What Is Communion?
Communion, or Holy Communion, goes by many names. Some call it the Eucharist, some the Lord’s Table, and still others call it the Lord’s Supper. Regardless of the name we call it, Christians have been practicing Communion together for over 2,000 years. It commemorates the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ through sharing bread and wine (or crackers and juice, depending on your church). These elements, the bread and drink, represent the blood and body of Jesus Christ.
Communion is said to be the most widely practiced tradition in the Christian church. Many churches practice Holy Communion on a regular basis, like monthly or quarterly. Some even partake of it weekly.
Holy communion is prepared at the church by lay people. If the church is part of a denomination, there will be certain traditions and instructions, but generally a certain table is prepared with the bread and wine, and tiny cups to drink from. Some churches use a single communal cup. Scriptures are read during the service, and participants are invited to take part in eating the bread and drinking the wine or juice.
A History of Communion
When did communion and its practice begin? The very first communion took place at the Passover Celebration when the Lord Jesus asked the disciples to remember his sacrifice as he served the bread and drink. He asked at that time that they do it in remembrance of him; that’s when it began. At the time they didn’t fully understand what He meant. I can imagine that the second communion was a service full of mixed emotions.
Believers in Jesus Christ remember his sacrifice for our sin when he died on the cross much like Israel celebrated the sacrifice of the Passover lamb because the angel of death passed over their homes. The tradition has carried on since that original Passover meal.
Below are some of the Bible verses that are often used when taking communion. Draw from this collection to carefully prepare a cohesive service for your next Communion.
Communion Bible Verses
Since the Holy Communion is about the Lord’s Supper, the first three sets of Bible verses listed here are the most common Scriptures used. They are depictions from the Gospels of when Jesus Christ created the covenant we now refer to during Communion. Each group of Bible verses is a little different from the others depending on the writer’s viewpoint.
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after giving thanks he broke it, gave it to his disciples, and said, “Take, eat, this is my body.” And after taking the cup and giving thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood, the blood of the covenant, that is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, from now on I will not drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. [NET]
While they were eating, he took bread, and after giving thanks he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take it. This is my body.”
And after taking the cup and giving thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it.
He said to them, “This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, that is poured out for many. I tell you the truth, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. [NET]
Now when the hour came, Jesus took his place at the table and the apostles joined 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 again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves. 22:18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
Then he took bread, and after giving 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 in the same way he took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. [NET]
More verses to add to a beautiful communion service.
2 Corinthians 9:15
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
1 Corinthians 10: 14-22
This is a longer group of Bible verses and speaks to the sin of idolatry, but it makes a good discussion topic for the Lord’s supper.
Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.
18 Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? 19 Do I mean then that food sacrificed to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. 22 Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he? [NIV]
1 Corinthians 10:31
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. [NIV]
1 Corinthians 11:17-30 or 23-30
Depending on the message of the day, verses 23-30 may be enough to perform during the Communion. This verse about Communion one is the exact depiction of the practice and the purpose of it. However, for a pastor or leader who is teaching a certain lesson, it is possible to begin with verse 17, where Paul was frustrated with the behavior of the church and gave them a little lecture.
11:17 Now in giving the following instruction I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse. For in the first place, when you come together as a church I hear there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. For there must in fact be divisions among you, so that those of you who are approved may be evident. Now when you come together at the same place, you are not really eating the Lord’s Supper. For when it is time to eat, everyone proceeds with his own supper. One is hungry and another becomes drunk. Do you not have houses so that you can eat and drink? Or are you trying to show contempt for the church of God by shaming those who have nothing? What should I say to you? Should I praise you? I will not praise you for this!
11:23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night in which he was betrayed took bread, and after 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, he also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, every time you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For every time you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
11:27 For this reason, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself first, and in this way let him eat the bread and drink of the cup. For the one who eats and drinks without careful regard for the body eats and drinks judgment against himself. That is why many of you are weak and sick, and quite a few are dead.
There is also 1 Corinthians 10:16-18
16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.
18 Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? [NIV]
More Related Bible Verses that You Can Use
1 Corinthians 5:6(b)-8 Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. [NIV]
1 John 1:3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
1 John 1:5-7 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
2 Corinthians 13:14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
What is the Purpose of Taking Communion?
Paul’s Take On Communion
In 1 Corinthians 11:28, Paul said “ A person should examine himself first, and in this way let him eat the bread and drink of the cup ,” so that we will come to communion with humble hearts. The ritual is meant to remember Christ’s sacrifice for us and the incredible gift God made of His son, Jesus Christ. But more than that, we must be sure that we do not simply go through the motions, but rather we examine our own hearts. Are we participating for the right reason?
A Self Examination
These are the kinds of questions that help us examine our hearts during the communion service:
- Is your faith genuine?
- Is there any unresolved sin that needs to be addressed?
- Is your heart truly thankful for the incredible gift God has given through his grace?
However, some people feel “unworthy” of engaging in holy communion, and they will excuse themselves from participating. These people believe they have sinned and fall short. Unfortunately, that is a way of misinterpreting Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 11:28. All sinners are welcome at the communion table, and part of the purpose is for us to be able to ask forgiveness for those sins. By not participating, those people deprive themselves of a great blessing.
Other Reasons To Partake of Communion
Christ asked “This do in remembrance of me.” He asked – so the least we can do is remember the Lord’s death.
Christ also ratified his promise, and we must be just as solemn in giving ourselves over to the service of our Lord, Jesus Christ. When people are “unworthy,” it is because they mock the service instead of approaching it with reverence. It is not because they’re truly not worthy to participate. in fact, everyone is invited to participate; but they have to do it with respect, both to the Lord Jesus Christ and to the solemnity of the service itself.
Another reason we participate in taking communion to promote our fellowship with other Christians within the church body. It represents a certain bonding togethers of the people when we practice it together, and helps us become a stronger church.
What Do You Say When Taking Communion?
The answer to this question is dependent on the denomination. In a Catholic church, the person offering it will speak “blood, Christ’s Blood” and you should say, “amen.” For the bread, they will say, “the body of Christ” and you say, “amen.”
In Protestant churches, the answer varies – but usually the pastor will guide you. Some simply say, “amen.” Some say, “this do in remembrance of me.” Others are guided in prayer.
If you do not have a rote response to the communion offering, it is good to give thanks. Jesus Christ gave thanks to the Father when he broke the bread and served the cup (see 1 Corinthians 11). You can pray quietly to yourself if there is not a group-led prayer given. Often times there is a quiet period after each section of the Lord’s supper, and during that you can pray.
What Does Communion Do for Me?
Participants in Holy communion use symbols of the body of Jesus Christ (the bread) and his blood (the wine). Taking communion does not give us salvation; you aren’t ‘saved’ because you took part in it. Instead, it is a time of worship, remembrance, and self-reflection.
Communion allows us to:
- Remember Christ’s sacrifice as he instructed us
- Show that we are of the Christian faith
- Commune with other believers
- Agree with others that we are part of Christ’s new covenant
What Do You Pray When Taking Communion?
No one can hand you the words you ‘ought’ to pray to our Lord Jesus, but here are some suggestions.
~I love you Lord
~I thank you for your sacrifice and love for us.
~I praise you and I thank you for this food and drink. Once again you have fed us. Once again you remind us of the supreme sacrifice you made for us. I love you Lord.
Holy Communion/Lord’s Supper is a solemn worship service where people commemorate Christ’s death for our sins. During communion we examine ourselves for sin and ask forgiveness for it. Everyone is welcome to participate in the Protestant church; in a Catholic church, only members are invited to take part.
Q & A
Q: What Scripture is used for taking Holy Communion?
A: See above; the main Scriptures used are those discussing the Lord’s supper – Matthew 26:26-29, Mark 14: 22-25, Luke 22: 19-20, and 1 Corinthians 11:24-26.
Q: What do you say when taking communion?
A: Depending on the church, you might say, “Amen,” or “This do in remembrance of me.” There may be other responses; take your cue from the members who have been there before.
Q: What do you pray when taking communion?
A: Confess your love of the lord or your thanks for his sacrifice on the cross.