The Meaning of 1 Corinthians 11:21 Explained

1 Corinthians 11:21

KJV: For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.

YLT: for each his own supper doth take before in the eating, and one is hungry, and another is drunk;

Darby: For each one in eating takes his own supper before others, and one is hungry and another drinks to excess.

ASV: for in your eating each one taketh before other his own supper; and one is hungry, and another is drunken.

Discover 1 Corinthians 11:21

What does 1 Corinthians 11:21 Mean?

Verse Meaning

The Lord"s Supper was usually part of a meal the Christians shared together, the Song of Solomon -called "love feast." In Corinth instead of sharing their food and drinks, each family was bringing its own and eating what it had brought. The result was that the rich had plenty but the poor had little and suffered embarrassment as well. This was hardly a picture of Christian love and unity (cf. Acts 2:44-46; Acts 4:32; Acts 4:34-35). Furthermore some with plenty of wine to drink were evidently drinking too heavily. They were eating their own private meals rather than sharing a meal consecrated to the Lord.

Context Summary

1 Corinthians 11:11-22 - Unity And Order In Public Assembly
The power on a woman's head in 1 Corinthians 11:10 probably refers to the veil or covering which the Grecian woman assumed at marriage as the sign that she was not free from the sacred ties and duties of wedlock. In Paul's thought of the matter, therefore, it was unseemly for the Christian matron to lay this aside. He conceded the absolute freedom and equality of male and female in Christ, and yet he stood for the observance of the best customs of the age, lest the gospel should be brought into disrepute. The women, therefore, must veil their heads in the Christian assemblies as the angels veil their faces in the presence of God.
The uncovered face of man is to the glory of God, but the covered face of woman recognizes that she finds her glory in her husband's love and care. Each is dependent on the other-the man on God, and the wife on her spouse. These precepts and reasons are somewhat foreign to modern thought, but at least we must notice that there was no subject too trivial-even the headdress-to be brought into subjection to Christ and related to the great principle of His supreme Headship and Lordship. [source]

Chapter Summary: 1 Corinthians 11

1  He reproves them, because in holy assemblies,
4  their men prayed with their heads covered,
6  and women with their heads uncovered;
17  and because generally their meetings were not for the better, but for the worse;
21  as, namely, in profaning with their own feast the Lord's supper
25  Lastly, he calls them to the first institution thereof

Greek Commentary for 1 Corinthians 11:21

Taketh before [προλαμβανει]
Before others. Old verb to take before others. It was conduct like this that led to the complete separation between the Love-feast and the Lord‘s Supper. It was not even a common meal together (κοινον δειπνον — Koinéon deipnon), not to say a Lord‘s δειπνον — deipnon It was a mere grab-game. [source]
This one is hungry [ος δε πειναι]
Demonstrative ος — hos Nothing is left for him at the love-feast. Another is drunken (ος δε μετυει — hos de methuei). Such disgusting conduct was considered shameful in heathen club suppers. “Hungry poor meeting intoxicated rich, at what was supposed to be a supper of the Lord” (Robertson and Plummer). On μετυω — methuō to be drunk, see Matthew 24:49; Acts 2:15. [source]
Another is drunken [ος δε μετυει]
Such disgusting conduct was considered shameful in heathen club suppers. “Hungry poor meeting intoxicated rich, at what was supposed to be a supper of the Lord” (Robertson and Plummer). On μετυω — methuō to be drunk, see Matthew 24:49; Acts 2:15. [source]
Taketh before other []
Not waiting for the coming of the poor to participate. [source]

What do the individual words in 1 Corinthians 11:21 mean?

One for the own supper takes first in - eating and this [one] indeed is hungry that [one] however is drunken
ἕκαστος γὰρ τὸ ἴδιον δεῖπνον προλαμβάνει ἐν τῷ φαγεῖν καὶ ὃς μὲν πεινᾷ ὃς δὲ μεθύει

ἕκαστος  One 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: ἕκαστος  
Sense: each, every.
ἴδιον  own 
Parse: Adjective, Accusative Neuter Singular
Root: ἴδιος  
Sense: pertaining to one’s self, one’s own, belonging to one’s self.
δεῖπνον  supper 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Neuter Singular
Root: δεῖπνον 
Sense: supper, especially a formal meal usually held at the evening,.
προλαμβάνει  takes  first 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: προλαμβάνω  
Sense: to take before.
τῷ  - 
Parse: Article, Dative Neuter Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
φαγεῖν  eating 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Infinitive Active
Root: ἐσθίω  
Sense: to eat.
ὃς  this  [one] 
Parse: Personal / Relative Pronoun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: ὅς 
Sense: who, which, what, that.
μὲν  indeed 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: μέν  
Sense: truly, certainly, surely, indeed.
πεινᾷ  is  hungry 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: πεινάω  
Sense: to hunger, be hungry.
ὃς  that  [one] 
Parse: Personal / Relative Pronoun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: ὅς 
Sense: who, which, what, that.
δὲ  however 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: δέ  
Sense: but, moreover, and, etc.
μεθύει  is  drunken 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: μεθύω  
Sense: to be drunken.

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