Be A Student
of the Word
“True knowledge begins with spiritual knowledge, knowledge of God, and that is to be found in God’s revelation of Himself in the Bible and in Jesus’ own life and work, the work of the Savior.”
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” The adjective diligent is described in the Collins English Dictionary as being “careful and persevering in carrying out tasks or duties.” As worship leaders in the Salvation Army, diligence is something we are familiar with, although we may not pay attention to it. Despite it all, spiritual knowledge needs to be a fundamental part of our daily walk with the Lord. If God’s Word is not being revealed to us by His Spirit, so that transformation into Christ’s likeness continually takes place, how can we lead others in that same journey? How can we share and lead others in what we do not know?
As God’s servants at the corps, we must be prepared every week to ‘rightly divide the word of truth.’ That spiritual process is developed as we study God’s inerrant truth. If we are slothful in studying God’s Word privately – a daily seeking of God’s truth, being revealed to us by His Holy Spirit – we are not practicing spiritual diligence. God’s Word must be read, meditated upon, journaled, rightly interpreted through the illumination of His Spirit, and memorized. Dr. Melvin Worthington, professor of Worship Studies at Liberty University, indicates the importance of being a ‘student of the Word.’
Study of the Scriptures is very important to the child of God. If you’re going to worship properly, you must know the Scriptures; it is suggested that you read the scriptures, reflect on the Scriptures, research the Scriptures, record the Scriptures on a daily journal, you receive the Scriptures by faith, you respond to the Scriptures, you remember the Scriptures, you retain the Scriptures, you review the Scriptures, you reproduce the Scriptures, and you rely on the Scriptures.
If we are going to lead God’s people in Biblical worship at the corps, how much more is this truth relevant for us. “Since worship leaders are those who lead the people of God in encountering Him in corporate worship, then above all things, we ought to study Him.”
Dr. Robert Morgan, author of Mastering Life Before It’s Too Late, adds, “In order to be a Biblical worship leader, then it’s important for us to be a Biblical Christian, which means we are Christians who are personally committed to the study of the Bible.” Our understanding of who He is and who we are in Him is displayed in the songs we choose to sing, the Scriptures we read, and the prayers we offer to our Heavenly Father in corporate worship. God desires that we remain consistent in our pursuit of knowing Him in a personal way, and the study of such knowledge is what we know as theology.
As God’s storytellers, we have to be theologians at heart! We are charged with sharing the whole counsel of God from Genesis to Revelation, and that will not be possible unless we are students of the Word. It is not enough to be talented and skillful in our instruments or creative abilities when leading our corps family in corporate worship. God’s Word must be known in the depths of our being; “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Author Matt Boswell notes, “Worship leaders are singing theologians. We communicate truth with poetry and verse; we organize doctrine with rhythm and rhyme; we proclaim the good news through melody and harmony. With every stanza of every hymn, we are articulating and teaching what we believe, intentional or not…the commitment to be a worship leader is a commitment to theological growth.” Thus, worship theology is a subject matter that music and creative arts local officers in The Salvation Army need to invest personal time and resources in studying. Through our search, God’s nature will be revealed; His character, attributes, His perfect plan, purpose, and provision for Creation in a sinful state will be disclosed. Worship theology will show us who we are and why we exist as His image-bearers. It will give us the proper, foundational perspective for our Christian worldview in contrast to other secular worldviews. It will help us lead our corps family in Biblical worship.
Have you ever given it a thought? As music and creative arts local officers, why do we do what we do? With what knowledge do we do what we do? Here is an even more direct question: Are we studying God’s Word diligently and daily to minister God’s revelation of Himself to our corps family? We are living in uncertain times as a result of a health pandemic of global proportions. However, this involuntary Sabbath is an excellent opportunity for us to reassess our diligence as God’s Kingdom messengers. We have been entrusted with the ministry and message of reconciliation (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19) that we read in the Scriptures. Praise be to God that the Holy Spirit gives us wisdom and creativity to interpret the gospel through music and creative arts.
In 2014, the Pew Research Center surveyed 35,071 adults and found that only 35% read Scripture weekly, not even daily. Although this was taken six years ago, do you fall in that dire category today? Ask yourself, have I been seeking to study this book of instruction continually? Have I been meditating on it day and night so that I am sure to obey everything written in it? True knowledge of God requires it. Therefore, dig into God’s Word. Ask God’s Holy Spirit to incline your heart to thirst for His Word. Set time aside to encounter God through His revealed Word, to hear from our Saviour Jesus Christ. Next time, we will dig a little deeper into the significance of the meaning of knowing God. Stay safe and keep on trusting God’s unchanging hands.
1/ James Montgomery Boice, Foundations of the Christian Faith: A Comprehensive and Readable Theology, revised and expanded [edition ed. (Westmont: InterVarsity Press, 2018), 5.
2/ 2 Timothy 2:15 (NKJV)
3/ Collins English Dictionary, Digital ed. (New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2012), s.v. “Diligent.”
4/ Melvin Worthington, “Occasions of Worship and Scripture” (Video of lecture, Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA, Spring 2020),
5/ Matt Boswell, How the Gospel Forms the Worship Leader: Doxology (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2013), 2.
6/ Robert Morgan, “Presentation: Worship and Preaching - Part 1” (Video of lecture, Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA, Spring 2020)
7/ 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)
8/ Matt Boswell, How the Gospel Forms the Worship Leader: Doxology (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2013), 9.
9/ Joshua 1:8 (NLT - paraphrased)