breaking of bread

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Early Christian fellowship was expressed in shared property and shared meals (Acts 2: 42); they broke bread in various houses in turn (Acts 2: 46). The ‘breaking’ was only part of the preparation for the meal, but the name of the part was applied to the whole. In the action the group was conscious of Jesus' presence. Some may have had memories of the Feeding of the Multitudes, and the image of the future Messianic Banquet was well known. So usually in the NT (probably not at Acts 27: 35) the breaking of the bread denotes the Lord's Supper—the Christians' covenantrite, which Paul had received as a tradition and which he passed on (1 Cor. 11: 17 ff.). Probably the breaking of bread was from earliest days a weekly celebration.

Subjects: Biblical Studies.

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