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I am currently in the process of my first reading of the Bible as an adult, coming towards the end. Much of my knowledge about Christianity comes from the media which I don't honestly trust, and most of my peers consider themselves atheists -- so please forgive me asking what may seem an obvious question.

I understand that the Bible gives us the teachings of Jesus and earlier prophets, but it doesn't seem to give much description of how worship is to be performed.

Is this a purely denominational thing? Or is there a core text outside of the Bible that would give me a better general understanding of the act of being Christian?

Alternatively, if I've just not picked up on the relevant parts -- could someone highlight them for me?

If it makes a noticeable difference, I'm reading the English Standard Version.

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closed as off-topic by David Stratton, fredsbend the Grinch, Dan, Narnian, James T Oct 4 '13 at 15:35

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

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If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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Welcome to the site. According to site policy that you can read about on meta.christianity.stackexchange.com this question has a number of issues with it that make it "off-topic." The first is that you are asking for advice; we don't answer questions like that. Instead, questions asking what one should or shouldn't do must be framed with a doctrinal perspective (ie Catholic, Lutheran, etc.) The next is that it is a little difficult to see what your exact question is because the title and the body do not quite match. –  fredsbend the Grinch Oct 3 '13 at 22:18
    
That being said, you have certainly come to the right place to learn more about the vast world of Christianity. –  fredsbend the Grinch Oct 3 '13 at 22:18
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Are you talking about worship in a church service or individually? Most of the forms of worship come from the examples in the Bible, like in the Psalms, such as raising up hands, telling God how great He is, singing with instruments, recalling His saving works, and so on. Different denominations and cultures will express worship in different ways, such as in different music styles and passive or expressive modes of praising God. Hymnbooks and songbooks help the congregation to worship together, and individuals to worship by themselves. –  Steve Oct 3 '13 at 22:29
    
It depends on the denomination. If you want to be Catholic, then you may want to check out the Catechism of the Catholic Church. :) Similarly, if you choose to be Mormon, then you should read the Book of Mormon. –  Anonymous Oct 4 '13 at 1:32

3 Answers 3

Mike, Christianity is not so much a religion as it is a relationship. Christianity is not primarily about reaching up to God through Christ; rather, it is about God reaching down to sinful humanity by becoming the God-man, Jesus Christ, who was born of a virgin and thus sinless. (Sin is passed on from generation to generation through the seed of the first man, Adam. Jesus was the last Adam. In Adam, all die. In Jesus Christ, those who believe, live. It's as simple--and as profound--as that. See )

Christianity, then, is Christ. It is a relationship with Christ and not a religion about Christ (though obviously, to become a Christian one needs to find out about the historical Jesus and what He said and did while He was on earth).

In short, there is something to believe and someone to receive. Two scriptures summarize the former and the latter (in that order):

  • "'THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART'--that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:8,9).

  • "[Jesus] came to His own [people, the Jews], and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, [those] who were born . . . of God" (John 1:11-13).

You speak of "how worship is performed," and you ask about whether worship is a denominational thing. My answer is yes. How worship is performed varies from religion to religion, and from denomination to denomination. From God's perspective, however, what must not vary is whether or not people are worshiping Him according to truth.

If you haven't already, I recommend you read John chapter 4 and the account of "the woman at the well." Jesus broke a couple of taboos by even talking with this woman. First, she was a she(!), and rabbis in Jesus' day did not converse with women in public. Second, she was a Samaritan, and Jews considered all Samaritans to be half-breed outcasts and would go out of their way to avoid associating with Samaritans.

Jesus, however, was on a divine mission to seek and to save those who were lost, and on this particular day, unbeknownst to the woman, she had a divine appointment with the anointed One of God: Jesus, the Messiah!

Jesus asks her for a drink, as He doesn't have a pitcher to lower into the well where the woman had come to draw water. She came in the middle of the day because she had a "reputation" in her community as being "a woman of easy virtue"! She therefore avoided the gossipy women who came to draw water early in the morning when it was cooler. She gives Jesus a drink, and then Jesus throws her a curve by telling her about "living water" while all she can think of is "literal water."

Fast forward in the conversation to where the woman inserts a typical "religious" question into the conversation, which may have been only a red herring meant to avoid having to deal with her sins, which were now "front and center" in the conversation!

Her question also had to do with worship, Mike. Since the Samaritans worshiped God on Mt. Gerazim, and the Jews worshiped in Jerusalem, many miles away, the woman thought perhaps her question would stump Jesus. It didn't. He came right back to her with some interesting words:

"'Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth'" (vss.21-24).

Jesus was saying simply, it's not a matter of where you worship God as it is to worship God as He is, and not necessarily as any particular religion says He is. Many people from various religions and denominations think they are worshiping God, when in effect they are worshiping a false god, or what the Bible calls an idol. It's been said, somewhat humorously, that

"God created man in His own image, and man has been returning the favor ever since!"

God does not seek worshipers who want to worship a caricature of Himself; rather, He wants worshipers who worship Him in spirit and in truth. When we worship God in spirit, we are saying in effect, that it doesn't matter so much where or how or when we worship God; what matters is why we worship Him. As good as church attendance can be, potentially, our actually being the church is better by far. As important as worship within a community of faith can be, potentially, our individual worship of God is better by far, because we all come to God, first, as individuals who recognize God for who is really is (in truth).

The truth is, God is holy and we are sinners. He deserves worship, whereas we deserve His condemnation and judgment. The woman at the well recognized this truth, and I believe she was converted that very day. Why? Because she recognized who Jesus was. He was the Anointed One of God who came to earth to die for the sins of humankind and for her sins as well. That's why she not only believed in Jesus and in effect received Him into her life, but she also introduced her fellow Samaritans to the Savior as well. In other words, she confessed with her mouth that Jesus was Lord, and that He had exposed her sin and had forgiven her sin, giving her a new lease on life, a life free from thirst for things that could never satisfy.

I encourage you, Mike, first to believe in Jesus. Belief is more than mere "head knowledge"; it goes far beyond that. To believe God is to trust confidently that when Jesus came into the world, it was to save sinners like you (and like me). To receive Jesus means that we entrust our very lives to the one who died for our sins, who shed His precious blood at the cross, was buried, and who then was resurrected by God so that we could be declared righteous, but only by being IN Jesus.

"If anyone is IN Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, and behold the new has come" (2 Corinthians 5:17, my emphasis).

To receive Jesus is a two-way street. When we invite Him, He not only comes into our life, but we are also put IN Him and in the goodness of all that He is and ever will be. Thereafter, when God looks at us, He sees us IN Christ. We have thus passed from death to life, through the One who said,

"'I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to Father except by me"(John 14:6).

Once we are IN Christ, our worship of God becomes not only possible, since we are now in a right relationship with God, but our worship of God becomes a way of life for us. To be IN Christ, means that He is now our king, our lord, and our master. With a heart of gratitude we want to please Him, to do His will, and to make His priorities our priorities.

In short, worship is a way of life in that it involves every aspect of our lives. If the greatest commandments are to

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength"

and to

"Love your neighbor as yourself,"

then for as long as you have a heart, soul, mind, and strength--which is to say, all of your life, you'll want to love God and others, just as He loves you and gave Himself for you at the cross.

We express our love for God in four basic ways:

  • Worshiping, both individually and corporately with other believers. Regularly meeting together with other Christians and worshiping God together by praising Him, by being fed spiritually through the preaching and teaching of God's Word, the Bible, are an important part (perhaps the most important part) of being the church.

  • Growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. If we define grace as God's undeserved and unmerited favor shown to us, then we grow in grace when we put God first in every aspect of our lives. Frequently and regularly reading the Bible and praying to God are two disciplines that open us up to God's loving favor, and at the same time enable us to grow. To hunger and thirst for God by taking in His word, talking to Him, and listening to His Holy Spirit who now indwells us, are means of growth in grace and knowledge. We start with milk, and we then graduate to meat, all the while growing stronger in our faith.

  • Serving others through good deeds and through the exercising of our spiritual gift (and each believer in Jesus has a spiritual gift that is given to him or her by God) is a way of walking in the steps of Jesus, our role model, who Himself came to earth not to be served but to serve, and ultimately to give His life at the cross to set us free from the penalty and power of sin.

  • Sharing with others of the good things of God of which we ourselves have been recipients. The three "T's" of sharing are time, talent, and treasure. The ways in which we budget our time, express our talents, and spend our money are pretty accurate measures of our love for God and others. As we grow spiritually, we begin to realize that the sharing of ourselves with others is really just a way of imitating God's sharing with us: He gives unstintingly of His time and His loving, personalized attention; He makes available to us continually all that He is and all of the infinite resources at His disposal; and He imparts to us the very person of His Son, in whom are hidden all the treasures of both wisdom and knowledge and love:

"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus, who though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that through his poverty you might become rich" (2 Corinthians 8:9).

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Supplemental reading material that has been traditionally recommended by churches are catechisms. These can help one make sure one is developing a theology consistent with prominent theologians of the past.

A good way to start would be looking at multiple short catechisms to see several denominational perspectives, such as the Westminster Shorter Catechism, or Luther's Small Catechism, or the Heidelberg Catechism.

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Mike, glad you are curious about the Word of God. Yes the way the media perceives Christianity is completely wrong, everything about it is wrong.

The bible contains the Words of God, his words carry Power and his words are the Double Edged Sword to cut down liars and false and demons. Bible is an historic account from the beginning of time.

One thing you have to remember is: don't read the bible like a Novel, book, kids storybook or newspaper, read it has something vital!

While reading the bible, you may come across certain bits which has to do with translations. To clarify that you need to study the history of the bible. Many has been killed just by proclaiming the Truth of the bible or even translating the Bible. Please watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNZ-sOzXWEk

Second please always pray to Father and ask him to give you wisdom and Holy Spirit to Guide you when reading the word because you will get confused and twisted half the time.

I remember reading the word as soon as I was Born Again, i couldn't get things right. Until I started taking down notes and praying to Father to give me wisdom was then I started to understood the bible better.

And one important thing: if you are not a Born Again Christian, reading the bible will just turn you into an Atheist! If you are not a Christian but are interested in the bible. Please focus on the 5 Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. You need to understand the love of Jesus. Until you are Born Again by accepting Jesus as your Lord and Saviour and he died for your sins, is the only way to understand the bible.

If you read the bible in your current state, you will see contradictions, mistakes, mistranslation and ultimately you will not even understand who or what

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I know (have anecdotal evidence of) several Christians who say they were nonbelievers and were convicted by reading the Word directly. –  pterandon Oct 4 '13 at 15:14
    
yes there's nothing wrong with that Pterandon. we just have to remember parable of the Sower. let's hope Mike becomes the Good Seed when he reads the bible. in the end, it's all by God's will. –  Xino Oct 4 '13 at 16:08

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