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Bread Upon the Waters Ecclesiastes 11:1

Posted by Ez1 Realty on March 4, 2010

KJV Ecclesiastes 11:1
1. Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.

This is a very simple study consisting of two key words, bread and water. The first step in a proper word study is to look at the physical aspects of the parable. In this case we see bread is cast into some type of water. We might assume this may be a natural body of water such as a lake, stream or river.

What usually happens to bread when it is cast into a lake? One of two fates await the bread. It either sinks to the bottom and is eaten by any number of bottom feeders, or is eaten by fish on the surface or as it sinks.

Since it is highly unlikely bread cast into a lake or river can be found after many days, this parable must have a spiritual meaning. To understand the spiritual meaning we need to locate the key words in other Bible texts.


KJV Amos 8:11. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:

KJV Matthew 4:4. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Bread = the word of God.


KJV Revelation 17:15
15. And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.

KJV Isaiah 17:12
12. Woe to the multitude of many people, which make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations, that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters!

KJV Isaiah 57:20
20. But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.

Now that we know bread spiritually represents the word of God and water represents people we can understand the spiritual meaning of this parable. It helps if we paraphrase the text substituting the spiritual meaning for the physical word.

KJV Ecclesiastes 11:1
1. Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.

Cast the word of God upon the people: for you shall find it after many days.

A simple word study will explain the spiritual meaning of the words bread and water. The spiritual interpretation clearly shows we are expected to share the word of God with others. But what does it mean to find it after many days?

When we properly share the word of God we are opening doors which create opportunities we may never expect. To explain this in the simplest terms; as we study the word of God we are being trained by the Holy Spirit to teach others. When the Holy Spirit guides us through a study, the Spirit will reveal new and exciting insights in every study. With the guidance of the Spirit we will find new and exciting concepts within God’s word.

This may be one way of explaining how we find the bread, or word of God after many days. The bread we share with others is gathered from God’s words. This bread is given to us to share with others. After we share the spiritual meal, the word of God, we return for more.

A more accurate explanation goes beyond merely sharing God’s word, it concerns teaching others to study God’s word. When we teach others to study God’s word, we are still sharing God’s word with people. But when we teach others how to study, they have the opportunity to study and share lessons with us and others. In essence, after many days we will find others coming back to us to share lessons they have learned from the word of God.

Often times a key word may have more than one spiritual meaning. Paying close attention to the context of the text will indicate which spiritual meaning should be used to paraphrase the text. Bread has a number of spiritual meanings. The following texts show that bread can also represent Jesus.

KJV John 6:35. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

KJV John 6:51. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

In this particular case, the second spiritual meaning reinforces the original paraphrase. Jesus came down from Heaven for two reasons, for the salvation of all and to teach. Numerous texts in all four gospels tell us Jesus spent a lot of time teaching.

KJV Matthew 9:35. And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

KJV Mark 6:34. And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.

KJV Luke 5:17. And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.

KJV John 3:2

2. The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

The Bible tells us we are to follow in Jesus’ example and teach others.

KJV Matthew 28:19. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

The Bible also shows us how we are able to learn the lessons we are to teach.

KJV John 14:26. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Observing other Christians I have always noticed one very strange thing. Most Christian have a desire to share a text or two and answer a question. Many Christians feel they have an obligation to teach church doctrine. The Bible has a few words on that concept of teaching.

KJV Mark 7:6. He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. 7. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 8. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. 9. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

This illustration given by Jesus goes way beyond the washing of cups and pots, it condemns the teaching of all of man’s doctrines.

There are still those who reason, if we teach from the word of God, so we must be teaching truth. With so many different doctrines claiming to be the only true Christian doctrine, how can you be certain? Are you willing to stake your life on your doctrine? Are you willing to be responsible for every person you teach this doctrine? Or are you playing it safe, keeping your doctrine to yourself, because you are not 100% certain. Are doubts in your doctrine holding you back from sharing the gospel if Christ?

Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Matthew 15:7-9, 2 Timothy 4:3-4

It is one matter to teach doctrine but quite a different matter to teach others how to study the Bible. When we teach others how to study the Bible you teach them how to find answers for themselves. When we equip others with the tools to study and understand God’s word, we are leaving them in the hands of the Holy Spirit, who will guide them into all knowledge, just as He continues to guide you.


One Response to “Bread Upon the Waters Ecclesiastes 11:1”

  1. Excellent,apart from benevolent your gives deep meaning,both physical and spiritual. Thanks. God bless.


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