When are examples binding?


"The only other ordinance taught by Christ was for them to celebrate the Lord's Supper each first day of the week, generally in the evening twilight." [The Story of the The Churches of Christ in Central Europe].

There have been disagreements over practices through the years based on which apostolic examples are binding. How can we judge (discern), or what standard should we use, to determine which examples in the New Testament are binding and which are not?


There is a sermon "When are Biblical Examples Binding?" which covers most of your question. The only thing I would add to it is that when an example is given, thought must be given as to whether the information is incidental or critical to the example. In the case of the church meeting on the first day of the week we read, "Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight" (Acts 20:7). The day of the week is critical to this example because we are told that it was the time the disciples came together to partake of the Lord's Supper. But notice it doesn't say when they came together during the day. We only know that they stayed pass midnight. So is assembling all night important for each church to do in their worship of God? The question is why was the time mentioned? It was mentioned to help us understand that Paul was leaving and the brethren wanted to take advantage of all the time they had available to be with Paul. It was also mentioned to explain why a man fell asleep and fell out of a window a bit later. In other words, the time of day was critical to the events in the story, but not to the example of when Christians gathered for worship.

In other words we can properly and absolutely infer that Christians had a habit of meeting for worship on the first day of the week, but this event does not allow us to necessarily infer that they always met late in the evening or always stayed until passed midnight when worshiping.