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16The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? 17Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.

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16. The cup of blessing—answering to the Jewish "cup of blessing," over which thanks were offered in the Passover. It was in doing so that Christ instituted this part of the Lord's Supper (Mt 26:27; Lu 22:17, 20).

we bless—"we," not merely ministers, but also the congregation. The minister "blesses" (that is, consecrates with blessing) the cup, not by any priestly transmitted authority of his own, but as representative of the congregation, who virtually through him bless the cup. The consecration is the corporate act of the whole Church. The act of joint blessing by him and them (not "the cup" itself, which, as also "the bread," in the Greek is in the accusative), and the consequent drinking of it together, constitute the communion, that is, the joint participation "of the blood of Christ." Compare 1Co 10:18, "They who eat … are partakers" (joint communicants). "Is" in both cases in this verse is literal, not represents. He who with faith partakes of the cup and the bread, partakes really but spiritually of the blood and body of Christ (Eph 5:30, 32), and of the benefits of His sacrifice on the cross (compare 1Co 10:18). In contrast to this is to have "fellowship with devils" (1Co 10:20). Alford explains, "The cup … is the [joint] participation (that is, that whereby the act of participation takes place) of the blood," &c. It is the seal of our living union with, and a means of our partaking of, Christ as our Saviour (Joh 6:53-57). It is not said, "The cup … is the blood," or "the bread … is the body," but "is the communion [joint-participation] of the blood … body." If the bread be changed into the literal body of Christ, where is the sign of the sacrament? Romanists eat Christ "in remembrance of Himself." To drink literal blood would have been an abomination to Jews, which the first Christians were (Le 17:11, 12). Breaking the bread was part of the act of consecrating it, for thus was represented the crucifixion of Christ's body (1Co 11:24). The distinct specification of the bread and the wine disproves the Romish doctrine of concomitancy, and exclusion of the laity from the cup.

17. one bread—rather, "loaf." One loaf alone seems to have been used in each celebration.

and one body—Omit "and"; "one loaf [that is], one body." "We, the many (namely, believers assembled; so the Greek), are one bread (by our partaking of the same loaf, which becomes assimilated to the substance of all our bodies; and so we become), one body" (with Christ, and so with one another).

we … allGreek, "the whole of us."