Scripture has many statements which are paradoxes, that is that they are beyond comprehension by human reason. As a matter of fact a paradox contains matters that are contradictory to each other according to human reason. We must rely on the mind of God in spiritual matters and trust His Word by faith. Faith grasps matters which are beyond human reason.

Faith accepts as the Word discloses. We believe in the Trinity, three persons in one God. This is a paradox and a mystery to be accepted by faith. We believe that Jesus is both God and man; that is that he has two natures. Our reason cannot grasp that within one person there could be the human nature and the divine nature. Yet this is exactly how it is in the person of Jesus. Reason says, ‘impossible,’ while faith says, ‘I believe.’

We are to accept by faith what the Word of God teaches. In communion we have a mystery and paradox. This teaching of His Word we should believe. Our attitude should be like that of young Samuel, “Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.” Let us be willing to hear and accept with believing hearts.

Christ’s Words

The teaching on communion is found in: Mt. 26:26-29, Mk.14:22-25, Lk. 22:19-22, I Cor. ll:23-30, 10:14-22. From these references we hear our Lord clearly saying of the bread, “This is My body,” and of the wine, “This is My blood.” Yet He also tells His disciples to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. He refers therefore to four elements being present in communion: the bread and the wine, His body and His blood. We say that there are two earthly elements and two heavenly elements present when we partake.

When our Lord tells us that in communion we receive His body given for us and His blood poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins, then we know that in this sacred act the Lord gives believers the assurance of forgiveness of sins just as He does in the Gospel in the Word. When we do this in remembrance of Him we are to remember His death; be comforted by the forgiveness of sins. As often as we eat and drink this we even proclaim our belief in His atoning work for our salvation.

Scripture Interprets Scripture

We firmly believe that the Bible explains itself to us. To understand by faith some of the hard sayings, it simply takes more study. There is milk in the Word and there is meat in the Word. But above all, “First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation.” II Pet. 1:20

With the words of communion we take them in the sense in which they were given us. We understand them according to their context. And we understand them according to cross references and other passages on communion. We naturally take words in their literal, natural meaning, unless the context or other passages explain the words in a figurative sense.

Jesus says, “This is My Body…This is My blood.” There is no reason in the context or in other passages to take the words in a figurative sense. Unfortunately, many Reformed Protestants think Jesus meant here, “This represents My body…This represents My blood.” But there is simply no evidence to support their reasoning. And reasoning is exactly what it is. Their reason cannot accept this mystery, so they explain it away with a figurative sense.

There is something more than only bread and wine here.

Paul says in I Corinthians 11:28 that if one takes communion in an unworthy manner, not discerning the Lord’s body and blood, he is “guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord.” The person is not guilty of profaning bread and wine; that would be silly. No, something far greater than bread and wine is here, or Paul would not speak so.

Paul says the one not discerning the body and blood and who yet eats and drinks, “Eats and drinks judgment upon himself.” I Cor. 11:29 An overly harsh statement upon this matter if it is only bread and wine! In the Corinthian congregation Paul explains how the judgment showed itself, “That is why many of you are weak, and ill, and some have fallen asleep.” (died) I Cor.11:30 At Corinth individuals came to communion not repenting of their sins, this being how they were unworthy. They treated communion with contempt and did not trust in the forgiveness of sins through Christ’s body and blood. This brought upon them a judgment.

In I Corinthians ten Paul tells us that in our partaking of the bread, it is “participation (communion) in the body of Christ” and that in partaking of the wine, it is “participation in the blood of Christ.” How much clearer need it be than this that in a mysterious way we partake of Christ’s body and blood in, under, and with the bread and wine for the forgiveness of sins?

Power in the Word

It is simple wine and bread until we partake of it, hearing and believing the words of Christ. As we partake, it becomes a means by which God strengthens our faith assuring us we have God’s grace in Christ. As when we hear the Word of God alone, so the Holy Spirit works on the heart, thus also in communion as we hear the Word of God and partake, the Spirit works on the heart.

Many Protestants say that in communion there is no forgiveness of sins. They say that Christ’s body and blood could not be present to be eaten as that would be cannibalism. These people underestimate the power of God’s Word. They let reason dictate to them what the Word of God means instead of letting the Word explain itself. There they are taking from God’s Word.

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the priest transforms the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. But where in Scripture is this found? No where. They also say that only partial forgiveness is given here. But Scripture makes no such qualification. And very sadly they teach that communion when it is celebrated is a re-sacrifice of Christ. They also worship the bread which they say has become the body of Christ. This is idolatry. This church adds to the Word.

We as a Lutheran church follow what the clear Word says, neither adding to it nor taking from it. We see in communion the power of the Word of God. Communion is a means of grace, God granting in a mysterious way a communion in the body and blood of Christ for the forgiveness of sins.

Our desire to follow God’s Word also leads us to use unleavened bread and wine just as Jesus did.

Every church has freedom to celebrate communion as often as it sees fit. Our general practice is to celebrate it once a month. There is also private communion for those sick and ill and troubled.

The Lord gave communion to those ‘close’ to Him in the upper room on Maundy Thursday. We also follow a practice of giving it to those who can discern the Lord’s body and blood and who confess their sins and trust in the Lamb of God. If a person of our fellowship, that is agreeing on God’s Word with us, repents of his sins, discerning the Lord’s body and blood, he is admitted to communion.

Three Views of Communion Within Visible Christendom




Roman Catholic

Substances Present

Bread & Wine

Bread & Wine

Body & Blood

Name of Teaching


Real Presence


Benefit of Communion

No Forgiveness

Full Forgiveness

Partial Forgiveness


They take from Scripture

They stand in Scripture

They add to Scripture