When we consider the question of what bread means, we face constant temptation to sidetrack the question into areas that are more comfortable:
- “What does bread mean to me?” – a question of individual emotional association, or
- “What does bread symbolize in the Bible?” – part of our question, an important part – but to ask the question this way is to stop with the academics, which is missing the whole point.
We live in a meaningful world. Everything means something; everything is a message from a loving, majestic Triune God. Only when we begin to ask what each thing means do we begin to understand the world and our place in it. So what we’re asking is what bread means in the world itself. When you see a loaf of bread sitting on the counter in your own kitchen, what does it mean? The Bible does speak about the meaning of bread, not just because bread symbolizes something in God’s Word, but because bread symbolizes something in God’s world—the only world there is.
Bread is provision, it is blessing, it is strength. It is the product of dominion, a cooperation between God’s blessing of the crops and man’s labor in the fields, the mill and the bakery. Every loaf of bread is God’s kindness, a demonstration of the image of God, of God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven, and when we eat this blessing, we receive strength. And so, of necessity, every loaf of bread is also a call to thank God.
Knowing this about bread, begin to ask yourself what the other things in your life mean. Don’t be afraid to find that you don’t know. God wants you to know; He will teach you if you will trust Him.