In the last few years, books on worship seem to be either so practical as to be thin on their biblical and theological development, or conversely so abstract and philosophical that they are of little value to the church. Daniel Block’s newest book, For the Glory of God: Recovering a Biblical Theology of Worship (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2014) splits the difference between these extremes. Rather than being arranged chronologically, the chapters are arranged topically in a most helpful way. Block’s approach is thoroughly biblical, plumbing the depths of worship throughout Scripture, yet it is very accessible. There is a heavy emphasis on principles derived from the Old Testament (which he argues should be called the “First” Testament), since, as he argues, the majority of instruction concerning worship comes from that part of Scripture. He does not shy away from the New Testament, however, and spends a fair amount of time in the Gospels, which are often under-represented in books on worship.
Because we often use the term “worship” to refer to congregational singing in a corporate church service, some may be mistaken about the contents of the book. Although Block does apply his biblical theology to congregational singing, the focus is much broader. His early chapter topics include: the object and subjects of worship, daily life as worship, and family life and work as worship. The content of these chapters is simply outstanding. My copy of the book is so thoroughly marked and highlighted that there is hardly a page on which I did not find an insightful gem worth noting. The later chapter topics still follow the format of biblical theology (moving through Genesis to Revelation while noting the progression of revelation), but they have more application to corporate gatherings of the church.
Block helpfully sums up his 400 page study with a one sentence definition of worship: “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 to his will.” This careful thesis is eloquently developed throughout the volume, and I highly recommend it for anyone wanting both an academic and personally edifying guide to biblical worship.