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1 Cor 11:27–34

11:27–34 It is important to take this whole section together as a unit, and vv. 33, 34 make plain Paul still has in mind the abuses mentioned in vv. 21, 22. Phrases such as “in an unworthy manner” (v. 27) and “Let a person examine himself” (v. 28) can be extended and applied to many circumstances, but we should be careful not to wrench them from their context. In particular, it would be a misreading of v. 30 to think that God routinely brings illness and death to Christians who, in spite of their spiritual failings, partake of the Supper. The problem in Corinth was much more specific and serious. Some of the Corinthians were tearing apart the unity of the Christian body represented by the one loaf (10:17). The warning in v. 29 about “discerning the body” almost surely refers to this failure to maintain the unity of the church as the body of Christ (see 12:12 note). Because some of the believers in Corinth were celebrating the Supper in a way that destroyed the unity it represents, God had brought judgment upon the community. God’s purpose in judging these believers, however, was to prevent them from being “condemned along with the world” (v. 32).