Question:

I Corinthians 11:24 says, "and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me." Was his (Christ's) body broken? Or is this referring to the bread?

When leading the prayer for the Lord's Supper I often quote this verse. I was told by a member of the church that my prayer is incorrect and that Christ body wasn't broken. He said the verse is referring to the bread. I disagree with him. Which is correct?

If I Corinthians 11:24 does refer to Christ's body as broken, should I alter my prayer because this member feels that it is wrong?


Answer:

One of the fulfilled prophecies concerning Jesus was that none of his bones would be broken. "Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, "Not one of His bones shall be broken"" (John 19:31-36). This has been misread by a few as a statement that Christ's body was not broken. However, he was scourged and a spear was thrust through his side. While his bones were not broken, his body was broken.

Grammatically, the "which is broken" refers back to the body (not the bread). This is true in the Greek and it is reflected in the English.

Where there has been disagreements is that some of the older manuscripts are missing the word klomenon ("being broken"). Because the word does not appear in the Gospel accounts, many modern scholars assume that the word was inserted in I Corinthians 11:24. However, as seen from the various English translations, this argument is not considered to be a strong one because there are old manuscripts which do have klomenon in the text.

Regardless of the scholarly debate, the fact remains that the statement is true. Jesus' body was broken, though his bones remained whole. The broken bread aptly represents his broken body.