The Sabbath in the New Testament

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Below is a word search I did using the NIV version of the Bible with respect to the Sabbath. The first search I did was the phrase “first day of the week” which corresponds to Sunday (the word Sunday isn’t in the Bible; it is always referred to as first day of the week). I found 8 texts in the New Testament that talk about the “first day of the week”. I then did a search for the word Sabbath and found 57 texts that mention the Sabbath. The interesting thing is that not a single “first day of the week” text talks about Sunday being a holy day, special day, or the Sabbath for Christians. Not a single one of those texts say anything about Sunday being the Christian Sabbath or “The Lords day.” However, almost every Sabbath verse (with the exception of the verses referring to the Pharisees legalistic approach to the Sabbath and Colossians 2:16 which is talking about ceremonial Sabbath) talks about the Sabbath being a special day. In light of this I would have to conclude:
  1. The argument that the Sabbath is never mentioned in the NT is not valid. It’s mentioned at least 50 times.
  2. The argument that the early Christians kept Sunday as the Sabbath is not valid. Not a single reference to Sunday in the NT teaches that Sunday was now the Christian day of celebrating Christ’s resurrection.
  3. All of the NT books were written long after the death of Jesus. If the Sabbath had been disregarded by the Christian church then NT authors had at least 57 times when they could have made this clear. Surprisingly they never mention it.
  4. The Judaizers were extremely agitated that NT Christians no longer practiced the ceremonial law including circumcision. However, they are never recorded as protesting that NT Christians were Sabbath breakers. If this was an issue the Judaizers would have raised havoc over it, yet surprisingly (or not so surprisingly) they never do.
  5. The NT is anything but silent on the Sabbath. It is mentioned over 50 times and not once does it say it has been done away with or replaced with Sunday sacredness.
  6. This data alone is enough to convince me that the observance of Sunday in place of Sabbath has no Biblical foundation. Since it was God who commanded the Sabbath and the tradition of men that has commanded Sunday then this is about much more than what day I go to church – it’s about who my Lord is.

Peter and the other apostles replied: ‘We must obey God rather than human beings!’” – Acts 5:29


Here is my word study:

Sunday (First Day of the Week)
  1. Matthew 28:1
Jesus Has Risen ] After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
Matthew 28:1-3 (in Context) Matthew 28 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Mark 16:2
Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb
Mark 16:1-3 (in Context) Mark 16 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Mark 16:9
[The earliest manuscripts and some other ancient witnesses do not have verses 9–20.] When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons.
Mark 16:8-10 (in Context) Mark 16 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Luke 24:1
Jesus Has Risen ] On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.
Luke 24:1-3 (in Context) Luke 24 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. John 20:1
The Empty Tomb ] Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.
John 20:1-3 (in Context) John 20 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. John 20:19
Jesus Appears to His Disciples ] On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
John 20:18-20 (in Context) John 20 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Acts 20:7
Eutychus Raised From the Dead at Troas ] On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight.
Acts 20:6-8 (in Context) Acts 20 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. 1 Corinthians 16:2
On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.
1 Corinthians 16:1-3 (in Context) 1 Corinthians 16 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations

Sabbath

  1. Matthew 12:1
Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath ] At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them.
Matthew 12:1-3 (in Context) Matthew 12 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Matthew 12:2
When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.”
Matthew 12:1-3 (in Context) Matthew 12 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Matthew 12:5
Or haven’t you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent?
Matthew 12:4-6 (in Context) Matthew 12 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Matthew 12:8
For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
Matthew 12:7-9 (in Context) Matthew 12 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Matthew 12:10
and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”
Matthew 12:9-11 (in Context) Matthew 12 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Matthew 12:11
He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out?
Matthew 12:10-12 (in Context) Matthew 12 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Matthew 12:12
How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
Matthew 12:11-13 (in Context) Matthew 12 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Matthew 24:20
Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath.
Matthew 24:19-21 (in Context) Matthew 24 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Matthew 28:1
Jesus Has Risen ] After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
Matthew 28:1-3 (in Context) Matthew 28 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Mark 1:21
Jesus Drives Out an Impure Spirit ] They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach.
Mark 1:20-22 (in Context) Mark 1 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Mark 2:23
Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath ] One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain.
Mark 2:22-24 (in Context) Mark 2 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Mark 2:24
The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”
Mark 2:23-25 (in Context) Mark 2 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Mark 2:27
Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
Mark 2:26-28 (in Context) Mark 2 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Mark 2:28
So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
Mark 2:27-28 (in Context) Mark 2 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Mark 3:1
Jesus Heals on the Sabbath ] Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there.
Mark 3:1-3 (in Context) Mark 3 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Mark 3:2
Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath.
Mark 3:1-3 (in Context) Mark 3 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Mark 3:4
Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.
Mark 3:3-5 (in Context) Mark 3 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Mark 6:2
When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing?
Mark 6:1-3 (in Context) Mark 6 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Mark 15:42
The Burial of Jesus ] It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached,
Mark 15:41-43 (in Context) Mark 15 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Mark 16:1
Jesus Has Risen ] When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.
Mark 16:1-3 (in Context) Mark 16 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Luke 4:16
He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read,
Luke 4:15-17 (in Context) Luke 4 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Luke 4:31
Jesus Drives Out an Impure Spirit ] Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath he taught the people.
Luke 4:30-32 (in Context) Luke 4 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Luke 6:1
Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath ] One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and his disciples began to pick some heads of grain, rub them in their hands and eat the kernels.
Luke 6:1-3 (in Context) Luke 6 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Luke 6:2
Some of the Pharisees asked, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”
Luke 6:1-3 (in Context) Luke 6 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Luke 6:5
Then Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
Luke 6:4-6 (in Context) Luke 6 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Luke 6:6
On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was shriveled.
Luke 6:5-7 (in Context) Luke 6 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Luke 6:7
The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath.
Luke 6:6-8 (in Context) Luke 6 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Luke 6:9
Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?”
Luke 6:8-10 (in Context) Luke 6 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Luke 13:10
Jesus Heals a Crippled Woman on the Sabbath ] On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues,
Luke 13:9-11 (in Context) Luke 13 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Luke 13:14
Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”
Luke 13:13-15 (in Context) Luke 13 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Luke 13:15
The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water?
Luke 13:14-16 (in Context) Luke 13 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Luke 13:16
Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”
Luke 13:15-17 (in Context) Luke 13 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Luke 14:1
Jesus at a Pharisee’s House ] One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched.
Luke 14:1-3 (in Context) Luke 14 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Luke 14:3
Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?”
Luke 14:2-4 (in Context) Luke 14 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Luke 14:5
Then he asked them, “If one of you has a child or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?”
Luke 14:4-6 (in Context) Luke 14 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Luke 23:54
It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.
Luke 23:53-55 (in Context) Luke 23 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Luke 23:56
Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.
Luke 23:55-56 (in Context) Luke 23 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. John 5:9
At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath,
John 5:8-10 (in Context) John 5 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. John 5:10
and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”
John 5:9-11 (in Context) John 5 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. John 5:16
The Authority of the Son ] So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him.
John 5:15-17 (in Context) John 5 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. John 5:18
For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
John 5:17-19 (in Context) John 5 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. John 7:22
Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a boy on the Sabbath.
John 7:21-23 (in Context) John 7 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. John 7:23
Now if a boy can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing a man’s whole body on the Sabbath?
John 7:22-24 (in Context) John 7 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. John 9:14
Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath.
John 9:13-15 (in Context) John 9 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. John 9:16
Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided.
John 9:15-17 (in Context) John 9 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. John 19:31
Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down.
John 19:30-32 (in Context) John 19 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Acts 1:12
Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas ] Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city.
Acts 1:11-13 (in Context) Acts 1 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Acts 13:14
From Perga they went on to Pisidian Antioch. On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down.
Acts 13:13-15 (in Context) Acts 13 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Acts 13:27
The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath.
Acts 13:26-28 (in Context) Acts 13 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Acts 13:42
As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people invited them to speak further about these things on the next Sabbath.
Acts 13:41-43 (in Context) Acts 13 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Acts 13:44
On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.
Acts 13:43-45 (in Context) Acts 13 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Acts 15:21
For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”
Acts 15:20-22 (in Context) Acts 15 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Acts 16:13
On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there.
Acts 16:12-14 (in Context) Acts 16 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Acts 17:2
As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures,
Acts 17:1-3 (in Context) Acts 17 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Acts 18:4
Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.
Acts 18:3-5 (in Context) Acts 18 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Colossians 2:16
Freedom From Human Rules ] Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.
Colossians 2:15-17 (in Context) Colossians 2 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  1. Hebrews 4:9
There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God;
Hebrews 4:8-10 (in Context) Hebrews 4 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations


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