Break Thou the Bread of Life

1
Break Thou the Bread of Life,
  Dear Lord, to me,
As Thou didst break the loaves
  Beside the sea;
Beyond the sacred page
  I seek Thee, Lord;
My spirit pants for Thee,
  O Living Word.
2
Thou art the Bread of Life,
  O Lord, to me,
Thy holy Word the truth
  That saveth me;
Give me to eat and live
  With Thee above;
Teach me to love Thy truth,
  For Thou art Love.
3
Oh, send Thy Spirit, Lord,
  Now unto me,
That He may touch my eyes,
  And make me see;
Show me the truth concealed
  Within Thy Word,
And in Thy Book revealed
  I see the Lord.
4
Bless Thou the truth, dear Lord,
  To me, to me,
As Thou didst bless the bread
  By Galilee;
Then shall all bondage cease,
  All fetters fall,
And I shall find my peace,
  My All in all.
14
Leigh Powell

United Kingdom

This hymn, often sung in communion services, reminds me of John's gospel where Jesus said 'I am the bread of life'. While Jesus's body was crucified on the cross, he bore away the sins of the world.

if we repent of our sins and believe the gospel, we shall be saved and born again (1 Peter 1, 53 verse 1), and thus go to Heaven.


Steve Miller

Detroit, MI, United States

@Momoko Feb 17, 2018,

The Lord first blessed the loaves and then broke them, but the song has "break" in the first verse and "bless" in the last, so you have a good question. I think it is because v1 is about the bread of life, which the Lord both blessed and broke so we can eat it. So either word, "blessed" or "broke", would work in v1.

The last verse is about the truth, and it would be strange to say "break the truth". The word of truth needs to be rightly divided, which is symbolized by the breaking of the bread, but to say "break the truth" would give the wrong meaning. So only "bless", not "break", works in the last verse. Since the last verse must use the word "bless" it would be better to use the word "break" in the 1st verse to cover both actions that the Lord did.

"Loaves" to "bread" and "sea" to "Galilee" are just 2 ways of saying the same thing. In writing it is good to use a different word when repeating a thought to give more meaning. The Bible, especially the Old Testament, does that a lot.


Momoko

Oslo, Norway

I want to know why 1 " break the loaves by the sea" and the last one says " break the BREAD by Galilee" .

Why from "break" to bless,

why from loaves to bread,

why from sea to Galilee???

Who can explain these ??


Donald Ketcham

Lancaster, CA, United States

This brought tears to my eyes as I read and sang along. So many memories from my youth in a little Reformed church in upstate New York. My mother was the organist and she played this often for preludes, postludes and more. Thank You Lord for this great hymn.


Anne McNabb

Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

I to started singing these words this morning and was pleased to find the verses I had forgotten.This was one of my favourites as a child.


Lucinda Rolle

Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas

When I got up today, the Holy Spirit simply dropped the words of “Break thou the bread of life, Dear Lord to me”. I had not heard this song for decades. I could not remember the words.

I am so glad that I located the words of a hymn that speaks directly to me at the right time. I thank Almighty God for this wonderful hymn.


Anonymous

Georgia, United States

Thank You Lord that we can seek You beyond the sacred page!


Martha

United States

I am feasting on the Word of this hymn from my childhood. Our Church sang it a cappella. Many evenings as we gather to worship the LORD.


Diana Peyton

Somerset, Kentucky, United States

What a delicious, satisfying way to get full, on the living bread of God's holy word. This hymn is full. He is our living bread, our truth and our salvation. No more starvation in spirit, no more ignorance, no more bondate to sin. Alellelujah! What a Savior!


Marietta Alexander

Everett, Washington, United States

This morning in my devotion was reading John 21 1-25 where Jesus appeared on the shore to the disciples after they had been toiling all night with no success. He called to them to throw their net on the right side of the boat saying "you will find some". When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. They did manage to get the fish without breaking the net and afterwards Jesus called them to have breakfast. He had a fire with fish already baked and bread ready for them. Also, in this passage we have the conversation between The Lord and Peter with the three times asking Peter if he loved Him.

I recalled the words from this hymn I learned as a child, "beyond the sacred page, I seek thee, Lord. My Spirit pants for thee, the Living Word." I found this site so I could look again at the words of the whole hymn.

He is Our Living Lord today, in our hearts we seek Him beyond our routine bible study. He is the One that stands calling us to come to Him.

The first stanza of Hymns, #806 reads, "Break Thou the Bread of Life, / Dear Lord, to me, / As Thou didst break the loaves / Beside the sea; / Beyond the sacred page / I seek Thee, Lord; / My spirit pants for Thee, / O Living Word." This hymn may have been written by the Brethren because it contains types and figures. For instance, stanza 1 says, "Break Thou the Bread of Life, / Dear Lord, to me; / As Thou didst break the loaves / Beside the sea." Stanza 4 says, "Bless Thou the truth, dear Lord, / To me, to me, / As Thou didst bless the bread / By Galilee." This kind of imagery is similar to what can be found in Brethren hymns. This hymn contains a crucial point that shows the kind of person we should be and the kind of attitude and desire we should have, if we desire to seek the word of the Lord.

This hymn also shows that the writer was not seeking mere biblical doctrine but the Lord Himself. Hence, the second half of stanza 1 reads, "Beyond the sacred page / I seek Thee, Lord; / My spirit pants for Thee, / O Living Word." Then the second half of stanza 3 says, "Show me the truth concealed / Within Thy Word, / And in Thy Book revealed / I see the Lord." The author of this hymn was not seeking doctrines but the Lord Himself in the Word.

Stanza 4 reads, "Bless Thou the truth, dear Lord, / To me, to me, / As Thou didst bless the bread / By Galilee; / Then shall all bondage cease, / All fetters fall, / And I shall find my peace, / My All in all." Everyone who seeks to prophesy, who seeks the Lord's word, should learn of the spirit and attitude demonstrated in this hymn. We need to see that we are not seeking the truth as doctrine or as letter. Instead, we are seeking the Lord of reality, the Lord Himself.