Lord's supper, which adds to guilt. Many rich Corinthians seem to have acted very wrong at the Lord's table, or at the love-feasts, which took place at the same time as the supper. The rich despised the poor, and ate and drank up the provisions they brought, before the poor were allowed to partake; thus some wanted, while others had more than enough. What should have been a bond of mutual love and affection, was made an instrument of discord and disunion. We should be careful that nothing in our behaviour at the Lord's table, appears to make light of that sacred institution. The Lord's supper is not now made an occasion for gluttony or revelling, but is it not often made the support of self-righteous pride, or a cloak for hypocrisy? Let us never rest in the outward forms of worship; but look to our hearts.
Verse 22. - To eat and to drink in. The object of the agape was something higher than the mere gratification of appetite. Though not a sacrament, it was an accompaniment of the Lord's Supper, and was itself intended to be a symbolical and sacred meal. Despise ye the Church of God! The congregation of your fellow Christians. Shame; rather, disgrace, or put to shame. Them that have not. It would be natural to supply "houses." But the commentators found it difficult to suppose that any of the Corinthians had not "houses to eat and to drink in." Hence most commentators give to the phrase its classic sense, in which "those who have" means the rich, and "those who have not," the poor. They seem, however, to have forgotten that slaves at any rate could hardly be said to have "houses of their own," and it is certain that not a few of the Corinthian Christians were slaves. I praise you not. As in ver. 17, this is an instance of what is called litotes, a mild expression, suggesting a meaning much stronger than the words themselves. For. He is about to give his reason for thus strongly blaming their irregularities.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
What? have ye not houses to eat and drink in?.... This shows that one taking his supper before another, was not in their own houses, before they came to the place of divine worship, but in the house of God; and the apostle suggests, that if they must have their ante-suppers, and were disposed to eat and drink freely, before they partook of the Lord's supper, it was more decent and orderly, and less reflected upon the honour of religion and the ordinances of Christ, to eat and drink in their own houses; in which they were not only more private and retired, but which they had for such purposes; whereas the house of God was not for any such use, nor should they meet together there on such an account; at least, such disorderly, unequal, and intemperate feasts there, were very scandalous and reproachful: and it was contrary to a Jewish canon to eat and drink in the synagogues, which runs thus (o),
"in the synagogues they do not use a light behaviour, nor do they eat and drink in them;''
though they sometimes speak of travellers eating and drinking and lodging in the synagogues (p), yet they interpret these of places adjoining to them:
or despise ye the church of God; that is, expose it to contempt and scorn; meaning either the community, the people of God gathered together in a Gospel church state; or the place where they met for public worship, which the Ethiopic version calls, "the house of God"; which was rendered very contemptible by such disorderly practices;
and shame them that have not; no houses to eat in, or supper to eat, or any of this world's goods, or money to purchase food for themselves; who must be confounded and put to shame, when, coming in expectation of being fed, the provisions were eaten up by the rich before they came, or, however, were not allowed to partake when they did come; this was such a respecting of persons, as was justly culpable in them by the apostle.
(o) T. Hieros. Megilia, fol. 74. 1. & T. Bab. Megilla, fol. 28. 1.((p) Gloss. in T. Bab. Bava Bathra, & Pesachim, fol. 101. 1. & Gloss. in ib. Maimon. Hilch. Sabbat, c. 29. sect. 8. & Maggid Misna in ib.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
22. What!—Greek, "For."
houses—(compare 1Co 11:34)—"at home." That is the place to satiate the appetite, not the assembly of the brethren [Alford].
despise ye the church of God—the congregation mostly composed of the poor, whom "God hath chosen," however ye show contempt for them (Jas 2:5); compare "of God" here, marking the true honor of the Church.
shame them that have not—namely, houses to eat and drink in, and who, therefore, ought to have received their portion at the love-feasts from their wealthier brethren.
I praise you not—resuming the words (1Co 11:17).
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