Go to Introduction or Study Content

|| Sabbath Studies || Full Sabbath Index || #1. Why Keep Sabbath? || #2. Death, Burial, and Resurrection || #3. Spiritual Fulfilment of Sabbath || #4. Q and A on Sabbath Day || #5. Non Scriptural Q and A || Sabbath Changed to Sunday || #6. Sabbath Summary

#1.3 BECAUSE THE APOSTLE PAUL KEPT THE SABBATH DAY

This bible study uses a Greek Unicode font and is printable.

Greek Word Study on 4521 σάββατον sabbaton Sabbath.
Hebrew Word Study on 7676 שַׁבָּת shabbat Sabbath.
Full Sabbath Index || Search this website || Bible Studies Index

Introduction 1.3

Of all the people in the bible that people quote to excuse themselves from keeping the Sabbath day, the apostle Paul must be at the top of the list. This bible study gives scriptural proof that the apostle Paul kept the Sabbath day commandment, and taught that faith establishes the law, rather than doing away with it.

#1.31 Paul habitually taught in the synagogues on the Sabbath day

Greek - Acts 13:14-16 - English
αὐτοὶ δὲ διελθόντες ἀπὸ τῆς πέργης παρεγένοντο εἰς ἀντιόχειαν τῆς πισιδίας καὶ εἰσελθόντες εἰς τὴν συναγωγὴν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῶν σαββάτων ἐκάθισαν 14 But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch of Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and sat down.
μετὰ δὲ τὴν ἀνάγνωσιν τοῦ νόμου καὶ τῶν προφητῶν ἀπέστειλαν οἱ ἀρχισυνάγωγοι πρὸς αὐτοὺς λέγοντες ἄνδρες ἀδελφοί εἴ ἐστιν λόγος ἐν ὑμῖν παρακλήσεως πρὸς τὸν λαόν λέγετε 15 And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, saying, You men and brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.
ἀναστὰς δὲ παῦλος καὶ κατασείσας τῇ χειρὶ εἶπεν ἄνδρες ἰσραηλῖται καὶ οἱ φοβούμενοι τὸν θεόν ἀκούσατε 16 Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and you who fear God, give audience.

ACTS 13:42-44
42 And when the Jews had gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath.
43 Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.
44 And the next Sabbath day almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God.

Greek - Acts 17:1-2 - English
διοδεύσαντες δὲ τὴν ἀμφίπολιν καὶ ἀπολλωνίαν ἦλθον εἰς θεσσαλονίκην ὅπου ἦν ἥ συναγωγὴ τῶν ἰουδαίων 1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:
κατὰ δὲ τὸ εἰωθὸς τῷ παύλῳ εἰσῆλθεν πρὸς αὐτοὺς καὶ ἐπὶ σάββατα τρία διελέγετο αὐτοῖς ἀπὸ τῶν γραφῶν 2 And Paul, according to his manner, went in to them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures.

ACTS 18:1-4
1 After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth;
2 And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome) and came to them.
3 And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and worked: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.
4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and Greeks.

Note: It seems clear from these scriptures that Paul habitually attended synagogues on the Sabbath days, where possible; "every Sabbath" (Acts 18:4), and reasoned with them out of the scriptures. In this particular case, at Corinth, it was over a period of "a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them." (Acts 18:11), and so would mean 78 consecutive Sabbath days. This took place many years after the resurrection of Jesus. At Thessalonica he entered a synagogue and reasoned with them out of the scriptures for "three Sabbath days". At Antioch, in a meeting in the Synagogue on a Sabbath day, the Gentiles entreated Paul that he would preach to them on the next Sabbath (Acts 13:42). If Sunday was a day kept by the church at that time, why did Paul not invite them to his Sunday service? With no unbelieving Jews present it would have been an excellent opportunity to preach to the Gentiles, but there was no such meeting. Instead, they had to wait until the next Sabbath day to hear God's word (Acts 13:44). This is proof that no Sunday meetings were being held at that time. As "sin is transgression of the law." (1 John 3:4 KJV), it would be a sin for Paul to break the Sabbath commandment, and he said that he had offended nothing against the law of the Jews (See #1.33). At Antioch (Acts 13:14-16) Paul was in the synagogue again speaking to the people. This makes 84 times in the book of Acts Paul was recorded as being in the synagogue on the Sabbath day teaching and speaking to people after the death of Jesus. All this just confirms that Paul himself was a habitual Sabbath keeper, and if he ever taught others not to keep it, he would be a liar and a hypocrite, and the least in the kingdom of God, according to the words of Jesus (Matthew 5:19). Some have tried to say that Paul only went to the synagogues to evangelize the Jews and their proselytes, but the bible does not say that, and it can be proven false. Where did Paul go to capture Christians before he was a Christian himself? He went to "every synagogue" (Acts 22:19, 26:11), proving that Christians regularly met in synagogues on the Sabbath day. Where in the whole of the New Testament did any of the Jews ever accuse Paul of breaking the Sabbath commandment? Nowhere!

#1.32 Paul went to places of prayer on the Sabbath day

ACTS 16:13
13 And on the Sabbath we went out of the city by the river side, where prayer was accustomed to be made; and we sat down, and spoke to the women who resorted there.

Note: This took place in Philippi (v12), where Paul went after seeing a vision which called him to go into Macedonia (v9). It seems that the religious people of Philippi gathered by the river on the Sabbath day for prayer, and this is where Paul went to minister the gospel of salvation. This not only shows Paul's habit of looking for religious gatherings on the Sabbath day, but also shows that many Gentiles also gathered together on the Sabbath at that time also. As a result of this meeting, God opened the heart of Lydia, a seller of purple from Thyatira, and she and her household believed and were baptised (vv14-15).

#1.33 Paul offended nothing against the law of the Jews

ACTS 25:7-8
7 And when he came, the Jews who came down from Jerusalem stood round about, and made many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove.
8 While he answered for himself, Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended any thing at all.

Note: How could Paul say that he offended nothing against the law of the Jews if he was not a Sabbath keeper? Was he a liar? Or was it rather that he told the truth, and being a Jew, he not only kept the Sabbath, but also the feast days (Acts 18:21; 20:16)? Breaking the Sabbath commandment carried a penalty of death (Exodus 31:15) and Paul said that if he had committed anything worthy of death he did not refuse to die (Acts 25:11), but then appealed to Caesar. Festus also said concerning Paul, "I found that he had committed nothing deserving of death.," (Acts 25:25). How then could Paul be a Sabbath breaker?

#1.34 Paul taught us to fulfil the righteousness of the law

ROMANS 8:3-4 (Paul)
3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of the flesh of sin, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

Note: The apostle Paul is teaching here that the righteousness of the law should be fulfilled in us, but can we do this without keeping the ten commandments? No, because the psalmist said to God, "all your commandments are righteousness." (Psalm 119:172). This means that the fourth commandment, observing the Sabbath day must be righteousness, doesn't it? This completely agrees with other scriptures being put together:

(1 John 3:4 KJV) "Whoever commits sin transgresses also the law; for sin is the transgression of the law."
(1John 5:17) "All unrighteousness is sin:"

Another point is that God's righteousness requires God's law to be in our heart:

(Psalm 37:30-31) "The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom ... The law of his God is in his heart."
(Isaiah 51:7) "Listen to me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law;"

This righteousness fulfils the same condition as those who are partakers of the New Covenant, where God's laws are written in their heart (See #1.5). The conclusion to be drawn from all this is that all Christians are expected to grow to the place where they can fulfil the righteousness of the law in a similar manner to the way Jesus did, which would involve us keeping the ten commandments the same way that Jesus taught. So we have seen that Paul not only kept the Sabbath commandment, but taught others to keep it also, even as Jesus kept it (See #1.24); and his words for us today are, "Be you followers of me, even as I also am of Christ." (1 Corinthians 11:1).

#1.35 Paul taught us that faith establishes the law

ROMANS 3:30-31 (Paul)
30 Seeing it is one God, who shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.
31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yes, we establish1 the law.

ROMANS 2:13 (Paul)
13 For not the hearers of the law are righteous in the sight of God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

Note: The word translated we establish1 (Romans 3:31) is from the Greek verb ἵστημι (Gtr. histemi) which means "to make to stand", or "to cause to stand". Paul's conclusion in this context was that "a man is justified by faith without the works of the law." (Romans 3:30), by which he meant that justification could not come through sacrificing animals to cover sin (See #4.04), but only through a genuine faith. There are two ways you can seek to be justified in the time of the law, one was by making animal sacrifices every time that you made a mistake, called the "works of the law" (See #4.04), and the other was by faith. Only faith worked:

(Romans 9:31-32) "But Israel, who followed after the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness.
Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling-stone;"

The implication here is, that if they had sought to attain to the law of righteousness by faith, then they could have done it. James also taught that a man is justified by faith which produces works of faith (James 2:17-26), and therefore a genuine faith will give us the ability to keep the law in a spiritual sense, including the ten commandments. So how does faith establish the law? Simply by giving a person the ability to obey the commandments (Romans 2:13), which a person without faith cannot do. We could therefore say this:

(Romans 3:31) "Do we then make void the ten commandments through faith? God forbid: but, we establish the ten commandments."

Why keep Sabbath bible quiz  Green tick

If you have benefited from reading this study, then please tell your friends about this website.
If you have a web-site of your own, consider linking to Logos Apostolic web-site.
Send this link to all your Christian friends who believe that the Apostle Paul did not keep the Sabbath day.

Arrow pointing left  Jesus Kept the Sabbath || Full Sabbath Index || Bible Studies Index || Church Kept the Sabbath  Arrow pointing right

Top