Is Using Multiple Containers For The Fruit of the Vine Sinful?


There are some students of the Bible who believe that there ought to be just one cup (or container) used for the fruit of the vine in the Lord's Supper. They will misuse the term "cup" from 1 Corinthians 11:23-25 in an attempt to justify their scruple.

This is a gross misunderstanding of the text. It is clear that Jesus and Paul are referring to the contents, not the container. It is a figure of speech called a metonymy.

Metonymy is "a word or phrase that is used to stand in for another word." ( ).

There are several examples of metonymy which we currently use in America: (1) pen - the written word [example, "The pen is mightier than the sword.", (2) the sword - military aggression [previous example], (3) the White House - in place of the President or others who work there [example, "The White House announced today that it will be canceling a dinner that was to be hosted by an environmental group."], and (3) dish - for an entire plate of food [example, "That dish was wonderful."].

We know this to be a metonymy because of how Luke and Matthew describe the Lord's Supper. It was to be "divided" (Luke 22:17), "poured out" (Luke 22:20), and "drunk" (Matthew 26:27). It is obvious that this is referring to the contents (the liquid), not the container!

Notice that Jesus mentions the contents of the cup are to be "divided", authorizing multiple containers for the Lord's Supper.

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Lord's SupperJoey Ferrell