Scripture Queries and Answers: Beginning to Break Bread

1 Timothy 5:17; 1 Peter 4:5  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 10
Q. 1 Tim. 5:1717Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine. (1 Timothy 5:17). (1) Is an elder or bishop the question when brethren wish to begin a breaking of bread where there is none? (2) Ought they to cease when trial, weakness, or scandal exists?
A. (1) Wherever brethren are found alive to the glory of Christ and of their own privileges as His members, they are not only free but bound to meet together and consequently to remember Him in the breaking of bread, the symbol of His death for their sins in divine love and of their unity as His body. They are of course bound to begin in fellowship with those already breaking bread if reasonably near them. It is deplorable to make the sign of fellowship in a new place the occasion of disturbing it in an old; but those in the old locality are not entitled to put any obstructions or delays in their way but such as approve themselves to every godly soul elsewhere. No one, no assembly, has authority to hinder members of Christ from gathering to His name and remembering Him in the Supper and all other acts of the assembly. Scripture amply proves that none should wait for a bishop or bishops first, even when apostles were there to choose such, But it was the rule to begin meeting as God's assembly without them. The qualities suitable for them only developed or were seen in time. It was on a subsequent visit, if the apostle did not spend long enough time, that they were chosen; and sometimes a delegate like Titus at Crete was directed to do so. But in every case assemblies preceded bishops.
(2) Even if a few believers have been hasty in meeting or any element in the meeting is not what one could desire, it would be a grave act to seek or counsel their dissolution: we do not see an apostle venturing on any step like it. And we cannot, we ought not to, act without scripture. The state of an assembly might be such as to keep one away, as that of Corinth did Paul; but this is a very different thing, for even so, he is most careful to remind them of their place, privilege, and responsibility as the assembly of God in that city. All this aggravated their failure, and gave him a hold in the Lord's name on their consciences.
Q. 1 Peter 4:55Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. (1 Peter 4:5), G. “Quick and dead:” is it moral, or physical? The same in each verse? G. W. G.
A. The physically “dead” are meant in both verses. Christ is, and is ready, to judge quick and dead. Only as glad tidings were preached though not in the same way or fullness) in times past to men (living then, though now) dead, as well as to men living now, it was to this end that they might be judged as regards men in flesh, but live as regards God in Spirit. The Jews were apt to slight the judgment of the dead, through their pre-occupation with the judgment of the quick at the appearing of the Messiah. Hence the apostle is the more careful to show the believers from among them, not merely as in chapter iii. the judgment which awaits those formerly disobedient who are kept in prison awaiting their final doom, but the twofold end of the good news in the promises proclaimed to men in the past—either judgment as men in flesh responsible for their works, or living according to God in Spirit because the word was mixed with faith and issued in righteousness and holiness of truth.