Topic outline

  • lord's supper: the agape love feast

    By Stephen E. Atkerson

    Enroll me

    Why is the Lord’s Supper is called a “supper,” when you only sip a little bit of grape juice, and when you eat just a few crumbs of bread? 

    Have you ever pondered over the somber atmosphere, the funereal organ music, and the long, sad, serious faces you see in a communion service?

    Have you ever wondered why the Lord’s Supper was called “Communion”? 

    In this course you will learn how the traditions of men have obscured the meaning and practice of the most important Christian ritual. You will learn how the Lord’s Supper was originally a feast of joy, an instrument of unity, a weekly reminder to the Lord of his promised return, and how the Agape Love Feast is, in fact, the chief reason that Christians should gather together.  

    Course Objectives: 

    When you have completed this course, you will be able to:

    • Assess the value of the Lord’s Supper as a full meal compared with the Lord’s Supper as a sip and a snack

    • Share with others the joy of celebrating the Lord’s Supper as a banquet

    • Identify the Scriptures which show that Christians celebrated the feast at least once per week

    • Explain how the Lord’s Supper is a sign to remind God of His New Covenant

    • Justify a forward-looking focus of the Lord’s Supper which focuses on the Messianic Banquet

    • State the Scripture which indicates that the celebration of the Lord’s Supper will hasten Jesus’ return

    • Explain that the chief purpose for which the New Testament church gathered was to eat the Lord’s Supper

    • Testify to practical ways eating the Lord’s Supper together helps a church grow as a community

    • Identify a Scripture that says that the Lord’s Supper actually CREATES unity


    Post in 5 Forums. You will get a completion check indicating you have posted reflections. Read and engage with the comments of others. 


    After you complete viewing the materials and posting your reflections, there is a feedback quiz. The quiz will help evaluate the effectiveness of the mini-course.

    Content Provider:

    This course is provided by NTRF - Small Churches, BIG Impact!

    "For over twenty-five years, we have provided church leaders in the Americas, Asia, Europe, Africa and Oceania with resources and training in how the early church met together in community. The essential tenets of the faith to which we subscribe are identical to those found in the doctrinal statements of any sound evangelical institution. Our favorite statement of faith is the First London Baptist Confession of 1646. In short, we advocate historic, orthodox Christianity poured into the wineskin of New Testament church practice as seen on the pages of Scripture. Our goal is to be Christ honoring and thoroughly biblical in every area concerning our church life."


    Watch →

    Read →

    Listen →

  • Topic 1

    • Please watch this video from 00:00 to 11:39. 

    • View Make forum posts: 1

      1. Please give four proofs that establish the fact that the Lord’s Supper was a full meal, and not a sip and a chip. Be sure to explain how each proof supports the proposition that the Lord’s Supper was a full meal.

      2. After examining 1 Corinthians 11:17-34, please discuss the problems that the church of Corinth had in administering the Lord’s Supper, and also discuss how Paul suggested the church deal with those problems. How does Paul’s instruction show that the Lord’s Supper was an actual meal?

      3. Please list four established scholars who say definitely that the early church celebrated the Lord’s Supper as a full meal.

      4. In what ways have you experienced the Lord's Supper? What response has this experience generated in your faith walk?

      5. What benefits and drawbacks do you see in celebrating the Lord's Supper as a meal today?

      Updated 10/2/23

  • Topic 2

    • Please watch this video from 11:40 - 15:57, and 18:22 - 29:40.

    • View Make forum posts: 1

      1. Explain how the Lord’s Supper is a prophetic type of something in the future. Please state what that future something is.

      2. In your opinion, why is the process of looking forward to the future just as important as looking backwards in the context of the Lord's Supper?

      3. Please give three Scriptures which show that there is a forward-looking aspect to the Lord’s Supper. Please do not merely list the Scriptures, but rather explain how each Scripture shows the future focus of the Lord’s Supper.

      4. What is the importance of the distinction made between 'remembrance' and 'reminder'? How does this impact your view of the Lord's Supper, particularly as a covenant?

      Updated 10/3/23

  • Topic 3

    • Please watch this video from 15:58 - 18:14 and 35:14 - 39:02. 

    • View Make forum posts: 1

      1. How can you fuse fellowship and the breaking of bread in your life?

      2. Have you ever experienced a Lord's Supper that included an aspect of fellowship? If so, describe it. 

      3. What Scripture can you give that shows that the atmosphere of Lord’s Supper in the early church was festive, and not funereal? Compare the atmosphere of the Lord’s Suppers you have participated in with the atmosphere of the Lord’s Supper in the early church.

      4. Give Scriptural proof that one cup and loaf create unity in the body of Christ.

      5. In your view, does the modern church practice of eating bread crumbs and drinking from separate cups illustrate the unity that the Lord’s Supper is supposed to represent? Why or why not?

      Updated 10/3/23

  • Topic 4

    • Please watch this video from 29:42 - 35:13. 

    • View Make forum posts: 1

      1. Why do you think the church's emphasis on eating together weekly for fellowship has diminished in many cases?

      2. In your own words, how does 1 Corinthians 10:17 impact the practice of the Lord's Supper?

      3. Give Scriptural support using at least three Scriptures proving that the Lord’s Supper was held weekly.

      4. Give Scriptural support using at least three Scriptures proving that the purpose of the gathering in the early Christian church was for the purpose of eating the Lord’s Supper.

      5. What benefits will accrue to your church if the Lord’s Supper is celebrated every week as a full meal?

      Updated 10/3/23

  • Topic 5

    • Please watch this video from 35:14 - 43:41. 

    • View Make forum posts: 1

      1. In your view, does Scripture teach that gathering together weekly in order to eat the Lord’s Supper weekly as a meal in a festive atmosphere is an optional practice, or one that should be followed as a scripturally normative practice? Please give Scripture in your response.

      2. How does this course's description of the Lord's Supper compare to your church's communion?

      3. What are your takeaways from this mini-course?

      Updated 10/3/23

  • Other Resources