When May We Observe the Lord’s Supper?

A question was recently posed to me concerning the frequency of the Lord’s Supper. Can the Lord’s Supper be taken on any other day of the week besides Sunday? Acts 20:7 is the only verse that mentions the first day of the week. Was this day chosen just as a matter of convenience as the contribution mentioned in 1 Corinthians 16:1? We do not find a command in either of these verses. Moreover, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:26 “as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup.”

To answer these questions, we must first understand how the Bible authorizes. We would all agree that the commands of Jesus and his apostles authorize us to believe and practice certain things. “Go therefore,” Jesus says, “and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” One of the things that the apostles were to observe is making disciples. That command is permanent and universal.

We also find examples of this command being carried out both by apostles and the disciples by men like Peter (Acts 2, 10-11), Philip the evangelist (Acts 8), Paul (Acts 13-28) and the disciples scattered from Jerusalem (Acts 8:1-4). Behind every approved example is a command. Is it not reasonable to understand that an approved example has God’s commandments as its theological base and serves as a precedent for future disciples to follow and therefore become authoritative examples also?

Jesus gave another command to his apostles in the upper room: “And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.'” In turn, the apostles were to teach the disciples to observe the Lord’s Supper. The apostle Paul had taught the disciples in Corinth to observe the Lord’s Supper, and he reminds them of the exact words of Jesus when they had abused it: “Do this in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:24). We also find how the disciples “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42). Since “breaking of bread” is an idiom meaning the Lord’s Supper and since Pentecost always fell on the first day of the week, Acts 2:42 may be added to Acts 20:7 as a verse that mentions the first day observance of the Supper.

Eric Welch

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