By Bread Alone: The Bible Through the Eyes of the Hungry edition:1 pages:159-184
This study explores 1 Cor 11:17-34 as one of the faith resources that can inspire Christians to contribute to a hunger-free world. This pericope is a ‘hidden treasure’. It is not usually used to in reflecting about Christian commitment to address hunger. This paper argues against an understanding that Paul wants the hungry Corinthians to eat privately in their own homes meal and to remain satisfied with only the bread and wine of the community fellowship. From a narrative-critical perspective, this interpretation seems incoherent with Paul’s strong criticism of the ‘abuses’ at the common meal (vv. 17-22). Exploring Paul’s phraseological, psychological, ideological, temporal and spatial planes of point of view in connection with their symbolic universe depicted in 1 Cor 11:17-34, I propose that Paul takes the side of have-nots (hoi mē exhontes), the hungry adelphoi (v. 22, 33-34), in order to uphold the assembly’s unity and for everyone to truly partake together of the meal at the Lord’s Supper (kyriakon deipnon), at the same time and at the same place where the community gathers.