“Bread of the World” was written by Reginald Heber, an Anglican churchman who, in his later years became the Anglican Bishop of Calcutta, India.
Heber was concerned about the dreary hymns being sung in the churches of his day, and tried to find alternatives. Failing that, he penned a number of hymns, including “Bread of the World” and “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty.” He was not yet a bishop and his bishop was not supportive of innovation, so many of his hymns were published only after his death.
Heber wrote “Bread of the World” as to accompany the Eucharist. He was inspired by Jesus’ words in John 6, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never go thirsty.” This hymn celebrates the death of our sins and God’s provision of the Eucharist to feed the sorrowing on God’s grace.
Copyright 2006, Richard Niell Donovan