Biblical Evidence for Sunday Worship (Rather Than Saturday)

Biblical Evidence for Sunday Worship (Rather Than Saturday) December 1, 2015


Ellen G. White (1827-1915) and James White (1821-1881): founders of Seventh-Day Adventism [public domain / Wikimedia Commons]

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I was in  a Facebook discussion with Seventh-Day Adventists about their view that worship is properly on the Sabbath (Saturday) and not Sunday. I provided a link to a collection of links on the topic that I compiled, then made my own comments (and it became a mini-argument).

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Johan Von Wielligh wrote: Yes people of different church speak against the Seventh day Adventist church because we believe in the sabbath. But no one can give any Biblical answer about where in the Bible do you find the truth about Sunday worship.

Also, nowhere in the Bible can you find that all spiritual truth must come from the Bible and the Bible alone. So you are self-contradictory.

The most obvious reason why the earliest Christians worshiped on Sunday was because that was the day Jesus rose from the dead. Thus, it was a development of the OT Sabbath, just as many Christian doctrines developed from OT traditions.

Sunday worship or as I say sometimes sinday worship is not Biblical. They say Christians take it as a day of worship because of Jesus. This is the question: How can you take it if God did not give it? Read the New Testament and you will not find it.

Sunday worship is indeed mentioned:

Acts 20:7 (RSV) On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the morrow; and he prolonged his speech until midnight.(cf. 20:11)

Breaking bread is the worship service (Holy Communion). The “first day” is Sunday, as in the Resurrection accounts (Mk 16:2, 9; Lk 24:1; Jn 20:1). One of Jesus’ Resurrection appearances was also on a Sunday (Jn 20:19).

We know that “breaking bread” is a eucharistic term. This was early Christian worship, and we know from Acts 20:7 that it was on Sunday, not Saturday, even though at this time the apostles were still simultaneously observing Jewish services at both synagogues and the temple (because they remained observant Jews; it was decided at the Jerusalem Council [Acts 15] that Gentile Christians — soon to be the vast majority of all — need not observe all Jewish laws).

Other instances of “breaking bread”:

Acts 2:42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Acts 2:46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts,

1 Corinthians 10:16-17 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? [17] Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.

This motif in turn goes back to the phrases used of the Last Supper, which was a Passover dinner (Mt 26:26; Mk 14:22; Lk 22:19).

And it is repeated in the passage about the disciples on the road to Emmaus, who met the risen Jesus (Lk 24:30, 35). It’s repeated again in Paul’s eucharistic formula (1 Cor 11:24).

Thus, we know beyond a doubt that the formula of “breaking bread” referred to Christian worship. Acts 20:7 places that on Sunday. And the Apostle Paul was there, so we know that he sanctioned it and Luke, who wrote Acts under God’s inspiration, sanctioned it, too, by casually presenting it with approval.

It may also be argued that Paul was referring to getting together to worship on Sunday in the following passage, since it made sense that when a church was gathered together to worship, that would be the time to collect funds, as we do now, by passing the plate:

1 Corinthians 16:1-2 Now concerning the contribution for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. [2] On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that contributions need not be made when I come. 

It is never recorded in the New Testament that Christians gathered together to worship or “break bread” on the Sabbath (Saturday).

But you told me I would “not find” this in the NT. Wrong!

For an in-depth article that delves into much more than this, including replies to many SDA arguments, see “Should We Keep the Sabbath?” by James A. Borland (Christian Research Journal, volume 26, number 2, 2003).

But I came up with my arguments just by consulting the NT and doing word searches. It was easy to shoot down your claim.

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