"THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS" It's Time To Wake Up! (13:11-14) by Mark Copeland

                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS"

                    It's Time To Wake Up! (13:11-14)


1. Apathy and lethargy are problems that often afflict the people of God...
   a. Many Christians simply "go through the motions"
   b. Many Churches exist, but with little zeal or progress

2. Such problems were common in New Testament times...
   a. The church in Ephesus left their first love - Re 2:4
   b. The church in Laodicea became lukewarm - Re 3:15-16

3. Paul felt the need to exhort the brethren in Rome to awake from sleep
   - Ro 13:11-14
   a. "To awake from carelessness and indifference" - B. W. Johnson
   b. "To shake off slothfulness, security, and all former sinful
      courses" - Poole
   c. To awake from "stupid, fatal indifference to eternal things" - JFB

[Have we become lethargic and indifferent to eternal things?  If so,
"It's Time To Wake Up!"  With Paul's exhortation before us, consider
some reasons...]


      1. Knowing the nature of time
         a. Time is short
         b. Time is fleeting - Jm 4:14-17
      2. Knowing what time it is
         a. Now is the time to obey the Lord
         b. Now is day of salvation - 2Co 6:1-2

      1. Our salvation is nearer - in what way?
         a. The Lord's return is nearer
         b. Our own death is nearer, should we die before the Lord
            returns - cf. He 9:27
      2. Than we first believed
         a. Every day brings us closer
         b. Think of how much time has gone by since we believed!

      1. The night - referring to the moral darkness of this world - cf.
         1Jn 2:8
      2. Is far spent - lit., "is cut off" It is becoming short; it is
         hastening to a close - cf. 1Co 7:31b
      3. This world and time as we know it will not last long

      1. "The day of eternal blessedness is at hand - is about to dawn
         on us in our glorious resurrection unto eternal life" - Clarke
      2. Until which the Word of God serves as a light shining in the
         dark - cf. 2Pe 1:19

[Since these things are true, let us walk (conduct ourselves) properly...]


      1. Such things as mentioned in this text:
         a. Revelry, drunkenness, lewdness
         b. Lust, strife, envy
      2. Such things as mentioned in other texts:
         a. Adultery, fornication, idolatry, sorcery, hatred,
            contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish
            ambitions, dissension's, heresies, murders - cf. Ga 5:19-21
         b. Passion, evil desire, covetousness, anger, malice,
            blasphemy, filthy language, lying - cf. Col 3:5-8

      1. The breastplate of faith and love, the hope of salvation as a
         helmet - 1Th 5:8
      2. That armor of God including truth, righteousness, the gospel,
         faith, the hope of salvation, the Word of God - cf. Ep 6:10-17

      1. First, in baptism
         a. For in baptism we "put on" Christ - Ga 3:27
         b. We are raised "with" Christ, "made alive together with Him"
            - Col 2:11-13
      2. Then, in developing Christ-like character
         a. Putting on the new man, renewed in knowledge, with tender
            mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering,
            forbearance, forgiving one another, love - Col 3:10-14
         b. Being renewed in mind, a new man in true righteousness and
            holiness - Ep 4:20-24
         c. Growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ 
            - cf. 2Pe 1:5-8; 3:18

      1. Something we must do!
         a. If we want to live spiritually - cf. Ro 8:12-13a
         b. If we desire the love of the Father - cf. 1Jn 2:15-17
      2. Something we can do!
         a. With the aid of the Spirit 
            - cf. Ro 8:13b; Ep 3:16,20; Ga 5:16-17
         b. With the aid of God's providence - cf. 1Co 10:13
         c. With the aid of watchful prayer 
            - Mt 26:41; cf. 1Pe 4:7;5:8
      3. How serious are we in this regard?
         a. Do we avoid circumstances that might tempt the flesh?
         b. Do we abstain from activities that arouse fleshly lusts?


1. Brethren, are we sleeping...?
   a. Indifferent to matters of the spirit, careless about things
   b. Lethargic in our service to the Lord, apathetic about our
      spiritual well-being?

2. If so, then "It's Time To Wake Up!"...
   a. The time to change and grow will be soon be gone!
   b. The day of eternity will arrive and we won't be ready!

3. Let us be children of the day, not of the night...
   a. Put on the Lord Jesus
   b. Put on the armor of light
   c. Walk properly
   d. Make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its fleshly lusts

...and we can look forward to obtaining salvation through Jesus Christ!
- cf. 1Th 5:1-11

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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An Inspiring Glimpse into the Text of the Dead Sea Scrolls by Thomas Tarpley, B.S.


An Inspiring Glimpse into the Text of the Dead Sea Scrolls

by Thomas Tarpley, B.S.

Thanks to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, we are able, with greater confidence, to believe in the Bible, knowing beyond any doubt that it is authentic. The significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls, in relation to biblical studies, can be separated into different areas. In this article, I would like to examine specifically the matter of the Old Testament text. As we study that text, we find that, prior to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, witnesses of the Old Testament text and canon were confined mainly to the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible.
For many years, scholars doubted that extremely ancient manuscripts of the Old Testament would ever be found. Sir Frederick Kenyon, in the 1948 printing of Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts, stated: “There is indeed, no probability that we shall ever find manuscripts of the Hebrew text going back to a period before the formation of the text which we know as Masoretic. We can only arrive at an idea of it by a study of the earliest translations made from it.…” Ironically, as his book was being printed, evidence that would invalidate such statements was being uncovered (see Pfeiffer, 1969).
Until the year 1947, the earliest manuscripts we possessed dated back to only around the tenth century A.D. These manuscripts composed what is known as the Masoretic Text, which was put into a fixed form in approximately A.D. 500. In the year 1947, a significant-yet-unexpected event occurred that would help document the authenticity of our present-day Bible. This special event took place in the northwestern corner of the Dead Sea, at a place known as Qumran. In a cave at Qumran, a young Bedouin boy accidentally stumbled upon a treasure trove of clay jars containing several ancient manuscripts—a find that proved to be one of the greatest discoveries of all time. These manuscripts take us back 1,000 years earlier than the Masoretic Text, to the first century B.C. The manuscripts, which are part of the Qumran library, are known collectively as the Dead Sea Scrolls. There are several lines of evidence that have put to rest the question of how old they are. This evidence was confirmed by paleography (the study and interpretations of ancient writings), orthography (the study of letters and their sequences in words), and archaeology.
Because these manuscripts have been proven to be so old, some initially questioned their quality (Geisler and Nix, 1986). Admittedly, there is indeed a scarcity of very ancient Hebrew manuscripts, due to the mere fact of how old and fragile, by necessity, they would be. Such documents would have to survive for two to three thousand years—a very long time considering the destructive nature of the elements (and man). Exactly how good, then, are the surviving manuscripts of the Dead Sea Scrolls?
The quality of the Old Testament manuscripts from Qumran is actually very good, because there are relatively few variants in the texts. After the Masoretes copied manuscripts, they destroyed the old copies. The documents from which the Masoretes copied were handed down from two ancient sources. The first was the work of a man called Rabbi Akiba. He was a leader in the movement of biblical interpretation who, toward the end of establishing an official text, was assisted by a man named Aquila. This process of establishing an official text was completed in Palestine between the years A.D. 132-135, which was fairly close to the time the Qumran texts were written (Pfeiffer, 1969). The second source was the work of the sopherim. The term sopherim, as used in the second and third centuries, referred to the rabbis. In studying early rabbinical writings, we can see a clear picture of their work. While studying the text of Scripture that had been passed on to them, they attempted to “set” the pronunciation of certain words, and remove what they deemed insignificant pieces of the text. In the margins of the Scriptures, they made notes, indicating changes they felt should be made, and they placed points above letters or words that they thought were unneeded. Scholars are not always in agreement with the rabbis’ judgments, but the traditions they represent are helpful in the study of textual problems.
The Jews possessed a great reverence for the Bible, and as a result, they laid down numerous exact specifications for the process of copying the Scriptures. These specifications related to the kinds of skin that were to be used, the types of ink, the size of columns, the spacing of words, and the fact that nothing could be written from memory. There also was a ritual that had to be performed before they could write the name of God. The lines, and even the letters, were counted methodically. If a manuscript was found to contain even one mistake, it was systematically destroyed. This scribal formalism accounts for the extreme care in copying the Scriptures (Geisler and Nix, 1986).
In accordance with scribal formalism, the extreme care for the Scriptures was carried over to the Masoretes. The work that is associated with Akiba and the sopherim was placed into its final form by the Masoretes, whose work was completed about the tenth century. They strove diligently to preserve the text that had been handed down to them. The traditional pronunciation was indicated by a system of vowels and accents. Hebrew (along with other Semitic languages) is written with a consonantal alphabet. Numerous precautions were taken by the Masoretes to ensure the purity of the text, including such things as counting the verses, the words, and even the letters of the books of the Old Testament. The Masoretes recorded how often the same word appeared at the beginning, middle, or end of a verse. They also recorded the middle verse, middle word, and middle letter of each book. The corrections suggested by the sopherim were carefully noted in the margins, but the integrity of the text itself remained basically unaltered. We today owe a great debt to the Masoretes for their strictness and care in safeguarding the text of God’s Word so carefully for so many centuries.
Another line of evidence that supports the innate quality of the Qumran manuscripts is the duplication of passages within the Masoretic text itself. Several psalms occur more than once; much of Isaiah 36-39 is also found in 2 Kings 18-20; Isaiah 2:2-4 is parallel to Micah 4:1-3; Jeremiah 52 is a repeat of 2 Kings 25; and large parts of Chronicles are found in Samuel and Kings. When examined, these passages not only show textual agreement but, in many cases, there is word-for-word identity (see Geisler and Nix, 1986).
The nature of the Dead Sea Scrolls is crucial to the establishment and confirmation of the true text. Because the Dead Sea Scrolls contain countless fragments of every book in the Old Testament except for Esther, there are plenty of samples with which to make comparisons to the Masoretic Text. But why would we need to compare the Dead Sea Scrolls with the Masoretic Text? What would such a comparison reveal? The purpose in making such a comparison is to determine if the Dead Sea Scrolls are similar to the Masoretic Text, and if so, in what ways. The evidence of these comparisons actually ends up providing an overwhelming confirmation of the fidelity of the Masoretic Text. Millar Burrows, writing in his book, The Dead Sea Scrolls, concluded: “It is a matter of wonder that through something like a thousand years the text underwent so little alteration. As I said in my first article on the scroll, ‘Herein lies its chief importance, supporting the fidelity of the Masoretic tradition’ ” (1955, p. 304).
Other scholars have noted that the differences between the standard text of A.D. 900 and the text from 100 B.C. are extremely minor. Gleason Archer, in his work, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, observed that two copies of Isaiah from cave 1 of Qumran “proved to be word for word identical with our standard Hebrew Bible in more than 95% of the text. The 5% of variation consisted chiefly of obvious slips of the pen and variations in spelling” (1974, p. 44). Further studies have supported the conclusion that the Dead Sea Scrolls are very similar to the Masoretic Text, which leads us to conclude that today’s Hebrew text faithfully represents the original as was written by the authors of the Old Testament.
There are other lines of evidence that I will not have the space to discuss in this brief article, such as support from archeology, the close parallel between the LXX and the Masoretic Text, and the agreement of the Qumran manuscripts with the Samaritan Pentateuch. As a result of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, scholars now have access to ancient Hebrew manuscripts that are 1,000 years older than the Masoretic Text manuscripts, which has enabled scholars to confirm the incredible accuracy of the Hebrew Text. In fact, a comparison of the standard Hebrew texts with that of the Dead Sea scrolls has revealed that the two are virtually identical. The variations (about 5%) occurred only in minor spelling differences and minute copyists’ mistakes. Thus, as Rene Paché noted: “Since it can be demonstrated that the text of the old Testament was accurately transmitted for the last 2,000 years, one may reasonably suppose that it had been so transmitted from the beginning” (1971, p. 191).
By way of conclusion, we may observe that all the thousands of Hebrew manuscripts (in whole or in part), with their confirmation by the LXX and the Samaritan Pentateuch, as well as the numerous cross references from without and within the text, give overwhelming evidence for the reliability of the Old Testament text. Therefore, it is safe to conclude, as did Sir Frederick Kenyon, that “the Christian can take the whole Bible in his hand and say without fear or hesitation that he holds in it the true word of God, handed down without essential loss from generation to generation throughout the centuries” (1948, p. 55).


Alexander, David and Pat Alexander, eds. (1973), Eerdmans’ Handbook to the Bible (Oxford, England: Lion Publishing).
Archer, Gleason (1974), Survey of Old Testament (Chicago, IL: Moody), revised edition.
Burrows, Millar (1958), The Dead Sea Scrolls (New York: Viking).
Geisler, Norman L. and William E. Nix (1986), A General Introduction to the Bible (Chicago, IL: Moody).
Kenyon, Frederick (1948), Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts (New York: Harper).
Paché, Rene (1971), The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Pfeiffer, Charles F. (1969), The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).

A Higher Law by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


A Higher Law
by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Concomitant with the decline of the American Republic with its inherent Christian connections, has been the infiltration of various segments of society, education foremost among them, by alternative philosophies and ideologies. Indeed, though once considered unthinkable, atheism and evolution have now achieved respectability within academia. The implications of these false systems of belief are sinister and destructive to civil (i.e., Christian) society. As French existentialist philosopher, Jean Paul Sartre, openly acknowledged:
Everything is indeed permitted if God does not exist, and man is in consequence forlorn, for he cannot find anything to depend upon either within or outside himself.... Nor, on the other hand, if God does not exist, are we provided with any values or commands that could legitimize our behavior (1961, p. 485, emp. added).
Or, to put it in the words of prominent evolutionist, Richard Dawkins:
I am not advocating a morality based on evolution. I am saying how things have evolved. I am not saying how we humans morally ought to behave.... My own feeling is that a human society based simply on the gene’s law of universal ruthless selfishness would be a very nasty society in which to live. But unfortunately, however much we may deplore something, it does not stop it being true (1989, pp. 2,3, emp. added).
So if atheism, and its sinister protégé, evolution, are true, no higher standard for human behavior exists than human opinion, genetic tendency, and subjective inclination—animalistic impulse.
But such thinking is utter nonsense. No sane evolutionist would want to live in a society where the behavioral implications of his theory are enacted on a thoroughgoing, widespread scale. Yet, atheists and evolutionists continue their propaganda campaign to eradicate Christian principles from civilization. Tragically, the gradual encroachment of atheistic morality is evident in American society. Not only have crime statistics exploded since the systematic elimination of God and Christianity from public schools commenced in the 1960s, many immoral behaviors are openly, blatantly vying for legal and social sanction—from same-sex marriage, polygamy, and abortion to gambling, suicide, and a host of other evils.
No atheist or evolutionist desires to embrace the logical outcome of his godless philosophy. He seeks to distance himself from those moments in history where atheistic ideology has managed to assert itself over a society. One stark example is seen in the rise of the Nazis and their Third Reich in 1930s Germany. Their agenda included the persecution and elimination of Christian and Jewish elements of society. When their regime came crashing down and they were called before the world’s tribunal, one of their attempts to justify themselves was that they were merely obeying the law of the land. They insisted that they all had to obey Hitler’s orders, which had the force of law in the German state, and, hence, obedience could not be made the basis of a criminal charge. Dr. Stahmer, the defense attorney for Hitler’s “Successor Designate No. 1,” Hermann Goering, articulated the point on July 4, 1946 at the Nuremburg Trials in Nuremburg, Germany:
From whence will they [the victorious Allies—DM] take the standard by which to decide about justice and injustice in a legal sense? In so far as such standards exist by International Law, valid up to now, further statements are not required. That a special court for the trial was created by the Charter of this Tribunal I also do not object to. I must, however, vigorously protest against its use, in so far as it is meant to create a new material law by threatening punishment for crimes which, at the time of their perpetration, at least as far as individuals are concerned, did not carry any punishment.... Can one expect that hereafter punishment will be recognized as just, if the culprit was never aware of it, because at the time he was not threatened with such punishment, and he believed to be able to derive the authorisation for his way of acting solely from the political aims pursued?... Because internationally recognized standards outside the positive International Law by which the legitimacy of States and of their aims could have been judged did not exist, any more than did an international community as such. Slogans about the legitimacy of one’s own and of the illegitimacy of foreign aspirations served only the formation of political fronts just as the efforts to brand political adversaries as disturbers of the peace. In any case they did, indeed, not create law (The Trial of..., 1946b, 18:106-107, emp. added).
In his final argument, Dr. Stahmer further asserted that Germany was operating under a dictator: “A dictator does not enter into a conspiracy with followers, he does not make any agreement with them, he dictates” (1946b, 18:111). Hitler was the law of Germany. Hence, what right did America, Britain, or Russia (the Allied powers) have to call the Nazis to account for their actions? What standard of behavior, what law code, could possibly justify their condemnation of the Nazis? How could Nazis be judged on the basis of American, British, or Russian law, seeing they were Germans—not Americans, British, or Russians? Atheists, humanists, materialists, and evolutionists can offer no legitimate answer to these questions. The very nature of their viewpoint militates against the existence of objective, absolute morality. Indeed, to the evolutionist, morality can be nothing more than a function of the human mind—an expression of personal taste, likes, and dislikes.
U.S. Supreme Court justice, and U.S. Chief of Counsel for the prosecution (Chief Prosecutor) of Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg, Robert Jackson, made the following observation in his opening remarks on November 21, 1945: “The Charter of this Tribunal evidences a faith that the law is not only to govern the conduct of little men, but that even rulers are, as Lord Chief Justice Coke [said] to King James, ‘under God and the law’” (The Trial of..., 1946a, 1:78, emp. added). Similarly, on July 27, 1946, Sir Hartley Shawcross, Chief Prosecutor of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, asserted the fundamental basis for human behavior: “Ultimately the rights of men, made as all men are made in the image of God, are fundamental” (The Trial of..., 1946d, 19:470, emp. added).
On Friday, July 26, 1946, Jackson included the following comments in his closing arguments:
As a Military Tribunal, this Tribunal is a continuation of the war effort of the Allied nations. As an International Tribunal, it is not bound by the procedural and substantive refinements of our respective judicial or constitutional systems, nor will its rulings introduce precedents into any country’s internal system of civil justice. As an International Military Tribunal, it rises above the provincial and transient and seeks guidance not only from international law but also from the basic principles of jurisprudence which are assumptions of civilization and which long have found embodiment in the codes of all nations (The Trial of..., 1946c, 19:383, July 26, emp. added).
The only legal guidance and authority that transcends international law, which is responsible for the moral assumptions of civilization as embodied in the codes of all nations, and which rises above “the provincial and transient” (geographical locale and time), is the law of God! Here is the only basis upon which human behavior may be rightly measured.
Atheists typically define morality in terms of “minimizing harm and pain,” and then insist that humans naturally possess an inherent recognition of morality—mores that have characterized human civilization throughout history. But this vague, ambiguous attempt to evade the existence of objective morality will not do. World-renowned atheist, Antony Flew, attempted this sleight of hand in his debate with Thomas B. Warren in 1976, when he insisted that the Nazis were tried for their crimes on the basis of “International” law (p. 248). Observe that this quibble side-steps the real issue, for at least three reasons: (1) There is no such thing as “International” law, since the entire international community has never established a single law code that can be bound on all countries. Even the United Nations lacks any such law code. Nor would they ever come to an agreement on one, if they tried! (2) Even if all nations on Earth somehow united to reach consensus on right and wrong, what right would those nations’ representatives have to impose their standard of behavior on all humans? (3) And, further, even if one generation of world leaders defined right and wrong for the entire world, what would prevent the next generation of world leaders from meeting and overturning that standard? All subsequent moral frameworks and law codes would be just as legitimate as the first one—though they may differ with each other in numerous instances. In the specific case of the Nazis, if some later tribunal convened to revisit the Nuremberg verdicts, and decided to overturn those decisions and declare to the world that the Nazis’ actions were actually noble, heroic, and moral—would their action make it so? If there is no God, the atheist must answer, “Yes.”
The Founders of the American Republic insisted that human government must be established on unchanging moral principles that transcend human opinions and feelings. These unchanging moral principles are derived from and based upon the unchanging laws of God—what the Founders styled in the Declaration of Independence: “the laws of nature and of nature’s God.” As Constitution signer and U.S. Supreme Court Justice James Wilson expressed: “Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of that law which is Divine” (1804, 1:105). Or as Constitution signer Alexander Hamilton insisted: “The law...dictated by God Himself is, of course, superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times. No human laws are of any validity if contrary to this” (1961, 1:87). Noah Webster said it so well when he observed that “our citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican principles is the Bible, particularly the New Testament, or the Christian religion” (1832, p. 6).
The truth is that all human behavior that conflicts with the law of God is sin (1 John 3:4)—the only moral evil. Any civilization that jettisons this objective standard of morality is committing ultimate, national suicide. That society is leaving itself open to unimaginable horror—the natural consequence that logically follows from the expulsion of God from the minds of the citizens. Atheism, if honestly applied, must inevitably result in hedonism. The psalmist certainly connected the dots:
The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquity; There is none who does good (Psalm 53:1).
The solution? Citizens must return to the founding principles: God exists, the Bible is the Word of God, Christianity is the one true religion, and citizens must govern themselves by Christian moral principles.


Dawkins, Richard (1989), The Selfish Gene (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
Hamilton, Alexander (1961), The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Harold Syrett (New York: Columbia University Press).
Sartre, Jean Paul, (1961), “Existentialism and Humanism,” French Philosophers from Descartes to Sartre, ed. Leonard M. Marsak (New York: Meridian).
The Trial of German Major War Criminals (1946a), 2nd Day: Wednesday, 21st November, 1945, (Vol. 1, Part 7 of 8), (London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office), http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-01/tgmwc-01-02-07.html.
The Trial of German Major War Criminals (1946b), 187th Day: Thursday, 4th July, 1946, (Vol. 18, Part 7 of 8), (London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office), http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-18/tgmwc-18-171-07.shtml.
The Trial of German Major War Criminals (1946c), 187th Day: Friday, 26th July, 1946, (Vol. 19, Part 1 of 12), (London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office), http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-19/tgmwc-19-187-01.shtml.
The Trial of German Major War Criminals (1946d), 188th Day: Saturday, 27th July, 1946, (Vol. 19, Part 8 of 8), (London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office), http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-19/tgmwc-19-188-08.shtml.
Warren, Thomas and Antony Flew (1976), The Warren-Flew Debate on the Existence of God, Creation and Evolution (Ramer, TN: National Christian Press). http://www.nationalchristianpress.net/NCPcatalog.pdf.
Webster, Noah (1832), History of the United States (New Haven, CT: Durrie & Peck).
Wilson, James (1804), The Works of the Honourable James Wilson, ed. Bird Wilson (Philadelphia, PA: Lorenzo Press).

Sunday and the Lord's Supper by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Sunday and the Lord's Supper

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

The idea that all people are obligated to conform their thinking and their actions to the teaching of Jesus Christ is not a popular notion these days—even among Christians. Many desire to feel religiously authentic and pleasing to God, but few think that acceptance by God is predicated upon their own conformity to divine legislation. In fact, those who urge people to be conscientious about compliance with the details of God’s Word are decried as “legalists” (see Miller, 2003). Of course, this antinomian spirit is in direct conflict with the thrust of the Bible from beginning to end. God always has expected people to conform themselves to His stipulations (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Obedient human response is a manifestation of one’s love (John 14:15; John 15:14; 1 John 5:3).
The New Testament conveys specific information regarding the “what, when, how, and why” of the observance the Lord’s Supper. Nevertheless, most within Christendom assign no significance to frequency. To them, one may partake of the Lord’s Supper once each month, quarter, or year. However, Scripture is in conflict with this thinking (Brownlow, 1945, pp. 168-175). The biblical view is that God intends for the church to observe the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week, i.e., every Sunday. A more recent wrinkle of innovation is the insistence that the Lord’s Supper may be observed on days of the week other than Sunday (e.g., Atchley, 1989; Hood, 1990, p. 15; Mayeux, 1989, 46:6). But what does the Bible teach?


Shortly before His death, Jesus observed the Old Testament feast of unleavened bread. In the process, He instituted the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:20) and told His disciples that this “communion” (1 Corinthians 10:16) would be observed in the kingdom (Matthew 26:29). The bread and the fruit of the vine were to function as symbols for the body and blood of Jesus that soon would be offered on the cross as the sacrifice for the world. When is this practice of observing the Lord’s Supper to be done? On SundayEvery Sunday? Only on Sunday?
One key consideration is the early church’s practice under the apostles’ guidance. After all, Jesus specifically predicted that after His departure from Earth, the Holy Spirit would enable the apostles to implement the teachings of Christ in the establishment of the church and the launching of the Christian religion (John 14:25-26; 15:26-27; 16:7-15). Just prior to His ascension, He commissioned the apostles to preach the Gospel (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16). Hence, the New Testament reports what early Christians and churches practiced as a direct result of the teachings of Christ as mediated through the apostles. How churches observed the Lord’s Supper, beginning in the book of Acts, is unquestionably a reflection of apostolic influence and inspired precedent. As McGarvey well noted:
It is axiomatic that the Lord, who instituted ordinances for observance in the church, knew the precise manner of their observance which would best secure the spiritual ends had in view; and consequently every loyal soul feels impelled to preserve them precisely in the manner of their first institution, when that can be ascertained.... [O]ur only safety...is to be found in copying precisely the form instituted by divine authority (1910, pp. 342-343).
A second key factor concerns the significance of Sunday. Does the New Testament assign any special meaning to Sunday? One cannot help but take note of the fact that Jesus’ resurrection took place on Sunday (Mark 16:1; Luke 24:1; John 20:1). After His resurrection, Jesus met with His disciples on Sunday (John 20:19,26). Pentecost was a Jewish feast day (Leviticus 23:15ff.), and it was on this feast day, ten days after the ascension of Jesus, that the church was established—on Sunday (see McGarvey, 1892, p. 19; Brewer, 1941, pp. 325-326). New Testament churches assembled on Sunday (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2). They observed the Lord’s Supper on that day (Acts 20:7). In harmony with Revelation 1:10, early Christians began calling Sunday “the Lord’s day” (Swete, 1911, p. 13). How can even the casual reader miss this repetition? Without a doubt, the day Sunday is infused with considerable religious significance.
Another implied factor is the deafening silence of the New Testament with regard to the special significance of Saturday (or any other day). Other than Sunday, Saturday is the only serious contender for a day of religious significance. However, observance of the Sabbath was unquestionably a feature of only Judaism, not Christianity—though the infant church was exclusively Jewish and initially reluctant to abandon Mosaic practice (Acts 11:19; 15:1,5; 21:12). The same is true with regard to early church history. While certainly not the deciding criterion for New Testament Christians, early church history confirms that Acts 20:7 is not an incidental reference. Observance of the Lord’s Supper on Sunday reflects the general practice of both the first-century churches as well as post-first-century churches. For example, the Didache, written shortly after the close of the first century, speaks of Christians coming together each Lord’s day and breaking bread (9:1-12; 14:1). Justin Martyr wrote in his First Apology (ch. 67), circa A.D.152, of Christians meeting on Sunday and partaking of the communion (ch. 67). Milligan observed: “That the primitive Christians were wont to celebrate the Lord’s Supper on every first day of the week is evident.... During the first two centuries the practice of weekly communion was universal, and it was continued in the Greek church till the seventh century” (1975, p. 440). Johnson summarized the post-first century data:
[T]he early church writers from Barnabas, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, to Clement of Alexandria, Origen and Cyprian, all with one consent, declare that the church observed the first day of the week. They are equally agreed that the Lord’s Supper was observed weekly, on the first day of the week (1891, 1:505, emp. added).
Still another consideration is the doctrinal significance that interconnects the Lord’s Supper and Sunday. Jesus’ death and resurrection were connected intimately to Sunday observance of the Supper (1 Corinthians 11:26). One cannot argue for a Sunday assembly without arguing for Sunday communion. In Deuteronomy 5:12-15, the Sabbath commemorated the Exodus—the deliverance of the Jews from Egyptian bondage. Sunday, in like manner, is the Christian’s day of deliverance. The Lord’s Supper is associated with this redemption and the very nature of the church. It is a corporate act and thus done by all members when the assembly comes together on Sunday. The Lord’s Supper on any other day weakens its doctrinal significance (see Ferguson, 1976, pp. 59-62). As Rex Turner so eloquently affirmed:
The first day of the week is Christ’s resurrection day. It is the greatest day in all the annals of history. What could be more appropriate, therefore, than for the disciples to assemble on Christ’s resurrection day, the first day of the week, to break the bread and to drink the fruit of the vine in commemoration of Christ’s death, his atoning blood, his resurrection, and his promise to come again? He who contends that Christians may with equal propriety and authority partake of the Lord’s Supper on some other day than the first day of the week has not grasped the real significance of what took place on that certain first day of the week, nor does he recognize how that the first day of the week is the Lord’s Day (Revelation 1:10) (1972, p. 80, emp. added).
Ultimately, the issue of observance frequency hinges on the verses that address the subject specifically. [NOTE: For an excellent analytical treatment of the passages of Scripture that impinge on the question of the Lord’s Supper, see Warren, 1975, pp. 148-156.]


ACTS 2:42,46

In Acts 2:42, we encounter the expression “breaking of bread.” The Greek expression “to break bread” (klasai arton), a literal rendering of the Hebrew idiom (paras lechem), was a common idiom meaning “to partake of food” (Bullinger, 1898, p. 839; Woods, 1976, p. 67; Harris, et al., 1980, 2:736; Gesenius, 1847, p. 690; Moule, 1961, p. 25; Behm, 1965, 3:729). The idiom developed from the fact that Hebrews baked their bread in the shape of thin round flat cakes (rather than loaves) that lent themselves more to breaking than cutting (Bullinger, p. 839; McClintock and Strong, 1867, 1:882). The idiom is clearly seen in Isaiah 58:7, Jeremiah 16:7, and Lamentations 4:4. Americans use a similar idiom when we speak of “getting a bite to eat.” However, figures of speech often do “double duty” by developing additional meanings. From the idiomatic meaning of eating a meal came a more technical use of the expression in Scripture. Since the Lord took bread and, in accordance with the Jewish practice where the father of the household prepared the bread for distribution to the family (see Arndt and Gingrich, 1957, p. 434; Rackham, 1901, p. 37; Behm, 1964, 1:477), apparently broke it into pieces (Matthew 26:26; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 1:24), “breaking bread” sometimes is used in Scripture to refer to the Lord’s Supper (see Behm, 1965, 3:730; Klappert, 1976, 2:530; Reese, 1976, pp. 83, 734). One cannot assume that every occurrence of the idiom refers to the Lord’s Supper. Context must determine whether a common meal or the Lord’s Supper is intended (see chart).

Literal Breaking
Figurative Breaking
Common Meal
Matt. 14:19; 15:36
Mark 6:41; 8:6,19
Luke 9:16; 24:30
Acts 27:35
Luke 24:35
Acts 2:46
Lord’s Supper
Matt. 26:26
Mark 14:22
Luke 22:19
1 Cor. 11:24
Acts 2:42
Acts 20:7,11
Contextual indicators in Acts 2:42 that point to the meaning of the Lord’s Supper include the use of the article “the” (in the Greek), indicating that a particular event, as opposed to a common meal, is under consideration (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:16; Nicoll, n.d., 2:95). The verse could well have been translated, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and thefellowship, in the breaking of the bread, and in the prayers.” Luke obviously was speaking of the formal worship activities of the Christians.

Second, “breaking bread” is listed among other unmistakably religious activities of the church: apostles’ doctrine, fellowship, and prayer. Third, the phrase “continued steadfastly” (imperfect tense) indicates a customary, habitual, ongoing practice—though the exact frequency is not indicated in this context. One has to go elsewhere to ascertain whether specific frequency is enjoined. Yet, from this passage one can see that the early church obviously partook more frequently than annually, since a year had not passed since the establishment of the church, and they already were worshiping “steadfastly.”
“Breaking bread” is again mentioned four verses later. Here, too, context must provide indication as to whether Acts 2:46 refers to observance of the Lord’s Supper or simply common meals. Arndt and Gingrich call attention to the use of the enclitic particle, te, occurring most frequently in the New Testament in the book of Acts. It appears twice in Acts 2:46 to convey the idea of “not only...but also” (1957, p. 807; cf. Robertson, 1934, p. 1179—“But te...te is strictly correlative”). Thayer identifies the term as a copulative enclitic particle that conveys an inner connection with what precedes. Hence, double use of the term in the same sentence, as in Acts 2:46, presents parallel or coordinate ideas—“as...so” (Thayer, 1901, pp. 616-617; Blass, et al., 1961, p. 230). Hence the use of the correlative conjunction (te) in verse 46 functions as a break in thought—a contrast—to guard against the impression that the disciples stayed in the temple 24 hours a day. Luke conveyed the idea that the disciples clustered together in the temple almost constantly after the momentous events of Pentecost, no doubt unwilling to miss any of the tremendous spiritual activities associated with the establishment of the church. However, they went to their private homes in order to carry on the routine amenities associated with common meals. So Jamieson, et al.: “in private, as contrasted with their temple-worship” (1871, p. 176, italics in orig.).
The parallel thought conveyed by the double use of te, evident throughout the context, is the unity or togetherness that the disciples enjoyed. While they participated together in their religious activities, they also continued their togetherness in their nonreligious acts of domestic socialization. English versions that capture the grammatical nuances of the verse include the NIV: “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.” Observe that the allusion to being together in the temple courts is terminated with a period. The next sentence conveys a separate idea pertaining to the eating of common meals in their homes. The ASV translates the verse: “And day by day, continuing steadfastly with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread at home, they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart.” The daily meeting in the temple was a separate practice from breaking bread at home, where they ate their meals with gladness. Barnes observed: “[T]he expression ‘did eat their meat’ seems to imply that this refers to their common meals, and not to the Lord’s supper” (1847, p. 59, emp. added). “Breaking bread” (vs. 46) therefore refers, not to the Lord’s Supper, but to common meals. The term “food” (trophe; cf. “meat,” KJV), never used to refer to the Lord’s Supper, is explicative of the expression “breaking bread”—further proof that a common meal is under consideration (Jackson, 1991, p. 3).
In order to prove that Acts 2:46 refers to daily observance of the Lord’s Supper, one would have to both know and prove two unprovable points: (1) that “daily” is an adverbial temporal modifier that necessarily modifies the phrase “breaking bread at home,” and (2) that the phrase “breaking bread at home” refers specifically and exclusively to the Lord’s Supper (Warren, 1975, p. 151). One would have to know these two things before one could draw the conclusion that God sanctions partaking of the Lord’s Supper on some day other than Sunday. But one cannot know or prove these two points. Indeed, the grammatical evidence militates against them. Acts 2:46 provides no authority or evidence to warrant the conclusion that the church can partake of the Lord’s Supper on some day other than Sunday.

ACTS 20:7

In Acts 20, considerable information regarding the early church’s handling of the Lord’s Supper is divulged. Nothing in this or any other context indicates that the “many lights,” “upper room” (vs. 8), or “third story” (vs. 9) have anything to do with the Lord’s Supper. Thus the location and surrounding paraphernalia (e.g., number of trays/cups) are expedients. As such, they are permanently optional (cf. Warren, 1975, p. 140). Additional contextual features help to define the parameters of the passage.
First, the term “to break bread” is a first Aorist infinitive. Infinitives in Greek and English denote purpose of action of the principal verb (Summers, 1950, p. 132; Dana and Mantey, 1927, p. 214). The verb in the verse is “came together.” Thus the primary purpose for the assembly was to partake of the Lord’s Supper. This conclusion is also implied in Paul’s rebuke of the Corinthians: “Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper” (1 Corinthians 11:20). Alexander Campbell noted that Paul’s words demonstrate that partaking of the Lord’s Supper was “the chief object of meeting” (1972, p. 32). Observe carefully that even as the purpose for the assembly is declared forthrightly to be partaking of the Lord’s Supper, so the text states explicitly that this act was done on the first day of the week. [NOTE: For a discussion of the underlying Greek that authenticates the translation “first day of the week,” see McGarvey, 1910, pp. 306-307.]
Second, Luke used “when” as a stylistic device to denote a regular procedure that the reader should know and understand (see Dungan, 1891, 1:245-246; Gibson, 1990, pp. 4-5). The clause prefaced by the word “when” constitutes a side comment by Luke intended to flag a well-recognized, fully expected event. The significance of this feature is illustrated in the following paraphrase: “Now on the first day of the week—which everyone recognizes is the very day that Christians come together to observe the Lord’s Supper—Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them....” A parallel to American culture may be seen in the statement: “On the fourth of July, when Americans celebrate the birth of their country, the President delivered a stirring speech to the nation” (cf. Nichol and Whiteside, 1920, 1:171). The main point to which Luke was driving was the preaching of Paul that lasted until midnight. However, subordinating an additional action within a separate clause, prefaced with “when,” shows that Luke was making reference to that which was recognized as standard protocol among Christians: Sunday observance of the Lord’s Supper. Indeed,
[w]e must remember that I Cor. had been previously written, and that the reference in I Cor. xvi.2 to “the first day of the week” for the collection of alms naturally connects itself with the statement here in proof that this day had been marked out by the Christian Church as a special day for public worship, and for “the breaking of the bread” (Nicoll, n.d., 2:424, emp. added).
Third, Paul spent an entire week in Troas—even though he was on a rushed schedule, in a hurry to get to Jerusalem (20:16). One would not delay a rushed trip simply to partake of a common meal or meals—which could have been eaten on any of the delayed days. It would seem he desired to meet with the entire church at the formal, weekly worship assembly—a circumstance he repeated both at Tyre (Acts 21:4) and Puteoli (Acts 28:14). Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown explain the timetable:
[A]rriving on a Monday, they stayed over the Jewish Sabbath and the Lord’s Day following; occupying himself, doubtless, in refreshing and strengthening fellowship with the brethren during the interval.... This...plainly indicates that the Christian observance of the day afterwards distinctly called “the Lord’s Day,” was already a fixed practice of the churches (1871, p. 208, emp. added).


From the text it is apparent that on this occasion the disciples came together in the evening. Since we are informed that they came together “on the first day of the week,” the question remains whether the evening was our Saturday night or our Sunday night. The answer hinges on the matter of the reckoning of time in the first century, specifically, whether Luke’s narrative employs Jewish or Roman time. The following background information will resolve this question.

Days & Hours

Throughout history, cultures have differed in their counting of hours and days. The term “day” has a variety of meanings among cultures even in the Bible. The 24-hour rotation of the Earth on its axis is one meaning for the term “day,” i.e., a solar or astronomical day. But the point at which one begins to count this single revolution has differed from culture to culture. Scholars are largely agreed that the Babylonians counted their days from sunrise to sunrise, the Umbrians from noon to noon, the Athenians and Hebrews from sunset to sunset, and the Egyptians and Romans from midnight to midnight (Pliny, 1855, 2.79.77; Smith, 1868, 1:567; Hasel, 1979b, 1:878; Anthon, 1843, p. 361). Europe, America, and Western civilization have generally conformed to Roman time. Throughout the Bible, the Jews commenced their day in the evening—as stipulated by the Law of Moses in the phrase “from evening to evening” (Leviticus 23:32; cf. Exodus 12:18). Hence, for Jews the Sabbath (Saturday) began at sunset (approximately 6:00 p.m.) on what we delineate as Friday evening. Their Sabbath (Saturday) came to a close at approximately 6:00 p.m. on our Saturday evening, and their Sunday began at that time (see also Nehemiah 13:19; Psalm 55:17; cf. ereb boqer [evening-morning] in Daniel 8:14). Since the early church initially was composed entirely of Jews, and since Jews were scattered outside of Palestine throughout the Roman Empire, “the early churches...often followed the Jewish custom” (Johnson, 1891, 1:506) of reckoning time.
Another meaning for the word “day” corresponds to our word “daylight.” The phrase “night and day” (Mark 5:5) refers to the dark and light portions of a single, 24-hour day—with the word “day” referring to only half of the 24-hour day (Gibbs, 1982, 2:769; Hasel, 1979a, 1:877; Anthon, pp. 362,507). Jesus made this meaning clear when He asked, “Are there not twelve hours in the day?” (John 11:9, emp. added). He was using the word “day” to refer to the daylight hours as distinguished from the night. Luke uses the term the same way. In Acts 16:35, he wrote: “And when it was day, the magistrates sent the officers, saying, ‘Let those men go.’” He means “when it was daylight,” since the events leading up to his statement were post-midnight occurrences (vs. 25).
The Jews of Jesus’ day divided the daylight portion of the “day” into even smaller units, i.e., four units of three hours each beginning about 6:00 a.m. (Hasel, 1979b, 1:878; Robinson, 1881, p. 338; Robertson, 1922, p. 284). This mode permeates the New Testament. The darkness that prevailed during Christ’s crucifixion “from the sixth hour until the ninth hour” (Matthew 27:45; cf. Mark 15:33) is our noon to 3:00 p.m. Though Luke probably was a non-Jew, and though the initial recipient of the book, Theophilus, very likely was also a Gentile, it nevertheless is evident that Luke used the Jewish—not Roman—method of counting time in Luke and Acts. The “sixth hour” and “ninth hour” in Luke 23:44 are noon and 3:00 p.m. respectively. The “third hour of the day” in Acts 2:15 refers to 9:00 a.m. The “sixth hour” in Acts 10:9 is 12:00 noon. The “ninth hour” in Acts 3:1 and Acts 10:3,30 is 3:00 p.m. So certain of this reckoning were the NIVtranslators that they converted the “ninth hour” to the modern equivalent to aid the English reader: “Cornelius answered: ‘Four days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon” (Acts 10:30, emp. added; cf. vs. 3). Even the Roman authority Claudius Lysias was “following the Jewish method of counting time” (Jackson, 2005, p. 298) in Acts 23:23 when he alluded to “the third hour of the night” (i.e., 9:00 p.m.). Notice that all of Luke’s allusions to days and hours in Acts assume a Jewish reckoning of time. [NOTE: Matthew and Mark also followed Jewish time, while John—who wrote near the end of the first century—seems to have followed Roman time (cf. Smith, 1869, 2:1102; Robertson, 1922, p. 285; Lockhart, 1901, p. 28; Brewer, 1941, pp. 330-331; McGarvey, 1892, 2:181-182).] The same may be said even of Luke’s references to seasons, as Reese so insightfully observes in his comments on Acts 27:9:
It should be noted that Paul is using Jewish time here (as he does in Acts 20:16; 1 Corinthians 16:8; and Acts 18:21, KJV); or shall we say that Luke is using Jewish time in his account of what Paul said? Rather than speaking of sailing being dangerous from the Ides of November to the Ides of March, Luke uses the Jewish means of reckoning. In Jewish language, the sailing season was reckoned from the feast of Passover until the feast of Tabernacles (five days after the Day of Atonement) (1976, p. 897, emp. added).
Further, one must distinguish very carefully between the meaning “24-hour period” and “daylight” in the Bible’s use of “day.” For example, Luke informs us that Herod had James executed and intended to do the same to Peter: “Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread. So when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover” (Acts 12:3-4, emp. added). Passover began on our Friday evening around 6:00 p.m. While sitting in prison during that night (vs. 6), Peter was released by an angel, so he went to the home of Mary (vs. 12) to report the incident, and then went elsewhere. Luke then states: “as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers about what had become of Peter” (vs. 18, emp. added). “Day” in verse 18 refers to daylight, i.e., morning—not another or second day.
Another example is seen in Luke’s remark about the Jewish authorities: “And they laid hands on them [the apostles—DM], and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening” (Acts 4:3, emp. added). Observe that, by “next day,” Luke did not mean to refer to a different day, as if to say that the apostles were arrested on Monday, but placed in custody until Tuesday. Rather, using Jewish time, Luke was saying that the apostles were arrested at or after 6:00 p.m. (“it was already evening”) on a particular day, and then placed in custody until the next daylight period, i.e., the next morning of the same day. To illustrate, if the apostles were arrested after 6:00 p.m. on, say, our Monday, it already was their Tuesday, and the “next day” when the Sun rose would still be Tuesday. [NOTE: For yet another example of this use of “day,” see Acts 23, where Paul delivered his defense before the Jewish Council (vss. 1-10). Luke then states: “But the following night the Lord stood by him...” (vs. 11). The “following night” does not refer to the night of the next day, but rather to the dark hours that followed sequentially after Paul’s defense during the daylight hours (as reflected in the NASB rendering: “But on the night immediately following...”). Verse 12 then states: “And when it was day...”—referring to the daylight that followed the night of verse 11. See also Acts 23:31-32; 27:27-29.]
This linguistic usage comes into play in Acts 20. Since Luke was using Jewish time (as he does everywhere else in Acts), then the disciples came together on the evening of our Saturday—their Sunday—with Paul “ready to depart the next day,” i.e., the next period of daylight, which would be sometime after dawn the next morning—which would still be their (and our) Sunday. Conybeare and Howson comment: “It was the evening which succeeded the Jewish Sabbath. On the Sunday morning the vessel was about to sail” (1899, pp. 592-593).
Observe also that the Jewish (vs. Roman) method of reckoning time is inherent in the terminology in the above passages, in which 12 sequential hours are equated with “day,” i.e., daylight. Roy Lanier, Sr. explains:
But reckoning the day of twenty-four hours from 6 p.m. to 6 p.m. is the only way one can get twelve hours of night and twelve hours of day and get them in that order. Starting the period at midnight gives us approximately six hours of darkness, then twelve hours of light, and then another six hours of darkness, in that order. The Biblical day began with twelve hours of darkness and was followed by twelve hours of light (1984, 2:108).

ACTS 20:11

When the worship was interrupted by the fall of Eutychus from the upper window, and Paul miraculously revived him, we read in verse 11: “Now when he had come up, had broken breadand eaten, and talked a long while, even till daybreak, he departed.” Commentators are divided as to the meaning of “broken bread” in this verse. Some insist that “broken bread” and “eaten” refer to a common meal (perhaps “love feast”) that the brethren shared with Paul before his departure. Others insist that “broken bread” refers to the Lord’s Supper.
One primary reason to equate “broken bread” in this verse with the eating of the Lord’s Supper is due to its connection to the same expression used previously in verse seven. The Greek places the article before “bread” in verse 11, i.e., “the bread,” as reflected in both the ASV and NASB. G.C. Brewer concluded from this grammatical feature: “In verse 7 we are told that they came together to break bread, and in verse 11 we are told that after the interruption they came to the upper chamber again and broke the breadton arton” (p. 331). Brewer’s point was not that the article preceding “bread” automatically proves that the Lord’s Supper is intended. Rather, his point was that
since bread was mentioned in the context (verse 7), and this, as all admit, was the Lord’s Supper, and no other bread was contemplated in the passage, then “the bread” in verse 11 would naturally refer to the bread just previously mentioned. If we allow the context to explain what bread is intended, we can have no doubt about its being the Lord’s Supper (p. 336, italics in orig., emp. added; see also Hackett, 1852, p. 283; cf. Johnson, 1891, 1:505).
In their famous Greek Grammar of the New Testament, Blass, Debrunner, and Funk lend further support to this interpretation of Acts 20:11, in their discussion of the use of the article with proper names (1961, pp. 135-136). They note that while proper names “do not as such take the article,” they may do so as the result of “anaphora” (i.e., “the use of a linguistic unit...to refer back to another unit”—American Heritage..., 2000, p. 65). In other words, if a proper name is used, arton (bread) in verse seven, and the same noun is used thereafter in the same context preceded by the article, ton arton (the bread) in verse 11, the second occurrence of the noun generally refers to the earlier occurrence. Blass, et al., give examples of two such instances—both also by Luke: (1) the use of the article with Saul (“the Saul”) in Acts 9:1 with reference to the earlier mention of him in Acts 8:3 where the article is not used, and (2) the use of the article with Damascus (“the Damascus”) in Acts 9:3 with anaphora to verse two where Damascus occurs without the article.
Using four participles and one verb in verse 11, Luke itemized five specific actions that followed the revival of Eutychus. In the ASV, those actions are: (1) gone up (i.e., returning to the third floor), (2) broken the bread, (3) eaten, (4) talked a long while, and (5) departed. Observe carefully that the term “eaten” is a separate participial action from the breaking of the bread. It would appear that “eaten” refers to a common meal that Paul ate after the Lord’s Supper was commemorated. Guy N. Woods commented: “We believe that the breaking of the bread in verse 11 refers to the Lord’s supper; and that the mention of the word eaten suggests a common meal” (Woods, 1976, p. 351, italics in orig.). Conybeare and Howson agree: “[T]hey celebrated the Eucharistic feast. The act of Holy Communion was combined, as was usual in the Apostolic age, with a common meal” (1899, p. 594). They further noted that “When he had eaten, v. 11...is distinguished in the Greek from the breaking bread” (p. 594, note 3, italics in orig.; see also Robertson, 1930, 3:342; Jamieson, et al., 1871, p. 208). The objection that the allusion to breaking bread is singular and that therefore it cannot refer to the Lord’s Supper, since Paul would not have taken the Lord’s Supper by himself, actually carries no force, since the same objection would apply to the idea that a common meal is intended. Would Paul have consumed a common meal by himself—especially since he was accompanied by several traveling companions who would have been in just as much need of sustenance before continuing the trip with Paul (cf. McGarvey, 1863, p. 249)?
In view of Luke’s use of Jewish time, it matters little whether the Lord’s Supper or a common meal is indicated. In either case, the disciples came together to partake of the Lord Supper “on the first day of the week”—not Saturday or Monday. Even those scholars who are inclined to believe that Luke used Roman time, nevertheless, speak with virtually one accord in affirming that the Lord’s Supper was observed on Sunday—not Monday. As H. Leo Boles insisted: “[I]f they ate the Lord’s Supper on Monday, they did not do what they met to do on the first day of the week” (1941, p. 319). He also explained:
Yes. The Jews and Romans had different ways of counting time. It matters not to us how they counted time. We have a time designated as the “first day of the week,” and the Lord’s people are to meet upon that day. Their time was divided into days, weeks, months, and years, as in ours. Their weeks had a first day, and our weeks have a first day. We can know the first day of our week, and can meet and worship on that day and receive the blessing of God (1985, p. 112).
Though DeWelt assumes a Jewish reckoning, he noted: “We might remark that the Lord’s Supper here called the ‘breaking of bread’ was partaken of on Sunday regardless of what time of reckoning for time is used. If you count the time from sundown to sundown (Jewish) it was on Sunday. If from midnight to midnight (Roman) it was on Sunday” (1958, p. 271, emp. added).


Some argue that since the Jewish Christians could have observed the Lord’s Supper on our Saturday evening, we can, too. However, Saturday evening was not Saturday evening to a Jew—it was Sunday! The timing of our observance of the Lord’s Supper must conform to the reckoning of time indigenous to our culture. God expects Christians to observe the Supper on the first day of the week—however that day is reckoned in a given society. It will not do to say that we can partake of the Lord’s Supper on Saturday in Texas since at that moment in Australia it is already Sunday. A person living in Texas must observe the Lord’s Supper on Sunday as Sunday is reckoned in Texas. Otherwise, there would be no end to the resulting confusion, and the emphasis placed on Sunday in the New Testament would be rendered essentially meaningless. God will hold each of us accountable for observing the Supper on Sunday as that day is reckoned in our culture and geographical location.
Another quibble is the assertion that since Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper on a Thursday—taking of it Himself along with His disciples—we can partake on days other than Sunday. It is true that Jesus instigated the Lord’s Supper on Thursday evening—the first day on which the Jews commenced preparations for the feast, which was the killing of the Passover lamb. But the thinking that says, “If He did it on Thursday, we can, too” fails on two counts. First, Jesus could have taught His disciples about a practice on one day, but intend for them to practice it on another, without being inconsistent. Second, the text plainly says that Jesus’ participation in this practice would take place “new...in my Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:29). In other words, He was giving them instruction on the observance of the Lord’s Supper that would be practiced in the church after its establishment. Therefore, one would have to look after Acts chapter two in order to see if Jesus intended any set frequency or particular day. We find precisely that—Sunday observance of the Lord’s Supper.

1 CORINTHIANS 11:23-39

While 1 Corinthians 11:23-39 provides much detail, the main purpose of the passage pertains to the how of the Lord’s Supper, not the when. Nevertheless, frequency and consistency in partaking of the Lord’s Supper are implied in such words as “do this” (vss. 24,25), “as often as” (vss. 25,26), “until” (vs. 26), “when” (vs. 33). Repetition is inherent in the construction of such expressions, without specifying the precise pattern of frequency. Since the phrases are indefinite, one must look elsewhere to see if any specific frequency is enjoined. All one need do is read forward to chapter 16. The Corinthians knew that they were to meet every first day of the week—as is evident from the use of kata in 1 Corinthians 16:2 (“every week”—see below). When Paul wrote, “Whenever you meet, you are to do such and so,” he knew that his readers already understood the intended specificity about the day (Sunday).


In 1 Corinthians 16:2, the term kata is distributive and means “every.” Macknight explains: “And as kata polin signifies every city; and kata menaevery month; and, Acts xiv. 23 kata ekklesianin every church: so kata mian sabbatou signifies the first day of every week” (n.d., p. 208, italics and emp. in orig.; cf. Arndt and Gingrich, 1957, p. 407; for a discussion of the proper translation of sabbatou, see Lyons, 2006; McGarvey, 1910, pp. 306-307). English translations that reflect this feature of the Greek include the NIV and NASB. Thus Paul unquestionably invoked weekly contributions for the churches: “on the first day of every week.” Similarly, the Jews understood that the Sabbath observance—“remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8)—applied to every Sabbath. Paul stated that he gave this same command for weekly Sunday collection to the Galatian churches as well (vs. 1). Here is an inspired apostle, under the guiding influence of the Holy Spirit Whom Jesus said would come, legislating frequency for first century churches. These churches obviously came together not only to offer a financial contribution and then go home. They met to engage in all acts of worship—the Lord’s Supper being premiere among them. Recognized theologian, avowed Pentecostal minister, and Professor Emeritus of New Testament Studies at Regent College, Gordon Fee, agrees with this contention, when he speaks of Sunday as—
a weekly reckoning with religious significance.... This language is well remembered in the Gospel traditions in relationship to the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The fixed place of this terminology in those narratives implies that it had more than simply historical interest for the early church. This is verified further by the note in Acts 20:7, which implies most strongly that Paul and the others waited in Troas until the “first day of the week” precisely because that is when the Christians gathered for the breaking of bread, that is, their meal in honor of the Lord (1987, p. 814, emp. added).


Only by gathering everything the New Testament says on a subject and logically fitting it all together can one arrive at the truth. The conclusion to be drawn from this information is definitive and unquestionable. Since Christians met every Sunday (1 Corinthians 16:2), and a central purpose for such assemblies was to observe the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7) regularly and consistently (Acts 2:42), it follows that the early church partook of the Lord’s Supper everySunday—and partook of it only on Sunday. H. Leo Boles well concluded: “There is no scriptural example or instruction authorizing the eating of the Lord’s Supper on any day except the first day of the week” (1985, p. 37). Rex Turner offers a fitting summary: “[T]he necessary and inescapable conclusion is that disciples must meet on, and only on, the first day of the week to break bread” (1972, p. 77).


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