Family worship is serious business. It is indispensable to your family’s spiritual health and growth in Christ. It is also a means of God’s grace; whereby He reveals Himself to your family in a powerful way. This is why I’m thankful for Family Worship: In the Bible, In History, and In Your Home by Dr. Donald Whitney. This book is only sixty-seven pages and includes helpful discussion questions.
This book isn’t a treatise that describes everything that you can do in family worship. Nor is it a thorough treatment of all the biblical passages. Think of Family Worship as a helpful guide to get you started engaging in family worship.
Dr. Whitney in chapter one explores family worship in the Bible explaining how the story of the Bible teaches family worship from Moses to Jesus and Jesus to His Apostles. In chapter two, the author looks at men like Tertullian, John Knox, Martin Luther, The Westminster Confession, the London Baptist Confession of 1689, along with what the English Puritans and men like Charles Spurgeon, Lloyd-Jones, and John Piper have taught about family worship.
Chapter three is where we get into the practical “how-to” of the book. Here Dr. Whitney makes three points about how to do family worship: first, read the Bible, second, pray together, and finally sing together. He doesn’t stop here though and encourages you if you have time to catechize, memorize Scripture, and read other books. He concludes this chapter with an encouragement to have a regular and consistent time that you do family worship, and finally, to be flexible. Chapter four helps us to understand that every family is unique and, therefore, each family’s engagement of family worship will be unique. The final chapter of the book calls readers to action to engage in family worship for the purpose of building up their family in the faith.
On both sides of my family, I have two great grandfathers who were pastors. What is sad is instead of focusing on their family and having a balance between their home life and ministry, they instead sacrificed their family on the altar of ministry. As Christian men, we’ve been called to lovingly lead our families.
As men, we need books like one by Donald Whitney. Many men are failing in their God-given responsibilities to lovingly lead their families in the Word, in prayer, and in singing. This is why I’m deeply encouraged by this book. If every man got a hold of the content in this short book and applied it to their lives, we would see marriages healed, and a lot of other significant changes in our land. This shift would be multi-generational in that it would impact generations not only in the present but into the future. This is the kind of change that we need, change that is centered not on man’s opinion but on God’s Word, on His gospel, that is pro-family, reflecting godly values, and helps us to train our spouses and families in the Word of the Lord.
I highly recommend this book and believe reading it will help you to begin to get a taste of what family worship is about and how to begin engaging it in the life of your family.
Dave Jenkins is happily married to Sarah Jenkins. He is a writer, editor, and speaker living in beautiful Southern Oregon. Dave is a lover of Christ, His people, the Church, and sound theology. He serves as the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, the Host and Producer of Equipping You in Grace Podcast, and is a contributor to and producer of Contending for the Word. He is the author of The Word Explored: The Problem of Biblical Illiteracy and What To Do About It (House to House, 2021) and The Word Matters: Defending Biblical Authority Against the Spirit of the Age (G3 Press, 2022). You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, or read his newsletter. Dave loves to spend time with his wife, going to movies, eating at a nice restaurant, or going out for a round of golf with a good friend. He is also a voracious reader, in particular of Reformed theology, and the Puritans. You will often find him when he’s not busy with ministry reading a pile of the latest books from a wide variety of Christian publishers. Dave received his M.A.R. and M.Div through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.