the weblog of Alan Knox

Everyday meal or Lord’s Supper?

Posted by on Oct 27, 2009 in blog links, community, fellowship | 22 comments

Arthur at “the voice of one crying out in suburbia” asks a great question in his post “Which one is the Lord’s Supper?” He says:

We were running really late this morning and arrived just in time for the passing of the loaf and the little cups of grape juice. I was kind of relieved that we made it for the Lord’s Supper. Then after the morning gathering, we hung around as the church and had lunch, breaking bread together and being in joyous fellowship.

Which one was the Lord’s Supper as we see it in the Bible?

His short post and question reminded me of something that I had read recently in Witness to the Gospel: The Theology of Acts (edited by I. Howard Marshall and David Peterson) in David Peterson’s chapter called “The Worship of the New Community.” He writes:

It might be argued that the reference to the meeting of the Christians in Troas ‘on the first day of the week’ in order to break bread is a pointer to a formal Sunday gathering for the purposes of the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7). But Paul’s discussion with them occupied their attention until after midnight and again after the meal, suggesting that it was a very unstructured and informal meeting. When Luke mentions that Paul finally broke bread (perhaps on behalf of everyone present), he adds ‘and when he had eaten, he engaged in much further conversation until dawn’ (v. 11). It is really quite artificial to suggest that the meal by which Paul satisfied himself after such a long time was somehow distinct from ‘the breaking of bread’. Since Christian meetings were largely held in the context of private homes, it is natural that they expressed their fellowship in terms of eating together.

In my judgement, therefore, ‘the breaking of bread’ in Acts cannot be taken to refer to a liturgical celebration distinct from the everyday meals that believers shared together. Such meals were doubtless ‘full of religious content because of the recollection of the table fellowship which Jesus had with his followers during his earthly ministry.’ (Behm, TDNT, III:730) The reality of Christian fellowship was expressed from the earliest times in the ordinary activity of eating together…

Eating together was a way of expressing the special relationship which believers had with one another in Christ and the special responsibility to one another involved in that relationship. These meals may well have been informal expressions of what was later more structured and organized. (pg 392-393)

So, to answer Arthur’s question (Which one was the Lord’s Supper as we see it in the Bible?), I would have to say, “I don’t know.”

In fact, I was talking with a brother about this last Sunday. He asked about celebrating the Lord’s Supper weekly – and I’m definitely in favor of this. But, I then asked him a follow-up question, “Why not celebrate the Lord’s Supper daily? Or at every meal?” This seems to be what Peterson is alluding to. Every meal was considered the “Lord’s Supper” because of their fellowship and their focus on Jesus, his earthly ministry, and his continued ministry among them.

Spurgeon recognized something similar. In a sermon on Acts 2:42-47, he said, “[T]heir own meals were so mixed and mingled with the Lord’s Supper that to this day the most cautious student of the Bible cannot tell when they stopped eating their common meals, and when they began eating the Supper of the Lord.”

I’ll be honest, my “common meals” are not at that point yet. But, I think that is the direction we should be heading. Wouldn’t it be great (perhaps even reminiscent of what we find in Scripture) if we ate every meal as the Lord’s Meal? Why don’t we?


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 10-27-2009

    If one is to eat in his own home because the essential scope of the celebration seems not to be to satisfy bodily hunger, (So then my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another – if any one is hungry, let him eat at home – lest you come together to be condemned. About the other things I will give directions when I come then…v33-34) how then could it be the same moment of meal? The one that satisfies hunger? I mean I am hungry when I am ready for meal like lunch or something. If I call that a Lord’s supper as I share in fellowship at the same time, do I then CONDEMN myself by eating when hungry?

    Questions I ask for discussion… I have no answers.

  2. 10-27-2009

    As I mentioned over on Arthur’s blog, I think intention is the deciding factor. Too often we get trapped into allowing the particular format of a ritual to determine fact and meaning of that ritual. I hold that intention gives meaning to the ritual. For some, the tiny cup and bread once a month (or weekly or whatever) is merely ritual and not the Lord’s Supper at all. Intention makes the difference.

    As for additional motives, I think hunger is a fine one for a meal (given biological necessity and all). In other words, I don’t think it pollutes the ritual, though I expect if would if it were the primary motive. Not sure.

  3. 10-27-2009


    Such an important matter. Good quote.

    Scott: Context? Laura: Ritual?

  4. 10-27-2009

    “Ritual,” as in a normal way of doing things with perceived religious significance (like the tiny cups and tiny bread consumed one at a time, once a month, after the pastor blesses each bit and during which the choir or band sing a song).

    I’m not saying rituals are good or bad: this is determined by the intention. If it is for true declaration until Jesus returns, then even the tiny-cups-and-bread ritual is, I think, worthy and meaningful. Apart from intention, the best reproduction of Jesus’ last supper is not worthy.

  5. 10-27-2009


    I think if you look at 1 Corinthians 11:20-22, you’ll see that the problem was that some were eating enough to be satisfied, while others were not given enough to eat. There was a division between the “haves” and the “have nots”. In fact, the major reason for Paul to write this section was the way that the believers were treating one another while they were eating. They were not eating as equals – as brothers and sisters. So, the problem was not specifically the amount that was eaten, but way the people were treating one another. This problem caused there meal to cease to be the Lord’s Supper. Today, I’m not even sure people are that concerned with how they treat one another, as long as they get the little piece of bread and the small cup.


    I agree that motivation is a big part of the issue. And, I agree that ritual has often replaced that motivation and a concern for one another while eating together. If we’re eating a meal or taking a small piece of bread and small cup as a ritual, then that is all it is and it is not the Lord’s Supper.

    Aussie John,

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.


  6. 10-27-2009

    Alan – have you ever noticed or thought about this.
    In 1st Cor Jesus said,
    “this is my body which is broken for you.”

    But not a bone of His body was broken
    in order to fulfill prophecy.

    And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said,
    Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you:
    this do in remembrance of me.
    1Co 11:24

    He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.
    Ps 34:20

    For these things were done,
    that the scripture should be fulfilled,
    A bone of him shall not be broken.
    John 19:36

    If not a bone was broken;

    What did Jesus mean when He said,
    This is my body which is broken for you?

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice;
    and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Fold – One Shepherd – One Voice.
    If Not Now, When?

    In His Service. By His Grace.

  7. 10-27-2009

    Great question. I’m curious about that as well as my understanding is that the verse does not state that Christ’s body was broken. Alan what does I Corinthians 11:24 say?

    1 Corinthians 11:24 (New American Standard Bible)

    and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

  8. 10-27-2009


    Jesus doesn’t say, “This is my body which is broken for you.” He says, “Take eat, this is my body” (Matt 26:26; Mark 14:22) or more fully “This is my body which is for you” (1 Cor 11:24) or even more fully “This is my body which is given for you” (Luke 22:19).


    If you read each of the gospel accounts (Matthew, Mark, Luke) and the account in Corinthians, you’ll see that breaking bread starts the meal (this was the custom then, and still is in some areas of the world), and the cup was the end of the meal. Every account includes the meal. Thus, “eat the bread and drink the cup” (1 Cor 11:27) may refer to the entire meal, not just the bread and cup.


  9. 10-28-2009


    Sorry, still using the KJV.
    All my study books are keyed to that version.
    I’ve found 13 other versions that use “my body, broken for you.”
    I’ll try to explain what I’m seeing.

    Mt 26:26 And as they were eating,
    Jesus took bread, and blessed it,
    and brake it, and gave it to the disciples,
    and said, Take, eat; this is my body.

    Mr 14:22 And as they did eat,
    Jesus took bread, and blessed,
    and brake it, and gave to them,
    and said, Take, eat: this is my body.

    Lu 22:19 And he took bread, and gave thanks,
    and brake it, and gave unto them, saying,
    This is my body which is given for you:
    this do in remembrance of me.

    1Co 11:24 And when he had given thanks,
    he brake it, and said,
    Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you:
    this do in remembrance of me.

    Each verse is a little different with some things similar.

    In all, Jesus takes, “one” piece of bread,
    (Don’t know for sure?)
    and broke it and gave it to His disciples to eat.

    Didn’t He take “bread” (His body) and brake it
    into at least “thirteen” pieces?
    Each disciple and Jesus now had a piece of “bread”
    that had been “broken” by Jesus. Yes?

    Then He says,
    Mt 26:26 Take, eat; this is my body.
    Mr 14:22 Take, eat: this is my body.
    Lu 22:19 This is my body which is given for you:

    And the 12 disciples have a piece of “broken” bread
    that Jesus is calling (this broken bread) His body; Yes?

    And Jesus’ body wasn’t broken on the cross.
    Yet, traditional people often take bread, or a wafer,
    and tear it apart or bend it till it snaps.
    And refer that to Jesus’ body being broken.

    But not a bone was broken to fulfill scripture.
    Even if your version is most accurate,
    Jesus still broke bread and said, “this is my body.”
    So, what did the “breaking of bread” signify?

    Hint – Think outside tradition. Think spiritual.
    Jesus always spoke to the multitude in parables.
    He waited till He was “alone with His disciples” to explain.

    Mat 13:34
    All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in
    parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them.

    Mk 4:34
    But without a parable spake he not unto them:
    and when they were alone,
    he expounded all things to his disciples.

    Jesus loves me and forgives me all my sins.

  10. 10-28-2009


    You asked, “So, what did the ‘breaking of bread’ signify?” I would say the “breaking of bread” is the beginning of the meal. What do you think “breaking of bread” symbolize? What does the breaking of bread symbolize in Acts 27:35?


  11. 10-28-2009


    The breaking of bread.
    Maybe we can think “spiritual multiplication.”
    Jesus broke loaves and fishes to feed 5000, multitudes.
    Unless a corn of wheat die it abides alone.
    But if it dies it brings forth much fruit.

    The word “communion” has been taught to refer to
    a tradition as “celebrating or receiving communion”
    refering to the Lords supper.
    And we debate how often we should celebrate it, communion.

    But, in the KJV communion is only 4 times,
    Being a Greek scholar you probable know it’s
    always the Greek – koinonia = fellowship.

    How many, when they hear the word “communion”
    today, automatically think “fellowship?”
    Let’s celebrate and receive fellowship???

    Communion according to Amos. As I see it today.
    Subject to change.

    Communion = koinonia = fellowship.
    Not; communion = Lords supper = celibrate = weekly

    Strongs 2842 – koinonia {koy-nohn-ee’-ah}
    KJV – fellowship 12, communion 4, communication 1,
    distribution 1,contribution 1, to communicate 1; 20
    1 – fellowship, association, community, communion,
    joint participation, intimacy.

    Koinonia is mostly translated “fellowship.”
    This is now from the NKJAV Bible.
    The New King James Amos Version

    1Co 10:16
    The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the
    “fellowship” of the blood of Christ?
    The bread which we break, is it not the
    “fellowship” of the body of Christ?

    Is Christ now both head and body?
    Col 1:18
    And he is the head of the body, the church:
    1Co 12:27
    Now ye are the body of Christ,
    and members in particular.

    He’s the head and the true believers,
    we’re the body of Christ. Yes?

    Fellowship of the “body of Christ?”

    Could this scripture be talking about “fellowship”
    between you and me? His body?
    And, can we have this precious “fellowship” because of our “intimate”“ fellowship” with the blood of Christ
    that makes us rightous and makes us brothers in Him?

    Now 1Co 10: verse 17 and the bread…
    For we being many are one bread, and one body:
    for we are all partakers of that one bread.

    Alan, isn’t “one bread” refering to “the body of christ?”
    and we all partake of that “one bread” “the body of christ?”

    Jesus broke “the bread” and said,
    take eat this is “my body.”

    Couldn’t this verse be saying when Jesus did that,
    “broke the bread”
    He was refering to “the body of Christ,” you and me?
    and the rest of “the spiritual body” here on earth?
    That we gain nurishment from one another?
    Through our brokenness? Our humbling?
    And we feed one another?
    With the “bread of life” that lives within us?

    “For we being many are one bread”
    “for we are all partakers of that one bread.”

    How you “feed people” on your Blog, in your fellowship,
    on vacation, as an instructor, and bless them
    and they bless you back
    with their comments and insights.
    And you nurish one another. Yes?

    1Co 10:16-17
    The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the
    “fellowship” of the blood of Christ?

    “The bread” which “we break,” is it not the
    “fellowship” of the body of Christ?

    For we being many are one bread, and one body:
    for we are all partakers of that one bread.

    Maybe? Could be? What do you think?
    Cool if it’s true – Yes?

  12. 10-28-2009


    In recent years I have seen the validity of regarding every meal as “breaking bread” (as in the Lord’s Supper), and a reminder of what Christ accomplished on behalf of sinners such as I.

    As I began to question post reformation ecclesiology, and examine my own involvement in orthodox evangelicalism, as well as that of most pastors I was acquainted with for most of fifty years, I began to see that the accepted ritualistic activity of the church had become, for most believers (including pastors), meaningless habit, whether that activity was in “going to church”. “worship”, “ministering”, “sermon preparation”, “saying grace”, “doing devotions”, “partaking of the Lord’s Supper”, “have a time of prayer”, etc., etc.

    As with ALL of the life of a community of believers, I believe that which we have come to accept as orthodox has done much damage to the true sense of community, by compartmentalizing our life into times when we “do” certain things, such as I’ve mentioned.

    ALL of the above mentioned ought to be a spontaneous response to our great God and Savior, including the Lord’s Supper, for which most of us have, at least, three appropriate opportunities every day.

    Seems to me more meaningful than tacking a ten minute taste test on to what is regarded as the major reason for meeting.

    Now you know what a heretic I am 🙂

  13. 10-28-2009


    Yes, the “breaking of bread” (meal) is about fellowship between me and you, and fellowship between us and Christ.

    Aussie John,

    I agree. I guess that makes us both heretics.


  14. 10-29-2009

    Great post Alan, I’ve never thought of each meal like this…we have “communion elements” available every week at our church, occasionally they are distributed to everyone. That same remembrance and reflection at every meal would be transformational.

  15. 10-29-2009


    You said, “That same remembrance and reflection at every meal would be transformational.” I agree. I think that’s what Spurgeon was talking about.


  16. 9-2-2011

    Two years late on the discussion, but I think that would be great to treat every meal like the “Lord’s Supper.” We’re going to give it a try every time we say “grace.”

    Questions: I’m wondering how related the disciples’ meals were to the Jewish Sabbath meal and was Jesus’ Last Supper the Passover meal, being that the Passover meal contains so much imagery pertaining to Christ, as I’ve been told.

  17. 9-2-2011


    I think the Last Supper was one of the feasts of Passover week. I don’t know if it was THE Passover meal or not. It’s hard to tell from the description.

    Whatever imagery was contained within the Passover meal, doesn’t Jesus redefine the meal when he eats with his disciples just before he died?


  18. 10-8-2012

    Norman Fox argued for an informal, non-liturgical recognition of “Christ in the daily meal”:

    When we ask and thank God for our daily bread, as believers we cannot help but also remember and thank Him for the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ. However, this is not always done in fellowship with other believers — certainly not with the entire local church to which we may belong. Such fellowship (both horizontally and vertically) seems to be a major component of breaking bread TOGETHER as the body of Christ.

    I believe the meeting of Christ’s Ekklesia is focused on breaking bread in a special way that is inclusive of all who are present. Here is an explanation of this with further reflections from a variety of authors:

    “Lord’s Supper Logic”:

    “The Lord’s Supper — Rehearsal Dinner For The Wedding Banquet of The Lamb”:

    “Who Should Eat The Lord’s Supper?”:

  19. 10-9-2012


    I think I agree with what you’re saying. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to read all of those articles, but I’ve read alot on this topic. To me, it seems that the church “broke bread” (shared a meal) together regularly with the difference being the presence of Christ (in each believer) and the acceptance and equality of all who were in Christ.


  20. 6-27-2013

    The LAST SUPPER is the FINAL revelation and interaction of God with man through the LIFE PRINCIPLES of the Christ-Life , which converts us from our CARNAL PROPENSITIES into our IMMORTAL SELVES fit for the Kingdom of God. It is a spiritual adventure of THE BODY OF CHRIST which ends in MYSTICAL UNION….with the Triune God in Heaven. Its a life lived from moment to moment in this END-TIME. Interestingly , SUPPER happens to be the LAST MEAL of the day.

    The Mystery of God in Man is completed in the DIVINE LIFE of Jesus revealed to man by the Holy Spirit. THE CHRIST is the POWER OF GOD in man. In this last supper ( final interaction of the created with the Creator on earth and in the flesh) , THE BODY OF CHRIST on earth will be resurrected before ALL MEN , that the world may know that indeed JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD.

  21. 6-27-2013


    I’m not sure that I understand what you’re saying. Jesus continued to reveal himself and his life after the last supper. In fact, I think he continues to reveal himself and his life to us today.


  22. 6-29-2013


    Sorry , what I mean is that the last supper spans from the first to the last advent of THE CHRIST , it is not a ONE DAY event as men count days, but a period during which God interacts with man through HIS SON’S revelation of the Tree of Life. Truly God has been interacting with men since creation, but a STRONGER BOND of unity between the Creator and the created is revealed in THE DAY OF CHRIST which stretches from the first to the final advent; and this period is what I described as THE LAST supper.
    I think there is more to the LAST SUPPER than LITERAL bread and wine right?