The Breaking of Bread

A selection of verses showing what the Bible means by the breaking of bread.

The evening before his arrest, trial and crucifixion, Jesus tells his disciples where to prepare for a Passover meal:


Matthew 26 verse 18

18 He said, “Go into the city to a certain person, and tell him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.” ’ ”


During that meal Jesus gives a special significance to the bread that they eat together:


Matthew 26 verse 26

26 As they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks for it, and broke it. He gave to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”


The bread is a loaf, and is so described by Paul in his letter to the Corinthians:


1 Corinthians 10 verse 17

17 Because there is one loaf of bread, we, who are many, are one body; for we all partake of the one loaf of bread.


Jesus then gives special significance to the cup from which they drink:


Matthew 26 verses 27 - 29

27 He took the cup, gave thanks, and gave to them, saying, “All of you drink it, 28 for this is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the remission of sins. 29 But I tell you that I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on, until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s Kingdom.” 


Luke’s gospel record tells us that Jesus asks his disciples to remember him in this way:


Luke 22 verses 19 - 20

19 He took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in memory of me.” 20 Likewise, he took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. 


The apostle Paul makes it very clear that all believers should remember Jesus in this way:


1 Corinthians 11 verses 23 - 26

23 For I received from the Lord that which also I delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night in which he was betrayed took bread. 24 When he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “Take, eat. This is my body, which is broken for you. Do this in memory of me.” 25 In the same way he also took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink, in memory of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.


It appears that it becomes the custom of the first century church to do this weekly. They describe this activity as ‘breaking bread’ although it also involves the sharing of a cup:


Acts 20 verse 7

7 On the first day of the week, when the disciples were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and continued his speech until midnight.