Question:

Dear Brother,

Thank you for your work. I appreciate it a lot. My question is this: in the NIV version, at Matthew 26:27, it says, "Then He took a cup, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, Drink from it, all of you." And in the KJV version, it says, "And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it."

I wonder which version is more correct because, if you use the NIV, I can see where the one cup people get their understanding, but if you use the KJV, it seems to me that you could use one cup or many as long as you don't try to bind it on others.

If I'm way off course, please correct me.

Answer:

The Greek in this phrase is piete ex autou pantes, which, translated literally, is "Drink of it all." The question is what does "all" refer to?

  • "it" (autou) is a genitive singular word. Working backward in the context, it refers to the cup.
  • "all" (pantes) is a nominative plural masculine adjective. It cannot refer to the cup because there is only one, but it does refer back to the command to drink because "drink" (piete) is in a second person plural verb. In turn, "drink" refers back to the disciples when Jesus gave the cup to them.

Therefore, Jesus is saying that all the disciples were to drink the contents of the cup. As Albert Barnes noted: "That is, 'all of you, disciples, drink of it;' not, 'drink all the wine.'" Technically, the KJV is the same as the other translations. It is just the older style of English becomes vague in modern English.

If this were the only passage regarding the events, you might conclude there was just one cup. It is when you include Luke's account that you realize that multiple cups were involved. See Should the Lord’s Supper be served with one cup?

Response:

Thank you for the clarification.

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