Acts 20:7 Says What? 

Acts 20:7 Says What? 

By Christine Egbert 

Many believe (have been taught) that the book of Acts proves that God’s Sabbath was changed to Sunday. Like those Berean Jews in Acts 17:11, let’s examine Scripture to see if this is true. For those lacking knowledge of the first five books of Scripture have–over the centuries–led many believers to form wrong assumptions, which are now codified into church doctrine. One of these assumptions is the claim that shortly following Yeshua’s ascension, His disciples replaced Lord YHVH’s 7th Day Sabbath with Sunday, the first day of the week. They base it on an inaccurate (biased) translation of Acts 20:7, which in the KJV reads: “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them…”

Based on this faulty translation many have assumed that the disciples gathered for worship on Sunday, thereby making Sunday the new biblical Sabbath. But this is not so! But before I lay out the nuts and bolts to prove this, I must make a vital point. God, who never changes, commanded us hundreds of times throughout Scripture to forever keep and guard His 7th Day Sabbath. Scripture informs us that God never does anything without first revealing it to His Prophets. God, therefore, would have violated His own word had He enacted such a radical change via a spurious (mistranslated) passage in the book of Acts. Secondly, even if Yeshua’s followers had substituted Sunday for the Sabbath, (and this article will show that they didn’t) they lacked authority to make such a change. Now let’s begin…

In this article I hope to prove that the correct translation of Acts 20:7 is on “ONE of the Sabbaths” the disciples assembled to break bread. Why would the author of Acts write “on one of the Sabbaths”? He wrote “on one of the Sabbaths” because Paul was “counting the omer to Shavuot” (Pentecost), as Lord YHVH instructed in Leviticus 23:15-16. Another pesky fact that shoots holes into this theory that the Sabbath was changed to Sunday in the book of Acts is the word the KJV translators rendered as “day” (On the first day of the week). It’s NOT in the Greek manuscripts. “Day” was added by translators. That’s why you find it italicized in most translations. The LITV (Literal Version) renders the Greek words “mia ton sab’-bat-on” as: “On the first of the Sabbaths…” While this translation is better, it still misses the mark. For they translated the Greek word “mia” as first, when “mia” (Strong’s G3391) in this case (as I will prove) should have been translated as “one”, as it is translated in Luke 22:59 as “one hour”, in 1st Corinthians 6:16 as “one flesh”, and in 2nd Corinthians 11:24 as “forty stripes plus one.”

To understand what the writer of Acts meant by “on ONE of the Sabbaths”, we must read the previous verse: “But we sailed along after the days of Unleavened Bread from Philippi, and came to them at Troas in five days, where we stayed seven days. And on “one of the sabbaths” the disciples having assembled to break bread, being about to depart on the morrow (which at sunset would be Sunday), Paul reasoned to them, and he continued his speech until midnight.” Verses 8-15 recounts that a young man fell asleep and fell out a window without dying,  then in verses 15-16, we read the key to rightly understanding the phrase “on one of the Sabbaths.” 

“And sailing away from there, on the next day we arrived off Chios, and on the next, we crossed to Samos. And remaining at Trogyllium, the next day we came to Miletus. For Paul had determined to sail past Ephesus, so that he might not lose time in Asia; for, if it were possible for him, he hastened to be at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost.” That’s right, Paul, who the unlearned take out of context (according to 2nd Peter 3:16) hastened to be in Jerusalem for the Feast of Shavuot/ Pentecost, the very same Paul, who, in Acts 18:21, “took leave of them, saying, ‘I must by all means keep the coming feast at Jerusalem.’”

Acts 20:7 is not about disciples changing God’s 7th Day Sabbath to Sunday, which they had no authority to do. It’s about counting the omer!  “On ONE of the Sabbaths” references God’s instruction in Leviticus 23:15, which says: “And you shall count, from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day you brought the sheaf of the wave-offering, seven sabbaths shall there be complete. (16) Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath, then bring a new meal offering to YHVH.  

Now, let’s read Acts 20:7 once more.

“And on ONE of the sabbaths [leading up to Shavuot–they were counting the Omer], the disciples assembled to break bread…”

I will close with an excerpt that deals with the literal meaning of “mia ton sabbaton”, taken from the website:

Protos means first; mia never does. Only a forced presupposition that twists this word into “first” explains the mistranslation — designed to justify Sunday-as-Sabbath as a practice long before the 300s, when it first truly began. And Sabbaton means Sabbaths (a plural), and never a “week.” Again, the only exception is where there is an obvious presupposition being employed to force upon the word “sabbaths” a meaning it never had — week — to justify the claim that the earliest church under the apostles rested (and gathered) on Sunday (the first day of the week) for which there is no evidence outside this translation. Prior to the King James 1611 AD translation, leading Reformation voices, who knew the Greek and early church history, tried to correct this distortion.”

In the very authoritative Green’s Interlinear Bible (sold in print or through Logos software), the English is translated directly under the Greek, for Acts 20:7 as: “on one of the Sabbaths.” This fits the context because Paul was talking about going to Jerusalem to worship, which requires counting 7 Sabbaths from Passover to determine the Feast of Pentecost. Thus, the apparent meaning of this verse is that this particular Sabbath was one of the seven Sabbaths in the count to the Day of Pentecost.”

So, the next time some well-meaning person cites Acts 20:7 as a proof text that the disciples changed the Sabbath to Sunday, explain that Paul was actually meeting with fellow believers on the Sabbath, but do it gently, with honey on your lips.

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