Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Stop getting drunk at church and do it at home?

     Paul writes to the problem-plagued Christian community in Corinth: “For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not” (1 Cor. 11:21-22 ESV).
     Although the English rendering of the verb methúō in this passage is “drunk,” it is set in contrast to “hungry” (v. 21) – not necessarily meaning intoxicated but rather indicative of some having over-indulged in both food and drink (v. 22a), while others were left wanting. Such segregation and partiality among Christians show disdain and contempt for God’s church (v. 22b; cf. Jas. 2:1-9). If this is how they were going to act, they should eat and drink at home before they come to the assembly.
     The infinitive “to drink” in v. 22 does not specify what beverage is consumed any more than “to eat” specifies what is eaten. Earlier Paul had reminded the Corinthians that being a faithful Christian and being a drunkard [méthusos] are mutually exclusive (5:11; 6:10), and elsewhere Paul forbids intoxication [methúskō] (Eph. 5:18). Unless inebriants are necessarily in view, the sense of methúō is simply fullness or excessiveness (cf. John 2:10; Rev. 17:2, 6).
--Kevin L. Moore

Related articles: Scott Shifferd's Reconsider Biblical Drunkenness

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