Music in the Worship of the Old Testament

Music was an important element of both temple and synagogue worship. Undoubtedly this music and its forms influenced the form and use of music in the early Christian church. Both Jews and Christians revere a transcendent God and both give honor to Scripture. For these reasons and others, Jewish synagogue worship and modern Christian services are similar in content and spirit.

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Elements of Synagogue Worship

Synagogue worship consisted of three main elements: praise, prayer, and instruction. The earliest Christians, who were Jews, would have been familiar with this pattern, which in Christian worship gave shape to what is called the service of the Word.

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Elements of New Testament Worship

Though the New Testament does not give any detailed information on the structure of the first Christian services, it leaves little room for doubt concerning the basic elements of primitive worship: prayer, praise, confession of sin, confession of faith, Scripture reading and preaching, the Lord’s Supper, and the collection. Early descriptions of Christian worship, such as that in Justin’s Apology, reveal a close similarity to the practice of the synagogue. Even without the synagogue model, however, the fundamental elements would surely have found a place, and distinctive Christian features would have their own origin.

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The Place of Praise in Worship

Worship in the praise-and-worship tradition is based on the assumption that praise is not identical to worship. Praise is the prelude to worship, our entrance into God’s presence, which is the locus of true worship. This article describes this distinction.

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The Functions of Music in Worship

Music in worship serves many purposes and manifests itself in a variety of expressions. It is used both to praise God and to proclaim the Word; it both expresses prayer and relates the Gospel story. This article examines the various functions of music in worship and describes their implication for the church musician, who is the leader of the people’s song.

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WORSHIP IN BRIEF

In fulfilling their God-ordained roles, planets and creation render “worship”; angels and men do so by choosing conformity to God’s proclaimed will. For man, that will is recorded in the Word of God.
Our conscience and the Holy Spirit of God assist in the willingness to obey our Creator.

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