And so, my dear friends, keep on running away from idolatry. I am talking to sensible people. Decide for yourselves what I am saying. The cup of blessing that we bless is a sign of our sharing in the blood of Christ, isn’t it? The bread that we break is a sign of our sharing in the body of Christ, isn’t it? Because there is one loaf, we who are many are one body, because all of us partake of the one loaf.1 Corinthians 10:14-17
Paul said he was talking to reasonable people. Am I talking to reasonable people? I am sure I am. So how do we reasonable people make sense of what Paul is doing now? He has spent the last days talking about the examples taken from ancient Israel’s experience. These examples are for our benefit. Don’t follow Israel’s example in setting your hearts on evil or being idolaters or sinning sexually or testing the Lord or complaining. Paul starts this section focusing on idolatry – dear friends run from idolatry – he then seems to forget idolatry and his thoughts turn to the communion table. It seems a little hard to follow his training of thought. Why does he bring up the issue of communion. What is in his mind?
Being able to follow the train of thought of the author sure helps in our understanding of what he is saying. Ha ha that is something I don’t need to say to reasonable people. You know that every bit as well as I do. The key to doing good Bible study is being able to understand the author’s purpose. If you can do that you have cracked the code. “Decide for yourselves what I am saying.” I feel a little like Paul is writing the Gem for me today.
Spend some time on this and see if you can make sense of the pieces to track with Paul’s train of thought. Hint: deal with the passage piece by piece looking for meaning and the connections as to why Paul would say these things and how the larger chunks go together. Don’t stop too soon in analysing the connections and trying to work out the wider sense unit. It all hangs together. Especially where Paul is concerned it always does hang together. That is the way he thinks and writes.
Spend time working out how the pieces go together and especially why Paul slips the cup of blessing and bread in at this point. Yet he is talking about idolatry. How strange! You work it out. Continuing story tomorrow.
If You Don’t Start, It’s Certain You’ll Never Finish.Robb Thompson
The quality of your life is set by the questions you ask yourself. The more honest & brave the questions, the further you’ll go.Rick Warren