Brethren Archive
The Year 1963

The Lord's Supper

by Alfred P. Gibbs

Tom said ...
Chapter 2 is very good on the distinction between the Lord's Supper and the Lord's Table.
Thursday, Mar 5, 2020 : 22:57
John simpson said ...
Monday, Nov 6, 2023 : 12:45
SJB said ...
Awaiting to go through
Monday, Nov 6, 2023 : 20:34
Mark Best said ...


I only came across this when the last two comments appeared a couple of days ago, and agree with you that chapter two is very good in establishing the distinction between the Lord's Supper and the Lord's Table. 

One point I would make though is the common confusion between the mention of the loaf (or bread - the same word artos in the Greek) in verse 16 and of the same word which occurs twice in verse 17. 

In verse 16 it is the emblem of the physical body of Christ, and of that only, but in terms of its communion. It is His body with the blood poured out, the sacrificial order. Hence the cup referred to before the loaf (or bread). 

In the first part of verse 17, in the phrase 'because we, being many, are one loaf, one body', it is the church as comprising all true believers in Christ. The rest of verse then gives the explanation as to the how and why: 'For we all partake of that one loaf' (1 Cor. 10.17 JND), 'that' being the loaf of the previous verse. 

It is not the loaf in itself in verse 16 which represents the one church, i.e. the unity of the spiritual body, but the fact that it is one loaf, the oneness or the unity of the loaf, though broken, the one loaf broken partaken of by the members of the one body as stated in the latter part of verse 17. 

Thus, in short, the loaf itself represents the physical body of Christ in reference to its communion; that it is one loaf, the unity of the believers in Him, the spiritual body. 

Wednesday, Nov 8, 2023 : 15:53
Syd said ...

Mark, if I may come in here. You raise some interesting points. The learned translators of our excellent English version distinguished between “bread” and “loaves” when translating artos. It is clear why. The translation “loaf” or “loaves” is used whenever there is one or more loaves—a specific unit of bread. Otherwise it’s always “bread,” the substance—so, it is the “bread” that is spoken of as broken.

It is always the Lord “took bread” (not the loaf) and brake it. So in 1 Cor 10:16 it is the “bread which we break” (not the loaf), and in the latter of 1 Cor 10:17 “we partake of that one bread”—that is Christ, as we feed on Him; also as partakers of that altar, which is Christ. His body, signified by the bread, is said to be broken for us.

But I’m not sure why the translators didn’t use “loaf” for the first artos in 1 Cor 10:17—it’s about the one body of Christ, the Church, and “loaf” as a unit seems relevant. The unity suggested in the one loaf, as the body, is never broken. Your phrase—“the unity of the spiritual body, but the fact that it is one loaf, the oneness or the unity of the loaf” is very apt.

There is communion in the broken body of Christ (the bread) which we celebrate, but also communion in the one body—“For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ” (1Cor 12:12).

For some, perhaps semantics, but words in Scripture matter, and the very translatable Greek of the NT also has relevance and meaning. I suggest these thoughts, but don't want to be dogmatic.

Wednesday, Nov 8, 2023 : 22:53
Mark Best said ...


Yes, in English we speak of "a loaf of bread." 

The King James Version translates 'artos' as 'bread' throughout in 1 Corinthians 10 verses 16 and 17. 

However, Mr Darby has 'the bread which we break' in verse 16, but has 'loaf' in the main text of verse 17 for both occurences of 'artos', allowing 'bread' for each in a footnote. 

I think the problem is that the expression "breaking of bread" is familar to us, and to have the word "loaf" instead of 'bread' in verse 16 might seem somewhat strange. 

Neverthless, the Darby Translation for Luke 22 verse 19 reads, 'And having taken a loaf, when he had given thanks, he broke [it], and gave [it] to them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me', but having the word 'bread' in a footnote. 

One point to notice is that the significance of the loaf (or bread) was given to it by the Lord Jesus after He had broken it. 

Thursday, Nov 9, 2023 : 00:06
Syd said ...
Thanks Mark. The KJV is quite consistent in its translation here, which is always helpful. Why Mr Darby deviated in Luk 22:19 from his other translation of “bread” in Mt, Mk and 1Cor 11, I don’t know.

It seems quite clear from the narrative in the Synoptics that Jesus and His disciples were busy eating the Passover—lamb and unleavened bread. Then suddenly Jesus took bread.... It seems that it was of the bread they were eating (not necessarily a separate loaf, as Mr Darby says in Luke – “a loaf”). Jesus took bread and brake it, which is what we read in all the references in the KJV. And yes, the “breaking of bread” is common throughout – Acts 2:42; Acts 20:7, 11; Luk 24:30.

The only variation from “breaking of bread” is in the case of the feeding of the multitudes, where we read that Jesus broke the loaves—because there were multiple loaves.
Thursday, Nov 9, 2023 : 16:19

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