The sermon in synagogue worship was always in the context of prayers, benedictions, psalms, hymns, and the reading of Scripture. When Hebrew was no longer the spoken language for many Jews, the Scripture was first read in Hebrew, then translated into the spoken language. This translation from one language to another necessitated an interpretation. The interpretation, which at first may have been offhand comments, gradually grew into a more formal presentation.
The musical culture of Jewish worship was carried over into the church by the Jewish converts to Christianity. In this regard, there was no radical break from Judaism that resulted in new forms of Christian music.
Our knowledge of synagogue worship in the first century of the Common Era (c.e.) is limited by a lack of source material. It seems clear, however, that readings from the Law and the Prophets, the recitation of the Shma‘, and the prayers or benedictions formed the order of the service.
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.