A Survey of Biblical Sabbath Rest: Creation's Invitation to Communal Celebration




Bond, Annalise

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Amidst a culture that increasingly values consumerism, productivity, and individualism, communal practices of rest have largely been lost, specifically Sabbath- keeping. This thesis will argue the necessity of restoring the practice of biblical Sabbath rest while simultaneously diagnosing a prominent challenge to honoring Sabbath. The ancient vice acedia, characterized by states of extreme restlessness or weariness, directly opposes the practice of Sabbath rest. The writings of the monastic fathers Evagrius and Cassian will be examined in order to support this diagnosis of acedia’s incompatibility with biblical Sabbath rest. Further, this thesis will offer a biblical understanding of Sabbath rest primarily through a comprehensive analysis of Sabbath within scriptural passages from both the Old and New Testaments. Looking to the life of Jesus and his healings performed on the Sabbath, this thesis intends to contrast the Pharisees’ legalistic understanding of Sabbath with Jesus’ ministry of healing and restoration. Building on this foundation, this thesis will trace significant implications of the Sabbath command, specifically the equality and dignity of humankind, rhythmic rest for all creation, and communal accountability in establishing practices of rest that do good to one’s neighbor.