The Biblical Concept of Worship. An Exposition of John 4:23-24


Bachelor Thesis, 2009
38 Pages, Grade: A-

Excerpt

Inhalt

CHAPTER ONE – INTRODUCTION
Introduction
Statement of the Problem
Purpose of the Study
Scope of the Study
Methodology and overview of the Study

CHAPTER TWO – HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE GOSPEL OF JOHN
Authorship
Internal evidence
External evidence
Date
Purpose and destination

CHAPTER THREE – LITERARY CONTEXT
Introduction
Larger Context
Immediate Context
Conclusion

CHAPTER FOUR – EXPOSITION OF JOHN 4:23-24
Introduction
The time has come true worshippers
Worship in Spirit and in Truth
The kind of worshippers the father seeks God is spirit

CHAPTER FIVE – APPLICATION, SUGGESTIONS AND CONCLUSION
Application
Suggestions
Conclusion

CHAPTER ONE – INTRODUCTION

Introduction

Wayne Grudem states that “Genuine worship is worship ‘in spirit’ which probably means worship that is in the spiritual realm of activity (not merely the outward physical action of attendance at a worship service or singing of songs) when we enter that spiritual realm of activity and minister to the Lord in worship, God also ministers to us.”[1] The above quotation points out what real and genuine worship that every Christian is to embark on, which is ‘worship in spirit,’ but how can one worships God in spirit unless he/she is taught how to render such worship? Pastors today in Africa have to teach God’s word in regards to worship otherwise most Christians today will not offer and experience genuine worship which implies that they will not enter into the “spiritual realm of activity and minister to the Lord in worship”[2] and God will not minister to them.

Statement of the Problem

Man naturally “is a worshipper who seeks the ‘Divine’ to fill a spiritual void and satisfy a spiritual craving.”[3] This implies that every man is a potential worshipper and man has the choice to choose anything of his/her choice to be his/her worship model or object of worship. Since every man has the choice to choose what to be indebted to in worship, and Christianity has God as the one and only deity to be worshipped, it then means that any convert to Christianity needs to have his/her worldview on worship changed towards the worship of the true and living God.

In Africa, the concept of worship is not a new thing; it is a common phenomenon, Africans “believe in the creator God, spirit world and in the powers of witchcraft and magic.”[4] in the case of the supreme being, they believe he is existing somewhere far beyond human reach, so they reach him through spirits and divinities who “are said to have been created by the supreme being and have less power than the creator. But they are more powerful than the living-dead… are said to be ministers of God.”[5] The people believe in almost all the attributes of God and that man is indebted to God in worship, but since he is beyond human reach, they worship him through offering sacrifices and prayers to the ancestral spirits and divinities, and this worship is done often to, “restore the balance in nature that had been upset through the anger of the divinities, spirits or the creator”[6] because they believe that the outbreak of any epidemic or trouble is as a result of anger vested on the people by the ancestral spirits or the creator by human practices such as witchcraft and magic. The spirits and the divinities are worshipped more than the Supreme Being because the “worship of God was often mingled with prayers and sacrifices given to the ancestral spirits.”[7]

From the above descriptions of belief and worship in Africa, it then implies that any convert from this background to Christianity has to be properly disciple to have his/her mindset and worldview of worshipping God in the traditional religion changed towards the worship of the living God that is in Christianity. Looking at the church in Africa today, discipleship have been neglected and/or relegated to the background. More emphasis is laid on such issues that are beneficial to the physical structure, growth and well being of the Church. This negligence has resulted in many Christians to lack the biblical basis and experience of worship, thereby promoting syncretism in the church. The ignorance and illiteracy of the biblical concept of worship results in the abuse of worship and the lack of biblical mode and concept of expressing and experiencing genuine and true worship.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to educate and enlighten Christians in Africa on what biblical worship is all about, the requirements in worship, Jesus’ definition and interpretation of worship and how to genuinely express and experience worship so as to remedy the wrong concept, perspective and form of worship that is ignorantly being adopted by undiscipled Christians.

Scope of the Study

The researcher has limited this research to the study of John 4:23-24 and other passages within and without the book of John that is relevant to the topic under research.

Methodology and overview of the Study

For a proper discussion and analysis of the topic, the researcher has adopted the library method of research. The researcher utilized the Byang Kato research library situated at the Jos ECWA Theological Seminary, Jos, Nigeria and personal library where bible commentaries, concordances, dictionaries, encyclopedia and Christian literatures were properly and adequately consulted and used in analyzing the problem that the research is addressing. This methodological approach that was adopted for this research is an expositional analysis and interpretation of John 4:23-24 which is geared towards understanding the biblical concept of worship from Jesus’ definition of worship and explanation on how/where worship is to be done in response to the Samaritan woman’s question.

CHAPTER TWO – HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE GOSPEL OF JOHN

Authorship

Both published and unpublished books/materials today have authors which are mostly identified in the title page or cover page. “Furthermore, in the case of a gospel which is a record of events [a narrative],”[8] it is ideal that it has an author. The gospel of John, also referred to as ‘the fourth gospel’ is a narrative whose author is not identified at the beginning of the book until towards the end of the book, the author is disclosed simply as ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’ (21:20, NIV) who “is the disciple who testifies to these things his is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true” John 21:24 NIV. This disciple referred to as ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’ can be attributed to the apostle John, son of Zebedee, but this is not universally accepted, some scholars do not accept the apostle John as the author. For the sake of evidence, the researcher examines the internal evidence (information within the gospel) and external evidence (information outside the gospel, e.g. the testimony of the church fathers).

Internal evidence

There are many proofs and evidences within the fourth gospel that points to the apostle John, the son of Zebedee as the possible author of the gospel of John. These evidences are from some verses within the gospel and from indications from the background of the gospel whose influence the flavor is exhibited in the composition of the gospel. Westcott list some of these evidences as summarized below:

The language, literary style of the writing, the quoting of the OT and the explanation of Jewish beliefs, customs, traditions and practices suggests that the author was a Jew. The detailed geographical description of areas, the accurate description of lifestyles, the description of the hierarchical class, the analytic description of the political and religious controversies and the “vivid and unerring accuracy [of] the relations of parties and interests which ceased to exist after the fall of Jerusalem… show that the writer of the fourth gospel was not only a Jew, but a Palestinian Jew of the first century.”[9] The author of the fourth gospel was an eye-witness of what is described and testified in the book. The “narrative is marked by minute details of persons, and time, and number, and place and manner, which cannot but have come from direct experience.”[10]

The author of the fourth gospel was an apostle. The author showed and displayed the knowledge of all the twelve disciples, he gave the exact words they spoke, some of the feelings and thoughts they expressed and the places they often visited. The above point suggests that the author of the fourth gospel was not only an apostle, but an apostle from within the inner circle. There are three disciples that formed the inner circle:- Peter, James and John were close to Jesus Christ than the others who had the privilege of being with Jesus as specific incidences such as the transfiguration (Matt. 17:1, Mark 9:2, Luke 9:28), the agony of Jesus Christ at Gethsemane (Mark 14:33) etc. among the three disciples of the inner circle, John the apostle was disclosed and referred to as ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’ about five times (13:23, 19: 26, 20:2, 21:7, 20. If the author of the fourth gospel is an apostle, then John, the son of Zebedee, being the only John among the disciples is the most qualified to have authored the fourth gospel.

The author of the fourth gospel could also be the author of the three epistles of John. For there is a great similarity between the fourth gospel and the three epistles of John. The fourth gospel has many parallels in literary style, composition, “thought and expression with the three letters of John in the NT …”[11] Based on these similarities which are parallel between the two literatures, the author of the three epistles can be without doubt said to be the author of the fourth gospel.

External evidence

Apart from evidences within the gospel itself, there are as well evidences outside the gospel such as the testimony of the church fathers, some of whom had contact with those who knew the apostle John or some firsthand writings and sources in the first-second century which attributed the authorship of the fourth gospel to the apostle John, the son of Zebedee. Below are some of the testimonies of some early church fathers who testified and ascribed the authorship of the fourth gospel to the apostle John.

The Bishop of Hierapolis in the Roman province of Asia, Papias (A.D. 60-140) whose writings/works did not survived but only some fragments of which were quoted by Iranaeus and Eusebius all ascribed the authorship of the fourth gospel to the apostle John. Papias’ evidence is reliable because both Iranaeus and the vulgate testified to his being a disciple of John the apostle. Clement, the head of the catechetical school in Alexandria in A.D. 190 was in support of the Apostle John’s authorship of the fourth gospel. The Muraton canon (A.D. 180-200) also supports the Apostle John’s authorship of the fourth gospel. Iranaeus, the Bishop of Lyons is one of the great witnesses who gave a reliable testimony to John’s authorship of the fourth gospel. Iranaeus’ testimony is reliable because he knew Polycarp, an aged presbyter at that time who knew the disciples and was in contact with the apostle John himself.

Date

The dating of this gospel is not certain per say, because the composition of the book suggest its dating either before the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, or after the destruction of Jerusalem. The use of the present copula verbs such as ‘there is’ instead of ‘there was’ to describe definite places and characters suggest that the book might have been written before the destruction of Jerusalem. For if at all the gospel was written after the destruction as suggested by some scholars, then something about the destruction could have either been mentioned or implied in the gospel. This argument could have been accepted but those arguing for the dating of the gospel before the destruction of Jerusalem were of the opinion that the apostle did not know the other gospels. Basing from that, they were arguing that the gospel “predated the other three canonical gospels. The arguments for such an early date are largely arguments from silence, notably that there is no mention of the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.”[12] For others, the dating of the gospel is believed to have been towards the dawning of the first century.

As to the lack of testimony to the destruction of the temple in the gospel, there is a long time enough in-between the date of destruction (A.D. 70) and the possible dating for the gospel (which is suggested to have been towards the dawning of the first century, probably A.D. 85-95) for any dust which might have risen as the result of the destruction to have settled down and needed no any comment. Since the apostle did know the synoptic gospels and “incorporate little of the gospel tradition in his own gospel,”[13] then based on the last argument, the gospel is probably written after the destruction of the temple towards the dawning of the first century, and “before John’s exile to the island of Patmos.”[14]

Purpose and destination

The primary purpose of the fourth gospel is stated in John 20:30-31, “Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” NIV. The key words here are ‘believe’ which is a present continuous tense showing an action which is continuous, this denotes that the gospel was written so that the audience will come to the saving knowledge of Christ through believing in Him, by this, “the cumulative effect of all this indicates that the primary purpose of the gospel is evangelistic: to bring people to faith in Jesus.”[15] John wrote the gospel to “convince those who had not seen Jesus to believe in Him, to help believers deepen their faith, and to convince unbelievers to trust in Jesus Christ as their savior.”[16]

The audiences of this gospel are the believers and non-believers alike. To the new believers, they were urged to continue to believe in Jesus Christ, while to the non-believers, they were urged to believe in Jesus Christ who can give them life. The writing of the gospel in Greek also suggests that the audiences are Greek-speaking Jews.

CHAPTER THREE – LITERARY CONTEXT

Introduction

The book of John is a narrative which carries the record of the life and activities of Jesus Christ from birth to ascension, the book has 21 chapters. Since the researcher is doing an exposition of an event in a story that is recorded in John 4:1-42 with verses 23-24 as the main verses concerned, the researcher has only dwelled and limited this research on the 42 verses of chapter four of the book of John and other verses related to the passage and topic under research. But due to the direct connection of John 3:5-8 to the concerned verses of this research, an exposition of John 3:5-8 has been done, so a little overview of the preceding chapters, 3:1-8 and 4:1-22 has been discussed under the larger context, John 4:25-42 are the verses after the verses for the research, this has been treated under the immediate context.

Larger Context

While in Jerusalem, Nicodemus, a respected and “typical representative of pharisaic Judaism”[17] i.e. ‘a member of the Jewish ruling council’ 3:1b who “would have stressed the careful observance of the law and the traditions of the elders”[18] was attracted by the signs and wonders that Jesus performed, so he was curious to know more about Jesus. So he paid Jesus a visit in the night. His visit to Jesus suggest that he might have discovered from what he saw Jesus doing that the law only cannot give salvation, “but that what is asked of anyone in not more law, but the power of God within that person to remake him or her completely.”[19] His visit to Jesus by night also suggests that he was afraid of what people will say considering the fact that he was a great teacher (whom many people looked unto) in Israel, he might have also thought that: “… it would never do for him to commit himself to the unofficial teacher from Galilee, not at any rate until and unless he was absolutely sure of his ground. If this is the explanation of the night visit, it is not without interest that Jesus says nothing in condemnation. He was content to receive Nicodemus just as he was.”[20]

Nicodemus’ curiosity to know more about Jesus was exhibited in John 3:2b in his words to Jesus, “‘Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.’”NIV this was a confession of what really took him to Christ, i.e. signs and wonders. Nicodemus was general in his approach to Jesus, i.e. he “associated himself with others,”[21] but Jesus who knew that he (Nicodemus) came purposely for himself responded to him specifically and particularly, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”John 3:3 NIV. This direct response sounded foolish and did not made any sense to Nicodemus, because the Pharisees believed that “all Jews would enter the kingdom of God through resurrection on the last day, the only exceptions being those who denied the faith and committed apostasy (Mishnah, Sanhedrin 10:1-4). To be born a Jew was to be an inheritor of the kingdom of God.”[22] Nicodemus seeing that he is a Jew by birth (which is an automatic ticket to God’s kingdom) and seeing the fact that he has not denied his faith and committed apostasy (which is the only exception for a Jew by birth to be denied entrance into heaven) but hearing Jesus assuring him that “he as a Jew would not see the kingdom of God unless he were born again,”[23] that would have made him surprised and astounded.

Nicodemus did not comprehend what Jesus meant by ‘born again’ as expressed in his response to Jesus, “‘how can a man be born when he is old?’ Nicodemus asked. ‘Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!’”John 3:4 NIV. Jesus was talking about spiritual birth from a spiritual point of view but since Nicodemus is born of the flesh, he interpreted ‘born again’ from a physical point of view and that made him to “pondered the physical impossibility of a man entering into his mother’s womb again in order to be born.”[24] This shows that the flesh cannot commune with the spirit, meaning that the flesh corresponds with what is flesh whereas the spirit corresponds with what is spirit, this explains what Paul said to the Corinthians “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Cor. 2:14 NIV

[...]


[1] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction To Biblical Doctrine. Nottingham, England, Inter-Varsity Press, 2000: 956.

[2] Grudem, Systematic Theology, 2000: 956.

[3] Solomon Amao, “Idolatry Originating From Attempts To Comprehend God: An Application Of Deuteronomy 4:15-20.” Master’s Thesis. Jos ECWA Theological Seminary, 2007.

[4] Richard J. Gehman, African Traditional Religion In The Light Of The Bible. Bukuru, Jos, African Christian Textbooks (ACTS), 2001: 102

[5] Gehman, African Traditional Religion In The Light Of The Bible, 2001: 89

[6] Gehman, African Traditional Religion In The Light Of The Bible, 2001: 89

[7] Gehman, African Traditional Religion In The Light Of The Bible, 2001: 151

[8] Bruce Milne, The Message Of John. Leicester, England, Inter-Varsity Press, 1993: 15.

[9] Brooke Foss Westcott, The Gospel According To St. John. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1980: Xx

[10] Westcott, The Gospel According To St. John. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1980: Xxxix

[11] Bruce Milne, The Message Of John. Leicester, England, Inter-Varsity Press, 1993:17

[12] Colin G. Kruse, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries-John. Leicester, England, Inter-Varsity Press, 2003:31.

[13] Kruse, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries-John, 2003:31.

[14] Bruce Barton And Philip Comfort, An Expositional Commentary, The Gospel Of John. Vol. 1- The Coming Of The Light (John 1-4). Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House, 2005:367.

[15] Kruse, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries-John, 2003:22.

[16] Barton And Comfort, An Expositional Commentary, 2005:368.

[17] Leon Morris, The Gospel According To John. Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1995:185.

[18] Morris, The Gospel According To John, 1995:185.

[19] Morris, The Gospel According To John, 1995:185.

[20] Morris, The Gospel According To John, 1995:187.

[21] Kruse, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries-John, 2003:105.

[22] Kruse, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries-John, 2003:105.

[23] Kruse, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries-John, 2003:105.

[24] William Macdonald, The Gospel Of John. Oak Park, Illinois, Emmaus Bible School Publication, 1962:48

Excerpt out of 38 pages

Details

Title
The Biblical Concept of Worship. An Exposition of John 4:23-24
Course
PASTORAL STUDIES
Grade
A-
Author
Year
2009
Pages
38
Catalog Number
V347188
ISBN (eBook)
9783668366893
ISBN (Book)
9783668366909
File size
958 KB
Language
English
Tags
biblical, concept, worship, exposition, john
Quote paper
Longji Ayuba Dachal (Author), 2009, The Biblical Concept of Worship. An Exposition of John 4:23-24, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/347188

Comments

  • No comments yet.
Read the ebook
Title: The Biblical Concept of Worship. An Exposition of John 4:23-24


Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free