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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 28

Verse 28. But let a man examine himself. Let him search and see if he have the proper qualifications—if he has knowledge to discern the Lord's body, (See Barnes "1 Co 11:29";) if he has true repentance for his sins, true faith in the Lord Jesus, and a sincere desire to live the life of a Christian, and to be like the Son of God, and be saved by the merits of his blood. Let him examine himself, and see whether he have the right feelings of a communicant, and can approach the table in a proper manner. In regard to this we may observe,

(1.) that this examination should include the great question about his personal piety, and about his particular and special fitness for this observance. It should go back into the great inquiry whether he has ever been born again; and it should also have special reference to his immediate and direct preparation for the ordinance. He should not only be able to say in general that he is a Christian, but he should be able to say that he has then a particular preparation for it. He should be in a suitable frame of mind for it. He should have personal evidence that he is a penitent; that he has true faith in the Lord Jesus; that he is depending on him, and is desirous of being saved by him.

(2.) This examination should be minute and particular. It should extend to the words, the thoughts, the feelings, the conduct. We should inquire whether in our family and in our business, whether among Christians and with the world, we have lived the life of a Christian. We should examine our private thoughts; our habits of secret prayer and of searching the Scriptures. Our examination should be directed to the inquiry whether we are gaining the victory over our easily besetting sins, and becoming more and more conformed to the Saviour. It should, in short, extend to all our Christian character; and everything which goes to make up or to mar that character should be the subject of faithful and honest examination.

(3.) It should be done, because

(a.) it is well to pause occasionally in life, and take an account of our standing in the sight of God. Men make advances in business and in property only when they often examine their accounts, and know just how they stand.

(b.) Because the observance of the Lord's Supper is a solemn act, and there will be fearful results if it is celebrated in an improper manner.

(c.) Because self-examination supposes seriousness and calmness, and prevents precipitation and rashness—states of mind entirely unfavourable to a proper observance of the Lord's Supper.

(d.) Because by self-examination one may search out and remove those things that are offensive to God, and the sins which so easily beset us may be known and abandoned.

(e.) Because the approach to the table of the Lord is a solemn approach to the Lord himself; is a solemn profession of attachment to him; is an act of consecration to his service in the presence of angels and of men; and this should be done in a calm, deliberate, and sincere manner—such a manner as may be the result of a prayerful and honest self-examination.

And so let him eat, etc. And as the result of such examination, or after such an examination; that is, let the act of eating that bread be always preceded by a solemn self-examination. Bloomfield renders it, "and then," "then only." The sense is plain, that the communion should always be preceded by an honest and prayerful self-examination.

{a} "examine himself" 2 Co 13:5; 1 Jo 3:20,21

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