1 Corinthians 11:31
For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
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(31) For.—This joins 1Corinthians 11:31 to 1Corinthians 11:30, which see. The change to the first person, courteously identifying himself with them, is characteristic of St. Paul.

11:23-34 The apostle describes the sacred ordinance, of which he had the knowledge by revelation from Christ. As to the visible signs, these are the bread and wine. What is eaten is called bread, though at the same time it is said to be the body of the Lord, plainly showing that the apostle did not mean that the bread was changed into flesh. St. Matthew tells us, our Lord bid them all drink of the cup, ch. Mt 26:27, as if he would, by this expression, provide against any believer being deprived of the cup. The things signified by these outward signs, are Christ's body and blood, his body broken, his blood shed, together with all the benefits which flow from his death and sacrifice. Our Saviour's actions were, taking the bread and cup, giving thanks, breaking the bread, and giving both the one and the other. The actions of the communicants were, to take the bread and eat, to take the cup and drink, and to do both in remembrance of Christ. But the outward acts are not the whole, or the principal part, of what is to be done at this holy ordinance. Those who partake of it, are to take him as their Lord and Life, yield themselves up to him, and live upon him. Here is an account of the ends of this ordinance. It is to be done in remembrance of Christ, to keep fresh in our minds his dying for us, as well as to remember Christ pleading for us, in virtue of his death, at God's right hand. It is not merely in remembrance of Christ, of what he has done and suffered; but to celebrate his grace in our redemption. We declare his death to be our life, the spring of all our comforts and hopes. And we glory in such a declaration; we show forth his death, and plead it as our accepted sacrifice and ransom. The Lord's supper is not an ordinance to be observed merely for a time, but to be continued. The apostle lays before the Corinthians the danger of receiving it with an unsuitable temper of mind; or keeping up the covenant with sin and death, while professing to renew and confirm the covenant with God. No doubt such incur great guilt, and so render themselves liable to spiritual judgements. But fearful believers should not be discouraged from attending at this holy ordinance. The Holy Spirit never caused this scripture to be written to deter serious Christians from their duty, though the devil has often made this use of it. The apostle was addressing Christians, and warning them to beware of the temporal judgements with which God chastised his offending servants. And in the midst of judgement, God remembers mercy: he many times punishes those whom he loves. It is better to bear trouble in this world, than to be miserable for ever. The apostle points our the duty of those who come to the Lord's table. Self-examination is necessary to right attendance at this holy ordinance. If we would thoroughly search ourselves, to condemn and set right what we find wrong, we should stop Divine judgements. The apostle closes all with a caution against the irregularities of which the Corinthians were guilty at the Lord's table. Let all look to it, that they do not come together to God's worship, so as to provoke him, and bring down vengeance on themselves.For if we would judge ourselves - If we would examine ourselves, 1 Corinthians 11:28; if we would exercise a strict scrutiny over our hearts and feelings, and conduct, and come to the Lord's Table with a proper spirit, we should escape the condemnation to which they are exposed who observe it in an improper manner. If we would exercise proper "severity" and "honesty" in determining our own character and fitness for the ordinance, we should not expose ourselves to the divine displeasure.

We should not be judged - We should not be exposed to the expression of God's disapprobation. He refers here to the punishment which had come upon the Corinthians for their improper manner of observing the ordinance; and he says that if they had properly examined themselves, and had understood the nature of the ordinance, that they would have escaped the judgments that had come upon them. This is as true now as it was then. If we wish to escape the divine displeasure; if we wish the communion to be followed with joy, and peace, and growth in grace, and not with blighting and spiritual barrenness, we should exercise a severe judgment on our character, and feelings, and motives; and should come to it with a sincere desire to honor Christ, and to advance in the divine life.

31. if we would judge ourselves—Most of the oldest manuscripts, read "But," not "For." Translate also literally "If we duly judged ourselves, we should not be (or not have been) judged," that is, we should escape (or have escaped) our present judgments. In order to duly judge or "discern [appreciate] the Lord's body," we need to "duly judge ourselves." A prescient warning against the dogma of priestly absolution after full confession, as the necessary preliminary to receiving the Lord's Supper. This word judge in Scripture signifies all parts of judgment, examining, accusing, condemning, &c.: here it signifies accusing ourselves, condemning ourselves; discriminating ourselves, by the renewings of faith and repentance, from unbelievers, impenitent and profane persons: if we would thus judge ourselves, God would not accuse or condemn us.

For if we would judge ourselves,.... Examine, try, and prove ourselves as above directed, before we eat and drink; or condemn ourselves, by confessing, acknowledging, and mourning over sin, and by repentance for it; or separate ourselves from the company of profane sinners, come out from among them, and touch not their unclean things; or join with them in their unfruitful works of darkness:

we should not be judged; by the Lord; he would not inflict these diseases, sicknesses, and death.

For if we would {n} judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

(n) Try and examine ourselves, by faith and repentance, separating ourselves from the wicked.

1 Corinthians 11:31-32. If, on the other hand, we judged ourselves (submitted our own condition to moral criticism; parallel to δοκιμάζειν ἑαυτόν, 1 Corinthians 11:28), then should we not receive any judgment (judgment of condemnation, 1 Corinthians 11:29); but when we do receive a judgment (in point of fact, by temporal sufferings), we are chastened (punished in a disciplinary way) by the Lord (by God), in order that we may not be condemned (namely, at the last judgment) with the world (along with the anti-Christian part of mankind). Note the oxymoron: διεκρ. κριν. κατακριθ., answering significantly to the mutual relation of κρῖμα and διακρίνων in 1 Corinthians 11:29. In both passages we have the same sort of pointed alliteration, corresponding to their internal connection (which is plainly enough marked by the διὰ τοῦτο, 1 Corinthians 11:30, and δέ, 1 Corinthians 11:31, although Hofmann denies it).

As to the divine chastisement, which lies within the sphere of the divine redemptive agency (Hebrews 12:6; Titus 2:12; also 1 Timothy 1:20; 2 Timothy 2:25), comp J. Müller, v. d. Sünde, I. p. 339 f., ed. 5.

The use of the first person gives to the sentence the gentler form of a general statement, not referring merely to the state of things at Corinth, but of universal application.

1 Corinthians 11:31-32. Such chastisements may be averted; when they come, it is for our salvation: “If however we discerned (or discriminated: dijudicaremus, Vg[1793]) ourselves, we should not be judged”.—διακρίνω is taken up from 1 Corinthians 11:29 (see note); it is distinguished from κρίνω, which in turn is contrasted with κατακρίνω (1 Corinthians 11:32).—τῷ κόσμῳ in the sequel explains the bearing of διακρίνω here: it expresses a discriminating judgment, by which the Christian rightly appreciates his own status and calling, and realises his distinctive character, even as the διακρίνων of 1 Corinthians 11:29 realises the diff[1794] between the κυριακὸν δεῖπνον and a common δεῖπνον. The alliterative play on κρίνω and its compounds is untranslatable; cf. 1 Corinthians 2:13 ff., 1 Corinthians 4:3 ff. For the form of hypothesis, see 1 Corinthians 2:8; for the pers. of ἑαυτοὺς, 1 Corinthians 6:7.—κρινόμενοι δὲ assumes, from 1 Corinthians 11:30, as a fact the consequence hypothetically denied in the last sentence: “But under judgment as we are, we are being chastised by the Lord, in order that we may not with the world be condemned” (κατακριθῶμεν, judged-against, to our ruin). Thus hope is extracted from a sorrowful situation; cf. Hebrews 12:6 f., Revelation 3:19; νουθεσίας μᾶλλόν ἐστιν ἢ καταδίκης τὸ γινόμενον (Cm[1795]). On παιδεύω, to treat as a boy, see Trench, Syn., § 32. Plato describes παιδεία as δύναμις θεραπευτικὴ τῇ ψυχῇ; cf. the proverb, παθήματα μαθήματα. Ch. 1 Corinthians 5:5 is the extreme case of such “chastening” unto salvation; cf. Psalm 119:67, etc.—κρινόμενα (p[1796].), a disciplinary proceeding; κατακριθῶμεν (aor[1797]), a definitive pronouncement; cf. Acts 17:31, etc. P. associates himself, by 1st pers[1798] pl[1799], with the readers, sharing his Churches’ troubles (2 Corinthians 11:28 f.).

[1793] Latin Vulgate Translation.

[1794] difference, different, differently.

[1795] John Chrysostom’s Homiliœ († 407).

[1796] present tense.

[1797] aorist tense.

[1798] grammatical person, or personal.

[1799] plural.

31. For if we would judge ourselves] Perhaps better, with Dean Stanley, if we had judged ourselves, these judgments (i.e. weakness, sickness, death) would not have fallen upon us (though the rendering in the text is grammatically accurate). Such consequences are surely serious enough to make any one hesitate to trifle with so solemn an ordinance. The word here translated judge is the same as that rendered discern in 1 Corinthians 11:29. Here it means to pass a thorough and therefore an accurate judgment, Tyndale renders rightly judged. Richteten, Luther. Wiclif and the Vulgate as before.

1 Corinthians 11:31. Διακρίνομεν, we would judge as to) before the deed.—ἐκκρινόμεθα, we should be judged) after the deed. The simple verb and its compounds are elegantly used; nor is it immediately added by the Lord. But Paul afterwards discloses it to us [who it is from whom the judgment comes], we are chastened by the Lord, Revelation 3:19.

Verses 31, 32. - For if we would judge ourselves, etc. These verses are very unfortunately mistranslated in our Authorized Version. They should be rendered (literally), For if we discerned (or, discriminated) ourselves, we should not be undergoing judgment (namely, of physical punishment); but, in being judged by the Lord (by these temporal sufferings), we are under training, that we may not be condemned with the world. The meaning is that "if we" (St. Paul here identities himself with the Corinthians) "were in the habit of self discernment - and in this self discrimination is involved a discrimination between spiritual and common things - we should nut be undergoing this sign of God's displeasure; but the fact that his judgments are abroad among us is intended to further our moral education, and to save us from being finally condemned with the world." Discernment (diakrisis), by saving us from eating unworthily (Psalm 32:5; 1 John 1:9), would have obviated the necessity for penal judgments (krima), but yet the krima is disciplinary (paideuometha, we are being trained as children), to save us from final doom (katakrima). Unworthy eating, then, so far from involving necessary or final "damnation," is mercifully visited by God with temporal chastisement, to help in the saving of our souls. "Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Lord" (Psalm 94:12; Hebrews 12:5-12). 1 Corinthians 11:31We would judge (διεκρίνομεν)

An illustration of the confusion in rendering referred to under 1 Corinthians 11:29. This is the same word as discerning in 1 Corinthians 11:29, but the A.V. recognizes no distinction between it, and judged (ἐκρινόμεθα) immediately following. Render, as Rev., if we discerned ourselves; i.e., examined and formed a right estimate.

We should not be judged (οὐκ ἀν ἐκρινόμεθα)

By God. Here judged is correct. A proper self-examination would save us from the divine judgment.

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