EATING AND DRINKING IN 1 CORINTHIANS
In 1 Corinthians there are many verses dealing with the matter of eating and drinking. First Corinthians 5:8 says, “So then let us keep the feast.” A feast is not an ordinary meal such as breakfast. A feast is a specially prepared meal. Verse 21 of chapter ten also speaks of the Lord’s table. We should underline the verses in the Bible related to eating the Lord. The words feast and table should stand out. We keep the feast, and we partake of the Lord’s table. Verses 3 and 4 say, “And all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink,” and 12:13 says, “We were all…given to drink one Spirit.” Many charismatic Christians speak much about the baptism in the Spirit. Baptism is to put people into the water, but to drink is to put the water into them. Baptism is outward, while drinking is inward. Today’s Christianity comes short in that many talk about baptism, but they neglect the drinking. First Corinthians 12:13 covers both aspects. The first part of this verse says that we all were baptized in one Spirit. Then the second part says that we all were made to drink one Spirit. In between these two phrases is the conjunction and, indicating that these are two different things. To be baptized in the Spirit is one thing, while to drink the Spirit is another.
Early in the morning, I like to take a shower, and after my shower I like to sit down to take a cup of milk or tea. It is not the case that as long as I have taken a shower, I do not need to drink. This is foolish. If I had to choose between the two, I would forget about the shower, and I would sit down to drink. It may be all right to go for several days without taking a shower, but it is not all right to go without drinking. Would you rather bathe twice a day but never drink, or go without bathing but drink several times a day? My heart aches for the foolishness of today’s Christianity. Many Christians do not understand what they are speaking about. As a small servant of the Lord, I must be faithful to say this; if I do not, I will cheat you. If we are honest and fair when we read 1 Corinthians, we will see the matter of eating.
PAUL’S BALANCING AND RESTRICTING OF THE GIFTS
Paul’s Epistle takes a negative attitude toward the gifts. His word concerning the gifts is not encouraging toward them but balancing. In this book Paul had no intention to encourage the Corinthians to value these gifts. Rather, his burden was to balance and restrict them. The Corinthians overemphasized and overused the gifts. Many charismatic Christians quote 14:18 in which Paul says, “I thank God, I speak in tongues more than all of you,” but they do not quote the following verse: “But in the church I would rather speak five words with my mind, that I might instruct others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue” (v. 19). Paul’s intention was not to encourage them to use the gifts, but to restrict and balance them. Paul did not say that the gifts were wrong, but he did restrict them. Paul said, “If therefore the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak in tongues, and some unlearned in tongues or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are insane?” (v. 23). We must be honest to say that this is not encouragement but balance. Paul goes on to say, “But if all prophesy and some unbeliever or unlearned person enters, he is convicted by all, he is examined by all” (v. 24). In this book, Paul’s intention is to restrict, to balance, the gifts with the matters of eating Christ, drinking the Spirit, growing, transformation, and building.
GROWING BY FEEDING
Before this time we may never have seen the many verses in this book about eating. Paul said, “I gave you milk to drink” (3:2). He did not merely teach them but fed them. What Paul did was a feeding, not a teaching. We must enter into the spirit of the writer of this book. The spirit of this book is that the Corinthians needed the feeding. They needed eating, the proper food, not knowledge, skills, or gifts. Mothers know that the way to help their children to grow is not by teaching them but by feeding them three or more times a day. Little babies need many meals a day. If we feed children, they grow. This was exactly what Paul was doing in this book. Paul, as a spiritual mother, was feeding his children.
(Enjoying the Riches of Christ for the Building Up of the Church as the Body of Christ, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)