Scriptures and Footnotes....

The Lord's Supper

"And while they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, 'Take, eat; this is My body.' And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, 'Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom'" (Matthew 26:26-29).

"So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread[1] and to prayer" (Acts 2:41,42).

"And on the first day of the week[2], when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to depart the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight" (Acts 20:7).

"Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ?" (1 Corinthians 10:16)

"For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 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.' In the same way He took the cup also, after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often[3] as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.' For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes[4].

"Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner[5], shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. But if we judged ourselves rightly, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord in order that we may not be condemned along with the world.

"So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home[6], so that you may not come together for judgment. And the remaining matters I shall arrange when I come" (1 Corinthians 11:23-34).


[1] The phrase "breaking bread" or an equivalent was used sometimes to refer to a regular meal and other times to the Lord's Supper itself. In this verse it is designating the Lord's supper. While in Acts 2:46, it is standing for a common meal.

[2] This is the only verse in all the New Testament that shows the day on which the early Christians took of the Lord's Supper -- and that being on Sunday, the first day of the week.

[3] The term "often" indicates to us a frequency of taking the communion. As we previously saw in Acts 2:42, the early Christians were "continually devoting" themselves to it -- or "continuing steadfastly" (KJV) in its observance. Paul points out to the Corinthians that when they met "it was not to eat of the Lord's Supper" (1 Cor. 11:20); meaning, not that they were not to eat it, but that they were not eating it properly -- they had made a common meal out of it. All these verses, though, indicate to us a frequent observance of the Lord's Supper, and not merely once or just a few times a year. By taking the communion on the first day of the week (Sunday) -- and every time that first day comes around -- the Christian has Scriptural authority for what he is doing. No other day could he use and still have this same authority from God on.

[4] This passage also indicates the duration of the Lord's Supper: it is to last until Jesus comes again!

[5] The "unworthy manner" is not really describing the way we are, but rather the manner in which we partake of the communion. We are each "unworthy," but Paul is simply pointing out, as the rest of the context shows, that in taking the Lord's Supper one's mind is to be dwelling on the body of Christ and how the Lord suffered and died for us at Calvary. That's what the emblems of the bread and fruit of the vine represent, Christ's body and blood, respectively.

[6] The Lord's supper wasn't for the purpose of satisfying hungry bellies. Common "social fellowship meals" are not to be sponsored by the church nor eaten in the meeting house, but rather elsewhere. The mission of the church is to be evangelism, edification, and benevolence -- not "fun, food, and frolic." It's important that we are taking the Lord's supper for the right purpose, and this passage also points out the seriousness of it.