1 Break now the bread of life, dear Lord, to me,
as once you broke the loaves beside the sea.
Beyond the sacred page I seek you, Lord;
my spirit waits for you, O living Word.
2 Bless your own word of truth, dear Lord, to me,
as when you blessed the bread by Galilee.
Then shall all bondage cease, all fetters fall;
and I shall find my peace, my All in all!
3 You are the bread of life, dear Lord, to me,
your holy Word the truth that rescues me.
Give me to eat and live with you above;
teach me to love your truth, for you are love.
4 O send your Spirit now, dear Lord, to me,
that he may touch my eyes and make me see.
Show me the truth made plain within your Word,
for in your book revealed I see you, Lord.
Some expressions in "Break Now the Bread of Life" may not satisfy everyone in the Reformed community, but these verses were not written to define doctrine in sharp detail. They were intended to be used as a simple prayer for illumination for Bible study groups and in the meetings of the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle. Tradition also calls for the hymn's use during Sunday-evening vespers at the Lake Chautauqua' assembly grounds.
The hymn text draws on biblical images to depict Scripture's role in our lives. Stanzas 1 and 2 recall the breaking and the blessing of the bread at Jesus' feeding of the five thousand. Stanza 3 confesses Christ as the bread of life. Stanza 4 calls for the Spirit's presence and alludes to Christ's healings of various blind people.
Bert Polman, Psalter Hymnal Handbook
This song emphasizes the action of the Christian and the church to call on God to renew our hearts through the word. These requests are based on the truths taught in Belgic Confession, Article 24: True faith is “produced in us by the hearing of God’s Word and by the work of the Holy Spirit, (and) regenerates us and makes us new creatures, causing us to live a new life and freeing us from the slavery of sin.”