Monday, April 2, 2012

Acts 20:7 and the First Day of the Week

“On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight.” Acts 20:7 

The context of the above familiar verse is Paul’s third missionary journey. Paul and his companions have arrived in Troas, where they stayed for seven days. 

In 20:7-12 we read about a gathering of the church in Troas. We’re told that they came together on the first day of the week (Sunday). The gathering was for the purpose of sharing the Lord’s Supper meal together. During this occasion, Paul talked with them for quite a while.

What we see here is a church coming together to eat together. Paul was in town, and they wanted to spend a lot of time with him. They ate, talked, ate, and talked. Eventually someone fell asleep, fell, died, and was raised. That makes for quite a memorable evening together no doubt. I love the fact that after the miracle, they went back to doing what they were doing before: eating and conversing.

Here’s what struck me as I read through this passage today: there is no indication that the church in Troas made a normal pattern of getting together on Sundays. All Luke tells us is that on this one occasion they assembled on a Sunday. It could just have easily been a Tuesday or Friday. However, as Paul was going to be departing soon, they wanted to get together as a body to eat and talk. Sunday happened to be the day. 

Luke describes for us what occurred on a particular day in Troas. There is not even a hint that this is a pattern that they followed or that we should have to follow. We’ve all heard it said that we should get together as the church on Sundays because that’s what the early church did. I’m not convinced. Additionally, since we’re no longer bound by the O. T. Sabbath (Jesus is our Sabbath), there is no reason to make Sunday into one.

We are free to gather when we want and whenever we want. No one day is any holier than any other. The reality is that due to job schedules, Sundays are normally the easiest day to gather with church families (this is what we normally do). However, we don’t have to.

What we can learn from Acts 20:7 is that it is good to gather together to eat and talk. We see in other passages that this should happen for mutual edification. However, it does not matter at all on what day or days this occurs.

Sunday is just another day. All days are holy in Christ.

Assemble whenever and wherever, but by all means do assemble.


Aussie John said...


"Sunday is just another day. All days are holy in Christ."

One of the most debilitating burdens, being carried on the backs of ill taught Christians, is the enormous legalistism of special days.

Eric said...


I'm amazed and saddened at the emotions that spring forth whenever these types of days are called into question. It's difficult to have a conversation about them because people often get so upset so quickly.

Marshall said...

Acts 20:7 includes a curious translation sensation... "on one of the sabbaths" has been translated into "on the first day of the week". There's truly a whole lot inside English Bibles owing to religious/church systems & sects. thankfully doesn't alter your point here, dear brother.

Eric said...


That's fascinating. I looked it up and you are correct. Thank you.

kierkegaard71 said...

Is there such a thing as the Lord's Day? The apostle John in Revelation 1:10 declares that he was in the Spirit on "the Lord's day" when he received the revelation. The tradition of gathering on the day of the week on which the resurrection took place seems not to be without biblical defense. Certainly, the spirit of the NT is not that of legalism, but perhaps the reaction against the necessity of meeting on Sunday may be a little overblown.

Eric said...


Thanks for your email.

I agree with you about the Revelation passage. John certainly uses the term "the Lord's Day." What day of the week was John referring to?