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Engaging with God: A Biblical Theology of Worship
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Engaging with God: A Biblical Theology of Worship

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  308 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Worship is of immense concern in the church and ironically the source of controversy and dispute. Can we get behind the question of what style of worship we should engage in to understand the bedrock foundation for God's people--honoring him as he desires? Is the dissatisfaction with worship voiced by so many perhaps a result of our having wandered from biblical teaching o ...more
Paperback, 317 pages
Published August 3rd 2002 by InterVarsity Press (first published October 23rd 1992)
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4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  308 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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David Monreal
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some great food for though

I don't come from the same tradition as the author but he challenged me to think through what we do as a church and how we define worship. I thought his background of the Old Testament was helpful.
Connor Longaphie
Solid but dry
Matt Tyler
Apr 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
Peterson's Engaging with God is an excellent resource for thinking through worship. Some chapters are more difficult than others, but the one who takes the time to read through this book will be rewarded, helped, and better equipped to discuss worship.

After reading this book, I would also recommend the first chapter of Carson's book Worship By the Book. Carson speaks favorably of Peterson's work, but has a few critiques of the book. I think readers will actually enjoy this book better if they r
Mark A Powell
Aug 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Thorough examination of worship throughout Scripture, with helpful application for modern-day Christians. Perhaps a bit too dense for casual readers, but a worthwhile resource.
Michael Abraham
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
David Peterson served as principal at Oak Hill College in London and also as lecturer in New Testament at Moore College in Australia. In his work, Engaging with God, Peterson tests the hypothesis that “the worship of the living and true God is essentially an engagement with him on the terms that he proposes and in the way that he alone makes possible” (Peterson, 20). In order to confirm his hypothesis, Peterson examines beliefs and practices of Old Testament (OT) religion, then presents key word ...more
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a thorough engagement with the Bible from Genesis to Revelation on the topic of worship. It’s definitely written at a little higher level than a lot of lay people (or perhaps even pastors) are comfortable with, but I think it’s worth the work to see the whole Bible’s witness to the importance of worship, and more specifically to the centrality of Christ in Scripture. I read this with a church member, and if I did that again, I might start at the end with his conclusion and epilogue (whic ...more
Nicholas Varady-szabo
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Put your theology glasses on for this one! Peterson's exploration of Christian worship is dense and comprehensive. He spends a lot of time looking at forms and types throughout scripture as an avenue to describe and inform true biblical worship. I found it dry and hard to read, but I'm not a systematic theology type of guy.
Elisha Lawrence
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book on understanding what the Bible has to say about worship is thoroughly refreshing and devotional. His insights into familiar passages were enlightening. I worshipped a lot as I read this book. Warning: it’s a technical book. You’ll get caught up in the beauty of Scripture at times but also bored with few captivating stories or illustrations.
James Tetley
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018-books
Solid Biblical exposition on worship, but dry and stodgy in places. The chapter on ' Serving God in the assembly of his people'was better. Amazingly the Psalms were virtually untouched. The role of lamentation also missing. I left feeling well fed, but not inspired.....
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an excellent book, surveying much of the relevant biblical material on worship, and rightly emphasizing the foundational priority of the gospel of Jesus Christ to define our worship. Recommended.
Bruce C Coats
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent book that has become one of the standard theological books on worship from an Evangelical perspective. Though Christian worshipers from other traditions would enjoy it also and find useful pieces to add to their theology of worship.
Alex Yi
Oct 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
In short. Engaging with God is what I believe to be the closest thing to a compendious treatment of worship in the bible.

Overall there is no other book that I have read that has given more a complete picture of biblical worship with the landscape of redemptive history than Engaging with God. If you have read The Mission of God by Christopher Wright and thought Mission is everything, I would suggest this book to one who is open to the notion that Worship is even more. That is not to say one has
Feb 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
This book was actually pretty good. It is more of a scholarly type book, with nuances of the Hebrew and Greek words that determine a more accurate reading of Scripture. But I did enjoy it very much after getting used to his style of writing. If you are interested in finding out more about how worship, in the Christian church, came about, this is a good introduction to that subject. If you want to learn more about how the writings of Scripture influence the aspects of worship that we use, this is ...more
Aug 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Slowly working through my summer reading list. Two books left to go. This was a fantastic look at the theology of worship, encompassing all of scripture. At times I got bogged down, but for the most part I was very engaged. Has it changed my view of worship? Only in the sense that I am much more aware of instances and imperatives of worship when reading and doing scripture work. My favorite chapter was the first chapter, "Engaging with God in the Old Testament".
Jun 07, 2012 added it
This book is not your typical "Here are the references to music in the Bible, so you should or should not use ..." Rather, it is a thorough and true biblical theology of worship through the Old and New Testament. Those looking for a practical resource may be disappointed, but this kind of book is where every biblical musician should begin.
Seth Little
Feb 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a very good book in that it represents the hard work that must be done to gain a comprehensive understanding of biblical worship. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to the lay Christian seeking an approachable resource on the subject, but pastors and theological students will find it very helpful.
Daniel Wells
Sep 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is, by far, the best book detailing a biblical theology of worship. There is much scriptural depth and substance on every page. Don't expect this book to solve any of the worship wars or spell out more detailed issues. Rather, this book and its content is a 'starting point' for your church when it comes to worship.
Bob Kauflin: "A thorough and reverent exposition of biblical worship. Peterson is a New Testament scholar, and his treatment of worship is eminently Christ-exalting and gospel-centered. He highlights the connection between worship and edification."
Curt Mize
Feb 14, 2016 rated it liked it
An extremely thorough treatment of the practice of worship throughout Scripture. Invaluable for answering the question, "What did worship look like in (fill in section of Scripture)?" But, it was not particularly easy to read.
Dec 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Top of the list for digging into the theology of worship. Has a lot of historical context, especially when dealing with the Old Testament and the worship practices of ancient Israel. Certainly was academic in it's style and approach with I appreciated, but it did make it work to read though.
May 17, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Talbot Course: Theology of Worship

This is a STANDARD on the subject of worship! Most good books on worship will have at least one quote from this book.
MUST HAVE! The only reason I didn't give it a 5 is that it's a bit dry. But this is definitive book on the subject.
Jan 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
I thoroughly enjoyed this read, though it was slow-going in a few places. I was going to rate it 4 stars, but then changed it to a hearty 5 as I reflected on the impact this book made on me.
Ben Kreps
Apr 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A foundational, must-read biblical theology of worship
Chad Cecil
rich in language/history-academic and insightful
Jan 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology, favorites
Every "worship leader" should have to read this.
Jan 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Certain a "must-read" for those studying worship
Timmy Ray
rated it liked it
Aug 13, 2013
rated it it was ok
Dec 16, 2012
rated it liked it
Aug 18, 2015
Darrel Schneider
rated it really liked it
Feb 22, 2017
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  • Worship by the Book
  • Worship in Spirit and Truth
  • Christ-Centered Worship: Letting the Gospel Shape Our Practice
  • Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God
  • A Better Way: Rediscovering the Drama of God-Centered Worship
  • Reaching Out without Dumbing Down: A Theology of Worship for This Urgent Time
  • Rhythms of Grace: How the Church's Worship Tells the Story of the Gospel
  • Liturgical Theology: The Church as Worshiping Community
  • Unceasing Worship: Biblical Perspectives on Worship and the Arts
  • Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church: A Guide for Ministry
  • Worship, Community and the Triune God of Grace
  • Christ, Baptism and the Lord's Supper: Recovering the Sacraments for Evangelical Worship
  • Ancient-Future Worship
  • Pierced for Our Transgressions: Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution
  • The Holy Spirit (Contours of Christian Theology, #6)
  • Worship Old and New
  • We Become What We Worship: A Biblical Theology of Idolatry
  • For All God's Worth: True Worship and the Calling of the Church
David Peterson was senior research fellow and lecturer in New Testament at Moore Theological College, Sydney, where he still teaches part time. He served as principal of Oak Hill College, London, from 1996 to 2007. His books include Engaging with God, Possessed by God (both IVP) and Hebrews and Perfection (Cambridge University Press).