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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 29

Verse 29. For he that eateth, etc. In order to excite them to a deeper reverence for this ordinance, and to a more solemn mode of observing it, Paul in this verse states another consequence of partaking of it in an improper and irreverent manner. Comp. 1 Co 11:27.

Eateth and drinketh damnation. This is evidently a figurative expression, meaning that by eating and drinking improperly he incurs condemnation-which is here expressed by eating and drinking condemnation itself. The word damnation we now apply, in common language, exclusively to the future and final punishment of the wicked in hell. But the word here used does not of necessity refer to that; and, according to our use' of the word now, there is a harshness and severity in our translation which the Greek does not require, and which probably was not conveyed by the word "damnation" when the translation was made. In the margin it is correctly rendered "judgment." The word here used (krima) properly denotes judgment; the result of judging, that is, a sentence; then a sentence by which one is condemned, or condemnation; and then punishment. See Ro 3:8; 13:2. It has evidently the sense of judgment here; and means that, by their improper manner of observing this ordinance, they would expose themselves to the Divine displeasure, and to punishment. And it refers, I think, to the punishment or judgment which the apostle immediately specifies, 1 Co 11:30,32. It means a manifestation of the Divine displeasure which might be evinced in this life; and which, in the case of the Corinthians, was manifested in the judgments which God had brought upon them. It cannot be denied, however, that a profane and intentionally irreverent manner of observing the Lord's Supper will meet with the Divine displeasure in the eternal world, and aggravate the doom of those who are guilty of it. But it is clear that this was not the punishment which the apostle had here in his eye. This is apparent,

(1.) because the Corinthians did eat unworthily, and yet the judgments inflicted on them were only temporal-that is, weakness, sickness, and temporal death, (1 Co 11:30;) and,

(2.) because the reason assigned for these judgments is, that they might not be condemned with the wicked; i.e., as the wicked are in hell, 1 Co 11:32.—Whitby. Comp. 1 Pe 4:17.

Not discerning the Lord's body. Not discriminating mh diakrinwn between the bread which is used on this occasion, and common and ordinary food. Not making the proper difference and distinction between this and common meals. It is evident that this was the leading offence of the Corinthians, See Barnes "1 Co 11:20,21"

and this is the proper idea which the original conveys. It does not refer to any intellectual or physical power to perceive that that bread represented the body of the Lord; not to any spiritual perception which it is often supposed that piety has to distinguish this; not to any view which faith may be supposed to have to discern the body of the Lord through the elements; but to the fact that they did not distinguish or discriminate between this and common meals. They did not regard it in a proper manner, but supposed it to be simply an historical commemoration of an event, such as they were in the habit of observing in honour of an idol or a hero by a public celebration. They, therefore, are able to "discern the Lord s body" in the sense intended here, who with a serious mind regard it as an institution appointed by the Lord Jesus to commemorate his death; and who distinguish thus between this and ordinary meals, and all festivals and feasts designed to commemorate other events. In other words, who deem it to be designed to show forth the fact that his body was broken for sill, and who desire to observe it as such. It is evident that all true Christians may have ability of this kind, and need not incur condemnation by any error in regard to this. The humblest and obscurest follower of the Saviour, with the feeblest faith and love, may regard it as designed to set forth the death of his Redeemer; and observing it thus, will meet with the Divine approbation.

{1} "drinketh damnation" "judgment" Ro 13:2

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