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In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul discusses "the Lord's Supper" (v. 20). He said that when Jesus was betrayed, He took the bread (vv. 23-24), and then, "after supper," He took the cup (v. 25, NKJV). I don't think Paul is implying that the cup was after "the Lord's Supper," as I've always understood both the bread and fruit of the vine as constituting "the Lord's Supper." However, it is interesting to see the drinking of the cup described as taking place "after supper" (v. 25, NKJV).

Assuming the cup is part of the Lord's Supper, why does Paul describe the taking of the cup as being "after supper"?

1 Cor 11:25 - In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

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Great question!

The word, "supper" does not actually appear in the text as a noun. More correctly, it is a verb and thus, a more literal translation would read:

And similarly, the cup: after having eaten, saying this, " ... "

Thus, Paul simply records that the part of the ceremony involving the cup was done after eating.

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Whether the word is a noun or a verb, the implication is that they ate a meal prior to the institution of the Lord's Supper. The meal was apparently a first-century version of the Passover Seder.

Matthew 26

The disciples approached Jesus and said, “Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 18 He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The teacher says, “My appointed time draws near; in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples.”’” 19 The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered, and prepared the Passover.

The exact form this meal took is hard to know, because the feast changed radically a few decades later when the Temple was destroyed and sacrificial offerings ceased. It certainly would have included unleavened bread and a meal consisting of lamb or goat (Exodus 12:5) with bitter herbs and wine, possibly together with other symbolic foods. It is possible that the so-called "Hillel sandwich" was involved:

This is what Hillel did, at the time that the Temple stood. He wrapped up some Pesach lamb, some matzah and some bitter herbs and ate them together.

The story of the Passover itself would undoubtedly have been shared and appropriate psalms recited or sung. {A closing psalm after the entire event is specifically mentioned in both Matthew and Mark's account.} After the traditional Passover meal, Jesus added a new ritual, known today as the Lord's Supper. Paul thus says this tradition was instituted after the meal, or "after eating."

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    I'm curious: you write " the feast changed radically." Could you please give some more data, letting me know where i can research this more/better?
    – Epimanes
    Dec 27, 2023 at 10:27
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The phrase "the Lord's Supper" is in the Bible at 1 Corinthians 11:20. Personally, I'm inclined to think more in terms of "the Lord's last supper." On Earth, that is, for he will eat and drink with his Bride at the marriage supper of the Lamb.

What preceded Christ introducing a new cup that night, was the Passover meal. That may be called a supper, as the original one had to take place early evening of the first Passover in Egypt and, thereafter, all Jewish people remembered that awesome event after sunset. This means that it was after that Passover supper when the Lord introduced a new element, first breaking bread to pass around, then drinking wine from a cup, as symbolic of what he was about to do regarding the New Covenant. His body would be broken and his blood would be shed. When Christ invited his disciples to partake of those elements, this symbolized them being brought into the New Covenant, foretold in the Hebrew scriptures. Of course, Christ was yet to have his body broken and his blood shed, some hours later, when that first "Lord's Supper" took place.

Bear in mind also that people are said "to sup" at any meal, not just an evening meal. But given that the Lord's Supper actually happened in the evening, and could be called "a supper" (meaning the last meal of the day), it could be appropriate for Christians to remember the Lord's death at the Lord's Supper in the evening.

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1Co 11:25:

"In the same way the cup also, after supping, saying,"

Luk 22:20: 

"And in like manner the cup, after having supped, saying,"

Conclusion:

It is not after supper or after the meal (in this verse) but Jesus took the cup, supped a mouthful from it and then said.....

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