In Christianity, the Sabbath is a weekly religious day of rest as ordained by one of the Ten Commandments: the third commandment by Roman Catholic and Lutheran numbering, and the fourth by Eastern Orthodox and other Protestant numbering. The practice is inherited from Judaism, the parent religion of Christianity; the Hebrew word שַבָת ("šabbat", read in English as shabbat) means "the [day] of rest (or ceasing)" and entails a ceasing or resting from labor. The institution of the Old Testament Sabbath, a "perpetual covenant ... [for] the people of Israel" (Exodus 31:16-17), was in respect for the day during which God rested after having completed the creation in six days (Genesis 2:2-3, Exodus 20:8-11).
Originally denoting Saturday, the seventh day of the week (or, more precisely, the time period from Friday sunset to Saturday nightfall), the term "sabbath" can now mean one of several things, depending on the context and the speaker:
- Saturday as above, in reference to the Jewish day of rest, also observed by some Christian groups;
- Sunday, as a synonym for "the Lord's Day" in commemoration of the resurrection of Christ, for most other Christian groups;
- Any day of rest, prayer, worship or ritual, as in "Friday is the Muslim Sabbath"
One who observes a day as a Sabbath is known as a Sabbatarian.
The word is also infrequently used to describe the annual Jewish Holy Days observed by a minority of Christian groups, also called High Sabbaths or High Day Sabbaths (John 19:31): the First and Last Days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, the First Day of the Feast of Tabernacles, and the Eighth Day of the Feast.