The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

A Sabbath Question

The Westminster Confession of Faith says this about the Sabbath:

VIII. This Sabbath is to be kept holy unto the Lord when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all the day from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations, but also are taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of His worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.

In defense of the Sabbath for Christians, some have argued that the reason we don’t appreciate the Sabbath is because we don’t appreciate the other half of the commandment: to work six days.

In other words, if we honored the commandment to work six days, we’d be much more inclined to rest on the seventh. This post is brief, in that the combination of these two points, 1. working six days and 2. resting the seventh, raises one question for me.

When do we play?

Is play a subcategory of work, so we play on the six days of the week that we work? Or, is play a subcategory of rest, so we play on the seventh day of rest?

The Westminster Confession of Faith defines rest and Sabbath-keeping so that it explicitly excludes play: “are taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of His worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.”

So when do we play? What are your thoughts on this question?

Matt Bianco is a PCA elder, the homeschooling father of three children, a result of his marriage to his altogether lovely high school sweetheart, Patty.

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2 thoughts on “A Sabbath Question

  1. Was there a separate category of “play” when the 10 commandments were given, or not? As a category opposing both “work” and “rest” it seems to have emerged in the Western world centuries later, so the Westminster divines were prudent placing it on the “work” side, since it involves some sort of transformation of creation as God’s stewards.

  2. Perhaps it’s just the wrong question to ask. A better question is, “What makes us think that Sunday is the Sabbath?” My answer would be our own imaginations. Certainly not the Scriptures.

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