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1 Cor 11:32 NASB:

But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.

How is being judged also being disciplined in this verse? What is the difference between the two? And how does Jesus’ discipline prevent one from being condemned along with the world?

2 Answers 2

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Excellent question about 1 Cor 11:32, that betrays an number of Hebrew concepts around the idea of judgement. First the meaning of the words:

κρίνω = judge, decide

In the normal course of rational events, the process and results of judging contains the following process

  • engaging in a process where all the facts are considered and the evidence is evaluated
  • arriving at a conclusion and deciding what to do
  • issuing the decision as a verdict, either positive ("well done") or negative (condemnation)
  • implementing the decision by either rewarding or punishing

Such a process could occur (a) on an individual basis, (b) in a secular court, (c) in the church council, (d) in the heavenly court.

Unfortunately, the same Greek word is used to describe all these processes in all these situations as can be seen by comparison with V31.

In 1 Cor 11:32, "judged by the Lord" is obviously being punished for some character defect (via circumstances) as a means of training or education to make us better Christians.

παιδεύω = discipline, educate, train, chastise

The word is always used in the sense that the administered action is a way to either improve the recipient or correct improper behavior.

Thus, judge in order to discipline is entirely appropriate. Ellicott sums this up well:

(32) But when we are judged.—This verse explicitly declares that the condemnation following an unworthy partaking was not final condemnation, but temporal suffering to save them from being condemned with the heathen.

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Our child training (as explained in Hebrews 12:3-13 and better explained here, according to the word used here in 1 Corinthians - https://biblehub.com/greek/3811.htm) separates us by training us to form Christ in us, which is what separates us from the world (1 Corinthians 1:18)

See in verses 30 and 31 in 1 Corinthians 11 that because those who did not, and this church in particular had some who did not, take discernment (anakrino - to discern, to distinguish, separate https://biblehub.com/greek/1252.htm) to see how the cross of Christ truly made us different, God needed to teach those who didn't understand.

In the bigger context of the Corinthian church, Paul warned them as a father to his children (1 Corinthians 4:14):

  • there was rivalry (1 Corinthians 1:11)

  • there was dullness from being "fleshly" (1 Corinthians 3:1)

  • some were arrogant (1 Corinthians 4:18)

  • someone had taken their father's wife (1 Corinthians 5:1) into his bed

  • people within the Corinthian church were taking each other to public courts rather than handling things themselves as brothers and sisters (1 Corinthians 6:1)

  • the church in Corinth had not called out the sin in their midst and some had even boasted about this overtly sinning person (in chapter 5)

  • sexuality as a whole was apparently misunderstood (1 Corinthians 7)

  • there was lack of concern over how their actions had affected others negatively (1 Corinthians 8)

  • Christian liberty was misunderstood (1 Corinthians 10:23)

  • the Lord's Supper was turned into a time of feasting and eating and drinking (1 Corinthians 11)

  • spiritual gifts were being misused (1 Corinthians 12, 14)

  • outward actions were mistaken for real love (1 Corinthians 13)

  • even the resurrection of Jesus was called into question (1 Corinthians 15)

This overall arrogance and dullness kept the Corinthians from seeing the sins from which God had cleansed them (1 Corinthians 5:6-8). Paul said to make that distinction real by removing the overt offender from their fellowship (1 Corinthians 5:9-13).

When Paul encouraged the Corinthian church to recognize the Body of Christ, there's a clear reference to Paul's overall understanding of the gospel as seen in Romans 6 - how can we who are dead to sin live it any longer? We are alive as a new creation, because of Christ. Our faith in this work of Christ sets us apart; not arrogantly but with great hope (1 Corinthians 15:42-49). Those in the world, however, do not have this hope (1 Corinthians 1:25; 1 Corinthians 2:14; 1 Corinthians 6:9a; 1 Corinthians 7:31b; 1 Corinthians 10:21; 1 Corinthians 15:16-17, 50).

Those who do not trust God's forgiveness in Christ Jesus are under God's wrath as explained in John 3:36 and reiterated here by Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:32. This one Bread cannot be mixed with other "gods" (1 Corinthians 10:15-22), so God trains us by allowing loss if we lack the necessary discernment to live by the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:10-16) to the extent that if we try to partake of both the Lord's table and the table of demons (1 Corinthians 10:21), we are judged by the Lord. "Judge for yourselves what I'm saying." (1 Corinthians 10:15b) -- κρίνατε used here is in the Greek root as the same as in the word in the beginning of the verse in your question: "Being judged by the Lord..."

As seen in 1 Corinthians 11:20-22, treating the elements of remembrance of Christ's suffering love for us as just food and drink shows a certain fleshly mindset that didn't really remember or put into their minds what the Lord had done for them. "Do this in remembrance of me," changes that. God needed to remind them of this by allowing some rather strict chastening. Not just for misunderstanding the Lord's supper, but because of all of the similar acts of lack of judgement and discernment going on there (as Paul explained in the bulleted list I made above).

If Christ hasn't been raised, then this meant the reality of salvation was less than diminished (1 Corinthians 15:16-17). Everything surrounds the way we see the Lord's supper, because it reflects how we see the finished work of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:32-34). Without this proper discernment, which comes by practicing our faith in everyday love and living (1 Corinthians 10:24), God will treat us with child training to bring us back into focus of what's really happening: the darkness, the world, and the flesh is passing away, but the one doing God's wish remains in God's good grace:

What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor can corruption inherit incorruption. Listen, I am telling you a mystery: We will not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed. For this corruptible body must be clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal body must be clothed with immortality. When this corruptible body is clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal body is clothed with immortality, then the saying that is written will take place:

Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, death, is your victory? Where, death, is your sting?

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

(1 Corinthians 15:50-58)

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