As a Christian, I have grown up hearing the word bread mentioned in the Bible. At first, I always took it superficially as the food we consume, but as I grew in age and ministry, I gained a better and deeper understanding of it. As I read the Bible over the years, I noticed bread had been used throughout the Bible, both in the Old Testament and New Testament. This got me wondering, what does bread symbolize in the Bible?
Bread in the Bible is seen as a source of nourishment, both spiritual and physical. First, it symbolizes the food that we, as humans, eat. Secondly, it symbolizes the word of God needed for spiritual nourishment. In the Old Testament, bread has been used literally to mean the food we eat. It is in the New Testament that bread gained a symbolic meaning. In the New Testament, the Bible suggests that Jesus is the bread of life, which means he is the source of our spiritual nourishment.
In this article, I go into detail about how bread has been used symbolically in the Bible to mean various things. I will also look into the significance of bread in the Bible, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. If you want to discover the answers to these and more questions about bread in the Bible, read on.
How is bread used in the Bible?
Bread has been used in the Bible in different ways, but one of the most common ways is as food. In the Bible, bread was a staple food for many communities. There are several passages in the Bible that suggest bread was a crucial part of meals. In the Book of Numbers 21:5, the Bible suggests that the people of Israel complained of being brought into the desert where there was no bread. Bread was prepared in many ways, both leavened bread which is the bread that contains yeast, and unleavened bread, which has no yeast. One instance that suggests people ate unleavened bread in the Bible is in the Book of Deuteronomy 16:3, where the Israelites were required to make unleavened bread as there was no time to wait for it to rise.
Bread has also been used as an offering to God in the Old Testament. The Bible suggests that God gave specific instructions on how the bread was to be offered to Him, as is seen in the Book of Leviticus 24:5-9. But unlike offerings to pagan gods, these offerings were made as a sign of thanksgiving and not worship.
Bread was also given to guests as a sign of hospitality; in the book of Genesis 18:6, the Bible suggests that Abraham, who was formerly Abram asked his wife to take the finest flour and make bread for the three men that passed by his tent. This shows that bread had a great significance in their lives since we only offer our best to guests.
What is the significance of bread in the Bible?
Bread has been used in the Bible many times in different ways, but its main significance was to be used as a food source for sustenance as well as to show the relationship between God and man. There are many different verses in the Bible that show bread as a food source. Many biblical scholars believe that it was the staple food for many people during those times. This has clearly been illustrated in the book of Numbers 21:5, where the Israelites complain that they have been brought to the desert where there is no bread. Also, in the Book of Genesis 16:3 where Abraham asks Sarah to make bread for the guests.
The bread has also been used to show the relationship between man and God both in the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament. The book Leviticus 24:5-9 suggests that bread was given as an offering to God as a sign of thanksgiving for the abundance they had. In the New Testament, the book of John 6:35 suggest that Jesus is the bread of life; this means that through him, we receive eternal life, and we are made good with God.
What kind of bread is in the Bible?
Bread in the Bible has been used figuratively and literally. First, in the literal sense, made was made from a variety of grains such as millet, wheat, and barley. These grains were ground into flour which was then mixed with water and leaven, which is a natural form of yeast in modern days; we call it sourdough starter. After that, it was kneaded, then left to raise for a few hours, and then baked.
However, they did not have ovens like the ones we have today; they mostly had community ovens that were heated by wood, or many would bake the bread in the ground where they would burry the bread in sand and cover it with burning pieces of wood. They would also sometimes make unleavened bread which is bread without leaven. This was mostly used as an offering on Sabbaths, as is seen in the book of Leviticus 24:5-9.
Bread has also been used metaphorically, especially in the New Testament, where the Bible implies that Jesus is the bread of life in the book John 6:35. This means that Jesus is the source of all our spiritual satisfaction.
5 symbolic meanings of bread in the Bible
A sign of provision from God
When the Israelites were in the desert, food and water were not available, and in no time, the people grew impatient and hungry. They started questioning Moses and why he took them out of Egypt, where they had plenty of food. The Bible suggests that Moses talked with God, and God decided to be raining manna down from heaven so that the people of Israel may have something to eat. However, the manna was only to be eaten on the same day, and nothing was to be stored for the next day, as seen in the book of Exodus 16:4. This is a sign that God will always provide for our daily needs.
A sign of eternal life
Bread has been used to signify eternal life in the New Testament, where the Bible suggests that Jesus said that he was the bread of life in the book of John 6:35. The Bible implies that those who accept Jesus as their savior will receive eternal life and even though their physical bodies will die, they shall rise from the dead when he comes again. The Bible also implies that during the last supper, Jesus took bread, broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying that it was his body. This symbolized Jesus’ body on the cross as a sacrifice for all our sins, as is seen in the book of Matthew 26:26.
A sign of God’s word
Many times, I have heard that Jesus was the physical representation of the word of God on earth. But since he is no longer on earth, the Bible is the word of God since it offers documentation of Jesus’ life on earth. The Bible suggests that man cannot live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God, as is seen in the book of Deuteronomy 8:3.
A sign of God’s presence
In the Old Testament, the Bible suggests that Moses was required to place bread on a golden table every Sabbath, and the twelve loaves of bread were to stay on the table throughout the week until the next Sabbath. As is seen in the book of Exodus 25:30. The bread was put on the table as a physical representation of God’s presence all the time on earth.
A sign of unity of the church
In the New Testament, bread is seen as a sign of unity in the church. The Bible suggests that we all come together to take Holy Communion in church. Since it is made from one loaf of bread, if all Christians take Holy Communion, they are joined together as one. This is seen in the book of 1 Corinthians 10:16-17.
How does bread represent Jesus in the New Testament?
Bread has been used to represent Jesus in two main ways to mean that he is the source of eternal life and to also represent the sacrifice he made for us on the cross. In the book of John 6:41, the Bible suggests that Jesus said that he is the bread that came down from heaven. From this passage, the Bible suggests that Jesus is the source of eternal life, just like bread keeps us going physically. If we accept Christ, we will receive eternal life.
Bread has also been used to represent the sacrifice that Jesus made for our sake on the cross so that our sins may be taken away. The Bible suggests that during the last supper, Jesus took the bread, broke it, and said that it was his body, as is seen in the book of Matthew 26:26 and 1 Corinthians 11:23-30.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.