Sunday, July 08, 2007

Assembly and Synagogues

This series of posts is attempting to see what the Bible has to say about assemblies in the worship of God. That’s being done in an attempt to answer the question of whether or not God intended Christianity to be built around a series of weekly assemblies or not. I was encouraged to re-examine what the Old Testament says about assembly, which is what I’ve been trying to do. Thanks to all who’ve been helping.

This week I want to look at the synagogue system. “But that’s not Old Testament,” you wisely observe. That’s true. The synagogue system was not established in Scripture, but grew up out of necessity. When the Israelites found themselves in captivity, with their temple in ruins, they developed a series of assemblies which continue through the present time; that’s the synagogue system.

According to Jewish sources, the synagogue is primarily a place of prayer. It is also a place for the reading and exposition of Scripture. It required the presence of ten males and followed a set pattern of activities. It is built around three times of daily prayer, although special services take place on feast days and sabbaths.

Jesus attended synagogues, as did the apostles and early Christians. Does that mean that God approved of this “innovation”? Did the synagogue become the pattern for early Christian worship? Should it be a pattern for what Christians do?

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