May 04, 2023 – Thursday
Acts 20:7 NIV
7 On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight.
Acts 20:7 NKJV
7 Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.
While preparing for Sunday’s message on the first part of Acts 21, I was reading a commentary on Acts by Gareth L. Reese (b 9-29-1932) and preceding the commentary for chapter 21 was a special study, 29 pages long, on the Lord’s Supper. I just ate it up (please forgive me).
Turns out breaking bread is one of the terms or phrases used to describe the Lord’s Supper throughout scripture. Of course, we have the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:20; the Lord’s Table in 1 Corinthians 10:21; Communion in 1 Corinthians 10:16; breaking of bread in Acts 2:42; and breaking bread in Acts 20:7 our verse for today.
The initial institution of the Lord’s Supper is described in Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22, and 1 Corinthians 11. Matthew and Mark are very much alike as are Luke and Paul. How Matthew and Mark differ from Luke and Paul is that they leave out do this in remembrance of me. However, Matthew and Mark have after the reference to the blood of the covenant, shed (or poured out) for the remission (or forgiveness) of sins which neither Luke or Paul have in their descriptions.
Reese notes when Jesus said, Do this (Greek, Continue to do this!) in remembrance of me, He was commanding His followers to observe the Lord’s Supper regularly. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia stated, “originally the apostolic church celebrated communion at every meeting for worship.” Acts 20:7, 7 On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight, is recognized by most reputable scholars as indicating that the early church celebrated the Lord’s Supper every Lord’s day. 1 Corinthians 16:2 and 11:20 show that weekly communion was the practice in Corinth as well.
As a result, Reese offered the following conclusion, “Since the covenant ratified by the blood of Christ is in force until the end of time, we find it proper and right to have regular weekly observance of the Lord’s supper, just as it was done in the early church.” Clearly one may disagree.
However, thanks to Reese’s commentary, we can see that in Acts 20:7, the purpose of their meeting was to have communion and it was only afterwards that Paul spoke until midnight when a young man fell from the third-floor window.
Bottom Line: It helps to look at the most innocuous openings of our verses and look to see what they might mean. I was surprised to learn they met for the purpose of breaking bread or taking communion.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for providing men like Gareth Reese who have so much to share about Your word. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton