“Without Christian worship, there would be no Bible. The Bible is the product of the early church’s common prayer. The earliest Christian communities circulated among themselves and read in common worship stories of the life and ministry of Jesus and the early apostles. They wanted to hear these stories and respond to them.”
This quote gets straight to the heart of an important matter with regard to Christian worship – the place of Scripture within worship. The point is well made. The texts that make up the Scriptures have a history behind them. Each of the ‘books’ that make up the Bible was considered sacred because through them God spoke to his people. It may come as a surprise to some but the Bible did not, as N.T. Wright has so eloquently put it, fall “from the sky in King James Authorised Version, bound in black leather and complete with maps”. That’s a much later development. In reality, these texts were written for a specific audience to be read out loud and heard. As such, many of them (such as James, Hebrews, and 1 John) can be considered some of our earliest Christian sermons. They
“were intended to be rhetorical discourses delivered orally to congregations during worship, which explains why so many of these documents begin with a prayer… and end with a benediction or doxology”.