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Overcoming Divisive Behaviour

An attempt to interpret 1Cor 11, 17-34 from another perspective


John Inziku

The main reason why Paul cannot praise the Corinthians is indicated in 11:17, 18, 20: there is a separation of some rich members from the community during the love meals. It is not divisions as a «formal split». It is not that they eat beforehand, but the rich take out (only for themselves) their own food. This lack of love during the love meals contradicts the love celebrated sacramentally in the Eucharist and leads to the effect that those people are spiritually weakened. Paul does not threaten with death or last judgement. There is a play on the word «Body» in both Eucharistic and Ecclesiological sense. The problem can be overcome if the community becomes aware of itself as the body of Christ. To respond to this problem the apostle draws upon the Lord’s Supper tradition as a paradigm that stresses the sacrificial aspect: a believer is identified by his or her conformity to the self-surrender and sacrificial love for the others that marked the pattern of Jesus’ death.
Contents: Linguistic Syntactic Analysis of 1Cor 11:17-34 – Analysis and Interpretation of 1Cor 11:17-22 – A Comparative Analysis of the Lord’s Supper Narrative in 1Cor 11:23-26 and the Synoptic Parallels – Analysis of 1Cor 11:27-32 – Paul’s Response to the Situation at Corinth 1Cor 11:33-34 – Pragmatic Analysis of 1Cor 11:17-34 – Relating our New Understanding of 1Cor 11:17-34 to the Contemporary Christian Experience with Particular Reference to Africa.