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

#4.07 PAUL PREACHED on the FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK (Acts 20:7)

This bible study proves that Paul preaching at Troas on the first day of the week does not do away with the Sabbath day. It 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 4.07

It is an amazing fact that this scripture about Paul preaching at Troas on the first day of the week is often used to say that Paul and the New Testament church habitually gathered together on a Sunday. Remember though that the Jewish day starts at sunset, not midnight. Therefore the first day of the week starts at sunset on Saturday, not on Sunday. Paul preached to them on Saturday evening, and "he continued his message until midnight" (ACTS 20:7). This was not Sunday! He left at daybreak (v11) so he was not even there during Sunday daytime. This is the only occasion in the New Testament where it is recorded that Paul preached in such a meeting on the first day of the week, and biblical truth is "out of the mouth of two or three witnesses" so where are the other examples? There are none! Nevertheless, let us examine the scripture that they use.


Greek - Acts 20:7 - KJV
ἐν δὲ τῇ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων συνηγμένων τῶν μαθητῶν τοῦ κλάσαι ἄρτον ὁ παῦλος διελέγετο αὐτοῖς μέλλων ἐξιέναι τῇ ἐπαύριον παρέτεινέν τε τὸν λόγον μέχρι μεσονυκτίου 7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached to them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.

ACTS 20:7 (RPT)
7 And on one day from the Sabbath, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached to them, ready to depart the next day; and continued his speech until midnight.

Note 1: Some have tried to use this scripture to say that the New Testament Gentile church gathered together to break bread on Sunday, the first day of the week. However, I would ask, "How can Acts 20:7 be any possible reason for keeping Sunday, when it is scriptural that the New Testament church gathered together daily for breaking bread, fellowship and teaching about Jesus?"

(Acts 2:46) "And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, ate their meat with gladness and singleness of heart."
(Acts 5:42) "And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ."

Breaking of bread was practiced daily (Acts 2:46), and this is what they came together to do (Acts 20:7). If then Acts 20:7 had said "the second day of the week", or "the third day of the week", would this justify modern Christians keeping Monday or Tuesday instead? The timing of the days throughout bible times was always from sunset to sunset, so rather than being on Sunday, this meeting was started on Saturday evening, and Paul preached until midnight on Saturday. He continued talking to them throughout the night, and ate with them and departed at daybreak (Acts 20:11). It seems obvious then that this was not a regular meeting time, unless we are to argue that the early church had regular meeting times during the night, rather than during daylight hours. Much rather, this was a "one off" all night meeting as the visiting evangelist and apostle, Paul, wanted to preach to them before he left. There is no command here, nor even conformity, in this scripture to establish Sunday as a substitute for the Sabbath day, on the contrary, this is the only New Testament scripture which records Paul attending a meeting on "the first day of the week".

Note 2: However, Paul habitually attended the synagogues for meetings on the Sabbath days.

(Acts 13:14-16) "But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and sat down.
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.
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) "And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath.
43 Now when the congregation dispersed, 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."
(Acts 17:1-2) "Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews.
2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in to them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures."
(Acts 18:1-4) "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 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."

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 very strong 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 (Acts 25:8). 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. 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). Where in the whole of the New Testament did any of the Jews ever accuse Paul of breaking the Sabbath commandment? Nowhere! If the scripture records that the apostle Paul was in the synagogue 84 times in the the New Testament, and once in a meeting during the darkness of Sunday morning, then how does that prove Sunday is the correct day to go to church?

Sabbath Questions and Answers bible quiz  Green tick

If you have benefited from reading this study, then please tell your friends about this website.
If you have a website of your own, consider linking to Logos Apostolic website.
Please copy and paste this link into Facebook and Twitter to all your friends who think Acts 20:7 proves that Paul kept Sunday instead of the Sabbath.

Arrow pointing left  Jesus Fulfilled the Law || Full Sabbath Index || Bible Studies Index || Jesus Lord of Sabbath  Arrow pointing right