How does Sabbath-keeping work?

Lake Laguna Niguel

At the start of 2021, my friend John invited me to read through the entire Bible with him in the coming year. I readily agreed. We used the Bible Project reading plan to direct our reading and provide additional background to the books. Additionally, we shared insights every day after our readings. 


We completed the reading on Christmas Eve. Both of us enjoyed reading through the entire Bible in a year, so much so that we decided to read the Bible again, cover-to-cover, this year.   


John and I noted that keeping the Sabbath was frequently mentioned. We also noted the many references to remembering the poor. We have shared thoughts on both teachings over the past two years. 


The Fourth Commandment in Exodus chapter 20 reads:

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord God; in it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your manservant, or your maidservant, or your cattle, or the sojourner who is within your gates; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it. 

This commandment designates 1 day in 7 to be remembered, kept holy, and free from work for the entire household, including servants, visitors, and animals. Sabbath was modeled on God’s rest at the end of creation. 


Key points in Exodus 20:8-11 include:

  • Remember
  • Holy
  • One in Seven
  • Rest

How does Sabbath-keeping work in our modern world?  I suggest building rest into the rhythm of life.   

Keep in mind that Sabbath isn’t about what we don’t do, rather, I think it should be based on what we can do.  Here are examples of how to spend a Sabbath rest:

  • Worship 
  • Brunch 
  • Reflection
  • Journaling
  • Recreation – hike, bicycle ride
  • Reading
  • Time in nature
  • Visiting relatives and friends
  • Sharing a special meal with relatives and friends
  • Go technology free

Resources for this post:

Bible Project Reading Plan

Tim Keller: Six ways to practice Sabbath


Sabbath: How do I actually do it?




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