Firstly, I would like to ask what Doug means when he says that all those who are bread should get bread? I thought Jesus was the bread of life. I don’t ever remember seeing a passage where we are described as bread. There are lots of passages that describe how we should eat. Some clarification here would be helpful.
My guess is that the debate will have to keep circling around 1 Corinthians 11 in spite of the fact that it is Venema’s last chapter in the book. The argument concerning the nature of the examination is a very important point. Doug asks the question this way: “what are they to be looking for as they conduct the examination? The entire context of this passage has to do with the quarrelsome factiousness of the Corinthian church, and nothing directly to do with their cognitive understanding of the Gospel.’” In Venema’s book, he deals with this interpretation on pp. 104-107 in terms of description, and pp. 117-122 by way of critique and positive exegesis of the passage. The short answer is that there is a shift in verse 27 from a focus on particular abuses (such as the divisions in the body) to a focus on a more general application of how the Supper is to be taken. Grammatical indicators are the shift from second person plural (“You all”) in vv. 17-20,22 to a third person perspective (“whoever” (v. 27), “a man” (v. 28), and “he” (v. 29)). As Venema puts it, “Thought the apostle began his treatment of the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11 with a description of the inappropriate behavior of some members of the Corinthian church, he now moves to a series of general instructions that apply to all members of the covenant community” (p. 117, emphasis original; also ibid. for the above grammatical argumentation). This is certainly Calvin’s interpretation as well (see commentary on 1 Cor, p. 385, modern translation, p. 251).