Question:

I was discussing with someone about coming to church on Sundays. What day should we meet? Does it matter which day during the week? Under persecution you might not be able to meet Sundays, so I was wondering: does it matter the day the church meets? I do know that it states they came together the first of week in two or three places and that's why we meet on Sundays. I was wondering your opinion on that. Thanks.

Answer:

"Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight" (Acts 20:7).

"On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come" (I Corinthians 16:2).

The answer lies in the grammar of Acts 20:7. Luke states that the first day of the week was when the disciples came together to break bread. The phrase "break bread" means to have a meal and can be used to refer to either a common meal or the Lord's Supper. For example, "So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart" (Acts 2:46). We know that Acts 2:46 was a common meal because it said they ate their food and that it was done from house to house, not in a single gathering. But in I Corinthians 10:16, "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?" the reference is to the Lord's Supper because it deals with worship. The reference in Acts 20:7 is to the Lord's Supper because it was done by the entire church and it was done on a weekly basis. It wasn't a day-to-day event at various people's homes.

Paul talks about the time Christians came together, "when you come together as a church" (I Corinthians 11:18). There is a specific time that churches get together to function as a church. It is done in one place, "when you come together in one place" (I Corinthians 11:20). The purpose of that gathering was to partake of the Lord's Supper, "Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat" (I Corinthians 11:33), but Paul scolded the Corinthians that they were not accomplishing that goal (I Corinthians 11:20). I Corinthians 11 tells us that it was done at a specific time, as a church, and its purpose was to partake of the Lord's Supper, but he doesn't mention in this chapter when that time was. Later, in I Corinthians 14, Paul talks about "the whole church comes together in one place" (I Corinthians 14:23). While together they did acts of worship: "How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification" (I Corinthians 14:26).

Now look at Acts 20:7 again. The first day of the week is when the disciples came together to break bread (partake of the Lord's Supper). While there they listened to a teaching from Paul. This passage then gives us the time when the disciples did their acts of worship. No other time is stated that the disciples gathered for the partaking of the Lord's Supper. In fact, other times are excluded by the phrasing in Acts 20:7. What was significant about the first day of the week? It was the day the disciple came together to partake of the Lord's Supper.

This is confirmed by I Corinthians 16:2. Paul wanted the Corinthians to gather funds in advance of his arrival. He tells them to do it on the first day of the week. The wording of this command allows no other day to be used for this purpose. Why the first day of the week? The implication is that it was the time they were already gathered together as a church (I Corinthians 11 and 14). Paul, then, adds another aspect of worship to the gathering they already had, that of giving to the Lord.

It is also significant that no other day is mentioned as the day Christians gathered for worship. There were gatherings on other days for other things, but the partaking of the Lord's Supper and giving are only mentioned as taking place on Sundays.

If you think about it, what day of the week is best suited as the day to partake of the memorial of Jesus' death? It was on the first day of the week that he arose (Mark 16:2). Also, the church was established on the day of Pentecost, which always fell on the first day of the week (Acts 2). Under the Old Testament, the Israelites' day of worship emphasized their freedom from slavery by a day of rest (Deuteronomy 5:12-15). God selected the seventh day for that day of worship because it was the day He rested from the Creation (Exodus 20:11). It was an appropriate part of the memorial. In the same way, the first day of the week is the Christian's day of worship because our worship is a memorial to events that took place on that day.