rules of the sabbath day

Rules of the Sabbath Day – Helping you Find Rest and Renewal

What are the rules of the Sabbath day? What you can and can’t do according to the fourth commandment on the holy day of God? Was the seventh day Sabbath meant to be a burden or a delight? Have people added more rules to the law of God? What do we need to know to observe the Sabbath the correct way as God intended?

In this post, we will break down the rules of the Sabbath day! There might be some confusion about what you can and cannot do on the seventh day of the week, the holy day of God! Thus, we propose to shed some light on this matter by the grace of God, and to see the day of rest as it is and as it should be – a delight and not a burden!

What is the Sabbath Day?

The Sabbath day is the fourth commandment of God that is found in the Bible! 

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 

Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 

But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 

For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. 

Exodus 20:8-11 KJV

The Sabbath was made long before the Exodus of the people of Israel from Egypt, at the beginning of time, when God created this world! After the six literal creation days, He established the Sabbath as the day of rest and worship, to remember our origins, and remember our Creator! It is on the 7th day of the week and not on the first day of the week as many believe! 

And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 

And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. 

Genesis 2:2-3 KJV

What are the Rules of the Sabbath day in the Bible?

The rules of the Sabbath day in the Bible are simple! We are to do no work on that day, nor our own pleasures or hobbies, study or commerce activities! (Deuteronomy 5:12-14), (Isaiah 58:13-14).

Instead, we are to honour this day by keeping it holy – going to Church, worshipping, doing Bible studies, singing hymns to God, helping those who are less fortunate than us, etc.! 

sabbath day rules

What are we allowed to do on the Sabbath day?

We can enjoy nature, the creation of God on this holy day! If we love nature (who doesn’t?), this day is perfect to go out in nature with family or friends and admire the wonderful creation of God!

what are the rules of the sabbath day

Because during the week we are so busy and focused on our daily life and activities, the Sabbath is a good time to stop and admire everything God has created! Walk in beautiful nature and it would be impossible to not find something to uplift your mood!

Beautiful birds, colorful flowers with their special odor, cute animals, mountains, fields, blue skies, and a diversity of trees! Stop and admire them because everything came from the powerful hand of God Almighty! (Psalms 24:1).

rules for Sabbath day

Think about His greatness and meditate on the creation days! (Psalms 33:9,  John 1:1-3, Genesis 1). And what other day to explore these things than the special holy Sabbath day?

How many Sabbath rules are there? 

Unfortunately, the Pharisees of the times when Jesus lived, made the Sabbath a burden for people, but God did not intend to be that way! (Matthew 12:1-14)

God made the Sabbath for man, to be a delight for him and not a burden! 

The Sabbath rules are simple – it is not suitable to do any regular work on this holy day – job, cooking, cleaning, washing, studying, shopping, repairing, etc. 

Starting from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, the focus should be on God, His Word, praying, worshipping, walking in nature, helping people in need, and volunteering in the community! 

How many Sabbath rules did the Pharisees have?

The Pharisees added another 39 rules to the commandment that says to do no work on the Sabbath!

They broke down the work into categories and subcategories and defined what you can and cannot do on this day in great detail! For example, they established what distance you can walk on the Sabbath (traditionally, a walk of more than 2 miles is considered to be work), and other similar rules!   

Do’s and Don’ts on the Sabbath Day 

Can you cook on the Sabbath day? (Rules of the Sabbath Day)

To cook on the holy day of God is not something appropriate! Instead, we have 6 days to prepare our food in advance so that we can enjoy the Sabbath rest! 

Because cooking involves a lot of work, washing, cleaning, boiling, etc. this type of activity would break the commandment of God!

can you cook on the Sabbath day

Can you study on Sabbath day?

To study on this holy day is also a sin because the commandment says to rest and do no work! Studying would involve a totally different atmosphere where you do not have time and the right mood to focus on God and holy things! Thus this type of activity is best to be made during the week, before the holy day of God!

can you study on Sabbath day?

Can you exercise on the Sabbath day?

Exercise and workout are a type of activity that does not fit well with the holy day of God! While we are all aware of the benefits of exercising, this activity is best to be left on a different day or days and not on the Sabbath!   

Can you watch tv on the Sabbath day?

This type of activity would be considered a personal pleasure, like watching secular movies and entertainment shows! Certainly, this is not suitable for the day of the Sabbath! This special day is set aside to spend time with God and to know Him more, while TV can distract us from it for sure!

Can I play video games on Sabbath day?

Playing video games on the Sabbath is not something that would honor God! Usually, video games are filled with violence, sin, and not so holy things, thus this type of activity would not honor God on His holy day!

What Can’t You Do On Sabbath Day (Sabbath Day Rules)

Can you drive on the Sabbath Day?

can you drive on the Sabbath day?

Driving on the Sabbath day is only acceptable for medical emergency situations or driving to Church if it is far from our home, or other churches that need our help! Nevertheless, we should have all the preparations made ready before the Sabbath like fillings the gas tank, and not having this to be done on this day! 

Driving in other circumstances or far distances, for our pleasure or business interest is however a sin to do so on this special day!

Can you work on the Sabbath day?

can you work on the Sabbath day?

Working on the Sabbath is prohibited by the law of God! (Exodus 20:8-11) 

Can you travel on the Sabbath day?

It may be necessary for us to travel on the Sabbath in order to reach the churches who need our help, and to give them the message that God would have them hear; but we should secure our tickets, and make all other arrangements on some other day, if it is unavoidable and if we must travel upon the cars or steamboats. When traveling on the cars or boats on the Sabbath day, we should withdraw ourselves from undesirable company, and commune with God.

Special Testimonies to Ministers and Workers, vol. 3, p. 42-43.

What can we do on Sabbath day?

We can go to Church, walk in nature, share a meal with friends and family, and worship together at Church! We can gather together and worship God through prayer, music, singing, and giving thanks for all He is doing for us! 

what can we do on Sabbath day?

Where are the Sabbath rules in the Bible?

The rules of the Sabbath are to be found in Exodus 20:8-11, Isaiah 58:13-14 and Nehemiah 13:15-21! In essence, we are to do no work on this day, no personal hobbies or pleasure activities, and no commerce!

Can you go shopping on the Sabbath?

To go shopping on this day is not appropriate! We can arrange our program in such a way that it won’t be necessary to go out and do shopping on this day!

Are you allowed to play sports on the Sabbath? 

To play sports on the Sabbath is not honoring God! Sports usually involve a competitive spirit which is contrary to God’s ways in the first place!

Playing sports on this day is considered a personal pleasure and is not a suitable activity to keep the Sabbath day holy! 

Can you clean dishes on Sabbath?

Cleaning dishes is considered work that can easily be made after sunset on Saturday, the Sabbath day of rest, or the next day, and not on the holy hours of this day!

What is forbidden during Sabbath day?

Can you eat hot food on Sabbath?

As long as there is no involvement in preparing the food such as cooking, or baking, then there would be no problem to heat the food on the Sabbath! 

Can you eat at a restaurant during Sabbath?

Eating at a restaurant is not something appropriate for the holy day of God! The loud atmosphere and the worldly music that is involved usually in restaurants would not honor the Lord’s day! 

Instead, we can prepare some special food before the Sabbath begins and enjoy it at home with friends and family!

Can you go grocery shopping on the Sabbath?

This sort of activity is not suitable for this day, however, there are plenty of other days when we can do our grocery shopping! If we love God, we want to make sure we do not break the holiness of His day by doing grocery shopping!

Can you shower on the Sabbath?

The Preparation day, also known as Friday (Luke 23:54), is a perfect time to do this sort of activity! Showering, and other similar activities can be done before this special day! 

What does God want us to do on the Sabbath?  

God wants us to enjoy the Sabbath! As we reminded a few paragraphs above, we are to enjoy this day at Church, at home with family, visiting and encouraging friends, doing some volunteer work in the community & more! 


God wants us to enjoy this day and make the most of it! Walking in nature is an excellent activity to commemorate this special day! By admiring the creation of God, we can get closer to Him, and see our need for Him more and more for we are dependent on Him!

Can you reheat food on the Sabbath?

Reheating food is permitted on this day! As long as we are not doing any cooking that involves extra work but simply reheating our meals, it should not be an issue whatsoever!

Can I swim in a pool on Sabbath?

Again, this would be a type of activity that is not in alignment with the Sabbath observance! Doing such activity would be considered a personal pleasure, and God is clear about this subject in Isaiah 58:13-14. 

Can I sweep the floor on Sabbath?

The sweeping of the floor and other cleaning activities is suitable for another day, like Preparation day (Friday) but not on the Sabbath!

Is it okay to do good on the Sabbath?

Of course, there are many examples in the Bible of Jesus doing good on the Sabbath! (Matthew 12:9-14),  

Helping others on this day is not a sin, but it is pleasant in the eyes of God! To give up on oneself, and concentrate on others is the true spirit of the Sabbath!

is it ok to do good on the Sabbath?

Conclusion – Rules of the Sabbath Day

To conclude, the rules of the Sabbath day are simple! As long as we are not doing any regular work, be it a job, cooking, shopping, cleaning, business, commerce, or our own pleasures like hobbies, or going to the mall, gym, restaurant, museum, etc the Sabbath is kept holy! 

Instead, we have plenty of activities that we can relax, and enjoy whether it is at Church, at home, or in nature! 

The main important fact is to have everything ready before Friday evening at sunset! And never forget that Jesus did not intend for this day to be a burden of do’s and don’ts like the Pharisees made it to be for others! Instead, He wants us to enjoy this day and enter into His rest! Disconnect from everything and relax on the day of the Sabbath! 


Does God work on the Sabbath?

The Bible tells us that after God created this Earth in six literal days, He rested from the work He made!  (Genesis 2:2-3)

He is always doing good for others on this day and not only, as we have the example of His Son, Jesus in the Bible! (Luke 13:10-16)

How do you keep the Sabbath if you have to work?

Unless you have a job like a medical emergency doctor or firefighter or this type of job, it would be a sin to work on this day as the Bible tells us! (Exodus 20:8-11).

What things are forbidden on the Sabbath?

On the Sabbath, the regular, mundane things are forbidden such as cooking, shopping, cleaning, working, or doing hobbies for our own pleasure!

What did Jesus say about working on the Sabbath?

Jesus said that it is forbidden to work on this day, but we are to rest in it and worship God, and the other six days are for work! 

What was the punishment for working on the Sabbath?

The punishment for working on the Sabbath in the Old Testament was death! (Numbers 15:32-36)



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