The New Testament and the Sacraments


Does the New Testament teach the Sacraments? Some would argue that sometime after the apostles died, the Church ‘invented’ the idea of Sacrament, esp. in the Medieval era.

Consider, though, the book of John. Call it the ‘secret Sacramental’ gospel with multiple allusions to baptism and Eucharist. For example:
John 2, Jesus turns water into wine.
John 3, no one can see the Kingdom unless they are ‘born of water and the Spirit.’ At the end of John 3 we see the only place where Jesus’ disciples baptize.
John 4, Jesus offers the woman at the well ‘living water.’
John 5, the man is healed before entering the waters of the pool of Bethzada.
And of course John 6 Jesus calls himself the ‘Bread of Life’ and says, ‘unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no life in you.’

I find the data fascinating. We need to remember there was a Christian community that coexisted with the writing of the New Testament–a community that was presumably sacramental.

4 thoughts on “The New Testament and the Sacraments

  1. I find the notion of the sacraments entirely extrabiblical and an invention of the church. Which is not to say that I think they’re wrong, just not biblical.

    From this protestant’s point of view, if taking the sacraments is meaningful to you, speaks of God to you, calls you to better follow in Jesus’ steps, then by all means, do it.

    Just don’t claim it to be a normative practice found in the Bible. If you want to say it is suggested in the Bible, then I’m fine with that even. It’s just not a clear biblical teaching.

    Seems to me.

  2. Which Bible are you reading Mr. Dan? Does Paul’s description of the Lord’s supper in 1 Cor 10-11 ring a bell? How about the numerous verses on baptism?

  3. I’m talking about the ceremony that we’ve made out of communion, that it seems to me rather extrabiblical. Removed from the context of a communal dinner, it has become more of just a ritual.

    Which, as I said, if it means something to you, fine. I’m not much of a ritual guy myself but I don’t have a problem with others enjoying them. And if you find validation in this passage for your communion, that’s fine with me.

    I read the Corinthians passage differently than you I suspect, but maybe that’s just me. You were asking, I offered my opinion.

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