What the Bible Teaches About Worship

Worship is first and foremost an encounter with the living and holy God.

Exodus 3:5

5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

God is our friend, but He is also our sovereign Lord. To approach Him frivolously shows a lack of respect and sincerity. When you come to God in worship, do you approach Him casually, or do you come as though you were an invited guest before a King?

Worship is only as real as the involvement of those participating.

Leviticus 7:38

38 which the LORD gave Moses at Mount Sinai in the Desert of Sinai on the day he commanded the Israelites to bring their offerings to the LORD.

All the rituals in Leviticus were meant to teach the people valuable lessons. But over time, the people became indifferent. When your church appears to be conducting dry, meaningless rituals, try rediscovering the meaning and purpose behind them. Your worship will be revitalized.

A true worship experience is often a direct result of preparation for worship.

Numbers 28:1-2

The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Give this command to the Israelites and say to them: ‘Make sure that you present to me at the appointed time my food offerings, as an aroma pleasing to me.’

Following these rituals took time, and this gave the people the opportunity to prepare their hearts for worship. Unless your heart is ready, worship is meaningless. God is delighted when you are prepared to come before Him in a spirit of thankfulness.

Believers should take advantage of every opportunity and praise God.

Psalm 81:1-3

Sing for joy to God our strength;
shout aloud to the God of Jacob!
Begin the music, strike the timbrel,
play the melodious harp and lyre.

Sound the ram’s horn at the New Moon,
and when the moon is full, on the day of our festival;

Israel’s holidays reminded the nation of God’s great miracles. Remember the spiritual origin of the holidays you celebrate, and use them as opportunities to worship God for His goodness to you, your family, and your nation.

Worship and music go hand in hand.

1 Chronicles 25:1

David, together with the commanders of the army, set apart some of the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun for the ministry of prophesying, accompanied by harps, lyres and cymbals. Here is the list of the men who performed this service:

David instituted music for the temple worship services. Worship should involve the whole person, and music helps lift a person’s thoughts and emotions to God. Through music you can celebrate God’s greatness.

Worship is bringing the best believers have to Christ.

Matthew 2:11

11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

The wise men brought gifts and worshiped Jesus for who He was. This is the essence of true worship—honoring Christ for who He is and being willing to give Him what is valuable to you. Worship God because He is worthy of the best you have to give.

Genuine worship results in submission and obedience to Jesus.

1 Corinthians 14:12

12 So it is with you. Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.

Jesus is more than just a great leader. He is the Son of God. When you understand this profound truth, the only adequate response is worship. When you have a correct understanding of Christ, you will obey Him.

Everything done in corporate worship must be beneficial to the worshipers.

Matthew 17:5

5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

This principle touches every aspect of worship. Those contributing to a worship service must speak useful words or participate in a way that will strengthen the faith of other believers.

In worship, everything must be done in harmony and with order.

1 Corinthians 14:40

40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

Even when the gifts of the Holy Spirit are being exercised, there is no excuse for disorder. When there is chaos, the church is not allowing God to work among believers as He would like. Make sure that what you bring to worship is appropriate, but also make sure that you participate.

What the Bible Teaches About Worship

The Good Seat

James 2:2-4

2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

The Way and the Truth and the Life

John 14:6

6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Do Everything in Love

1 Corinthians 16:13-14

13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.

As the Corinthians awaited Paul’s next visit, they were directed to:

(1) Be on their guard—they were to be constantly watchful or alert for spiritual enemies that might slip in and threaten to destroy them whether it be divisions, pride, sin, disorder, or erroneous theology

(2) Stand firm in what they believed—that is, the gospel that they had been taught in the beginning, the gospel that had brought them salvation

(3) Be courageous so that they could stand against false teachers, deal with sin in the congregation, and straighten out other problems

(4) Be strong, with the strength given by the Holy Spirit

(5) Do everything in love because without love, they would be no more than prideful noisemakers

Today, as we wait for the return of Christ, we should follow the same instructions.

Scaling the Mountains

Matthew 14:23

23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.

Deuteronomy 32:48-52

48 On that same day the LORD told Moses, 49 “Go up into the Abarim Range to Mount Nebo in Moab, across from Jericho, and view Canaan, the land I am giving the Israelites as their own possession. 50 There on the mountain that you have climbed you will die and be gathered to your people, just as your brother Aaron died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people. 51 This is because both of you broke faith with me in the presence of the Israelites at the waters of Meribah Kadesh in the Desert of Zin and because you did not uphold my holiness among the Israelites. 52 Therefore, you will see the land only from a distance; you will not enter the land I am giving to the people of Israel.”

Deuteronomy 34:4

4 Then the LORD said to him, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.”

Genesis 8:3-4

3 The water receded steadily from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down, 4 and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.

Genesis 8:13-16

13 By the first day of the first month of Noah’s six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry. 14 By the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth was completely dry.

15 Then God said to Noah, 16 “Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives.

The Central Theme of the Gospel

1 Corinthians 15:3-4

3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

The central theme of the gospel is given in these verses, a key text for the defense of Christianity. The third most important point is:

(3) He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. Christ was raised permanently, forever; his Father raised Him from the dead “on the third day” as noted in the Gospels (Friday afternoon to Sunday morning—three days in Jewish reckoning of time). This also occurred “according to the Scriptures.” Jesus quoted the prophet Jonah (Jonah 1:17) in Matthew 12:40 to show the connection to “three days” as prophesied in the Old Testament:

Jonah 1:17

17 Now the LORD provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Matthew 12:40

40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Psalm 16:8-11 and Psalm 110 also foretell the resurrection of the Messiah:

Psalm 16:8-11

I keep my eyes always on the LORD.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Psalm 110

The LORD says to my lord:

“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”

The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion, saying,
“Rule in the midst of your enemies!”
Your troops will be willing
on your day of battle.
Arrayed in holy splendor,
your young men will come to you
like dew from the morning’s womb.

The LORD has sworn
and will not change his mind:
“You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.”

The Lord is at your right hand;
he will crush kings on the day of his wrath.
He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead
and crushing the rulers of the whole earth.
He will drink from a brook along the way,
and so he will lift his head high.

The Central Theme of the Gospel

1 Corinthians 15:3-4

3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

The central theme of the gospel is given in these verses, a key text for the defense of Christianity. The second most important point is:

(2) He was buried. The fact of Christ’s death is revealed in the fact of His burial. Many have tried to discount the actual death of Christ, but Jesus did in fact die and was buried in a tomb.