It’s the scariest verse in the Bible, or is it? It always scared me until I heard it explained correctly. I’m Joel Fieri, and this is What You’ve Been Searching For on Christian Podcast Central. Stay tuned.
In our further research on the questions and topics that the Christian Podcast listeners have been searching for, we had a question come up that I thought was interesting, and this is it. What is the scariest verse in the Bible? I don’t have the answer to that today, but I do know of a couple of verses that used to scare me until I heard them explained in context and I believe correctly. I think they’re still scaring a lot of Christians, and I want to just do my part in clearing it up.
The first verse that comes to mind when I think of this is in 1 Corinthians 11, Paul is talking to the Corinthian church, a seriously messed up Corinthian church. Keep in mind, they had all kinds of sin going on in Corinth. Sexual sin, divisions, all kinds of fighting, infighting, all kinds of things. In chapter 11, Paul is talking about… the last chapter, he’s talking about the Lord’s supper and how the Corinthians were taking the Lord’s supper incorrectly. Verse 23, he describes that Jesus, when he had given thanks in the upper room in the Last Supper, he broke the bread and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” Then, he took the cup and said, “When you drink this cup, do it in remembrance of me. When you do that, you proclaim my death until I come.” Okay? So that’s the Lord’s supper as Jesus explained it.
In verse 27, Paul says, “So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine himself where they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those of you who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ, eat and drink judgment on themselves. That is why many of you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.” It means they’re dead.
So when I was a young Christian, this was drilled into me that God takes communion, what we know as communion, how we celebrate communion very seriously, and you better examine yourself and you better take it right because back in the day, some people died when they didn’t and they encouraged us to examine ourselves. If there’s any unconfessed sin in your life, make sure you do that. So I used to sit there with the cup of grape juice and the piece of cracker and think, “God, I’ve got to really examine myself. Forgive me for looking at the girl in the front row or forgive me for being mad at that guy.” Whatever it was, and it was really a stressful thing because I was told that if you do it wrong, you could end up sick or even dead.
But like I said, context is everything, and I didn’t… I’ve only heard this explained once in my life, and it’s back in college. Years ago, a pastor explained this verse to us, and it’s the only time I’ve ever heard it explained this way. But I think it’s right because I’m looking at the context of the chapter. 10 verses earlier in chapter… in verse 17 of chapter 11, Paul is… what my Bible headline is correcting an abuse of the Lord’s supper. So he started talking about this 10 verses earlier, but nobody ever goes back 10 verses earlier at least that I’ve ever heard. Okay?
Now, verse 17. He says, “In the following directives, I have no praise for you.” Again, he’s talking to this seriously messed up Corinthian church. “For your meetings do more harm than good. In the first place. I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent, I believe it. No doubt there have been differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval.” Okay? You’re getting the problem? “So then, when you come together, it’s not the Lord’s supper you eat for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in, or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter.”
So there is the problem. It’s not that who’s ever eating the Lord’s supper is not examining themselves totally and may have some unconfessed sin. This is a major problem. There are people who are hogging all the food because they think they’re better than all the people that don’t have any food and that have nothing. Maybe they’re the rich Corinthians are hogging all the food to themselves and letting the poor Corinthians go hungry. That’s what it sounds like to me. So this is the unworthy manner. People in this church, and back then, obviously, because the churches were under persecution because they were small, the Christians in these towns that Paul was writing to got together all the time apparently and ate their meals together. This meal was what they called the Lord’s supper, and there were some serious, serious sin going on. The biggest sin seems to be that some people thought they were better than others.
Now, if there’s one thing that you see all through scripture, nothing gets God’s wrath, like nothing will make God go all Sodom and Gomorrah, and fire and brimstone on your… you know what more than thinking you’re better than another Christian. It’s called haughtiness. It’s called haughty eyes. It’s what Jesus went off on the Pharisees about because they thought they were higher up because they were the Pharisees, the experts in the law, they were better. Jesus says, “No, I see inside you. You’re worse.” Okay?
So this big sin is thinking you’re better than anyone else, hogging all the resources for yourself, thinking you deserve it more than someone else maybe. I don’t know. This is what Paul is talking about. So, for all of you taking communion out there, and like I said, this has been taught to me my whole Christian life even up to a few weeks ago when I was in a church service and I heard the same thing explained. Complete disregard for what the real problem was, these verses, and I don’t know why pastors don’t do this since pastors are just have to drill into them that context is everything. But in the context, this seems to me that this is the major problem, and I have never really seen that in any communion service I’ve been to.
I’m sure it applies to other areas of church, but when it comes to communion, I don’t think we should be so nervous, or concerned, or even scared. This is not a scary verse as it seems, unless you really, really, really think you’re better than the other Christians around you and you’ve done something like this. Like I said, this is the one thing that really gets God’s wrath up is Christians thinking they’re better than other Christians.
So I hope that makes sense. Again, it’s just a spin I took on this question of the scariest verses in the Bible. This one has been scary to me, and I know it’s been scary to other people. I don’t think it should be. So next week, I’m going to take another verse that has been used not so much to scare people, but manipulate and intimidate people that I don’t think it should be used that way either. So stay tuned for that. Thank you for listening. I’m Joel Fieri. See you next week.