“So they continued in the teaching, fellowship, and in the breaking of bread…”
There are a lot of translations and interpretations regarding the breaking of bread, but let us consider the view in David H. Stern’s Jewish New Testament Commentary.
“Many Christians assume that this refers to ‘taking communion’ and have an image of the early believers meeting in homes (v.46) to eat a tiny wafer of bread and drink a symbolic amount of wine or grape juice, just as Christians do today in their churches. However, the context is not twentieth-century Christianity but first-century Judaism;”
No offense. We just want to understand what the scripture says. We want to go back to the first century and understand what actually happened among this community.
“…and for Jews then as now, fellowship was mediated by meals. To say that the early Messianic Jews broke bread is to say neither more nor less than that they ate together. This meaning of eating together must be grasped. First of all, when possible, religious Jews begin a meal with bread and say over it a b’rakhah..”
Do we hear what this says? They were eating together! They blessed G-d for the bread as they came together. They did not change or all of a sudden alter this practice, but they used the same blessing that Yeshua used when He was here. After Yeshua’s resurrection, and the encounter on the road to Emmaus, He was not recognized until He said the b’rakhah and broke bread with them. Yeshua’s blessing over the bread must have been unique. There is something special about this coming together, as we do even yet today, to celebrate our fellowship in Messiah.
“Then they break off a piece of the loaf and eat it, so that the blessing of G-d specifically for His provision of bread to eat would not have been said in vain.”
So if you say a b’rakhah you should take a piece of bread, distribute a piece to everyone around you and then eat the bread before any words are spoken. No doubt at Pesach (Passover) they offered the blessing for the matzoh instead, the unleavened bread, but most of the time they were eating leavened bread; they did not eat unleavened bread all of the time.
“Yet this fellowship was not mere worldly socializing that ignores G-d. Consider the Mishna: Rabbi El’azar ben- ‘Azaryah (1st-2nd century C.E.) said, ‘…if there is no meal there is no (study of) Torah, and if there is no (study of) Torah there is no meal.”‘
The Mishna is followed yet today in the practice of Judaism throughout the world, and this Rabbi’s teaching from the 1st-2nd century, when Yeshua and his Jewish followers were breaking bread together, is still followed today. In other words He is teaching that whenever you eat a meal you should study the Torah, you should talk of the Torah. So when they came together and they broke bread, they talked about the Torah.
The apostles, or the emissaries, continued to teach what Yeshua had taught them when He walked with them, and “broke up” the Word of G-d passing it on to the three thousand who hadn’t walked as close to Yeshua as they themselves had. While with Yeshua, the apostles drank in His words. After the resurrection Yeshua was with them for 40 days. Then they went forth from Shavuot filled with the Holy Spirit, flowing forth with the Word of G- d. As they had fellowship, and as they ate together, they were telling the multitudes about Yeshua and explaining what Yeshua had done, fulfilling the words He spoke when He told them that after His departure these things would all come back to their remembrance. Now they remembered these things and they fed the people, first the three thousand, and others as the numbers continued to grow and grow.