According to acts 2:46, the earliest Christians ate together daily. While this sign of fellowship need not specifically refer to the Lord's Supper (Acts 27:35), we have good reason to believe the Lord's Supper was included. The Lord's Supper, or the Eucharist (which means "giving of thanks"), began as a Passover meal and became a fellowship meal in honor of Jesus. Whenever Christians gathered for fellowship and eating, they probably did so with Jesus in mind (1 Cor. 11:24-25).

But it is unlikely that most early Christians outside Jerusalem could meet together daily; most worked and were scattered throughout cities. They did, however, apparently meet at least once a week (1 Cor. 16:2) and probably ate together as often as they gathered (Acts 20:7, 11; 1 Cor. 11:20; Jude 12).

Does this suggest that we, too, should eat the Lord's Supper every time we gather? Does Scripture require us to observe it on a particular schedule? The very diversity of practice within the New Testament may suggest that it was practiced different ways in different cultures, although all Christians were expected to preserve the central meaning. If the earliest Christians did it daily and later Christians weekly, God possibly is more concerned that we do it, and understand what we are doing, than about how often we do it.

So what did the Lord's Supper mean? Here various church traditions diverge, but placing the Lord's Supper in its ancient setting is helpful.

The Jerusalem church recognized the meal's background in the Passover. When the head of the household held up the bread at Passover and declared, "This is the bread of affliction which our ancestors ate," no one assumed that the bread was 13 centuries old or that it came predigested. Like wise, Protestants ...

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