part of the what is truth? series

Are Christians supposed to gather on a specific day when we worship collectively?

Justin Martyr was born in 100 and was a second century apologist. Through his writings and the centuries of Christian practice since, tradition certainly has been established for that day to be Sunday, the first day of the week.

If we are to take our authority from Scripture, then it would be important to know what the Bible says.

And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits…But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration.

how Scripture answers "Does it matter when we worship together?"

By example we see saints gathering on the first day of the week, Sunday, to worship God and break bread1. Importantly, we don’t see any other example or time when Christians gathered to worship.

Instead, we see Paul seeking out the church in certain cities he visited and staying for seven days, presumably to worship on the appointed day2. We also see him gathering with Jews observing their Sabbath with the express purpose of teaching the gospel to many at once3.

the answer above is based on and footnoted with the following Scripture Blocks
1

We sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and within five days we came to the others in Troas, where we stayed for seven days. On the first day of the week, when we met to break bread, Paul began to speak to the people, and because he intended to leave the next day, he extended his message until midnight.

Paul and his group left Philippi after the feast of Unleavened Bread and sailed five days to Troas.  They stayed there seven days and on the first day of the week (Sunday) met to break bread.  Paul also spoke to the group for an extended period since he was leaving the next day.

Paul is traveling to Jerusalem and stopping in various cities on the journey – and staying, sometimes for months (Corinth).  As he goes, he is collecting money to give the needy saints in Jerusalem.

How does it inform?

The Christians in Troas met on Sunday to “break bread” or partake of the Lord’s Supper and in at least this case, hear a message from Paul. Paul staying seven days may imply their specific intent to stay long enough to meet with the church in Troas.

Does it apply? Yes

2

After we located the disciples, we stayed there seven days. They repeatedly told Paul through the Spirit not to set foot in Jerusalem.

After arriving and finding the disciples, they stayed seven days while Paul was being told by some “through the Spirit” not to continue on to Jerusalem.

Paul and his traveling companions have sailed from Ephesus and arrived in Tyre on their way to Jerusalem.

How does it inform?

Paul’s traveling company were possibly staying long enough to worship (on Sunday) given they stayed an entire week.

Does it apply? Somewhat

3

Moving on from Perga, they arrived at Pisidian Antioch, and on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down.

Arriving in Pisidian Antioch, they went into the synagogue on the Sabbath and sat down.

Paul and Barnabas are on the first missionary journey and as we see throughout Paul’s travels (
Acts 17:2
), he goes to the local synagogue on the Sabbath (Saturday) in order to teach.  He does that here, and they invite them back on the next Sabbath to teach more (vss 42, 44).
How does it inform?

Shows Paul’s consistent practice of not worshipping on Saturday, but rather gathering with others (Jews) whom he knew would be gathering for worship (according to the Mosaic Law) in order to have an audience for sharing the gospel.

Does it apply? Yes

Do you agree? If so, share this question and the Bible Study Framework with others.

If you know of some other verses or you have something to add to the verses already listed for this question please leave a comment below! We welcome the public discussion and will incorporate your input into the Framework above. We have nothing to hide and invite your help in considering all that God’s word has to say.

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