This term or ones similar are found many times in the New Testament. When it is found what does it refer to? For instance consider Acts 2:42 we find these words, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (The study of “fellowship” will be left for another time.) These items listed are worship acts. Yet in verse 46 we find these words, “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.” Did the first century disciples eat the Lord’s Supper daily or is the “breaking of bread” two different acts?
Also consider Acts 20. In verse 7 it states, “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” Later in the chapter we find these words, “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).”
Does this “breaking of bread” and “broken bread” refer to the same event or are they two different events? Some have said yes, that we can partake of the Lord’s Supper on any day of the week and use these passages to prove their point. But such is not the case in either event. Vine in his Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words makes the statement that the “breaking of bread” can refer to the Lord’s Supper and a common meal. How can we know the difference? McGaryey in his commentary of Acts says in his comments on chapter 2 and verse 46 this: “This is evident from the connection: ‘breaking bread from house to house, they received their food with gladness and singleness of heart.’ It was that breaking of bread in what they ‘received their food,’ which was not done in partaking of the emblematic loaf. There is no evidence that the emblematic loaf was ever broken in mere social gatherings. It belongs exclusively to the Lord’s day.” Coffman says in his commentary on Acts 20:11 this, “…because the ‘breaking of bread’ in this place has no reference at all to the Lord’s Supper but to the satisfaction of their hunger, as plainly implied the verb ‘eaten.’”
When the Lord instituted the Lord’s Supper we find, “And as they were eating, (this would be the Passover) Jesus took break, and blessed it, and break it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:26-29). Paul makes reference to this event in the letter to the Corinthians. In 1 Corinthians there seems to a problem with what they doing with and what the Lord’s Supper had become. Paul is correcting these problems. Paul states, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” (1 Corinthians 10:16). In the next chapter Paul gives us more insight to the Lord’s Supper. He says, “When ye come together into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s Supper” (1 Corinthians 11:20).
Let us notice what we have learned thus far. We have learned that the Lord instituted the Lord’s Supper and would eat of it with the disciples in the kingdom of God. If we can find that the Lord’s Supper was being eaten then we can know that the kingdom of God has been established. We have done this from the passages in 1 Corinthians. We have also learned that the disciples met upon the first day of the week to worship God. This is important. This is the day that the Lord was raised from the day. John calls it the Lord’s Day (Revelation 1:10). When we study the history of the first century church, or the book of Acts we find that they worshipped upon the first day of the week. The day of Pentecost was upon the first day of the week (Leviticus 23:15-16). This is the day that the church or the kingdom began (Acts 2). This is the day that they were baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38) according as the Lord commanded (Luke 24:46-49). And upon this day, the first day of the week, the church worshipped. This is the context of Acts 2:42. Every act listed in this verse is an act of worship to God. They listened to the apostles’ doctrine. They had fellowship or gave of their means as they had prospered. They also partook of the Lord’s Supper for it was the first day of the week. And then they prayed together. These things were so new and they were so excited about these new events that they stayed together and they even eat common meals together. They were learning about these new things that God had for them to learn. They were eager and they wanted it full time. Thus the context of Acts 2:42 is worship. We know that the breaking of bread in verse 42 must be the Lord’s Supper and that the breaking of bread in verse 46 is not the Lord’s Supper for it was done daily. The Lord’s Supper to be taken correctly must be done upon the first day of the week (Acts 20:7 is the example).
From Acts 20 we learn that the Lord’s Supper was taken upon the first day of the week. The question may be asked “every first day of the week?” Yes, under the old law the Sabbath was to be kept. All God said about that day was to remember it and keep it holy. We know that it had to be every Sabbath day for every week has a Sabbath day. So therefore God wants us to partake of the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week because every week has a first day.
The context of the verse lets us know what is being discussed. In Acts 2:42 and 20:7 the events during the day, which was the first day of the week was worship. We are to partake of the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week and we are to partake of the Lord’s Supper only on the first day of the week.