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Scripture Reading:  1 Corinthians 11:20-34


May 2003



     Like Philip & the Ethiopian, we ask questions to learn & to teach the gospel (Acts 8:30, 34).


#1:  1 Cor. 11:27-29:  How do you examine yourself to prepare for partaking of the Lord’s Supper so that you don’t do so in an unworthy manner?


1.  The Lord’s Supper:

   a.  What it is:  1 Cor. 11:23-26.

-Some are revising the Lord's supper from a reverent memorial & proclamation of Lord’s death into “a celebratory, interactive fellowship meal with the Lord” (Randy Hohf, “Biblical Perspectives on Fellowship Meals”).  “The supper as a whole is the experience of fellowship we gratefully and joyously share with the Lord and with one another”, he says.  And, Hohf means “a true meal, a supper in the fullest sense of the word” (Ibid., Parts 4 & 5, emp. his).

      1)   A remembrance of the Lord’s death – 11:24-25.

      2)   A proclamation of the Lord’s death – 11:26.

      3)   A communion with the death of Christ – 10:16.

   b.   How it is to be eaten:  1 Cor. 11:24-29[“…discerning the Lord’s body.”]

      1)   Remembering Christ’s body and blood – 11:24-25.

      2)   Proclaiming the Lord’s death – 11:26.

      3)   Communing with Christ – 10:16 (the Lord’s supper, 11:20).

2.  One who eats is obligated to examine himself & to eat in a worthy manner.

   a.   Examine (11:28):  dokimazo – To scrutinize & thus approve oneself (heart) - with the purpose of eating & drinking L.S. in a worthy manner (11:27).  (Am I discerning the Lord’s body? - 11:29, diakrino - distinguish, discriminate; 11:31, diakrino – judge ourselves).

      1)   While it is right to examine our lives to see if we are in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5), that is not the examination commanded in 1 Cor. 11:28.

         a)   A.T. Robertson:  “He does not say or imply that we ourselves must be “worthy” (axioi) to partake of the Lord’s Supper. No one would ever partake on those terms.”  (Word Pictures, in the NT, IV:165)

         b)   Barnes:  “Most persons interpret it as if it were unworthy, and not unworthily; and seem to suppose that it refers to their personal qualifications, to their unfitness to partake of it, rather than to the manner in which it is done. It is to be remembered, therefore, that the word here used is an adverb, and not an adjective, and has reference to the manner of observing the ordinance, and not to their personal qualifications or fitness.”  (1 Corinthians, 217)

      2)   This examination is of our heart & our participation in eating the supper – how or in what manner we eat. 

      3)   Examine my attitude & actions toward the supper:  Am I remembering?  Proclaiming?  Communing?  Or …  Am I profaning the memory of Christ’s death by not worshipping in spirit and truth?

   b.   Eat in a worthy manner (11:27-29):

      1)   In remembrance, proclamation & communion11:24-25, 26; 10:16.

      2)   By discerning the (Lord’s) body 11:29 (diakrino - “to separate, make a distinction, discriminate, to prefer”).  How? ...

         a)   It means to discern the death of Christ through the proper nature & design of the Lord’s supper (Context:  Discriminate & distinguish between the L.S. & meals that satisfy hunger…prefer the L.S. to divisive & condemning conduct!).

         b)   If we partake in any other manner, we condemn ourselves! – 11:27, 30 (cf. Heb. 10:29)

      3)   Unworthily:  Carelessly, casually, irreverently (talking, disturbing, disrupting), as a meal (11:20-22, 34), etc.

3.  How to partake in a worthy manner:

   a.   Examine your thankfulness:  Give thanks for what the Lord chose for us to eat – 11:24, 25.

   b.   Examine your memoryRemember His death – 11:24, 25.  (This is discerning the body, 11:29)

   c.   Examine your focus:  Fix your attention on the death of Christ.

   d.   Examine your actionsEliminate distractions (to the best of your ability; Jno. 4:24, a memorial).


#2:  Is it OK to have pictures, statues, images, etc. of Jesus, depictions of heaven, angels and/or the crucifixion on display at home?  What about in the church building?


1.  Such depictions are inaccurate, since nobody has seen Jesus, heaven or angels!

2.  Such depictions do not help us know Jesus, heaven &/or angels:  We “see” & “know” Jesus through faith in His word, not via images, statues or paintings – Jno. 8:17-19; 14:6-11.

3.  Why have such icons (images or representations)?

   a.  An influence of Catholicism:

      “Christian Iconography:  The science of the description, history, and interpretation of the traditional representations of God, the saints and other sacred subjects in art.  Almost from the beginning the Church has employed the arts as potent means of instruction and edification.  In the first centuries the walls of the catacombs were decorated with paintings and mosaics (see CATACOMBS), and in all later times churches have lent their walls, ceilings, and windows as well as their altars, furniture, and liturgical vessels and books, to be adorned with scenes from the Old and the New Testament, from the lives and legends of the saints, and even from old mythologies, modified, of course, and harmonized with Christian teaching.”  (The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. VII, online:   cf. Eph. 4:11-12; Acts 20:32

   b.  An absence of Bible authorization for the religious use of such depictionsCol. 3:17.

   c.  A specific Bible prohibition against images as religious objects – cf. Deut. 4:15-16 (5:8-9).

4.  What influence &/or message do such depictions give to others?

   a.  Messages of veneration (signs of reverence); of devotion; of agreement?

   b.  Being careful to “give no offense” (occasion of stumbling) cautions us against displaying such things today – 1 Cor. 10:27-33.

   c.  A practice one would have to “undo” with teaching that can be avoided by not displaying such.

5.  Church building provided to worship & edify – Images do neither.


#3:  If we’re not under the OT anymore, what does it matter if we properly understand what it says?  What does it matter if we teach something incorrectly about the OT if we teach correctly from the NT?


1.  Though not under its authority, it is inspired & profitableRom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:1-12.

2.  OT scriptures useful to bring a sinner to salvation in Christ – 2 Tim. 3:15; cf. Acts 17:1-4, 11-12.

   a.  Testify of Jesus Christ – Jno. 5:39.

   b.  Lead one to Jesus – Jno. 5:46-47.

3.  Misunderstanding of the OT often causes one to be unable to “teach correctly from the NT”!

   a.  “Israel the chosen people of God” (Exo. 19:5-6) – cf. Rom. 9:6-8 (Gal. 3:26-29; 6:16).

   b.  “National conversion of Israel” (Isa. 4:2-6) – Same for Jews & Gentiles! (Rom. 11:26-27; Acts 15:11)

   c.  Kingdom prophecies – (Mk. 1:14-15; Jno. 18:36; Col. 1:13).



     Bible answers can always be trusted as right, & must be accepted & applied to have God’s blessing.