“On the Night He Was paredideto” (1 Cor 11:23): A Story of a Human's Betrayal or a Story of God's Action in Christ in Paul's Gospel?

The word paredideto in 1 Cor 11:23 has often been translated as “betrayed”, giving rise to the notion that Christ was betrayed by a human agent in Paul’s narrative of the institution of the Eucharist. While this translation provides a historical context for the words of the institution of the Eucharist, the question remains whether the notion of “betrayal” exists in Paul’s understanding of his gospel. This paper suggests an alternative reading where the word paredideto can also be translated as a divine passive in which God is seen as the agent delivering up Christ in the salvation drama. This paper argues that this reading makes better sense in light of Paul’s understanding of his gospel as seen in other Pauline and Deutero-Pauline writings (e.g., Romans 4:25; 8:32; Galatians 2:20 and Eph 5:2, 25). In Paul’s narrative of his gospel, the story of salvation is not anthropocentric, but rather theocentric. Instead of translating 1 Cor 11:23 as “on the night that Christ was betrayed by a human,” it is closer to Paul’s narrative of his gospel if it is translated as “on the night that Christ was delivered up by God.” This paper will also provide clear examples of how such a minor change in the liturgy of the Eucharist may have significant impact in the Asian context, with specific reference to Malaysia.