WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BREAK BREAD?
Perry Stone

I AM REVEALED
B. Childress
May 14 2012

    And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and
    singleness of heart.  (Acts 2:46)

THIS BOOK EMPHASIZES RECEIVING daily Communion, especially when you need healing.  Is there biblical precedent
of early believers receiving communion every day, or was it just during certain marked occasions?  To understand the
concept of receiving Communion every day, one must examine the Book of Acts and the historical records of the first-
century Christians.  Two passages found in the New Testament indicate that believers went from house to house
breaking bread.  What is the true meaning of this phrase, and how does it relate to daily Communion?

THE BREAKING OF BREAD

There are two main references in the New Testament where we are told that Jesus broke bread.

    And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said,
    Take, eat; this is my body.  (Matthew 26:26)

At this event, called the Last Supper, Christ introduced the new covenant to His disciples.  After His resurrection, Christ
met with His disciples to again to break bread.

    And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.  
    (Luke 24:30)

At the Last Supper with His disciples, Christ mentioned the cup of consummation (fourth cup) (Matthew 26:27).  The
fourth cup of wine, however, is not mentioned after the resurrection account, only that Christ broke bread with them.  
Christ had already stated that He would not drink from the (fourth) cup again until He drank it anew in the kingdom:

    But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in
    my Father’s kingdom.  (Matthew 26:29)

The glorious promise of drinking the cup in the kingdom alludes to the future Marriage Supper of the Lamb, where the
saints who have received and walked in the new covenant of Christ’s blood will seal and consummate their marriage to
the Lamb of God (Christ) at a wedding supper in heaven (Revelation 19:9).

Shortly after Christ’s resurrection, He appeared to two men on the road to Emmaus.  They were unaware it was Christ
as He expounded the prophecies concerning the Messiah to them.  Christ was invited into their home, and there He
broke bread with them.  Suddenly their eyes were opened and they knew Him (Luke 24:31).  Then we read:

    And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.            
    (Luke 24:35)

This event initiated a continual custom or tradition among the first-century believers: breaking bread from house to
house and celebrating the resurrection of Christ and the promise that He would again return for them.  This breaking of
bread was a term used in the bible to describe the fellowship of the Lord’s Table or the Communion being practiced in
the homes of believers.

HOUSE-TO-HOUSE REFERENCES

The first converts to Christ were Jewish believers.  The church was birthed on the Hebrew feast of Pentecost, and over
three thousand Jewish converts were baptized in water (Acts 2:1-41).  Shortly after this event, persecution broke out in
Jerusalem, and eventually it became a physical risk for the Hebrew believers to worship at the temple (Acts 4:1-21; 5:17-
40; 21:27-31).  Before his conversion, Paul confessed to persecuting believers from city to city (Acts 26:11).  As the
Christian faith grew, so did the persecution.  This persecution eventually led believers to worship in their own homes
and the homes of fellow believers (Acts 5:42).

At the beginning of the Christian era, churches began in believers’ homes, as this was a safer place to meet and
worship without the threat from religious leaders of the synagogues or persecution from certain Pharisees, Sadducees,
and priests at the temple.  In their home groups believers would study, pray, and sing hymns (Ephesians 5:19).

The Bible reveals several names of the believers whose homes became churches:

  • Aquila and Priscilla had a church in their house (Romans 16:3, 5).

  • Nymphas at Laodicea had a church in his house (Colossians 4:15).

  • Apphia and Archippus had a church in their house (Philemon 2).

Believers would also meet together on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7; I Corinthians 16:2), during which time they
would break bread.  The first day of the week on the Jewish calendar is Sunday.

    And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them,
    ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.  (Acts 20:7)

Scripture indicates the practice of breaking of bread was a central part of the early activity among believers in their
homes.

    And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their
    meat with gladness and singleness of heart.  (Acts 2:46)

    And day after day they regularly assembled in the temple with united purpose, and in their homes they broke
    bread [including the Lord’s Supper].  They partook of their food with gladness and simplicity and generous
    hearts.  (Acts 2:46 AMP)

While growing up in church, the Sunday evening services were considered more exciting and spiritual than the Sunday
morning services.  After the service, it was common for believers to go out and fellowship at a local restaurant.  This is
where we spent time talking about the Word and getting to know each other.  We affectionately called it breaking bread.

For years when I read where the early church broke bread from house to house, I assumed it alluded to simply having a
dinner in someone’s house.  Only after research did I understand the true meaning of this term and why this was an
important daily activity for the early saints.  According to numerous Christian commentaries, the daily breaking of bread
referred to having the Lord’s Supper (Communion) in the believer’s house!  Remember, the original Passover supper
was in the homes of the Hebrews in Egypt, and the Lord’s Supper was initially instituted by Christ from a home.

Below is a list of nine references that give commentary on Acts 2:42, Acts 20:7, and I Corinthians 10:16.  They are
commenting on the phrase, “breaking of bread from house to house.”

  • [Breaking of bread] The Syriac renders this “the eucharist” or the Lord’s Supper.  (BARNES NOTES)

  • [And in breaking of bread] Whether this means the holy eucharist, or their common meals, it is difficult to say.  
    The Syriac understands it of the former.  Breaking of bread was that act which preceded a feast or meal, and
    which, was performed by the master of the house, when he pronounced the blessing – what we would call grace
    before meat.  See the form at Matthew 26:26.  (ADAM CLARKE’S COMMENTARY)

  • And in the breaking of bread.  From Acts 20:7, 11, and I Corinthians 10:16, it seems pretty certain that partaking
    of the Lord’s Supper is what is here meant.  But just as when the Lord’s Supper was first instituted it was
    preceded by the full paschal meal, so a frugal repast seems for a considerable time to have preceded the
    Eucharistic feast.  (JAMIESON, FAUSSET, AND BROWN COMMENTARY)

  • They frequently joined in the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper.  They continued in the breaking of bread, in
    celebrating that memorial of their Master’s death, as those that were not ashamed to own their relation to, and
    their dependence upon, Christ and him crucified.  They could not forget the death of Christ, yet they kept up this
    memorial of it, and made it their constant practice, because it was an institution of Christ, to be transmitted to the
    succeeding ages of the church.  They broke bread from house to house; kat’ oikon – house by house; they did
    not think fit to celebrate the eucharist in the temple, for that was peculiar to the Christian institutes, and therefore
    they administered that ordinance in private houses, choosing such houses of the converted Christians as were
    convenient, to which the neighbours resorted; and they went from one to another of these little synagogues or
    domestic chapels, houses that had churches in them, and there celebrated the eucharist with those that usually
    met there to worship God.  (MATTHEW HENRY’S COMMENTARY)

  • It is generally supposed that the early disciples attached so much significance to the breaking of bread at the
    ordinary meals, more than our saying grace, that they followed the meal with the Lord’s Supper.  (WORD
    PICTURES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT)

  • The breaking of bread, the administering and receiving of the Holy Communion, in the breaking of the
    Eucharist…The usage of the primitive church was to have this daily.  (THE BIBLE COMMENTARY)

  • Celebrating the Lord’s Supper.  At first observed on the evening of every day…who also continued in the temple
    praising God and celebrating the Lord’s Supper in their homes…  (A COMMENTARY OF THE HOLY BIBLE)

  • Breaking bread from house to house.  They naturally observed their particular Holy Rite, the Sacrament of the
    New Covenant, apart from the public…  (LANGE’S COMMENTARY ON THE HOLY SCRIPTURES)

These different Christian commentaries written by biblical scholars all agree that the phase “breaking bread” refers to
receiving Communion, the Eucharist, or the Lord’s Supper.  All three terms identify the same sacred rite of receiving the
bread and fruit of the vine for the Communion meal.  Again, notice this was originally done daily from house to house
(Acts 2:46).

AS OFTEN AS YOU DO THIS

From the time of the Exodus, the Jewish Passover was celebrated once a year on the fourteenth of Nissan, which
usually falls in the spring months of March or April.  Christ was crucified at the season of Passover and introduced the
new covenant during this season.  Some Messianic believers teach that Communion should be received only once a
year at Passover.  However, the Bible says, “As oft as ye [do] it…” (I Corinthians 11:25), which does not regulate a
certain time frame or particular season.  The Communion meal was so important among the early church that it was
conducted every day from house to house.  Perhaps this was to ensure that the many new believers scattered
throughout a city would enjoy the personal and intimate fellowship with the Lord through His sacred meal among the
faithful.

THE LOVE FEASTS

The New Testament also speaks of the love (agape) feasts in Jude 12.  The love feasts were hosted by wealthier
members of the church who provided a special meal for the poor in their congregations.  The love feasts included the
poor, the widows, the orphans, and others who lacked funds for personal needs.  Some scholars believe these were
conducted every evening in connection with the Communion.  By the second century, the agape feast was separated
from the Communion as two distinct rituals.  The Communion was conducted at the conclusion of the morning service
and the love feast later in the day.

According to early Christian history, these feasts continued in the church until the fourth century, when they were
banned by the council of Laodicea.  Some suggest that this action also caused the house-to-house Communion to be
slowly deemphasized as believers began receiving it only in the local churches.  While there is no direct reference
among historians as to why the breaking of bread was moved from house to house to an activity solely conducted in the
church facilities, it appears to be because as the church grew, buildings were constructed in communities where the
believers met weekly in local churches instead of homes.  Thus the local church became the heart of all spiritual activity
instead of the homes of individual believers.

I personally suspect that the central religious system, which developed out of the Church of Rome, resisted allowing the
common people to have any form of spiritual authority outside of the church hierarchy.  Thus by initiating that the Lord’s
Supper (called the Mass, in Latin) could be performed only by a priest in the church, it motivated believers to be faithful
to the church and kept under the authority of the leadership.

While the Bible certainly teaches spiritual authority and subjection to those over you in the Lord (Hebrews 13:7), the
love feasts were forgotten and the Lord’s Supper became more of a weekly spiritual ritual for some instead of a
fellowship and healing meal in the quiet intimacy of a believer’s home.

WALKING IN HEALING IN THE BEGINNING

An important part of the Communion meal is the aspect of healing that is provided through Christ’s atonement.  During
the earliest days of the church, it appears the believers walked in a realm of health, joy, and strength.  However, as
hidden sins, disobedience, unforgiveness, and strife entered the congregation and spread like cancer through the
members of the body, some believers experienced weakness, became sick, or died prematurely.  This is clear from Paul’
s letter to the church at Corinth:

    For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning
    the Lord’s body.  For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.                           
    (I Corinthians 11:29-30)

The early church “had all things common” (Acts 4:32).  As long as the believers walked in love (remember the love
feasts), centered their message on Christ, and maintained a life of forgiveness and holiness, they fulfilled the days of
their life, growing in God’s grace.  The major satanic attack the early believers experienced was persecution, which is
guaranteed for those who live by the Word of God (Mark 4:17).  Then and today, strife and envy in the church breed
confusion and every evil work (James 3:16).  This evil work unlocks a door for the enemy to enter as the person gives
place to the devil (Ephesians 4:27).

THE CHURCH AT CORINTH

Some in the church at Corinth were opening this door to the devil.  Paul wrote two separate, detailed letters to this
church: First and Second Corinthians.  He began his first letter exposing the fact that the believers were experiencing
contention among themselves.  Paul wrote that there was strife and division among them (I Corinthians 3:3).  As he
exposed this trap, he added that there were divisions and heresies among them (I Corinthians 11:18).  The church had
been instructed to walk in love (I Corinthians 13), but had failed to repent to one another.  Thus, some were receiving
the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner.  This strife was blocking God’s healing power from manifesting among the
believers in the church.  The result was that many were weak and sickly, and many died because they did not discern
the body of Christ!

As long as the early church taught the simple revelation of Christ’s atoning work and walked in pure love and faith, there
was a continual manifestation of healing that demonstrated the healing covenant.  But when the flesh rose up, the result
was weakness and sickness in the church.  This is why Paul instructed the believers to judge (examine) themselves
when receiving the Lord’s Supper (I Corinthians 11:28).  The Greek word for
examine in this passage means to test
yourself.  This inner searching turns the light on an individual’s own flaws and weakness, causing that person to repent
and confess his or her faults.  This confessing of personal faults (sins; missing the mark) and praying for one another
would lead to the blessing of healing.

    Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.  The effectual fervent
    prayer of a righteous man availeth much.  (James 5:16)

NOT LIVING BY BREAD ALONE

The Scripture says, “It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God” (Luke 4:4).  We can
receive the bread of Communion daily.  However, we must also feed from the Scriptures and every word that comes
from God.  For example, if you receive the bread of Communion, yet in your heart you despise your brother, you are
breaking the commandment of the new covenant to love and forgive your enemies (Matthew 5:44).  If you have not
forgiven those who have wronged you and you are claiming healing for yourself, you must first release the persons you
are holding hostage in your heart and forgive them their trespasses (Matthew 6:12).  We cannot expect the healing
power of God to work in our lives if we are eating the bread alone and not walking in obedience to the Word of God.  

This is why we are to confess our faults one to another, and pray for one another, that we may be healed (James 5:16).  
Christ is our example.  Christ did not die on the cross until He first prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what
they do” (Luke 23:34).  Christ knew that He could not die to redeem mankind from sin if He Himself died with
unforgiveness toward those who had beaten and crucified Him.  Even Stephen, while being stoned asked God not to
hold the sin of his death against those who murdered him (Acts 7:60).  Both of these prayers had amazing results.  At
the moment Christ died, the cruel centurion became a believer, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God” (Matthew 27:
54).  A man assisting in the stoning of Stephen was Saul of Tarsus, who was later converted and became the great
apostle Paul (Acts 7:58).

Obedience to the Word includes not only understanding and participating in Communion, but it also includes releasing
anyone who has harmed us physically, emotionally, or spiritually.  
This is how we judge ourselves at the Lord’s
Table, by examining our relationship with both God and man
.

We can clearly see that breaking of bread was a consistent, daily practice among the early Christians and was part of
the Communion meal, which was administered from house to house.  The bread represented the precious body of our
Lord, which was beaten for our healing (Isaiah 53:5; I Peter 2:24).  Scripture reveals that this process of Christ’s atoning
work did not begin on the cross but in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Let us discover the secrets of redemption that
began in the garden.





Source:

THE MEAL THAT HEALS, by Perry Stone, Copyright 2008, Charisma House.
2010 - HIS GLORY REIGNS
LIFE IN JESUS-MINISTRIES