Worship: What is it? Part II

Traditional Church-Use Definition

Okay, so how has the word worship been traditionally used in the church? That’s where most of us first encountered the word, and the place we most often use it.

Early Church “Worship”:
1) Praise, Prayer, & Instruction (see Worship in the Early Church, pg. 24)
2) Word, Prayer, Offering & Communion (see The First Apology of Justin, Ch.67, 150 A.D.)

IMG_9602thumbVery, very interesting… It seems that the word "worship" is used to refer to the liturgical, or public rituals of the church. No music either…

Nonetheless, the traditional church definition for "worship" seems to be used to describe the activities that take place within the church building. This is reflected in many articles by biblical scholars and (slightly older) books on “worship”.

I can’t find the exact origin of this particular use of “worship” to describe Christian liturgy. It seems to have been derived from “Christian worship of God” to “public worship of God” and hence the church as a “place of worship”, “worship services” etc…

You can find an interesting article by Dr Digby L James here: What on Earth is Worship?

So, perhaps confusingly, we have now 3 different ways to describe worship, and we haven’t even come to the modern definition!

Do you think its necessary to define worship? Leave a comment!


~ by jonhyz on December 27, 2008.

6 Responses to “Worship: What is it? Part II”

  1. I think that knowing what our definition of “worship” is can definitely help prevent many conflicts that we have in our churches that arise out of conflicting ideas of what “worship” is. What do you think? (Don’t forget to check out Part I)

  2. Hah! We also have the well known ‘definition’ of Worship!
    Worth-ship… Giving God Worth :S

  3. […] see worship as a very very broad category, which can be defined many ways, as you can see here and here. However, I think that there is a special place for worship music because music in itself is a very […]

  4. […] I – Definition of Worship in the OT & NT Part II – Definition of Worship in the Church Part III – Definitions by Experts on Worship Part IV – Why it’s our fault Worship is all […]

  5. […] I – Definition of Worship in the OT & NT Part II – Definition of Worship in the Church Part III – Definitions by Experts on Worship Part IV – Why it’s our fault Worship is all […]

  6. I think it is extremely important to define it, because the Church in general has no idea what it really is. And it seems like leadership is confused about it. I’ve actually heard a pastor say in the span of one sermon “worship is not about music or anything else we do here” and “wasn’t that some great worship earlier”?

    It’s madness.

    I believe very strongly that what we SAY publicly and corporately on Sunday we should DO the rest of the week.

    I do my best to say “worship service” or “gathered worship” or “corporate worship” when I’m talking about what goes on in services.

    Here’s my explanation, broadly, of what worship is:

    Worship is an act of obedience, homage and/or submission before God in response (key word) to God’s self-revelation. Therefore, we move from knowledge to worship. My favorite example is from Romans 11, when Paul overflows, almost erupts in doxology after delivering an in-depth, theological treatise. If our churches were pedagogical in nature, as I believe they should be, this would make more sense.

    It’s not enough to say that worship is “telling God what we think of him” or “praising God” or anything else. It is a life-consuming, all-encompassing endeavor.

    And, while we’re on the subject, I have begun a project in which I plan on posting one quote that, in one way or another, relates to worship. I want to invite you to visit, check out what is there so far, and make comments if you like to what is there. I believe this exercise will help us determine how best to define worship and how best to teach our congregations about true worship.

    Visit at:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: