By John E. Werhan — The hearing of God’s word is not identified as worship in the New Testament. Yet, it fits the definition and purpose of worship as taught in the Scriptures.
In prayer the congregation communicates with God. Through the Bible, God speaks to the congregation. This is the manifestation of the two-way communication the Christian has with the heavenly Father.
As God communicates through his Word, the worshiper should be a humble, submissive listener. The Bereans “received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).
Only by immersing ourselves in the hearing and study of the Word, can we truly know his will for our lives. It is only in the inspired Word where we find the divine nature of God and purpose of man revealed.
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).
“Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth” (John 17:17).
We cannot rely on the traditions of men or theological speculation. We must seek God’s truth from his mouth. To find God’s path of salvation and obtain Christian maturity, it is imperative that we seek the Word.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).
Only through God’s word can we prepare for the final judgment,
“He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day” (John 12:48).
The Hebrew writer notes the importance of God’s Word in the maturation process.
“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil” (Hebrews 5:12-14).
He also reasons from their immaturity as to the importance of God’s Word.
“For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard” (Hebrews 2:1-3).
Unless we feed upon the inspired Word, we can starve ourselves to spiritual death.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6).
As we hear the Bible proclaimed in worship, we find a feast that can sustain us throughout eternity.
John preaches with the the Northeast church in Sentinel, Oklahoma.