Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (College of Philosophy and Theology)
Schools and Centres
Philosophy and Theology
Dr Peter Christofides
Dr Lawrence Pang
Since the creation of humankind, God interacts and communicates with them, blessing them to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and have dominion over the creation (Gen. 1:28). God provides clear instructions how to approach him and their surroundings. The method of approaching God is later called “worship.” Over a period of time, humans learned “worship” by themselves, without necessarily following the proper guidelines from God. As a consequence, certain form of worship displeased God. Later, God who became flesh in Jesus (John 1:14) set the rule for worship, that is, “in spirit and truth,” a phrase that is subject to various interpretations by biblical scholars.
A review of the scholarly literature on “worship in spirit and truth” shows considerable gaps due to an emphasis upon a certain word or words in the phrase. In regard to the contemporary literature, it appears that the vast majority of them are mainly concerned with a heartfelt devotion in the spiritual ecstatic manner or speaking in tongues. There is a sense that both forms of literature overlook the spiritual revelation contained within the literary and historical context of John 4:23-24. This research project, therefore, employs a historical-grammatical approach as the exegetical method, preferring to read the scriptural text with reference to its original context, genre, the rules of grammar, and historical background to understand the author’s intended message for its original recipient(s). In particular, this study analyses the selected passage by examining the individual terms “worship,” “spirit,” and “truth” in an attempt to understand the author’s intended meaning of the phrase “worship in spirit and truth.”
After careful analysis, this study concludes that “worship in spirit and truth” means worshiping the Father by individuals who are sealed with the promised indwelling spirit – the Paraclete upon believing Jesus as “the Saviour.” The Paraclete who is also the Spirit of truth then continues revealing the truth in the lives of such individuals who love and obey Jesus Christ because Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life that no one can access the Father except through him (John 14:6).
Sunthang, S. (2020). Historical – Grammatical analysis of worship in spirit and truth (Doctor of Philosophy (College of Philosophy and Theology)). University of Notre Dame Australia. https://researchonline.nd.edu.au/theses/293