Paul Keeps the Sabbath with the Galatians
Acts 13:13-14, 42-45, 48
“13 From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem. 14 From Perga they went on to Pisidian Antioch. On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down…”
Pisidian Antioch is in the region known as Galatia. While many of Paul’s letters were written to churches in a single city, his letter to the Galatians addressed believers in an entire region. We can clearly see that Paul practiced the Sabbath with Gentiles. Notice the content of Paul’s preaching:
“28 Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed….”30 But God raised him from the dead, 31 and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people.”
He preached about Jesus being the Messiah who died for the sins of mankind and then was raised from the dead. In all of this preaching about Christ’s death and resurrection, NOT ONCE did he mention it changing the day of worship away from the Sabbath. They continued to honor the Sabbath even after hearing this message.
Acts 13:42-45, 48
“42 As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people invited them to speak further about these things on the next Sabbath. 43 When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God. 44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy. They began to contradict what Paul was saying and heaped abuse on him… 48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.”
In Acts 13:43, He taught them to continue in the grace of God. In verse 44, they met on the Sabbath with Jews AND Gentiles. He taught them about the grace of God and then they continued to honor the Sabbath. He even taught them about grace as they obeyed the Sabbath, proving that grace and law are not contradictory ideals. Gentiles were there and received eternal life.
At any point in this visit, Paul could have announced that there was a new Sabbath or that it had been changed. He could have invited Gentiles to keep a “different Sabbath”, but he did not. The Sabbath always has been and always will be Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. This was honored by the earliest believers, both Jew and Gentile.
Kelly McDonald, Jr.
You can follow Kelly on his website: www.kellymcdonaldjr.com