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What are the Scriptural words/phrases to say when offering 'Thanks' for the bread and fruit of the vine, in taking the Lord's Supper?
Answer by Bill Cavender

As regarding WHAT we should say when we offer "thanks" for the unleavened bread and fruit-of-the-vine in partaking of "the Lord's Supper," we know what the Lord, Himself, DID when He originated, established and initiated His "supper." He was at a supper (Greek:: "deipnon" - supper; the chief meal of the day, John 13:2; Luke 22:20), NOT the Passover "Feast" (Greek: "Heorte" - feast, festival, especially of those of the Jews, and particularly of the Passover; the word is found mostly in John's gospel, seventeen times - W.E. Vine). It was the "preparation day of the Passover" (John 19:14; 18:28), the day before the Feast of the Passover, when this "supper" took place and the "Lord's Supper" was initiated, described and proscribed, and instructions were detailed to the apostles by the Lord Jesus. Jesus died at 3 P.M., on the 14th of Nisan ("the ninth hour," Jewish time), "the preparation day of the Passover," the exact time when the Jews would begin to kill their passover lambs, and to prepare the lambs, etc. for the cooking, eating and partaking of the Passover Feast that night, the 15th of Nisan, and dispose of the remnants before the daylight of the next morning. Jesus' body would be in Joseph's new tomb by the morning light of the 15th of Nisan.

In establishing His supper, Jesus "took bread, and BLESSED it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and GAVE THANKS, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it: For this is my blood of the new testament , which is shed for many for the remission of sins" (Matthew 26:26-28). Mark records that Jesus "BLESSED" the bread, and "had GIVEN THANKS" for the cup, the fruit of the vine (14:22-23). Luke says that Jesus "GAVE THANKS" for the bread and cup (Luke 22:15-20). Paul records that Jesus, "the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread: and when he had GIVEN THANKS, he brake it, and said, Take, eat, this is my body which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After THE SAME MANNER ALSO he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament (covenant) in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me" (I Corinthians 11:23-25). Paul further said, "The cup of blessing which we BLESS, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ" ..."partaker of the Lord's table" (I Corinthians 10:16, 21)?

It is obvious that Matthew, Mark, Luke and Paul, by the Holy Spirit, use the words "blessed, gave thanks, bless, had given thanks, etc" interchangeably. To give "thanks" for the unleavened bread and fruit of the vine is the same as "blessing" the unleavened bread and fruit of the vine. We give the "thanks" to God for the bread and cup, asking His "blessing" upon the bread and fruit of the vine.

When we offer "thanks" and ask the "blessing" of God, at the Lord's Table when partaking of the Lord's Supper, WE SHOULD DO JUST THAT - OFFER "THANKS" AND ASK GOD TO "BLESS" THE BREAD AND CUP. That's all we should ask and pray for! Anything else is out of order, unnecessary and unscriptural. We should follow the pattern that our Lord and the apostles taught us.

Yet we hear brethren, at the Lord's table, pray and "give thanks" for all sort of things. They say: "We thank thee for this day;" "We thank thee for caring for us to this point in our lives;" "We thank thee that things are as well with us as they are;" "We ask thee to bless and heal brother so-and-so who is ill and in need of our prayers;" We ask thee to forgive us of our sins and mistakes;" "Help us to take of this bread and fruit of the vine in an acceptable manner;" etc. etc. All such words, phrases, sentences, and prayers are absolutely non-essential and unbecoming to us.

The Lord and the apostles have taught us that the supper of Christ is: (1) In remembrance of Him. Therefore, think of Him, remember Him, dying on the cross when you partake of the supper. (2) It is a time and occasion of self-examination, (I Cor. 11:27-29), of "discerning the body and blood of Jesus," and of eating and drinking in a "worthy manner," i.e., by thinking about the body and blood of Jesus on the cross, dying for us, while we are partaking. Our prayers are NOT going to determine whether we take the supper worthily or unworthily. It is "worthy" if we discern the body and blood of the Lord while we are eating the bread and drinking the cup.

In my sixty- three plus years in the church, I have served at the Lord's table very few times. I could count the number on my ten fingers, and have several left over. Preachers just don't serve at the Lord's table. But if I served at the Lord's table, and were offering "thanks" or "blessing" the bread and the cup, I would say, " Our Father in Heaven, we give thee our thanks for this bread, which is to us, by faith, the body of Christ, which was broken for us. In His name I pray, Amen." And for the cup I would say, " Our Father in Heaven, we give thee thanks for this cup, the fruit of the vine, which is to us, by faith, the blood of Jesus, which was shed for the remission of our sins. In His name I pray, Amen." THAT'S ALL I WOULD SAY. Everything else is extraneous, unbecoming, and shows lack of understanding of the truth of the New Testament.

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