The partaking of unleaven bread and the fruit of the vine which
is called the Lord's Supper or Communion is a glorious privilege
for Christians established by Jesus the evening before His crucifixion.
It is evident from scripture and history that disciples in the first
century partook of the Lord's Supper every first day of the week.
This apostolic example is set forth in Acts 20:6-7 when Paul stayed
at Troas a week waiting for the first day of the week (Sunday) to
break bread with the disciples. When we partake of the Lord's Supper,
we are communing with Jesus by sharing in the supper and in proclaiming
His death. I hope that the following study will be helpful in understanding
the fellowship Christians have with Christ in partaking of the Lord's
Communion is a term not often used in our society today. At first,
some people may think that communion is an act exercised by extremist
that live in communes. But, the Bible teaches us to commune with
different individuals in various ways. To better understand communion
as it relates to the Lord's Supper in I Cor. 10:16, we can study
the word as it is used in other passages and by examining the Greek
word's different English translations.
Communion simply means to fellowship or participate with another
by sharing in a particular activity. Look at the following examples
of the Greek word koinonia which is translated communion to note
some of the different ways that the word is translated into English:
- Rom. 15:26 "For it pleased ... to make a certain contribution
for the poor among the saints..."
- I Cor. 1:9 "God is faithful, by whom you were called into the
fellowship of His Son, ..."
- II Cor. 6:14 "And what communion has light with darkness?"
- II Cor. 9:13 "while, through the proof of this ministry, they
glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel
of Christ, and for your liberal sharing (distribution - AV) with
them and all men,"
- II Cor. 13:14 "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love
of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
- I John 1:3 "that which we have seen and heard we declare to
you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our
fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ."
According to the New King James and Authorized Version quoted above,
the Greek word koinonia is translated as contribution, fellowship,
sharing and communion. Koinonia is also translated communication
and communicate in other passages. The English words fellowship
and communion express the relationship of the parties involved while
the English words contribution, sharing, communication and communicate
express the action that is involved in the relationship.
For example, in Romans 15:26 the act of fellowship between the
Macedonian and Achaian saints with the poor saints in Jerusalem
was the financial contribution made by the saints and sent to Jerusalem.
Therefore, the Greek word koinonia was translated contribution which
was the action of fellowship/communion between the two parties.
What does communion mean as it relates to the Lord's Supper I Cor.
10:16? Notice the following:
- Notice that it is the communion of the blood and body of Christ.
- Notice that the communion involves the participation of Christians.
- Notice that the Christians were one body as they partook of
one bread vs 17.
- Notice that the Christians had fellowship/shared (not the Greek
word koinonia, but koinonos which means an act in order to have
communion or fellowship) with demons if they sacrificed to idols.
- Notice that Christians can not fellowship with both God and
the demons by partaking of the Lord's table and sacrificing to
demons (vs 21-22). The Corinthians were in fellowship with the
Lord if partaking of the Lord's table and they were in fellowship
with demons if they were sacrificing to idols - God would not
allow them to do both because He is a jealous God (vs. 20- 22).
Therefore, we conclude that the communion of the blood and body
of Christ is the act of communing/fellowship with Christ. And, if
our fellowship is with Christ then also we have fellowship with
God. Furthermore, our fellowship with Christ by partaking of the
bread and cup must be while properly discerning the Lord's body
Since communion is one of the few means by which we have close
fellowship with Christ, why do you think some men have limited it
observance? Perhaps it is because some denominations desire their
members to be more closely attached to the denomination than to
Christ, or maybe it is an inconvenience to prepare and serve the
communion each week. I also wonder why some men who have limited
the partaking of the communion have not limited the collection of
money since we have the apostolic example to both commune and give
on the first day of the week?