Administration of the Lord’s Supper

Our mother has challenged us to outline the duties and regulations that pertain to the sovereign institution of the Lord’s Supper. First we shall state our presuppositions.

  1. The Scriptures are divinely authoritative to everything they address, and the Scriptures address everything.12 Peter 1:19-21, 2 Timothy 3:16-17
  2. The Lord’s Supper is an ordinance of sovereign institution, appointed by the Lord Jesus Christ, the only lawgiver, to be continued in his church to the end of the world.2Matthew 28:19-20, 1 Corinthians 11:26
  3. Since the administration of the Lord’s Supper is prescribed in Scripture, the prescribed administration must be followed, unless Christ, by Scripture, has altered it.
    3Deuteronomy 4:2, Deuteronomy 12:32, Revelation 22:18-19

The following verses address the administration of the the Lord’s Supper, the duty of the minister, and the role of the church.

Matthew 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-25, Luke 22:14-23
In these passages we find the institution of the Lord’s Supper by our Lord the same night that He was betrayed. We also see that it is Christ who administers and blesses the bread and the wine. This presents us with an example that we are to follow, for this is the example that the early church demonstrates in Acts 20:7,11 and 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.

Acts 20:7,11
The breaking of bread is to be joined with the preaching of the Word, and the fellowship of the saints, which constitute the church.

1 Corinthians 11:17-34
The Lord’s Supper is to be administered when the saints come together as a church, else it is not the Lord’s Supper. Verses 20-22 describe improper administration of the Lord’s Supper, we would do well to avoid such conduct. We do not see in this passage an express command as to who should administer the Lord’s Supper, for Paul’s focus is not on the administration, but rather it is on how the Lord’s Supper is to be received. We shall look to other passages for the instructions pertaining to the administration of this ordinance.

Ephesians 4:11-13
God has given Ministers (Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Shepherds, and Teachers) to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, and for building up the body of Christ. Is not the administration of the ordinances to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, and building up the body of Christ? Indeed, it is.

1 Corinthians 4:1
The Ministers, are servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. This text demonstrates that as stewards of the mysteries of God, Ministers have been delegated the authority to administer the Lord’s Supper.

Matthew 28:16-20
The great commission is not given to all of Christ’s disciples, but only to the eleven Apostles. Thus, the Apostles (and those who have their authority, e.g. Ministers) are to baptize and teach all that Christ has commanded. All that Christ has commanded would include the administration of the Lord’s Supper.

1 Peter 5:1-2
Minister’s are to feed the flock of God. Much of this feeding consists in the dispensation of the ordinances of God, and He who has appointed this food to be received by some, has also appointed it to be given and administered by others.

2 Timothy 2:2
Ministers are to entrust to faithful men the things heard from Paul. These faithful men are clearly Ministers for they are required to teach that which is entrusted to them. The things that have been heard from Paul, include the administration of the Lord’s Supper, as evidenced in Paul’s epistles.

Therefore we conclude that the Lord Jesus Christ has, in this ordinance, appointed His Ministers to pray, and bless the elements of bread and wine. We find no command or example in Scripture, that anyone but a qualified Minister, who has been called by the Lord Jesus Christ, has the authority to administer the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper.

By Kevin and Kurtis Amundson

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. 2 Peter 1:19-21, 2 Timothy 3:16-17
2. Matthew 28:19-20, 1 Corinthians 11:26
3. Deuteronomy 4:2, Deuteronomy 12:32, Revelation 22:18-19

“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”
—Revelation 11:15