According to some Pauline scholars, 1 Corinthians 10:14–22 “has been remarkably underused in most churches’ theology and liturgy of the Lord’s Supper.” Theologians and liturgiologists tend to focus on what Paul says about the Lord’s Supper in 1 Cor. 11 rather than on what he says about the sacrament in 1 Cor. 10.
To some extent, this asymmetrical analysis of Paul’s doctrine of the Lord’s Supper is warranted by the text itself. In 1 Cor. 11, Paul is directly addressing the practice of the Lord’s Supper. In 1 Cor. 10, he is not. Rather, he’s addressing the issue of eating food offered to idols. What he says about the Lord’s Supper in 1 Cor. 10 is incidental to the main point of the text.
However, Paul’s sayings regarding the sacrament in 1 Cor. 10, despite the fact that they are purely circumstantial, are, nonetheless, profound. It is unfortunate that this text has been underused in eucharistic theology.
Several years ago, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that B. B. Warfield had preached a sermon on this text one Sunday afternoon to a group of students at Princeton Seminary. Warfield’s exposition clearly illustrates the importance of 1 Cor. 10 for a Reformed doctrine of the Lord’s Supper.
In Warfield’s analysis of this remarkable passage of scripture, he seeks to explain the fundamental meaning of the Lord’s Supper according to the apostle Paul. Continue reading