One of my favorite books is David Peterson’s Engaging with God: A Biblical Theology of Worship (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1992). In this book, Peterson traces the concept of worship through the Old and New Testaments.
In one chapter (“Serving God in the Assembly of His People”), he discusses the connection between worship and the meeting of the church. This section is called “Edification and the gathering of the church”. Primarily, Peterson finds that worship terminology is not used in connection with the church meeting. What does he find?
Paul regularly uses the terminology of upbuilding or edification, rather than the language of worship, to indicate the purpose and function of Christian gatherings (e.g. 1 Cor. 14:3, 4, 5, 12, 17, 26; 1 Thes. 5:11; Eph. 4:11-16). ‘Building’ terminology is closely connected with the idea of the church as the temple of God, but it can also be applied without any specifically cultic allusions to the work of God in establishing believing communities (e.g. 1 Cor. 3:9-10; Rom. 15:20). Indeed, the concept of the church as the body of Christ sometimes flows together with that of the house or the dwelling of God, so that the language of construction is linked to that of a living organism. (pg. 206)
As I study the meeting of the church, I find scholars primarily agree with Peterson on this point: the purpose of the church meeting in the New Testament is upbuilding or edification. I wonder why the church at large fails to recognize this?