Copyright 1990 by Bob Passantino.
Many times Christians will explain the deity of Christ regarding worship by appealing to those few verses in which the word “worship” (Greek proskuneo) is attributed to Jesus (VERSES). However, another way to approach the subject is to look at how the early church assumed that worship of Jesus was an ordinary part of Christian life, and that worship was the kind of worship due to the one true God alone.
First, Christians are defined in 1 Corinthians 1:2 as “those who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This phrase indicates prayer to Jesus was a normal practice in the early Christian Church. It must be remembered that to call on the name of the Lord was a regular Old Testament formula for worship and prayer offered to God (Gen. 4:26; 13:4; Ps. 105:1; Jer. 10:25; Joel 2:32).
Pliny, a Roman historian who wrote about A.D. 115 said Christians sang songs to Christ as God.
Paul reproduces the Aramaic formula, “Maranatha,” or “Our Lord, Come,” in 1 Corinthians 16:22. This one Aramaic phrase was evidently familiar to the Greek- speaking Corinthian Christians, indicating that the phrase had a long and sacred usage most likely dating from the early days of the Jerusalem Church.
In Acts 7 Stephen called on Jesus as he was being stoned to death for his faith. Paul in Romans 10:9-10 indicates what early Christians thought about Jesus. Christians’ worship can be shown by the fact that they were baptized into Christ (Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27).
A very important part of worship was the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 10:21; 11:20). The churches were called “the churches of Christ” (Rom. 16:16). What does Paul mean when he says the phrase “in Christ”? It at least means to put your faith in Christ, the one to whom the Christian owes his spiritual life (John 11:25; John 14:6; John 3:24; 6:40, 51).
The New Testament Church and its immediate successors undoubtedly understood, believed, and practiced as though Jesus Christ was the only true God, worthy of and entitled to the absolute spiritual worship of all believers.