SOAP Study - October 22, 2020
1 Corinthians 10:14-22
14 So, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols. 15 You are reasonable people. Decide for yourselves if what I am saying is true. 16 When we bless the cup at the Lord’s Table, aren’t we sharing in the blood of Christ? And when we break the bread, aren’t we sharing in the body of Christ? 17 And though we are many, we all eat from one loaf of bread, showing that we are one body. 18 Think about the people of Israel. Weren’t they united by eating the sacrifices at the altar?
19 What am I trying to say? Am I saying that food offered to idols has some significance, or that idols are real gods? 20 No, not at all. I am saying that these sacrifices are offered to demons, not to God. And I don’t want you to participate with demons. 21 You cannot drink from the cup of the Lord and from the cup of demons, too. You cannot eat at the Lord’s Table and at the table of demons, too. 22 What? Do we dare to rouse the Lord’s jealousy? Do you think we are stronger than he is?
PERSONAL SOAP STUDY
- What verse stood out to you while you were reading?
- What did you discover about God, yourself, and others?
- How should this information impact your life?
- What needs to be different about the way you are currently living?
- Take some time to talk to God about the things you just learned and how you want your life to look different. Give God thanks for revealing these things to you, ask Him for wisdom and courage to move forward so that you can apply these things to your life.
STAFF SOAP STUDY
Paul continues the discussion with the Corinthians about the meaning of the source and symbolism of the foods they consume. Whereas Paul warned the Corinthians in earlier verses that the food that had been sacrificed to idols could easily lead to idolatry, Paul begins to explain the meaning of the sharing and fellowship of the Lord’s supper. While eating the food sacrificed to idols signals a connection with the values and rituals of pagans, participating in the meals with Christians that recall the sacrifice of Christ strengthens the partnership between Christ and His people. There is an undeniable connection between the food that we consume and the lives that we lead. Our values are reflected to some degree in the foods we choose to consume and those with whom we gather to consume our meals.
The New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary notes that “Christian unity is grounded in sharing the loaf; it depends on partaking in Christ’s death.” The commentary continues by noting that “it is an inescapable principle that the ones who eat the sacrifices are ‘partners in the altar.’ The distinction between the two altars highlights the cup of the Lord or the cup of demons. The association, the partnership, the fellowship and the koinonia that we, as Christian believers, seek is the connection with Christ.
Communion is one of the rare occasions when we regularly share a meal with strangers in close proximity. As a result of our sharing, our connection is strengthened and our identity as a body of believers is made clearer. During communion, we are drawn closer to each other and we are drawn closer to God. We are fed and our faith is nurtured around the altar of God. The purpose of the death of Christ reminds us of our purpose and our forgiveness.
During the recent quarantine that has resulted in many restrictions in the ordinary practices of worship, the symbolism and purpose of communion has been reconsidered. There have been many discussions and debates regarding the meaning of communion, especially for those who are able to gather in the sanctuary. We have also discussed the meaning of communion for those who are not able to gather in the sanctuary. Both those in the sanctuary and those who participate online long for the spiritual renewal and connection that is signaled by the lifting of the bread and the sharing of the cup. The requisite social distancing cannot separate us spiritually from God or each other.
Oh Lord, in many ways we hunger for You. Only You can satisfy the thirsting of our souls. As we partake of Your body and Your blood, continue to draw us close to You. Amen.