Information Related to "Did the Apostle Paul Abolish the Sabbath?"
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July/August 1996 - Volume 1, Number 4

1996, United Church of God, an International Association

FEATURE ARTICLE - Expanded Edition
Did the Apostle Paul Abolish the Sabbath?

by Larry Walker

raditional Christian belief is divided into two camps on the Sabbath issue. Some insist that the Ten Commandments, including the Sabbath, are still obligatory for Christians. Most who hold this view teach that Sunday is the New Testament Sabbath, based on the claim that the early Church, or specifically the apostle Paul, changed the day.

A minority of churches believe the seventh day (Friday sundown to Saturday sundown, rather than Sunday, the first day of the week) must be observed as the Sabbath. The Sunday camp rejects any obligation to keep the Sabbath as a binding commandment and asserts that Jesus replaced all prior practices with a "law of love," which carries no obligation for keeping any day as a Sabbath. These churchgoers meet for worship on Sunday as a voluntary church tradition.

Based on what we have discovered in our survey of the story of rest, we must ask those who teach that the Sabbath is no longer to be kept for their proofs.

Those who believe the Sabbath is no longer valid quote a few passages from Paul's epistles to attempt to validate their claim. We will briefly consider each.

Sabbath-keeping not the issue

Romans 14:5,6: "One person esteems one day above another, another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord . . ."

Those who oppose Sabbath observance can't seem to resist reading it into these two verses, even though the entire chapter is devoted to eating and fasting. Expositor's Bible Commentary remarks, "Whether the question of regarding the day as more sacred than another refers to Sabbath observance or to special days for feasting or fasting is not easily determined." This would certainly be true for those who want to read Sabbath-keeping into the context.

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Keywords: Sabbath Sabbath in the New Testament Gnosticism Paul Colossians 


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