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From the text:

1 Corinthians 11:27-32 (NKJV)
27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.

If for this reason many are «weak and sick among you, and many sleep», must be serious. What does Paul mean by unworthy manner?

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I was about to ask a comparable question. Then I saw yours here. Good question, so thanks. –  John Martin Jun 22 at 14:09

2 Answers 2

I'd tend to look back at 1 Corinthians 10:14-17 (NIV), note the focus on one and unity.

14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.

Starting in 11:17 Paul is talking about how a feast that is to demonstrate unity is actually promoting and demonstrating disunity.

It's not a popular answer, but I think biblically speaking a strong case can be made that an unworthy manner is one in which the participant is not recognizing their unity with Christ and the body of believers that he or she is gathered with. And perhaps even recognizing a wider vision of unity of those who call upon Christ as Lord.

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It could be a number of things. Paul was known to simplify the deep things of the spirit into ways the everyday reader could understand. So the question then becomes what is an "unworthy manner," at least in regards to communion or the Lord's supper.

1.) Most I believe would say that it means, observing the Lord's supper without knowing Christ himself. I highly doubt that the apostles, especially the apostle Paul, would allow people who didn't have Christ dwelling within them take part in the communion meal.

2.) "This do in remembrance of me." The shere depth of what it means to drink Christ's blood and eat Christ's flesh has became a mere reflection of what it once was. The 11 were there, literally handed the cup from God himself in the flesh saying "Take this and drink, this is my covenant (promise) to you." Which at that time was more or less a marriage proposal in Hebrew custom. That though is a discussion for another day but if interested look up passages about the Church being referred to as the "Bride of Christ."... Point being, if you were going to share in eating the flesh and drinking the blood you were not to do so with unrepented sin, or more importantly a dead spirit. To take part in the communion without being a born again follower of Christ was and is basically slapping Christ in the face and casting down the price He paid on the cross when He shed His blood, and allowed His body to be broken for our sakes.

Other.) Any other issues that could be reffered to as "unworthy" would essentially point back to these, or could the endless debates over the more minor details of the Communion such as: wine vs. juice, time of day, the day in which to take part in the meal, what kind of bread, and various other things.

I hope this helped you. God Bless

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Welcome to Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange! Thank you for taking the time to share your insights. Due to the nature of this site, a reference may be required to support your conclusions. –  Paul Vargas May 13 at 14:27
&Tyler Thanks. One thing I find very interesting is where it says that the bread and cup were picked up "after" dinner. 1 Cor 11:23 He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” –  John Martin Jun 22 at 14:44

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