Acts 27:35
And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat.
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(35) He took bread, and gave thanks to God.—The act was a common practice of devout Jews at the beginning and the end of meals. (See Note on Matthew 14:9.) To the heathen soldiers and sailors it was probably altogether new, and at such a moment must have been singularly impressive. The act of “breaking bread,” though in itself not more than the natural incident of such a meal, must at least have reminded the few Christians who were his companions of the more solemn “breaking of bread” with which they were familiar. (See Note on Acts 2:46.) For them the meal, if not strictly eucharistic, in the liturgical sense of that term, would be at least as an Agapè, or feast of charity.

27:30-38 God, who appointed the end, that they should be saved, appointed the means, that they should be saved by the help of these shipmen. Duty is ours, events are God's; we do not trust God, but tempt him, when we say we put ourselves under his protection, if we do not use proper means, such as are within our power, for our safety. But how selfish are men in general, often even ready to seek their own safety by the destruction of others! Happy those who have such a one as Paul in their company, who not only had intercourse with Heaven, but was of an enlivening spirit to those about him. The sorrow of the world works death, while joy in God is life and peace in the greatest distresses and dangers. The comfort of God's promises can only be ours by believing dependence on him, to fulfil his word to us; and the salvation he reveals must be waited for in use of the means he appoints. If God has chosen us to salvation, he has also appointed that we shall obtain it by repentance, faith, prayer, and persevering obedience; it is fatal presumption to expect it in any other way. It is an encouragement to people to commit themselves to Christ as their Saviour, when those who invite them, clearly show that they do so themselves.And gave thanks ... - This was the usual custom among the Hebrews. See the notes on Matthew 14:19. Paul was among those who were not Christians; but he was not ashamed of the proper acknowledgment of God, and was not afraid to avow his dependence on him, and to express his gratitude for his mercy. 35. when he had thus spoken he took bread—assuming the lead.

and gave thanks to God in presence of them all—an impressive act in such circumstances, and fitted to plant a testimony for the God he served in the breasts of all.

when he had broken it, he began to eat—not understood by the Christians in the ship as a love-feast, or celebration of the Lord's Supper, as some think, but a meal to recruit exhausted nature, which Paul shows them by his own example how a Christian partakes of.

Paul thanks God for their preservation hitherto: and there is no such encouragement to hope for future deliverances, as when God doth give us hearts to thank him for deliverances already enjoyed. But he thanked God also for giving them in their necessity such food to nourish and strengthen them, Matthew 14:19 15:36 Mark 8:6,19, and one season more to enjoy it. The acknowledging of God in all things we enjoy, doth sanctify them to us: otherwise they do defile us; for we usurp them; we holding them by no other tenor but in franc almoine, from God: neither can they be serviceable unto us, if God withholds his blessing. Hence the Jews would not eat until Samuel had thus blessed their food, 1 Samuel 9:13. And our Saviour himself, to give us an example, gives thanks before he would have the miraculous loaves and fishes distributed, John 6:11. And when he had thus spoken he took bread,.... A piece of bread, of common bread, into his hands; for this could never be the eucharist, or Lord's supper, which the apostle now celebrated, as some have suggested, but such sort of bread that seafaring men commonly eat: mention is before made of "meat" or "food", which the apostle entreated them to take, which includes every sort of sea provisions they had with them; and which, with the ancients, were usually the following: it is certain they used to carry bread corn along with them, either crude, or ground, or baked; the former when they went long voyages, the last when shorter ones; and it is plain that they had wheat in this ship, which after they had eaten they cast out, Acts 27:38 and corn ground, or meal, they had used to eat moistened with water, and sometimes with oil, and sometimes with oil and wine; and they had a sort of food they called "maza" which was made of meat and milk; likewise they used to carry onions and garlic, which the rowers usually ate, and were thought to be good against change of places and water; and they were wont to make a sort of soup of cheese, onions and eggs, which the Greeks call "muttootos", and the Latins "mosetum"; and they had also bread which was of a red colour, being hard baked and scorched in the oven, yea it was "biscoctus", twice baked (x); as our modern sea biscuit is, and which has its name from hence, and which for long voyages is four times baked, and prepared six months before the voyage is entered on; and such sort of red bread or biscuit very probably was this, which the apostle now took into his hands, and did with it as follows:

and gave thanks to God in the presence of them all: and for them all, as Christ did at ordinary meals, Matthew 14:19.

and when he had broken it he began to eat: which was all agreeably to the custom and manner of the Jews, who first gave thanks, and then said "Amen", at giving of thanks; when he that gave thanks brake and ate first: for he that brake the bread might not break it until the "Amen" was finished by all that answered by it, at giving of thanks; and no one might eat anything until he that brake, first tasted and ate (y).

(x) Vid. Scheffer. de Militia Navali Veterum, l. 4. c. 1. p. 252, 253, 254. (y) T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 47. 1. Zohar in Num. fol. 100. 3.

And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat.
Acts 27:35-36. Like the father of a family (comp. Luke 24:39) among those at table (not, as Olshausen and Ewald suppose, notwithstanding that most of the persons were heathens, regarding the meal as a Christian love-feast), Paul now, by way of formal and pious commencement of the meal, uttered the thanksgiving-prayer—for the disposition towards, and relative understanding of, which even the Gentiles present were in this situation susceptible—over the bread (Matthew 14:19; Matthew 15:36; Mark 8:6; John 4:11), broke it, and commenced to eat (ἤρξατο ἑσθίειν). And all of them, encouraged by his word and example, on their part followed.

προσελάβ. τροφῆς] partook of food. Comp. Herod. viii. 90. It is otherwise in Acts 27:33, with accusative.Acts 27:35. λαβὼν ἄρτον εὐχαρίστησε τῷ Θ., cf. Luke 22:19; Luke 24:30, with intentional solemnity (Weiss, Weizsäcker). The words are sometimes taken to mean that Paul simply encourages them by his own example to eat. But Blass, see critical note, who comments “et oratione confirmat et exemplo,” adds in [419] text ἐπιδιδοὺς καὶ ἡμῖν, i.e., to Luke and Aristarchus, in which he sees a distinct reference to the cœna sacra (so Belser). But quite apart from this reading in [420] the peculiar language of St. Luke seems to intimate such a reference. Olshausen and Ewald (so Plumptre) take the words to refer to the Agape, whilst Meyer (so Hackett) sees a reference to the act of the Jewish house-father amidst his household; but Wendt simply refers it to the act of a pious Jew or Christian giving thanks before eating a meal and sharing it, so Zöckler. Bethge, more specifically, sees in the act a thanksgiving of a Christian to God the Father, an instance of what St. Paul himself recommends, Ephesians 5:20, Colossians 3:17, and both Felten and Knabenbauer apparently prefer to interpret the words as marking Paul’s reverence towards God before the Gentiles around him. Breusing shows, p. 196, that ἄρτος might = panis nauticus, but in the passage which he quotes from Lucian we have ἄρτους ναυτικούς.

[419] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

[420] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.35. gave thanks to God] As he had advised, so he set the example of taking food. But he did more than this. He made an Eucharist of this meal. In the sight of the heathen soldiers and sailors, he brake the bread in solemn thanksgiving, and thus converted the whole into a religions act, which can hardly have been without its influence on the minds of some, at all events, of those who had heard St Paul’s previous words about the revelation which God had made to him.Acts 27:35. Εὐχαρίστησε, he gave thanks) A public confession of the Lord.—ἤρξατο, he began) There was the force of example even in this. Paul, taking food with good courage, imparts courage to those giving way to despair.Verse 35. - Said this for thus spoken, A.V.; and had taken for he took, A.V.; he gave for and gave, A.V.; the presence of all for presence of them all, A.V.; be brake for when he had broken, A.V.; and began for he began, A.V. Had taken bread, etc. The concurrence of the words λαβὼν ἄρτον ηὐχαρίστησε, κλάσας, which all occur in the institution of the Holy Eucharist (Luke 22:19), is certainly, as Bishop Wordsworth says, remarkable. But there is the same similarity of phrase (except that εὐλόγησε is used for ηὐχαρίστησε in the first passage) in Matthew 14:19 and Matthew 15:36, and therefore the conclusion to be drawn is that St. Paul's action and words were the same as those of our Lord, as far as the breaking bread and giving thanks and eating, went, which were common to both occasions; but in the institution of the sacrament the words "This is my body" were additional, and represented an additional and sacramental truth. Observe, again, the devout confession of the living God in the presence of unbelieving men (vers. 23, 24).
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