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Sep 06 2010

What is Worship? Some Definitions to Consider

What is Worship?  We’ve culled the internet, as well as our own vault, and compiled a brief list:

  • Louie Giglio: Worship is our response, both personal and corporate, to God for who He is, and what He has done; expressed in and by the things we say and the way we live.
  • Josh Riley: Worship is everything we think, everything we say, and everything we do, revealing that which we treasure and value most in life.
  • John Piper: Worship is what we were created for. This is the final end of all existence-the worship of God. God created the universe so that it would display the worth of His glory. And He created us so that we would see this glory and reflect it by knowing and loving it-with all our heart and soul and mind and strength. The church needs to build a common vision of what worship is and what she is gathering to do on Sunday morning and scattering to do on Monday morning.
  • Mark Driscoll: Worship is living our life individually and corporately as continuous living sacrifices to the glory of a person or thing.
  • Harold Best: Worship is the sign that in giving myself completely to someone or something, I want to be mastered by it.
  • Warren Weirsbe: Worship is the believer’s response to all they are – mind, emotions, will, body – to what God is and says and does.
  • William Temple: Worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of mind with His truth; the purifying of imagination by His Beauty; the opening of the heart to His love; the surrender of will to His purpose – and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin.
  • David Peterson: Worship of the living and true God is essentially an engagement with him on the terms that he proposes and in the way that he alone makes possible.  David Peterson
  • Dan Block: Reverential human acts of submission and homage before the divine Sovereign, in response to his gracious revelation of himself, and in accordance with his will.
  • John Stott: Christians believe that true worship is the highest and noblest activity of which man, by the grace of God, is capable.
  • A.W. Tozer: To great sections of the church the art of worship has been lost entirely, and in its place has come that strange and foreign thing called the ‘program.’ This word has been borrowed from the stage and applied with sad wisdom to the type of public service which now passes for worship among us.
  • William Temple: To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God.
  • William Barclay: The true, the genuine worship is when man, through his spirit, attains to friendship and intimacy with God. True and genuine worship is not to come to a certain place; it is not to go through a certain ritual or liturgy; it is not even to bring certain gifts. True worship is when the spirit, the immortal and invisible part of man, speaks to and meets with God, who is immortal and invisible.
  • D. A. Carson: To worship God ‘in spirit and in truth’ is first and foremost a way of saying that we must worship God by means of Christ. In him the reality has dawned and the shadows are being swept away (Hebrews 8:13). Christian worship is new covenant worship; it is gospel-inspired worship; it is Christ-centered worship; it is cross-focused worship.
  • John Frame: Redemption is the means; worship is the goal. In one sense, worship is the whole point of everything. It is the purpose of history, the goal of the whole Christian story. Worship is not one segment of the Christian life among others. Worship is the entire Christian life, seen as a priestly offering to God. And when we meet together as a church, our time of worship is not merely a preliminary to something else; rather, it is the whole point of our existence as the body of Christ.
  • John Piper: Strong affections for God, rooted in and shaped by the truth of Scripture – this is the bone and marrow of biblical worship.

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