The Key of David

"the physical, visible reveals the spiritual, invisible things of God"

Short Answers: What about Breaking Bread on the First Day?

Acts 20:7

Paul, in correcting the saints at Corinth concerning the taking of the Lord’s Supper, or better, the Passover, said, “For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it” (1 Co 11:23-24). The night Jesus was betrayed was the 14th of Abib. The “days of Unleavened Bread” (Acts 20:6) which Paul kept at Philippi would have begun with the high Sabbath on the 15th day of Abib. Thus, Paul would have kept the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread at Philippi. He would have then set sail for Troas, where they arrived in five days. Paul would not have again taken the Passover three weeks after taking the Passover at Philippi, with the saints there; for the Passover sacraments are to be taken once a year.


Breaking Bread is a Euphemistic Expression for Eating a Meal:

When going to an eighteenth century French and Indian War reenactment in twenty-first century America, the French re-enactors judiciously look for would be English spies by whether they “break” bread (literally), or whether they slice a piece of bread from a loaf. The custom of slicing bread had not yet caught on in France in the eighteenth century, whereas the English had already taken up the custom. So to break bread is a euphemistic expression for eating a meal.


Luke used Unleavened Bread as a Recognizable Time Marker:

Paul and Luke sailed from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread. It is not likely that Luke would have used the Feast of Unleavened Bread as a time marker when in Asia and Achaia 00[Greece] if the Feast wasn’t being observed by the saints thirty years after Calvary. Luke is not writing to a Jewish audience, but to “Theophilus” (Acts 1:1) — the name reads, Friend of God, and suggests that Theophilus might be representative of every Christian to whom Paul went as the apostle sent to the Gentiles. Luke is not writing to Hebrew Christians. So for Luke to use Unleavened Bread as a time marker that affected the saints is significant.

Luke and Paul came to Troas where they stayed seven days; they had sailed for five days. The eighth day, the day Paul talked until midnight and the day Paul intended to depart (remember, the day starts at sunset, not midnight), is the first day of the week. Paul’s voice would not have held out if he had started talking Sunday morning and continued until midnight. Paul started talking to them when they were gathered together for dinner, and he talked until midnight.

Eutychus fell asleep and fell out the window sometime around midnight. He was taken up for dead, but Paul took him in his arms, and the young man lived. Then Paul proceeded to talk until dawn (Acts 20:11).

If Paul had begun talking Sunday morning and had continued until dawn Monday morning, the story would be difficult to believe; for after talking all night, Paul walked approximately nineteen miles, the distance from Troas to Assos (Acts 20: 13-14). So if the account is accurate, and if Sunday were treated as the Sabbath, what the reader finds is that beginning Sunday on the dark or night portion of the day, Paul talked for most of 12 hours, then walked from Troas to Assos while Luke and the others sailed to Assos, where they took him aboard (the following day they went to Mitylene). If the account is accurate, it was really on one day that Paul talked all night and walked all day, not exactly how a disciple would rest on the Sabbath or would enter into God’s rest. But this feat of endurance is possible if the person had rested on the Sabbath, and was refreshed and ready to go when the Sabbath was over and the first day of the week began.


Disciples are to Imitate Paul:

Paul tells the saints at Philippi to imitate him (3:17), and if saints were to imitate Paul, they would speak and travel on the first day of the week … it is not believable that Paul considered the first day of the week as the Sabbath, especially since he said in his defense to Festus that he had committed no offense against the law of the Jews or against the temple (Acts 25:8). Paul had rested on the Sabbath so that he could travel the following day.

Nowhere in this account is there any command to cease observing the Sabbath and to begin observing Sunday.

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"Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."