Fall 2015

Religion and Spirituality

Breaking Bread

Vision Staff

When the Bible says that early followers of Christ came together to break bread, is it proof that they were observing the Lord’s Supper, or Eucharist, at weekly Sunday gatherings?

The expression to break bread “often referred to the onset of a meal,” says the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary. It goes on to remark that this was “a common practice of Jesus before meals,” and that the practice “was continued by the early Christians in their daily fellowship (Acts 2:46).”

In the New Testament, as in contemporary Judaism, breaking of bread at the beginning of a meal is not a cultic act, not even in connection with thanksgiving or praise”(Theological Dictionary of the New Testament).

Noted Bible scholar E.W. Bullinger says definitively: “‘To break bread’ means not to partake of the Lord’s supper, but to partake of an ordinary meal with others. . . . ‘Bread’ (one kind of food) is put for all kinds of food (or meat), and the breaking of it is merely equivalent to carving or cutting it up” (Figures of Speech Used in the Bible).