Sabbatarian arguments 3: Mark 2:27, “Sabbath was made for man” means “for mankind”

The common sabbatarian understanding of this text is “Sabbath was given for all mankind“, therefore all of mankind should observe it not just the Jews. I have 2 reasons to believe otherwise.

1) This interpretation goes contrary to the Jewish understanding that Sabbath was given only to the nation of Israel.

2) The context. When you read the context of this verse (beginning at verse 23), you will notice that this interpretation is out of placed. Jesus and his disciples on Sabbath were plucking grains. Then the Pharisees accused them of breaking the Sabbath. Then Jesus gave some old testament instances, then declared the “the sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath”. Why would Jesus suddenly mean that Sabbath was made for mankind? It seems out of placed.

New Living Translation (and other contemporary versions) rendered it wonderfully. “Then he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made to benefit people, and not people to benefit the Sabbath.'” Jesus was actually saying, “Hey, don’t let the sabbath control you, it is supposed to be for your benefit.”

So if that’s the case, it now goes with the context. Jesus seems to be breaking the Sabbath, as the Pharisees noted. Therefore, Jesus corrected their view and told them that their neck hurts for being so stiff. They should see the Sabbath benefiting them and not the other way around.

(Arnold Gamboa, 08-02-2005)

  • Jeruel

    Here I go again. :)

    First of all, in Biblical interpretations, there are only faithful translations of the bible that are considered by the scholars as worthy references to establish doctrines or teachings.

    And in this case, the NLT is not among them, since it is considered as among the paraphrased bibles and not faithfully translating the exact words from the original manuscripts.

    I believe that it is true that the Sabbath was made for man [generic] and not man for the sabbath. This pertains to the Pharisees and modern people who makes the sabbath a burden.

    The Pharisees before added many more policies and guidelines how to keep the sabbath that made it rather a burden than a delight to keep. Jesus then showed them how to keep it — that there are things or lawful to do on sabbaths — healing the sick, raising the dead, eating but not harvesting [plucking of grains as opposed to harvesting them].

    I think the keeping of the weekly sabbath should be based upon the principle why was it given to us by the Lord — to benefit us. After the 6 days of labor, it would greatly benefit us to have a whole day rest and spend that time for Him and to the ministry.

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