What do you do on the first day of every week? 

In the city of Troas, Luke shows us what the early disciples did on the first day of the week, 

“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). 

The disciples of Jesus in the first century met on the first day of the week to break bread, which meant that they came together to eat the Lord’s Supper, and they also listened to a preacher. 

Many Christians see no need to gather with the church on the first day of every week, by which they imply that they see no need to remember the death of Jesus Christ in the way He said He wanted to be remembered. 

What then shall you be doing next Lord’s Day, which is Sunday, the first day of the week? 
 

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Don Ruhl

9 thoughts on “What do you do on the first day of every week? 

  1. I totally agree with you. But I wonder how to answer when someone asks this question, “How do we know that the breaking bread mentioned here indicates the Lord’s Supper? How do we know they weren’t simply eating together?”

    1. Melissa,

      The impression that I get when I read Acts 20.7 is that the reason the church gathered together was to break bread, and as Paul explained in First Corinthians 11, the Lord had dictated that He wanted the church to gather both to break bread in remembrance of Him, as well as drink the cup.

      Of course, the church can gather for a meal, but the regular meetings of the church revolve around remembering what our Savior did for us, and we do that by breaking bread and drinking the cup.

      “To break bread” in Acts 20.7, can represent the whole idea of the Lord’s Supper, including drinking the cup, even as breaking bread can stand for eating the bread also, for we do not merely break bread, but we break off a piece that we might eat it.

      Therefore, Luke used the very first action to stand for all the actions involved.

      That is how I conclude that Acts 20.7 refers to the Lord’s Supper.

      Don

  2. You made a very interesting point that they partook of the Lord’s Supper and also had a preacher. I would agree that they did partake of the Lord’s Supper, which was also the eating of a meal. Hence the word “Supper” (Greek deipnon) is used, the double usage of “breaking of bread” in Acts 2:42, 46 and many other reasons. However there is no mention of a preacher in Acts 20:7. The Greek word in this passage for “spoke to them” is dialogomai should be translated as “reasoned” or “discussed.” It is from this word that we get our English word dialogue, which is a two-way conversation, and not a monologue as what is usually attributed to this passage. Some of the parallel passages that use dialegomai are Acts 17:2; 18:4; 18:19; Mark 9:34 and dialegomai is translated in these passages as “reasoned” and/or “disputed.” The American Standard Version, The Hugo McCord Version, The Amplified Version, and Russian Synod Version are a few versions that translate it closer to the original Greek.

    1. Erik,

      Acts 20.7 does not use the word preacher, but it does show a man well-known as a preacher in action, that is, Paul, who refers to himself as a preacher in First Timothy 1.11.

      Did others talk? That may very well be the case, but Luke does not mention it, he just focuses on what Paul did, “spoke to them and continued his message until midnight…as Paul continued speaking…”

      Don

  3. Don,

    I would completely agree that Paul was a preacher. However the Greek word karusso (I preach) is only used in reference to unbelievers. Paul was a preacher to the lost, but a brother to fellow believers. It seems that Luke tells us that other believers were involved in the “message” because he used the word dialegomai, which indicates that a dialogue took place. Paul was not the only known preacher who was present at this gathering. In Acts 20:4, we read that Sopater, Aristarchus, Secudus, Gaius, Timothy, Tychicus, and Trophimus (and by implication Luke) were all present at this gathering, since they “going ahead, waited for us at Troas” (Acts 20:5).

    The phrase “his message” is just the Greek word logos, which could be translated “subject, topic, word”. That would mean that Paul discussed on his subject until midnight. It seems that this would have been more like a Bible class than a sermon.

    Also “as Paul continued speaking” is the same word dialegomai, so in order to be consistent with the rest of the book of Acts, could be translated “as Paul continued discussing/reasoning.” More evidence of this is found in 20:11 “talked a long while”, in which the Greek indicates a discussion. Paul continued talking with them until daybreak, because they were Christians and not unbelievers. Why would Paul need to preach (Greek karusso) to them if they had already obeyed the Good News?

    In Christ,
    Erik

    1. Hello Erik,

      I had made a longer reply, but when I hit the “post comment” button, my reply got deleted somehow. And due to my exasperation with that, I’m going to give a shorter and quicker reply.

      I enjoyed reading the conversation you and Don have had, but I believe (and please correct me if I’m wrong) that the idea that you’re using at the beginning and end in your last reply about “karusso” isn’t solid all the way through.

      Read 2 Timothy 4:1-4 and you’ll find Paul telling Timothy to “karusso/kerusso” to both unbelievers and believers. It’s easy to see in the context; especially toward the believers.

      There are plenty of reasons as to why this would need to be done to/for believers. Just read Acts 20:28-30 for one example.

    2. Erik,

      In Romans 1.7 Paul said that he wrote his letter to the saints in Rome, and then at verse 15, he declared, “as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.”

      In First Corinthians 1, he said that, “we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1Co 1.23, 24). The preached Christ is to us the power and wisdom of God.

      Paul wrote to the Corinthians again and said to them as believers, “For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake,” (2Co 4.5), connecting the ideas of preaching Jesus as Lord and the preacher as a bondservant to the brethren.

      Christians would certainly be included in what Paul said to the Colossian Church, “Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Col 1.28).

      Paul told Timothy, Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2Ti 4.2).

      We can certainly declare and herald the things of Scripture to one another who are already in the body of Christ.

      Finally, Erik, I ask myself, What is Erik’s point? Do you have an agenda? Are you maintaining that preaching is a monologue, and if so, does that mean when you preach to unbelievers in their homes, that you do not allow them to ask questions, and then you answer them?

      Don

  4. Don and Eugene,

    I must start and say that I have been really encouraged how you guys are willing to discuss these topics with me. But I must say that I do not have an agenda except what the Word of God says. Too long have people defended their own beliefs and not what the Word of God actually says.

    First, please do not get me wrong, preaching (the proclaiming of the Good News) is commanded by God numerous times in the New Testament. It can be done in a monologue public setting (Acts 17:22–31) or in someone’s home (Acts 18:7–8), or by a river (Acts 16:13–15), etc. Please note that the New Testament proclaims the Gospel to unbelievers. The Gospel is defined for us in 1 Corinthians 15:1–5. “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you – unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.” Please note that all of the verbs concerning the Good News are in the past tense: preached (verse 1), received (verse 1), preached (verse 2), believed (verse 2), and delivered (verse 3). The Corinthians are now standing on the Gospel, because it saved them.

    If we look at the context of Romans 1, we will see a different interpretation of Romans 1:15 standing on its own. The beginning of the letter (1:1–7) is the introduction/greeting to the Roman saints, who “are the called of Jesus Christ” (1:6). The next section (1:8 – 12) seems to be a prayer of Paul stating that he “may impart to you some spiritual gifts, so that you may be established” (1:11). The next section (1:13–17) is Paul talking to a group of Christians and Paul is encouraging them, because he wants to spread the Gospel with them and that:
    “I may have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles. I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. So, as much as in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’”
    “to you who are in Rome also” is just another way of saying Roman citizens. Paul just wants to preach the gospel to the unbelievers in Rome. This comes to pass in Acts 28:17 and following when Paul meets with the Jewish leaders and tries to convert them to Christ. Paul did not need to bear “fruit” among the already saved. They already have born fruit when they became Christians.

    Every reference to the wise and unwise is talking about non-Christians (Romans 1:14; 1 Corinthians 1:18–25; Ephesians 4:17–19 (referring back to their previous behavior as non-Christians); Colossians 1:24–29; James 3:13–18 (demonic wisdom is done by those who are not bearing “fruit of righteousness”).

    If we preached to the lost, maybe more people would be saved. However most of the time we preach to the saved and they aren’t really listening, because we have been taught that God’s Word is the most important thing. Yet every Sunday, we hear a man give his opinions of the word of God, when we could just read it and receive the unadulterated Word of God. The Bible is written at a 10th grade level. Are we mentally lower than that? If we have the Bible, we need nothing else! Because… “All Scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16 – 17). If we really believed this verse, we would know that nothing else is needed than to just hear and obey what is written. As Paul said to the Ephesian elders:
    “You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you, serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews; how I KEPT NOTHING THAT WAS HELPFUL, BUT PROCLAIMED IT TO YOU, and taught you publicly and from house to house, testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. And indeed, now I know that you all, AMONG WHOM I HAVE GONE PREACHING THE KINGDOM OF GOD, will see my face no more. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. FOR I HAVE NOT SHUNNED TO DECLARE TO YOU THE WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD. Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. So now, brethren, I COMMEND YOU TO GOD AND TO THE WORD OF HIS GRACE, WHICH IS ABLE TO BUILD YOU UP AND GIVE YOU AND INHERITANCE AMONG ALL THOSE WHO ARE SANCTIFIED. I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:18–35)

    May God bless all of us as we study His word and shape our lives according to only it.

    1. Erik,

      Should the church, and should preachers be more evangelistic with the world? Yes! Amen!

      Should someone continue to communicate God’s word to the church? Yes, according to Ephesians 4.11-16!

      Surely you agree that some form of communication must be going on in the church, for that is what Acts 20 shows. Moreover, it appears that Paul, whatever you want to call him, at least led that communication.

      Paul communicated God’s word to both the world and to the church. Surely you would agree with that.

      That is all that I was maintaining in my original post, that is, let us assemble with our fellow-Christians on the Lord’s Day, taking the Lord’s Supper, and both speaking and listening to the communication of God’s word.

      I think we agree on things, but for some reason you do not like the word “preach” to be used in regard to the church. Okay, that is fine, do not use it. I have no problem using it, but I think we both agree that some communication in the church must happen.

      Don

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