On Daily Communion (Part 1): Is it Biblical?

For the last term in college, we’ve been doing something which some people love and others probably think is a strange eccentricity. Augustine of Hippo, Smith Wigglesworth, Symeon the New Theologian, Martin Luther’s Large Catechism, John Cosin, Cyprian of Carthage, Joseph Prince, and Basil the Great wouldn’t normally all make it into a list together, and yet they all advocate what these 21st Century Pentecostals are up to in a theological college in rural England. What might that be? Well, just in case you haven’t guessed from the title of the post, that would be celebrating the Lord’s Supper daily.

Just in that random sample we have representatives of the Greek and Latin Fathers, medieval Byzantium, the Reformation, the Church of England, early British Pentecostalism, 21st century Asian mega-church Pentecostalism, and the present-day UK. John Wesley took Communion daily in the seasons of the year (Christmastide and Eastertide) when it was available in his days, and urged Christians to communicate as often as it’s offered, for, Wesley argued, ‘it is the duty of every Christian to receive the Lord’s Supper as often as he can’ (John Wesley, Sermon 101: The Duty of Constant Communion). And there are two great reasons for this duty of constant Communion, Wesley tells us: first, because ‘it is a plain command of Christ’, and second, ‘because the benefits of doing it are so great to all that do it in obedience to him.’

So, throughout the history of the church – from the ancient church to the Reformation to the Evangelical Revival to the Pentecostal Revival to the present day – there has been a hunger in various places among God’s people to feast with Christ at His Table each day.

Yet, daily Communion might seem a bit odd to many Christians today. So, in the next few blogposts, let me explain why it’s such a good thing. But today, let’s just start by seeing that it is in fact something good and biblical.

A Biblical Precedent

Just after the Day of Pentecost, in the earliest days of the Christian church, the believers continued ‘daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house’ (Acts 2:46). Later in the book of Acts, as the church spread far and wide, we see that believers in faraway places continued to meet each first day of the week for the express purpose of Breaking Bread (Acts 20:7). Yet, in the earliest days, and in the height of the revival brought about by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, while the Christians were concentrated together in close geographical proximity, this Breaking of Bread took place daily. So, what we see in Acts isn’t simply weekly Communion, but very frequent Communion – at the very least weekly, but in some places daily.

Granted, we don’t all live in very close proximity to the rest of our church, so daily Communion isn’t possible for most believers. But, where God has blessed us with such a privilege (like in my situation, in a theological college), then to make the most of it by celebrating the Lord’s Supper each day is a good and biblical thing to do.

Our Daily Prayer for Daily Bread

But, not only is there a biblical precedent in the book of Acts, but it’s also something which, biblically, we’re taught to pray for every day! Have you ever noticed how in the Lord’s Prayer, when we pray ‘give us this day our daily bread’, we seem to be asking for the same thing twice: ‘daily’ and ‘this day’? What’s all that about?

The word we translate as daily is found only here in the whole New Testament. The word ‘daily’, of course, does occur in other places in the New Testament, but it’s always a different Greek word. The ancient church fathers (most of whom spoke Greek as their native language) understood this strange word in the Lord’s Prayer as a reference to the Lord’s Supper. Why? Because the closest English equivalent we have to the Greek word in the prayer is either (depending on whether you follow the ancient fathers or current New Testament scholars) either ‘supernatural’ or ‘for the future’. And there is a bread which is both supernatural and eschatological: Jesus, the living Bread of Heaven.

So, in the Lord’s Prayer, we’re not just praying for material provision for our daily needs, but we’re also praying to receive Jesus ‘this day’, the true supernatural Bread for the future. And in the Lord’s Supper, we receive ‘this day’ a ‘participation’ (1 Cor. 10:16) in this ‘true food’ (Jn 6:55).

Granted, we can also receive Christ each day in His Word. But why wouldn’t we want to receive Him as He meets with us in bread and wine at His Table each day as well if we can?

So, there’s a biblical precedent for daily Communion, and a biblical prayer – the Lord’s Prayer in fact – which points us to the goodness of meeting with Christ each day in the bread of the Lord’s Table. These aren’t commands; we’re not obliged to break bread daily. But they do show us that a daily Communion isn’t an eccentric oddity, but a good and biblical feast.

And now that we’ve established that, let’s go on next time and think about some of what Wesley called, ‘the benefits [which] are so great’ of this daily encounter with Christ at His Table, which encourage us all the more frequently to come and feast with Him, our living Lord.

Subsequent posts in the series:

Part 2: A Daily Gospel Call
Part 3: Why Wouldn't You Want to Encounter Jesus Every Day?