Communion and Study



Merriam-Webster Online


1 : an act or instance of sharing

2 a capitalized : a Christian sacrament in which consecrated bread and wine are consumed as memorials of Christ’s death or as symbols for the realization of a spiritual union between Christ and communicant or as the body and blood of Christ

  b : the act of receiving Communion

  c capitalized : the part of a Communion service in which the sacrament is received

3 : intimate fellowship or rapport: COMMUNICATION

4 : a body of Christians having a common faith and discipline



I begin with the dictionary entry to express my belief that the four definitions are all true and intermingled, not to be separated one from the other. My hope is that all would realize this and look at the whole of the life of a Christian as encapsulated in this idea of communion.



One part of discipleship can be teaching a disciple how to study. During my high school years in the mid-1970’s, I learned that knowing how to find information was at times more valuable than knowing the information. I proceeded to teach my children, later in my life, that they didn’t need to know all the answers, but they needed to know how to find the answers. I question whether the education system today actually teaches the students how to think, reason, and research. These are important and very useful skills to possess. So today I am going to explore this topic of communion and simultaneously walk through the details of doing so. My hope is that someone will learn how to better study the Word of God and produce mature faith and a deeper relationship with God.



I do my best to spend some time each morning in prayer, communion, and worship. Here is a typical morning. I sit in my spot at home in the early morning hours, such as on October 8th at 4:30 AM. I eliminate certain potential distractions by taking 5 to 15 minutes checking a couple of email addresses and a couple of websites I maintain.



I then do a little work on a project, such as I am right now, working on this Communion study. The work I do here is either a continuation of something I have already begun, or getting something from my mind onto paper or computer. Often these are thoughts initiated in time of communicating with God while I lay in bed.



Once I have done that work, I leave to go to a prayer room in town that I and a few others maintain for personal use of prayer time, to gather in fellowship to worship and/or pray, or to pray for our city. I try to get there everyday even if for only 5 minutes. On October 8th I got there at 7:00 AM.



Typically upon arrival I will see that the worship music is playing low, and I will sit down and open my notebook. As I pray and worship I write down any thoughts that come to mind. Sometimes just regular life stuff, but sometimes I work through things with the Lord, such as these notes on communion I had while taking communion.



Communion Notes (from 08OCT22)


  • John 14:6 – a communion verse?



Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”


John 14:6 ESV



  • Here Jesus says that He is the way
    • Through Him we can access a relationship with the Father
    • Through Him we receive salvation
    • Through Him is our redemption
    • Through Him we abide in the new covenant
  • Study this out with the last supper (= Passover) (elements represent)
    • The bread, the body or flesh, the Word
    • The cup, the blood, the new covenant
    • Eat His flesh, drink His blood, the Way



After I wrote down the notes, I knew it was a study waiting to happen. In fact I pondered the topic often over the next few days. Like most people, I already had plenty to do, and this drifted to the back burner as far as taking action is concerned. It never quite left my mind, however, which led me to believe  that God had plans for it, and I should probably pay attention to what He wanted to share with me.



The next notebook entry was on October 12th with thoughts once again as I took communion. I began to think this topic should be an episode on the “Being Disciples” podcast, much like the episode on Baptism.



Communion Study (from 12OCT22)


  • The Word become flesh
  • The new covenant in His blood
    • The shedding of blood
    • The importance of covenant (Abram)
    • Initiated by God – in His love for us
  • Receiving communion worthily



Much of my available study time between then and now, at least the time I didn’t waste on other mindless distractions, was used for upcoming podcast messages that had a timeline to keep. Today, October 24th, I am wishing I would have written down more notes during the past 12 days as I often hear points in other messages I listened to that sounded like nuggets that would plug right into this study. Now, as often happens, I am asking Holy Spirit to bring to my mind those things I had heard, or thought, that should be in these notes.



As seen above, I began with a definition. It is sometimes from a secular dictionary, other times from a bible dictionary or source, and occasionally from multiple sources. Today’s study is a little different as I am doing a study while also teaching how I do it. As a point of reference, here are a few of the study tools I use regularly:


Notes of 24OCT22


Now let’s begin with the process from this point. Holy Spirit, I believe, prompts me to think of a specific Scripture passage which I write down or type, followed by my initial thoughts concerning the application of it to the topic at hand.


Note: I type or write out the passages of Scripture as that is a help in learning the passages as well as a means of staying focused and being sure the context is correct. The cut and paste method may save time, but my goal is to learn as I study. Taking the time to write it out also provides time for the mind to percolate with thoughts and questions about the verse.


The typical communion service verses are:



For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when 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 also He took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in
remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.


1 Corinthians 11:23-26 ESV



While typing this verse, my mind begins to fill with thoughts and questions.

  • Paul states that he is relaying what the Lord had taught him
  • Was the bread during the meal, or afterward?
  • The cup is stated to be after the meal
  • The bread, Jesus said, “Is my body.”
    • It was not His earthly flesh, as it was bread
    • I believe it represented all that Christ was in the flesh
  • Jesus also said of His body (the bread), “Which is for you.”
    • He gave Himself for us: His body, His sacrifice, His life
  • Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.”
    • Here we are commanded to partake in this memorial service
    • We are not told how often to do it
  • Was the breaking of the bread necessary?
    • Did Jesus simply break the bread to pass it out?
    • Did the breaking of the bread symbolize something?
      • Did Jesus intend for a symbolism in breaking it?
  • Is the “do this” referring to breaking the bread, or to the overall act of the memorial?
  • Jesus, after supper, took the cup
    • He called it, “the new covenant in my blood.”
      • Covenant needs to be understood
        • New? What was the old?
      • The importance of being His blood?
  • We are to drink from the cup
    • “as often as you drink it”
  • It is also a part of the memorial service
    • “Do this, … , in remembrance of me.”
  • Remembrance of me
    • His death is certainly the large subject here
      • Moreso, what is accomplished by His death
        • The new covenant
    • What of His life? Remember also?
    • What of His resurrection and ascension? Remember also?
    • It isn’t just His body and blood He gave for us, but all of Him
      • including the life He lived
      • and the life He now lives
  • Paul tells us that in doing this, we “proclaim the Lord’s death”
    • “as often as”: no limit or requirement on the frequency of the practice
  • It could be possible that it was meant for the annual Passover meal


The disciples initially appeared to participate in this memorial daily.



And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.


 And day by day, attending 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 2:42, 46-47 ESV



I am assuming that because of the spiritual nature, as well as the physical fellowship, that a part of their “breaking of bread,” “the prayers,” and “praising God,” was the communion service established by Christ. I also believe it was part of “the apostles’ teaching.” The “fellowship” is the group of believers, their fellow believers to whom they devoted themselves.


In this passage in Acts 2, I believe we see the totality of the definition with which this session began.

  • The sharing
  • The sacrament
  • The participation in sharing the sacrament
  • Intimate fellowship – loving one another
  • Common faith and discipline among them



Note: Whereas we have covered some territory and spent some good time in study, this is far from the end. This is barely the beginning as there are comparable verses to be broken down, and a multitude of questions to be answered. No doubt more questions will arise from other verses. We will also answer questions as we discover verses that apply to the questions. We could acquire enough information to write a book and likely still not exhaust the topic. How do we define the conclusion of a study? The answer is variable, mostly depending upon why the study is undertaken. I recommend we never declare a study closed. Simply leave it open ended with a freedom to come back to it at any time. There may be times when enough is enough.

  • The initial questions, and possibly a couple of follow-ups, have been answered to our satisfaction
  • The study was for a presentation, written or oral, and there is a limit on the volume that can be presented (usually by time)
  • The desire was for a narrow segment of a topic (avoiding rabbit trails)
  • The study time is needed for other topics
  • Or any other reason – it is a decision we must make

Back to the study.



Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And He took a cup, and when He had given thanks He
gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the
vine until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”


Matthew 26:26-29 ESV



New information and more questions.

  • The Gospel According to Matthew
    • Being one of the twelve, this is a first-hand account
  • “as they were eating”: during the meal?
  • “And He took a cup”: immediately following the bread?
    • Not necessarily immediately after the bread
      • It doesn’t have to be
      • The bread and cup are the focus of the account
      • Many other details are omitted
    • 1 Corinthians 11 said “after supper”
  • Jesus blessed the bread
    • What was the blessing?
    • Strong’s Greek #2127, eulogeo
      • To speak well of, praise
  • Jesus broke the bread and gave it to the disciples
    • Is there any deeper significance here?
  • Jesus gave thanks for the cup
    • Was it a prayer, or simply “Thank You Abba!”?
    • Strong’s Greek #2168, eucharisteo
      • I thank, give thanks
      • Properly, acknowledging that “God’s grace works well,” i.e. for our eternal gain and His glory; to give thanks – literally, “thankful for God’s good grace.”
  • Jesus instructed the disciples to each drink from the cup
  • “My body” and “My blood”
    • Interlinear Bible translation
    • “the body of Me”
      • Body: Strong’s Greek #4983, soma
        • Definition: a body
        • Usage: body, flesh; the body of the Church
      • Of Me: Strong’s Greek #1473, ego
        • Definition: I (only expressed when emphatic)
        • Usage: I, the first-person pronoun
    • “the blood of Me”
      • Blood: Strong’s Greek #129, haima
        • Definition: blood
        • Usage: blood (especially as shed)
      • Of Me: Strong’s Greek #1473, ego
        • Definition: I (only expressed when emphatic)
        • Usage: I, the first-person pronoun
    • Thoughts on body and blood
      • We are the body of Christ – His body – Christ the Head
      • Life is in the blood – life of the body
      • He did not pull it out of His earthly body
        • What did it symbolize?
      • His resurrection body was different than His mortal body
    • Again, the covenant must be understood
      • His blood of the covenant
        • Poured out for many
          • Offered to all who will receive
        • For the forgiveness of sins
          • The “new” of the covenant
          • His shed blood was the perfect sacrifice
          • No more need for animal sacrifices of shed blood



Note: There are times when we study that we get hung up on one thing.

  • Something we cannot understand
  • Something we misunderstand
  • Something we refuse to understand
    • At times we need to unlearn something we think we know



Note: Persistence and diligence are the avenues to success in studying a matter.

  • Persistence: being insistent on finding the answer; continuing on especially beyond a usual, expected, or normal time
  • Diligence: steady, earnest, and energetic effort; devoted to the undertaking, to accomplishing the task
  • There is a cost to finding truth (but that’s another study)
    • Humility
    • Obedience
    • Patience
    • Diligence
  • A great deal of time is required to truly study a matter for truth
    • All Scripture needs to be considered; the whole counsel of God



We have considered the event itself from the views of Paul and Matthew. Where does it stem from? What is the root of partaking of this body and blood. (Again, the covenant must be understood.) There is a lengthy passage in chapter 6 of the Gospel According to John. Beginning with verse 47 we find Jesus talking to the Jews who are debating among themselves as Jesus talks of His flesh and blood. After speaking of those who have heard and learned from the Father and come to Him, He states that those who believe have eternal life.



I believe that is the first key, eternal life. What is transpiring in this mortal life ought to be setting us up for eternal life. Jesus is our Shepherd guiding us on the path to eternal life. There is a spiritual dimension that can only be understood by those who are walking spiritually with God. Dropping down to verses 63-65 we see the answer.



“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the
beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray Him.) And He said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless it is granted him by the Father.”


John 6:63-65 ESV



He was talking about spiritual things. Those who do not believe in Christ will not necessarily receive His words as truth. But in verse 47 Jesus did state, “whoever believes has eternal life.”

  • Interlinear Bible translation of “has eternal life”
    • “has life eternal”
    • Has: Strong’s Greek #2192, echo
      • Definition: to have, hold
      • Usage: I have, hold, possess
    • Life: Strong’s Greek #2222, zoe
      • Definition: life
      • Usage: life, both of physical (present) and of spiritual (particularly future) existence
    • Eternal: Strong’s Greek #166, aionios
      • Definition: agelong, eternal
      • Usage: age-long, and therefore: practically eternal, unending; partaking of the character of that which lasts for an age, as contrasted with that which is brief and fleeting



During the age to come, throughout eternity, we will be free of the mortal bodies we now wear, and we will be clothed with an immortal body just as Jesus walked in after His resurrection from the dead. Part of remembering Christ Jesus during the memorial service of communion, I believe, is also the resurrection and ascension, for just as in baptism, we are ever looking forward to being with Him and being like Him in immortality.



“I am the bread of life.”


John 6:48 ESV



A verse that is short and to the point. The bread of communion is Jesus, the bread of life. The bread of eternal life to be exact. We were created and God gave to us the breath of life. Jesus is the bread of which we may eat and not die, that is, the second death will be of no effect to us. He contrasts that with the manna from heaven that could support this life but had no power to save unto eternal life. Jesus is the bread that came down to save us unto eternal life.



“Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from
heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”


John 6:49-51 ESV



Jesus states clearly here that He is purchasing life for the world, and He is paying for it with His flesh, His body given for us. This, of course, is looking forward to the work of the cross.



In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.


And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.


John 1:1, 14 ESV



I am going to stop here for the sake of the timing of the podcast and carry on in the conversation segment.