by James Huggins

       New notions, ideas, and fads keep arising. Such is the teaching that all of is worship. What does the Bible say on this matter?

       In Gen. 22:5 Abraham said, "I and the lad will go yonder; and we will worship." Abraham was in the process of serving God. but he was not worshipping. However, he was going to go farther and then he would worship God.

      Elkanah, Samuel's father. went to Jerusalem to worship. It was written in I Sam. 1:3 that "he went up out of his city from year to year to worship and to sacrifice unto Jehovah." The trip required effort and he was serving God, but it was not worship.

      While David's child was ill David may have been in a worshipful attitude 2 Sam. 12:22, 23, but he was not worshipping. Verse 20 tells us that, "he came into the house of Jehovah and worshipped."

      "Came", "come", "go", and "went to" worship occurs many times in the Bible. Mt. 2:2; 8:2; 15:25. Mk. 5:6, John 12:20, Acts 8:27; 27:11, and Rev. 3:9; 15:4 are a few of them. These verses tell us that different people were not worshipping but they moved to a different place and situation for the purpose of worshipping.

      Abraham and Elkanah were serving. David had a worshipful attitude. Many, in the above passages, purposed or intended to worship. All three, and others, are necessary for worship. However, service alone is not worship. A worshipful attitude alone is not worship. "Intending" alone is not worship. Those who teach the error that "all of life is worship" do not correctly define the terms involved.

      It is impossible to worship unintentionally and accidentally. That would make worship an empty ritual. One must intend to worship. Jesus taught that we must worship God "in spirit and in truth" - John 4:24. "Spirit" here refers to our mind. We must use our minds to worship by intending to and not letting ourselves be distracted. One can intend to worship and still not do so.

      Jesus taught this in Mt. 15:8 when he said, "their heart is far from me." He was discussing vain worship. "Heart" means the mind. One must use the mind to intend to worship and then use it to concentrate and direct the worship to God and to Christ. Otherwise, it is just a meaningless ritual and such is not worship.

        One can eat unleavened bread and drink grape juice at home, but he does not worship for he does not intend to. Likely, he is just dieting.

      One can sing religious songs while driving at night to keep awake. He does not worship for his purpose is not to sing praise to God. His purpose is just stay awake and not have an auto accident.

      Most boys spend some time in the summer in a swimming hole or pool. All of them, sooner or later, just for fun, baptize each other. Is it worship? No_ They did not intend to worship. They just intended to have fun.

      For worship to be acceptable it must be as God commanded. Jesus said in Mt. 15:9, "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." There must be a God-given commandment for every item of worship, or it is vain or empty and does not deserve being called worship. Remember Jesus taught that we must worship God in spirit and in truth" - John 4:24. "Truth" is that what God has commanded. Where is the commandment to worship by washing the dishes, cleaning the bathroom, working in the garden and all of everyday living?

      Thus far, we have noticed that worship is service, a worshipful attitude, intended by using the mind, and in truth by having a "thus saith the Lord."

      Having the purpose to worship is a very important point. This can be seen in 1 Cor. 11:20. The purpose to worship in observing the Lord's Supper had been replaced with the purpose to have a common meal. Paul asked them in verse 22, "What? Have ye not houses to eat and to drink in?" Remember they did not have church buildings but they worshipped in homes. They would assemble in a home to worship. They could then go to their own homes to eat and drink the common meal. They could have worshipped and then had the common meal in the same home but they were not to mix the two. (In other words)at one time they could worship, intending to do just that. Then, they could have the common meal, intending to do just that. They were not to do both at the same time.

      My first memories of the church were in our home in Oxford, Mississippi. Several families would come to our house for services. My Bible class was in the dining room. After classes all crowded into the living room for worship. They did not have preaching. Worship was the purpose. Then, most remained for Sunday dinner. Worship was not the purpose.

      "Worship" is the English word used to translate seven different Greek words. The different meanings of those words are: "to give glory, to do homage, to honor, to serve, to revere, and to fear." These meanings tell us that worship is doing something and in a certain way. It must be done in "spirit and in truth". That is, the acts of worship which we do when we assemble are to be done "in spirit and in truth".

      Worship consists of acts of reverence, honor, homage, love, service, etc., directed to God, as directed by God, and by faithful servants of God. This definition is based on all that the Bible teaches about worship.

      Jesus taught that worship requires action. In Matthew 18:26 Jesus taught in a parable, "The servant therefore fell down and worshipped him." Worship in not just an attitude. In Matthew 5:23,24 a person had come to sacrifice but there was a hindrance. He was to go and remove the hindrance and then come and sacrifice. This was an act.

      Some try to make Colossians 3:17 teach that everything a Christian does is worship. This verse, or any other, does not teach this. To say it does is to lift it out of its context and pervert it. "Christianity" and not worship is the subject of this chapter. One must be a Christian all of the time, but it is an impossibility to worship all of the time. Let's analyze Colossians chapter 3.

Colossians 3


1-4     Fellowship with Christ; Saved
5-9     Conquer ourselves; don't sin. negative.
10-14     The new man, be Christ-like; positive.
15-17     The Word of Christ:
    15 "peace of -God"- salvation
        "in your hearts" - minds
        "called" - by the gospel
        "one body" - one church
        "thankful" - it is this way
    16 "word of Christ" - truth; gospel
        "in you richly" - in our minds
        "wisdom" - value of truth
        "teaching & admonishing" - in singing
        "to one another" - assembly necessary
        "in your hearts" - minds, intending and concentrating to worship
    17 "do" - actions and not just an attitude
        "in word" - word (of Christ in v. 16)
        "deed" - acts of worship done
        "in the name of Christ" - action authorized by Christ - 2 Thess. 3:6
18 - 4:1     Family Relationships.

      Verses 15 - 17 must be viewed together for they relate each to the other. The emphasis is on the "word of Christ". Verse 16 deals with worship in the assembly. Only the "word of Christ" will do. Verse 17 continues on this subject. Only what the Lord has authorized, therefore, "in the name of the Lord".

      Verses I8 - 4:1 deal with tne common everyday matters. There is a subject change beginning with verse 18. The subject change does not come between verses 16 and 17. Verse 16 deals with the assembly and worship and verse 17 continues on the same subject. The change in subject is obvious between 17 and 18.

       There can be worship other than in the assembly. There can be a devotion in a home, Bible study, and prayer. Such must not be placed equal to the worship [assembly-gw] God commanded and it must not be allowed to take the place of the worship in the assembly.

      Christianity and worship do not have the same identical definition. Worship is an important part of Christianity. Work for the Lord is part of Christianity, but it is not worship. We must be Christ-like on our secular job, in our home, in recreation, and all of life, but these are not worship. The teaching that all of life is worship is unscriptural and impossible.        -- James W. Huggins

-- James W. Huggins
"Throw Out the Lifeline"