Is the Sunday assembly worship?

Sometimes I have more questions than answers. People look at a blog and wonder what point the author is trying to drive across. Many times, my posts are pointless. (All puns intended) That is, I’m asking questions not out of an attempt to “set you up” for something I want to say, but as an effort to get some input.

So please read today’s post in that way. Not argumentative. Information seeking.

Why have we come to see the Sunday assembly as “worship”? What is that based on?

I don’t think it’s based in any way on the Old Testament. We don’t have weekly assemblies there, nothing that resembles what we do on Sunday.

Some would point to the synagogue, but the main purpose of the synagogue was teaching, not worship. (Correct me if I’m mistaken; I’m no expert on the synagogue)

Are there certain New Testament texts that lead us to refer to our assemblies as worship?

I’m used to the terminology that says “Bible class at 9, worship at 10,” but is that terminology accurate? On what basis do we call part of our time together on Sunday “worship”?

I’ll do my best to sit back and listen. Looking forward to your input.

Photo by Eugenia Beecher

50 thoughts on “Is the Sunday assembly worship?

  1. I believe it was called the assembling of the saints not necessarily a worship service? The purpose of the church gathering was mutual edification?

  2. I often feel that as good and right as “we are assembled for God first, or God only” on Sunday morning, I am not certain that’s what God intended.

    since we can worship alone or in a group, I wonder if the time together shouldn’t have a focus on each other more than we allow.

    but like the pharisees, we are good at neglecting brothers and sisters in the name of loving God the most.

    just thoughts that I usually don’t share

  3. I’ve never found anything in Scripture that refers to the Sunday assembly as worship, or that says the purpose is worship. It seems to me that since we (individually and as a church) are the temple of the Holy Spirit, the way we live our lives is worship.

    Now of course, when we’re together, we spend time in worship — it’s always appropriate for God’s people to worship when they’re together. But I don’t see that as the purpose for our meetings.

    But I could be wrong!

  4. I agree with Darin. I once heard someone make an analogy of church assemblies being like a football team’s huddles. The weeks events are the running of plays, while Sunday is the equivalent of a mutually edifying huddle. I’ve liked that analogy, though it may not be perfect.

    As as aside… I think the only ones who get offended at your probing of matters Tim are the ones who are afraid to ask questions that might reveal answers contrary to preconceived ideas. And, I’ve never found you to be argumentative. You’ve offered tough pills to swallow because you’ve forced readers to think, but never argumentative and never without kindness. You are a good man, and I appreciate your work!

    Now… let’s go have another cup of coffee sometime!

  5. I glad to see that I’m not the only one who has been asking this question. The New Testament doesn’t give us a detailed description of what exactly took place during an assembly of the first century. However, I get a strong impression from reading the NT that their assemblies weren’t like ours. After reading the book “Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of our Church Practices” I think my hunch was confirmed.

    I can’t find a single command in the NT which says to assemble for the purpose of worship. I see several admonishments to assemble for the purpose of edification. The link below is an interesting read about this subject.

    http://creedrehearsal.com/the-purpose-of-the-assembly

  6. Tim,

    i thought the synagogue had a regiment of liturgical prayers (?) Wouldn’t that be worship?

    Part of this issue is how relatively little the NT actually says about the goings on of Sunday assemblies in the 1st century, no?

    –guy

  7. I think you need a historian or two to be able to accurately and fairly tackle this question. Some guys I’ve met wrote a pretty cool book called A Gathered People that sort of talks about this.

    But honestly, I believe that the reason we call it worship does, in fact, tie into the Hebrew Scriptures. When the Israelites intentionally gathered together to offer their gifts and themselves to YHWH and to one another, they called that worship. You’re correct that it wasn’t weekly, and (I think) you’re correct that the primary purpose of synagogue was teaching (although I wouldn’t assume that a hard-and-fast categorical line between teaching and worship existed in that world).

    But I believe our worship assemblies are, in fact, conceptually based upon the great assemblies of Israel in the Hebrew Scriptures.

  8. I’m don’t find the term “worship service” in the Bible and I do like to use Bible names for things we do because we believe from the Bible we should do because we love Jesus and have been adopted into God’s family because He paid the “price of admission”.

    I do find reference to Christians assembling (specifically when they are told not to forsake the assembling). So personally I try to use the term assembly to refer to the Sunday morning gathering. I have been personally convinced the the purpose of any assembly is for the encouragement, equipping and edification of the saints — however as has been said above clearly (to me) a a part of encouraging is the “corporate” praising, honoring and “bowing the knee” to God through singing, praying, reading scripture and participation in the Lord’s supper. However, as I understand the testimony of scripture, the periods of Bible study and just standing around talking about “how God is working in my life” and all the other “one anothering” that takes place when we gather areas integral to the purpose asanything else.

    However, many of my brothers & sisters are firmly entrenched by the hundreds of years of practice and the traditional interpretations that lead to”justifying” worship and particularlythe Lord’s supper as THE reason for assembling and I see little value in being contentious about this — as much as I will continue to teach and talk of what I understand the Bible tobe saying about our assemblies —

    My prayer is that when there is an understanding that there is NO foundation for establishing a “formal” worship service that has different “rules” than our ordinary interaction in life — then the whole house of cards-rule upon rule about what must be done when and who can do it willcome tumbling down.

    Maybe I’m wrong in both my understanding of what the assembly isabout or wrong not to be more forceful in preaching and teaching this views in a community that would consider it heritical and rebellious against God but in my view coming to a better understanding of the purpose ofassemblies isn’t the key issue. What is the key issue is overcoming the (often tacit) message that “coming to church (worship service, assembly) is the most important part of our following Jesus. When people are converted to following Jesus 24/7 and are living “in Christ” day by day they will need to assemble with other Christians to be built up and encouraged and I don’t believe these assembliescan (all) be adhoc accidental meetings — there is aneed for scheduled coordinated assembly times.

    Well Tim –you obviously hit a”hot button” in my journey of seeking to know God through the Bible(what some would call developing asoumd Bible-based theology) — thanks for asking the question and listening to my rambling response

  9. I believe there’s not a command to gather and worship in the New Testament, and there isn’t one because gathering and worshiping should be inevitable for believers.

    They should crave time together.

    When they come together should be unable to resist the desire to praise and thank the Lord for each other, for what He is doing in their lives, for the body and blood of the given Son and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

    A believer doesn’t have to be commanded.

    That’s my view of Acts 2-4, anyway.

  10. Keith – that’s precisely why I think all of our obsession with finding commands is unhealthy, not because obedience is wrong but because it locks us into a “have-to-do” mentality that cannot be counteracted as long as we’re working out of an “as-we-have-been-commanded-to-do” way of thinking.

  11. We live to the glory of God so our assembly is an ongoing engagement to His glory. It is one aspect of worship as are other parts of our lives (Rom. 12:1-2, et al). One thing that has bother me recently is that some have narrowed worship to singing by the way they phrase it: “Now let’s worship by singing…” I think worship is broader than we have considered, and that our lives should be a part of that, though they often aren’t.

  12. Keith & Nick–

    Fair enough. But frankly, sometimes i need “have-to-do”s because my heart gets hard or callous, and thus my motives aren’t quite caught up to my actions. It’s easy for me to say to my son, “you should *want* to eat your corn for reasons x, y, & z,” but i don’t think it’s easy for him to flip on that desire like a switch at the moment he hears me say it.

    In some cases with some people, maybe it does work that way. It definitely doesn’t work that way with me. Sometimes i even regress and lose ground in my heart that i had gained. During periods when i’m too immature in heart to have the proper desires and motives, i hope God will still find ways to remind me that eating my corn is a “have-to-do” so that i can still reap some of the nutritional benefits. Surely the acquisition of this kind of maturity is a lifelong project, isn’t it?

    –guy

  13. Tim,

    Do you consider the taking of communion to be worship? i guess i just take that one for granted. If that’s a fair assumption, then inasmuch as our assembly focuses on communion, is it not worship to that extent?

    –guy

  14. But frankly, sometimes i need “have-to-do”s because my heart gets hard or callous, and thus my motives aren’t quite caught up to my actions.

    Guy, I don’t disagree with that at all. My real point is that the have-to-dos that we need to mature, to get stronger, and to “experience the nutritional benefits” of obedience do not need to be decoded from the text, nor do they need to be tacked together from different places in the text and published as “The Official 5-Part Christian Diet – Eat This and Only This or Be Damned!”

    One of the great messages of Galatians is that God doesn’t deal with us like underage children who need to be told what to eat and when to bathe. That’s what the Law of Moses was, and it did its main job – protecting infant Israel until she gave birth to the Christ. God now treats his people as adult children – or at least late-teens/early-twenties children. The reason His children aren’t growing – why so many of them still need to be told to eat their veggies – is (according to the writer of Hebrews) because we’ve been having milk poured down our throats for so long that our spiritual muscles have atrophied.

    We’ve laid out worship as a Do-This-Or-Else-Face-The-Punishment set of practices for toddlers, when what the New Testament presents us with is a life full of practices that, if we push them away, we become unhealthy. You’re right – toddlers couldn’t care less about health, but most of the time, well-oriented lovers of God who really do want to become like Jesus, will care about their spiritual health. To go back to your “eat your corn” idea, which is a really effective metaphor – in the NT, God points out to us the consequences of not eating our corn – He doesn’t threaten to punish us if we don’t eat.

    I think.

  15. Hey, Guy… I ask the questions around here! :-)

    Surely that is part of the matter to be considered: what is worship and what isn’t?

    So I’ll throw the question back at the group: what should be considered as worship?

  16. Nick,

    Sounds good! There are definitely abuses of have-to-do’s. i just think it’s important not to over-react and suggest that there’s something inherently wrong or bad about have-to-do’s (not saying you were, i’m just sayin’). The NT is definitely not a book of have-to-do’s, but there are still some have-to-do’s in it.

    i think maybe we can have it both ways in a sense. i can learn to be eager to meet with my personal trainer. But i still need him *to train me*: to kick my butt, push me to new limits, and boss my around a bit, because i likely wouldn’t just naturally want to do that on my own. Ideally, should i want to? Maybe. But the fact is, i don’t.

    –guy

  17. Absolutely correct, Guy! The reason you do what your trainer tells you to do is *not* because you’re afraid he’ll punish you if you don’t. It is because you’re working together towards the same goal.

  18. Tim,

    Sorry–certainly don’t want to usurp your office of chief questioner. =o)

    Okay, well, i vaguely recall that there are about seven or eight different words in the NT which our English translations translate “worship.” i vaguely recall only ever spending a great deal of time with one of them: “proskuneo” and having some reason to think it was different from another one: “latreo.”

    Anyway, perhaps it would be helpful to get clear on your question. Are you asking

    (1) Are *any* of the different words ever used to describe/reference an assembly in NT, and if not could *any* of the words at least be used as right/accurate descriptors of an assembly?

    or

    (2) Is one of the terms (which bears a particular connotation we might find important or key) , like “proskuneo,” ever used to describe/reference the assembly in the NT, and if not, could that one word at least be considered a right/accurate descriptor of an assembly?

    If you’re asking (1), then i’m honestly not certain the NT ever gives us something explicit, but i recall (this is years ago, so my research at the time or my memory of it now or both may be faulty) that “latreo” in particular had a fairly broad meaning and seems to me a fitting description of assemblies. But my gut tells me you want to know if the assembly is more like “proskuneo.” i don’t have a good argument either way for that.

    –guy

  19. Guy,

    I was actually thinking about a broader view of the biblical concept of worship, not just limiting it to the N.T.

    If we limit ourselves to the Greek words often translated worship, we won’t find much. “Proskuneo,” for example, is never used to describe what Christians do in worship. It’s always used in reference to temple worship or the physical act of bowing down.

    The one reference I’ve found is in Acts 13, where a form of latreuo is used to describe what was going on in Antioch. But this passage includes corporate fasting, which isn’t one of the approved five acts of worship, so we know it wasn’t really worship. (Why yes, that was sarcasm)

    But I think we can have worship without one of the “worship words” being present. Or can we?

  20. I would suggest that we not assume the New Testament, which contains writings written in specific response to questions/issues that some early Christians/churches had, tells us everything we need to know about why we as Christians assemble. If we want to know how the earliest Christians understood such issues as “worship” and “assembly”, we need to also read wide from the post-apostolic writings in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. Also the secondary literature of scholars like Everett Ferguson and the late Robert E. Webber, are also very helpful.

    While I have no doubt that the early Christians would be in for some culture shock if they entered our worship assemblies, it seems this would be more so from the way we do things rather than what we do.

    Grace and Peace,

    Rex

  21. Tim,

    To your last question, i think the answer is definitely yes. i say that because i think it’s reasonable to believe there were plenty of instructions first century Christians received that probably didn’t make it into the text of the NT.

    But what about this–what about the various scenes in the Revelation being a reason for thinking our assembling together is worship?

    (A side note: should we also make a distinction between the assembly being worship versus worship taking place during the assembly?)

    –guy

  22. Tim,

    i went and read the other post on John 4, and i didn’t discern precisely why you thought the other NT writers avoided the use of “proskuneo.”

    –guy

  23. What I figured was… because ‘proskuneo’ seems to be talking about actually bowing your body on the ground towards a particular geographical point, and (if Tim’s right) the NT writers wanted to get altogether away from that idea.

  24. Guy,

    Yes, proskuneo is used for physically bowing down. It was also used to describe temple worship (cf. Paul in Acts 24:11). Seemingly, Jesus said that this “physical” worship would now be done in spirit and in truth, not in a physical way.

    Pure conjecture on my part. All I know is that Paul uses it to describe non-Christians falling down and worshipping God in 1 Corinthians 14, and that’s about all it’s used in the letters.

    Grace and peace,
    Tim

  25. Yeah, that’s what i suspected, but wanted to give Tim a chance to clarify.

    But moreover, i didn’t think “proskuneo” referred *solely* to a physical gesture/expression, and i guess i didn’t think that “spirit and truth” necessarily excluded physical gestures/expressions.

    –guy

  26. not as sure about that way of reading it (spiritual vs. physical). All three ideas are locative –

    en to orei (on this mountain)
    en Ierosolymois (in Jerusalem)
    en pneumati kai aletheia (in ‘spirit-and-truth’)

    All three are about what we do with our bodies.

  27. Tim,

    i just want to make sure i’ve got you right. Do you take Jesus to be saying something like: “You Samaritans worry about physically bowing down on this mountain, and Jews worry about physically bowing down in Jerusalem, but my followers will stop physically bowing down at all, and will really only “bow down” inside their hearts and minds.”

    ??

    –guy

  28. Took a while to read through all the comments (okay, SKIM through half of the comments).

    Let me usurp the role of questioner here and ask, “What is it about Sunday morning that makes that worship service more ‘required’ than Sunday night?” Or, another way to put it, “What is it about Sunday night worship service that makes it so optional?”

  29. Barry – human tradition. Human tradition makes whichever assembly “mandatory” and the other “optional.” Whether it is AM or PM is very much a cultural question. Also to be considered is, at least in Western culture, the idea that PM service only appeared (more as a deterrent to pub crawls than anything else, I wager) once electric light made night-time street travel more prevalent.

  30. I’m open to other theories as to why what was a fairly common word for worship seems to basically be avoided in the letters. Some of it may have to do with what Rex said, yet some of the instructions in the letters have to do with what we would consider worship.

    Why do you suppose the word proskuneo doesn’t get used?

  31. Guy,

    I think we have to see the connection between “proskuneo” and temples. It was the word typically used for temple worship. With our bodies now being the temple, that particular kind of worship is radically transformed.

    I’m not saying that Jesus is saying there will be nothing physical about worship. But proskuneo has specific connotations, either a prostrating of oneself or participation in temple rituals. I get the feeling that it just didn’t feel right to use when describing Christian worship.

    Grace and peace,
    Tim

  32. Tim – I think your analysis there is spot-on. Not that our worship isn’t physical – since everything we do, we do incarnate, but that proskuneo is a works of the flesh/law kind of thing that is done to justify oneself before men. Now we are justified by faith, we have/are a portable temple, everywhere we go is holy ground, and as high priests we practice latreuo a la Romans 12.

  33. Tim,

    What about when bowing is described but not the term proskuneo? And what about all the bowing in Revelation?

    –guy

  34. Revelation is the closest thing in the Greek Scriptures to an OT book, so I’m not surprised at the prevalence of proskuneo, especially since so much of the Revelation alludes to the OT.

    Perhaps also the confusion in Acts, when Cornelius falls down before Peter and where the Lycaonians try to worship Barnabas and Paul, made them very very sensitive about how they described worship.

  35. Guy,

    Maybe kampto is a more appropriate worship word than is proskuneo.

    As for Revelation, I’ll throw the question back. Should we be emulating that worship style? Maybe we should have more prostration in our worship.

    Whatever the case, proskuneo doesn’t seem to describe the type of worship that we do on Sunday… at least not in churches without kneeling pads!

  36. Well, i don’t have much to say about it, but i do think the descriptions of heavenly worship in Revelation are in some ways an example or model for us.

    i’ll have to go chase down kampto–i don’t know about that one.

    A related point–as i said above, i guess i never took proskuneo to refer *solely* to a physical gesture, but also referenced the meaning attached to that gesture. Even if CoC assemblies don’t engage in physical prostration during an assembly (and neither does the Orthodox parish i attend–at least not regularly, but some do kneel at certain points in the liturgy), isn’t this ‘inward meaning’ idea in proskuneo normative for at least portions of assemblies?

    –guy

  37. I kneel when I pray. I have for years. I don’t know if that’s proskeuno or not. After a study of that posture in scripture long ago, it just seems the right thing to do. I wouldn’t legislate it for anyone (and my knees may not permit it many more years), but I would recommend it to anyone who can and is comfortable trying. After a while, it became habit … but I still think about the “why” of it when I do so.

    And that, I think, is another good answer to the over-arching question here. Some things become habitual. We shouldn’t lose sight of the “why” of them, or legislate them when not commanded in scripture.

    But, to answer one of the sub-questions above, I think Sunday — the first day of the week — is an exceptionally good time to worship together because it calls to mind an empty tomb and folded graveclothing and good news brought to believers in grief — a detail of timing that all four gospel writers choose to include. The first day. Creation-and-Resurrection Day. A new start. A new birth. A new life. A new body, incorruptible. The old has passed away!

  38. I’m going to agree with something Nick said above and I think it draws a link to this conversation regarding worship. He rightly said that the reason there is no growth is “because we’ve been having milk poured down our throats for so long that our spiritual muscles have atrophied.”

    A hearty “Amen” to that. And this attributable to how Paul defined worship. To clarify, I’m using the word “worship” to denote what Paul calls ὅταν συνέρχησθε (when you might come together/assemble) in 1 Cor 14:26 (which I think encompasses the previous verses of ch.14 as well); and I will use that phrase to parallel our topic of “worship”.

    I don’t believe there is any command of when to meet; only that we definitely meet. We all know the early church met in both large (temple courts) and small groups (homes, while in prison, etc.), and I think the comments are correct that say the main focus of these times was for teaching; which now brings me to the point I think Paul made.

    We are told to live a life of worship, and this is true, but for these purposes of “when you might come together” Paul is clear that the number one priority when gathered is to build up believers (14:3,5,12,19,26); and this happens through instruction and teaching, which entails the activities of prophesying, singing, tongue speaking, praying, and Lord’s Supper (I’m including the Lord’s Supper from ch.11 because of Paul’s parallel phrase συνερχομένων ὑμῶν ἐν ἐκκλησίᾳ – “when you are coming together in assembly”); and each of the activities mean nothing if disconnected from the mind (see 14:13-19). Therefore, when assembled, our aim should be mental focus and meditation to every word said through each activity; and this, I think, equaled successful times of gathering to Paul (success=the transformation of people, not pew filling).

    With that, we look at Ephesians 4:11-16 and note that the only spiritual gifts mentioned there are those that surround the activity of teaching. That is very interesting. And for what? The equipping of believers, the unity of the Body, the attaining of knowledge, maturity, the building up. And why? “so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro” by false teaching, evil schemes, and their former way of life.

    Which brings this full circle to what Nick had said. Worship, I think, is intricately connected with instruction and teaching; and when we are allowing others to remain spiritual children due to the lack of teaching, we are not truly worshiping (or, they are not truly successful assemblies).

    Yes, we are to worship 24/7 as individuals; but when gathered as a people, I think Paul’s focus is on the above. Otherwise, it is not worship. And the edifying doesn’t mean we’re always going to walk away feeling happy happy joy joy either. Reading the Psalms it is clear that worship was not always hunky dory good times and feel goods. Which is also why we should use more of the Psalter as our ancestors did, but that’s another topic. :)

    Grace be with you –
    Jr

  39. Tim,
    As I understand it, we get the idea that Christians worship when we assemble from passages like 1 Corinthians 14:26 (“Well, my brothers and sisters, let’s summarize. When you meet together, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given, one will speak in tongues, and another will interpret what is said. But everything that is done must strengthen all of you” NLT).

  40. A great example of worship is found in 2 Chronicles 29 where it talks of the music, praises and burnt offerings. Of course we no longer have burnt offerings, but our prayers of thanksgiving and worship are now the offerings given to God. We also see Nehemiah 8: 6-8 Tells of the people of Israel lifting up their hands, bowed low and worshiped the Lord, followed by the reading of the law of God by Ezra. From these as well as other parts of scripture I read including the New Testament, we’ve seen singing, prayer, bowing down in worship as well as examples of the Apostles teaching sometimes house to house. There’s nothing other than these examples and ceremonial law which gives us a clue on what worship should look like, and we are no longer held to the law, but live by the law of faith.

  41. Idolatry.

    After chewing on this material today, I believe fear of idolatry is probably the reason why NT authors avoid using proskuneo.

    Proskuneo is an attitude of reverence due only to the One True God. Bowing towards his dwelling place is the equivalent of bowing before him. YHWH dwells in heaven, of course, towards which no one can bow, but He also (ironically confirming or borrowing some of NT Wright’s thinking) dwelt on holy Mt. Zion, in His temple.

    Thus the proskuneo question from the Samaritan woman.

    The reason why Jesus answers so in a way that seems awfully cryptic is because he fully appreciates the dangers of idolatry that his disciples will wrestle with in the future. When the temple of the Living God is in human beings, how much MORE likely will we idol-adoring knuckleheads be tempted to worship one another???

    How much harder will it be to worship the Creator rather than the creation, if we proskuneo towards one another as the Dwelling Place of the True and Living God?

    Thus, also, proskuneo reappears in Revelation, where YHWH’s presence is plain and separate from His worshipers. There it is safe to bow down towards His seat.

    In the meantime, we who belong to him live latreuo

  42. I think the word “worship” has become an umbrella word for the assembly of the saints on Sunday morning. What is more troubling to me is that in the view of many “worship” is only the parts of the time spent singing. Singing should absolutely be a time of focus on God, the adoration of Jesus, and giving praise. But, I worship as I partake in the Lord’s Supper, and especially as one of our gifted preachers give an exposition of the Word. So, yes, on Sunday morning it’s time to worship!

    I must add that what I find in Scripture is that on Monday morning my daily dying, my getting on the alter as a living sacrifice is the worship God really seeks. How am I doing? I need lots of improvement.

  43. Tim,
    I was surprised to see this topic on your blog, since I have been contemplating this question a lot lately.

    One of the reasons for my interest is that there is so much controversy about it in the brotherhood. As I began searching the scriptures and looking for instances of worship.
    I, as many have already written, can find nowhere in the New Testament where our assembling is called worship. Also, Hebrews 10:24-25 says that we assemble to encourage one another.

    The other scriptures that I have been studying in context are John 4:23, “But the hour
    is coming and now is here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” And also Romans 12:1-2. I can’t help thinking that, because worship without presenting their bodies as living sacrifices was so offensive to God, that Jesus was talking about a complete change of focus. Perhaps He was saying, “You need to be spending more time getting your heart right.”

    I’m not sure that we need to change anything but our focus. Let’s not worry so much about how we worship on Sunday, but, let’s place our emphasis on encouraging each other to serve God all week by applying biblical principles to every minute of everyday. Lets work on developing the fruit of the spirit within us.

    These are just some thoughts that have been running through my mind.

    Eleanor

  44. A lot of good information being shared. My take is that we worship and serve in our everyday lives, but there are certain acts that God has organized within the context of an assembly of the saints. That is, group activities vs. individual activities. The “when you shall assemble” comments have already been discussed, from 1 Cor. 11 and 1 Cor. 14. As to the “when” that assembling took place, my take on this is that historically it’s been on the first day of the week, not just as a symbolic date chosen by man to remember the resurrection, but also through Paul’s words in 1 Cor. 16: 1-2, and also Acts 20:7 (though I’m not sold on that argument). We can obviously sing and pray any time, and there are examples of both groups and individuals doing this in the NT. However, it’s hard to “preach” alone, sort of requires an assembly of some type. And it is hard to sing with the purpose of edifying others if we’re singing alone, so, again, it requires an assembly of some type. So to answer the original question, my take is that Sunday is an assembly for the opportunity of group worship and praise directed toward God, and also for the edification of fellow saints.

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  46. Tim,

    i just learned some interesting things this morning i thought you might also find interesting. i had brunch with one of the priests at the Orthodox parish where i’ve been attending. One of the things we talked about was worship. Two things:

    (1) So he says about proskuneo that this is the term Orthodoxy believes applies to the respect/veneration that is shown before icons and does refer to the physical posturing performed as an expression of that respect.

    (2) So he says about latreo that this sense of worship belongs to God alone–we aren’t allowed to “latreo” anyone else–and also that this word was used by pagans to refer to their own pagan religious services (in which case the term latreo, while it would include more good-deed kinds of things not connoted by the term proskuneo, it does not exclude the idea of religious ceremony or ritual. –certainly not in the culture in which it was used in the first century anyway.)

    i just found both those tidbits worth thinking about.

    –guy

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