Q. Please comment on “unworthy” in 1 Corinthians 11:27. I’ll admit I sometimes am afraid of taking the Lord’s Supper unworthily.

A. If you are a believer and are walking obediently according to the Word, allowing yourself to be under the control of the Holy Spirit, and confessing every known sin in your life (1 John 1:9), you do not need to worry. It is truly  important for each one of us as believers to come to the Lord’s Table, examining ourselves
(1 Corinthians 11:28) to make sure we are right with God. But all of us are unworthy, as far as being recipients of God’s grace is concerned.

However, the word “unworthy” also refers to the purpose of Communion, the way it was observed as well as the people who were observing it. The believers in Corinth, to whom Paul was writing, had many things seriously wrong. Back then the Communion service was observed as a whole meal, or feast. Carnal believers at this feast would get or be drunk, others would bring a lot of food for themselves and/or their cliques while not sharing, and some would not even wait for the others so they might partake as a whole body of believers. It was pretense. They indeed were observing Communion unworthily—they had even forgotten the meaning and purpose of Communion! Paul explained to the Corinthian believers in some detail what they needed to focus upon during the Lord’s Table: the Lord Jesus and what He did for us to procure our salvation (vv. 23-34). And so today we take Communion unworthily if we not only come with unclean hearts but also neglect to focus intently on the meaning behind the Lord’s Table. A person who comes to the Lord’s Supper partakes unworthily if he or she comes with the wrong motives.

Do you have feedback or a Bible question to submit? Send your Bible questions to nolson@garbc.org, or mail to Norman A. Olson in care of the Baptist Bulletin, 1300 N. Meacham Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60173-4806.