Breaking Bread

by André Piet
August 1st 2012


Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:16 about “the bread which we break.” Many people will probably think of a ritual. But a look in the concordance makes it clear that “breaking bread” is a common expression for a meal. For example, consider the occasion of the feeding of the five thousand (Mat.14:19); or when the travelers to Emmaus, in the evening, sat at the table with “the Stranger” (Luke 24:30); or when Paul with a few hundred men of the ship’s crew ate a meal before leaving the ship (Acts 27:35). In each of these non-religious settings we read about the “breaking of bread”. Loaves of bread were, in the olden days, not cut with a knife, but were broken by hand.

Which body?

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10 and 11 that when the ecclesia comes together for a meal (11:33), they are to remember that their Lord, on the night He was captured, said, “this is my body” (11:23.24). The meaning of the expression “my body”, He later on revealed to Paul (11:23). Paul had personally received from the Lord that the words, “this is my body”, refers to the ecclesia, which is “the body of Christ”! The bread refers not, as is commonly thought, to Jesus’ body that is thought to have been broken on the cross. That is not true, because it is explicitly stated that it was not broken (John.19:34-36). The bread is broken to share with each other, but with respect to its meaning, it remains “one bread”, according to Paul.

"The bread which we are breaking, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, who are many, are one bread, one body, for we all are partaking of the one bread."
1Corinthians 10:16,17

When believers together enjoy a meal and eat bread, they celebrate the unity of “the body of Christ”!


Translation: Peter Feddema

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