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The Wonderful Symbolism of Bread in the Bible

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Bread in the Bible is about as rich in symbolism as any other symbolic reference in scripture. Before we dive into the significance of bread in God’s Holy Word, let’s talk about food in the Bible as a brief introduction.

For more on other symbolism in the Bible, see this post.

Food in the Bible

References to food can be found in nearly every book of the Bible. There are recipes (see below for a recipe for Ezekiel bread), dietary restrictions, meals shared with friends, and, of course, symbolism.

Obviously, we need food to survive, but eating can also be enjoyable, too. Especially when the food is good or one of your favorite cuisines. It is one of the many pleasures that God has given us for the duration of our lives in the world. God intended for food to give us pleasure:

image of ezekiel bread with the text Bread in the Bible, & its symbolism

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.

1 Timothy 6:17 (ESV)


who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.”  

1 Timothy 4:3 (ESV)

What makes eating even more gratifying is enjoying a meal with friends and family. We see many references to Jesus dining with his disciples and people from all walks of life, even causing an uproar by eating with sinners and tax collectors (Matthew 9:10-17). Our Savior appreciated dining on good food with others. This is another example of how good and gracious God is to us – He wants us to enjoy what He has given us with others.

And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,”  

Acts 2:46 (ESV)

Food in the Bible is also evidence that we are dependent on Our Heavenly Father. He provides us with sustenance to live. That, in and of itself, is quite humbling, isn’t it? It is not ourselves that pave our way on this earth, but rather, it is through Him that we are given everything that we have – our shelter, our loved ones, everything we have and need to live, including our food.

very moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.”

Genesis 9:3 (ESV)

Moses even mentioned this to the Israelites when he reminded them that God orchestrates their lives and that everything they have was provided by the mouth of the Lord:

And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

Deuteronomy 8:3 (ESV)

Bread in the Bible

Bread has been a staple food since the beginning of the life of the world and will be until its last day. At the start of Bible times, in the days of Adam and Eve, when they were banished from the Garden of Eden, God punished Adam to put work into growing his own food (and bread) instead of having it all just given to him as it was ready and available in the Garden. Adam and Eve went from gathering food to having to grow their food, and eventually, mankind learned how to turn this vegetation into bread.

thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
    and you shall eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your face
    you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
    for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
    and to dust you shall return.”

Genesis 3:18-19 (ESV)

When humans learned and perfected bread making, they ate and prepared it in many different ways. They made bread from wheat, barley, spelt, or millet. They learned to season it with different oils and herbs.

They ate round and flat bread and even created bread flavored with grapes and honey.

Of course, a certain kind of bread, which was unleavened bread, or matzah, called the ‘bread of haste’, was the bread which the Hebrews brought with them when they fled Egypt and did not have time to allow their bread to rise. It continues to be eaten today at the Passover meal to remind celebrants of their ancestor’s release from slavery in Egypt.

You shall eat no leavened bread with it. Seven days you shall eat it with unleavened bread, the bread of affliction—for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste—that all the days of your life you may remember the day when you came out of the land of Egypt.”  

Deuteronomy 16:3 (ESV)

Symbolism of Bread in the Bible

Bread continues to be one of the most powerful symbols of our Christian faith. It is mentioned at least 492 times in the Bible, both in the Old Testament and the New Testament, with a variety of meanings and symbolism throughout. 

We’ll cover six of the most profound and important symbols for bread in the Bible, starting with one of the most important mentions of bread in the Bible: the Lord’s Prayer:

Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.”

Matthew 6:9-13 (ESV)

In the Lord’s Prayer, this request to God is for both physical food (sustenance) and spiritual food, daily bread for life itself, and the bread of life. (See this post on how to pray according to scripture).

Another significant symbolism for bread in the Bible is, of course, how bread symbolizes Christ’s body, which He gave up for us. We’ll cover that in detail below.

Take a moment to think of as many references to bread in the Bible as you can, then compare it to my list below. You may be amazed at how the symbolism of bread in the Bible illustrates God’s faithfulness, grace, and even life itself.

Bread Symbolizes God’s Provision and Our Survival

As mentioned above, one of the first pieces of scripture we think about when it comes to the significance of bread in the Bible is Exodus 16. God provided delicious, daily manna, like the physical daily bread, to sustain the Israelites as they wandered in the desert. He did this because He provided for His children, and their survival depended on it.

While manna doesn’t rain down from heaven today (oh, that it would!), we still depend on the living Father God for our sustenance today. He allows the crops to grow and gives us everything else we need to live on this side of heaven.

Look around and remember that Jehovah Jireh promises to give us what we need. He will never fail us.

Bread Symbolizes Life and Salvation

Also mentioned above, the Israelites had to flee without having time to allow their dough to rise. Bread symbolizes God saving (salvation) the children of Israel, His children, from Egyptian slavery. Even today, as Passover meal celebrations are held around the world, the Jewish people still use unleavened loaves of bread to remember God’s saving them from Pharoah.

Of course, most Christians are more familiar with another symbolism of bread in the Bible as salvation and eternal life. When we celebrate holy communion, we celebrate Jesus dying on the cross for us.

As it was in the Last Supper, the “bread” or eucharist is taken as a remembrance of Jesus’ body.

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.

Matthew 26:26 (ESV)


The breaking of bread, first seen in the Last Supper, symbolizes His broken body on the cross, the flesh of the Son of Man. When I really stopped to think about that, it changed the way I viewed partaking in holy communion. He died for us! Communion is a small way that we can tangibly remember this incredible act that changed both history and us as Christians. We are not just eating our little piece of bread and taking our drink offerings; we are accepting and partaking in His new covenant, brought to us in the loving grace exhibited on the cross, where Jesus fulfilled the position of the High Priest, leaving behind the Holy Spirit, the great intercessor. 

image of A woman smiling at the camera with a large bouquet of white flowers in her hands and a text overlay of Proverbs 31:27 for the post on symbolism of bread in the Bible

There are several occasions in the Bible where Jesus calls Himself the bread of life, as well.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

John 6:35 (ESV)

While a physical loaf of bread is nourishment for our bodies, Jesus offers us true bread; the spiritual, living bread of God that feeds our spiritual lives. He brings our souls to life and gave us salvation and eternal life in heaven with Him. 

Bread Symbolizes Forgiveness

So, we know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, but did you know that the name Bethlehem means “House of Bread?” 

Here’s a short video about the Hebrew word, Lechem, or bread and it’s deeper meaning in the Bible.

And, we learned in the above section that Jesus called Himself the bread of life. (He gave us salvation, forgiveness and freedom).

Jesus, the living bread, symbolizes God forgiving our sins and giving us eternal life.

We also read in several scriptures about breaking bread. When we sit down to share a meal with an enemy or adversary and “break bread” with them, we are extending an olive branch of forgiveness, just like the Lord Jesus has done for us. As the apostle Paul puts it:

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Ephesians 4:32 (ESV)

Symbolizes the Bible, God’s Holy Word

Not only is bread in scripture, with symbolism specific to both modern day and Bible times, you may have also heard scripture itself referenced to as bread. Jesus was the physical embodiment of God’s Holy Word

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

John 1:14 (ESV)

They are one and the same. So if Jesus is the bread of life, we can connect the dots that the Bible is meant to feed us spiritually.

And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

Deuteronomy 8:3 (ESV)

The Bible, true bread breathed out by the mouth of God (2 Timothy 3:16), however, cannot nourish us if it sits on a shelf, unopened. For it to feed us spiritually, we need to spend time reading it.

If you truly want to experience God’s grace and feel His presence, you have to read His Word. We must spiritually eat the living bread of God, the living father, that He has given us. 

An image of a stack of matzo and Exodus 25:30  for the post on Bread in the Bible

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of the soul and of spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” 

Hebrews 4:12 (ESV)

Click below for a printable of the Lord’s Prayer

Click below for a printable of the Lord’s Prayer.

Give us this day our daily bread: The Lord's Prayer

God’s Eternal Presence

When Moses received instructions for the Holy Place of the temple, the high priest was directed to build a table made of acacia wood and place it on the north side of the Holy Place. On the table, they were to lay twelve loaves of “showbread” to represent the twelve tribes of Israel.

“And you shall set the bread of the Presence on the table before me regularly.”

Exodus 25:30 (ESV)

You shall take fine flour and bake twelve loaves from it; two tenths of an ephah shall be in each loaf. And you shall set them in two piles, six in a pile, on the table of pure gold before the Lord. And you shall put pure frankincense on each pile, that it may go with the bread as a memorial portion as a food offering to the Lord. 

Every Sabbath day Aaron shall arrange it before the Lord regularly; it is from the people of Israel as a covenant forever. And it shall be for Aaron and his sons, and they shall eat it in a holy place, since it is for him a most holy portion out of the Lord’s food offerings, a perpetual due.

Leviticus 24:5-9 (ESV)

This “bread of the Presence” was was matzah. Although, it sat in open air for an entire week, it didn’t become stale. It’s preparation required special expertise of the priests.

The bread, unlike offerings to pagan Gods, were a show of gratitude and thanksgiving for God’s constant care, provision and presence, summarized as his sovereignty. In this way, bread in the Bible symbolizes God’s eternal, sovereign presence.

Bread Symbolizes Sharing

When Jesus multiplied the loaf of bread to feed the large crowd, bread became a sign of sharing (and provision, again.) It also symbolized the Word of God which nourished the crowds, spiritually.

Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over.

Matthew 14:19-20 (ESV)
An image of bread with John 6:35 quoted over it for the post on symbolism of bread in the Bible

Other Symbols of Bread Found in The Bible

in this post, we’ve covered just a few important signficances of bread in the Bible, but you can find bread in many other old testament and new testament scriptures, as well. Here are a few additional references for the symbolic meaning of bread in the Bible for you to add to your daily Bible study: 

Unity of the church

The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.

 1 Corinthians 10:16–17 (ESV)

An enemy who can be consumed

“Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.”

Numbers 14:9 (ESV)

A symbol of meeting people’s needs

“Cast your bread upon the waters,
for you will find it after many days.”

Ecclesiastes 11:1 (ESV)


until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey, that you may live, and not die. And do not listen to Hezekiah when he misleads you by saying, “The Lord will deliver us.

2 Kings 18:32 (ESV)

Being lazy or unproductive

She looks well to the ways of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Proverbs 31:27 

Accepting wisdom

“Come, eat of my bread
and drink of the wine I have mixed.”

Proverbs 9:5  (ESV)

Poverty or lack

I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities,
    and lack of bread in all your places,
yet you did not return to me,”
declares the Lord.”  

Amos 4:6 (ESV)


Even my close friend in whom I trusted,
    who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.

Psalm 41:9 (ESV)

“I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’

John 13:18 (ESV)

As you can see, the Bible is rich in the many ways that bread can represent things or concepts. It is, of course, nourishment, but most importantly, it is Jesus, Himself. He is the bread of life and if we choose Him (He has already chosen you!), you can experience fullness of life and God’s grace.

Are You a Foodie?  Do you want to learn more about food in the Bible and its symbolism?

A guide to the symbolism of many foods in the Bible, including milk, honey, bread, and more.  Looking at scripture to describe food in biblical times and what it represents in our spiritual life. 

cover of ebook of symbolism of foods in the Bible

Biblical Recipe for Bread

Ezekiel’s Bread Recipe

Vegan Lentil Bread Gluten Free Ezekiel Bread for the post on bread in the Bible.

Ezekiel, one of the prophets of the Old Testament who lived around the 6th century BCE, wrote instructions on how to prepare bread. His ingredients are nourishing and, and even today, many bake this bread for health.

And you, take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and emmer, and put them into a single vessel and make your bread from them. During the number of days that you lie on your side, 390 days, you shall eat it.

Ezekiel 4:9 (ESV)

Of course, we aren’t told at what temperature to bake it or for how long, but this recipe will help with that. The ingredients vary a bit, but the baking instructions will help you make this delicious, healthy Bible bread recipe.

There’s also a great product available on Amazon with all of the ingredients in Ezekiel bread in one mix.

You may enjoy this video: The House of Bread | The Deeper Meaning Behind Bread In The Bible by Jonathan Cahn

Or this recommended resource on bread in the Bible:

The Sacred Life of Bread: Uncovering the Mystery of an Ordinary Loaf by Meghan Murphy-Gill 

What other scripture comes to mind when you think of bread in the Bible? Drop it in the comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Because He Lives,


ESV – “Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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Robert Berentz

Sunday 31st of October 2021

Using the Hebrew New Testament s.g. .. I deciphered Phm 1:3 and was blown away .. yes, I'm a kid from the '50s. The first three words are Favor Bread Peace .. I came here to see your comments on the subject "bread". Check it out .. I use e-Sword and usually between 2 and 6 a.m. Those who come to me early shall find me .. yup, no one else gets up that early. When one prays in Hebrew .. "thangs happen"

Lood at a Map of West Texas and then take your Strong's Concordance and check out Pecos - water supply in the mundane/desert .. Chisos Mountains and they look like a Crushed Hat .. Terlingua / Tarlingua .. howl you ships of Tarshish .. a King David search of a river around the world from the Med. The Ten Commandment Stone in Los Lunas, New Mexico written in Hebrew with one Greek lettter dropped into it? Pecos is Greek.

Chaco Canyon New Mexico in Hebrew Strong's .. star gazer and one who calculates

Susan Nelson

Monday 1st of November 2021

Wow! Very cool! God continues to show his amazing ways today. Thanks for sharing.

Ray Comfort

Sunday 4th of July 2021

I’ve just finished a book on nine foods that Jesus ate or recommended. Enjoyed your article.

Susan Nelson

Sunday 4th of July 2021

So glad to hear it! Thank you for sharing and stopping by. Have a blessed day.


Friday 31st of January 2020

I’m confessing your total perfect healing for His Word says, “By His stripes you ARE HEALED!” Isaiah 53:5.

Robert Berentz

Tuesday 2nd of November 2021

I prayed "by his stripes we are healed" over my dead wife and she came back for 13 years. God loves old E.R. and I.C.U. nurses. She could see her angels when she came back. Two golden ones (love) were named Lisa and Corianne .. "this whole room is full of angels", we were sitting in our living room 20x20, five, ten, fifteen, twenty and at 25 she nodded. I could see nothing but felt them.

Susan Nelson

Tuesday 4th of February 2020

Thank you so much! I cherish your prayers! Thanks for stopping by and writing!

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