Q. In all of scripture I have found but one verse that appears to back up the traditionally Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation (i.e. Presence of Christ dwells literally in the bread and wine). That being 1 Corinthians 10:16 “Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?”
I just wanted to get your take on this verse, which has confounded this ex-Catholic.
A. According to their doctrine, at the moment a Catholic takes the communion wafer it becomes the Lord’s actual body and blood. This is a case of taking something literally that the Lord clearly meant to be allegorical. In John 6:53 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” In the context of the passage, He was comparing Himself to the manna that God had given the Israelites in the desert, calling Himself the Bread of Life. No one would interpret that verse to mean that he expected to be literally eaten by His followers.
Later in instituting the communion memorial at the last supper, He explained what He meant. The bread is supposed to represent His body, and the wine His blood. Whenever we eat it we’re supposed to remember how He gave His body and shed His blood for the remission of our sins. It’s a reminder of the extent to which He went to save us.
In 1Cor. 10:16 the word translated participation literally means fellowship. Paul was reminding us that by eating the bread and drinking the cup we’re declaring ourselves to be one of the Lord’s followers, and that sets us apart from the world. Therefore we should no longer follow the world’s ways. The verse does not in any way support the doctrine of transubstantiation.