Worship Terminology – Communion, part 3


At Jesus’ last Supper He gave new meaning to the centuries old tradition of the Passover.  This new meal is referred to in various ways, but the most common are: Eucharist, Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper and the Breaking of Bread.  Today we will look at some of the implications of the term “Communion”.

The term communion comes from the Latin communio.  This is the word used in the Latin translation of the New Testament for the original Greek word koinonia in 1 Corinthians 10:16:

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? (KJV)

The word koinonia means “fellowship, sharing, and intimacy.”  What can we learn from the use of this term to refer to the Lord’s Supper?

Here are some things that came to my mind:

  • Communion is about intimacy with God.  In context, Paul, in 1 Corinthians 10:16, is warning Christians to have nothing to do with idolatry.  A person cannot be both intimate with a demon and with God (1 Corinthians 10:14-22).  When we take Communion we are sharing in Christ’s death.  We have a unique, even spiritual, connection with God through the blood and body of Christ.  Our God is not distant, but incomprehensibly intimate.  We share in His blood and His body.  We are even called the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27).  How much more intimate with God can one get than to be his very body?
  • Communion is about fellowship with one another.  As we share in the blood and body of Christ we are reminded that all Christians are one body in Christ.  Not only do we have intimacy with God, but as one body we are in fellowship with one another.  Communion is a constant reminder that we are to work together to be Christ’s body in this world, bringing God’s presence and love to those who do not know Him and to those who do.

Question:  What does the term “communion” mean to you?  Please leave a comment.

by Jerry Wyrick, President of Worship Arts Conservatory

Posted in General Worship.