We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Slowly Recovering From A Trip


I may be back soon with some actual articles!  

Well, I had a short note last week about where I’ve been, but I thought I’d give you a wee bit more information just for fun.

The National Museum of the United States Air Force is my favorite museum, and I have visited there about 50 times since my first trip in 1969 when they were still at their old location at Patterson Field (Wright-Patterson AFB) in Fairborn, Ohio (incidentally, the town where we were married in 1976).  I visited the second time a year later before I went into the Army.  Then in 1971 they moved to a brand new, wonderful building at Wright Field (the other side of the base) and I was able to visit it in March 1972 while on leave from the Army.  My next time was one of my first dates with my wife in 1974.  After I left the Army the end of February 1975 we (always took Jill with me even before we were married) visited it 3-4 times a year (since her home was about 20 minutes from it) until we moved to the Chicago area in 1978.  Then we visited the museum every time we went to visit family (all in that area), which was at least once a year and sometimes twice.  Well, moving to Iowa put us much farther away and we’ve usually only been there every other year.  Our last visit was in September 2014.  (You can take a virtual tour of the airplanes there by looking at my photo collection on Flickr—although I won’t have time to load new photos for quite some time.)

I wanted to go last summer when the museum opened its 4th building (it only had one in 1971) but things just got in the way — apologetics conference in Palatine, IL in the spring, our 40th anniversary trip to Yellowstone in August, and a Country School conference in October.  And too many doctor bills!  So the plan was to go this summer.  Points earned from several motel stays over the past 18 months allowed me to get two nights in Fairborn for $35 a night!

WELL, I learned that they were going to have a program celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the
Doolittle Tokyo Raid. The celebration would be on Monday April 17th and Tuesday April 18th (the actual day of the attack).  There were to be 17 B-25 bombers flying in on Monday morning at 0800 (the type of plane used in the attack), and then the planes would be on static display beginning at 1000.  Then there would be all sorts of ceremonies, with the B-25s departing at 1330 Tuesday and overflying the memorial gardens at 1415, with four coming back around for a “Missing Man” formation.  This would be followed 30 minutes later by two B-1B bombers from Ellsworth AFB, SD making a high speed pass over the memorial gardens (one bomber from each squadron which supplied the B-25s in WWII).  Then we’d head home when they were past.


OH-- and the last surviving crew of the raid was there, 101 yrs old, sitting in a wheel chair and signing autographs!

So we left home at 0700 Sunday (I know, we missed Easter service) and arrived at our motel about 8.5 hrs later.  Since we had information about 1-room schools in the Fairborn area, we hunted out four of them and then met Jill’s stepmother for a couple hours.  Next morning we were at the Museum for the arrivals — only 11 made it: one had a mechanical problem where they parked overnight (Urbana, OH) and couldn’t get it fixed within the window to be at the base, while 5 more were unable to make it due to severe weather between their departure point and the Dayton area.  Spent the day at the museum, of course, and then hunted two more schools in the area.  Tuesday we were at the museum by 0930 and spent too much money at the gift shop.  BUT, we were out waiting for the departures to photograph them taking off, and the flyovers.  We got home right at midnight our time, with over 1000 photos on the camera.

Wednesday I downloaded all the photos and decided to get all the school photos off first, just to get them out of the way.  So I spent a goodly portion of that day (when not getting back-logged chores done, going out on errands and lunch) editing those photos and posting them on our blog of schools in states besides Iowa.  Meanwhile, our kitty was having some issues which needed a vet so we set up an appointment for Thursday.  This led to leaving her there for the day and picking her up late afternoon.

From then on it was catching up on yard work (mowing and weeding) and about every errand you can think of, doctors’ appointments, car repair appointment, trying to find time to edit photos, and just too busy with too many things (including both of our annual dentist visits yesterday)!!  And some daily hassles with health insurance people over mess-ups with coverages and such, with it looking like I’m going to have to spend one heck of a lot more money because I’m being forced to be on Medicare!

WHEW.  And now today is celebrating my 65th birthday!  And then it is band practice this evening.

Anyway, just for fun I’m sharing the arrival and departure photos of the 11 B-25 Mitchell bombers which flew in for the celebration.  The arrived and departed in the same order; some guy kept stepping in front of me when I was shooting departure!.  (I just finished editing all my photos last night!)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Miscellany


Although I’ve been quite busy with life, I’ve been trying to keep up with my daily reading so as to keep up with all the good and the bad teachings within the Church.  This time I’m posting links to a few edifying articles and then the rest are links to items pointing out the need for discernment.

The Gospel of Mark and the deity of Christ.

Who is the fool who denies God?

The Greek word kephale and marriage.

Since Hank Hanegraff, the so-called “Bible Answer Man,” has announced that he is now a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church, it is important to understand that the demonstrates a 100% lack of discernment.  The Orthodox Church is, like the Roman Church, a cultic organization with a lot of unbiblical doctrine.  I wrote an article about them back in July 2010, which I recommend you review.  Answers in Genesis has also posted a review of E.O. teachings to help you understand their unbiblical nature.  (The deceitful nature of Hanegraff’s Christian Research Institute — which USED TO BE a good apologetics organization — is demonstrated by the fact that an article condemning the E.O. as unbiblical was removed from their site sometime yesterday; I had the link and was beginning to read it but had to go to a funeral—this morning the link is gone.)

Damning doctrines of the Orthodox Church.

Should we apologize to the Eastern Orthodox Community?

God has a name.

More on Freemasonry.

Watch out for broken wolves.

More proof of the apostate and heretical condition of the Catholic church.

The 100th anniversary of demonic visions at Fatima is celebrated by Rome.  Just another example of why Roman Catholicism is NOT true Christianity.

25 reasons why Peter wasn’t the first pope.

Some good information about the Seventh-day Adventist cult and their teaching about the Sabbath and “soul sleep.”

A lot of mighty weird things going on with the Southern Baptist Convention; the apostasy just keeps building.

Steve Bricker has an excellent analysis of a couple of “worship” songs.  Now if we could only get our “worship leaders” to do this!l

When you redefine what a missionary is, false teaching results. That’s what Adventures in Missions has done.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Should We Sing That Song?


Rather than waiting for a collection of links for posting, I thought this would be perfect as a separate post!

An article I read this week succinctly demonstrates how to discern whether or not a song should be used for corporate worship in the assembly.  Titled, Should We Sing That Song,” the article can be reduced to these checks:

The Content Check
The Sing-ability Check
The Audience Check
The Association and History Check

Since I haven’t asked permission to post the article, I’ll leave these “checks” to whet your appetite to go read it!  (It’s essentially the same things I’ve been saying for years!)

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Discipline and Instruction of the Lord


Too many Christians abuse the Scripture about using the “rod” to discipline, either claiming that the culture of the Bible was different and we don’t use the “rod” now, or else they determine that the use of the rod must be severe.  Proper discernment should lead one to see that both extremes are wrong.  

I’ve put together some Bible passages to contemplate, as well as some supplemental thoughts.  

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.  Prov. 1:7 NIV

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.  Prov. 22:6 NIV

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.  Eph. 6:4 NAS

There is a distinction between training (discipline) and teaching.  Many teach their children the way they should go, but are neglecting to train them in the way they should go.  A child can be trained to respond to his parents in willing obedience and trust.

The dictionary gives the meaning of the word train: "to mold the character, instruct by exercise, drill, to make obedient to orders, to put or point in an exact direction, to prepare for a contest."  This is what God wants us to do with our children.

How can we train our children to obey us?  God has given us directions.  The passages below give a more contemporary translation of traditional verses about the use of the “rod,” but I think they are good for helping our understanding of the intent. (GWN is God’s Word to the Nations [or just God’s Word], while CEV is Contemporary English Version.)

Foolishness is firmly attached to a child's heart.  Spanking will remove it far from him.  Prov. 22:15 GWN.

Whoever refuses to spank his son hates him, but whoever loves his son disciplines him from early on.  Prov. 13:24 GWN.

Do not hesitate to discipline a child.  If you spank him, he will not die.  Spank him yourself, and you will save his soul from hell.  Prov. 23:13,14 GWN

A spanking and a warning produce wisdom, but an undisciplined child disgraces his mother.  Prov. 29:15 GWN

Correct your children before it's too late; if you don't punish them, you are destroying them.  Prov. 19:18 CEV

Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul.  Prov. 29:17 NIV

Blows and wounds cleanse away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being.  Prov. 20:30 NIV

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.  Heb. 12:11 NIV

The use of the “rod” (spanking, paddle, etc) is not to be in anger or abusively, rather it is loving discipline for correcting errors.  While some people/cults (e.g. Mike and Debi Pearl) teach the physical “rod” for just about any infraction, our family used other disciplinary measures unless the infraction was very serious — and then the “rod” (we spanked with open hand) was to help them thoroughly understand the serious nature of what they did!

Finally, God disciplines us as His children.  As he tells us in Hebrews 12:5-11, children who are not disciplined are illegitimate and not true sons.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Some Good Stuff


Jehovah’s Witnesses and their false teaching about Enoch.

Digging in my files to clean out obsolete stuff, I came across a great article from the January 2006 issue of Christianity Today Astray. Titled “Raising Ebenezer,” it explains the lyrics from “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” and why the word should not be changed. (I couldn’t get the link to do the single page mode, but it could get the next page.)


John’s Gospel was last one, but it was not written late.


Some help for addressing supposed contradictions in the Bible.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Random Things Needing Discernment

Do discoveries of new planets validate E.G. White’s “visions”?  NO!

Kari Jobe, one of the worst “worship artists,” spreads aberrant and heretical theology.

Here’s another periodic reminder of the dangers of Adventures in Missions and The World Racelots of connections to the New Apostolic Reformation.

For those who refuse to accept that Jesse Duplantis is a horrid false teacher, you need to review this article.

Abused Scripture — 2 Corinthians 8:9.

Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe in the resurrection as taught in Scripture.

What is an apostle?  This article dispels the myth of the modern NAR apostle — and any other claim to be apostles.

A  dangerous cult you should know about is the World Mission Society Church of God.

The Episcopal Church has an idolatrous love affair with God-condemned sexual perversion.  The denomination is totally apostate — and has been for decades.


Has God forbidden us from criticizing church leaders?  Absolutely not.

Wanted:  A Sunday School Teacher from Hell.  Sought by the totally apostate United Church of Christ.  Of course this “church” worships a different God and Christ than those of the Bible!

The King James Version Bible and Easter.

A resource for addressing Freemasonry in your assembly.

The pastor of the assembly we left a couple years ago is showing less and less discernment; this past week he praised Chris Tomlin’s song, Good, Good FatherThis article demonstrates the deep problems with this song.

People, use discernment with everything you hear and read, and if your church leaders are not using discernment, bring things to their attention.  You never know that you might be the one to make them think!

Monday, April 10, 2017

2 John 10


2 John 10 has been often used to say that we should not allow Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons into our homes to have discussions with them.  But is the proper use of this passage?

The first question is, to who is the letter addressed?  Who is the “elect lady [or “chosen lady”] and her children”?  For the answer I sought the use of some commentaries:

Holman Bible Dictionary:  The recipient of John's second letter sometimes understood to be an individual but the phrase probably is a way of referring to a local church congregation.  The members of the church would then be the "children" who are mentioned in the same verse.  The "elect sister" of verse 13 would be another congregation whose members were sending greeting.

The Oxford Study Bible (REB):  The community addressed is called the Lady, which in Gk. is the feminine equivalent of "Lord."  The title may be related to the familiar imagery of the church as the "bride of Christ" (see 2 Cor. 11.2; Eph. 5.26-27; Rev. 19.7).  The phrase chosen by God (used here of the church) indicates Jesus in Jn. 1.34.

Ryrie Study Bible (NAS): The destination of this second letter is enigmatic.  Some believe that the "chosen lady" is a figurative way of designating a particular church ("chosen sister," v. 13 would then mean a different church).  Others hold that the letter was addressed to an individual Christian and her family (in which case the "sister" would be her natural sister).

Henry M. Morris, The Defender's Study Bible (KJV):  Commentators have differed over whether the phrase "elect lady and her children" refers to an actual family or is a metaphor for a local church to which John had ministered.  Though this is a matter of opinion, the over-all message to the epistle might seem more appropriate for a church than for a family. Perhaps it could apply to either one, and John intentionally left it open so that it could be used for either purpose, as appropriate.  The warnings and admonitions of John are important for families to heed, but even more so for churches.  The closing greeting from "the children of thy elect sister" would perhaps be more appropriate as coming from a sister church, but again it could be interpreted either way.  It is the message that is important.  Do not encourage any who would pervert the true doctrine of Christ by allowing them to teach their anti-Christian doctrines and practices either in one's home or church.

R.W. Orr, The Letters of John, The International Bible CommentaryUnto your house on our interpretation of "the elect lady"  will mean "into church fellowship".  Commentators have been embarrassed by the apparent churlishness of this verse in forbidding the common courtesy of hospitality to heretics.  E.g., Plummer: "The greatest care will be necessary before we can venture to act upon the injunction here given to the Elect Lady."  C.H. Dodd simply declines to heed the injunction.  If however we understand church fellowship to be the matter in question, the difficulty disappears: the welcome will signify church approval or commendation. 

Matthew Henry:  I.  Upon due warning given concerning seducers, the apostle gives direction concerning the treatment of such.  They are not to be entertained as the ministers of Christ.  The Lord Christ will distinguish them from such, and so would he have his disciples.  The direction is negative.  1. "Support them not: If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine (concerning Christ as the Son of God, the Messiah and anointed of God for our redemption and salvation), receive him not into your house."  Possibly this lady was like Gaius, of whom we read in the next epistle, a generous housekeeper, and hospitable entertainer of travelling ministers and Christians.  These deceivers might possibly expect the same reception with others, or with the best who came there (as the blind are often bold enough), but the apostle allows it not: "Do not welcome them into your family."  Doubtless such may be relieved in their pressing necessities, but not encouraged for ill service.  Deniers of the faith are destroyers of souls; and it is supposed that even ladies themselves should have good understanding in the affairs of religion.  2. "Bless not their enterprises: Neither bid him God speed.  Attend not their service with your prayers and good wishes."  Bad work should not be consecrated or recommended to the divine benediction.  God will be no patron of falsehood, seduction, and sin.  We ought to bid God speed to evangelical ministration; but the propagation of fatal error, if we cannot prevent, we must not dare to countenance.  Then,
II.  Here is the reason of such direction, forbidding the support and patronage of the deceiver: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.  Favour and affection partake of the sin.  We may be sharers in the iniquities of others.  How judicious and how cautious should the Christian be!  There are many ways of sharing the guilt of other people's transgressions; it may be done by culpable silence, indolence, unconcernedness, private contribution, public countenance and assistance, inward approbation, open apology and defence.  The Lord pardon our guilt of other persons' sins!

Halley's Bible Handbook: False Teachers,  7-11:  These already had been referred to in 1 John 2:18-29: going from Church to Church, Teaching, in the Name of Christ, Doctrines that were utterly subversive of the Christian Faith.  This Letter seems to have been written to caution the Elect Lady to be on her guard, and refuse Hospitality to such Teachers. The warning is prefaced with an exhortation to Love (5, 6), as if to indicate that the Practice of Christian Love does not mean that we should give encouragement to Enemies of the Truth.

Norman Geisler & Thomas Howe, When Critics Ask:  
The passage in 2 John is not talking about someone who simply comes to visit.  Rather, John is talking about false teachers who are deceivers (v.7) and who come to present their doctrines.
First, John is instructing the local church, and the individuals of the local church, not to extend hospitality to these persons, because that would imply that the church accepted or approved of their teaching.  The people of the local church were directed not even to give a Christian greeting to them, lest this be misconstrued as an attitude of tolerance of their false doctrines....  By clearly demonstrating an intolerance for false doctrine, it would be possible to communicate to false teachers that they needed to repent.  On the contrary, if the church or individual were to extend hospitality to a false teacher, he would be encouraged in his position and take this action as an acceptance of his doctrine, or as a covering of his unrighteousness.
Second, it must be remembered that, in the early church, the evangelistic and pastoral ministry of the church was conducted primarily by individuals who traveled from location to location.  These itinerant pastors depended on the hospitality of the people of a local congregation.  John is directing the church not to extend this kind of hospitality to teachers of false doctrine.

Ryrie Study Bible (NAS) 10. do not receive him into your house.  I.e., do not give a false teacher hospitality. 

Henry M. Morris The Defender's Study Bible (KJV):  10.  your house.  The "house" is the church, probably then meeting in a house.  No false teacher is to be allowed to teach in the church.

The NIV Study Bible   Occasion and Purpose
During the first two centuries the gospel was taken from place to place by traveling evangelists and teachers.  Believers customarily took these missionaries into their homes and gave them provisions for their journey when they left.  Since Gnostic teachers also relied on this practice, 2 John was written to urge discernment in supporting traveling teachers; otherwise, someone might unintentionally contribute to the propagation of heresy rather than truth.
10.  take him into your house.  A reference to the housing  and feeding of traveling teachers.  The instruction does not prohibit greeting or even inviting a person into one's home for conversation.  John was warning against providing food and shelter, since this would be an investment in the "wicked work" of false teachers and would give public approval (see v.11).

My analysis:

It appears to be inconclusive whether the epistle was written to a specific lady or to a church, but my feeling is that it was probably a church body.  This would change the complexion of the argument somewhat, but not much.

My understanding is that you are not to invite people into your congregation or home with the intent of letting them teach false doctrine.  For example, when I have opened my door to them, I never once let it appear that Jehovah's Witnesses would have the opportunity to present their doctrine.  I brought them into my home for the sole purpose of them learning my doctrine; it was made clear to them that I would not accept their false teaching, and I emphasized that I could disprove their prophets and teaching.  I also emphasized the teaching of the Trinity.   As for providing hospitality, I don't believe inviting them to sit down is giving hospitality (what if we sat on the porch and not in the "house"?), especially in light of the context of the Scripture, wherein the idea was providing the itinerant heretic sustenance and a place to stay.  I certainly didn't send them off with any greeting.

At any rate, I really don't think the context of this passage applies to bringing false teachers into your home for the purpose of evangelism, especially since they are not permitted to teach their false doctrine.   My wife pointed out an example wherein this passage could cause a problem if this was to mean not allowing any false teacher into your house or providing hospitality; her father was a staunch secular humanist/evolutionist and advocate of higher criticism/form criticism interpretations of the Scriptures.  He was brought into our home, and even stayed a few nights, all the while teaching his theology and explaining how ignorant we were to believe the Bible as the Word of God.  Here is a clear case of inviting a heretic into our home and even allowing him to present his doctrine.  We of course preached the gospel message and made much use of apologetics in our discussions with him, all to no avail.  Were we to turn her own father away at the door due to disagreement on theology?  Of course not.  That is an example of why I don't think the passage applies to these situations.

Therefore, I believe the intent of the passage is that you are not to invite people into your congregation or home with the intent of letting them teach false doctrine, or allowing them to share in the Remembrance celebration.  You are not to provide them food and shelter, which would aid them in propagating their message.

Friday, April 7, 2017

A Man Must Examine Himself


While Roman Catholics claim that the Lord’s Supper (Eucharist) is a sacrifice of Christ, with the elements actually turning into Jesus’ blood and body, those who follow what the Bible says understand that it is really a memorial with symbols reflecting the reality of the work of Christ in His one-time sacrifice for sin.

One passage in regards to “communion” is 1 Corinthians 11:28, which often raises questions as to its meaning, and that is the reason for this post, which is based on a study I did back in 2001 for a class.

In the context of 1 Cor. 11:23-29, in regards to the Lord's Supper, two questions arise:
What is the purpose of the Lord's Supper (otherwise known as Communion, the Lord's Table,  Eucharist [thanksgiving] etc)?
For what must a man examine himself? 
In order to answer the second question, we must know its context in relation to first question. 

To determine the purpose of the Lord's Supper we merely have to see what Jesus said about it.  In Luke 22:19 Jesus says to "do this in remembrance of me."  Paul repeats this in 1 Cor. 11:23-26, and adds that "whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes."   In 1 Cor. 10:16-17 we have another aspect of the purpose and that is communion ("participation") in Christ's body and blood.

David A. Glock, of Emmaus Bible College has some good words to say in this matter.  In his article The Centrality of The Lord's Supper in The Life of The Assembly (in the Emmaus Journal, Vol.1/No.1), Glock says,
Worship is distinct.  It is primarily focused on God.  The pattern of the Psalms establishes this concept.  In the descriptive psalms of praise in the Psalter the attributes and character of God are the focus of praise.  In the declarative psalms of praise His great deeds in creation and history inspire praise from His people.  The person and work of God are the single focus of worship.  Praise comes from contemplating Him and what He has done.  In the New Testament worship finds its particular focus on the person and work of  Christ.
This do in remembrance of me. I Cor.11:24
For as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, you do show the Lord's death till he comes. I Cor.11:26
The direction of worship is godward.  It focuses on God, not the worshipper.

Glock continues further:  The purpose of the worship meeting is unique.  It is the hour of collective contemplation of God.  Saint stimulates saints to higher and greater thoughts of God.

This, then, is the purpose: a time of praise and worship directed at God in remembrance of Christ's work, communion with him, and proclaiming his death until he comes.

So now we come to the second question: For what must a man examine himself?  The context of verse 28 is established in verse 29 by the conjunction "for".  Therefore, if we are to learn in what way a man is to examine himself, we must see what it is that verse 29 says.  I will set this verse out in several English translations to better get the understanding:

King James VersionFor he that eateth and drinketh  unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.
English Standard VersionFor anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.
New American StandardFor he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgement to himself if he does not judge the body rightly.
Revised English BibleFor he who eats and drinks eats and drinks judgement on himself if he does not discern the body.
Greek InterlinearFor the [one] eating and drinking judgement to himself eats and drinks not discerning the body.
J.N. DarbyFor [the] eater and drinker eats and drinks judgement to himself, not distinguishing the body.
New King James VersionFor he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the body.
Holman Christian Standard Bible:  For whoever eats and drinks without recognizing the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.
New International VersionFor anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgement on himself.
New English TranslationFor the one who eats and drinks without careful regard for the body, eats and drinks judgment against himself.
Amplified VersionFor anyone who eats and drinks without discriminating and recognizing with due appreciation that [it is Christ's] body, eats and drinks a sentence - a verdict of judgement - upon himself.
God Word To The NationsAnyone who eats and drinks is eating and drinking a judgement against himself when he doesn't recognize the Lord's body.
Jewish New Testament For a person who eats and drinks without recognizing the body eats and drinks judgement upon himself.
New American Bible (also RSV)For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgement on himself.
New Living Translation For if you eat the bread or drink the cup unworthily, not honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God's judgement upon yourself.
An American Translation (W.F. Beck)Anyone who eats and drinks without seeing that the body is there is condemned for his eating and drinking.
William BarclayFor he who eats and drinks as some of you do, eats and drinks judgment to himself, because he does not discern what the body means.
Today's English Version For if he does not recognize the meaning of the Lord's body when he eats the bread and drinks from the cup, he brings judgement on himself when he eats and drinks.
Contemporary English VersionIf you fail to understand that you are the body of the Lord, you will condemn yourselves by the way you eat and drink.

So, for what does the Scripture say that a man should examine himself before partaking of the Lord's Supper?  It is quite plain that a man should examine himself to see if he can rightly recognize, discern or judge something about the body.  What body?  His own?  Christ's?  The Church?  The KJV, NKJV, ESV, NET, NAS, REB, JNT, Interlinear, Darby, NAB, RSV, Beck and Barclay all just say the "body", but the rest say the "body of Christ" or of "the Lord.”

First, remember our answer to the question as to purpose of the Lord's Supper.  Then look at 11:17-22 where Paul is chastising them for their improper use of the Lord's Supper.  It is within this context that Paul tells them that a man should examine himself before partaking.  Does he discern what the Lord's Supper is about?  If he does not, he is taking it unworthily.  So, then, the body he is talking about is obviously the body of Christ, as the sense is given in the remaining translations.

It may be enlightening to see what the early church taught on this subject.

The Didache (c.80-140 A.D.), an early catechism, stated, “Let no one eat or drink of your Eucharist but those who have been baptized into the name of the Lord.”

Justin Martyr (c. 160 A.D.) stated, “And this food is called among us the Eucharist.  And no one is allowed to partake of it but the one who believes that the things  which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is living as Christ has commanded.

Here it appears that they considered a person unworthy if they were not baptized as a member of the Church, which would mean they must understand what the service was about.  This would correlate well with the idea of self-examination to be able to recognize the significance of the service.

Another question relative to this is what is meant by the body of Christ?  Many commentators have their own ideas here, and  may shed light on this passage, but sometimes the particular doctrinal bent of the writer comes through.  They often do not agree with each other, so that is why we use them only for reference, while the Bible is our final authority.

In the notes to the Catholic New American Bible, we find the following: 11.28: Examine himself: the Greek word is similar to that for "approved" in v.19, which means "having been tested and found true."  The self-testing required for proper eating involves discerning the body (29), which, from the context, must mean understanding the sense of Jesus' death (26), perceiving the imperative to unity that follows from the fact that Jesus gives himself to all and requires us to repeat his sacrifice in the same spirit (18-25)

As you can see, they understand that it not examining oneself for unconfessed sin, etc.  They see the "body" in context as that of Christ’s.

The NIV Study Bible:  11:28 examine himself. A person should test the attitude of his own heart and actions and his awareness of the significance of the Supper, thus making the Supper, under God, a spiritual means of grace.  11:29 without recognizing the body of the Lord.  The word "body" may refer to either the Lord's physical body or the church as the body of Christ (see 12:13,27).  The first view means that the person partakes of the Lord's Supper without recognizing that it symbolizes Christ's crucified body.  But in that case, why is the blood not mentioned?  The second view means that the participant is not aware of the nature of the church as the body of Christ, resulting in the self-centered actions of vv. 20-21.

Again, although there are two views of what "the body" means, the commentator makes it plain that we are not examining ourselves for our sins, but rather whether we recognize what the Lord's Supper represents.

Matthew Henry:  “The Corinthians came to the Lord's table as to a common feast, not discerning the Lord's body - not making a difference or distinction between that and common food, but setting both on a level: nay, they used much more indecency at this sacred feast than they would have done at a civil one.  This was very sinful in them, and very displeasing to God, and brought down his judgement on them: For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.  Some were punished with sickness, and some with death.  Note, A careless and irreverent receiving of the Lord's supper may bring temporal punishment.”

Henry's commentary is almost 300 years old, so at least it shows what the teaching was in his day.

The International Bible Commentary, with Paul W. Marsh as the author of the commentary on 1 Corinthians:  28. examine: i.e., let a man test himself.  It calls for a minute scrutiny of the heart and motives to ascertain one's moral and spiritual condition before partaking. 29. without recognizing the body.  the body is held by some commentators to refer to the church (see also Moffat and NEB).  Others understand it in terms of the Lord's Supper as in v.27.  Both interpretations make good sense. of the Lord, added in NIV, is not the Greek text. diakrinein (to discern or recognize) is rendered judged rightly, in v.31.  It seems to carry this basic idea in v.29.  One who judges rightly will distinguish, discriminate.  Therefore, depending on the significance given to the body, one who participates without due self-examination does not distinguish between the Lord's Supper (the body) and an ordinary meal, or alternatively, does not discern the true character of the Body, the Church.

Again, the commentator does not see self-examination as including confessing sins, etc.

Finally, William Barclay's commentary:  This passage goes on to talk about eating and drinking this bread and wine unworthily.  The unworthiness consisted in the fact the man who did so did "not discern the Lord's body."  That phrase can equally mean two things; and each is so real and so important that it is quite likely that both are intended.
(i) It may mean that the man who eats and drinks unworthily does not realize what the sacred symbols mean that he eats and drinks with no reverence and no sense of the love that these symbols stand for or the obligation that is laid upon him.
(ii) It may also mean this.  The phrase the body of Christ again and again stands for the Church; it does so, as we shall see, in Chapter 12.  Paul has just been rebuking those who with their divisions and their class distinctions divide the church; so this may mean that he eats and drinks unworthily who has never realized that the whole Church is the body of Christ but is at variance with his brother.  Every man in whose heart there is hatred, bitterness, contempt against his brother, as he comes to the Table of our Lord, eats and drinks unworthily.  So then to eat and drink unworthily is to do so while we are at variance with the brother for whom also Christ died.

Although Barclay has a good understanding of what the passage says, he does add that examining self for sins, etc., may be included.

The plain reading of the text, and the many evidences from early Christian teaching and reputable commentators, teach that the self-examination is indeed whether one recognizes the purpose of the Lord's Supper and all the doctrine behind it, including the proclaiming of the Lord's death.  The purpose of the Lord's Supper is to remember Him and His work, and to proclaim his death.  It is a memorial to Jesus and the focus is then directed at Him, with worship and praise to God the Father for the work of Christ.  It is not a time of self-reflection.  The focus is heaven-ward, not inward.

Should we examine ourselves for unconfessed sin and wrong-doing towards others?  Most definitely, and this should be done on a continuous basis.  William McDonald's commentary states:  We should realize that the Lord's body was given in order that our sin might be put away.  If we go on living in sin, while at the same time partaking of the Lord's Supper, we are living a lie.

In Matthew 5:23,24 Jesus tells us, "It you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar.  First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift."  I think this makes a good analogy for self-examination of our sins BEFORE we even come together as an assembly for the Lord's supper, especially in light of William McDonald's comment, but this is not what 1 Cor. 11:28 is talking about in context, although the argument can be made that "recognizing" the Lord's body includes this aspect.

My conclusion is that the teaching that this verse means we are to examine ourselves primarily for sin seems to be tradition and not biblically-based.