The Obedience of Worship

Throughout the Bible it is emphasized that true worship is obedient worship. It is not the costliness of the equipment or the majesty of the surroundings or the dignity of the ceremonial or the beauty of the music or the elegance of the language that commends our worship to God, but simply its obedience. 

—C. E. B. Cranfield, “Divine and Human Action,” Interpretation 12:4 (October, 1958):397

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How We Use the English Word “Worship”

We may distinguish three uses of the word “worship”; (i) to denote a particular element of what is generally referred to as worship, namely, adoration; (ii) to denote generally the public worship of the religious community gathered together and also the private religious exercises of the family and the individual; and (iii), in a still wider sense, to denote the whole life of the community or of the individual viewed as service of God.

—C.E.B. Cranfield, “Divine and Human Action: The Biblical Concept of Worship,” Interpretation 12:4 (October, 1958), 387

Hearing the Voice of the Lord

The custom in some traditions of the congregation standing during the reading of the sermon-text can be a salutary reminder of the fact that here above all the church expects to hear the voice of its Lord and therefore here above all its full attention is required.

—C.E.B. Cranfield. “Divine and Human Action: The Biblical Concept of Worship,” Interpretation 12:4 (October, 1958), 392

Jesus Himself

That which is received in the Sacraments is not something other than that which is received in the Word, though it is received in a different way; for both in Word and Sacraments it is Jesus Christ Himself who comes to us. 

—C.E.B. Cranfield, “Divine and Human Action: The Biblical Concept of Worship,” Interpretation 12:4 (October, 1958), 395

Worshipful Preaching

That the sermon, if it is to be a Christian sermon at all, must be an honest attempt to expound a passage of Scripture should go without saying. To by-pass Scripture at this point is like trying to celebrate the Holy Supper without bread or wine; it is to show that one is ignorant of the commandments and promises which determine Christian worship.

But it is not enough just to take a text. To take a text and then proceed to use it as a peg on which to hang one’s own thoughts is as bad as having no text at all: it is to handle the Word of God deceitfully and to insult the Lord who wills to speak to his people through the words of Scripture. But to say that preaching must be expository is not to say that it must not be topical in the sense of having direct relevance to contemporary events. On the contrary, the scriptural passage has not been properly heard and understood, until it relevance to the actual concrete situation of the congregation has been recognized; and the more patiently and honestly expository preaching is, the more relevant and contemporary does it become. Of course it is true that there is a sort of exposition that leaves everything in the air, but that is no proper exposition. A scriptural passage is not properly expounded until its relevance to the hearers becomes plain.

—C. E. B. Cranfield, “Divine and Human Action,” Interpretation 12:4 (October, 1958):393

God’s Initiative

Throughout the Bible it is assumed that the initiative in true worship is God’s.

Christian worship is also human action. The human action is altogether secondary, being made possible by, and responding to, the action of God.

—C. E. B. Cranfield, “Divine and Human Action: The Biblical Concept of Worship,”  Interpretation, vol. xii number 4 (October, 1958)