Taking communion at home. Is it okay?

by Matt Slick
3/26/2020

Is it okay to take communion at home outside the church? Yes, it is. (Procedure at the end of this article) Though it is best to participate in the Lord's supper in the body of Christ in a church gathering, it is okay to take it at home. There are different reasons people might need to do this. There could be a pandemic that requires isolation or physical infirmities that prevent transportation. There is also the possibility that there might not be a good church in the area. Whatever the reason, it's okay to take communion at home.

The head of the house

In the best scenario, the father/husband should offer the communion since he is the head of the family. But if a husband/father is not present, then the female head of the house can offer it.

Who can give communion?

There is nothing in Scripture that says only ordained ministers or males or allowed to give communion. However, I think it is best that ordained ministers offer it (for biblical fidelity), and after that, the father/husband of the house can administer it. This is because the male (husband/father) is the head of the house: Ephesians 5:23, "For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body."

Who can take communion, everyone, children?

Communion is only for those who have trusted in Christ. It is not for unbelievers. This is why "Guarding the Table" is part of the communion observance (explained below). But can children of believing parents take communion? That would depend on the child's ability to understand what is going on. The parent would have to decide when he or she has a sufficient understanding of sin, repentance, and trust in Christ. After all, the Bible says, "For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly," (1 Cor. 11:29).

Unleavened bread and wine or bread and grape juice?

There is no requirement in Scripture that says communion must be offered with unleavened bread and wine. Unleavened bread was used for Passover (Deut. 16:1-3), which is also called the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Luke 22:1). Since Jesus was crucified on Passover, the Christian church has traditionally used unleavened bread. Matthew 26:26, "While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” The text does not say that it had to be unleavened bread, though it is implied. Nevertheless, not many households have unleavened bread. So, use what you can.

Breaking the bread

You can break the bread before the service begins and have it waiting on a plate. Or you can break it during the communion service. You can pass the bread from person to person who then break it off. Or, if you're the head of the house, you can break pieces off and then hand them to family members. You choose.

Passing the wine/grape juice

You can use a single cup from which each person drinks. Or, you can use separate cups that you have prepared beforehand. Either way is fine.

Wine or grape juice?

The word for wine in Greek is oinos, οἶνος. It occurs 34 times in the New Testament. But, it does not directly appear in the context of the communion supper. However, Jesus said in Luke 22:15, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer." This is where he instituted the Lord's supper and wine was used during the Passover. Nevertheless, when we have children and recovering alcoholics, we do not want to tempt them. So, grape juice is acceptable.

One more thing

I've provided the list of Scriptures cited in this article (NASB) at the end so you don't have to look them all up. But, it is really nice to have an open Bible (your preferred version) from what you read the Scriptures as you present communion.  Please feel free to print this up and use it at home if you so desire.

 

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Procedure of Communion

So, to help those at home here is a generic order of service. I've put suggested things to say in italics. Adapt it to what you prefer. Also, don't worry about doing everything perfectly. The important thing is that the communion be administered to the people of God with reverence and biblical instruction.

  1. Guard the table
  2. Explain what the elements represent
  3. Confession and Repentance
  4. Read Scripture
  5. Pray and take the elements

Guard the Table

To guard the table means that the person giving the communion makes it clear that it is only for those who trusted in Christ as their Savior. Also, anyone who has in unrepentant sin is not to partake in communion. Generally speaking, in a family situation, this is not an issue. You would have to use your judgment.

Communion is for those who trust in Jesus as their Savior and who are not in unrepentant sin. So, if you are not a believer or if you have unconfessed and unrepentant sin, then please do not take the communion elements. I am here to talk to you about what it means to trust in Christ and confess your sin if you're interested.

You can read scripture at this point if this applies

1 Corinthians 11:27, "Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord." 

Explain what the elements represent

It's good to explain what the bread and wine mean. The bread represents the body of Christ, and the wine represents the blood of Christ. Jesus was physically (in his body) offered on the cross as a sacrifice for sin (Heb. 7:27; 1 Pet. 2:24). His blood is what cleanses us of our sin (1 John 1:7).



We are going to partake of communion. The bread represents the body of Christ, which was crucified on the cross. The wine (or grapejuice) represents his blood which was shed on the cross. It is his blood that cleanses us of our sins.

Confession and Repentance

Because taking communion is at a serious thing, you have the option of offering a moment for those around you to prepare their own hearts by praying and confessing their unrepentant sins. This is not a necessity, though it is a good idea. It would be up to you to decide if you want to do this or not.

Let's take a moment to lift our own hearts and attitudes before the Lord and confess our sins to him in a moment of silent prayer as we prepare ourselves to receive communion.

Read Scripture

It's always good to read the word of God during communion. After all, it's in God's word that we learn of it. Also, the word of God will not come back empty without accomplishing what God desires (Isaiah 55:11). Reading the word of God about the communion instituted from Jesus helps ground people in the word and in the truth of what the communion is for.

1 Corinthians 11:23–26, "For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes."

Or both

Matthew 26:26–28, "While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” 27 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; 28 for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins."  

Pray and take the elements

At this point, you can offer a short prayer thanking the Lord for what he has done for us on the cross. Then, you can say something like...

Jesus told us to take the bread and wine in remembrance of what he did for us on the cross. We are thankful for his sacrifice and so we take it together.

An alternate form of presenting the elements

In some churches, the pastor will break up the reading of the word into two sections where he reads the text about Jesus breaking the bread, and then he instructs the congregation to eat the bread. He then reads the section of Scripture dealing with the cup of wine/grape juice and then instructs the congregation to drink the juice. This is a good way to do it, as well.

The exact procedure is not dictated to us in Scripture so there's freedom.

Closing Comment

I hope this article helps you in administering communion at home. Again, don't worry about doing it perfectly. Do your best, read the Scriptures, and take the elements. Lead your family and friends in communion as a form of worshipful praise and thanksgiving to Jesus.

 

 

Scriptures used In this article

  • Deut. 16:1-3, "Observe the month of Abib and celebrate the Passover to the LORD your God, for in the month of Abib the LORD your God brought you out of Egypt by night. 2 “You shall sacrifice the Passover to the LORD your God from the flock and the herd, in the place where the LORD chooses to establish His name. 3 “You shall not eat leavened bread with it; seven days you shall eat with it unleavened bread, the bread of affliction (for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste), so that you may remember all the days of your life the day when you came out of the land of Egypt."
  • Isaiah 55:11, "So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it."
  • Matthew 26:26–28, "While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” 27 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; 28 for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins."  
  • Luke 22:1, "Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was approaching."
  • Luke 22:15, "And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer."
  • Ephesians 5:23, "For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body."
  • 1 Corinthians 11:23–26, "For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes."  
  • 1 Corinthians 11:27, "Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord."
  • 1 Corinthians 11:29, "For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly."
  • Heb. 7:27, "[Jesus] "who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself."
  • 1 Pet. 2:24, "and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed."
  • 1 John 1:7, "but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin."

 

 

 

 
 

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.