Book Review: For the Glory of God
I recently had the privilege of working through For the Glory of God: Recovering a Biblical Theology of Worship by Daniel Block. Published in 2014, For the Glory of God is a masterful work, relying on Block’s extensive teaching and research experience. In many ways it is exhaustive, hitting the subject of worship from every conceivable perspective. Looking at the table of contents gives that impression. The book is divided as follows:
- Toward a Holistic, Biblical Understanding of Worship
- The Object of Worship
- The Subject of Worship
- Daily Life as Worship
- Family Life and Work as Worship
- The Ordinances as Worship
- Hearing and Proclaiming the Scriptures as Worship
- Prayer as Worship
- Music as Worship
- Sacrifice and Offerings as Worship
- The Drama of Worship
- The Design and Theology of Sacred Space
- Leaders in Worship
There are also three appendices covering (A) Doxologies of the New Testament; (B) Hymnic Fragments in the Pauline Epistles; and (C) Sunday Worship in Early Christianity.
The book itself is over 400 pages, which in and of itself communicates the thoroughness with which the subject of worship is addressed. There is so much to appreciate about Block’s work. Although he is very thorough in discussing all of these issues, one of his gifts is to be able to distill all that information into summary form. For example, his definition of worship is as follows:
True worship involves reverential human acts of submission and homage before the divine Sovereign in response to his gracious revelation of himself and in accord with his will.For the Glory of God, 23
In a day where many Christians equate worship with singing, a work like For the Glory of God is especially welcome. Our lives are worship. Everything we do is done through that lens.
Although some readers may get “lost in the weeds” in some of the technical analysis that Block performs, the book nonetheless is very helpful in redefining our perspective on worship to agree with the biblical definition. I would certainly recommend this book.
Really liked the quote: “Our lives are worship. Everything we do is done through that lens.” I also agree with the sentiment that not only the songs at church services constitutes the worship aspect of gathering. Sometimes I am uncomfortable by the scripted nature of this segment of gathering, especially when questionable elements exist. It’s almost like Dan. 3.5: when you hear the music…