Examine Yourselves

Q. In 1 Corinthians 11: 17-30 Paul talks about the Corinthians observing the Lord’s Supper. But he rebuked them saying that what they were doing was not good; not proper. I have observed that many pastors (evangelicals pastors) emphasize confession of sins before taking the communion – a matter of 2-5 minutes of examining oneself and saying a prayer of confession, then the bread and the cup are being passed.

As I understand the passage it didn’t look like Paul was giving new directives on confessions. Also, if confession of sins is a pre-requisite of taking the communion I believe it shifts the focus of this memorial service, making it about us instead of Jesus and the Cross.

What is really meant by Paul in saying “examine yourself?” Is it examine ourseves in the area of our sins, unworthiness? Or is it examine our approach in taking the Lord’s supper memorial?

A. Taking the entire passage as a whole reveals that Paul was advising the Corinthians to examine themselves so they could see if they were guilty of doing the things he’d been criticizing, such as not being polite, not sharing, getting drunk, etc. Taking communion in an unworthy manner refers to not showing the proper respect for the event they were there to memorialize. And that’s the lesson for us. We’re all unworthy in the general sense and even confessing our sins won’t change that. Paul was criticizing them for taking for granted the incredible gift that was being memorialized. We should examine ourselves to see if we’re doing the same thing.

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