“And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Acts 2:44-47 ESV
What does it mean to break bread together?
By looking at the scripture, we find that this term occurs in numerous places in the New Testament, where it sometimes means to share bread (a meal) and other times to distribute food to others, such as the needy.
Breaking bread is associated with miracles of the multiplication, as when Jesus fed the multitudes with loaves and fishes. This is a simple symbolism to mean God’s grace for us. We also find that the word “Bethlehem,” the city where Jesus was born means “house of bread.”
In later usage the meaning was change by the Catholic Church to mean the sacramental bread of Communion in Christian services. This is not biblical!
In the Old Testament, bread is the symbol of fruitfulness, and in the New Testament. And Mel-chizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High.Gen 14:18.
The Bible uses the expression “breaking of bread” in different ways. First, Acts 2:42-46 describes the fellowship of the disciples breaking bread as part of their friendship fellowship (never was a church service): “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” The early Christians came together regularly for common meals (not church service), which was the breaking of bread. Acts 2:44 refers to them having “everything in common,” and this no doubt included sharing meals together, each one receiving from the others what they needed. Verse 46 describes them breaking bread in their homes.
The English word Pentecost is used in lieu of the Hebrew word Shavuot. This is a biblical feast that is appointed to occur 50 days after the Sabbath. This Sabbath should not be confused with the weekly Sabbath. It is referring to the first day of unleavened bread, which is a Sabbath after the day of preparation called PASSOVER.
If you understand that Yeshua (Jesus) did not start any religion or even physical church before he dies, you should also understand 50 days later, the church was not yet physically formed. The disciples were still afraid of the Jews. Church definitely was not in their mind, they all fled to protect their lives. They got together in clandestine behind locked door. Therefore, Acts 2 could not be a church service. In fact, they were altogether for cause of fear John 20: 19 makes it clear the reason. “It was the first day of the week, and that very evening, while the disciples were together with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them. “Peace be with you!” He said to them. Luke wrote Acts in AD 70, roughly 40 years later to tell the story
I want you to notice three points in the bold underlined and when you notice them, you would now refute the idea that Acts 2 denotes a church service:
- First, it was the first day the week
- Second, it was the evening. It was the evening of the first day according to the scripture. The scripture tells us that each day begins with an evening (Genesis 1). For them it was Sunday evening which ends the Sabbath morning because the evening comes before the morning for each day. For us, we would call it Saturday evening.
- Third, the door was locked. No church would lock their door under no circumstances
Another type of breaking of bread commonly known Christian Church is “the Lord’s Supper” or “communion”. This was not a church service either as many assumed. It was simply a Passover-unleavened bread feast day. During the feast, described in 1 Corinthians 11:23-39, Jesus took a loaf of bread and broke it and gave it to His disciples, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
The breaking of bread at that Passover feast is a yearly celebration commemorates his death as we look forward in his remembrance. Before, at Passover, we looked backward to Egypt where we came from and now, we are to look forward to the Yeshua (Jesus). This is remembrance of both His sacrifice on the T and the amplification of the New Covenant in His blood (v. 25). Henceforth, each celebration of the Passover yearly includes the breaking of the bread and the drinking of the cup of the fruit of the vine. Bread and wine are the main ingredients of thee true Passover Feast. This feast is celebrated each year at the appointed time (see Leviticus 23) but not each first Sunday, every three months, or each time we have a gathering. “As often as you do it” never meant to mean change its yearly celebration.