The Meaning of 1 Corinthians 11:27 Explained

1 Corinthians 11:27

KJV: Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

YLT: so that whoever may eat this bread or may drink the cup of the Lord unworthily, guilty he shall be of the body and blood of the Lord:

Darby: So that whosoever shall eat the bread, or drink the cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty in respect of the body and of the blood of the Lord.

ASV: Wherefore whosoever shall eat the bread or drink the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.

What does 1 Corinthians 11:27 Mean?

Study Notes

i.e. in an unworthy manner; cf. vs. 1 Corinthians 11:20-22 .

Verse Meaning

An unworthy manner is any manner that is not consistent with the significance of Christ"s death. This does not mean that every participant must grasp the fullness of this significance, which is hardly possible. Nevertheless everyone should conduct himself or herself appropriately in view the significance of the Lord"s death. Even a child is capable of doing this. The divisions that existed in their church ( 1 Corinthians 11:18) and their selfish behavior ( 1 Corinthians 11:21) constituted the unworthiness of the manner in which the Corinthians were observing the Lord"s Supper. They had also lost the point of the memorial, which involves proclaiming salvation through Christ"s death portrayed in ritual. The gospel goes out when we observe the Lord"s Supper in a worthy manner.
Being guilty of Christ"s body and blood means being guilty of treating them in an unworthy manner, of profaning them. It does not mean that such a person is in some special sense responsible for the death of Christ.

Context Summary

1 Corinthians 11:23-34 - Observing The Lord's Supper
There was much disorder in the Corinthian church, because the love-feast, which preceded the Holy Supper, was the scene of riot and conviviality, of ostentation and jealousy. In the love-feast of the early Church each brought his own supply of food, which was put into a common stock and shared by all alike; but at Corinth each family or group retained their own provisions, and a great distinction was thus made between rich and poor. This caused much heart-burning and was unworthy of Christians.
Note that the Apostle received the words of institution by direct revelation. The Lord's Supper is intended not only to commemorate the supreme act of Calvary, but to enable us spiritually to incorporate into ourselves the very life and death of Jesus, so that we may truly be crucified with Him and nevertheless live. "That I may know Him and the fellowship of His sufferings." We are liable to condemnation if we do not recognize the Body of Christ-that is, the Church-the unity of which is disturbed and obscured when there is dissension. If we judge ourselves, we escape the judgment and chastisement of the Almighty. [source]

Chapter Summary: 1 Corinthians 11

1  He reproves them, because in holy assemblies,
4  their men prayed with their heads covered,
6  and women with their heads uncovered;
17  and because generally their meetings were not for the better, but for the worse;
21  as, namely, in profaning with their own feast the Lord's supper
25  Lastly, he calls them to the first institution thereof

Greek Commentary for 1 Corinthians 11:27

Unworthily [αναχιως]
Old adverb, only here in N.T., not genuine in 1 Corinthians 11:29. Paul defines his meaning in 1 Corinthians 11:29. He does not say or imply that we ourselves must be “worthy” (αχιοι — axioi) to partake of the Lord‘s Supper. No one would ever partake on those terms. Many pious souls have abstained from observing the ordinance through false exegesis here. [source]
Shall be guilty [ενοχος εσται]
Shall be held guilty as in Matthew 5:21. which see. Shall be guilty of a crime committed against the body and blood of the Lord by such sacrilege (cf. Hebrews 6:6; Hebrews 10:29). [source]
Unworthily [ἀναξίως]
Defined by “not discerning the Lord's body,” 1 Corinthians 11:29. [source]
Guilty [ἔνοχος]
See on Mark 3:29; see on James 2:10. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for 1 Corinthians 11:27

Mark 3:29 Guilty [ἔνοχος]
From ἐν , in, ἔχω , to hold or have. Lit., is in the grasp of, or holden of. Compare 1 Corinthians 11:27; James 2:10. [source]
James 2:10 He is guilty [γέγονεν ἔνοχος]
Lit., he is become guilty. Ἔνοχος , guilty, is, strictly, holden; within the condemning power of. Compare Matthew 26:66; Mark 3:29; 1 Corinthians 11:27. Huther cites a Talmudic parallel: “But if he perform all, but omit one, he is guilty of every single one.” [source]

What do the individual words in 1 Corinthians 11:27 mean?

Therefore whoever - should eat the bread or should drink the cup of the Lord unworthily guilty will be of the body and blood
Ὥστε ὃς ἂν ἐσθίῃ τὸν ἄρτον πίνῃ τὸ ποτήριον τοῦ Κυρίου ἀναξίως ἔνοχος ἔσται τοῦ σώματος καὶ αἵματος

ὃς  whoever 
Parse: Personal / Relative Pronoun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: ὅς 
Sense: who, which, what, that.
ἂν  - 
Parse: Particle
Root: ἄν  
Sense: has no exact English equivalent, see definitions under AV.
ἐσθίῃ  should  eat 
Parse: Verb, Present Subjunctive Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: ἐσθίω 
Sense: to eat.
ἄρτον  bread 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: ἄρτος  
Sense: food composed of flour mixed with water and baked.
πίνῃ  should  drink 
Parse: Verb, Present Subjunctive Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: πίνω  
Sense: to drink.
ποτήριον  cup 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Neuter Singular
Root: ποτήριον  
Sense: a cup, a drinking vessel.
τοῦ  of  the 
Parse: Article, Genitive Masculine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
Κυρίου  Lord 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: κύριος  
Sense: he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord.
ἀναξίως  unworthily 
Parse: Adverb
Root: ἀναξίως  
Sense: in an unworthy manner.
ἔνοχος  guilty 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: ἔνοχος  
Sense: bound, under obligation, subject to, liable.
ἔσται  will  be 
Parse: Verb, Future Indicative Middle, 3rd Person Singular
Root: εἰμί  
Sense: to be, to exist, to happen, to be present.
τοῦ  of  the 
Parse: Article, Genitive Neuter Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
σώματος  body 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Neuter Singular
Root: σῶμα  
Sense: the body both of men or animals.
αἵματος  blood 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Neuter Singular
Root: αἷμα  
Sense: blood.