What is wrong with playing sports on the Sabbath?

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What is wrong with playing sports on the Sabbath?

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There are two fundamental principles involved in keeping the seventh-day Sabbath. First, it is a day of rest and, second, we are to uphold the spiritual intent of the day. God wants us to be renewed both physically and spiritually. Designed for this purpose, the Sabbath is a gift from God and not a burden. It is for our own well being (Mark 2:27).

When one is involved in playing sports on the Sabbath, it is generally a physically and mentally enervating experience for purely secular reasons—something contrary to the purpose of the Sabbath. In contrast to other days of the week, God says the Sabbath is holy time—time set apart as different from other time during the week (Genesis 2:3)—and it has a specific spiritual purpose.

We keep the Sabbath holy only by refraining from work or pursuits that are intended for the other six days of the week. If we were participating in a sport on the Sabbath, it would distract our attention from the intended purpose of the day. Furthermore, we would be using God's time for our own selfish pursuits and, therefore, we would no longer be keeping the Sabbath holy.

In this society that ignores God's Commandments, the Sabbath can be a test of our faith. But when we call it a delight and not a burden, it then becomes a great blessing to our lives and God rewards us richly (Isaiah 58:13-14). The Sabbath is a time for resting from our normal activities and focusing on spiritual priorities.


  • Tavitastr

    Hello guys, I’m not necessarily new to Sabbath…. But I’m curious to whether I’m allowed to play my favourite sport basketball if I find it personally relaxing? I enjoy being by myself (unless it’s a game) and find joy playing it. I have a talent for basketball and thank God always for giving me it, so every time I play, I remember to show glory to God and technically keep the holiness of the sabbath. I may be violating the rules of the sabbath though. Can I get your thoughts on this?

  • lepdog111

    God never said to not have fun on the sabbath just to keep it holy. Jesus Christ says that the sabbath is a gift and it’s not about what we can and can’t do. It’s about dwelling in God and spending more time with God but if sport gets in the way of times of worship then you obviously shouldn’t do it if it stops you from praying for example. Read the New Testament gospels of Christ. Plus it’s working on your body and helps you be chill which is great!I think it would be a different story if it was about pros as they earn money from it!

  • lepdog111

    Brother there’s nothing to worry about. Jesus Christ tells us that the sabbath isn’t to enslave us but it is a gift from God. If you know that you are not overwhelming yourself while playing basketball then there’s nothing wrong with it. Read the Bible bro. God bless you!

  • Skip Miller

    Hello Mali,
    If you read the 5 minute (really short) explanation of what the Sabbath is all about,
    I do not think I can add anything to it --- except my own experience !
    I surf and I really like it. But I don't surf on God's Sabbath. Why?
    Because that makes the Sabbath more important than my own pleasure.
    Even when we have had the opportunity to go to a tropical "paradise" I don't surf on God's Sabbath because I want Them (Father and Son) to know that They are THE important thing.
    That is just what I do. How about you?

  • Tavitastr

    Hey skip,
    I tend to have my own time with God by just going down to a local basketball court (not many people really go to) and just have a little time. Even when it’s sabbath. I feel like we have a good time to get in touch with each other and I appreciate him more and thank him for the ability to have time with him and relax with basketball. It’s kind of like my therapy. I only recently realised that I could indeed be violating the rules of the sabbath. So I jumped on here to find out whether or not I am. Thanks for all your help.

  • dandan01

    First ask which day is the sabbath. The Sabbath is Friday night to Saturday night. This is like changing the location of Isreal. Just as you can't change the location of Israel, u cannot change the time of the Sabbath. U can change it by saying it is legalism. Anything can be legalism, if u do it for that reason. So most Christian, they start out the wrong day, on Sunday. So it becomes a mute in reality, but only in intention. U may intent right, but you can be factually wrong. For Sabbath, since the Lord is also the Lord of the Sabbath, it depends if the Lord is with you on it. Look at what David did with bread he and his mean ate. It is if the Lord is with u, on it. Be sure the Lord is with u on it. If not, then don't do it. If u don't have faith to do it, definitely don't do it.

  • Steven Britt
    allivina, You're correct that the Sabbath was made for man, but your conclusion is completely wrong. This doesn't mean "do what you would like to do" in the sense that you can now go out and work on the Sabbath (if that's what you like to do) or violate the Sabbath in any way that God has said not to do. The Pharisees in Jesus' time had so many regulations concerning the Sabbath that it prevented them from even doing good on the Sabbath, such as helping someone in distress or, as they criticized Jesus for, healing someone. That particular quote is from an instance where Jesus' disciples plucked a head of grain to feed themselves, which the Pharisees considered harvesting - Jesus was setting them straight by saying that it's not the same thing since they are only feeding themselves because to not do so would have made the Sabbath a burden rather than a blessing. Secondly, your point about the holy day being changed to Sunday is completely unsubstantiated. There is not a single scripture in the bible which will support the changing of the holy day from Saturday to Sunday, regardless of what events occurred on what day. And the point about the Russian language doesn't prove anything - for example, in Italian, Spanish, and several other languages, Saturday is named after the Sabbath (e.g. "Sabado"). As a final though, you don't seem to be advocating to observe Sunday as an actually holy day. You've already stated that people can do whatever they want on the holy day, so I really don't understand why it should matter to you whether Sunday is holy or not if it doesn't make any difference. If I'm misjudging your intent here, I'm really interested to know exactly what it means for Sunday to be a holy day in your opinion.
  • allivina
    Also, the "Holy Day" is now Sunday because Jesus rose from the dead on a Sunday. That is why the Russian language calls it voskresenya, meaning day of the risen. Which is quite similar in all languages except English.
  • allivina
    nothing, the Sabbath was made for you not you for the Sabbath, remember? Do what you would like to do.
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