“for this cause…many sleep.”


Paul in his epistles states the issue concerning the Lord’s table. In one particular aspect of this, that because of the abuse of this Paul said “for this cause many are weak and sickly among you and many sleep.” Could you explain what this means? And can this result in the untimely death of a believer with reference to “and many sleep” as stated previously. I Corinthians 11:30


My understanding is that what Paul cites are actual physical afflictions of weakness and sickliness that were being experienced by many of the Corinthian saints who were making a mockery out of the Lord’s table; and this included the issue of many of them dying. Also it is my understanding (in view of what Paul says immediately preceding verse 30 and in the verses that follow) that this was the direct result of the Lord chastening them for their crime.

Moreover my understanding is that a proper understanding and appreciation of this situation requires a good understanding and appreciation of the issue of sonship in general, but more particularly of the issues of how a father deals with his sons. For chastening, (though often thought of as only an issue in ‘childhood’), is also an issue in sonship. Differences exist between the two, but it is still an issue nonetheless.

Hence in accordance with the fact that we have received the adoption of sons in this present dispensation and that God is dealing with us as sons; my understanding is that what God did at this time in so chastening these Corinthian saints is the issue of Him severely chastening some sons for the purpose of making an example out of them to the admonition and benefit of all His other sons. Doing so is in accordance with sonship chastening. And by doing this a father gives fair warning and admonition to all his other sons on the particular matter that is in view. A father thereby makes the rest of his sons accountable on the matter from that time on, and they will be held without excuse regarding it, because of the example he made out of the ones he severely chastened.

Therefore my understanding is that this is the same course of action that God took with these of the Corinthians who were engaged in making a mockery out of the Lord’s table. By so doing these in Corinth turned the issue of laboring together with God in His designed purpose for the Lord’s table into a travesty, which brought reproach upon it and upon the issue of God’s sons laboring together with Him in His business. Hence God chastened them as described, making an example out of them for the rest of His sons to be admonished thereby, both at that particular time and throughout the remainder of this dispensation of His grace.

Keith Blades
Enjoy The Bible Ministries

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