But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of [that] bread, and drink of [that] cup.
(I Corinthians 11.28, Geneva Bible, 1599)

Our Reformed forefathers made a lot of the examination of oneself before partaking of the Lord’s Supper. This is from the marginal notes of the 1599 Geneva Bible. (My favorite translation: the Reformed choice!)

The examination of a man’s self, is of necessity required in the supper, and therefore they ought not to be admitted to it who cannot examine themselves: such as children, furious and angry men, also such as either have no knowledge of Christ, or not sufficient, although they profess Christian religion: and others that cannot examine themselves.

Those who are living scandelous lives are not to partake of the supper until they are repentant. Friends, let us examine ourselves.

Larger Catechism has a lot to say on what to do if you feel as though you lack faith or have not prepared your heart enough to partake of the Supper of our Lord. On an interesting side note, if these documents were written today, there would be a question that says, “What must a man do who thinks that he is over prepared, and never questions his state before God”? Both questions merit the same response:

Flee to Christ for grace and mercy.
Examine yourself to see if you are in the faith.

Q172: May one who doubteth of his being in Christ, or of his due preparation, come to the Lord’s supper?

A172: One who doubteth of his being in Christ, or of his due preparation to the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, may have true interest in Christ, though he be not yet assured thereof; and in God’s account hath it, if he be duly affected with the apprehension of the want of it, and unfeignedly desires to be found in Christ, and to depart from iniquity: in which case (because promises are made, and this sacrament is appointed, for the relief even of weak and doubting Christians) he is to bewail his unbelief, and labor to have his doubts resolved; and, so doing, he may and ought to come to the Lord’s supper, that he may be further strengthened.

Below you will find an excellent sermon that I listened to today. It is 50 minutes long, but well worth sitting back, closing your eyes, and meditating upon the need to examine yourself before partaking of the Lord’s spiritual meal.

Self Examination, Rev. Joel Beeke

Discussion Points:
-What books do you find helpful in self examination?
-What do you meditate on while examining yourself?
-What is the purpose of self examination if you ultimately look to Jesus anyway?