Acts 20:7 – a service on the first day of the week?

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Acts 20:6-11

(Act 20:6) And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days.
(Act 20:7) And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.
(Act 20:8) And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together.
(Act 20:9) And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.
(Act 20:10) And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.
(Act 20:11) When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed.

Acts 20:7 refers to a Christian worship service that was held on the first day of the week. According to the text, the service began AFTER the sunset which signaled the start of the first day, so it wasn’t even a continuation of a service that began the day before. A look at the grammar of the text in a reliable English translation, and better still, the original Greek, will prove wrong the claims by some Sabbatarian groups that this was a Sabbath service that extended into the next day – the text is explicit that the Christians only gathered for the service AFTER the first day had already begun.

But then why is this the only mention of a Christian service on Sunday, apart from 1 Cor 16:2?

Considering that the Old Testament took 2000 years to be written, and the New Testament took 50 years to be written … considering that the Old Testament is a lot longer than the New Testament … considering that most of the New Testament was written about the growth of the Church and the spread of the gospel, and the Sabbath/Sunday issue was relatively minor and therefore ignored to a large extent … considering all this, does it surprise you that Sunday is mentioned fewer times than Saturday? It doesn’t surprise me at all.

Compare how many times the Apostle Thomas is mentioned after the day of Pentecost, and compare it to the number of times Peter or Paul is mentioned. Does that mean we should say that Thomas retired and went back to whatever he did before? Or does it just mean that the facts surrounding his ministry were not available to be included in the New Testament? One needs to examine the reasons why things in the Bible appear as they are. When you do that with the Sabbath, you find NO evidence of Sabbath observance by Christians.

Back to Acts 20:7:

After sunset at the end of the seventh day, the 1st day of the week begins. The Bible explicitly tells us that the time they gathered together was the first day of the week, NOT the 7th day of the week. Since it was the first day of the week, it was practically the same as Sunday, as for the early Christians the first day of the week began the night before. The first day of the week that was kept holy was the end of Saturday at sunset until the end of Sunday at sunset, not midnight to midnight.

Some Bible versions call it Saturday, and Adventists have taken advantage of this, but remember that this Saturday night was still part of the first day of the week. It is only called Saturday night because that is the name that corresponds to that time period today. It is, according to biblical reckoning of time, the first day of the week, and we have to accept that this was a Christian worship service on the first day of the week. The Bible is clear on that.

Some Adventists absurdly even try to argue that this was a service held after the end of the first day of the week.

The original Greek can only be translated one way – and that is that they arrived at this place (where they held the service) on the first day of the week. They did not arrive on Saturday, and preach on into Sunday. They started in Sunday (i.e. after sunset which ended Saturday). Here is why: The text says – “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them …” This is the KJV, and is grammatically correct for both English and Greek. This is a perfect translation of the original Greek, and the Adventist Saturday/Monday interpretation is impossible. It tells us explicitly that the disciples came together to break bread on the first day of the week. It does not tell us that they came together on the 7th day, or that they were already gathered together when the 1st day began. It says that they actually came together on the 1st day of the week, and THEN had their service. Unless you want to throw out the KJV as a reliable translation with good English, you have to accept this.

In Acts 20:7 they were worshipping from a time just after sunset on Saturday (i.e. the start of the first day of the week) until early on Sunday morning. That is the ONLY way the Greek text and the English text can be interpreted. Look closely at the text – it says: On the first day of the week, when we gathered together … – this means that they gathered on the first day of the week. Sunday night was already the 2nd day of the week, so they were NOT gathered together on Sunday night. They were gathered together on SATURDAY night, after sunset, the first day of the week. The Adventist theory that another time system was used and that the first day of the week was Sunday night and not Saturday night falls flat because of two things – 1) they have absolutely no evidence for such a time system, and 2) all Christians throughout Asia used the original Jewish timing for when days began and ended – this is witnessed to by both the New Testament and early Christian texts outside the Bible. It was only much later on in Christian history that midnight was taken as the start/end of a day. Even until the 4th century AD, the days began and ended at sunset.

Anyway, the Bible says it was the first day of the week that they were gathered together for communion and worship. So as a biblical Christian, I hold my worship services in the first day of the week.

Acts 20:7 is the ONLY text in the entire New Testament where the day on which a specific Christian worship service is held is actually named. Other texts might mention the day of the week, but they don’t state that a Christian worship service was held on that day. Yet other texts might mention a Christian worship service, but are not linked to a specific day of the week. Acts 20:7 is the only passage in the Bible that puts the two together in one passage.

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