Sunday, The Christian’s Day Of Worship

The Question: “Where in the New Testament are Christians commanded to keep Sunday? What is your Scriptural authority for keeping Sunday?”

Where in the new testament are christians commanded to keep sunday?  I have searched and there is no place in the scriptures where we are commanded to keep sunday.  Why do we keep sunday when according to Acts 16:13 “On the Sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was made”
” Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures” Acts 17:2.  “and he(Paul) reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks…..And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God.” Acts18:4-11. Now it would seem to me that sometime in that year and six months he would tell them to come on sunday since its the “new day of worship”.  Whats your scriptural authority for keeping sunday?
– from Shawn

The Answer: “Scriptural authority” for worshiping on Sunday is found in several passages showing the practice of the New Testament church.

In Acts 20:7, it says that church came together on the first day of the week to break bread. The text clearly indicates that it was the practice of the church at that time to assemble every first day of the week for the purpose of observing the Lord’s Supper. The “first day of the week” is Sunday. It was then and it is now. So the passage clearly describes the New Testament church as worshiping on the first day of the week.

The Lord’s Supper is also the subject of 1 Corinthians 11:17-26. Paul refers to “when you come together as a church” in verse 18. He rebukes them for the divisions that existed among them and their abuse of the Lord’s Supper and gives them the proper meaning of its observance. Acts 20:7 said that the “when” of their assembly was Sunday. Paul refers to the “when” in Corinthians at the end of the letter (1 Cor. 16:1, 2). There, he is giving instructions for another aspect of New Testament worship, the collection. So, when does he say that the church was together for the collection to be taken up? The first day of the week, Sunday!

The church was established on Sunday with 3,000 being baptized into Christ and worshiping according to the apostles doctrine (Acts 2:41, 42). “That day,” the Day of Pentecost (i.e. Feast Of Weeks), was always on Sunday (cf. Lev. 23:15, 16).

In the examples where the worship of the church is described  (Lord’s Supper, Prayer, Teaching, Collection, Singing) and the day of assembly is specified, the day is Sunday.

The verses presented in the above question refer to the Sabbath day, i.e. Saturday, but they do not refer to the worship of the New Testament church. Not one of them! In all of those verses Paul was going to where Jews, not Christians, were worshiping. Without a doubt, Jews worshiped on the Sabbath. But we’re not talking about the worship of the Jews, we’re talking about the day of worship for the New Testament church. Acts 17:2 and Acts 18:4 explicitly state what Paul’s purpose was for going to the Synagogue on the Sabbath. It was to reason and dispute with the Jews concerning the things of Christ and the Kingdom (Acts 19:8). It was not to worship! Paul was going where he knew the Jews were gathered, for the purpose of converting them to Christ. He was not going to the Synagogue on the seventh day of the week to engage in New Testament Christian worship with Jews!

There are two aspects of Christian worship that are restricted to a certain place and time. They are the Lord’s Supper and the collection. These acts of New Testament worship are only authorized on the first day of the week when the church assembles. If the Sabbath, i.e. Saturday, is the Scriptural day of worship for the New Testament church then where do we read of these expressions of New Testament worship being observed on that day? There is no Scriptural authority whatsoever to do these things on any other day in any other setting than on Sunday in the assembly of the saints!

Thank you for your question. Feel free to continue the discussion below in the comments.

Comments

  1. You still have yet to show any scripural authority for Sunday worship. None of the passages you gave even hint at that. Your totally taking Acts 20:7-11 out of context as well as 1 Cor. 16:2. If you would like I could give you a complete breakdown on what those passages actually mean in there context? Just let me know. Also, what do you do with Eph. 5:19 the greek word for "melody" means to use a stringed instrument? So, how could you say the New Testament doesn't mention instruments.

    • I guess you're going to tell us that the Catholic church changed the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday and that Sunday worship is actually the mark of the beast, right?

      Well, I'm all for placing the blame where blame is due, and the Catholic Church sure does deserve the blame for a lot of stuff, but not Sunday worship. That's right from the Bible, as I have already shown. What you can put on the Catholic Church, or Constantine anyway, is erroneously calling Sunday the "Christian Sabbath." I agree 100% that the term "Christian Sabbath" is an unscriptural term. The Christian day of worship is not the Sabbath and the Sabbath can't be moved to another day, its always been Saturday and it will always be Saturday. So, the Christian day of worship should not be referred to as the "Christian Sabbath." It just gives folks like you something to yell about.

      According to most Sabbatarians I have talked with, The Christian day of worship supposedly got changed from Saturday to Sunday in the 4th Century AD. Actually, that's when Constantine issued the first no work laws for Sunday and erroneously called it the "Christian Sabbath" (ca. 321 AD). Historically, however, early Christians were worshipping on Sunday long before this. For example, Justin Martyr (110-165) wrote this in the mid 2nd Century AD: "And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place…But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly." He gives a detailed description of this "common assembly," telling how they would pray and read Scripture (Acts 2:42), give of their means (1 Cor. 16:1, 2) and take the Lord's Supper (Acts 20:7). Isn't that funny how Justin describes the church in the early 2nd Century doing to same things that they did in the 1st Century church and says they did it on Sunday. By the way, Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 16:1, 2 and Acts 20:7 were all on Sunday.

      In another example of very early 2nd Century writing (ca. 150 or earlier), the Didache says: "And on the Lord’s own day gather yourselves together and break bread and give thanks." Hey! Is it just me or does that sound a lot like Acts 20:7? So, the Lord's own day (Rev. 1:10) was when they came together to take the Lord's Supper!

      In his "Letter to The Magnesians," Ignatius wrote: "If then those who had walked in ancient practices attained unto newness of hope, no longer observing sabbaths but fashioning their lives after the Lord’s day, on which our life also arose through Him" (9:1, ca. 115 AD). So, a writer who lived during the 1st Century apostolic age referred to the Lord's Day being not according to the Jewish sabbaths but according to the day the Lord arose. Uh, that would be Sunday (Mark 9:3), not Saturday.

      Philip Schaff, probably the most widely used and respected church historian in the past hundred years at least, had this to say about the antiquity of Sunday worship: "The universal and uncontradicted Sunday observance in the second century can only be explained by the fact that it had its roots in apostolic practice. Such observance is the more to be appreciated as it had no support in civil legislation before the age of Constantine."

      Now, for me it is enough to have the biblical passages saying that the early church, the New Testament church, worshipped on Sunday. But I realize that others need a little more help to break down the preconceptions and biases. So, I hope this little history lesson will help you realize that Sunday has been the day of Christian worship from the first assembly of the first church in Acts 2:42, which was on the day of Pentecost – which was alway on Sunday.

  2. I think Norm pretty much covered the Saturday/Sunday argument, but as for the Eph 5:19 question. Yes, "melody" (psallo) does mean "to pluck", but Paul goes on to show what it is that is to be plucked when he says, "making melody IN THE HEART". So, it is the heart strings that is to be plucked, not a mechanical instrument.

  3. Mal 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
    Psa 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
    I would like to point out the two verses above to everyone. First Our Lord says He doesn't change and then He states that the law of the Lord is perfect.
    So why was it that the only commandment of the ten that identifies God as creator (His right of rule) of heaven and earth (His Domain) is the one commandment that needed changing? Also, if Jesus instituted Sunday as the New covenant Lords Day, why did he not tell his disciples at the last supper held in the upper room? It seems very strange that He mentioned nothing about this very large change in the commandments and yet He knew He was going to die on the cross the very next day.
    It says right in Gal 3:15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. What this is saying is that when we die, we have our will confirmed and no one can change it anymore. Jesus said nothing about a change of a holy day before His death and therefore any change that has been made comes from man who has no right to do any thing of the kind. Man is not my savior, Jesus is.

  4. Indeed God Himself doesn't change. No one here ever said that He did.
    Also, the law was indeed perfect/complete for the purpose of which it was given. That was to bring man to a knowledge and understanding of sin (Romans 7:7), and to prepare man for Christ (Gal 3:24-25).
    When Christ came there was no more need for the Mosaic law. Also, Christ actually took the law, specifically the 10 commandments, and summed them up into 2 commandments:
    "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." -Matt 22:37-40
    As for the change from Saturday/Sabbath to Sunday, I think Norm explained that pretty well. So, I encourage you to go back and read what he wrote about it.

  5. Sunday worship Q?
    So how come Paul said let no one judge you in Sabbaths, new moon etc?
    Also it says one man observers a day – let each be convinced & observe it to the Lord
    We worship Christ not a day ?
    And last- " you observe days & months" I am afraid I have laboured with you in vain!
    Why do we in the church put emphasis on a number of scriptures & leave others out?
    by the way : isn't the Lords day mentioned in revelation talking about that terrible day of the Lord rather than Sunday?

    • In Col. 2:16, where Paul says, "let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths" he is talking about the Jews trying to bind the Law of Moses on the Christians. If you just keep reading, he says in the very next verse, "which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ" (Col. 2:17). It is actually the oposite of the way you are trying to use it. The Jews were trying to enforce the Old Testament sabbath day law on them. Paul said they would didn't have to keep the sabbath, not that they should.
      Again, in Gal. 4:10, when Paul talks about observing the day he is talking about Christians going back to the Law of Moses and trying to mingle the two Testaments together. The reason it would cause his labor for them to be in vain is that they would be trying to find justification according to the Law of Moses by keeping the sabbath day law as a religious observance (cf. Gal. 5:4).
      Where did anyone say anything about worshipping a day? We do not worship Sunday! We worship God in the assembly on Sunday (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:18, 20, 26, 33; 16:1, 2). It is not worshipping a day to acknowledge that the early church assembled on the first day of the week to worship together (Heb. 10:25).
      The term "Lord's Day" certainly finds application to Sunday when you consider that the Lord was raised on Sunday (Mark 16:9), the Lord's church was established on Sunday (Acts 2:1-4) and the Lord's church worships on Sunday (Acts 20:7).

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