Bible Verses About Communion: Scriptures On The Lord’s Supper

by Daryl Evans on November 16, 2012 · Print Print · Email Email

The Bible has only 2 ordinances (2 things prescribed for the church).  They are baptism and communion.  There are different names for “Communion” depending on your religious affiliation.  Some of these are the “Eucharist,” “Lord’s Supper,” “Lord’s Table,” or sometimes the “Last Supper.” For this article, I will refer to this as “communion.”

Jesus gave his followers instructions that they should take or practice “communion.” This is a practice still followed by most evangelical churches today.  Earlier I mentioned that it is prescribed as an ordinance.  One thing that Jesus did not prescribe is how often to partake communion.  Some churches do communion every week and others do it anywhere from monthly to quarterly to yearly to just special events.  This is debated and discussed as church leaders seek to have the ordinance of communion regularly but not to have it so often that it looses the special place that it often has during a service.  Listed below are the passages on communion including the Apostle Paul’s dialogue about communion and the strong warning he gives for misuse.  Finally, I listed some Old Testament passages that, although they weren’t specifically celebrating communion, clearly the people of God were accustomed to celebrating a meal together in the presence of God.

It was during the age-old celebration of Passover and on the eve before the crucifixion of the Lord, that Jesus put into place the ordinance of Communion.  Communion must be a key component of worship within the church as it causes us to remember the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

Jesus Instituted Communion Through His Disciples

Matthew 26:17-30  Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?”   He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’”  And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover.    When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve.  And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”  And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?”   He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me.  The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”  Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.”  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, 28 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 this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”   And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

“Take; this is my body … this is my blood of the covenant …”

Mark 14:12-25  And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?”  And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’  And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.”  And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.  And when it was evening, he came with the twelve.   And as they were reclining at table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.”  They began to be sorrowful and to say to him one after another, “Is it I?”   He said to them, “It is zone of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me.  For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.   And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.”  And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it.  And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.  Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

Luke 22:7-20 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed.  So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it.” They said to him, “Where will you have us prepare it?”   He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him into the house that he enters  and tell the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished; prepare it there.”  And they went and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.   And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him.  And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.  For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”  And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves.  For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”  And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.

John 13:21-30  After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”  The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke.  One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus’ side,  so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking.  So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?”   Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.   Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”  Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him.  Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor.   So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

Paul Gives More Communion Guidelines and Warns About Misuse

The Gospels are not the only place we see communion written about; this passage shows the apostle Paul giving strong warnings about the ordinance of communion.

1 Corinthians 11:17-34  But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse.  For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.  When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat.  For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk.   What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not. 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.  Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord.  Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.  For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.  That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.  But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged.  But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world. So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home—so that when you come together it will not be for judgment. About the other things I will give directions when I come.

Old Testament Precedent for Communion

Maybe we ask if there was anything like the taking of the Lord’s Supper (Communion) in the Old Testament? Well there appears to be some instances where the people of God were eating and drinking in the presence of the Lord.

Exodus 24:9-11  Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up,  and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness.  And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and hate and drank.

Deuteronomy 14:23 And before the LORD your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always.

Deuteronomy 14:26 and spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household.

Celebrating communion is very important because of the depth of meaning behind the elements of communion. It was during the age-old celebration of Passover and on the eve before the crucifixion of the Lord, that Jesus put into place the ordinance of Communion.  Communion must be a key component of worship within the church as it causes us to remember the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  There seems to be a trend in society today for some believers to avoid the church worship service.  Some people reason that they can worship God on their own.  This thought has an element of truth to it but one thing that will often be missing when one avoids corporate worship is the partaking of communion together with a church family.  I believe God’s word teaches us to gather together on a regular basis (Heb. 10:24-25) together with other believers and communion needs to be a regular part of what we do.

Resources

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version

“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV)

YouTube video “Behold the Lamb (Communion Hymn)” performed by Keith & Kristyn Getty



Share this post:  |  |  |  | Twitter

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

R. DOUGLAS November 16, 2012 at 10:10 am

Dear Brother, 1Cor 11:30 This is why MANY of you are weak and ill, and some have died… Please tell me this, how often, if ever, do you see this actually happening in the Church today? Also, all the happenings in the Acts of the Apostles, which are MANY, why do they NOT happen today? At no time was the Church ever under a covenant, or any agreement with God, we are under grace, and complete in Christ, All scripture is for us, but NOT about us. Please read Heb 8:8, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of ISRAEL and with the house of JUDAH;.. we are neither of the house of Israel or the house of JUDAH.. We are to rightly divide the word of truth.. God Bless..

Reply

Kyle November 16, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Happens everyday world wide in the Holy Orthodox Church…the historical and authentic Church.

Reply

Jack Wellman November 16, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Well said Pastor. Your mentioning that communion is done in community reveals just how much we need the corporate worship and sacraments. I appreciate you bringing this to the site for it is such a component of being part and partakers of the Body of Christ.

Reply

b.v.ramana November 20, 2012 at 4:42 am

thank u for this help

Reply

Martin May 18, 2013 at 5:37 am

I don’t recall the word hate in Exodus 24

“they beheld God, and hate and drank”

Reply

Betty August 18, 2013 at 12:15 pm

I have yet to see where it specifically states in the scriptures that Holy Communion is biblical to have to have it every Lord’s Day of every year, yet a family member says it is biblical that it is to be done. Can anyone show me where this is stated,

Reply

Jack Wellman August 18, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Thank you Betty for your comment. You are right that Holy Communion is to be done on the Lord’s day and done every Sunday. This is not in the Bible and I would ask that family member where they get the authority to have Holy Communion every day. Many churches do it only once a month or quarterly (ever 4 months which is what we do). Great observation. You are so right.

Reply

nancy evans June 22, 2014 at 4:52 pm

It is actually in the Bible. In the Catholic faith we celebrate the Eucharist on what is understood since the early church as the resurrection day, Sunday, the first day of the week or at sundown on Saturday as influenced by the prior Hebrew custom. One of the main places in scripture that this is mentioned is Acts 20:7, “The disciples came together on the first day of the week to break bread. At that time, Paul preached to them, and spoke till midnight, though he was planning to leave the next morning.” The first day of the week is considered Sunday as when Christ rose on the first day. It is also an apparent custom of the early Christians to take collections for those in need every first day of the week as instructed by St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 16 1,2 which further demonstrates that the early church met weekly. And we still follow these customs today. PTL!

Reply

Betty August 18, 2013 at 12:55 pm

I did not state every day but every Lord’s day or every Sunday, which is what her church calls Sunday . Does it say that Communion has to be every Sunday, Our church, United Methodist, doesn’t observe every Sunday, but the firstly Sunday of each month. Which is correct? Are there exact guidelines of which to follow?

Reply

Jack Wellman August 18, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Sorry for my misunderstandings. There are no Scriptures that I could find that designate how often the Communion should be observed and so there are no exact guidelines to follow but surely doing it every Sunday may seen to make it more of a ritual than a somber experience. I believe your church does it well. Which is correct? The Bible is not clear on how often we should but it seems apparent by Paul saying that when we do observe the Lord’s Supper might indicate that it is not every Sunday (1 Cor 11).

Reply

Betty August 18, 2013 at 5:57 pm

Thank you, I know several churches in the same denomination that observe at different times, but I agree that it could become ritualistic if done every Sunday.

Reply

Jack Wellman August 18, 2013 at 9:06 pm

Amen Betty…Communion should never become routine or a ritual….well said and thank you so much for your keep insight into this very important subject.

Reply

Mark November 29, 2013 at 8:44 pm

I attend a congregation that takes communion every week. I am no one’s judge and have no desire to begin an argument, only to explain why we do what we do. Acts 20:7 mentions the believers coming together on the first day of the week to “break bread”. Being aware that this could refer to a meal OR communion is what takes away my desire to judge anyone. There are contextual clues that make me think that the purpose of gathering was to share communion. I will tell you that it is at times a challenge to maintain the freshness of communion taking it each week, and there are weeks that I am not successful, but for the most part I am able to focus pretty well. As has already been mentioned, the most important thing involved in communion is to recognize that it’s a celebration of the forgiveness given to us by Christ’s death and resurrection and from I Corinthians 11 a time to recognize that through that death and resurrection, we are made family to each other, children of God. All the glory goes to Him for that.

Reply

Betty August 18, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Do you have a facebook page? I would love to find more insist in the bible and I also write spiritual stories and could use some quick places of reference.

Reply

Jack Wellman August 18, 2013 at 9:05 pm

I have a Facebook page and so does this website. They are at these links:

https://www.facebook.com/WhatChristiansWantToKnow

https://www.facebook.com/JacksonWellman

Reply

Claude December 8, 2013 at 8:20 pm

I think it’s well established in Church history that Holy Communion was observed every week. It has only been since the Protestant reformation that some parts of Christianity ceased doing so.

Betty,
As I’m sure you know, Methodism grew out of Anglicanism, which has a very rich liturgical heritage that places Holy Communion as the focal point of worship. I suspect your traditional worship service does the same. You might check your Book of Worship.

Reply

Lucy September 13, 2014 at 2:21 pm

In my Free Wii Baptist Church we observe Holy Communion every 90 days.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Powered by sweet Captcha





Previous post:

Next post: