G. C. Brewer’s Review of “The Cup of the Lord”
Answered by J. D. Phillips - Number 2
“2. Goes to the Greek. The author of the tract says: “When Alexander Campbell wanted to know the truth about baptism, he went to the Greek, … and found ‘baptisma, immersion, submersion.’ When the cup question came up, we went to the Greek, and found the word ‘poteerion, a cup, a drinking vessel’.””
Yes, “Campbell went to the Greek” on baptism, and the sprinklers began to quake, for they saw that their footing was gone. We go to the Greek on the cup question, and “poteerion, a cup, a drinking vessel,” is so clearly defined that no reasonable person can fail to get the meaning of the word. And it makes the cups advocates quake as much as “immersion, submersion,” as the definition of baptisma, made the sprinklers quake. There is no footing in either word for the evolutions of the theological skater!
“Campbell went to the Greek lexicons because “baptize” and “baptism” are Greek words, and the only place to find them correctly defined and used is in the Greek lexicons and literature. But there was no need on earth to go into the Greek on the cup question. The word “poteerion” means in Greek exactly what “cup” means in English; and if there is any simpleton who does not know that a cup is a drinking vessel, he, could consult his dictionary and learn this. What is the advantage in saying “poteerion” instead of “cup”? O, it sounds learned and beguiles the ignorant!””
I go to the Greek on every subject that I investigate. “No Version is perfect. For all versions are the works of man, and no work of man is free from blemish. The divine Original alone is that” (Wordsworth, in the Introduction to “The Acts,” Greek New Testament with Notes).
Campbell did not “go to the Greek because ‘baptize’ and ‘baptism’ are Greek words.” Campbell knew that neither “baptize” nor “baptism” is a Greek word! They are Anglicized; and anglicize means “to make English” (Webster). And being English words, they are defined in English dictionaries. And the man who says they are not there defined correctly does not know the a, b, c, of language. Webster defines English words as their current meanings require. Through usage, the English word “baptism” has come to have three or more meanings, such as sprinkle, pour, etc., which is not true of the Greek word, baptisma, which means “immersion, submersion.” From the very nature of the word it cannot mean to sprinkle or pour in Greek, its root being bapto, meaning “to dip.” Likewise, through usage, the English word “cup” has come to have five or more meanings which the Greek word, poteerion, rendered “cup” in the New Testament, does not have: the Greek word means only “a cup, a drinking vessel.” Even though poteerion is sometimes used both metaphorically (as in Matthew 26:39) and metonymically (as in 1 Corinthians 10:21), the definition is “a cup, a drinking vessel.” Both “baptism” and “cup” have meanings in English not inherent in baptisma and poteerion. The only way, then, to be infallibly safe is to go to the Greek Original, as Campbell and Carson did on baptisma, and as we are doing on poteerion. It neither “sounds learned” nor “beguiles” us for our brother to expose his ignorance as he has in his review.
“But the author of the tract thinks by showing that, the word is “poteerion, a cup, a drinking vessel,” he will have proved that the Lord took a literal vessel and blessed it, etc. Thus, he thinks to escape the claim that the word “cup”’ is used in a figurative sense. But no one who has intelligence enough to go unincarcerated would say that the “fruit of the vine” was not contained in a literal cup or vessel, and that our Lord did not take up this literal cup full of wine when he instituted the memorial. There could be no dispute there between sane people.
Yes, I proved that “the Lord took a literal vessel” filled with “the fruit of the vine” and “blessed it,” or “blessed” God for it, and said, “This cup is (estin, a copula of symbolical relation) the New Testament in My blood” (Luke 22:20). And “the word cup” is not “used in a figurative sense,” in Matthew 26:27, Mark 14:23, and Luke 22:20. Thayer says it is used literally, as “this cup containing wine” (Lexicon, p. 15).”
By going to the Greek, I established the fact that the word “cup” in the New Testament always bears the same meaning - and this in opposition to those who teach that - “The word ‘cup’ as used by Christ in Matthew 26:27 and ‘the fruit of the vine’ are one and the same.” This is the proposition as written, signed, and affirmed by J. N. Cowan, in The Cowan-Harper Debate. Alva Johnson affirmed in debate with H. C. Harper, and later with me, that - “The ‘fruit of the vine’ is ‘the cup of the Lord’.” True, indeed, the contention was not “sane” (as Brewer admits), but we were called upon to meet it: and did meet it.
“Furthermore, any person who knows anything at all about any language knows that you cannot tell whether or not a word is figurative any better from the Greek than from the English. It is not a different word when it is literal and when it is figurative. The English word “cup” is used in both a literal and a figurative sense. Likewise, the Greek word “poteerion” is used in both a literal and figurative sense. Yet every time Phillips quotes, “He took the cup,” he places after the word “cup” the parenthetical expression, “poteerion, a cup, a drinking vessel.” He hopes thus to make the reader think: that because the word is “poteerion” here, it was a literal vessel, singular in number. But when, he quotes, “Drink the cup of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 10:21), which he admits is a metonymy, he fails to insert his Greek word with its definition after the word “cup!” Why did he do this? Does he not want his readers to know that the word is “poteerion” in this place? Why did he not quote it after his usual style thus: “Drink the cup (poteerion, a cup, a drinking vessel) of the Lord”? In other words, “drink the drinking vessel of the Lord”! O, but he says it is figurative here. Certainly, but it is “poteerion, a cup, a drinking vessel.” Surely any reader can see that there is no sense in giving the Greek word, as it is the same whether used literally or figuratively. Therefore, all his Greek goes for naught.”
Why should I keep inserting the word, poteerion, after I had established the fact that the word “cup” in the English versions is always from poteerion, and that it is the same word, whether used literally or figuratively, in the Original? - and this in opposition to those who say, with J. N. Cowan, “I know the word ‘cup’ is often used to name a literal, material, vessel; but I also know that it never means that when used in connection with the Lord’s supper.”
But to show Bro. Brewer that I am not afraid to insert the word where he correctly says I did not, I here do so: “Ye cannot drink the cup (poteerion, a cup, a drinking vessel) of the Lord and the cup (poteerion) of devils” (1 Corinthians 10:21). We “drink the cup” - drink the drinking vessel - “of the Lord” by drinking “what is in the cup” (Thayer). “By drinking what it contains, and in no other way” (N. L. Clark, in Clark-Harper Debate). And when we are told to “drink the cup,’’ poteerion is used and it connotes “a literal vessel, singular in number,” even though, it is used “by metonymy of the container for the thing contained,” as Thayer points out. See his Lexicon, p. 533. And had the Corinthians been accustomed to the use of cups, and Paul agreed with the practice, he would have used the plural form of poteerion, and the translation would have read cups. But the fact that Paul uses poteerion, in the singular, shows that they used one cup.
Thayer’s Lexicon points out the passages in which poteerion is used literally as “the vessel out of which one drinks”; then the ones in which it is used “by metonymy of the container for the contained”; then the ones in which the writers of the N. T. followed the Hebrew idiom and used it in the metaphorical sense to denote the Savior’s sufferings and death. See Thayer, p. 533. See also Robinson’s Lexicon, under poteerion.
I appealed to the living scholars, in such institutions of learning as Yale, Harvard, and Chicago Universities, and quoted them by the dozens, in the tract. Instead of giving his readers what they said, he distorted it and met the distortion! He built a straw man, and knocked the filling out of it! And if you will read the tract under review, you will soon see why he did not let you see what I said, and what the scholars said, and you will see that the Greek does not go “for naught”!
“3. Quotes the Scholars. The author of the tract quotes a great number of scholars to sustain his contention, but it is doubtful if these scholars could have even conceived of what his contention is. They answered his questions in regard to the Greek noun, pronoun, and its antecedent, etc. What those scholars say is not questioned by any one, and was not before he interrogated them. They only tell him that when the record says, “He took a cup,” it means he took up a literal vessel filled with the Passover wine. No one on earth ever doubted that. We could hardly suppose that our Lord took up the fruit of the vine and gave it to his disciples in his hands without any sort of vessel or container. But our author had to appeal to eminent scholars to prove that he did not!”
I did not want these scholars to “conceive what” my “contention is.” I wanted them to give impartial testimony in answer to my questions “in regard to the Greek noun, pronoun, antecedent, etc.” I wanted them to answer my questions on the meaning of the language, without any prejudice, and without any effort, on their part, to argue the question of how many cups should be used, in the communion.
“What these scholars say is not questioned by any one,” says Bro. Brewer. Reader, remember this! This is an admission that the Greek word, poteerion, means a drinking vessel. And yet, Bro. Brewer proceeds to call it just a “vessel,” “pitcher,” “vial,” “bowl,” “jug,” “pot,” or anything else that it is not! I certainly needed to go to the Greek text, or somewhere, for Bro. Brewer shows that he does not understand the English word “cup”! He admits the exclusive meaning of poteerion, even though he does want to evade the force of it by calling it “a vessel.” “He took a cup” (Matthew 26:27) does not mean “he took up a literal vessel.” A “vessel” is a generic term, and the Greek word is skeuos; a “cup” is a specific term, and the Greek word is poteerion. The definition of a word and the word are convertible terms. I dare him deny it. A “vial” is a vessel; likewise, a “jug,” a “bottle,” etc., almost ad finitum. You cannot give the meaning of Scripture that contains poteerion by giving “vessel” any more than you can give the meaning of Scripture that contains baptizo by giving “sprinkle.”
“His scholars tell him that the pronoun “this” - “touto” in the Greek - in the expression, “for this is my blood" (verse 28), has as its grammatical antecedent “the cup” - to poteerion - but that it by metonymy refers to the contents of the cup. Of course, any intelligent person who does not know a Greek letter would understand that. The English is perfectly plain. Read it: “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it; and he gave to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took a cup, and gave thanks, and gave to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this (cup) is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many unto remission of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-28.)”
Yes, the scholars back me in this interpretation. “This” - touto - is neuter gender, and it must, of necessity, refer to “cup” - poteerion - which is also neuter. But the reference is, my metonymy, to the contents of the “cup.” I went to the Greek scholars on this point because some say that the reference word “this” in “this is my blood” cannot refer to the “cup” that contains the “blood” and that, therefore, the “fruit of the vine” is “the cup.” I have met this several times in debate.
“Now, while it is perfectly obvious that Jesus took up a literal vessel containing the “fruit of the vine,” it is also just as obvious that the material vessel was only an incidental and had no signification whatever in the service. Only the contents of the cup had any meaning. Can any soul believe that Christ gave thanks for a literal, material vessel? Would he have thanked God for this cup had it been empty? Would he have said, “Take, drink,” if there had been nothing in the cup to drink? Could the expression, “This (cup) is my blood,” have alluded to an empty cup? Could “this” even by metonymy refer to an empty cup? Metonymy is the putting of the container for the thing contained; but if there was nothing contained in the cup, where is your metonymy? Of course, even Phillips does not claim that the cup was empty, but he puts the emphasis and the importance upon the material vessel, and I am only showing that the literal vessel - cup - had no meaning in the institution. If it did, then an empty vessel would have served as well, since it was the cup and not the thing in the cup that he gave thanks for and said “this” is my blood, etc.!”
“Only the contents of the cup had any meaning.” Who said so? Bro. Brewer. Is he inspired? No. For an inspired answer, go to Luke 22:20. Jesus says, “This cup is the New Testament.” “This cup” is from touto to poteerion - literally, “this the cup” - in Greek, and F. R. Gay, professor of Greek in Bethany College, says, “The demonstrative touto shows the reference to be to a definite, material, cup.” Robert H. Pfieffer says the language means that the literal cup, or drinking vessel, is a symbol of the New Testament. Thayer says on page 15 of his Lexicon that the meaning of Luke 22:20 is, “This cup containing wine, an emblem of blood, is rendered by the shedding of my blood, an emblem of the New Testament.” Bro. Brewer says, “What these scholars say is not questioned by any one, and was not before he interrogated them.” Very well, then. “The cup” - drinking vessel - has a meaning “in the institution”; it is a symbol of the New Testament. The wine in the cup cannot be a symbol of the New Testament, for it is a symbol of the blood of that Testament. Here are two great men: G. C. Brewer and Christ. They differ. Choose between them! With me it is “Speak, Lord; Thy servant heareth.”
No; he would not have thanked God for an empty cup, nor would the empty cup have represented His blood. Nor does wine apart from the cup represent His blood. Nor does an empty cup represent the New Testament. The wine must be in the cup for either to have any meaning.
“The cup - literal vessel - had no more meaning than did the plate, platter, or vessel upon which the bread or loaf was lying when Jesus took it and broke it. Did Jesus break the loaf and hand a piece in His bare hands to each of the disciples, or did He place a portion upon each disciple’s individual plate? Which way was it done?
Mark you, there is no “it” in the Greek or in the Revised Version in reference either to the loaf or the cup. This is where Phillips blunders seriously. It does not say that Jesus blessed the loaf and gave “it” - the loaf - to His disciples. It says He gave to the disciples, which means, of course, that He gave them of the loaf and told them to eat of the loaf. He gave them each a portion of the loaf. Likewise, He gave thanks for the cup “and gave to them” (it does not say he gave it to them) and told them to drink of it. Drink of what? Of that which he gave to them, of course. He gave, to them the cup - that which they were to drink, and that which was his blood of the covenant poured out. He gave to them each a portion of the cup - the fruit of the vine - just as he gave each a portion of the loaf. He gave them that which they were to drink. Could they drink a vessel?”
There is nothing said about the loaf being on a “plate, platter, or vessel” of any kind. The loaf is what Christ said was His “body.” He broke the loaf, and gave it to them, and told them to break it, as He had done, for He said, “this do.” No mention is made of the manner in which He gave the loaf to them. Hence, we may put it on a platter or plate, if we so desire. No Scripture is violated if it is passed without being in a vessel.
But let us see Bro. Brewer pass the wine without a vessel to contain it! (There will be more said about the cup and its symbolism, later).
The Greek idiom does not require the expression of the pronoun for “it” after “He gave,” in Matthew 26:27, but it should be supplied to make the sense complete. Where is your translator who dares put a plural after “He gave”? As well try to find one who dares put in “sprinkling” for baptisma.
There is an “it” in the Greek where poteerion is used. For, “they all drank out of it” (Mark 14:23) in obeying the Savior’s command, “You must all drink out of it” (Matthew 26:27). And “it” here has, as its antecedent, the word “cup” just preceding; and hence “He gave it” - “the cup” - to them, this being the meaning of the Greek idiom. Most translations so read. And it is Bro. Brewer that “blunders seriously,” by ignoring the idiom.
He admits that poteerion always means “a cup, a drinking vessel”; then contradicts himself by saying, “He gave them the cup - that which they were to drink, and that which was His blood of the covenant.” True, He “gave to them the cup,” but “the cup” is not His blood: the “blood” was in “the cup.” What they were to drink was in “the cup.” And they drank “the cup” by drinking “what was in the cup” (Thayer). Sure, they could “drink a vessel” by “drinking what is in” the “vessel,” as Thayer points out.
Cruden says: “The master of the feast took a cup of wine in his hand, and solemnly blessed God for it, and for the mercy which was then acknowledged; and gave it to all the guests, of which everyone drank in turn”. See also “Hebrew Literature.”
J. D. Phillips
POLICY OF THIS PAPER
1. To judge no man’s loyalty to his God by his loyalty to the paper.
2. To “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints.” (Jude 1:3). And thus, complete the restoration started by the Campbells and others a century ago.
3. To oppose every departure from the word of God in faith and practice; avoiding at the same time undue stress on any one sin, to the exclusion of others. We expect to wage a war of uncompromising hostility against every sin both in and out of the church.
4. To make the paper an open forum, insofar as the issues being discussed are considered vital to the welfare of the church and the salvation of the soul.
5. To give the readers a balanced periodical, thus making it beneficial to both saint and sinner.
6. To manifest the spirit of Christ in dealing with all issues and controversies, thus avoiding personal thrusts and abusive language. We ask all our writers to say nothing in the columns of the paper that they would be ashamed or afraid to say in the day of Judgment.
7. To make field reports a special feature. Therefore, we insist that all preachers and leaders of the loyal congregations send in reports and announcements regularly; thereby encouraging others in the work.
8. Finally, to be true to the charge that God has given us; to glorify Him in all that we do or say; to urge upon all a closer walk with God; realizing that we have never dying souls to save, and to fit them for Mansions in the sky.
J. D. Phillips H. C. Harper
Homer L. King Homer A. Gay
Since we have added so many new names to our mailing list since we published the first issue a year ago, containing the above “policy” of the paper, I think it proper to give a reprint as we begin a new volume of the paper, so that all may not lose sight of the object of the paper. I wish to call special attention to numbers 2, 3, and 6. I can see no reason for changing the policy as stated above for 1933, and I hope that the writers will strive to abide by it.
H. L. K.
Things That Should Be Said
One can take the American Standard Revised Version, the New Testament in Modern Speech and Smith’s Bible Dictionary, and prove to any rational mind that it is unscriptural to use more than one container when observing the supper of the Lord. One can also take the Authorized Version of the Bible and prove beyond question that we may use a hundred containers if we want to.
J. A. Bradbury
In the Apostolic Way,
October 1, 1921
By “containers” I suppose our brother means cups, for the bugbear “container” is now used in that sense to dodge what Paul says about “the cup (Greek: POTERION, a cup, a drinking vessel) of blessing” (1 Corinthians 10:16). I am glad to know that he admits that the American Standard Version (perhaps the best, from the standpoint of scholarship, there is) and the Modern Speech New Testament are against the use of cups in the communion. But how our brother can fail to see that “the cup” of the King James Version cannot mean “two or more cups” is beyond me.
But Bro. Bradbury thinks “the cup” is authority for “two or more cups”. But he knows that “a cup” in the revisions excludes the use of “two or more” cups.
“The cup” in the King James Version is translation of TO POTERION in the Stephens Text, and the translation is correct. But that TO (the) is an interpolation has long since been proved by the weight of hundreds of ancient MSS., among which is Codex Vaticanus. They simply have the word POTERION, which, according to all lexicographers, means “a cup”, the absence of the article “the” and the grammatical form of POTERION requiring the addition of the indefinite article “a”, to make the full sense of the Greek Text. So, after all, Bro. Bradbury has no authority for the use of cups!
J. D. Phillips
The Sign of the Covenant
“This cup is the New Diatheke (Covenant and Last Will and Testament) in My Blood.” - Messiah (Luke 22:20 and 1 Corinthians 11:25).
When God made a covenant with His people that He would not destroy the world again by water, as He did “in the days of Noah,” He put “the bow in the clouds” as “the sign of the covenant,” saying to the people:
“And there shall come to be the bow in the cloud, and I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living soul in all flesh that is upon the earth. And Elohim (God, the Creator) said to Noah, ‘This is THE, SIGN OF THE COVENANT which I establish between Myself and all flesh which is upon earth’.” (Genesis 9:16-17).
The word “covenant” here is a translation of the Hebrew word Berith and the Greek Diatheke is the word used by the Septaugint as its equivalent. It means a covenant, or agreement, between two parties. Sometimes it has the extended meaning of Last Will and Testament.
So, when we see the “bow in the cloud,” after a rain, it is a sure indication that Yahweh (the Deliverer) will not destroy us by water, as He did the disobedient Antedeluvians. Truly, then, “the bow in the clouds” is “the sign of the covenant.” The New Covenant, or Testament, was ratified by the “blood of the Lamb” (Revelation chapter 7). Of the wine fin the “cup of blessing” (1 Corinthians 10:16), Christ says, “This is My blood which ratifies the agreement” (Matthew 26:28. See Goodspeed and Thayer). Of the cup, containing the wine, Jesus says:
“This cup (touto poterion) is the New Testament in my blood” (Luke 22:20 and 1 Corinthians 11:25).
The clause “this cup”, as noted above, is from totou poterion in Greek, and the demonstrative touto shows the reference to be to a definite literal material cup, or drinking vessel.
The verb “is” is a coupla, and is a translation of estin in Greek, and denotes a metaphor. The Hebrew and Greet substantive, to be, is not expressed when dealing with matters of fact. So “the cup” on the communion table containing the wine is a “sign”, or token, of the New Covenant, while the wine in the cup is said to be Christ’s “blood which ratifies the Covenant.”
Bishop Lightfoot’s observations on this are worthy of very serious consideration. He says (Works, vol. 2, p. 260): “The confirmation of the Old Covenant was by the blood of bulls and goats (Exodus chapter 24 and Hebrews chapter 9), because blood was still to be shed: the confirmation of the New was by a cup of wine, because under the New Covenant there is no farther shedding of blood. As it is here said of the cup, This cup is the New Testament in My blood; so it might be said of the cup of blood (Exodus chapter 24), That cup was the Old Testament in the blood of Christ: there, all the articles of that covenant being read over, Moses sprinkled all the people with blood, and said, This is the blood of the covenant which God hath made with you; and thus the Old Covenant or Testimony was confirmed. In like manner, Christ, having published all the articles of the New Covenant, He takes the cup of wine, and gives them to drink, and saith, This is the New Testament in My blood; and thus the New Testament was established.”
The word “communion” means, literally, a joint participation. By all drinking out of the one cup (Matthew 26:27) we have a communion, or joint participation, and thus we signify, not only our covenant relationship with Messiah, but, also, our fellowship with each other.
“Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.”
So, then, as the wine-cup is passed from the lips of one saint to those of another, we “proclaim the Lord’s death”, and signify our covenant-relationship with Him, and with each other. “There is one cup for the uniting of His blood” (Ignatius, Ad Philad, First Century).
J. D. Phillips
“The Greek - that marvelous tongue, so flexible and fitted for accurate expression, used of the Holy Spirit in the giving of the New Testament” (Boll) - has a family of words expressive of the action of Baptism, as taught in the New Testament. Beginning with the root word - BAPTO - we have: BAPTO, ‘dip’; EMBAPTO, ‘in-dip, dip in’; BAPTIZO, ‘dip-ize, immerse’; BAPTISMA, ‘dip-ism, immersion, submersion’; BAPTISMOS, ‘dipping, immersing’; and BAPTISTES, ‘dipist, immerser’ (a term applied to John the harbinger, because he immersed people. Matthew 3:1-7).
Therefore, the idea of sprinkling or pouring for Baptism is out of the question. Furthermore, the Greek for sprinkle is RANTIZO, meaning ‘to scatter a liquid in small drops’. The word for pour is CHE or CHU, meaning ‘to move a liquid by gravity, from a container’. Hence, the Scriptures, correctly translated, read “immerse,” instead of “baptize”; “immersion,” instead of “baptism”; and immerser”, instead of “baptist.” See The Emphatic Diaglott, The Living Oracles, and the first edition of The Bible Union Translation.
Sprinkling and pouring for Baptism originated in the ranks of Roman-ism and were borrowed from them by many Protestant parties. So they have no higher authority than “the man of sin” and “son of perdition” and iniquity, the chief minister of “the falling away” or the great apostasy (2 Thessalonians 2:1-7) or “Mystery Babylon” (Revelation 17:1-5).
The fact that we are baptized “into (Greek: EIS) the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:18), thus changing our state or relationship, is positive evidence that Baptism is essential to salvation from sin.
So also the fact that Baptism is “for (Greek: EIS, “in order to obtain” - Thayer, Feyerabend, and Goodspeed) the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38 compare Matthew 26:28) is positive evidence that Baptism is essential to the remission of sins, or salvation from sin.
And, too, the fact that we are “baptized into (Greek: EIS) Christ” (Galatians 3:27) and “into (EIS) His death” (Romans 6:3) where He shed His blood (John 19:36) assures us of the necessity of being baptized.
Furthermore, Jesus puts baptism between every sinner and the Kingdom: saying, “Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, He cannot enter into the Kingdom of God” (John 3:5). In the expression “born OF water” we have in the Greek EK - out of - showing that a person must voluntarily go under the water, and come up out of it. So the Eunuch “came up OUT OF the water”, when he was baptized. See Acts 8:36-38.
I exhort every unbaptized person who see this to “arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins” (Acts 22:16) - before it is too late! “If weak be thy faith, why choose the harder side?”
J. D. Phillips
Music, Baptism, Cups
“The Greeks certainly understood their own language, and the Greek church could never find any authority in the word ‘psallo’ for adopting a musical instrument in worship - not any more than they could find authority in ‘baptidze’ for the adoption of sprinkling for baptism!” (Daniel Sommer, in Apostolic Review).
And “the Greeks certainly understand their own language” enough to know that when Jesus “took a cup (POTERION, a drinking-cup, wine-cup)”, He took a literal, material, cup, or drinking vessel, and hence Thayer and Robinson in their excellent Lexicons of the Greek New Testament, say POTERION is used properly, that is, literally, here (Matthew 26:27), and Thayer says it is “this cup containing wine” (Greek-English Lexicon, p. 15, on Luke 22:20). John Chrysostom, an “Ante-Nicene Father,” wrote in Greek for Greek-speaking Christians, and he says of the wine, “that which is in the cup is that which flowed from His side” (24th Homily in 1 Corinthians). Justin Martyr confirms Thayer and Chrysostom, for he says, “A cup of wine and water are then brought to the president” (Apol. I pp. 82, 83). Ambrose backs them, too, for he says, “wine is put into the cup.”
In Alexander Campbell’s celebrated work, ‘“Campbell on Baptism,” there is a chapter devoted to a consideration of the Greek preposition EK, which governs the genitive case. Bro. Campbell showed that EK means “out of,” and hence it is said of Jesus that when He was baptized of John in Jordan, He “came up OUT OF (EK) the water,” thus showing that baptism is an immersion, or burial, in water, and an emerging from it. So also when Paul says, “Let him drink of (EK, out of) the cup (POTERION, a cup, a drinking vessel)” (1 Corinthians 11:28), he says, EK TOU POTERIOU, “out of the cup.” EK (out of) is a preposition governing the genitive case, and Thayer says; “EK with a genitive of the vessel out of which one drinks, EK TOU POTERIOU,” out of the cup, or drinking vessel.
Hence, the Greek Church, the church of Christ, or any other church, cannot find authority in the Greek Scriptures for the use of more than one cup in each assembly. The Greek Christians of the post-apostolic and the Ante-Nicene age knew this, for we read: “For there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup to (show forth) the unity of His blood” (Ignatius, A. D. 30-107). “We receive of one loaf and of one cup” (Ambrose, died A. D. 307). We hope that Bro. Sommer will finally see this, too, for we certainly need him in our fight for the primitive faith.
J. D. Phillips