The Meaning of 1 Corinthians 11:29 Explained

1 Corinthians 11:29

KJV: For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

YLT: for he who is eating and drinking unworthily, judgment to himself he doth eat and drink -- not discerning the body of the Lord.

Darby: For the eater and drinker eats and drinks judgment to himself, not distinguishing the body.

ASV: For he that eateth and drinketh, eateth and drinketh judgment unto himself, if he discern not the body.

Discover 1 Corinthians 11:29

What does 1 Corinthians 11:29 Mean?

Study Notes

judgment, in the sense of 1 Corinthians 11:32 .

Verse Meaning

Eating and drinking in an unworthy manner results in divine judgment. Judgment is inevitable at the Lord"s Table. We judge ourselves (Gr. diakrino) before we partake and then participate in a worthy manner, or God will judge (krino) us. The "body" has a double sense: the body of Christ given on the cross, and the mystical body of Christ, the church.
"The "unworthy" or "inappropriate" participation in the Lord"s Supper that entails eating and drinking judgment against the participants comes in not "discerning (diakrinon) the body" ( 1 Corinthians 11:29). How members of the community view one another, whether they are sensitive to the poor and latecomers or whether the prevailing social customs dictate their behavior, becomes the decisive issue. Does the congregation recognize itself as the distinctive body of Christ?" [1]

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 11:29

If he discern not the body [μη διακρινων το σωμα]
So-called conditional use of the participle, “not judging the body.” Thus he eats and drinks judgment (κριμα — krima) on himself. The verb διακρινω — diȧkrinō is an old and common word, our dis-cri-minate, to distinguish. Eating the bread and drinking the wine as symbols of the Lord‘s body and blood in death probes one‘s heart to the very depths. [source]
Unworthily []
Omit. [source]
Damnation [κρῖμα]
See on Mark 16:16; see on John 9:39. This false and horrible rendering has destroyed the peace of more sincere and earnest souls than any other misread passage in the New Testament. It has kept hundreds from the Lord's table. Κρῖμα is a temporary judgment, and so is distinguished from κατάκριμα condemnationfrom which this temporary judgment is intended to save the participant. The distinction appears in 1 Corinthians 11:32(see note). The A.V. of the whole passage, 1 Corinthians 11:28-34, is marked by a confusion of the renderings of κρίνειν to judge and its compounds. [source]
Not discerning [μὴ διακρίνων]
Rev., if he discern not, bringing out the conditional force of the negative particle. The verb primarily means to separate, and hence to make a distinction, discriminate. Rev., in margin, discriminating. Such also is the primary meaning of discern (discernere to part or separate ), so that discerning implies a mental act of discriminating between different things. So Bacon: “Nothing more variable than voices, yet men can likewise discern these personally.” This sense has possibly become a little obscured in popular usage. From this the transition is easy and natural to the sense of doubting, disputing, judging, all of these involving the recognition of differences. The object of the discrimination here referred to, may, I think, be regarded as complex. After Paul's words (1 Corinthians 11:20, 1 Corinthians 11:22), about the degradation of the Lord's Supper, the discrimination between the Lord's body and common food may naturally be contemplated; but further, such discernment of the peculiar significance and sacredness of the Lord's body as shall make him shrink from profanation and shall stimulate him to penitence and faith. [source]
The Lord's body []
Omit Lord's and read the body. This adds force to discerning. [source]

What do the individual words in 1 Corinthians 11:29 mean?

The [one] for eating and drinking judgment on himself eats drinks not discerning the body
γὰρ ἐσθίων καὶ πίνων κρίμα ἑαυτῷ ἐσθίει πίνει μὴ διακρίνων τὸ σῶμα

  The  [one] 
Parse: Article, Nominative Masculine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
ἐσθίων  eating 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: ἐσθίω 
Sense: to eat.
πίνων  drinking 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: πίνω  
Sense: to drink.
κρίμα  judgment 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Neuter Singular
Root: κρίμα  
Sense: a decree, judgments.
ἑαυτῷ  on  himself 
Parse: Reflexive Pronoun, Dative Masculine 3rd Person Singular
Root: ἑαυτοῦ  
Sense: himself, herself, itself, themselves.
ἐσθίει  eats 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: ἐσθίω 
Sense: to eat.
πίνει  drinks 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: πίνω  
Sense: to drink.
διακρίνων  discerning 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: διακρίνω  
Sense: to separate, make a distinction, discriminate, to prefer.
σῶμα  body 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Neuter Singular
Root: σῶμα  
Sense: the body both of men or animals.

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