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A Biblical Perspective on the Sunday Hunting Debate

By Patrick Tyndall
Should I as a Christian man hunt or fish on Sundays? What does the Bible really say about this issue?

I write this article not as a theologian or someone who claims to have any authority on this subject.  I simply write this article as a Christian man who wonders what the Bible really says about me hunting or fishing on Sunday and for the Christian men who struggle with this same issue.  This question has come up many times in the circles I run in and I've heard all kinds of answers/justifications from men.  Some of my own friends and family members will be on a different side of the fence on this issue.  In the end, our state laws and opinions matter very little and only what the Bible says really counts.  The rest of the world will certainly see no problem with any activity on Sunday, but as Christians we need to be clear on what the Bible (not society) says.

What the Bible Says About the Sabbath

Does God get tired?  I don't think so, but from the beginning of Scripture God sets an example for us by creating the heavens and the earth and then resting on the 7th day (Genesis 2:2-3).  This was the very first observance of the Sabbath and this pattern is repeated throughout Scripture (both Old and New Testaments).

When I try to understand the Bible's guidance for modern day living, I divide things up into three categories:    Biblical Commandments, Biblical Principles, and Personal Convictions.  Obviously, Biblical Commandments carry the highest weight and mandate for our lives.  Commandment number four says:  "Remember the Sabbath and Keep it Holy" (Exodus 20:8-11).   

The literal translation of the word Holy means "set apart."  In another word:  different.  The things that we do on Sundays are different than what we do Monday through Saturday.  For me, this means remember to keep Sunday from becoming like all the other days of the week.   The clearest example we have of a New Testament Church was in the book of Acts.  And on the Sabbath, they dedicated themselves to the public worship of God, not hobbies.  Sunday is not just another play day.  It's a holy day.

Allow me to respond to several of the most popular "justifications" I hear from men: 

·       I can worship God better from my treestand than in Church!

o   Response:  There's no doubt that we can worship God anywhere we are at.  And if a man can worship better in his treestand, then this is a problem that we the Church need to address.  In fact, Ironman Outdoors is working with Churches to give them more tools to Church to reach men.  However, there's another Biblical principle in play here. 

§  "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching."  Hebrews 10:23-25

o   Better men than you have failed at the do-it-yourself approach to Christianity.  You need to be plugged into a faith family!  You need to be surrounded by other Christian men.  Want to know the spiritual health of a man?  Show me his relationships with other Christian men.  Isolation is the enemy.  The devil loves any activity that will take you away from Church.

·       I work all week and have so little time to hunt

o   Response:  You don't have it any tougher than any other man in history.  In fact, I would argue most men have more free time now than ever before in history (Example A:  Facebook; Example B:  Fantasy Football).

o   We all have the same number of hours in the week to work, hunt, fish, spend time with family, and yes worship!  The Bible is crystal clear that one-seventh of our time should be devoted to rest and the public worship of God. 

·       I only hunt before or after Church

o   The Bible does not say "Honor Two Hours of the Sabbath."  It says honor the Sabbath and keep it (the whole day) holy.  If you can find a verse that breaks the Sabbath into different hours of the day that we must observe, please send it to me.

·       But I take my kids hunting with me on Sundays

o   Response:  We as men do a great job of taking a kid along with us on something that we want to do and justifying it as "family time."  I promise you that taking your kids with you to church on Sundays will have a much more profound impact on their lives than sitting in the woods.  Kids that see Dad's faith is the real deal will be much more likely to live out their own faith. 

To close this article, I must say a word about legalism.  The New Testament is clear that we are not under the law, but under Grace (Romans 6:14).  Jesus healed folks on the Sabbath and told the disciples that if an ox was in the ditch you should help out (Matthew 12:11).  Certainly, there are times when we are not going to be able to attend church on Sunday.  And certainly, there may be an occasion when we are travelling a long way from home to hunt or fish and Sunday activities are part of the trip.  Christ actually fought against the legalistic views of the Pharisees.  However, the general pattern of our lives should be one that honors the Sabbath.  In general, our Sundays should not look like the other six days of the week.

Christian men are to be the spiritual leaders in our homes.  Perhaps the most important thing that Dad controls is the family calendar.  And that calendar should include worship with the family in Church on Sundays.  If you spend most Sundays on the lake or at the hunting club, what message are you sending to your children?  Consider your views and actions on the Sabbath and then put them through the filter of Scripture.  Then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve (Joshua 24:15).  And as one of my buddies says, "Stand Firm."

Visitor Comments (33)

Biblical topic: the Sabbath

https://www.openbible.info/topics/sabbath

Sabbath is Saturday?

I had not said anything of the sort, only that the Sabbath is not Sunday. However, again we must look to the scriptures, and not cherry pick. It is in bad faith to cherry pick in order to try to justify your actions. When people engage in cherry picking, they are certainly doing it for the benefit of their peers and for themselves; for they desire to be seen in a positive light. But The Lord cannot be fooled as he knows what is in your heart.

Here is a good place for you to read all the references of Sabbath in The Bible. Why would you ask another person when your best and most true answer lies therein, and nowhere else?

Sabbath is Saturday?

So you're saying it is fine to hunt and fish and mow your lawn on Sunday, but not on Saturday? Just clarifying.

Sabbath is Saturday?

So you're saying it is fine to hunt and fish and mow your lawn on Sunday, but not on Saturday? Just clarifying.

Sabbath is Sabbath.

Why even discuss this in a Biblical context if we cannot even understand and agree that Sunday is not the Sabbath? Satan works very hard to push and shove the mind of man around just enough to become sin. The Lord does not care what we think or want or what our religious leaders may say. That is why His inspired word was written down; so that we don't need to go through a layer of human-controlled indirection. And the Bible is very clear: Saturday is the Sabbath which the 10 Commandments tell us to keep holy. I mean come on folks, there are only 10 Commandments and they are called Commandments because they are not suggestions, or opinions or personal preference. The Lord did not say pick thee one day from the week and keep it holy. Those who cannot follow the 10 Commandments will not enter the gates of Heaven. And make no mistake, He does not expect very many humans to pass His tests!!! His word tell us this in plain and simple terms:
Matthew Chapter 7:
13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Sabbath is Saturday not Sunday

Sunday? Sunday is the first day of the week. Sabbath is Saturday. You can't find anything to back up that Sunday is the 7th day. Just look on your phone Calendar and see what's the first day of the week

My opinion on this

You said...
The literal translation of the word Holy means set apart. In another word: different. The things that we do on Sundays are different than what we do Monday through Saturday.
So if we are living a wholesome life and respectful to the lords wishes I see no problem with fishing on Sunday. I don't fish during the week, I get no rest during the week, and almost all my time is in service to others during the week. Fishing on Sunday is me not doing the same as the other six days of the week. It's also personal alone time to reflect on things like the the lord and how I've done in his service the last six days of the week. It's ok to have an opinion on your interpretation of the lords word, when you tell others they are wrong you yourself go against the lords word, in my opinion only. Let's not forget that the scripture was written by man, not the Lord. To interpret the written word as literal hard law I believe is flawed, as it was written by man, and every man is himself flawed. This is just my opinion and in no way meant to be disrespectful or critical.

Roman's 7:4, galatians 2:19

Check it out and enjoy your freedom in Christ!

Christ is the end of the law

Christ is the end of the law for all who believe. We died to to sin and the law so we can live through Christ. You have freedom to follow the Holy Spirit. Whoever is under the law is under a curse.

Christ is the end of the law

Christ is the end of the law for all who believe. We died to to sin and the law so we can live through Christ. You have freedom to follow the Holy Spirit. Whoever is under the law is under a curse.

HUNTING ON THE SABBATH

In Maryland, we have Sunday hunting. We also have a program called Hunter's and Farmers Feeding the Hungry. This program allows hunters to donate a harvested deer to feed the homeless at soup kitchens, food pantries and the like at the state's expense. In Matthew 12:11-12, Jesus stated the following:
He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12: How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
Therefore, if you go out on the morning of the Sabbath with the true and honest intention before the Lord of harvesting a deer for the purpose of donating it to that type of a program so that the homeless and the poor are able to eat to survive, would you not then be performing good work on the Sabbath and abiding by the what was said in the passage Matthew 12?

HUNTING ON THE SABBATH

In Maryland, we have Sunday hunting. We also have a program called Hunter's and Farmers Feeding the Hungry. This program allows hunters to donate a harvested deer to feed the homeless at soup kitchens, food pantries and the like at the state's expense. In Matthew 12:11-12, Jesus stated the following:
He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12: How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
Therefore, if you go out on the morning of the Sabbath with the true and honest intention before the Lord of harvesting a deer for the purpose of donating it to that type of a program so that the homeless and the poor are able to eat to survive, would you not then be performing good work on the Sabbath and abiding by the what was said in the passage Matthew 12?

HUNTING ON THE SABBATH

In Maryland, we have Sunday hunting. We also have a program called Hunter's and Farmers Feeding the Hungry. This program allows hunters to donate a harvested deer to feed the homeless at soup kitchens, food pantries and the like at the state's expense. In Matthew 12:11-12, Jesus stated the following:
He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12: How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
Therefore, if you go out on the morning of the Sabbath with the true and honest intention before the Lord of harvesting a deer for the purpose of donating it to that type of a program so that the homeless and the poor are able to eat to survive, would you not then be performing good work on the Sabbath and abiding by the what was said in the passage Matthew 12?

HUNTING ON THE SABBATH

In Maryland, we have Sunday hunting. We also have a program called Hunter's and Farmers Feeding the Hungry. This program allows hunters to donate a harvested deer to feed the homeless at soup kitchens, food pantries and the like at the state's expense. In Matthew 12:11-12, Jesus stated the following:
He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12: How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
Therefore, if you go out on the morning of the Sabbath with the true and honest intention before the Lord of harvesting a deer for the purpose of donating it to that type of a program so that the homeless and the poor are able to eat to survive, would you not then be performing good work on the Sabbath and abiding by the what was said in the passage Matthew 12?

HUNTING ON THE SABBATH

In Maryland, we have Sunday hunting. We also have a program called Hunter's and Farmers Feeding the Hungry. This program allows hunters to donate a harvested deer to feed the homeless at soup kitchens, food pantries and the like at the state's expense. In Matthew 12:11-12, Jesus stated the following:
He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12: How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
Therefore, if you go out on the morning of the Sabbath with the true and honest intention before the Lord of harvesting a deer for the purpose of donating it to that type of a program so that the homeless and the poor are able to eat to survive, would you not then be performing good work on the Sabbath and abiding by the what was said in the passage Matthew 12?

HUNTING ON THE SABBATH

In Maryland, we have Sunday hunting. We also have a program called Hunter's and Farmers Feeding the Hungry. This program allows hunters to donate a harvested deer to feed the homeless at soup kitchens, food pantries and the like at the state's expense. In Matthew 12:11-12, Jesus stated the following:
He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12: How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
Therefore, if you go out on the morning of the Sabbath with the true and honest intention before the Lord of harvesting a deer for the purpose of donating it to that type of a program so that the homeless and the poor are able to eat to survive, would you not then be performing good work on the Sabbath and abiding by the what was said in the passage Matthew 12?

HUNTING ON THE SABBATH

In Maryland, we have Sunday hunting. We also have a program called Hunter's and Farmers Feeding the Hungry. This program allows hunters to donate a harvested deer to feed the homeless at soup kitchens, food pantries and the like at the state's expense. In Matthew 12:11-12, Jesus stated the following:
He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12: How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
Therefore, if you go out on the morning of the Sabbath with the true and honest intention before the Lord of harvesting a deer for the purpose of donating it to that type of a program so that the homeless and the poor are able to eat to survive, would you not then be performing good work on the Sabbath and abiding by the what was said in the passage Matthew 12?

Hey

So what can you actually do with your family on the Sabbath. I know God doesn't want us to only read bible, sing worship songs, and go to church, He aldo wants us to relax rest, and enjoy what He created for us.

sabbath

so if law is done away with as some claim.. why have any morals or questions about the sabbath command since we now have no law? silly lawless ones the love of messiah is when we keep his commands and those saved will have testimony of messiah and keep the commands

sabbath

the sabbath is saturday and yes harvesting (hunting) doing uour own thing breaks sabbath

Hunting on The Sabbath

I will definitely be praying and asking God for guidance on this.

? 2 Corinthians 13:1 ?

I think Christians need to observe the true sabbath day and not a man made day as Sunday. Some will say different I understand that's you manly way of thinking that you can change gods sabbath from even to even which mean sabbath day is from sun set Friday to sunset Saturday. To get a better understanding of the bible always remember 2 Corinthians 13:1 the testimony of two or three in a matter. Sabbath is a testimony of two even two even. Friday evening till Saturday evening. The sun and the moon testimony of two. Man and woman. The Father the Son the Holy Ghost testimony of three. This should open up new understanding in the bible for many.

? 2 Corinthians 13:1 ?

I think Christians need to observe the true sabbath day and not a man made day as Sunday. Some will say different I understand that's you manly way of thinking that you can change gods sabbath from even to even which mean sabbath day is from sun set Friday to sunset Saturday. To get a better understanding of the bible always remember 2 Corinthians 13:1 the testimony of two or three in a matter. Sabbath is a testimony of two even two even. Friday evening till Saturday evening. The sun and the moon testimony of two. Man and woman. The Father the Son the Holy Ghost testimony of three. This should open up new understanding in the bible for many.

â— 2 Corinthians 13:1 â–º

I think Christians need to observe the true sabbath day and not a man made day as Sunday. Some will say different I understand that's you manly way of thinking that you can change gods sabbath from even to even which mean sabbath day is from sun set Friday to sunset Saturday. To get a better understanding of the bible always remember 2 Corinthians 13:1 the testimony of two or three in a matter. Sabbath is a testimony of two even two even. Friday evening till Saturday evening. The sun and the moon testimony of two. Man and woman. The Father the Son the Holy Ghost testimony of three. This should open up new understanding in the bible for many.

sorry

didn't mean to emphasize the point! Computer got carried away!

I died to the law

I'm not Jewish and was never under the Old Covenant. My choice is the New Covenant or nothing.
The purpose of the law is to point you to Christ and show you need a savior because you can't follow the law.
The 10 commandments were letters on stone that brought death. 2 Cor 3:6-7

Law increases sin. Rom 7:8-11, Rom 5:20. What does the sign wet paint, do not touch! make you want to do?

Grace teaches us to say no to ungodliness, not the law. Titus 2:12

We are led by the Spirit, not under law. Gal 5:18

When you become a Christian, the purpose of the law has been fulfilled for you, and you are no longer under it. The law is for non-believers. Believers are to be led by the Spirit. But don't worry, the Spirit will never lead you to commit murder or adultery. You don't need the 10 commandments to hold you back.

I died to the law

I'm not Jewish and was never under the Old Covenant. My choice is the New Covenant or nothing.
The purpose of the law is to point you to Christ and show you need a savior because you can't follow the law.
The 10 commandments were letters on stone that brought death. 2 Cor 3:6-7

Law increases sin. Rom 7:8-11, Rom 5:20. What does the sign wet paint, do not touch! make you want to do?

Grace teaches us to say no to ungodliness, not the law. Titus 2:12

We are led by the Spirit, not under law. Gal 5:18

When you become a Christian, the purpose of the law has been fulfilled for you, and you are no longer under it. The law is for non-believers. Believers are to be led by the Spirit. But don't worry, the Spirit will never lead you to commit murder or adultery. You don't need the 10 commandments to hold you back.

I died to the law

I'm not Jewish and was never under the Old Covenant. My choice is the New Covenant or nothing.
The purpose of the law is to point you to Christ and show you need a savior because you can't follow the law.
The 10 commandments were letters on stone that brought death. 2 Cor 3:6-7

Law increases sin. Rom 7:8-11, Rom 5:20. What does the sign wet paint, do not touch! make you want to do?

Grace teaches us to say no to ungodliness, not the law. Titus 2:12

We are led by the Spirit, not under law. Gal 5:18

When you become a Christian, the purpose of the law has been fulfilled for you, and you are no longer under it. The law is for non-believers. Believers are to be led by the Spirit. But don't worry, the Spirit will never lead you to commit murder or adultery. You don't need the 10 commandments to hold you back.

I died to the law

I'm not Jewish and was never under the Old Covenant. My choice is the New Covenant or nothing.
The purpose of the law is to point you to Christ and show you need a savior because you can't follow the law.
The 10 commandments were letters on stone that brought death. 2 Cor 3:6-7

Law increases sin. Rom 7:8-11, Rom 5:20. What does the sign wet paint, do not touch! make you want to do?

Grace teaches us to say no to ungodliness, not the law. Titus 2:12

We are led by the Spirit, not under law. Gal 5:18

When you become a Christian, the purpose of the law has been fulfilled for you, and you are no longer under it. The law is for non-believers. Believers are to be led by the Spirit. But don't worry, the Spirit will never lead you to commit murder or adultery. You don't need the 10 commandments to hold you back.

Well said!

This gives me much food for thought.... Thank you!

Being faithful to God.

Being faithful to god is the most important thing that you can do and being in the woods where you can have a one on one conversation with our lord and savior,for god is my rock that I lean on everyday.

Correction on the Greek

The software for the website couldn't actually insert the Greek letters. Where the text looks all funky, the English equivalent is, mia ton sabbaton. Hope that helps clear that up.

Hunting on Sundays

I laughed when I read this. Sorry, but the Sabbath is from sundown Friday until sundown Saturday. So hunting on Sunday is perfectly fine with God. Now, hunting on the Sabbath is all together another matter. God established the Sabbath as the last day of the week, known to most people as Saturday. And no where in the bible does God say it is okay to change from having our day of worship from the seventh day to the first day of the week.

For example, in Acts 20:7, most translations say something along the lines of, On the first day of the week we came together to break bread... Yet there are two things that must be looked at when reading this verse. First, the word day is in italics, which means it is not in the Greek. Second, when we look at the Greek μια Ïων σαββαÏων we realize that it should be translated First of the Sabbaths which is in reference to what Christians might know as the Feast of Weeks, or the Counting of the Omer. You see, in the bible we are told that after passover we are to count the Sabbaths, and after the seventh Sabbath, the next day is Pentecost.

Food for thought...

Shocking Catholic Church Statements:

It is well to remind the Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, and all other Christians, that the Bible does not support them anywhere in their observance of Sunday. Sunday is an institution of the Roman Catholic Church, and those who observe the day observe a commandment of the Catholic Church. Priest Brady, in an address, reported in the Elizabeth, NJ ‘News’ on March 18, 1903.

Protestants ... accept Sunday rather than Saturday as the day for public worship after the Catholic Church made the change... But the Protestant mind does not seem to realize that ... in observing Sunday, they are accepting the authority of the spokesman for the Church, the pope. Our Sunday Visitor, February 5th, 1950.

Deny the authority of the Church and you have no adequate or reasonable explanation or justification for the substitution of Sunday for Saturday in the Third - Protestant Fourth - Commandment of G-d... The Church is above the Bible, and this transference of Sabbath observance is proof of that fact.’’ Catholic Record, September 1, 1923.

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