Summary: There are all kinds of reasons for giving or taking tests. The main reason is to make an assessment on what is or isn’t known. The Bible is not excluded from the practice of examinations. They go beyond the physical, psychological, or emotional, to the sp

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Examine Yourselves

12/19/04 AM

Text: 2 Corinthians 13:5


This past Friday was remarkable for many people in that marked the beginning of the traditional Holiday period. For many students, including myself, it was remarkable because it meant the end of taking Final exams. I’m not real keen on taking tests, the phrase: “Clear your desk; take out a sheet of paper, and a number two pencil” still has the effect of raising my anxiety level.

And tests abound in our lives. Everywhere you turn there is a test or examination to take for some reason or another. There are college placement tests, ACT, and SAT. The military entrance examination is the ASVAB test.

To drive you have to take a drivers test, on paper and on the road. In the physical arena there are physical exams. There’s the blood test, stress test, skin tests. What about eye exams, dental exams, hearing test, and the pregnancy test?

You can have psychological examinations and emotional examinations. And without a doubt you are probably thinking about a whole lot more that I have missed along the way.

There are all kinds of reasons for giving tests or taking examinations. The main reason is to collect data or to make an assessment on what is or isn’t known.

The Bible is not excluded from the practice of examinations. They go beyond the physical, psychological, or emotional, to the spiritual.

For instance:

• The Psalmist reflects on how God gave a test to examine his heart:

Psalm 17:3 “You have tested my heart; You have visited me in the night; You have tried me and have found nothing; I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.”

• The Psalmist in Psalms 26 asks the Lord to examine him:

Psalm 26:1 –2 “Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide. Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.”

• What about Psalm 139:23-24:

Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

• Jeremiah joins the bandwagon when he exhorted Israel to take an exam:

Lamentations 3:40-41 “Let us search out and examine our ways, And turn back to the LORD; Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven.”

• Paul encouraged the Corinthian believers to examine themselves when it came to the Lord’s supper:

1 Corinthians 11:28 “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.”

• Paul also exhorted the Galatians to take an exam on the their work in the Lord:

Galatians 6:4 “But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.”

There is a balance in the Scriptures for both God examination and self-examination. Paul is exhorting the Corinthians to do some self-examination in our text this morning.

1. In 2 Corinthians 13:5, Paul challenged the Corinthians to “test yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Examine yourselves.”

a. In doing so, he employs the present tense for the verbs “test” and “examine”

b. Indicating that such examination was to be an on-going activity!

2. This should naturally raise some important questions...

a. Why should we examine ourselves?

b. By what standard should we examine ourselves?

c. What sort of questions should we be asking ourselves?

[In this lesson, I would like for us to focus our attention on this call to “Examine Yourselves”. As we do so, let’s answer the questions already raised, beginning with...]



1. Paul said, “Test yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.”

a. Paul challenged his opposers in Corinth to try (peirazete) themselves, to test (dokimazete) themselves

b. Yourselves is emphatic.

1) Don’t put Christ (or Paul) to the test, test yourselves.

2) “Try,” is better than examine. Examination does not necessarily imply a practical test. It may be merely from curiosity. Trial implies a definite intent to ascertain their spiritual condition.

c. The expression “in the faith” refers to being a faithful Christian

d. So we are to examine if we are remaining faithful to the Lord!

2. We need to remember that the danger of drifting is ever present

a. It is possible to drift away if we neglect our salvation.

Hebrews 2:1 For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.

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