Discerning the body

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Discerning the body

NightHawk
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06 Feb 2017, 15:23 #1

1 Corinthians 11:28,29 - Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. (ESV)

What does discerning the body mean here?

For example: Growing up I was instructed that if you had a problem with another person you needed to go and set that right first, before taking communion. In context (v 17-34) I don't find that. Nor do I find it in the WCF.

Am I missing something?
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Ask Mr. Religion
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06 Feb 2017, 19:12 #2

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.

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

Calvin...

...the Supper is appointed for those of riper years, who having passed the tender state of infancy, are capable of bearing solid meat. This difference is very evidently marked in the Scripture; in which, as far as relates to baptism, the Lord makes no distinction of age: whereas he does not present the Supper to the participation of all alike, but only to those who are capable of discerning the body and blood of the Lord, of examining their own consciences, of shewing forth the Lords death, and considering the power of it.

For men of this description, who without any spark of faith, without any zeal for charity, rush forward like swine to seize the Lords Supper, do not at all discern the Lords body. For, inasmuch as they do not believe that body to be their life, they put every possible affront upon it, stripping it of all its dignity, and profane and contaminate it by so receiving; inasmuch as while alienated and estranged from their brethren, they dare to mingle the sacred symbol of Christs body with their dissensions.

No thanks to them if the body of Christ is not rent and torn to pieces. Wherefore they are justly held guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, which, with sacrilegious impiety, they so vilely pollute. By this unworthy eating, they bring judgment on themselves. For while they have no faith in Christ, yet, by receiving the sacrament, they profess to place their salvation only in him, and abjure all other confidence. Wherefore they themselves are their own accusers; they bear witness against themselves; they seal their own condemnation. Next being divided and separated by hatred and ill-will from their brethren, that is, from the members of Christ, they have no part in Christ, and yet they declare that the only safety is to communicate with Christ, and be united to him.
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NightHawk
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06 Feb 2017, 20:24 #3

Thanks.

I'm struggling with
... while alienated and estranged from their brethren ...
and
... being divided and separated by hatred and ill-will from their brethren, ...
To me, "alienated and estranged," "divided and separated" sounds like a non-believer (former "believer," one that was never truly a member of the church) is being discussed until he throws in "brethren." Is this someone causing strife in the church? Someone having a fight with a brother?

Any suggestion as to where I might find further reading/discussion on this?
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06 Feb 2017, 20:41 #4

NightHawk:25913 wrote:Thanks.

I'm struggling with
... while alienated and estranged from their brethren ...
and
... being divided and separated by hatred and ill-will from their brethren, ...
To me, "alienated and estranged," "divided and separated" sounds like a non-believer (former "believer," one that was never truly a member of the church) is being discussed until he throws in "brethren." Is this someone causing strife in the church? Someone having a fight with a brother?

Any suggestion as to where I might find further reading/discussion on this?
The supper is for the believer so any discussion by anyone about it, unless explicitly stated, would not be referring to unbelievers. In other words the references would be to dissension (divisiveness, disagreements between others, etc.) within the brethren.

The WLC #170-177 is a good place to start.
http://www.reformed.org/documents/wlc_w ... index.html
AMR (a.k.a. Patrick)
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larry joseph pearson
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07 Feb 2017, 06:06 #5

A great subject and equally as well the responses to it. I Corinthians 11:28-29 has perplexed many believers in reference to the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. Should brethern have an issue or issues, they should reconcile. However, Paul said: " But let a man examine himself" This is the manner in which one should partake, opposed to the "unworthily"  manner of the preceding verse. The word examine is used for testing or proving anything. This testing is not as in 2 Corinthians 13:5 -to see whether the person is in the faith and so  worthy to eat but whether he is about to partake of the elements in a worthy manner or a right spirit. "And so" after this self-examination. "That bread" and " that cup" ------should be "the cup" and 'the bread." " For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily." Many manuscripts omit the last word-unworthily. The modifier of the verb is found in the participial clause, " not discerning the Lord's body," which is to be taken conditionally -i.e., if he does not discern. It is placed as reference to emphasize. " Eateth and drinketh damnation to himself" This word damnation does not have reference to final damnation. it means condemnation but not the final condemnation of judgment day. 1Corinthians 11:30-32 describes a present judgment for the very purpose of avoiding the final retribution. "Not discerning the Lord's body." This verb means to know by distinguishing one thing from another and here it means to know the body of the Lord in the elements symbolized and the proper distinction between the Sacrament and ordinary food and feasting.

The whole verse may read( my paraphrase) -For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks condemnation to himself, not discerning (if he does not discern) the body. This failure in the Corinthian Church in their treatment of the Supper as a common meal was just the point Paul had made earlier in 1 Corinthians 11:20-22. Paul is pointing out that believers should be intelligent in these matters and to conduct oneself as a Christian. Sadly, many Christians believe if they are not perfect they avoid the Lord's Supper. None of us in our fallen human condition on this side of glory will ever be perfect. However, one must discern that Christ is spiritually present in the Sacrament and to regulate that Holy Supper to a mere meal is not discerning the Lord's body.To do so is to commit an offense and be guilty of dishonoring that sacred body symbolized in the elements.



:think:
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DrWhofan1
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07 Feb 2017, 13:40 #6

larry joseph pearson:25915 wrote:A great subject and equally as well the responses to it. I Corinthians 11:28-29 has perplexed many believers in reference to the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. Should brethern have an issue or issues, they should reconcile. However, Paul said: " But let a man examine himself" This is the manner in which one should partake, opposed to the "unworthily" manner of the preceding verse. The word examine is used for testing or proving anything. This testing is not as in 2 Corinthians 13:5 -to see whether the person is in the faith and so worthy to eat but whether he is about to partake of the elements in a worthy manner or a right spirit. "And so" after this self-examination. "That bread" and " that cup" ------should be "the cup" and 'the bread." " For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily." Many manuscripts omit the last word-unworthily. The modifier of the verb is found in the participial clause, " not discerning the Lord's body," which is to be taken conditionally -i.e., if he does not discern. It is placed as reference to emphasize. " Eateth and drinketh damnation to himself" This word damnation does not have reference to final damnation. it means condemnation but not the final condemnation of judgment day. 1Corinthians 11:30-32 describes a present judgment for the very purpose of avoiding the final retribution. "Not discerning the Lord's body." This verb means to know by distinguishing one thing from another and here it means to know the body of the Lord in the elements symbolized and the proper distinction between the Sacrament and ordinary food and feasting.

The whole verse may read( my paraphrase) -For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks condemnation to himself, not discerning (if he does not discern) the body. This failure in the Corinthian Church in their treatment of the Supper as a common meal was just the point Paul had made earlier in 1 Corinthians 11:20-22. Paul is pointing out that believers should be intelligent in these matters and to conduct oneself as a Christian. Sadly, many Christians believe if they are not perfect they avoid the Lord's Supper. None of us in our fallen human condition on this side of glory will ever be perfect. However, one must discern that Christ is spiritually present in the Sacrament and to regulate that Holy Supper to a mere meal is not discerning the Lord's body.To do so is to commit an offense and be guilty of dishonoring that sacred body symbolized in the elements.



:think:
Is the body to be discerned here the one of Jesus Himself, so we ought not be drunl/angry/at odds witheach other, as that would be not being in fellowship and communion with Him now?
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NightHawk
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07 Feb 2017, 16:46 #7

Ask Mr. Religion:25914 wrote:The supper is for the believer so any discussion by anyone about it, unless explicitly stated, would not be referring to unbelievers. In other words the references would be to dissension (divisiveness, disagreements between others, etc.) within the brethren.

The WLC #170-177 is a good place to start.
http://www.reformed.org/documents/wlc_w ... index.html
AMR, my thanks to you and Larry Pearson for your responses. You both were able to discern my clumsily worded question and address what I needed to ask, not what I actually asked. You are both fine word smiths.



The WLC questions helped. However, ...

More questions.

From Q 171 ... forgiving those that have done them wrong ... with proof text Matthew 5: 23-24 ... and there remember that your brother has something against you, ...

The question reads like a brother has done me wrong. The proof text reads like I have done my brother wrong. Is it both?

Why would I need to go to my brother if he had done me wrong and I held no animosity toward him? Is it necessary to tell him personally that I have forgiven before partaking of communion?

How would I know if I unintentionally harmed a brother and he hadn't spoken of it? How would I know to go to him seeking forgiveness and set things straight? What is my responsibility if he does not forgive?

Am I misunderstanding or missing the forest for the trees?

.
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