The One Bread of the Lord’s Supper
The One Bread of the Lord’s Supper… What is it? How should we consider it? Is it important or may we use whatever we wish?
“The cup of blessing, which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? 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.” (1 Corinthians 10:16-17).
The body of Christ, crucified on Calvary, is represented by the one bread or loaf, and Christians united in one body are joint partakers of it. The New Translation is precisely according to the original text. Thus: “The cup of blessing which we bless; is it not the joint participation of the blood of Christ? The loaf which we break; is it not the joint participation of the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, the many are one body: for we all participate of that one loaf.”
1. In the Lord’s supper there should be but one loaf, to represent the Lord’s body that suffered on the cross—two or more loaves destroy the very idea of the ordinance, as not representing the one body of Christ suffering and dying. The word artos is translated loaf in the text very properly; and this is the translation very commonly given by King James’ translators. See Matthew 14:15-21, Mark 6:38,44,52, Luke 9:13, Matthew 15:34,36, 16:9-10, Luke 11:5, John 6:8-13, Mark 8:14-21.
2. This one loaf should be unleavened. This was the very kind of bread first used by Christ when he instituted the Supper; for he used the bread of the Passover which, must, by law, be unleavened. As the Passover was to be kept without leaven; and as Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us, therefore, says Paul, “let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with unleavened sincerity and truth” (1 Corinthians 5:8). Unleavened is the Scripture emblem of sincerity and truth. How preposterous then, to have the one loaf, which is to represent the body of Christ, leavened, as if he were malicious and insincere! Let it be unleavened, to represent his benevolence, truth and sincerity.
3. “We the many, are one body; for we all participate of that one loaf.” None but Christians, who are united in the one body, are permitted to participate of the one loaf. They are joint partakers of the blood and body of Christ, and they alone; for they alone can keep the feast with unleavened sincerity and truth. Alas! for the world of professors, who, divided into factions, are quarreling at the feast, endeavoring to monopolize it to their several parties—and woe to those who presume to keep it, not being in the one body!
4. Why is it more important that a person be immersed, than sprinkled? Because the latter action does not represent the burial and resurrection of Jesus, and because it is not justified by Scripture. And why is it more important to have one unleavened loaf in the Lord’s Supper; than to have four or five loaves, or leavened bread? Because the latter do not represent the one body of the sincere, true, suffering Savior, and are not justified by the Word of God. Let us cleave to the truth, and never substitute our opinions. (Barton W. Stone, Christian Messenger, 1834, (176-7)