Worship in the early church

1 Cor. 14:26-40 Paul offers advice on how to conduct orderly thanksgiving and worship.

 

Worship at Soul Survivor 2015

Worship at Soul Survivor 2015

 

Worship in the Early Church

Worship for the early Christians was quite different from the Sunday services experienced in many churches today. Believers met together in their own homes, and worshipped during a shared meal called the ‘thanksgiving’ (Greek ‘eucharistia’). Paul says, “When you meet together, one person has a song, and another has a teaching. Another has a new truth from God. Another speaks in a different language, and another person interprets that language” (1 Corinthians 14:26).

This suggests that worship in Paul’s day had elements familiar to us today, such as hymns and songs, and teaching from God’s word. But the style was less formal than in most churches today, as one person would start singing, another would share some teaching from God’s word, while yet another might offer a ‘new truth’ – a ‘word of knowledge’ from God (see 1 Corinthians 12:8). This might be followed by two or three messages ‘in tongues’ – heavenly languages inspired by the Holy Spirit – while someone else would interpret what God was saying through these messages (see 1 Corinthians 12:10).

Finally, worship would not be complete without two or three ‘prophesies’ – messages about the Good News of Jesus, inspired by God – while all the believers were urged to weigh carefully what was said. This would ensure that the prophesy was, indeed, from God (see 1 Corinthians 14:29-31) and the speaker was truly exercising a gift from the Holy Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 12:10).

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