What Does The New Testament Say About The Worship Assembly?


When we meet this basic requirement for assembling in fellowship with the Lord, our worship must be directed only toward God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and His Holy Spirit. (Mark 12:29 and 30, John 10:30, and II Corinthians 3:17)

Our worship arises out of our own faith and love toward the Lord, in complete submission to His will, where we strive to please Him, and not ourselves. (I John 5:1 through 3, and Matthew 7:21 through 23)

Jesus told the Samaritan woman that our worship must be in spirit and truth; God is Spirit, therefore our own spirit should be in fellowship with His Spirit. (John 4:23 and 24, and Romans 8:9 and 16)

And our worship is based on the truth that is found only in the Word of God given to us by the Holy Spirit; we cannot dream up our own ideas as to what we think worship should be. (John 17:17, I Peter 1:12, and John 8:31 and 32)

The New Testament contains the commands of Jesus Christ and His apostles regarding our worship, and it provides all of the examples we need of the practices of the first-century church while they were still under the direction of the apostles. (John 14:26, I John 5:13, and Galatians 1:11 and 12)

We are cautioned that our worship should be done peacefully, without confusion, decently, and in order, and even though we are all equal spiritually, women may not take the lead in the worship assembly.

(I Corinthians 14:33 through 40, Galatians 3:28, and I Timothy 2:11 and 12)

Breaking Bread on the First Day of the Week

One of the common elements of worship in the New Testament church was their practice of coming together on the first day of the week, which John called “the Lord’s Day”. (I Corinthians 16:2, Acts 2:1, and Revelation 1:10)

This is the very day that Jesus was raised from the dead, and it was on the evening of this same day that His disciples first began to assemble together. (Luke 24:1 through 7, and John 20:19)

It is apparent that the reason the body of Christ came together on the first day of the week was to “break bread”, that is, to partake of the Lord’s Supper. (Acts 20:7)

They did this in obedience to the command that Jesus gave at His last Passover meal when His apostles ate the unleavened bread and drank the fruit of the vine in remembrance of the body and blood He would sacrifice as payment for our sins. (I Corinthians 11:23 through 26, and I John 2:2)

We have the privilege of entering into this communion, or fellowship, with the Father and the Son and with each other when we have put on Christ by being baptized into Him. (I John 1:3, I Corinthians 10:16, and Galatians 3:27)

Praying and Singing

When the disciples came together, they prayed to God the Father through Jesus Christ with the help of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 12:12, John 14:13 and 14, and Romans 8:26 and 27)

In His model prayer, Jesus summarized how we should pray to our Father in heaven, saying that we must not make a public show of our praying. (Matthew 6:5 through 13)

We are to pray for at least two reasons:  one is to give thanks in everything to God, and the other is to make our requests and petitions known to Him, according to His will. (Philippians 4:6, James 5:13 through 16, and I John 5:14 and 15)

When Christians were together, they not only prayed, but they also sang hymns to God.  Perhaps the first example of this was when Jesus and His apostles sang a hymn after the Passover meal where He had established His memorial supper. (Acts 16:25, and Matthew 26:30)

We are instructed to sing these psalms and spiritual songs in the wisdom of the Word of Christ, teaching and admonishing one another with grace in our hearts to the Lord, and giving thanks to God the Father through the name of our Lord Jesus. (Colossians 3:15 through 17)

We are also told to speak to one another in song, being filled with the Spirit, singing and making melody in our hearts to the Lord, and understanding His will. (Ephesians 5:17 through 21)

We find no evidence in the New Testament of the earthly first-century church adding any kind of mechanical instruments to their singing.  This was done centuries later by men who may have been trying to please themselves, rather than God. (Galatians 1:10)

Preaching, Teaching, and Giving

Jesus preached the gospel, or “good news”, of the kingdom of God, and He likewise instructed His disciples to preach to everyone, teaching them to observe all things He had commanded. (Mark 1:14 and 15, Mark 16:15 and 16, and Matthew 28:18 through 20)

So the early disciples preached the gospel of Jesus Christ at every opportunity, and we continue to follow His command and their example today. (Acts 5:42, I Corinthians 15:1 through 4, and II Timothy 4:1 and 2)

When the first-century church came together, they searched the Old Testament scriptures, and they were also diligent to study the apostles’ doctrine, which we have today in the form of the New Testament. (Acts 17:10 and 11, Acts 2:42, and John 20:30 and 31)

We study the inspired Word of God for our mutual correction and instruction in righteousness, so that we are completely and thoroughly equipped for the work of ministry, making us wise for salvation.

(II Timothy 3:14 through 17)

Jesus often taught His disciples about giving, saying that we are to do good things in secret, not for public show, and that with whatever measure we use, it will be measured back to us. (Matthew 6:1 through 4, and Luke 6:38)

The early churches were told that when they assembled on the first day of the week, they were to lay something aside for the Jerusalem saints as they had prospered, and we find several other examples of sacrificial giving in the New Testament, as well. (I Corinthians 16:1 through 3, and Acts 4:34 and 35)

This is not an Old Testament “tithe”; we are to give bountifully, as we have purposed in our hearts, not grudgingly or of necessity, but cheerfully. (II Corinthians 9:6 and 7)

The Word Confirmed Once for All

We should recognize that in the first century, the Holy Spirit had given certain miraculous gifts to the apostles, or to those on whom the apostles had laid their hands, to confirm that the message they were preaching was from God. (Acts 1:4 through 8, Acts 8:18, and Hebrews 2:3 and 4)

Now that we have the entire Word confirmed once for all in the New Testament, such gifts of the Spirit are no longer needed.  These gifts have passed away with the death of the last apostle. (Jude 3, and I Corinthians 13:8 through 10)

As the New Testament church, we strive to worship the Lord only in the way He has already given us in His Word, and we teach and practice only the sound doctrine found in His Gospel message. (John 12:48, I Corinthians 14:37, and Galatians 1:8 and 9)

We heed the warning of Jesus not to lay aside the commandment of God in order to keep the traditions devised by men, therefore we do not add to His Word anything that we would prefer to do, and we do not take away from His Word anything that we would prefer not to do. (Mark 7:6 through 9, and Revelation 22:18 and 19)