“For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.” 1 Corinthians‬ ‭11:29‬ ‭

The word interpreted discerning here what does the original mean and in what context (another example where the word could be used ?)

I understand the verse to be saying be respectful of the body of Christ (people), understand her place and reverence them. That the bread broken for communion is actually representative of the body of Christ so do not dishonour them.

I would appreciate some more insight pls.

2 Answers 2


"Discern" is a good rendering here; "examine" is another possibility. Maybe this simile will be helpful: if one had happened to meet a great writer and philosopher, say William Faulkner, and not discern, not examine the greatness of the person, but to treat him in a casual way, talking futile things, empty jokes, but nothing that befits the loftiness of his intellect - meaning of life, of joy and suffering, of justice, humanity etc. Then such a man will depart from Faulkner as empty as he was before the meeting, which turned into a futility due to his indiscretion.

However in case of communion with Lord's blood and body it is even a dangerous indiscretion, for if the Source of all goodness is not understood and discerned as such, then how can one get anything good from anywhere else? Will not all other goods be spoiled by the fact of downgrading their Source Himself? Thus, who eats and drinks without discernment, eats and drinks one's own condemnation.

  • Thank you so much, I really like the example you gave with appreciation of meeting a great writer & philosopher. In my understanding verse 18 to 21 & verse 30 have been key to me truly understanding verse 29. And your answer helps to confirm it. The Corinthian Church did not discern the value of each other when they came together to remember the sacrifice made for all, the brokenness expected after the manner of Christ for each other & therefore judgement came upon them by sickness and untimely deaths. Jun 3, 2020 at 10:07

diá, "thoroughly back-and-forth," which intensifies
krínō, "to judge"
kri means 'separation'

I like to bring a spiritual dimension to the interpretation of this word in 1 Corinthians‬ ‭11:29, i.e., diakrínō involves deep thinking to analyze even to the point of the spiritual dimension.

1 Corinthians 12:10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing [diakriseis] between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.

Jude 1:9 But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing [diakrinomenos] with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"

The context in 1 Corinthians‬ ‭11:29 is the Lord's Supper. Spiritually speaking, in

John 6:54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.
John 6:63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you--they are full of the Spirit and life.

For those who eat and drink without recognizing the deep truth of the spiritual reality of the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Disclaimer: I am not talking about transubstantiation.

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