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How can we know for sure if Luke is talking about Saturday or Sunday midnight?

7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered together. 9 And there was a young man named Eutychus sitting on the window sill, sinking into a deep sleep; and as Paul kept on talking, he was overcome by sleep and fell down from the third floor and was picked up dead. 10 But Paul went down and fell upon him, and after embracing him, he said, "Do not be troubled, for his life is in him." 11 When he had gone back up and had broken the bread and eaten, he talked with them a long while until daybreak, and then left. 12 They took away the boy alive, and were greatly comforted. — Acts 20:7-12 (NASB)

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  • Jewish custom to this day is that Sunday - not Monday - is viewed as the first day of the week. In modern day Israel, the workweek is Sunday through Thursday, with people having their weekend on Friday and Saturday. I worked for an Israeli company once and it wreaked havoc on collaboration.
    – user33515
    May 10, 2017 at 1:50
  • In Acts 20:7, it's "the first day of the week" and Paul intends to leave "the next day" (NKJV), speaking till midnight. In verse 11, he leaves at sunrise. This seems to suggest that the time after midnight (at sunrise, v. 11) is the same timeframe as verse 7's "the next day" (NKJV). If so, "the next day" would occur after midnight, meaning that Acts is using Roman time. Does this make sense?
    – The Editor
    Jul 5, 2022 at 22:44

1 Answer 1

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The “first day of the week” is Sunday. This is in fact the normal name for “Sunday” in New Testament Greek (as well as in Hebrew, Syriac etc. etc.). But the 24-hour day begins at sunset. So “midnight on the first day of the week” is what we would call 0:00 on Sunday.

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  • If I understood you well, your answer is that it was Saturday midnight? May 10, 2017 at 18:14
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    No, it is midnight on Sunday.
    – fdb
    May 10, 2017 at 18:22
  • Genesis 1:5 "God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day." God defines a day as foolow: from beginning of the evening to end of the morning (daylight), sunset to sunset. Gen 2:2 states the last day of the week is Sabbath. Then the last day of the Hebraic week ends Saturday at sunset. Then the first day of the next week starts Saturday at sunset and finishes Sunday at sunset. How can you then place midnight beyond this time frame? Thank you for your help. May 10, 2017 at 18:37
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    @TruthSeeker - You and fdb are saying the same thing. Saturday at sunset is when Sunday begins according to the Bible. The first day of the week begins at sunset, but the current standard for the rest of the world is that a new day begins at 12:00am, or as fdb said, 0:00 Sunday.
    – user6503
    May 10, 2017 at 18:57
  • @Bʀɪᴀɴ - I apologize. I did not realize that midnight = 0:00 = 12:00 a.m. of the same given day. Then maybe I need to correct my question as follow: "Did Acts 20:7 take place on Sunday or Monday midnight?" In the end, if fdb is meaning the midnight as the transition time period from Saturday to Sunday then I agree (so far). I will come up with a new question... May 10, 2017 at 20:13

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