Barry Newman's Blog

October 7, 2012

The Sacraments (part II)

Filed under: The Sacraments — barrynewman @ 10:42 am

With respect to the Lord’s Supper:

The Breaking of Bread

The phrase in Acts 2: 42, “They devoted themselves … to the breaking of bread” appears to be a simple but profound reference to a very purposeful practice of early disciples sharing simple meals, the solid component of which consisted mainly or entirely of bread.  Any direct connection of this practice with the celebration of the Lord’s Supper appears to be a myth.

Love Feasts

Jude 12 is often translated using the term, “love feasts”.  However, there is no noun “feasts” in the Greek. There is simply the noun “loves” (agapais), with the verb translated “feasting together” occurring three words later.  In his condemnation of certain behaviour, Jude uses powerful metaphors in vv 8 – 13 and it is quite possible, if not likely, that “agapais” is used sarcastically. With this understanding his reference would be to something like, “your so-called loving events”.  While the text may explain the occurrence of later references, such as that by Ignatius, to a “love feast”[1] it is a mistake to read that understanding back into the Jude 12 text.  Consequently, simply because these later “love feasts” came to be associated with the Eucharist is no reason to see such an association in the Jude 12 text itself.  There is little warrant if any for understanding Jude 12 as a reference to Eucharistic or Lord’s Supper celebrations.

[1] Ignatius of Antioch, To the Smyrnaeans, 8.1, 2


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