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Synonyms of the Lord’s Supper

Synonyms of the Lord’s SupperThe Lord’s Supper is described in the Bible in the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) and the books of Acts and 1 Corinthians. These were all written between about AD 45 and AD 63 (Appendix A). Where do the synonyms we use for the Lord’s Supper come from?

At the last Passover before Jesus died (about AD 30), He told His disciples to eat the bread and drink the cup of wine “in remembrance of me” (Lk. 22:19NIV). Although there is no name for the Lord’s Supper in these gospels, some people call it “the Remembrance Service” or “the Memorial service”.

But where does the term “the Lord’s Supper” come from?

The Lord’s Supper

The best explanation of the Lord’s Supper is given in 1 Corinthians 11:17-34. In this passage, Paul calls it “the Lord’s Supper” (v.20). The Greek noun “deipnon” (Strongs #1173) translated “supper” means the evening meal which we would call “dinner”. This term may have been used to distinguish it from the fellowship meal that it was initially associated with.

In this case Paul was critical of the Corinthians because the Lord’s Supper was the remembrance of a selfless act, and they were acting very selfishly. At the Lord’s Supper we should also be reminded that our behavior should be consistent with that of the Lord.

So sometimes in the Bible, it’s called “the Lord’s Supper”. But where does the term “the breaking of bread” come from?

The breaking of bread

The phrase “breaking of bread” is used in the New Testament to refer both to the Lord’s Supper and to eating an ordinary meal. The meaning in a particular case should be determined from the context. In Greek this term meant to divide bread, cakes or loaves into pieces.

Acts 2:42 says that the early Christians “devoted themselves to … the breaking of bread”. And Paul stayed in Troas for seven days in order to break bread on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7, 11).

So, the main terms used in the Bible are “the Lord’s Supper” and “the breaking of bread”. But where does the term “Communion” come from?

Communion

The Lord’s Supper is also described in chapter 1 Corinthians 10, “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 Cor. 10:16 KJV, NKJV).

The word “communion” comes from the King James Bible. It is derived from Latin communio (‘sharing in common’).  The Greek noun koinonia (Strongs #2842) means partnership, participation, sharing in, communion, and spiritual fellowship. Other more recent English translations use, “sharing” (CSB, NASB, NET, NIRV, NLT) or “participation” (ESV, NIV) instead of “communion”.

The Lord’s Supper is a symbol of our fellowship with the Lord. We receive the benefits of Christ’s death. A believer must be in fellowship with the Lord before partaking. The only person who can prepare you for the Lord’s supper or communion is yourself.

So sometimes people call the Lord’s Supper “Communion”. But where does the term “the Eucharist” come from?

The Eucharist

Each of the gospel accounts says that Jesus “gave thanks” during the Lord’s Supper (Mt. 26:27; Mk. 14:23; Lk. 22:19). And so does Paul (1 Cor. 11:24). Jesus gave thanks in prayer by thanking God for saving sinners through His death. The Greek verb eucharuisteo (Strongs #2168) means to be thankful.

So sometimes people call the Lord’s Supper “the Eucharist”. But what about the Lord’s table (see Appendix B)?

Summary

The Lord’s Supper, the breaking of bread, Communion, the Eucharist, the Remembrance Service, and the Memorial Service are all synonyms. The Lord’s Supper and the breaking of bread are names used directly in the New Testament, while the other terms are derived from the text of the New Testament. In this context, “Communion” and “Eucharist” are old words that have taken on a new meaning.

Prayer

Lord, we thank you for giving us a special way to remember what you have done for us in the Lord’s Supper, the breaking of Bread, Communion and the Eucharist. We remember your sacrificial death like that of the Passover lamb. Just as we depend on food and drink to live physically by eating and drinking, we can only live spiritually through your death and resurrection. This enables us to share in all the benefits of eternal life. And we offer thanks and praise for all that you have done.

Appendix A: Dates of the gospels

Because Paul’s description of the Lord’s supper in 1 Corinthians is similar to that in Luke, J Warner-Wallace believes that Paul is quoting from Luke. This means that Luke was written before AD 55. As Luke quoted entire passages from Matthew and Mark, this means that Matthew and Mark were probably written before AD 50.

Appendix B: What about “the Lord’s table”?

Paul warned the believers at Corinth against participating in idols feasts by saying, “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons” (1 Cor. 10:21). To eat food that has been offered to idols is to associate with idols and with the demons that promote idolatry. More generally, anything we put in the place of God is idolatry. This verse says that the Lord does not tolerate spiritual adultery.

The terms “cup of the Lord” and “Lord’s table” in this verse are examples of metonymy, which is a figure of speech where something is described by something else that is associated with it. Like, “can you give me a hand?” or “the team needs some new blood”. The “cup of the Lord” means the benefits which come to believers through Christ. And the “Lord’s table” means all the blessings that believers enjoy in Christ, which includes the Lord’s Supper. So the Lord’s table is a more general term than the Lord’s Supper.

Written, December 2021


The relationship between voluntary assisted dying, suicide and murder

A "Voluntary assisted dying" (VAD) protestA vote on the NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) Bill 2021 in parliament has been delayed until next year. The Bill intends to, “create a safe framework for people who are in the final stages of a terminal illness and who are experiencing cruel suffering that cannot be relieved by treatment or palliative care to be provided with the choice to die peacefully, with dignity and surrounded by loved ones” (NSW PRS, 2021). NSW is currently the only state in Australia that doesn’t allow terminally ill people to seek medical assistance to end their own lives. VAD is defined in Appendix A. (more…)


The original context of the Lord’s Supper

"The last supper" by Leonardo Di Vinci in 1498 Paul described the Lord’s Supper as follows, “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (1 Cor. 11:23-26NIV). (more…)


Genocide of the Midianites?

"Battle of Gideon Against the Midianites" by Nicolas Poussin 1626Does the Bible support genocide, violence and war? In the Bible God tells the Israelites to destroy the Midianite nation. I have received a comment about the military threat of the Midianite nation, “Why couldn’t they (the Israelites) spare any (Amalekite) captives? At least those who wouldn’t be a military threat in the future like the Midianites?”

After the death of Sarah, Abraham married Keturah, and Midian was one of their sons (Gen. 25:1-4; 1 Chron. 1:32-33). Midian’s descendants were called Midianites or Ishmaelites (Gen. 37:27-28; Jud. 8:24-26). They settled in “the land of the east (of Canaan)” (Gen. 25:6NIV). And they are thought to have worshipped many gods, including Baal-peor and the Queen of Heaven, Ashteroth. (more…)


Living dangerously

Many people are living dangerously today and they are oblivious to the massive risk they are taking!

Power plant electrical transformersElectrical substations have oil-filled transformers. A catastrophic failure can cause the loss of large amounts of oil from the transformers and can cause a fire and damage containment bunds resulting in soil and water contamination. Major power supply substations usually have two levels of pollution control for oil spills. The first level (or primary containment) is a bund (or retaining wall) which can contain any spillage. The second level (or secondary containment) is a backup if the first level fails. This can be another bund or an overflow area (like a dam). Two levels of containment is deemed to be sufficient to prevent the pollution of the soil or waterways where there is a significant risk of spillage of hazardous liquids. When these two levels of containment are in place, there is little risk of a spillage having an impact on the surrounding environment. This is an acceptable industrial risk. (more…)


Are you protected?

Are you protected?The older I get the more I understand how fragile human life really is. The COVID-19 pandemic is just one example of how something seemingly small can change the lives of the entire world’s population. As advanced, intelligent and resilient as humanity is, life can be lost in the blink of an eye. For this reason we spend a lot of effort trying to protect ourselves and our loved ones… from buckling the back-arching, screaming toddler into her seatbelt, to spending hard earned cash on insurance policies, to getting the COVID jab. (more…)


Taking risks for God

Developer ordered to fix serious defects in a 16-storey apartment tower in AuburnIn March 2021 a developer was given an order to fix serious defects in a 16-storey apartment tower in Auburn in New South Wales. The defects included waterproofing, fixing of wall tiles to bathroom and ensuite walls, and falls to bathroom and ensuite floors. Following the structural flaws in Sydney’s Opal and Mascot towers, there has been increased attention on weeding out shoddy work. The risk assessment done by the builder was something like this. I can make more money by not doing everything properly. What could go wrong that could harm my profit? I could get caught by the NSW Building Commissioner. What would be the consequence of this happening? Is it minor, or moderate or major? Besides the extra cost it would be bad publicity and so the impact would be “major”. What is the likelihood of this happening? Is it unlikely (rare), or possible, or likely (common)? Because he thought he could get away with it, he thought it was “unlikely” (rare). What is the risk level? The risk matrix (table), says that a “unlikely” likelihood and a “major” consequence give a “medium” risk ranking, which is tolerable. That’s why he went ahead with the shoddy work. But he erred – the likelihood was actually “possible”, which gives a high risk. And he suffered the consequences. (more…)


Meeting as church after COVID-19

Watching church onlineWhy change from following online services at home?

This post comes from Philip Nunn who lives in The Netherlands.

COVID-19 is here to stay. It is another serious threat humanity is learning to live with. This morning I read a thought provoking article in my local newspaper about the future of high street shopping. During these last two years of lockdowns and physical limitations, web shops have grown in popularity. Online shopping is available day and night, it makes products and suppliers easier to compare, you don’t lose time going, queuing and coming back, no parking fees and the prices are very competitive. Why would customers want to return to high street shopping? City planners, sociologists and shop owners are clearly concerned. They propose creative ways to make high street shopping an interesting and engaging experience. We Christians must also awake to the new opportunities and challenges that lay before us. Change has happened. (more…)


Occam’s razor

How has sea level changed over history?How has sea level changed over history?

Scientists think that in ancient times the global climate and sea level went through many cyclic changes. Why do they believe this and what is the pattern of the sea level according to written history? This post addresses the gross features of the global mean sea level (GMSL), and not minor variations and trends. (more…)


Freedom from lockdown

Milo, the dogAfter 106 days in lockdown, COVID-19 restrictions have eased today in Sydney, Australia, for those who are fully vaccinated. Cafes, restaurants, clubs, pubs, retail businesses and churches can reopen, 10 people are allowed to visit a home and the caps on numbers at weddings and funerals have increased dramatically. Stay at home rules and 5-kilometer travel restrictions have ended. The state now has 90.3 per cent of people aged over 16 who have received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and 73.5 per cent are fully vaccinated. (more…)


Demons Bluff is falling down

Demons bluff - Image by WagscapesFrom March 2021 the beach below Demons Bluff (near Anglesea in Victoria, Australia) has been closed due to the significant risk of cliff collapse. Landslips are unpredictable and can occur without warning. The size of material that falls onto the beach can be very large, with rocks and debris a potentially fatal hazard. A crack about 10 centimeters wide has grown to 70 centimeters in recent years, and that part of the cliff “is about to disappear”. The crack runs about 60 meters along the cliff. A large chunk of cliff collapsed at Demons Bluff in 2019. (more…)


Forgiveness – Easier said than done

Forgiveness – Easier said than doneForgiveness is hard. It is painful. It can be slow and gruelling. Yet there are no relationships in which forgiveness is not necessary.

The forgiveness the Bible speaks of is not turning a blind eye to the wrong committed against you, it is not pretending you are OK, it is not convincing yourself you deserved it or that the wrong doing wasn’t that big a deal. On the contrary, biblical forgiveness looks the offense in the eye, names it for what it is, acknowledges all its painful consequences, weeps over what has been done and lost, and in so doing says, “I love you still”. (more…)


Heroes and villains

World Watch List 2021: the 50 countries where it is most dangerous to be a Christian. The top 5 are North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya and Pakistan.

Christian martyrs

Graham Staines was an Australian Christian missionary in India. In 1999 he and his two sons were burnt to death by Hindu fundamentalists alleging “forced” conversions. A mob of about 50 people, armed with axes and other implements, attacked a jeep while Staines and his sons were asleep inside, and set it alight, trapping them inside and burning them to death. A few days later, Graham’s wife, Gladys, made a public statement forgiving the killers. But hate crimes against religious minorities continue in India. (more…)


Where is Grannie?

At Christian funerals we celebrate Christ’s victory over deathA message given at my mother-in-law’s funeral on 16 September 2021

Grannie was brought up on farms where they grew their own food and prepared their own meals. It was hard work. There were no takeaway meals or supermarkets in those days! Then she married and spent 31 years in country towns bringing up her five children. After this she used her cooking and hospitality skills and experience to cater at Winmalee Christian Conference Center for 11 years before she retired. (more…)


What does the Bible say about Christians getting vaccinations?

Should Christians get vaccinated against COVID-19?I have been asked if Christians should get vaccinated against COVID-19. As vaccination was invented in the late 18th century AD, while the New Testament was written at least 1,700 years beforehand in the 1st century AD, this topic isn’t addressed in the Bible. However, there are principles in the Bible that are relevant.

Debatable Matters

In a situation that is not sinful, whether to get a vaccination can be considered to be a debatable matter where Christians may have different opinions and convictions. These are secondary matters that are not essential to the Christian faith. The Bible distinguishes between essentials and non-essentials in the Christian faith. The essentials or fundamentals or primary matters are things which all believers should agree on. They are the tests the Bible quotes for recognizing false teachers and false ideas about things such as the person and work of Christ; the good news of salvation “by grace … through faith .. not by works” (Eph. 2:8-9); and the inspiration and authority of the Bible as God’s revelation to us. (more…)


Qantas Pilot Speaks Out About Vaccine Mandate


Graham Hood speaks out against forced vaccinations. He has been told “get the jab or no job” is to be applied to aviation workers. (more…)


The Moses statement to let God’s people worship

Can the State tell churches who can attend worship services?Churches in New South Wales (Australia) will be required to use a vaccination certificate system once 70% of the population have received at least two injections of the COVID vaccine. From mid-October, churches will be permitted to return to in-person worship on the provision that they deny entry to any member of the congregation who is not fully vaccinated. Can the State tell churches who can attend worship services? (more…)


The gospel in one Bible verse

Joe lives alone and has been socially isolated during the 3-month COVID pandemic lockdownJoe lives alone and has little contact with his family. He has no carer and needs help to look after his home, garden, health and safety. And he has been socially isolated during the 3-month lockdown in Sydney during the COVID pandemic. Like all of us, his days on earth are numbered. But being over 90 years of age, his number of days is less than most of us.

Joe is a nominal Roman Catholic who needs to hear the good news about Jesus – the Bible says that Jesus took our place before God by dying on the cross for us so that we can be forgiven and have a new relationship with God. Here’s an easy way to share the gospel with someone like Joe. (more…)


Is it time to start trusting God?

Is it time to start trusting God?He’s known you the longest!

Something bizarre was happening inside me. While I ate and slept and talked and went about life as usual, a tiny human was forming in my womb. A minuscule heart, tiny fingers, spec sized toenails, teeny lips were taking shape. I wasn’t directing what was happening. I didn’t make any conscious effort — “OK today we’re going to separate the left and right chambers of the heart … today we’re going to form eyelids.” The only way I knew what was happening inside me was by reading about it. I felt wonder at this most ordinary miracle taking place within my body. I felt humbled at how little control I had over this most significant life event. (more…)


Making sin look normal

At the Olympic Games Germany women's hockey captain Nike Lorenz supported the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender movement and sexual diversityGerman women’s hockey captain Nike Lorenz wore a rainbow-colored band on her socks at Tokyo 2020 after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) agreed to let her support the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender movement and sexual diversity.

The sexual revolution in the 1960s to the 1980s increased acceptance of sexual relationships outside heterosexual marriage. Since then, mass media, birth control and legalization of abortion have fuelled premarital sex, cohabitation and extramarital sex. And our “permissive society” and the internet have normalized pornography. Sexual relationships outside heterosexual marriage are now lawful in the Western world because of the rights of liberty and privacy. (more…)


12 reasons God is not like a genie

A genie offers to grant your wishesPrerequisites for answered prayers

According to fairytales, a genie lives in a brass oil lamp or a bottle. When you rub the lamp or bottle, the genie is released and offers to grant your wishes. Does God grant our wishes when we pray? When we ask God to give us this and that and expect the answers to be delivered immediately, we treat God like a genie.

Scriptures that seem to imply that Christians receive whatever they ask

At first appearance, the following scriptures seem to imply that God will give Christians whatever they ask for in prayer. (more…)


The Ezekiel Declaration on vaccine passports

Vaccine passports would bring discrimination and medical apartheidSome church leaders have written a letter resisting the developing medical two-tiered society. They oppose the implementation of a “vaccine passport” system in Australia, which could be used to deny service and employment to people because of their private and personal medical decisions. This would be discrimination and medical apartheid against those who have legitimate concerns against a rushed COVID-19 vaccine.

The declaration presents five objections to the introduction of vaccine passports in Australia. That is, (1) The risk of creating an unethical two-tiered society; (2) The added burden on an already burdened society; (3) Government should never coerce conscience; (4) Arbitrary implementation and questionable science; (5) The inability of churches to exclude people from worship based on their medical status. (more…)


Why pray in trials and difficult times?

Premier of NSW Australia, Gladys Berejiklian, at daily 11am COVID-19 press conference In Sydney we’re all going through a tough time with an extended COVID-19 lockdown. Parents will be home schooling for two more months. Travel is restricted with stay at home rules, except for essential purposes. There are rules and restrictions on face masks, physical contact, COVID tests, COVID vaccinations, quarantine, self-isolation, and contact tracing. No visitors are allowed in hospitals and aged care nursing homes. Other services are reduced. Churches can’t meet as usual. And households are spending extended time together without relief. It’s a bit like George Orwell’s “1984” with government surveillance and propaganda. People are isolated, which can increase anxiety, fear and depression. People are working from home. Closed businesses are struggling to survive with reduced cash flow. There is reduced family income. Some are unemployed. There is a reduction in some health services. But our needs are increased because of the stress. How do we get through such tough times? Is social media the answer? Can prayer help us trust God in times like this? (more…)


Beware of the bias

If you change the bias in lawn bowling, the ball curves in the opposite direction and finishes in a different positionEveryone is biased

If you change the bias in lawn bowling, the ball curves in the opposite direction and finishes in a different position. Similarly, if you change the bias (assumptions) in a scientific investigation you may obtain a different outcome.

In this post we look at the occurrence of bias in scientific investigations. (more…)