Chapter 35: “This Do in Remembrance of Me”

The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, (1979), 286–93

Map Chp. 35

First Letter of Paul to the Corinthian Saints

Written During Paul’s Third Missionary Journey from Ephesus, ca. Spring, A.D. 57 (1 Corinthians 4–11)

1 Corinthians

Apostles Suffer, Minister, Keep the Faith


Why the Church Cannot Fellowship Sinners


Take Civil Cases to Church Courts


The Body is Not for Immorality


Marriage Is Ordained of God


Missionaries—Married or Single?


Gods Many and Lords Many


Paul Rejoices in Christian Freedom


Gospel Preached Without Cost


Paul: All Things to All Men


Christ Is the God of Israel


Ancient Israel Rebelled Against Christ


The Sacrament vs. Idolatry


The Status of Man and Woman


Why We Partake of the Sacrament


Interpretive Commentary

(35-1) 1 Corinthians 4:16. “Be Ye Followers of Me”

To some, Paul’s counsel may seem prideful and arrogant, but it is not. In at least eleven cases, the King James translation uses the word follow or followers as equivalent to the Greek words for “imitate” or “imitators.” With the New Testament as yet unwritten and the Christlike ideal as yet imperfectly understood, the Corinthians needed a living pattern. Paul wanted no disciples of his own for his personal sake and glory. His urging was simply, “Follow me, for I follow Christ.”

(35-2) 1 Corinthians 5:1, 11. Did Paul Use the Word Fornication as We Use It Today?

In today’s modern world, and in the Church as well, fornication has taken on a more technical meaning than it had during the time of the King James translation. Today it is defined as sexual intercourse between unmarried people. But the word which Paul used is porneia (the root word for our pornography) and meant any extramarital intercourse. Perhaps it might be well to point out here that Corinth had a worldwide reputation in the ancient world for its immorality. It was located very close to two major ports and therefore subject to many of the vices and evils which accompany centers of commerce and trade. In addition, Corinth was the site of the famous temple of Aphrodite (Venus), the goddess of love, where there were a thousand “priestesses.” They were actually nothing more than prostitutes glorified by the cloak of religious worship. Anciently, Corinth’s reputation was such that to “Corinthianize” meant to engage in reckless debauchery, and Corinthians were usually portrayed on the stage as drunkards. Even in modern English a person is sometimes called a Corinthian, meaning that he is given totally over to licentious desires. It is not surprising, then, that in this and the following chapter, Paul sharply condemns immorality and the lusts of the flesh.

“Apparently a member of the Church in Corinth had married his stepmother, either because she was a widow or had been separated from her prior husband. Such marriages were forbidden by the Mosaic code under penalty of excommunication. (Lev. 18:6–8, 29.) Paul endorses the Mosaic prohibition, describes the intimacies resulting from such unions as fornication, condemns his Corinthian brethren for winking at the offense, and directs the excommunication of the offender. If the sinner were left in the Church, Paul reasons, his influence, as leaven, would spread throughout the whole Church. The Church must, therefore, purge out this old leaven of wickedness and replace it with a new influence or leaven of righteousness.” (McConkie, DNTC, 2:335.)

(35-3) 1 Corinthians 6:2, 3. “Know Ye Not That We Shall Judge Angels?”

“The man who passes through this probation, and is faithful, being redeemed from sin by the blood of Christ, through the ordinances of the gospel, and attains to exaltation in the kingdom of God, is not less but greater than the angels, and if you doubt it, read your Bible, for there it is written that the Saints shall ‘judge angels,’ and also they shall ‘judge the world.’ And why? Because the resurrected, righteous man has progressed beyond the pre-existent or disembodied spirits, and has risen above them, having both spirit and body as Christ has, having gained the victory over death and the grave, and having power over sin and Satan; in fact, having passed from the condition of the angels to that of a God. He possesses keys of power, dominion and glory that the angel does not possess—and cannot possess without gaining them in the same way that he gained them, which will be by passing through the same ordeals and proving equally faithful.” (Smith, Gospel Doctrine, pp. 18–19.)

(35-5) 1 Corinthians 7:7. Was the Apostle Paul a Married Man?

It is possible that Paul, who had once been married, was a widower at the time of his writing of First Corinthians. His heart was thoroughly set on missionary work, and thus he might have chosen not to remarry. Hence his counsel to those in similar circumstances was “I would that all men were even as I myself.”

Aside from the fact that marriage is an eternal command of God, which Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, would know as well as anyone, there are some other compelling reasons why the answer to the question Was Paul married? should be yes.

In the first place, Paul’s writings indicate a positive attitude toward marriage. Some of the finest counsel given in scripture on the subject comes to us from Paul (Ephesians 5:21–6:4; Colossians 3:8–21). It would be presumptive indeed for Paul to give such counsel if he had not obeyed the law of God himself.

In 1 Corinthians 9:5 Paul argues that apostles have as much right to marry as anyone else, “Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?” But marriage is more than a right; it is a solemn duty. Hence Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:11: “Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.” The need for all to marry if they would find approval “in the Lord” is thus undisputed.

Faithful Jews regarded marriage as a religious obligation and a condition of extraordinary importance. It was the custom for Jewish men and women to marry at an early age, generally between sixteen and eighteen but sometimes as early as fourteen. Paul, a strict Pharisee (Acts 26:5) was “taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God” (Acts 22:3), as faithful Jews were enjoined to be. Thus “there would seem to be no good reason … why Paul, a trained and ardent Pharisee, should fail to honor an obligation esteemed so sacred in the eyes of his people.” (Sperry, Paul’s Life and Letters, p. 9.) When a list of 613 precepts contained in the law of Moses was first drawn up, marriage was listed as number one. If Paul “lived unmarried as a Jerusalem Pharisee, his case was entirely exceptional.” (Farrar, The Life and Work of St. Paul, p. 46.)

Most scholars acknowledge that Paul was either a member of the Jewish ruling body, the Sanhedrin, or a close associate thereof (Acts 8:3; 9:1, 2; 22:5; 26:10). If he were indeed a member of the Sanhedrin, Paul would have been expected to be in compliance with the special requirements for membership in the body, one of which was marriage. If he were not a member, Paul would still, as an official representative of the ruling group, be expected to be in harmony with all accepted Jewish customs. Only such a condition would prevent his being charged with advocating obedience to laws with which he himself was not in strict compliance.

What, then, of those who contend that Paul was unmarried and taught others to be likewise? The passage cited as evidence is 1 Corinthians 7:7, 8 wherein Paul says: “For I would that all men were even as I myself. … I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.” Elder Spencer W. Kimball has commented on this passage as follows: “Taking such statements in conjunction with others [Paul] made it is clear that he is not talking about celibacy, but is urging the normal and controlled sex living in marriage and total continence outside marriage. (There is no real evidence that Paul was never married, as some students claim, and there are in fact indications to the contrary.)” (Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 64.)

(35-6) 1 Corinthians 7:9. What Did Paul Mean by “It Is Better to Marry than to Burn”?

The meaning of Paul’s counsel is not entirely clear. The Greek word which the King James translators have rendered burn is a passive infinitive used to convey the idea of being inflamed with passion, lust, or anger. The Prophet Joseph Smith’s inspired account is even more explicit than the King James: “But if they cannot abide, let them marry; for it is better to marry than that any should commit sin.”

(35-7) 1 Corinthians 7:14. What Is the Interpretation of This Verse as Given in Latter-day Revelation?

Read D&C 74:2–7.

Paul is referring here to marriages where the husband or wife has converted to Christianity but the other partner has not. Though in this context “unbelieving” refers to Jewish parents who wanted to continue circumcising their children, the principle of spiritual damage to children from such marriages holds true in all generations. When a man or woman who are faithful members of the church marry those without a strong testimony of the gospel, not only is the marriage itself endangered but the spiritual training of the children will be severely limited. A child needs the spiritual testimony and training of both parents without conflict or schism.

(35-8) 1 Corinthians 7:25–40. Paul’s Views on Marriage in Light of the Inspired Version

Clearly Paul is here wrestling with difficult problems presented to him by the Corinthian saints. On some things he can reply authoritatively; on others he renders a personal judgment. Verses 25–40 deal with special questions to those involved in missionary or other priesthood service requiring absence from home for prolonged periods. Carefully compare the following changes as found in Joseph Smith’s Inspired Version with your King James translation.

26 I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, for a man so to remain that he may do greater good.

28 But if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless, such shall have trouble in the flesh. For I spare you not.

29 But I speak unto you who are called unto the ministry. For this I say, brethren, the time that remaineth is but short, that ye shall be sent forth unto the ministry. Even they who have wives, shall be as though they had none; for ye are called and chosen to do the Lord’s work.

30 And it shall not be with them who weep, as though they wept not; and them who rejoice, as though they rejoiced not, and them who buy, as though they possessed not;

31 And them who use this world, as not using it; for the fashion of this world passeth away.

32 But I would, brethren, that ye magnify your calling. I would have you without carefulness. For he who is unmarried, careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord; therefore he prevaileth.

33 But he who is married, careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife; therefore there is a difference, for he is hindered.

36 But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin whom he hath espoused, if she pass the flower of age, and need so require, let him do what he hath promised, he sinneth not; let them marry.

38 So then he that giveth himself in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth himself not in marriage doeth better.

“It is clear from the Inspired Version corrections and additions that ministerial service of a missionary nature was involved, and the main questions seemed to be: Should engaged persons who are called on missions marry first, or go out on the Lord’s errand while single? And if they should serve while single, should certain ones who were already married, receive divorces prior to such service?

“In our day when an elder who is engaged to be married is called on a mission, more often than not he fulfills his mission prior to his marriage; occasionally he marries first and leaves his wife for the assigned period of ministerial service. In the earlier days of this dispensation recently married brethren were frequently called to leave their wives and perform missionary service. Obviously the same rule need not and should not apply in every case. A host of personal circumstances and situations are always involved. Ordinarily, and Paul specified this as his opinion, marriage should be deferred.” (McConkie, DNTC, 2:346–47.)

(35-9) 1 Corinthians 7:32. What Does Paul Mean by “I Would Have You without Carefulness”?

A similar expression is found in Philippians 4:6 in which Paul is represented as saying, “Be careful for nothing.” It means “Have no anxiety about anything.” Paul was in fact counseling his readers to refrain from anxieties and tensions rather than from carefulness as we know it today.

(35-10) 1 Corinthians 8:5. Does the Phrase “Gods Many and Lords Many” Have Reference to Heathen Gods?

“Paul says there are Gods many and Lords many. I want to set it forth in a plain and simple manner; but to us there is but one God—that is pertaining to us; and he is in all and through all. …

“… You know and I testify that Paul had no allusion to the heathen gods. I have it from God, and get over it if you can. I have a witness of the Holy Ghost, and a testimony that Paul had no allusion to the heathen gods in the text.” (Smith, Teachings, pp. 370–71.)

(35-11) 1 Corinthians 9:1. Was Paul an Ordained Apostle, and If So, by Whom?

“We are extremely lacking in information in relation to many important details that failed to seep through the ages to our day, and we are left in darkness to know when and where Paul was ordained. …

“… The fact may be correctly surmised that Paul did find time to mingle with his brethren [of the Twelve] and that through the divine inspiration the apostleship was conferred on him by their action. … We have no reason to believe that Paul received his ordination independent of the action of the other apostles.” (Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 4:99–100.)

(35-12) 1 Corinthians 9:22. “I Am Made All Things to All Men”

“Paul here says he made himself all things to all men in an effort to get them to accept the gospel message; that is, he adapted himself to the conditions and circumstances of all classes of people, as a means of getting them to pay attention to his teachings and testimony. And then, lest any suppose this included the acceptance of their false doctrines or practices, or that it in any way involved a compromise between the gospel and false systems of worship, he hastened to add that he and all men must obey the gospel law to be saved.” (McConkie, DNTC, 2:353.)

(35-13) 1 Corinthians 10:24. “Let No Man Seek His Own, but Every Man Another’s Wealth”

The word wealth as used in the days of the King James translators conveyed not only the idea of riches but of well-being and welfare. Unless we understand this, the statement quoted above seems to be an open invitation to robbery and theft. Far from that, Paul was really inviting his readers to acts of true Christian charity. The Inspired Version renders it thus: “Let not man therefore seek his own, but every man another’s good.”

(35-14) 1 Corinthians 10:25. What Did Paul Mean When He Said the Saints Could Eat That Which Is Sold in the Shambles?

Paul’s meaning becomes clear when it is understood that the word shambles meant “meat market” in Paul’s day. Very often when sacrificing animals to pagan gods, only a portion of the carcass was required; the rest could be, and often was, sold to the local butcher for resale to the poorer class. There would be, of course, no way for a Christian to know whether the meat offered for sale came from animals slaughtered for food or for temple sacrifices. Some of Paul’s converts were anxious about keeping the letter of the law and refused to buy anything from the local markets. Paul indicates that such scrupulousness is uncalled for. One can keep the letter of the law and still violate its spirit if he provides, by his example, an excuse for a weaker brother to sin (1 Corinthians 8). On the other hand, one can keep the law so precisely as to the written letter that he moves to a Pharisaical extreme and forgets the very purpose for which the law was given in the first place.

(35-15) 1 Corinthians 11:11. “Neither Is the Man without the Woman, Neither the Woman without the Man, in the Lord”

“The house of the Lord is a house of order and not a house of confusion; and that means that the man is not without the woman in the Lord, neither is the woman without the man in the Lord; and that no man can be saved and exalted in the kingdom of God without the woman, and no woman can reach the perfection and exaltation in the kingdom of God alone. That is what it means. God instituted marriage in the beginning. He made man in his own image and likeness, male and female, and in their creation it was designed that they should be united together in sacred bonds of marriage, and one is not perfect without the other. Furthermore, it means that there is no union for time and eternity that can be perfected outside of the law of God, and the order of his house. Men may desire it, they may go through the form of it, in this life, but it will be of no effect except it be done and sanctioned by divine authority, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.” (Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p. 272.)

Points to Ponder

The Blessings of the Sacrament Come to Those Who Are Prepared

Janice is a member of the Church. She is active. She attends her meetings and is an officer in the Young Adult Relief Society. But she is frustrated. She doesn’t feel that she is getting as much out of her membership in the Church as she would like to get.

Every so often Janice has a chance to talk heart to heart with her dad, who is also the bishop of the ward. Let’s look in on them for just a moment, to follow their conversation:


That, basically, sums it up, Dad. I go to church. I attend all my meetings. I pay tithing and fast offerings on the money I make. I try to study the gospel as best I can. But sometimes I just don’t feel that I am getting the spiritual experiences or blessings that I ought to get. I have sometimes wondered if there is something the matter with me. I know it isn’t right, Dad, but sometimes I really get discouraged.

Her Father

I have an idea of what those feelings are like. But, Janice, we must never forget that every blessing we seek is in the hands of the Lord. Even if our own lives are completely in order, he still blesses us “in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will.” (D&C 88:68.) But there is another thing, Janice, that we must always remember. The Lord is pure. He is holy—absolutely so. When we are the best we know how to be, we are still far below his level of purity and holiness. We are taught in the Church that we are God’s children and that we can become like him. Sometimes I think we talk too loosely about that. It is true that we can become like him, but it is also true that he is perfectly pure. If we become like him, we must strive with all our hearts to become pure like he is.


I need some help with that, Dad. How is it possible for me to strive to become that pure? I’m trying now to do the best I can. I wouldn’t even know where to start to try and do better.

Have you had some of the feelings that Janice has? Can you understand why the blessings Janice seeks can be given only in the Lord’s own time and way? Can you see why, even though people like Janice may be doing a lot of good, they still may not be pure enough to receive the understanding and spiritual blessings they would like to receive? Do you know how pure the Lord really is? Do you understand Paul’s counsel? “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: Ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.” (1 Corinthians 10:21.)

(35-16) How Pure Must We Be to Be Like the Lord?

Read these passages and consider the questions.

Matthew 17:2

Compare 3 Nephi 19:25. What radiated from Jesus to the Nephite disciples who were praying to him? What words are used to describe the glory of Jesus? Why do you think that Jesus was able to have that glory in and around him?

2 Corinthians 7:1

Paul says we must rid ourselves of all filthiness. What does the word all mean? How strict is the standard of holiness in the presence of God? Compare 3 Nephi 27:19. How many sins must a man repent of before he may be permitted to enter into the presence of God?

Helaman 13:38

The first part of this verse does not apply to you, of course. But how total and complete is the righteousness of God? What will lead to real happiness? Compare Romans 12:1, 2. How soon should people try to repent of all in their lives that may offend God?

Alma 11:37

Can a person be saved if he has not repented of all his sins? Again, what does the word all mean? What must a man do to get into the kingdom of heaven?

The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “If a man gets a fullness [of the blessings] of the priesthood of God he has to get it in the same way that Jesus Christ obtained it, and that was by keeping all the commandments and obeying all the ordinances of the house of the Lord.” (Teachings, p. 308. Italics added.) Can you get that fulness in any other way? Is it a commandment of God that you become pure just as he is pure, and that you be separate from the wickedness of the world? Do you think God would make it possible for you to do that? Read Philippians 4:13. Compare 1 Nephi 3:7. Then read D&C 93:11–20.

Christ, of course, was always pure. But even then, did Jesus receive a fulness of the Father’s glory and power all at once? Why do you think the Lord wants you to understand the process by which he overcame the world and received a fulness of the glory and power of the Father? What does the word fulness mean? Would the Lord give that glory and power to you if you were not fully prepared and worthy to receive it?

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught this: “When you climb a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the Gospel—you must begin at the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them [all].” (Teachings, p. 348.) In this statement the Prophet is not talking about repentance. He is saying that our obligation is to strive to live by and obey all the truth we receive in this world, but that we will not receive all truth in this world.

Do you think the Lord will excuse you if you do not try to be as perfect in this world as it is possible to be? Elder Joseph Fielding Smith has said this: “Here we lay the foundation. … It is our duty to be better today than we were yesterday, and better tomorrow than we are today. Why? Because we are on that road … to perfection, and that can only come through obedience and the desire in our hearts to overcome the world.” (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:18–19.)

As you determine in your life to overcome the world and be separate from its wickedness, consider these questions: Will you be able to do it all at once? Is it something you can achieve without prayer? Will it take hard work to conquer your weaknesses? Do you think the ordinance of the sacrament is involved in any way?

Let’s listen in on Janice and her dad again.


I know that Jesus died for us, Dad, and when I take the sacrament, I try to think about him and what he did for me.

Her Father

But what you do during the week, Janice, is also important. You can be humble and pay attention in the sacrament service, and even shed tears. But if you haven’t done anything about your weaknesses during the week, then renewing your covenants can’t make you any better.


What do you mean, Dad? What can I do during the week?

(35-17) What Is Involved in the Sacrament?

Before you can meaningfully participate in the sacrament, you need to know something of what is involved and how you can prepare during the week. Consider each of these points in turn.

For four thousand years, from Adam to Christ, God commanded his people to offer sacrifice. Those who were obedient offered the firstlings of the flock, animals without spot or blemish as a figure of the innocence and purity of Christ, who himself would die as a sacrifice for the sins of those who repent. Those who offered sacrifice before the birth of Christ looked forward. We must look backward. That is the only real difference. It is inconceivable that God would ever accept ancient sacrifices if those who offered them were not sincere and truly repentant. It would be as though they offered up their sacrifices in vain.

The ordinance of the sacrament has many elements and conditions of sacrifice.

Read these scriptures about the sacrament and answer the questions that follow:

1 Corinthians 11:23–30

D&C 46:4

3 Nephi 18:28–32

How serious a matter is it for someone to presume to enjoy the benefits of the sacrament when he does not offer up a broken heart, a contrite spirit, and genuine sorrow for the sins and weaknesses he should be struggling to overcome?

(35-18) How Can You Prepare?

There is a way that you can prepare during the week to partake of the sacrament, for God would never issue such strict commands about the sacrament without providing a way for the commands to be obeyed. (See 1 Nephi 3:7.)

The process is outlined here:

  • 2 Corinthians 13:5. Make a list of your most serious sins and temptations. This should not be done in a class or in public. It is a private matter between you and the Lord.

  • Next, classify the things you have written on your list. Rank them in order of seriousness or difficulty. You can enjoy the blessings of the Spirit of God only according to the level of your most serious unrepented personal sin. So if you start working on less serious matters first, you still will not receive the blessings you desire. Sometimes men will repent of less serious matters, outward things, and then complain that they do not feel any more spiritual, when, in reality, they should start with the most serious sin or temptation in their life. Can you see why it is necessary that you work on the most serious or difficult first?

  • 3 Nephi 12:23, 24. If there are some things on your list that need to be discussed with your bishop, or if there are those whom you may have offended, what must you do? And after you have done that, what promise does the Lord make to you, in verse 24? (Compare Matthew 5:23, 24.)

  • Treat each day as a stewardship. In your morning prayers, plead with the Lord to help you overcome that most serious problem. Report to him each night. And as you strive to overcome it, continue to pray for forgiveness for past mistakes.

  • D&C 59:9, 11, 12. How would this process prepare you to participate in the sacrament on Sunday? Would renewing your covenants be more meaningful if you prepared in this way?

  • Ether 12:27. There is a great power that comes from Christ to a man who is trying to overcome sin and weaknesses. Without that power man could never overcome the world; but with it, weaknesses can be overcome and replaced by strengths. Why does the Lord give you an understanding of your weaknesses? When you feel that you have conquered your most serious problem, seek the Lord’s witness. He has ways to let you know if you have really mastered your most serious sin. President Harold B. Lee taught this:

“The most important of all the commandments of God is that one that you’re having the most difficulty keeping today. If it’s one of dishonesty, if it’s one of unchastity, if it’s one of falsifying, not telling the truth, today is the day for you to work on that until you’ve been able to conquer that weakness. Then you start on the next one that’s most difficult for you to keep.” (Church News, 5 May 1973, p. 3.)

The biggest problem that you will have as you try to overcome your weaknesses is that Satan will try to discourage you. But if you make up your mind to do it, if you “search diligently, pray always, and be believing, [then] all things shall work together for your good, if ye walk uprightly and remember the covenant.” (D&C 90:24.)

Sincere Effort Is Rewarded with Heavenly Powers

Now that you have learned some ways to help you overcome the sins and weaknesses in your life, do you think the Lord would be pleased with you if you went to sacrament meeting not having sincerely tried to be a stronger, more worthy member than you were the week before?

Consider this promise to those who work honestly in the process that has been outlined.

  • The Prophet Joseph Smith said that “the nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin; and like the ancients, arrives at that point of faith where he is wrapped in the power and glory of his Maker and is caught up to dwell with Him. But we consider that this is a station to which no man ever arrived in a moment.” (Teachings, p. 51.)

Now what of you? Like Janice, no one else can do it for you or make you what you should become. You must first reach out and partake of those heavenly powers for yourself; then the Lord can enter into your life and perfect you through his grace.

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29, 30.)

“For if you keep my commandments you shall receive of his fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father; therefore, I say unto you, you shall receive grace for grace.” (D&C 93:20. Emphasis added.)

“These are they who are just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood.” (D&C 76:69.)