ESV - 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts.
For follow-up discussion and general commentary on the topic. Comments are sorted chronologically.
Justin Martyr, writing in the year 155 AD, tells of the weekly gathering done on the Sunday, when they pray and break bread. He said, "This food is called among us Eucharist. No one is allowed to partake unless he believes on the teachings, has been baptized, and living a Christ-like life. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these, but as we have been taught, that it is the flesh and blood of Jesus."
That was practice for most of the gentile christians, but not for most of the jewish christians. By the time of Justin Martyr (before it actually) customs were already differentiating.
Originally, most christians had an annual celebration of the Lord's Day/eucharist. This does not mean that we have to celebrate only once a year (or weekly as some later traditions). The early church came together on any day of the week and often ate together.
We can keep it whenever (though it's nice if we are celebrating it alongside other Christians), and as often as we would like, so long as it is always in remembrance of Christ's sacrifice.
Paul emphasizes over and over that believers have freedom and are under grace, which many groups have unfortunately forgotten when fighting over traditions of the Eucharist.
That is interesting. I have yet to read any early Church writing saying Christians celebrate the Eucharist once a year or any day of the week. So far, from what I have read, Christians celebrate the Eucharist every Sunday, even before Constantine made Sunday a public holiday.
Research the 'quartodecimen controversy', it's a good beginning point.
The reason few people know about the quartodecimens (they weren't originally called that, but later were for their celebration of the eucharist in line with Passover on the 14th of Nissan) is because they later faced great persecution by Constantine and the church of Rome, even death, if they chose to continue their tradition. Coming to the modern day, the forceful merging of tradition by Constantine is often seen as "traditional" or the only way there ever was by many in the church.
There were many traditions that branched off from the days of the apostles when the church met daily, which is one reason the NT over and over points out that we do not need to follow traditions, or ritual, or any earthly man to tell us what God requires as we now have the Spirit. Traditions are a matter of personal choice and conscience.
The best example of this unity we are to have in the spirit is when Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna and disciple of the apostle John, met with Anicetus bishop of Rome. Polycarp was a quartodecimen. The two agreed to disagree, basically, and took communion together in peace - agreeing that it was the Eucharist itself that was important as a remembrance of Christ's sacrifice, vs. the particular day one kept it on.
The Quartodecimen controversy is about the dating of Easter, nothing to do with weekly Sunday worship and Eucharist. I pray you don't mix things up.
No, the quartodecimen controversy was about different groups keeping the the annual communion death/Resurrection celebration on different days.
By the mid second century, many traditions had arose, and the Pesach celebration had two variants - one group kept the Lord's Day on Passover (Nissan 14th, hence the term "quartodecimen") to remember Christ's death, the other on Sunday after the passover to commemorate the Resurrection . Later when the traditions were forcefully merged by Constantine, the date was moved even farther from Passover to align with the equinox and no longer was tied to the Resurrection
The quartodecimens did not keep "Easter" and were in general against the merging of pagan customs with christian concepts. The name "Easter" was a later term given to the Sunday equinox tradition (its from an anglo-saxon word, not latin or greek) and some used it to more generically refer to the Passover (Luther's mistranslated of Passover to Easter perpetuated this misunderstanding). Easter has no basis in scripture, only in tradition.
"Eastermonth, which is now interpreted as the paschal month, was formerly named after the goddess Eostre, and has given its name to the festival." -Bede the Venerable (AD 673-735)
While one can celebrate the eucharist any day (Passover, Easter, every week, etc), Easter and Passover should not be confused as that undermines scripture (Christ as passover lamb, Christ the firstfruits, Pentecost, etc).
The idea of weekly sunday worship is not found in the New Testament, but the idea that it was a practice of the very early church is formed from a mistranslated line of the Didache.
The phrase is Κατα κυριακὴν δε κυριου (according to/belonging to the Lord (it can go alongside communion 1 Cor 11:20)/of/The Lord). This has a few possible translations (According to the Lordly Way, even the Lord" "According to the communion of the Lord" Or "According to the Lord's Way, even the Lord," continuing with "gather together and break bread and give thanks, having first confessed your sins so that your sacrifice may be pure. " Didach 14.1
The word day (hemera) is nowhere in the passage or implied. Nor is the word Kata ever "on", but rather "according too" the ~110 times it is used in the greek NT. So, "But/On every Lord's Day..." are grossly distorted.
Furthermore, there is no sense of "weekly" in the Didache, it is more generically referencing the Eucharist.
Justin Martyr as early as 150 AD spoke of the practice of many christians meeting on the eighth day, Sunday, because it was the day of circumcision and Christ has circumcised all believers. He also spoke of groups of christians that did not keep Sunday, and indeed had conflict with other leaders such as Trypho about it. (And he's not in general a good source for things christians 'must believe' as it is).
Didache 14:1 says, "On the Lord's day, gather yourselves together and break bread." Knowing the Lord's day to be the eighth day, or Sunday, the day when Christ rose from the dead, it is a weekly gathering.
See above. Didach 14.1 does not say anything about a "Day", let alone a weekly meeting. Furthermore, the idea that the Lord's Day referred to Sunday and a weekly meeting was a much later tradition brought in. (It's sort of circular reasoning too, analyzing the past in view of present tradition, then using the reformulated past as a support for keeping a tradition).
There is nothing wrong with worshiping on Sunday or taking communion on Sunday, but it cannot be claimed to be the only true christian way or that tradition supercedes scripture. Constantine forced many christians to worship on Sunday and keep the eucharist on what later was known as Easter Sunday - this doesn't mean the change of dates and times and laws was binding on all christians.
I thought κυριακὴν means Sunday?
This is an interesting conversation in church history. Jennifer, you have obviously done a lot of studying in this area. Part of the interesting thing is to see how traditions have changed over the centuries, and how we as humans get wrapped in the tradition and often lose the real meaning of what God's intent was.
The body of Christ is divided by traditions, all the while individuals are believing they have the real issue at the heart. This is a perfect case in point, how and when we celebrate the breaking of bread and celebration of the Lord's death burial and ressurrection. What day of the week or year we celebrate, etc. This is exactly why Jesus was so put out with the Jewish leaders and made comments like "you keep the outside of the cup clean while the inside is full of all kinds of filthy things, you are missing the point."
Thankfully, the Body of Christ as a whole, still celebrates and remembers Christ through the sacrament of "Communion" or the "Eucharist" and in doing this are focusing on his sacrifice for our sins, and that His blood washes us from all unrighteousness. The ways we do it, the days we do it may be different. But by keeping the main point, the main point, we can remain unified in the Body of Christ.
κυριακὴν Means belonging to the Lord/Lordly, etc, and depending on context can have connotations of communion (I Cor 11:20-26). It's the adjective form of Kurious (Lord/Master), Kurious (Lord) and Kuriou (Lord's) is used throughout the NT, such as Matt 7:21. The adjective form Kuriakos is is only used twice in the whole Bible (Rev 1:10 and I Cor 11:20). In other greek texts it corresponds to imperial or royal.
The ancient Greek term for sunday was "The Day of Helios" (Kuriakos Hemera or The Day of the Sun), and Helios was the God of the Sun. As such Kurios referred to Helios for the greeks, and to God for the christians. Pope Sylvester (4th century) changed day names, ordered the Sabbath be transferred to Sunday and that Sunday be officially called the Lord's Day, and was the first bishop to put forth that the Sabbath rest should be moved to Sunday (Constantine promoted an additional rest from labor on Sunday, but not a replacement).
Kuriakē now means Sunday in *modern* greek.
The term for Sunday in the Bible is always Mia Sabbaton (The first of the week, or more literally First of the Sabbaths, as the week was counted according to the Sabbath).
Kuriakē ēmera is used in Rev 1:10, it's first usage in all of Holy Scripture, and could refer either to the Lord's Day Passover celebration, or be a reference to the Day of the Lord. Kurio Hemera is used 6 times (Acts 2:20, II Cor 1:14, II Peter 3:10, etc) all referring to the the Day of the Lord.
Great comment Scott! It doesn't matter when or how often we keep communion, so long as it's in remembrance to Christ :)