Is everything a Christian does worship? – JAM

I have a bone to pick! It involves a failure to understand the nature of worship and its relation to service. I offer this for your consideration and study. A generation ago no one would have argued that everything a Christian does is worship; service, yes, but worship, no. Why? Because before the spate of modern translations, the KJV was king and Rom 12:1 declared that “presenting your bodies as a living sacrifice” was “your reasonable service”. First to make the change was the RSV: “your spiritual service” (Also NRSV). Others followed in kind: NASV “your spiritual service of worship”, NIV “your spiritual act of worship”, etc. From this single verse the whole idea that everything a Christian does is worship was formed and preached. However, I doubt this is what Paul intended. The words Paul used are “logiken latreian”. The first, from which we derive “logic”, means “thoughtful” and the second generally means “service”, which can include worship but not necessarily. Neither are the usual words for “spiritual”(pneumatikos) or “worship” (proskuneo). The word “proskuneo” occurs 59 times, 24 in Revelation, and it is used exclusively for “worship”. Its root meaning was “to kiss toward” as a citizen bows before the king or a follower prostrated himself before an idol. The word  by its nature cannot be used for thoughtless acts. It requires reverence and is thus worship. Its meaning is clearly demonstrated in 1 Cor 14:25 when the outsider “falls on his face and worships God” or in Rev 4:10 when the elders cast their crowns before God, fall down and worship. What do we learn from this brief word study? We learn that everything a Christian does is service to God, but only that which is thoughtfully presented in reverence and with focus is worship. Cleaning the house is service (Col 3:18) but praying in your closet is not only service, it is also worship. Driving to assembly is service but concerted praise is worshipful service. So then, what do we do with Romans 12:1? Paul meant service presented as worship. This is clear in that he used the OT worship metaphor “present your bodies as a living sacrifice”. But he did not mean that everything you and I do is worship. The key word is “logikon”, “thoughtful”, translated “reasonable” (KJV & NKJV) and “spiritual” (ESV, NIV, NAS). It is service that is offered with reverence and thought. Paul was not talking about everything a Christian does, he was referring to our conversion and its conscious consequences in our lives.

#just-a-minute, #service, #worship