Topic(s): Bible Study, Worship

Todd Clippard

Many misuse Matthew 18:20 to teach that where two or more are gathered in the name of Christ, He is present with them in worship. While I believe Jesus is present with us in worship, this verse does not teach it. Neither does this verse teach the necessity of two or more persons being present for worship to take place. In the context, it teaches the presence and authority of Christ when unrepentant brethren are withdrawn from by the church.
The following passages show that one man may worship by himself.

Consider Genesis 24:26, 48, 52 where Abraham’s servant worshipped alone on two occasions (vv 26, 52–v 48 is a re-telling of the event of v 26).

In Exodus 4:31, the people of Israel are spoken of as worshipping collectively. I mention this because the Hebrew word translated “worshipped” in both cases is the same Hebrew word (shachah = pronounced shaw-khaw’ Strong’s #7812). Both are also translated proskuneo in the Septuagint. Proskuneo (Strong’s #4352) is the primary Greek word used for worship in the New Testament.

Moses worshipped alone on the mountain in Exodus 34:8.

Gideon worshipped alone in Judges 7:15.

Saul is mentioned as worshipping alone in 1 Samuel 15:31.

David worshipped alone (must to the surprise and confusion of his servants) in 2 Samuel 12:20. See also 2 Samuel 15:32.

In the New Testament:

There are many accounts of individuals worshipping Jesus in the New Testament. The leper worshipped Jesus in Matthew 8:2, as did Jairus in Matthew 9:18 (cf. Matthew 15:25; John 9:38).

Common sense tells us this is the case. We are commanded to worship God on the Lord’s Day. If I were traveling alone and was away from a congregation of God’s people on the Lord’s Day, I would not be relieved of my obligation to worship God on that day.

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