Elements of Congregational Worship: Scripture

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What-is-the-churchThe third major element of congregational worship is the reading and teaching of Scripture.

Scripture makes it clear that it is inspired by God (God-breathed) and is very useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness. That way the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

And because of its power and usefulness, it is expected that it will be a major part of the worship time for the congregation. Paul writes in Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…”

Paul says that we should let the word of Christ (Scripture) should dwell in us richly. The “you” is actually plural, so a proper translation is “you all.” This is because Paul is speaking to the congregation, not the individual. There are other passages that make it clear we should do the same in our own lives, but in this passage Paul makes it clear that Scripture should dwell richly in the church.

One example of this lived out is from Acts 2:42. Luke writes, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching…” The apostles had spent several years with Jesus and would later write parts of the New Testament. Their teachings no doubt had to do with teaching the  “word of Christ”. So we can see that the young church devoted themselves to the teachings of the apostles.

From a practical standpoint, to let the word of Christ dwell in our service means that we read and teach his Word. When we preach, we preach Scripture. We don’t preach self-help messages, we preach Scripture. It also means that Scripture is present all throughout the service. During prayers, during the singing, and during the preaching.

I remember a couple of weeks ago I read the “order of service” for a more traditional church in a different denomination. The service was filled with Scripture! They had Scripture readings, preached Scripture, and probably sang it as well.

Will we do the same? Will our church be a church that lets Scripture “hog” the service?

My prayer is that when a person leaves our church, he may be able to say a lot of things about what he did or didn’t like, but that he would not be able to say we neglected the reading and teaching of the Word. After all, if we believe Scripture, that is how lives are truly transformed.