Breaking of Bread

By Johnie Edwards

Recently we had a discussion with some Jehovah’s Witnesses. The discussion centered around the Lord’s Supper. The Jehovah’s Witnesses teach:

(1) The Lord’s Supper should be eaten only once a year. The Witnesses draw this false conclusion from the fact that the Passover was eaten once a year. They argue that Jesus was eating the Passover when he instituted the Lord’s Supper, therefore it should only be partaken of once a year.

Answer: It needs to be understood that the Lord’s Supper is not the Passover of the Old Testament. Just because a thing was done once a year under the Law of Moses, we are not to conclude that it is to be done that way in the New Testament. The Jews went once a year to Jerusalem to keep the day of Pentecost (Deu. 16:16). Must we do that every year now?

(2) That Acts 20: 7 was just a common meal. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society in their New World Translation renders Acts 20:7, “On the first day of the week, when we were gathered to have a meal.”

Answer: This rendering of Acts 20:7 is not a translation but rather an interpretation. The Greek does not say “meal.” It says to “break bread” and I do not intend to let the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society interpret the truth for me. Do you? The context of Acts 20:7 shows it was not just a common meal.

(A) If it was just a common meal why did Paul remain in Troas for seven days? “And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days” (Acts 20:6).

(B) If those in Acts 20:7 were just eating a common meal why is it specified that they ate it on the first day of the week? Did they eat common meals on other days of the week? “And upon the first day of the week . . .” (Acts 20:7). It is not a common meal but rather is an apostolic example of when the church ate the Lord’s Supper.

(C) If Acts 20:7 is a common meal why did they `gather together’ for it? “. . . when we were gathered together to break bread” (Acts 20:7). Read 1 Corinthians 11:17-34. The church at Corinth was told not to come together in the assembly to eat common meals. “What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? . . . .” (1 Cor. 11:22) “And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation . . .” (1 Cor. 11:34). Also the phrase “were gathered” (Acts 20:7) implies that someone with authority had ordered them to meet together.

(D) If Acts 20:7 is a common meal why is it separate from Paul’s eating or breaking bread in Acts 20:11 ? “When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed” (Acts 20:11). The passages in Acts 20:7, 11 are parallel to those in Acts 2:42, 46. Breaking of bread in Acts 2:42 refers to the Lord’s Supper while verse 46 refers to a common meal. The context shows this to be so.

(E) Jehovah’s Witnesses say that Acts 2:42 refers to the “taking of meals. “If this is so, why is it mentioned as part of and along with acts of worship?

Perhaps one reason Jehovah’s Witnesses want to get the Lord’s Supper out of the Bible is because the Lord said the Lord’s Supper would be inthe kingdom (Matt. 26:29; Lk. 22:29-30). Those in Corinth were communing with Christ (1 Cor. 10:16), then they had to be in the Kingdom. But Jehovah’s Witnesses tell us that the Kingdom was not in existence then? One fasle doctrine leads to another.

Truth Magazine XXIII: 28, pp. 461-462
July 19, 1979