Q. Please explain the phrase ‘breaking of bread’ in the book of Acts. Does it always refer to the Lord’s Supper, or can it also mean a common meal? How are we to know the difference? I know some who are trying to say that it is appropriate to take the Lord’s Supper on Thursdays?
As we constantly remind our viewers the context of a statement must be considered for proper intrepretation. By observing the context of each time the phrase “breading of bread” or “break bread” is used in the book of Acts I believe we can see the meaning clearly.
They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart,
On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight.
When he had gone back up and had broken the bread and eaten, he talked with them a long while until daybreak, and then left.
Having said this, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of all, and he broke it and began to eat.
In Acts 2:42 the diciples continued in the Apostle’s teaching and fellowship the breaking of bread and prayer. This context is clearly indicating that which is spiritual and therefore must be a reference to the Lord’s Supper when using the term “breaking of bread.” All of the other items in this verse indicate a spiritual activity. It would be inapproprate to isolate one activity and interpretate it to indicate something else.
In Acts 2:46 we have a reference to a “common meal.” The context is clear. They were taking their meals together. The “breaking of bread” here is a meal, not the Lord’s Supper.
In Acts 20:7 we have a reference to the “first day of the week” the day of worship, the Lord’s Day, and Luke records that the purpose of the gathering was to “break bread” and listen to the Word proclaimed by the apostle Paul. These are clearly spiritual activities that Christians engage in during the worship assembly on the first day of the week.
In Acts 20:11 we have Paul eating a meal with some of the brethren on the next day before his departure. This is clearly NOT a reference to the Lord’s Supper.
In Acts 27:35 we have another reference to a meal which Paul and others share together. This is NOT a reference to the Lord’s Supper.
The Lord’s Supper was eaten on the Lord’s Day in the assembly of the church. This is clear from the passages cited above. To suggest that it may be eaten with God’s approval on Thursday is to speak where the Bible is silent.