Why does the church use one loaf of bread?

What is expressed by partaking of the bread (1 Corinthians 10:16)?

As the cup symbolizes the physical blood of Christ, so the bread symbolizes the physical body of Christ. Partaking of both expresses a fellowship, or communion, with God (the cup) and with believers (the bread). The truth of fellowship with God underlies the teaching of chapter 10; fellowship with believers reappears in chapter 11:17-34.

The bread, speaking of the physical body of Christ, does not symbolize the church, the Body of Christ, nor does partaking of it express the fellowship of that Body. Verse 17 explains the fellowship. The believers who partake of the bread are one, because ("for") they have all partaken of one loaf. All are one, because all partake. In this context, Paul must be referring to partaking of the physical loaf at the Breaking of Bread. By partaking of this bread, believers in the assembly express that they are one.

The passage cannot teach that all the Body of Christ is one (Ephesian truth), because all partake of the loaf. All believers on earth have never partaken of one loaf, even in Acts 2 when all in the Body were on earth. Furthermore, some in the Body have never partaken of this "communion of the body of Christ."

In chapter 10, partaking of the cup and bread expresses our fellowship with God and with fellow believers in the assembly. In chapter 11, partaking of these symbols brings to remembrance our beloved Lord, declares the value we see in that death, and anticipates His coming.

D. Oliver