What does 1 Corinthians 11:26 mean?
ESV: For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord 's death until he comes.
NIV: For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
NASB: For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.
CSB: For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
NLT: For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.
KJV: For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come.
NKJV: For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
Verse Commentary:
Paul is wrapping up his reminder to the Corinthians of the purpose of observing the Lord's Supper. It's not meant to be a social event and a cause for division (1 Corinthians 11:17–22). Paul has described how Jesus Himself taught His disciples to break and distribute the bread that represented His broken body, along with the wine that represented His spilled blood (Matthew 26:26–28). Jesus commanded them to be intentional about remembering Him and His sacrifice when they came together to eat and drink for this purpose (1 Corinthians 11:23–25).

Now Paul reveals another purpose for observing this sacrament, also known as communion. It is a proclamation that Christ died for the sins of all who trust in Him. Built into that proclamation is the promise that Christ will one day return. In that way, the Lord's Supper involves both looking back to the cross and looking forward to Christ's return to earth. This creates a unique sense in which the gospel imbues meaning into every moment of history. The past—looking back to Christ, the present—partaking in communion, and the future—the imminent return of Jesus are all relevant to the Christian worldview.
Verse Context:
First Corinthians 11:17–34 contains Paul's rebuke of the church in Corinth for their application of the Lord's Supper. They had turned it into a gathering at which the wealthy ate and drank too much, leaving the poorer Christians hungry and humiliated. Paul warns that communion should be a time of sober self-reflection about our sin and Christ's sacrifice, as well as a time to unite the body of Christ, the church, while taking in representations of the blood and body of Christ. Some in Corinth were sick and others had died as part of God's judgment for participating in communion in an unworthy manner.
Chapter Summary:
Paul confronts two issues the church in Corinth was failing to practice correctly. First, some women were not wearing head coverings while praying or prophesying in their meetings. Paul insisted they must do so, and that men must not, based on mankind's relationship to God and the social implications of that covering. Second, Paul describes the reasons for observing the Lord's Supper and how it should be done. The Corinthian Christians had brought God's judgment on themselves for practicing communion in a way which dishonored Christ's sacrifice for sin and humiliated the poor among them.
Chapter Context:
After concluding his teaching on meat offered to idols, Paul turns to two issues the church in Corinth was getting wrong. The first was head coverings when praying or prophesying in their meetings. Differences between men and women in that regard are because of both spiritual and social reasons. Paul also corrects the disastrous way in which they were practicing the observance of the Lord's Supper. They were dishonoring Christ's sacrifice for sin as well as the poor in the body of Christ, the church. Despite having more to say on communion, Paul will move on to the topic of spiritual gifts in chapter 12.
Book Summary:
First Corinthians is one of the more practical books of the New Testament. Paul writes to a church immersed in a city associated with trade, but also with corruption and immorality. These believers are struggling to properly apply spiritual gifts and to resist the ungodly practices of the surrounding culture. Paul's letter gives instructions for real-life concerns such as marriage and spirituality. He also deals with the importance of unity and gives one of the Bible's more well-known descriptions of love in chapter 13.
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