Do we need to keep Sabbath? Which Bible verses supports your answer? Are the Ten Commandments important?


There is no indication in the New Testament that Christians are required to keep some sort of Christian version of the Sabbath. All the evidence from both the scriptures (Acts 20:7 which says that the church worshipped together on “the first day of the week, i.e. Sunday, Revelation 1:10, where John talks about “the Lord’s Day” which all church historians will agree is a reference to Sunday; the day the church met) and church history. The testimony of the early church fathers is unanimous that the church met on the first day of the week, also called the eighth day (because it follows the Sabbath, the 7th day) or the Lord’s day. Again, the evidence is unanimous that the church met on Sundays and that it was not considered or called a Sabbath. Some Jews, of course, continued to observe the Sabbath as Jews, but the Gentile Christians were not taught the need to observe a Christian Sabbath.

Scripture makes it clear that, as Christians, we are not required to keep the requirements of the Mosaic Law. The theme of Galatians is that those who try to force observance of the Mosaic Law as required of Christians have abandoned the faith. Colossians 2:11-23 describes how the need for law-keeping was “nailed to the cross” (v. 14). Paul is quite specific that a Christian is not to be judged with regard to a Sabbath (2:16). All this taken together–New Testament theology, New Testament example and teaching, as well as the testimony of Church history combine to make an overwhelming argument that Christians to not need to keep either the Jewish Sabbath or a parallel Christian Sabbath.

Are the Ten Commandments important? Well, that question has more than one possible interpretation. Obviously, because they are included in the Bible, in both Exodus and Leviticus, then by definition they are important. They are important as a part of Jewish practice and as a window into understanding God and what God wants from all of us. I have a feeling that you are really asking whether they are a requirement for Christians to put into practice. I would return to my argument above. We are not subject to having to keep the Mosaic Law for salvation. Technically, Christians are not required to obey the Ten Commandments for salvation. However, nine of the Ten Commandments are found.either directly or indirectly, in the teachings of Jesus. As Christians, clearly we are to have no other God before YHWH. We should not use God’s name in an empty way. We should honor our parents. We are not to murder, to lust after our neighbor’s wife, to lie and so forth. The only of the Ten Commandments which are not implied as “required” of Christians is the third commandment. The only of the Ten we are not required to follow as Christians is the commandment to observe the Sabbath.

John Oakes

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