Sunday keeping in Corinth?
In 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 Paul wrote: “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come…whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.” Please carefully notice what the apostle said, and also, what he did not say. Many have assumed that a religious meeting was held and a collection plate passed. This is not the case. Paul was writing special appeals to the churches in Asia Minor, because many of the Christians in Jerusalem were suffering greatly for lack of food and daily necessities. Paul asked the church at Corinth to gather food, clothing, etc., and store it up at home until he could send men to transport it to Jerusalem. The expression “lay by him in store” in the original Greek gives the clear connotation of putting aside at home. Even Sunday advocates agree to this. There was no service held on the first day of the week. The gathering up and storing was to be done on that day. Why did Paul suggest that this work be done on Sunday, and what was involved in getting it done? First of all, the letter would have been shared with the church on the Sabbath when they were all gathered for worship. The first opportunity to do the work would be the next day – the first day of the week. Keep in mind that there was an apparent food shortage in Jerusalem, and the need was not primarily for money. Such famine conditions were not unusual in areas of the Middle East, as Luke reminds us in Acts 11:28-30. Paul urges them to return carnal, or material, gifts in appreciation of the spiritual truths received from them. This throws light on Paul’s counsel to the Corinthian Christians to do their work on the first day of the week, “so that there be no gatherings when I come.” Such work as gathering and storing up produce from the field would certainly not be appropriate on the Sabbath. Sunday is identified again as a day for secular activities and gives no indication of religious observance.
Besides the two assumptions that are used to try and justify Sunday keeping, the Bible and history show them not to be correct. We have already seen that both Jesus and Paul kept the Sabbath and there can be no doubt that it was the seventh day Sabbath that Paul kept as he was a Jew and a Pharisee and kept it as was his custom since childhood. It has also been established by many historians and theologians holding PhD’s in their field that Matthew and Luke were written between 60 and 80 A.D. and there was never a better time for Luke to tell us of a day change but instead he states in Luke 23:56, “…And they rested on the Sabbath according to the Commandment.” Jesus also showed that the Sabbath would still be kept after the cross and speaks of no day change when He is talking to the Apostles about the destruction of the temple in about 70 A.D. Jesus says in Matthew 24:20, “And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.” Read Sabbath in the New Covenant for more information on this verse and topic. World leading historians also confirm this and that the Sabbath was kept by Jews and Gentiles till about 90-120 A.D. where persecution of the Jews became so great that some Christians changed to Sunday using the justification that it was in honour of the resurrection in order to avoid persecution and death. Later you will find out how the Sabbath got changed to Sunday and was made law about 364 A.D. As a result it was early in the fourth century when Sunday was officially named the Lord’s Day.