the weblog of Alan Knox

One Bread…

Posted by on Jan 28, 2007 in ordinances/sacraments, scripture | 9 comments

This is one of the most interesting passages dealing with the Lord’s Supper:

The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation (fellowship) in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation (fellowship) in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. (1 Corinthians 10:16-17 ESV)

What is the significance of the “one bread”?


9 Comments

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  1. 1-28-2007

    I don’t have an answer to your question, but it’s fascinating that you point to this passage because lately, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about “The Lord’s Supper” and what Jesus intended for us to do.

    Specifically, I’m exploring the idea that what Jesus was instituting had very little to do with bread and wine and more to do with the symbolism of joining with him, as you referenced here.

    For example, he says “As often as you drink this cup…” after saying that the cup was the new covenant, and that it was his blood.

    Later that night, in Gethsemane, he asks if it is possible for “the cup” to be taken from him.

    Paul also references (although I’m not sure where exactly off the top of my head) the idea of us participating in the sufferings of Christ.

    In other words, is it possible that Jesus was not saying “as often as you physically take a small cup of juice and drink it”, but “as often as you participate in the same persecutions and sufferings that I am about to endure”?

    This is so far out of the box even for me, that I’m not even sure how to put it into words, or what the ramifications are. However, it begins to give me some hope of understanding the “ritual” that we have come to accept as “The Lord’s Supper”.

    Ironically, I was trying to think of how my thoughts might coordinate (or not) with 1 Cor 11, and completely missed this statement in chapter 10!

  2. 1-28-2007

    Steve,

    I would agree that there is more to the “Lord’s Supper” than simply eating bread and drinking wine. There is certainly a sense of fellowship with Christ and with one another. I’m not sure how all of this works together.

    -Alan

  3. 1-29-2007

    Steve-
    Wow! That is outside the box…I think you may be onto something.

    Are you referring to Philippians 3:10 “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;”?

    Interesting…

    I’ve always thought of communion as a time of reflection and thanksgiving. Our church never does it the same way twice…trying to get away from the “ritual” aspect of it.

    Be blessed…
    Brandon

  4. 1-29-2007

    Steve -

    Thanks for always sharing your thoughts and insight … that is definitely out-of-the-box thinking, but it makes sense to me and I think you may be onto something here. As you said, I’m not sure either (as this is the first I have thought of it this way) what the ramifications are.

    Alan -

    Thanks also for asking hard questions and for sharing your thoughts and insight. I have said before, but want to reiterate that your blog is edifying and thought provoking.

    Blessings!

  5. 1-29-2007

    Brandon and Heather,

    Welcome back, and thank you for your comments. I agree that this is a hard question. I’m not sure about the answer. I have some ideas, but I’m still thinking through them.

    -Alan

  6. 1-30-2007

    I think this passage is a significant argument against “closed communion.” We all, in the Body of Christ, partake symbolically of “one bread.”

    I also think that, as Baptists, we tend to be a bit hypocritical, placing so much emphasis on mode of baptism, and completely overlooking mode (i.e. “one bread”) of communion.

    Some have also pointed out that it is hard to celebrate the Lord’s Supper with one loaf in a mega-church setting, thus pointing to the essential small group dynamic of the N.T. church.

  7. 1-30-2007

    David,

    Welcome back! You’ve offered some great thoughts here in regard to current baptist discussions. I’m often surprised at some of the understandings of the Lord’s Supper that have little to do with Scripture. Perhaps that will change.

    -Alan

  8. 1-31-2007

    Brandon, sorry I didn’t respond sooner. That is one of the passages that was in the back of my mind. Thank you :)

    I’m still mulling this over quite a bit. Not sure if anything will come of it, but I’ll let y’all know if anything brilliant comes to mind!! LOL :)

    David, good to see you again! Did you ever get my email reply way back when?

  9. 1-31-2007

    Steve,

    Yes, I did get your e-mail, (that is, unless you are referring to another one after the one I got). Yes, indeed, we know your sister and brother-in-law. Tell them hello for us. We will be coming to the States for furlough this summer through the school year, so we will probably not cross paths for awhile.

    Blessings,

    David