Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 5, 1964

Acts 20:7 And The First Day Of The Week

Wilbur Hunt

All of us are familiar with the events related in Acts 20:7-11. Then passage tells about the church at Troas assembling on the first day of the week in order to break bread or partake "The Lord's Supper," Paul's long sermon during that particular night service, the falling of Eutychus and the events that followed, and the social activities after the service. What we want to consider in this short article is the phrase "the first day of the week."

Advocates of Sabbath-keeping and opposers of Sunday as the day of worship would tell us that the disciples met on Saturady night, and that the meal they had was a common meal. Now, this involves the question of when a day began and ended. What does the Bible teach?

First of all, only by the context can one determine whether day-time is meant; that is, the twelve hours between 6:00 in the morning and 6:00 in the evening; or whether a period of 24 hours is meant. The former usage is found in Acts 2:15, where we have "the third hour" or 9:00 in the morning. The word "day" also is referred to as a 24-hour period. It began at even or sunset, and ended the following even or sunset. (Exodus 12:18; and Leviticus 23:32)

Second, in view of these facts, our passage tells about an evening service on the first day of the week. It WAS the first day of the week to the disciples, NOT part Saturday and Sunday. Actually, our present names of the days came into use centuries later due to changes in calendars, methods of reckoning time, and so on. Our day begins at midnight, not at sunset. Also, we call the first of the week today Sunday, and the first of the week was not called Sunday during Bible days.

Third, it was still the first day of the week when Paul did his travelling as told in the following verses. It is comparable to people travelling today on Sunday here and there, such as to worship at another congregation as a visitor. It was around three centuries later and during the rule of the Roman Emperor Constantine when the first day of the week was set aside as a day of rest, and as a recognition of the habit of Christians assembling on the first day of the week as history tells us.

Fourth, two meals are mentioned. The one in verse seven, of course, was "The Lord's Supper," called, among other things, "the breaking of bread." (Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 10:16) The one in verse eleven was simply breakfast. The author hopes and trusts that this article has cleared up some questions and helped the reader.

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