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J.D. Phillips

“And taking a loaf, and having given thanks, he broke it, and gave to them, saying, ‘This is that body of mine which is given for you; do this in my remembrance”’ (Luke 22:19: Emphatic Diaglott. See also Matt. 26:26; Mark 14:22; Acts 2:42, 46; 20:7; 1 Cor. 10:16; 11:24).

It is freely admitted by all that Jesus “broke” the loaf. It is as freely admitted that He commanded us to “‘do this’ (Luke 22:19). If we can find out how He “broke” it, we will then know how He requires us to break it. This is important, “This do in my remembrance” (Luke 22:19).

We should, then, “do this”’ exactly as He did it. Otherwise, we ignore the very example He set for us to follow. We are taught to ‘‘follow’’ or “imitate” Him (1 Cor. 11:1) and to “retain the observances” (the breaking of the loaf being one of them) as “delivered” (1 Cor. 11:2) to us in the Scriptures.

There are three ideas among the brethren of how Christ broke the loaf.   They follow: (1) Some think He broke it into as many pieces as there were disciples present. (2) Others assume that He broke it in two in (or near) the middle, and that the one presiding at the Table must do the same to make it “represent Christ’s broken body.” (3) Others believe that Christ merely broke off a fragment and ate it. When, therefore, they read “this do” (Lk, 22:19) they believe our Lord meant for us (each disciple) to do the same.

Some contend for the first of three hypotheses; others contend for the second; while others contend for the third. There must be a Scriptural way to settle this, for the Scriptures “thoroughly furnish” us for “every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16, 17). “To the law and to the testimony’ (Isa.8:20), then, should be our appeal.

The only way we can be positively certain of how Christ “broke” the loaf, is by considering the meaning of the word so translated. The Greek is a marvelous tongue, fitted for accurate expression. If we wish to find out just what was done when Philip baptized the Eunuch, we may do so by considering the meaning of the word ebaptisen (Acts 8:37) which is “he immersed” him. The noun form, baptisma, means “immersion, submersion.” The English translations, while excellent and marvelous productions, are not so exact and accurate as is the original. Many Greek words are hard to translate perfectly into English, due to the fact that many English words do not have the same shades of meanings that their closest Greek equivalents have.


In every place where it is said that Jesus “broke” the loaf, the word broke is from the Greek word klaoo, o verb. The noun form is klasma. Let us notice the definition of the noun as given by a few lexicons. Ardnt and Ginrich define it: “fragment, piece, crum.” Knoch: “break-effect, fragment.” “A fragment, broken piece.” (Thayer). “A piece broken off, o fragment” (T. 5. Green). “A morsel” (feyerobend). “That which is broken off; a piece; a fragment’ (Donnegan). “A piece broken off, a splinter, a fragment” (Pickering).

Now, let us try the verb. Thayer says: ‘“Kiaoo, to break: used in the New Testament of the breaking of bread.” Green’s lexicon was supervised by Thayer. He defines it: “to break off; in the New Testament to break bread,” “To break; to break off” (Donnegan). “To break, to break off pieces” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of N. T. Words).

It is sometimes in Classical Greek of pruning a small limb from a tree and of plucking a leaf from a tree vine. But it is never so used in the New Testament; it is used only of breaking bread. The Lord broke off a piece or bite. This is in harmony with Rabbinic and Talmudic usage. Gill says: “The Rules concerning the breaking of bread are: “The master of the house recites and finishes the blessing, and after that he breaks; he does not break (off) a large piece.”

We all break the loaf! “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread (loaf) which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread {loaf}, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread” (1 Cor. 10:16, 17).

Notice the pronoun “we”. “WE, being many. ‘WE are all partakers.” “The loaf which WE break.’’ Does that sound like one broke it for all?

We have quoted Vine’s definition of break. Now, notice his comment. He says; “We should notice the pronoun ‘we.’ Each believer breaks the bread for himself. There is no hint in the New Testament of the dispensing of the elements by a ‘minister.’”

Since every Christian is a priest in his own rights (1 Pet. 2:9; Rev.1:6) he has the same right to break the loaf that he has to partake. Even when one leads in offering thanks or the blessing for the loaf and the cup every disciple present may act as his own priest by saying “the Amen”(1 Cor. 14:16).

Besides, when Jesus broke the loaf and gave it to them He said: “This do.” Luke 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:24. These two words are from poieite and Mr. Knoch gives the literal meaning as “‘BE-YE-DOING”. Defining “ye” he says: “YE, the plural of the pronoun YOU”.

Commenting on “This do’ Brother J. B. Rotherham, translator of the New Emphasized Bible, says: ‘’ “This do thou’ is a form of command which never appears in the primitive Christian documents. It is always, ‘This do ye’,

The great commentator Godet says: “This pronoun can denote nothing but the act of breaking.” 

Whether klaoo means to break off one or more pieces must be learned from the context, For instance, in speaking of the breaking of the five loaves (Mt. 14:19), it is evident that He broke them into many pieces, for “they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.”  Klaoo is used here. However, in Mark 6:41 and Luke 9:16, the word used is kateklaoo, Kata before klaoo ‘‘denotes separation, dissolution, etc.” (Thayer). The Concodant Version renders it: (He) breaks up the cakes” or loaves, So does Rothehram. In Mark 8:19 klaoo is used but eis tinas is added. Thayer says: ‘With eis tinas added, a pregnant construction, equivalent to ‘to break and distribute among,’ etc,” Neither kata nor eis tinas is used with klaoo when the breaking of the communion loaf is spoken of.

We have shown that the entire assembly is taught to break the communion loaf. Speaking of this matter, Frederick M. Kerby, Director of the Washington Bureau of The Charleston Gazette, says. “The ‘breaking of bread’ implies the breaking off of a piece, not breaking it in half.”

So, when Christ broke the loaves for the great multitude, He “broke them up” or “to pieces”; but when He broke the communion loaf, He broke off a bite for Himself. We are taught to follow His example when we break the loaf (Luke 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:24: 10:17).

Dr. Vine, commenting on “This do” says: “i.e., the act of giving thanks and breaking the bread, each one for himself; see 1 Cor. 10:16, ‘the bread which we break.’ Any brother who goes to the table, gives thanks and divides the loaf, is not doing representative or symbolic acts. He is not representing the Lord, or taking His place.”


Certainly! The “breaking of bread” (Acts 2:42; 20:7, 11; 1 Cor.10:16, etc.) implies the eating. All languages have idioms or expressions peculiar to these languages. Our word Idiom comes from the Greek word Idioma, a peculiarity from idios, one’s own, and idiotismos, the common manner of speaking). It means “The peculiar usage of words and phrases” (Bullinger).

The fact must ever be remembered that, while the language of the New Testament is Greek, the agents and instruments employed by the Holy Spirit were Hebrews, God spake ‘by the mouth of his holy prophets.’ Hence, while the ‘mouth’ and the throat and vocal-chords and breath were human, the words were Divine.

No one is able to understand the phenomenon; or explain how it comes to pass: for Inspiration is a fact to be believed and received, and not a matter to be reasoned about,

“While, therefore, the words are Greek, the thoughts and idioms are Hebrew” (E. W. Bullinger, Compiler of ‘‘The Companion Bible” and author of on excellent Greek Lexicon and Concordance, in “Figures of Speech Used in the Bible,” p. 820).

Again, Bullinger says: “The New Testament Greek abounds with Hebraisms: i. e. expressions conveying Hebrew usages and thoughts in Greek words.” Again: ‘What is wanted is an idiomatic: i. e., the exact reproduction, not of words (merely), but of the thought and meaning of the phrase.” He gives many examples illustrative of this point. One of them is: “What would a Frenchman understand if ‘How do you do?’ were rendered literally instead of idiomatically: ‘How do you carry yourself?’ Or the German: ‘How goes it? (wie geht es). Remember that the New Testament was written by Jews educated to think and write in Hebrew. So they often translated Hebrew expressions. Example: Our English expression, ‘’the first day of the week,’’ is from the Greek mia sabbetoon and that from the Hebrew echad b’ shabbath meaning, literally, ‘one of the Sabbaths’”’ (as in the Concordant Version). But our translators, knowing its grammatical and historical construction, correctly rendered it “the first day of the week” (Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:2, Luke 24:1; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor.16:2) because the idiom could mean nothing else. The Concordant Version, although on excellent one, is certainly wrong in its rendering of this idiom literally instead of idiomatically.

In England, when a friend invites another to dine with him, he usually says, “Come, and take tea with me.” In Arabia, “Come, and eat salt with me.” The Jews say, “Come and break bread with me.” The some expression is used in Greek. It is a Hebrew thought expressed in Greek words, By means of our translations, the same expression has come into our English Bible. The “breaking of bread,”’ then, is, as Mr. Knoch has pointed out, “an idiomatic Hebrew expression, like our ‘taking tea’ or the Arab’s ‘eating salt,’ and denotes an ordinary meal.” ‘‘The breaking of the loaf” (Acts 2:42: Greek Text) is used of the Communion.

“BREAD is a word used in Scripture for food in general. As bread was usually made by the Jews in thin cakes, it was not cut but broken, which gave rise to the phrase, BREAKING OF BREAD, which sometimes means the partaking of a meal, as in Luke 24:35″ (Wilson: Emphatic Diaglott, p. 876). 

Under “Idiomatic Phrases,” Bullinger says: “To break bread; kiasoi arton, is the literal rendering of the Hebrew idiom, paras lechem, and it means to portake of food, and is used of eating as in a meal. The figure (or idiom) arose from the fact that among the Hebrews bread was made. . .in round cokes about as thick as the thumb. These were always broken, and not cut. Hence the origin of the phrase “to break bread” “Figures of Speech,” p. 839). An example: Luke 24:30: “And it came to pass as He sat at meat with them, he took breed, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.” In verse 35, they speak of how Christ “was known of them in the breaking of bread,” i. e., as He sat at meat with them. Peter says they “ate and drank with Him after He rose from the dead” (Acts 10:41).

The same idiom is used to denote the communion. The expression in the Greek of Acts 2:42 is “The breaking of the loaf” (ton arton). Wilson, after showing that “the breaking of bread” sometimes denotes on ordinary meal, adds, “Also what is emphatically styled, ‘the breaking of THE LOAF’ in the Lord’s Supper, as mentioned in Acts 2:42. See also Matt.26:26; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 10:16; 11:25 (Emphatic Diaglott, p. 876). It means to break and eat. Those who deny it are logically bound to go with the Pope who says that since “the cup” (Mt.26:26; Mk, 14:23), is not mentioned in connection with the “breaking of the loaf” (Acts 2:42; 20:7, 11) we have authority for “communion in one kind”: i. e., to partake of the bread but not of “the fruit of the vine” (Matt, 26:28, 29)! They fail to see that “the breaking of the loaf” implies the whole thing: giving thanks, breaking the loaf, eating; giving thanks for the cup, and drinking of it. Some of our brethren know that “the cup” is implied in “the breaking of the loaf,” (Acts 2:42) but do not know that the eating is, too! 

The full expression is used in Acts 20:11. In verse 7, it says “’the disciples,’ Paul being among them, “‘came together to break bread” (to observe the Communion). The 11th verse says, “And having come up and broken the loaf, and tasting it.” He “broke off’ (from klaoo) a fragment’ (enough to “taste it, as we do in the Communion). The Concordant Version, closely following the original here, reads “breaking bread and taking a taste.’’ Christ did the same. (Matt. 26:26). 

In Acts 20:7, it says the disciples “came together to break bread (or the foot)”; while in 1 Cor.11:33 Paul says “when you come together to eat.” In the former passage ‘the breaking of the loaf’ implies the eating (for surely they did not break it and go off and leave it!); and in the latter the eating implies the breaking. 

From the foregoing, it can be seen that the very fact that Jesus “broke” the loaf means that He also ate. The breaking implies the eating. “The ‘breaking of bread’ implies the breaking off of a piece, not breaking it in half. The eating of the piece so broken off would naturally follow” (Frederick M. Kerby, Director of The Washington Bureau of The Charleston Gazette, Information Department). “The situation no doubt implies that He also ate of it’’ (Carl H. Kraeling, New Testament Deportment, Yale University). “Does ‘He broke’ (Eklase) mean that Jesus broke, and ate (Luke 22:19)?” Answer: “Yes, though not expressly stated’ (Robert H. Pfeiffer, Curator Semitic Museum, Harvard University). “ls there anything in the Greek New Testament to indicate that Jesus broke the loaf in halves and gave it to the disciples without eating of it Himself?”   Answer: “No: he had to eat before the others. The Talmud prescribes that ‘those at the Table cannot eat until the one who ‘breaks the bread’ partakes (Berekhoth 47a), According to the Palestinian Tosephta, Berakhoth 6 100, 61, ‘Whenever Rab (died in 247) broke the bread (after the benediction) he partook of it with his left hand and distributed (the bread to the people at the Table) with his right hand’ (i. «., he partook as soon as possible so that they could begin eating’ (Robert H. Pfeiffer). 

Rabbi Moyer Winkler, a native Jew, says, “Paras lechem mens to break the bread, but it involves the idea to break ond eat, because, according to the Jewish law, if you pronounce a benediction over bread, you must eat. Otherwise, you are not allowed to pronounce the benediction.” 

Rabbi Julius L. Seigel, a Jewish believer, says the same, and adds: According to Rabbinic and Talmudic law, no person should pronounce a ‘blessing’ (see Matt. 26:26) and ‘break bread’ with his guests (see Luke 22:19) unless he also partakes.” 

The Jewish laws and customs gave to “the breaking of bread” its idiomatic meaning. Usage gives to any expression its meaning. The fact that Jesus “broke” the bread means that He also ate of it. The writers and early readers of the New Testament could have had no other idea in mind when recording and reading what Jesus did. See Matt. 26:26; Mark 14:22: Luke 22:19. It is folly, is the native Greek scholar and lexicographer, Sophocles, says, “to suppose that the writers of the Greek New Testament put upon words (and phrases) meanings not recognized by the Greeks” (and Hebrews). 


“I tell you, that I will not henceforth drink of this product of the vine, till that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom” (Jesus: Matt. 26:29). Mark 14:25: “I will drink of the product of the vine no more, till that day when I drink it new.” Also Luke 22:18: “I will not drink from henceforth of the product of the vine, till the kingdom of God shall come.’ These quotations are from the Emphatic Diaglott.

The King James Version does not have the words “from henceforth.” But, remember, it was made from but few manuscripts, none of which were earlier than the 10th century. We now have over 1,000, some dating back to the 4th century. Many, including the oldest, read: “I will not drink from henceforth,” etc. The cup mentioned here may be a Passover cup. 

Does it mean that He would partake of that but not of the Lord’s supper cup (v, 20)? The words ‘from henceforth” are translated from apo tow nun.

Many, including the late Dr. A. T. Robertson, concededly the best Greek scholar of his day, render it “after today.” But in Matthew 26:29 “henceforth is from aparti, “from the present.” It usually breaks time at the very moment, as Dr. Godby has pointed out.

Godet, in his commentary on Luke, asks and answers the question, “Did Jesus Himself drink? . . . the words “I will not drink until…”, speak in favor of the affirmative. Was it not, besides, a sign of communion from which Jesus could hardly refrain on such an occasion?” (It was a communal, not a sacrificial, service). This has led some to think Christ did not partake of the wine. But the revisions have, in God’s good providence, brought this omission to light so that there is no excuse for any one ta be misled into the absurd idea that Jesus did not partake with His beloved disciples “…. on that night when doomed to know the eager rage of every foe.”

“I will not drink henceforth” (Matt. 26:29). “Henceforth” is from aparti (after this time). W. B. Godby, A. M., one of the greatest Greek scholars the world has produced, and author of the Godby translation of the N. T., says,

 “The Greek word aparti, translated ‘from henceforth,’ means instantaneously, from the very moment. Hence, you see the problem is solved, and the question is settled.” Prof. A, T. Robertson, A. M., LL.D., Litt. D., concededly the world’s greatest scholar, says: ‘This language rather implies that Jesus himself partook of the bread and the wine’ (Word Pictures, Vol. 1, p. 210).

 Adam Clarke says: “We shall not have another opportunity of eating this bread and drinking this wine together, as in a few hours my crucifixion shall take place” (Commentary in loco),

 “From the very moment” at which Jesus spoke He would “‘never again” (Mark 14:25) “drink of this fruit of the vine’ (Matt. 26:29) till the Kingdom should come. This shows conclusively that Jesus did drink of the “fruit of the vine” just before He said He would do so “no more” “after this,” etc.

 Clement of Alexandria, on early Christian writer, alludes to this, saying, “Our Lord Himself partook of wine; He blessed the wine, saying, “Take drink; this is My Blood—the blood of the vine” (Paedog. ii. c.2).

A strong intimation that Jesus ate and drank with His disciples on the “night in which He was betrayed,” when “He took a loaf… and broke it’ (1 Cor. 11:23), is found in John 13. David says: “Yea, my own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did cat of MY bread, hath lifted up his heel against me” (Psa. 41:9), Jesus quotes this prophecy in John 13 and applies it to Judas Iscariot. He makes the word “My” refer to Himself. Here is His quotation: “He that eateth bread with Me” refer to Himself. Here is quotation: He that eateth bread with Me” (John 13:18). The Greek Version of the Hebrew Scriptures (the LXX), made a few centuries before Christ, reads: “artous mou,” literally, “the bread of Me.” The same form of expression is used in Matt. 16:18 – “mou ten ekklesion,” lit., “of Me the church.’ The English idiom, of course, requires these passages to be rendered: “My bread” and “My church.”

As Christ says, “My church’ (claiming it for His very own), so Paul, agreeing, says, “the churches of Christ” (Rom. 16:16). Paul says, “the cup of the Lord’ (1 Cor. 10:21) when Christ would have said “My cup.’ John says ‘the Lord’s day” (Rev. 1:10) when Christ would have said “My day.” Paul says “the Lord’s Table” (1 Cor. 10:21) while Christ says ‘’My Table” (Luke 22:30).

 So “My (Christ’s) bread.” (Psa. 41 -9) which Christ says Judas (and, of course, the other disciples) ate “with me’ – “at My Table” (Living Oracles Tr.) – must have been the bread or “loaf” (Emphatic Diaglott) which “He took” and of which He said: “This is My body” (Mott. 26:26), What other bread could it have been? He says: ‘‘Eat and drink at My Table in My Kingdom” (Luke 22:30). This was His only Table. The bread on it was His only bread. “Jesus saith unto them, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head” (Matt. 8:20).

Some have tried to dodge the force of this argument by assuming that Judas was not present at the institution of the Communion. But he was! (See Luke 22:17-21).

So the Lord’s cup, the Lord’s bread, the Lord’s Table, etc., all have reference to the Communion. The bread which Christ calls ‘‘My bread” (Psa. 41:9) and which He ate with His disciples John 13:18) was not the Passover bread, for that pertained to Judaism, and not to the Christian System. Moreover, the Communion “‘is emphatically styled, ‘the breaking of THE LOAF,” (Wilson). “The loaf’ in “The breaking of the loaf” (Acts 2:42) is from ton arton and the some expression is used in the Greek of John 13:18, Wilson’s interlinear translation in the Emphatic Diaglott reads: ‘He eating with me the loaf’ Gionn 13:18). And the phrase “He broke’ (Eklase) means “He broke and ate,” for it is the some Hebrew-Aramaic-Greek idiom used in Acts 2:42; 20:7, etc. So Pfietfer, Knoch, Bullinger, Winer, et al.

I am not alone in my interpretation of John 13:18. The peerless scholars and exegetes, Jamison, Fauccet and Brown, in their Bible Commentary, say: “In the Psalm (41) the immediate reference is to Ahithophel’s treachery against David (2 Sam. 17), one of those scenes: in which the parallel of his story with that of the great Anti-type is exceedingly striking The eating bread derives o fearful meaning from the participation in the sacramental supper, a meaning which must be applied forever to all unworthy communicants, as well as to all betrayers of Christ who eat the bread of His Church (Stier, with whom, and others, we agree in thinking that Judas partook of the Lord’s Supper.)


Little needs to be said on this point. David Lipscomb, of sainted memory, speaking of the idea held by many in the western part of our country that the one presiding at the Table should break the loaf in two (or near) the middle to make it “represent Christ’s broken body,” says it “is a part of Romish ritualism” (Questions Answered by Lipscomb and Sewell, edited by Kurfees, p. 409).

Christ “broke off” (klaoo) “a fragment’ or “morsel” (klasma) and ate it, as clearly demonstrated in the foregoing pages. In Luke 22:19, after “breaking the loaf,” He said to His disciples (the Twelve), “This do”! He meant for each to “break off’ and eat, just as He had done.

Paul makes the “one loaf” o type of the unity of the “one body,” the church. 1 Cor. 10:17: “Because there is One Loaf, we, the many, are One Body; for we all partake of the one Loaf’ (Emphatic Diaglott). Now, it is certain that, since the “one loaf’ is a symbol or token of the unity of the ‘’one body” (Eph.4:3), the church, as Paul here affirms, the symbolism should not be marred by breaking the loaf in two in (or near) the middle and passing both sections to the disciples, and especially is it erroneous ta bind this practice upon the church of God, with the claim that it must be done to “represent Christ’s broken body,” as we so often hear. There is no authority for it. Of the typical Paschal lamb it is said, “neither shall ye break a bone thereof” (Exodus 12:46). Of the great Anti-type, Messiah, it is prophetically said, “He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken” (Psa. 34:20), Historically, it is said, “These things were done that the Scripture might be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.

And again another Scripture, “They shall look upon him whom they pierce” (John 19:32-37). There is nothing recorded in connection with the crucifixion that can be signified by breaking the loaf in two in (or near) the middle. We do well to stay well within “that which is written” (1 Cor. 4:6),

Besides, when the one presiding at the Table breaks off (klaoo) a bite (klasma) and eats it, he has done all that the Record, either in the Greek or in any translation, says Christ did—he has “broken” it! Paul shows that all should break the loaf alike, for he says, “The loaf which WE (the congregation) BREAK” (1 Cor. 10:16). William Hurte says: Each breaking a piece from it for the purpose of eating, is their voluntary reception of His life to be embodied and reproduced in their own’ (Catechetical Commentary in loco). This shows that each was to “break off’ (klaoo) for himself: for all disciples present could not break the loaf in two in the middle! And this language would be nonsense if the right way of breaking the loaf should be for the one presiding at the table to break it into a pile of fragments! The word “break” here, as in all other places where it speaks of breaking the loaf, is from klaoo and means to “break off.” By metonymy, it means to “break off” and eat the piece so broken. So says Greenfield’s lexicon, citing Acts 2:42; 20:7, 11, as examples. In Acts 20:11, Luke, speaking of Paul at Troas, says, “And having come up and broken bread and taking a taste (Gr., geusamenos).” This leaves one solitary passage to be examined, namely:


“This is my body which is broken for you.” If the word “broken” is genuine, it proves nothing for the theory we are fighting, for we all believe the loaf should be broken. The disagreement is over HOW the breaking should be done. Besides, if the word “broken” is genuine, it only shows that the actual body of Jesus, of which the loaf is a token (eimi), was broken for us. But HOW was it “broken”? In the middle?

No! But is “broken” genuine? It is doubtful. The Greek Text called “Textus Receptus’ (from which the AV was made) was compiled from some eight MSS., none of which was earlier than the 10th century. Nearly 1,000 MSS. are now known, and some of them very ancient.

None of the critical Greek texts contain the word for “broken.” Nor do the latest and best versions. Nor does Jerome’s Latin Vulgate translation, which is older than most MSS. Now extant. The Greek Text of Westcott and Hort (one of the best) does not contain the word. The American Standard Version, concededly the most accurate of any English translation, following the Greek of Westcott and Hort, leaves out the word “broken” as an interpolation. The following ancient Greek MSS. do not contain the word: Sinaiticus, Aleph, 4th century; Alexandrinus, A., 5th century; Voticonus, B., 4th century; Ephraem Syri, C., 5th century. These are the best. The editions of the greatest recent critics (Lachmenn, Tischendorff, and Alford) omit it. The word wos added to some of the later MSS. “The additions kloomenon (broken), thruptomencn (bruised or crushed), and didamenon (given), are attempts which have been made to complete our Lord’s expression. The best MSS. have simply to huper humon (in your behalf)’ (Frederick Kling, in Lange’s “Commentary on the Holy Scriptures” in loco), He speaks of the ‘undoubtedly interpolated expression “broken,” instead of which some authorities have ‘given,’ borrowed from Luke (22:19).”—Ibid.

That prince of scholars, Prof. A. T. Robertson, A, M., LLD., Litt.0., concededly the world’s greatest Greek scholar, says, “The correct text there (1 Cor. 11:24) hos only to huper humon (in your behalf) without kloomenen (broken). As a matter of fact, the body of Jesus was not ‘broken’ John 19:33), as John expressly states’ (Word Pictures in the N.T., Vol. 1, p. 209),

The sainted David Lipscomb says, “The expression, the body ‘broken’ or ‘the broken body,’ is found only once in the Common Version, and it is left out of the American Revised Version is an interpolation. The body of Jesus was pierced and bruised, but a bone of him was not broken” (Questions and Answers, p. 70).

The word “broken” (1 Cor. 11:24) is, therefore, evidently an addition to the Sacred Text. It seems to do violence to the sense of the Text. It is dangerous to supply words which the original does not justify. If a word is added, it should be didomenon (given.) This does no violence to God’s word, since the word is used, both in Greek and in the English, of Luke 22:19. However, if “broken’’ were genuine, it would have to correspond with Eklase (“He broke off’’) of the same verse, which, of course, would destroy the idea that He broke the loaf in two in (or near) the middle.

“ONE LOAF” (1 Cor. 10:17)

Alexander Campbell, the leader of the current movement to restore primitive Christianity, says: “On the Lord’s table there is of necessity but one loaf. The necessity is not that of o positive low enjoining one loaf and only one is the ritual of Moses enjoined twelve loaves. But it is a necessity arising from the meaning of the Institution is explained by the Apostles. As there is but one literal body, and but one mystical or figurative body having many members; so there must be but one loaf. The Apostle insists upon this. ‘Because there is but one loaf, we, the many, are one body; for we are all partakers of the one loaf’ (Cor. 10:17). The Greek word artos, especially when joined with words of number, says Dr. Macknight, always signifies a loaf, and is so translated in our Bibles: – “Do you not remember the five loaves?” (Matt.16.9). There are many instances of the same sort. Dr. Campbell says, ‘that in the plural number it ought always to be rendered loaves; but when there is a numeral before it, it indispensably must be rendered loaf or loaves. Thus we say one loaf, seven loaves; not one bread, seven breads’. ‘Because there is one loaf,’ says Paul, ‘we must consider the whole congregation as one body’ (1 Cor. 10:17). Here the Apostle reasons from what is more plain to what is less plain; from what was established to what was not so fully established in the minds of the Christians. There was no dispute about the one loaf; therefore there ought to be none about the one body. This mode of reasoning makes it as certain as a positive law; because that which on apostle reasons from must be an established fact, or on established principle’ (Christion System)

There is now no dispute among disciples of Christ about the “one body” (Eph. 4:4); therefore, there ought to be none about the “one loaf” (1 Cor. 10:17). To use loaves would mar the “picture.” The same is true of breaking the loaf in two in (or near) the middle. We do well to keep well within ‘that which is written’ (1 Cor. 4:6). The restoration of Christianity as it existed in Apostolic times will bring about the use of one loaf in churches of modern times. We are in the time of the “cleansing of the Sanctuary’’ (Dan. 8:13, 14). Let us, therefore, be busy restoring things to the Apostolic ideal!


Those who contend for breaking the loaf in two say that Jesus did not partake, and ask, with an air of triumph, “Would He eat of His own body and drink of His own blood?” We answer: The loaf and the fruit of the vine were not His “‘own body and blood” except in a metaphorical sense. But He said He would ‘drink of this fruit of the vine’ in ‘the kingdom of God’ ’’ (Matt. 26:29; cp. Mark 14:25). Now, if He would drink that which was a figure of His own blood at some other time, why should He not have done so then? He says the loaf is His body (Mt. 26:26) and Paul says the church is His body (Col. 1:18). The church, ‘which is His body,’ is told to eat the loaf, which is His body; but He could not! (His body could eat His body but He could not!).

[This is from J.D. Phillip’s Tract “The Voice of One Crying in the Wilderness]

 Recommended articles:

Introducing the Church of Christ – Ronny Wade

God’s Sevenfold Unity – Jerry Cutter

Repentance – J. W. McGarvey


The Ancient Faith website is a thematic collection of scholarly yet simple Bible essays and sermons, many of which were composed by Restoration preachers such as J.W. McGarvey, Moses Lard, Benjamin Franklin, and Alexander Campbell. These courageous men of faith through hours of Bible investigation studied themselves out of denominationalism, asking for “the old paths” (Jer. 6:16) and seeking to return to “the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). We hope you will join with these men in their fervent plea to restore “the ancient order,” “the ancient gospel” or, as it was sometimes called, “the ancient faith.”