- Parent Category: FAQs
- Category: Bible Questions and answers about the Church
- Published on Wednesday, 09 February 2011 17:47
BREAKING THE BREAD
Is it right to take the loaf, that which answers to the Body of our Lord and break it in two, and then hand it round the Assembly?
In Matthew 26:26; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19, we read that the Lord took bread and gave thanks (or blessed) and brake and gave unto His disciples saying, “This is my body,” and Luke adds, “which is given (not broken) for you.” In 1 Corinthians 11:23, 24, the Lord Jesus is said to have followed the same order, with the words, “which is broken for you,” but this, R.V. changes simply (and with sufficient MS. authority) to, “which is for you.” Now, compare this with Luke 24: 30, where a simple meal was about to begin (for it can hardly be maintained that the two disciples had spread the table of remembrance that evening at Emmaus, in the condition in which they were of unbelief and ignorance of the true meaning of all that had taken place), and where we read that the Lord took bread and gave thanks, as he sat down to the meal, and then brake it. I do not, therefore, think we must put undue emphasis on the breaking of the bread even by the Lord, though far be it from us to affirm that any act of His was not significant. However, the brother who gives thanks in the Assembly for the bread or the cup, would shrink from any pretention to be taking the place that the Lord rightly took. His giving thanks is no official act, but only as representing the Assembly, and his breaking the bread is only for the convenience of distribution. The true breaking of bread is done by all, each one for him or herself, as we read in 1 Corinthians 10:26: “The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ”? What is important is that the giving of thanks should take place before the loaf is broken for distribution, for the loaf is one, and this must be maintained, for it not only represents the one holy Body of the Lord given for us, but His mystical Body, the oneness of which is thus witnessed to. “The bread which we break is it not the communion of the Body of Christ? seeing that there is one bread, we who are many are one body” (1 Corinthians 10:16-17, R.V., margin).
To pass a whole loaf around would be very inconvenient, and would necessitate its being divided in some way by the one who received it first, which would come to the same thing as that to which the questioner objects. The breaking of the bread by the saints is not a dividing of the Body of Christ, but a communion in it (“Him we all in common share”), a remembrance of Him in the act, and a proclamation of His death.