"Breaking of bread."

1873 204 Probably not a few readers have seen a tract entitled thus and a little more. The avowed object is to show that the phrase nowhere occurs in scripture to represent the Lord's supper.

The first remark I would make is that the writer deceives himself (or, more likely from its character, herself) in thinking that this identification is a peculiarity of "Brethren" so-called. So have all Christians hitherto thought, though some (nay, perhaps all, certainly the "Brethren") have taken in more than that institution of the Lord. Nobody denies that the phrase may and does apply to any meal; but ancients and moderns, Catholics and protestants, no less than "Brethren," have believed that it is emphatically appropriated in scripture to the eucharist. Nay, Romanists have constantly availed themselves of the acknowledged fact to argue hence for the denial of the cup to the laity; and the reformers were never tempted to cut away the ground of their adversaries by saying that the "breaking of bread" nowhere in scripture means the eucharist. Our author, or authoress, however, is no way daunted by standing alone.

My second remark is that 1 Corinthians x. 16 shows beyond cavil that the phrase distinctly, but not exclusively, belongs to the Lord's supper. "The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body; for we are all partakers of that one bread." No doubt here the cup is also spoken of, and even before the breaking of the bread. But it would have been cumbrous, save in the original institution or in a doctrinal discussion such as we have here and in 1 Corinthians xi. 20-32, to have mentioned both parts of the supper. The Spirit, therefore, when alluding to the fact historically, was pleased with perfect wisdom to refer to it under one, and of course the former, of the two, that is, under the breaking of the bread rather than the cup.

And this is entirely confirmed by the usage. Take the very first instance in our only divinely inspired and authoritative history of the early church, Acts ii. 42. As the converts of Pentecost persevered in the teaching and the fellowship of the apostles, so did they in the breaking of the bread and the prayers. Can any intelligent or even fair mind persuade itself that such an association admits of ordinary meals? That the Lord's supper should be joined with the prayers of the saints or the apostles is simple and suited; the proposed view is mere and self-evident grossness.

The same result appears from a consideration of the two closing verses of Acts ii. Breaking of bread in the house or at home is contradistinguished from being constantly in the temple with one accord (where of course they could not celebrate the Lord's supper); but it is named, as distinct from both, that they used to partake of food with gladness and singleness of heart. No scholar who weighs the passage will dispute that, if trophes "meat," or rather food, referred to arton "bread" going just before, it must have been preceded by the Greek article, the absence of which is as decisive grammatically as I believe the bearing of the case to be for our instruction in our worship as well as daily life.

That Acts xx. 7 points to the Lord's supper needs no further reasoning. The day and the assemblage for the purpose are plain enough for all who have hearts for Christ and that central feast of His own in remembrance of Himself and His dying love. It was just recently, but before this that the apostle had separated for the future the mixing up of a meal or an agape, with the Lord's supper, because of the disorder at Corinth. Did he himself sanction at Troas what he had just forbidden in an inspired Epistle?

These things being the facts and doctrine of scripture, it follows that the writer is in this opposed to the Lord, and most foolishly blames the Christians who are carrying out His mind in the matter. But it is false that "Brethren" separate from others for any such reason, but because saints in general have abandoned the ground of God's church gathered to the Lord's name and lapsed into corrupt catholicism or denominational protestantism, in practical denial of the one body and one Spirit. Still nothing can be more unfounded than to sever the "breaking of bread" from the Lord's supper if we bow to scripture. It is also to lose the connection of its observance with the Lord's day, the standing and recurrent witness of our unity, as baptism once for all is of individual Christianity; both quite independent of officials, as we see in the Acts and 1 Corinthians xi.