Eucharistic bread and fish

Early third century depiction of eucharistic bread and fish, Catacomb of San Callisto, Rome.

The Bread of Life Discourse is an episode in the life of Jesus that appears in the Gospel of John 6:22-59.[1]

The title "Bread of Life" (Greek: ἄρτος τῆς ζωῆς, artos tēs zōēs) for Jesus is based on this Biblical episode which takes place in the Gospel of John shortly after the Feeding the multitude episode (in which Jesus feeds the crowds with five loaves of bread and two fish) after which the crowds watch as Jesus walks to the other side of lake on the water after Jesus' walk on water.[2]

In the Gospel of John:

Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." (John 6:32-35, New Revised Standard Version) [3]

The Gospel of John does not include an account of the blessing of the bread during the Last Supper, e.g. as in the Gospel of Luke 22:19. However, this discourse does communicate teachings regarding the Eucharist that have been very influential in the Christian tradition.[4]

In the Christological context, the use of the Bread of Life title is similar to the Light of the World title in John 8:12 where Jesus states: "I am the light of the world: he who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."[5] These assertions build on the Christological theme of John 5:26 where Jesus claims to possess life Just as the Father does and provide it to those who follow him.[5][6]


  1. The Gospel According to John: A Literary and Theological Commentary by Thomas L. Brodie 1997 ISBN 0-19-511811-1 page 266
  2. Who do you say that I am?: essays on Christology by Jack Dean Kingsbury, Mark Allan Powell, David R. Bauer 1999 ISBN 0-664-25752-6 page 83
  3. [1]
  4. The Eucharist in the New Testament by Jerome Kodell 1988 ISBN 0-8146-5663-3 page 118
  5. 5.0 5.1 Christology in Context by Marinus de Jonge 1988 ISBN 978-0-664-25010-2 page 147
  6. The person of Christ by Gerrit Cornelis Berkouwer 1954 ISBN 0-8028-4816-8 page 163

See also

Template:Titles of Jesus

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