I am taught that in the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) all petitions concern matters of our souls upon which we should meditate, except the fourth, "Give us today our daily bread" which petitions for an earthly concern, namely, and literally, bread. In Luther's Small Catechism, it states:

The Fourth Petition.

Give us this day our daily bread...

What is meant by daily bread?--Answer.

Everything that belongs to the support and wants of the body, such as meat, drink, clothing, shoes, house, homestead, field, cattle, money, goods, a pious spouse, pious children, pious servants, pious and faithful magistrates, good government, good weather, peace, health, discipline, honor, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.

But in John 6:31-35:

31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”

32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”

35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty..

And in Matthew 4:4:

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

And since John 1:1 says:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

And since the Passover bread is symbolic of Jesus Christ as well, on what basis am I to believe that the bread in the Lord's Prayer is food (etc.), and not Jesus Himself?

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    As I understand it, the word "bread" was used in ancient Jewish culture as a euphemism for food in general. (See Genesis 3:19 for just one example.) – Mason Wheeler Apr 11 '15 at 11:07
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    How is this a "primarily opinion-based"? – Geremia Dec 6 '18 at 20:34

Martin Luther once participated in a debate with Ulrich Zwingli’s over whether the Lords Supper was actually the body of Christ or simply a remembrance of it. It is reported that Martin Luther walked into the debate, went up to the board and took a piece of chalk and wrote “This Is my Body” then left the debate without looking back.

The translation of the Lords supper is a curious one, first off Christ says, “Give us each day, our Daily bread” this is strange in itself as he could of said if what he meant was our substance to survive. “Give us each day our bread” It would have been enough, but he did not just say that, in fact, he said something almost unexplainable.

To fully understand this we have to go to the Greek text and look at the actual translation by the inspired authors. The word translated to “Daily Bread” Is the Greek word “επιούσιος “ or more easily read “Epiousios” The word epiousios is only found in the two versions of the Lord’s Prayer in Mathew and Luke, not appearing anywhere else in known classical ‘Greek Literature. It is as if when translating Christ words from Aramaic to Greek, the inspired Authors had to make up a word to explain what was being said.

The term is a Hapax Legomanon, a Greek phrase meaning a word only used once.

In the Lutheran Church the term “Consubstantiation” is used to describe what happens to the bread and wine when the mass is celebrated. The ideas are that all of a sudden Christ is present with the bread and the wine together. This however is not what the lord stated while initiating the New Covenant. He said, “This is my Body” as Luther so boldly wrote on the board during his debate, he did not say, “This contains my body”.

The Catholic Church however has a different term, that being “Transubstantiation” in Greek “μετουσίωσις” again more easily “metousiosis”. The term with out getting to technical refers to the fact that the bread and wine ceases to be and becomes only the body and blood of our lord.

When you break down the word “Epiousios” you end up with two separate words in Greek “Epi” meaning “Super” and “ousios” meaning “substance”. It is the tradition of the Church that these words refer not specifically to food for our stomachs but to the bread, which came down from heaven, the Manna, which was provided by the father to the people in the wilderness before crossing the Jordon.

The Church takes the word “Epiousios” used in the Lords Prayer and alters it but not changes it to explain the process by which the bread and wine do in fact change during the consecration of the mass. “This is my Body”, “This is the bread that came down from heaven” “This is the Manna of the New Covenant” “This is the New Covenant, do this in memory of me” "this is the supersubstantion (transubstantial) bread"

"Give us each day our super substantial bread" or "Give us the Eucharist, give us the true manna that came down from heaven, give us you Lord Jesus Christ"

IN Response:

“am I to believe that the bread in the Lord's Prayer is food (etc.), and not Jesus Himself?”

By no means Should you believe such a thing, it is in every way Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, Body Blood Soul and Divinity. This is The Second Person in the trinity, present and real, worthy of worship and adoration. To believe this is to believe the Gospel, to believe this is to be part of the body of Christ and to Share table with Abraham Isaac and Jacob. This is the bread that is our super substance while in this vale of tears, before we cross the river Jordon into the promises revealed by Christ.

  • Thank you for going back to the original Greek; that settled it in my mind. A lovely ending to your answer too. I think as @Woofenden pointed out, it has more than one meaning, so there is no specific contradiction to the Lutheran explanation, but I am inclined more toward food for the soul. Now I'll have to read up on consubstantiation and transubstantiation. What is the word if you believe it's just a remembrance? – rainbow Apr 11 '15 at 5:11
  • The word for remembrance as inderstood by the ancient rabbis has a different connotation then the terms do today is in the modern world. when the Jews for example celebrated Passover they believed that they were actually participating to a degree in the event of the past. There is nothing wrong with using remembrance in the manor you are suggesting, the problem that results from it however is that it is not the only way in which the word is being used. Yes, bring to memory, but no less a real spiritual reality. – Marc Apr 11 '15 at 10:50
  • Thank you Marc; do you know whether when Jews "remember" the Holocaust, or Masada, etc., are they actually participating in that past event too? – rainbow Apr 16 '15 at 1:17
  • Yes i do know, they are not. Those events are not instituted by God to and for Gods people, but instituted by man for and to man. The Exodus, which is the passover out of Equipt and the Eucharist, which is Gods passover from the slavary of the Law and Sin, are from God, to his Covenant People. clearly those events have litte to do with Gods Devine economy. – Marc Apr 16 '15 at 7:31
  • "God's Divine economy" is a brutal way to phrase it, but probably apropos for us all. – rainbow Apr 16 '15 at 12:55

Jesus said it best in Matthew 4:4 (KJV)

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

John 6:48 (KJV)

I am that bread of life.

And because Jesus is that bread of life, the commandment that was given in order to grow spiritually can be found in various Scriptures:

Psalms 1 (KJV):

  1. Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
  2. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

Joshua 1:8 (KJV)

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Just like our bodies needs food everyday in order to survive, our soul needs the Word of God (John 1) to stay alive everyday hence why we need to meditate upon His Word day and night.

When Jesus prayed, he prayed that the Love of His Word would be found in us for us to meditate it on it day and night. Don't forget that Jesus also said that we must eat of his flesh (since he's that bread).

I disagree about the physical bread, Jesus said in Matthew 6 (KJV)

  1. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
  2. Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

Further in the same chapter:

  1. Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
  2. (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
  3. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

I hope God bless you with His Word.

  • Good Scripture references. Does this represent the view of a particular church or denomination that you belong to? Personal views and interpretations often do not fare well here. – Lee Woofenden Apr 15 '15 at 15:31
  • No, I wanted to base this answer purely on what is written in the Bible as it can be read by all, even the Bible states to lean not unto thine own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5). So these are not personal views: it's what the Bible says (Romans 4:3). – Buhake Sindi Apr 15 '15 at 15:44
  • I understand. And providing a Biblical basis is perfectly valid for this site, especially when the question suggests it. However, personal views are less accepted here. You seem to be speaking for yourself, which is what I was reacting to. I like your answer, but you might get some downvotes if it seems as if you're giving a personal opinion or interpretation. – Lee Woofenden Apr 15 '15 at 15:52
  • I Am bad at writing long texts/posts so it may seem personal. I try to use the Scriptures to make it as basis for the answer. I understand what you mean. – Buhake Sindi Apr 15 '15 at 16:12
  • I didn't think it came across as a personal opinion, but as an informed opinion (informed by Scripture). Thank you! – rainbow Apr 16 '15 at 1:23

Most Christians believe that it is acceptable and even good to pray to God to supply the necessities and amenities of life. That is reflected in your quote from Luther's Small Catechism.

And yet, Jesus' words often have more than one meaning.

The whole sequence in John 6:22-71 makes it clear that in associating bread with his flesh, Jesus was speaking figuratively, not literally. Some of the people who heard what he had said stopped following him, probably because they took his words literally and were repulsed by the implications of cannibalism. But in verses 61-63 Jesus says:

Does this offend you? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

It seems clear enough from this and from the whole conversation in John 6 that he intended us to interpret his words there about eating bread and flesh spiritually rather than materially.

A helpful passage in understanding what he meant spiritually by "bread" is John 4:31-38. Keep in mind that in the Bible "bread" commonly means food in general, not just bread as we think of it. Here it is:

Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, "Rabbi, eat something."

But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you do not know about."

So the disciples said to one another, "Surely no one has brought him something to eat?"

Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. Do you not say, 'Four months more, then comes the harvest'? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, 'One sows and another reaps.' I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor."

Here Jesus says that there is another kind of food, which is to do God's will and complete God's work. Then he speaks metaphorically about reaching out with the good news to people who are "ripe for the harvest."

Based on this, we can understand that spiritually, "bread" and "feeding people" has to do with showing people love and kindness, which is what it means to do God's will (see Matthew 22:34-40).

And we can understand that spiritually "bread" also has to do with reaching out to people and teaching them about the love and truth of God. This is "feeding people" spiritually. That is what Jesus sent his apostles out to do in the towns of Israel and beyond, when they were to "harvest" the people for God.

So although "give us this day our daily bread" does include asking for the necessities and amenities of life, it also means asking for the spiritual necessities and amenities of life. And the spiritual necessities and amenities of life are God's love and truth, not only as we need them for our own spiritual wellbeing, but also so that what we have received from God we can use to feed others as well with the spiritual bread of life.

(Note: I am not a Lutheran, so this answer is not given from a Lutheran perspective. However, I'm not aware that it is contrary to any of the teachings of Lutheranism.)

  • I'd forgotten about that John 4:31-38 passage, good point! Watch it - Lutherans are unforgiving. ;-D – rainbow Apr 11 '15 at 4:46
  • his disciples rejected his teaching,from your perspective,misunderstanding the Lords words to mean canniblism, was it with love and kindness that he further mislead them by using the word "Chew" or "naw"?instead of clarifying, further driving away men he could easily correct with a few choice words. Does the God of this world trick his followers into disbelief? Why does the Lord refer to a bread that he will supply in the future? are the spiritual blessing of God not available at that present time? John 6:52-58 is Christ telling them clearly in there confusion exactly what is meant. – Marc Apr 11 '15 at 10:42
  • @Marc I'm relatively new here too, and as tempting as it is to respond to your questions and challenges, my understanding is that the comments are not meant for discussion and debate, but rather to help clarify and improve answers. If you're aching to discuss these things, we could take it to a chatroom. – Lee Woofenden Apr 12 '15 at 3:15
  • @LeeWoofenden I was attempting to address holes in your answer. Perhaps my method seems to be argumentative. That is something I have been strugling with. You must admit, because of the importance of such a topic, how such a thing could cause a person to struggle. I find what often happens in answers is that parts are left out, scripture is skipped or ignored when making a point and not addressed, for the benifit of the speaker and to the hindrance of the hearer. A lie of omission if you will wether intentional or not. I would be happy to discuss it further,for your edification and of mine. – Marc Apr 12 '15 at 11:32
  • @Marc When I see an answer that seems to me to miss major points and passages, I consider whether it seems important enough to write an answer of my own. Then, in the spirit of Stack Exchange, people can vote the various answers up or down. The answers seen as best will in due course rise toward the top. – Lee Woofenden Apr 12 '15 at 13:10

That Bread in the bible is both spiritual and temporal and mostly its spiritual, It teaches us to seek His kingdom first and his righteousness and all those things shall be added unto us, that verse linked to (Matthew 6:33).

  • Indeed milk before solid food. – Marc Apr 11 '15 at 10:52

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