In 1 Corinthians 11:29, what is Paul making reference to when he says "if he does not judge the body rightly"? Which body is he speaking of?
1 Corinthians 11:29 reads, "For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lordís body." What is the "Lord's body" in this passage? This thought is in the midst of a discussion concerning the Lord's supper. Within the Lord's supper, there are two elements that Jesus chose to aid in our remembrance of his sacrifice. Those elements are the bread and the fruit of the vine. Jesus himself told us that the bread was his body and that the fruit of the vine was his blood (Matthew 26:26-28). Paul also discusses the fact that the bread and the cup are the communion of the body and blood of Christ (1 Corinthians 10:16) and also, in 1 Corinthians 11:27, he states, "Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord." The body belongs to the same one as does the blood, namely, the Lord. We must conclude that in verse 29, Paul, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is speaking of the Lord's body (the one that He gave in sacrifice on the cross, Hebrews 10:5), and the proper remembrance of that body during our observance of the Lord's supper.
How is it that we "discern" the Lord's body? By ensuring that we separate out the common food that we eat during a meal from the observance of the Lord's supper. The church at Corinth had been guilty of "not discerning." That is, not drawing a line between eating a common meal and remembering the Lord's supper (1 Corinthians 11:20-22). In order to observe the Lord's supper properly, we must discern between the sanctified food of the supper and the common food of our every day meals. That is what it means to "discern" the Lord's body in this context. We must remember the Lord's body and his death, and we must discern that body by sanctifying it from everything common.