“…Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it…”
“For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye…”
1 Cor. 11:23-25
Order of Contents
What is Intinction & is it Biblical?
What is Intinction & is it Biblical?
Intinction is the practice of dipping the bread into the wine in order to eat the elements of the Lord’s Supper together.
Intinction is wrong because we are only supposed to worship God in the way that He directs in Scripture (the Regulative Principle of Worship), and Intinction is directly contrary to the two separate actions, and the order of them, that Christ specifically established as part of the Lord’s Supper, namely that:
(1) the minister is to break the loaf of bread while giving the words of institution, and then give the broken loaf to the people to divide amongst themselves;
(2) and then to pour the wine while giving the words of institution, afterwards giving the cup to the people to divide amongst themselves.
Paul sets Christ’s example as the apostolic institution for the Church in 1 Cor. 11:23-25.
That which Christ dipped his bread into (Jn. 13:26) was probably not wine, but a sauce of bitter herbs, as was done on Passover night (Ex. 12:8). This gives the proper significance to Jesus prophecying of dipping his bread at the same time as the one that would betray him, who would share with Him in these bitter and painful actions.
The Lord’s Supper, on the other hand, was not the Passover meal or a part thereof, but was a new insitution Jesus ordained after the completion of the Old Testament Passover meal (Lk. 22:20), as the Old was being filled up and must pass away before the New which would remain. The instructions for the Lord’s Supper were distinguished and in contrast, by the Lord’s appointment of these symbolic actions, to the practice of regular meals and the Passover.
The Regulative Principle of Worship requires worshipping God according to the pattern in Scripture **as far as, and as in as much detail as,** it can be discerned in Scripture, and no less. Not only are the elements of worship regulated (the bread and wine), but every spiritually significant part of the sacramental actions (of both the minister and the recipients) are morally binding as well, as Christ said, ‘This **do** in remembrance of Me’ (Lk. 22:19). The apostle Paul binds this exact same directive upon the Church in 1 Cor. 11.
The administration of the Supper being clearly and specifically prescribed in this distinct manner, is, by definition, not indifferent. Hence we do not have the liberty to change our Lord’s commandments and Supper, but are obliged to perform it as He has prescribed it.
Leigh, Edward – ‘The Necessity of the Eucharist’ in Bk. 8, ch. 10, ‘Of the Mass’ in A System or Body of Divinity (1654), p. 705
Boston, Thomas – ‘Of the Lord’s Supper’, pp. 484-486 in Works, vol. 2 †1732
Boston was an influential evangelical minister in the Church of Scotland.
Note that on p. 484, towards the bottom, Boston thought it significant that the bread and wine are separate in the administration thereof. Boston then expounds the four distinct actions of the sacrament that he believes are spiritually significant and necessary:
(1) the taking up of the bread and cup by the minister,
(2) the consecration of the bread and wine,
(3) the breaking of the bread and the pouring out of the wine as distinct acts, and
(4) the ‘giving of the bread, and then the wine, to the communicants.’
Willison, John – ‘Some Further Meditations on the Sacramental Elements, Actions and Words’, pp. 247-255 in A Sacramental Directory: or a Treatise concerning the Sanctification of a Communion Sabbath †1750
Willison was an influential evangelical minister in the Church of Scotland. He gives meditations for the godly Christian when one is viewing the separate actions of the breaking of the bread, the giving it, eating of it, and then of the pouring out of the wine and drinking of it.
Keister, Lane – Intinction: An Historical, Exegetical & Systematic-Theological Examination (2012) 19 pp.
This paper sufficiently demonstrates that the practice is contrary to the teaching of the Bible, confusing the order and symbolism of the Lord’s Supper as set for by Christ in His institution of it, and later reaffirmed by Paul. Keister first gives the history of the practice, then examines the relevant Biblical texts, and then addresses objections.
Keister does not address the teaching of the Westminster Standards. For that, see the PCA Ohio Presbytery Report.
PCA Ohio Presbytery Committee Report – ‘Intinction’ (2012) 89 paragraphs
This report addresses, amongst other things, the history of intinction in the PCA and whether the practice is “indifferent,” that is, religiously neutral and therefore something that one has liberty over. For a fuller discussion of the Biblical material and reformed history, see Keister’s article.
Clark, R. Scott – ‘Prima Facie Evidence Against Intinction’ (2017) 13 paragraphs
Waters, Guy P. – ‘To Dip or Not to Dip? The Case Against Intinction’ (2022) 11 paragraphs at The Gospel Coalition
Waters has been a professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary.
Directory for the Public Worship of God
“The elements being now sanctified by the word and prayer, the minister, being at the table, is to take the bread in his hand, and say, in these expressions, (or other the like, used by Christ or his apostle upon this occasion):
‘According to the holy institution, command, and example of our blessed Saviour Jesus Christ, I take this bread, and, having given thanks, break it, and give it unto you; (there the minister, who is also himself to communicate, is to break the bread, and give it to the communicants;) Take ye, eat ye; this is the body of Christ which is broken for you: do this in remembrance of him.”
In like manner the minister is to take the cup, and say, in these expressions, (or other the like, used by Christ or the apostle upon the same occasion:)
“According to the institution, command, and example of our Lord Jesus Christ, I take this cup, and give it unto you; (here he giveth it to the communicants;) This cup is the new testament in the blood of Christ, which is shed for the remission of the sins of many: drink ye all of it.’
After all have communicated…”
Robert Bruce †1631
Sermons on the Lord’s Supper, ed. Laidlaw, 1904, p. 55 This was perhaps the most influential work on the Lord’s Supper in Scottish history. Note how Bruce sees the breaking of the bread and the pouring out of the wine as separate, spiritually significant, necessary actions.
“There is not a rite nor ceremony in the sacrament of the Supper, but is a sign, and has its own spiritual signification with it: as namely, looking to the breaking of the body and blood of Christ. . . .
Therefore the breaking is an essential ceremony: the pouring out of the wine also is an essential ceremony. For as you see clearly, that by the wine is signified the blood of Christ, so by the pouring out of the wine, is signified that His blood was severed from his flesh; and the severing of those two makes death: for in blood is the life; and consequently it testifies His death.
The pouring out of the wine, therefore, tells thee that He died for thee, that His blood was shed for thee; so this is an essential ceremony which must not be left out.
Likewise the distribution, giving and eating of that bread are essential ceremonies. And what does the eating testify to thee? The applying of the body and blood of Christ to thy soul. So that there is none of these rites but have their own signification; and there cannot one of them be left out, but you shall pervert the whole action.”
Ames, William 1633
A Fresh Suit Against Human Ceremonies in God’s Worship, pp. 36-37
“…the Rejoinder [in opposition to Ames] answers that sopping of bread in wine is worse than the cross:
1. Because the cross makes no alteration, of what Christ did ordain, saying ‘Do this.’
2. It is not substituted in the place of baptism, as sops in wine were by those heretics in place of the [Lord’s] Supper.
3. It is not esteemed an instrumental sign of any grace given by the use of it, as they took their sops to be.
4. Their sopping destroyed the very sacrament.
…But [Ames answers]:
1. Addition is as evil as alteration. For when Christ said, ‘Do this,’ He meant as well, do this only, as do this all. Fac hoc totum: fac hoc tantum: as [Jerome] Zanchi expounds it. Addition also is some alteration, if not of the things instituted, yet of the institution, as making it insufficient or incomplete by itself alone.”
2. Sops and wine were not substituted in place of bread and wine, but were bread and wine…
3. Sopping of bread in wine, considered abstractly from bread and wine, was no signe instituted as an instrument of grace. For so says Cassander (p. 1027) out of Ivo: this custom of Sopping prevailed [in some places in the early Church] only through fear of shedding and not by direct authority…
4. It is too severe a sentence against those ancient Christians in Prosper’s time and (which is more) as Cassander and Hospinian judge, in Cyprian’s, that they destroyed the very substance of the sacrament. The setting forth of Christ’s death was not excluded, though some part of the blood was representatively joined unto the body. A man is dead that lies in his blood though some of it soak again into his body. The Fathers, six hundred years together, did not destroy the substance of the sacrament.
…The first [argument of Ames] was, the bread and wine (the only things used in sopping) were ordained by Christ: so is [it] not [with] the cross. The Rejoinder answers here nothing to the purpose, save only, that they [the bread and wine] were ordained to be used apart. From whence it follows only that it is unlawful to use them not apart….”
Morton, Thomas Reformed Anglican
The Lords Supper or, A Vindication of the Sacrament (1656), pp. 62-3
“Were it that we had no precept of Christ to [‘Do this’] but only the example of his doing it in the first institution, this should be a rule for us to observe it punctually, excepting in such circumstances which only occasionally and accidentally happened therein… Which doctrine we are now to try by the judgement of antiquity…
In the days of Pope Julius, anno 337, there arose many giddy spirits which violated the holy institution of Christ in this sacrament when as some consecrated milk instead of wine, others sopped the bread in the cup, a third sort squeezed grapes there-into. These, and the like, that holy Pope did condemn, but how? By pretense of custom only?
No, but by the obligation of Christ, his example, and institution of this sacrament, in these words following: Because these are contrary (says he) to evangelical and apostolical doctrine and ecclesiastical custom, as is easily proved from the fountain of truth, from whence the sacraments had their first ordinance; for when our Master of Truth commended this to his disciples, He gave to none milk, but bread only, and the cup. Nor does the Gospel mention the sopping of bread, but of giving bread apart, and the cup also apart, etc. So Pope Julius [see the original latin].
Long after this, the Council of Braccara (about the year of our Lord, 675) [footnote] withstood the complemental custom of receiving both kinds [of bread and wine] in dipped sops, but wot [know] you why? Hearken, even because it is not revealed in the Gospel of Christ’s institution. Ponder the Testimony in the margin [of the book] and you shall find it point-blank contradictory to your opinion and practice. Which reasoning of the bishops of that council had been very loose and lavish, except they had believed that the form of institution of Christ, concerning the participation of both kinds, was as commandatory as well for the people as the priest.”
Willison, John †1750
‘Concerning the Sacramental Words’ in A Sacramental Catechism, in Works, vol. 2, pp. 67-68 Willison was an evangelical minister in the Church of Scotland.
“Question: Are not the sacramental elements, actions, and words, to be reckoned, all three together, as the outward sensible sign in this ordinance, for exhibiting, sealing, and applying Christ and his benefits to worhty communicants?
Q: Is there any difference betwixt them?
A: Though they be all very significant and instructive to us in partaking, yet they seem to differ in this, that the sacramental elements mainly hold forth the spiritual matter and substance which we partake of; the sacramental actions serve as a rule or example to regulate our practice of it; and the sacramental words point forth the doctrine, uses, and ends of the ordinance.”
“And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.”
Sitting at the Table in Communion
The Westminster Standards on the Administration of the Lord’s Supper
Samuel Rutherford on the Administration of the Lord’s Supper
Communion Sermons and Table Addresses
Preparing for the Lord’s Table