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Shorter Catechism

𝒬 60. How is the sabbath to be sanctified?

𝒜. The Sabbath is to be sanctified by a holy resting all that day, even from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days;1 and spending the whole time in the public and private exercises of God's worship,2 except so much as is to be taken up in the works of necessity and mercy.3

  1. Exodus 20:10

    but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.

    Nehemiah 13:15-22

    In those days I saw in Judah people treading winepresses on the Sabbath, and bringing in heaps of grain and loading them on donkeys, and also wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of loads, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. And I warned them on the day when they sold food. Tyrians also, who lived in the city, brought in fish and all kinds of goods and sold them on the Sabbath to the people of Judah, in Jerusalem itself! Then I confronted the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What is this evil thing that you are doing, profaning the Sabbath day? Did not your fathers act in this way, and did not our God bring all this disaster on us and on this city? Now you are bringing more wrath on Israel by profaning the Sabbath.”

    As soon as it began to grow dark at the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I commanded that the doors should be shut and gave orders that they should not be opened until after the Sabbath. And I stationed some of my servants at the gates, that no load might be brought in on the Sabbath day. Then the merchants and sellers of all kinds of wares lodged outside Jerusalem once or twice. But I warned them and said to them, “Why do you lodge outside the wall? If you do so again, I will lay hands on you.” From that time on they did not come on the Sabbath. Then I commanded the Levites that they should purify themselves and come and guard the gates, to keep the Sabbath day holy. Remember this also in my favor, O my God, and spare me according to the greatness of your steadfast love.

    Isaiah 58:13-14

    “If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath,
    from doing your pleasure on my holy day,
    and call the Sabbath a delight
    and the holy day of the Lord honorable;
    if you honor it, not going your own ways,
    or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly;
    then you shall take delight in the Lord,
    and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
    I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (ESV)

  2. Exodus 20:8

    “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

    Leviticus 23:3

    “Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the Lord in all your dwelling places.

    Luke 4:16

    And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read.

    Acts 20:7

    On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. (ESV)

  3. Matthew 12:1-13

    12:1 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”

    He went on from there and entered their synagogue. And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse him. He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other. (ESV)

Larger Catechism

𝒬 117. How is the Sabbath or the Lord's Day to be sanctified?

𝒜. The Sabbath or Lord's Day is to be sanctified by an holy resting all the day,1 not only from such works as are at all times sinful, but even from such worldly employments and recreations as are on other days lawful;2 and making it our delight to spend the whole time (except so much of it as is to be taken up in works of necessity and mercy3) in the public and private exercises of God's worship:4 and, to that end, we are to prepare our hearts, and with such foresight, diligence, and moderation, to dispose and seasonably dispatch our worldly business, that we may be the more free and fit for the duties of that day.5

  1. Exodus 20:8

    “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

    Exodus 20:10

    but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. (ESV)

  2. Exodus 16:25-28

    Moses said, “Eat it today, for today is a Sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the field. Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, which is a Sabbath, there will be none.”

    On the seventh day some of the people went out to gather, but they found none. And the Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commandments and my laws?

    Jeremiah 17:21-22

    Thus says the Lord: Take care for the sake of your lives, and do not bear a burden on the Sabbath day or bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem. And do not carry a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath or do any work, but keep the Sabbath day holy, as I commanded your fathers.

    Nehemiah 13:15-22

    In those days I saw in Judah people treading winepresses on the Sabbath, and bringing in heaps of grain and loading them on donkeys, and also wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of loads, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. And I warned them on the day when they sold food. Tyrians also, who lived in the city, brought in fish and all kinds of goods and sold them on the Sabbath to the people of Judah, in Jerusalem itself! Then I confronted the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What is this evil thing that you are doing, profaning the Sabbath day? Did not your fathers act in this way, and did not our God bring all this disaster on us and on this city? Now you are bringing more wrath on Israel by profaning the Sabbath.”

    As soon as it began to grow dark at the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I commanded that the doors should be shut and gave orders that they should not be opened until after the Sabbath. And I stationed some of my servants at the gates, that no load might be brought in on the Sabbath day. Then the merchants and sellers of all kinds of wares lodged outside Jerusalem once or twice. But I warned them and said to them, “Why do you lodge outside the wall? If you do so again, I will lay hands on you.” From that time on they did not come on the Sabbath. Then I commanded the Levites that they should purify themselves and come and guard the gates, to keep the Sabbath day holy. Remember this also in my favor, O my God, and spare me according to the greatness of your steadfast love. (ESV)

  3. Matthew 12:1-13

    12:1 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”

    He went on from there and entered their synagogue. And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse him. He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other. (ESV)

  4. Isaiah 58:13-14

    “If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath,
    from doing your pleasure on my holy day,
    and call the Sabbath a delight
    and the holy day of the Lord honorable;
    if you honor it, not going your own ways,
    or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly;
    then you shall take delight in the Lord,
    and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
    I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

    Luke 4:16

    And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read.

    Acts 20:7

    On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight.

    1 Corinthians 16:1-2

    16:1 Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.

    Leviticus 23:3

    “Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the Lord in all your dwelling places.

    Psalm 92

    92:1 It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
    to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
    to declare your steadfast love in the morning,
    and your faithfulness by night,
    to the music of the lute and the harp,
    to the melody of the lyre.
    For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work;
    at the works of your hands I sing for joy.

    How great are your works, O Lord!
    Your thoughts are very deep!
    The stupid man cannot know;
    the fool cannot understand this:
    that though the wicked sprout like grass
    and all evildoers flourish,
    they are doomed to destruction forever;
    but you, O Lord, are on high forever.
    For behold, your enemies, O Lord,
    for behold, your enemies shall perish;
    all evildoers shall be scattered.

    But you have exalted my horn like that of the wild ox;
    you have poured over me fresh oil.
    My eyes have seen the downfall of my enemies;
    my ears have heard the doom of my evil assailants.

    The righteous flourish like the palm tree
    and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
    They are planted in the house of the Lord;
    they flourish in the courts of our God.
    They still bear fruit in old age;
    they are ever full of sap and green,
    to declare that the Lord is upright;
    he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

    Isaiah 66:23

    From new moon to new moon,
    and from Sabbath to Sabbath,
    all flesh shall come to worship before me,
    declares the Lord. (ESV)

  5. Exodus 20:8

    “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

    Luke 23:54

    It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning.

    Exodus 16:22

    On the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers each. And when all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses,

    Exodus 16:25-26

    Moses said, “Eat it today, for today is a Sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the field. Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, which is a Sabbath, there will be none.”

    Exodus 16:29

    See! The Lord has given you the Sabbath; therefore on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Remain each of you in his place; let no one go out of his place on the seventh day.”

    Nehemiah 13:19

    As soon as it began to grow dark at the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I commanded that the doors should be shut and gave orders that they should not be opened until after the Sabbath. And I stationed some of my servants at the gates, that no load might be brought in on the Sabbath day. (ESV)


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Based on Calendar of Readings in the Westminster Standards by Dr. Joey Pipa. Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.