On Internal & External Worship

”And to love Him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

Mk. 12:33

“For we…  worship God in the spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”

Phil. 3:3

“Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.'”

Mk. 7:6




Distinguishable Aspects in the Elements of Worship
Acts of Church Government & Discipline are Worship



Order of Contents

Bible Verses
Articles  12+
Quotes  2
Latin  3



Bible Verses

Order of Verses

Internal Worship  20
External Worship  20+


Internal Worship

Ex. 14:31  “And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses.”

Lev. 19:32  “Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the Lord.”

Dt. 6:4-6  “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.  And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:”

1 Sam. 2:1  “Hannah prayed, and said, ‘My heart rejoiceth in the Lord…'”

1 Sam. 11:7  “And the fear of the Lord fell on the people…”

2 Kings 17:39  “But the Lord your God ye shall fear; and He shall deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.”

1 Chron. 16:10  “Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord.”

2 Chron. 34:27  “Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before Me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before Me; I have even heard thee also, saith the Lord.”

Ps. 2:12  “Kiss the Son…  Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”

Ps. 28:7  “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise Him.”

Ps. 35:9  “And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord: it shall rejoice in his salvation.”

Mt. 15:8  “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.”

Mt. 22:37  “Jesus said unto him, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.'”

Mk. 12:33  ”And to love Him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

Lk. 1:46-47  “And Mary said, ‘My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.'”

Jn. 4:23-24  “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him.  God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”

Acts 24:14  “But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:”

1 Cor. 14:25  “And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.”

2 Cor. 8:12  “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.”

Phil. 3:3  “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”

Phil. 4:4  “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.”


External Worship

Gen. 4:3-4  “…it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.  And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof.  And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering:”

Gen. 4:26  “…then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.”

Gen. 8:20  “And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.”

Gen. 12:7  “And the Lord appeared unto Abram…  and there builded he an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto Him.”

Gen. 24:26  “And the man bowed down his head, and worshipped the Lord.”

Ex. 15:1  “Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the Lord…”

Num. 9:12  “They shall leave none of it unto the morning, nor break any bone of it: according to all the ordinances of the passover they shall keep it.”

1 Chron. 15:16  “And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers with instruments of music, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy.”

Ps. 22:22  ” I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise Thee.”

Ps. 95:6  “O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker.”

Mt. 2:11  “And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped Him:”

Mt. 15:8  “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.”

Mt. 28:9  “And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.”

Lk. 4:16-19  “…and, as his custom was, He went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.  And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor…'”

Lk. 18:13  “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner.'”

Jn. 4:20  “Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.”

Jn. 12:20  “And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast:”

Acts 2:42  “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”

Acts 24:11  “Because that thou mayest understand, that there are yet but twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem for to worship.”

1 Cor. 14:25  “…and so falling down on his face he will worship God…”

Eph. 3:14  “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…”

Rev. 5:14  “And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.”





Ursinus, Zachary – The Sum of Christian Religion… (Oxford: Barnes, 1587), pt. 3, ‘Of the Law of God’

6. ‘How the Decalogue is Divided’, pp. 869-70
‘First Commandment’, p. 877

Polanus, Amandus – Substance of Christian Religion Soundly set forth in Two Books, by Definitions & Partitions…  (London, 1595), bk. 2

‘So much concerning the adjuncts of good works: their kinds follow’, pp. 189-91

‘…now concerning that which is both inward and outward’, pp. 196-99



Cartwright, Thomas – A Treatise of Christian Religion, or, the Whole Body & Substance of Divinity  (London, 1616), pp. 91-103

ch. 15, First Commandment
ch. 16, Second Commandment

Cartwright (c. 1535–1603) was an English, puritan and presbyterian preacher and theologian.

Wolleb, Johannes – Compendium of Christian Theology, bk. 2  in ed. John Beardslee, Reformed Dogmatics: J. Wollebius, G. Voetius & F. Turretin (1626; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1965)

ch. 3, ‘1st Commandment’, section (1), p. 197
ch. 4, ‘2nd, 3rd & 4th Commandments’, pp. 201-2
ch. 5, ‘2nd Commandment’, sections 1-2, pp. 202-5

Ames, William

bk. 2, ch. 5, sections 7-8  in The Marrow of Theology, ed. John Eusden (1639; Baker, 1997), p. 241

pp. 127-35  of ch. 12, ‘Concerning Worship’  in A Fresh Suit Against Human Ceremonies in God’s Worship  (Amsterdam: Thorp, 1633), Manuduction

Poole, Matthew – pp. 7-8  in Evangelical Worship is Spiritual Worship as it was Discussed in a Sermon  (London: Thomson, 1660)

Owen, John – A Brief Instruction in the Worship of God… (London, 1667)

Question 1, p. 4
Question 4, p. 11

Baxter, Richard – Directions 1-2  in pt. 3, ch. 2, ‘Directions about the Manner of Worship…’  in A Christian Directory…  (London: White, 1673), p. 680

Corbet, John – Of Divine Worship, in Three Parts  in The Remains of the Reverend & Learned Mr. John Corbet…  (London: Parkhurst, 1684), pp. 171-81

§ 1. Of Worship in General.
§ 2. Of Divine Worship in its more comprehensive Sense.
§ 3. Of Divine Worship in the stricter or narrower sense, and which is specially here intended.
§ 4. Divine Worship distinguished into internal and external.
§ 5. Divine Worship distinguished into Natural and Instituted. And first, of Natural Worship.
§ 6. Of Divine instituted Worship.
§ 7. Of Moral and Ceremonial Worship.
§ 8. The parts of Worship distinguished from the adjuncts or accidents thereof.
§. 9. Of those acts of Religion that are Moral Natural Worship.
§ 10. Of particular acts which are Natural Ceremonial Worship.
§ 11. Of External acts which by custom of the Age or Countrey express devotion in Worship.
§ 12. Of External acts, which by divine Institution, or the general custom of Nations, express Divine Honour.
§ 13. Of fasting, wearing of Sackcloth, or other vile apparel, lying in ashes, being barefoot, and the like austerities used in Gods Worship.

Corbet (1620-1680) was a congregationalist puritan who was ejected in 1662.  Richard Baxter said that he and Corbet never once “differed in any point of doctrine, worship, or government, ecclesiastical or civil, or ever had one displeasing word.”

Heidegger, Johann H. – Locus 25, ‘On External Worship…’, sections 1-2  in The Concise Marrow of Theology  (RHB, 2019), p. 177



Fentiman, Travis – pp. 74, 78-80, 83-84  in 1 Corinthians – Head-Coverings are Not Perpetual & they were Hair-Buns, with or without Cloth Material: Proven  (RBO, 2022)




John Calvin

Commentary on 1 Cor. 10, verse 14

“He certainly did not suspect the Corinthians of such a degree of ignorance or carelessness as to think that they worshipped idols in their heart.  But as they made no scruple of frequenting the assemblies of the wicked, and observing along with them certain rites instituted in honor of idols, he condemns this liberty taken by them, as being a very bad example.  It is certain, then, that when he here makes mention of idolatry, he, speaks of what is outward, or, if you prefer it, of the profession of idolatry.

For as God is said to be worshipped by the bending of the knee, and other tokens of reverence, while the principal and genuine worship of Him is inward, so is it also as to idols, for the case holds the same in things opposite.  It is to no purpose that very many in the present day endeavor to excuse outward actions on this pretext, that the heart is not in them, while Paul convicts of idolatry those very acts, and assuredly with good reason.

For, as we owe to God not merely the secret affection of the heart, but also outward adoration, the man who offers to an idol an appearance of adoration takes away so much of the honor due to God.  Let him allege as he may that his heart is quite away from it.  The action itself is to be seen, in which the honor that is due to God is transferred to an idol.”


William Bradshaw

A Treatise of Divine Worship…  (1604), ch. 1

“5. Divine worship is internal only or external also.  Internal worship is merely spiritual, and performed only within the temple of man’s heart, of which none are witnesses but God and a man’s own conscience.  All the inward motions of the heart directed unto God are parts of this worship, as faith, hope, confidence, love, fear and joy in God, etc. which are all of them diverse acts and parts of inward worship, in everyone of which God is honored.  All which spring from the apprehension of our own wants, and God’s infinite excellency and goodness towards us…

6. External worship is an expressing and setting forth of the internal by outward signs and rites: by which as by certain outward bodily shadows and colors the spiritual and inward worship of God is made visible and sensible to others.”





Zanchi, Girolamo – Of the Fall of the First Man, of Sin & of the Law in The Theological Works, vol. 4 (d. 1590; Stephanus Gamonetus, 1613)

 ch. 13, Of Religion & truly of Worship & its Parts

Thesis 1, ‘True religion, which is the same as [Greek] eusezeia, piety, is placed in, certainly, the true worship of God, both the external, yet most of all, the internal’, pp. 264-66

16. Of the External Worship of God  410

Question 1, Thesis 1.  Although God especially and per se takes pleasure in our internal piety, and certainly pious works, yet not from that thing, but what follows, because of that previous thing, He has even instituted exercises of piety, by which He wills from us worship  411

Question 2.  Whether external worship pertains to the law of nature, or to the ceremonial?  And hence how far those Christian men are bound, and how far they are not bound?

Thesis.  The external worship of God pertains partly to the law of nature unto all gentiles commonly, partly and properly to the specific religion of any people.

Question 3.  What is this external worship of God, and what are its parts?

Thesis 1.  The true worship [cultu] of God is an action proceeding from piety, by which acting from the Holy Spirit, God being adored by the highest reverence, we serve Him from his will revealed in the Word: presenting that which He offers to receive, believing his promises with certain faith, and presenting that which is stipulated from us, having been in turn promised, and which He enjoins, and all that to his glory, to the edification of the Church and our neighbor, and our salvation.  418

[Zanchi defines worship’s four causes in this section, the efficient, material, formal and end causes.]

Thesis 2.  The whole worship of God, by multifold partition, follows.  419

Thesis 3.  The external and ceremonial worship of God is a sacred action proceeding from piety, by which acting by the Holy Spirit, adoring God with the highest reverence, we serve Him from his will revealed in the Word, by words and deeds, receiving sacraments and offering sacrifices, to his glory, the edification of the Church and our salvation.  421

Of the Ceremonial Worship amongst the Jews  421

Of the Sacraments of the Jews  422
Of Circumcision  423
Of the Passover  423
Of the Sacrifices of the Jews  424
Of the Adjuncts of Worship, ie. of Sacred Things  428

Of the External Worship of the Christian Church, which has been laid down in the Sacraments  433

Of Baptism  437
Of the Lord’s Supper  444

Definition of the Supper  445
Explanation of the Definition  446

Of Christian Sacrifices  475

Question 4.  Whether it is lawful for Christians to worship God by other rites than what He has prescribed.  487

Thesis.  No other kind of external and ceremonial worship is permitted to worship God than that which itself is in the sacred letters for us to worship Him by and to serve Him.  488-98

17. Of the Corruptions of the External Part of True Worship  498-547

Thesis 1.  There are two primary corruptions by which in truth worship is defective: the contempt of external religion and by superstition.  494

Thesis 2.  Of Anti-Worship there are Five Species in All  495

Thesis 3.  Sacrilege properly pertains to Anti-Worship  497

Thesis 4.  Simony is a corruption and a sin diametrically fighting with religion, pertaining to anti-worship  498

Of Superstition  501

Thesis 5.  Superstition flows in two primary species: in idolatry and in will-worship  501-2



Junius, Francis – 39. ‘Of Worship [Adoratione]’, Theses 3 & 6  in Select Smaller Theological Works  ed. Abraham Kuyper  (d. 1602; Amsterdam, 1882), pp. 226-27

Polanus, Amandus

‘Worship’  in An Enchiridion of Theological Common Places…  5th ed.  (Basil, no date; 1589; 1596)

66. ‘Of the Internal & External Worship of God, & of that which is contrary to it…’  in The Divisions of Theology Framed according to a Natural Orderly Method  (Basil, 1590; Geneva, 1623), bk. 2, ‘Of Good Works’, pp. 267-90

cols. 3597-99  in A System of Theology  (Hanau, 1609; 1615), vol. 2, bk. 8, ch. 1




Related Pages


On the Definition of Worship

Natural vs. Instituted Worship

Expositions of the 1st Commandment

Expositions of the 2nd Commandment

Regulative Principle of Worship

Simplicity of Worship

Order of Worship & Liturgies


Expositions of the Ten Commandments

Natural Gestures & Customs in Worship; of Reverence

Worship by Distance through Technology

On Social Distancing & the Adaptation of the Church in a Time of Spreading Disease

Only One Kind of Religious Worship; Dulia to Saints is Idolatrous

Christian Worship: from the Synagogue, not the Temple

Distinguishable Aspects in the Elements of Worship

Impurities of Worship

Opinion of Sanctity & Necessity: Not Essential to False Worship

Modern Evangelical Worship

Romanist Worship