A Series on the Biblical Theology of Worship

A series that will seek to pursue a biblical theology of worship by seeking to address the following:

  • WHO are called true worshipers?
  • WHAT is true worship?
  • WHEN does true worship occur?
  • WHERE does true worship occur?
  • WHY are we called to true worship?
  • HOW do we worship in spirit and truth?

Pursuing a Biblical Definition of Worship

A biblical survey of the theology of worship has encouraged the following working definition as a concise reflection of the most encompassing essence of true worship:

Reverential response, in heart and practice, to the truth of God as revealed by God, to ascribe to Him the worth due Him, by glorifying His person and work

Resources

Sermons in this Series

1. A Call for True Worshipers (65 minutes) Who & Why

  • Introduction & overview
  • Why should we worship?

2. Who are True Worshipers? (21 minutes) Who & Why

  • Who are true worshipers?
  • What does the Bible say about the person who intends to worships?

3. Drawing Near to God (57 minutes) What & Why

  • A deeper examination of the meaning of true worship
  • Biblical examples and contrasts

4. Worship in Sacred Space & Time (66 minutes) When, Where, & Why

  • What is sacred space and time?
  • What is the difference between worshiping in church and in daily life?
  • Is there a difference between OT and NT worship?

5. Moods and Modes of Worship (28 minutes) What, When, Where, & Why

  • In what ways do I express worship?
  • How should I feel in worship?
  • What does true worship touch on in my life?

6. Life of Service to Christ as Worship (18 minutes) How, When, Where & Why

  • Where does worship fit into my daily life?
  • How should I view my vocational and family responsibilities?

7. Worship in Difficult Circumstances (19 minutes)How, When & Why

  • How do we worship in the face of tragedy?
  • How do we worship when we do not feel like it?
  • Where does my life circumstances fit into my worship?

8. Expressing God’s Worth in Music (Part 1) (55 minutes)How & Why

  • How does worship relate to music?
  • What part does music play in worship?
  • How important is music in worship?

9. Expressing God’s Worth in Music (Part 2) (74 minutes) How & Why

  • What music should we do in church?
  • What is the difference between hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs?
  • What is the biblical emphasis for worship through music?

Idols of Worship (2.5 minutes)What potential dangers do we face in planning for worship?

Synopsis of Worship (1.5 minutes) A summary conclusion in less than two minutes

The Meaning of “Worship”

The purpose and end for which God created all things, is to bring glory to God. For intelligent creatures, the supreme means of bringing glory to God is defined as worship. The word ‘worship’ “derives from Old English weorthscipe (‘worth-ship’), that is, worthiness, dignity, or merit, thus the recognition accorded or due to someone, the paying of homage or respect. In the religious world the term is used for the reverent devotion, service, or honor paid to God, whether public or individual.” Worship is the “expression of reverence and adoration of God.” It is “homage rendered to God which it is sinful (idolatry) to render to any created being (Ex 34:14; Isa 2:8).” Worship is “both spiritual and visible, private and public, by individuals, families, and communities, is not only a self-evident duty for all who believe in God, but is abundantly commanded in his word.” A well stated expression of the meaning of worship has been given as:

Worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of the conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of mind with His truth; the purifying of the imagination by His beauty; the opening of the heart to His love; the surrender of will to His purpose – and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable, and therefore the chief remedy of that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin.

In summary, the most lucid meaning of the English word ‘worship’ is “to attribute worth, thus suggesting that to worship God is to ascribe to him supreme worth.”

We must not merely look to the English word to grasp the biblical meaning, however. The following outlines an exhaustive study on the terms used in the original biblical languages which are commonly rendered ‘worship’ or are used in contexts of expressing worship.

Worship words in the Bible

Hebrew

Relational Expressions (honor)

  • hishtahawa – “to prostrate oneself, proclaim long life of a king” (over 170x in OT)
  • qadad – “to bow low, kneel down in homage” (Ex. 34:8; 1 Sam 24:9; etc.)
  • qara – “to bow down, crouch, fall to one’s knees, kneel down in reverence” (Esth. 3:2; Ps. 22:30; 95:6; etc.)
  • barak – “to kneel” (Ps. 95:6; 2 Chr. 6:13; etc.)
  • sagad – “to prostrate oneself, pay homage” (Dan. 3:5, 6, 7, etc.)
  • kapap – “to bow down, bend one’s head” (Mic 6:6; Isa 58: 5; Ps 57: 7; 69: 11; 145:14; 146:8)
  • napal – “to fall down” (Ruth 2:10; 1 Sam 20:41; 2 Sam 1:2; 14:4; 2 Kgs 4:37; 2 Chr 20:18; Job 1:20)

Liturgical Expressions (service)

  • abad – “to serve, work for another” (Ex 3:12; 4:23; 7:16, 26; 10:26; etc.)
  • sērēt – “to minister, serve” (Ex 30:20; Num 4:12; 1 Chr 6:17; 16:4; 2 Chr 24:14; etc.)
  • kihēn – “to perform the duties of a priest, act as priest” (Ex 28:1; 29:1; 30:30; 31:10; 35:19; etc.)

Dispositional Expressions

  • yarē – “to be afraid, stand in awe, fear” (Josh 24:24; 2 Kgs 17:3, 35, 41; etc.) (435x in OT)
  • gur – “to be afraid of” (Ps 22:23; 33:8)

Greek

Relational Expressions (honor)

  • proskyneo – “to prostrate oneself, to worship” (Matt. 4:10; John 4:20, 21, 22, 23, 24; 1 Cor. 14:25; etc.)
  • pipto – “to fall down” (Matt. 18:29; Rev. 5:14; etc.)
  • gonuptein – “to kneel” (Matt. 17:14; Mark 15:19; etc.)
  • klino – “to bow, bend” (John 19:30; Luke 24:5; etc.)
  • sebazomai – “to show reverence, venerate, honor religiously” (Rom 1:25)

Liturgical Expressions (service)

  • douleuō – “to serve, obey” (Matt 6:24; Act 20:19; Rom 7:6; 25; 12:11; 1 Thess 1:9; etc.)
    • Worship to Christ (Rom 14:18; 16:18; Col 3:24; etc.)
    • Ministry in the Church (Gal 5:13; Phil 2:22; etc.)
  • latreuō – “to serve, minister, officiate as carrying out religious duties in a spirit of worship”
    (Matt 4:10; Act 24:14; 27:23; Rom 1:9; Phil 3:3; 2 Tim 1:3; Heb 9:14; 12:28; etc.)

    • administer sacrifices (Heb 8:5; 9:9; 10:2; 13:10)
    • minister in prayer and praise (Lu 2:37; Acts 26:7; Rev 7:15; 22:3)
    • minister in temple duties (Heb 9:1, 6)
  • leitourgeō – “to perform public services in the duties of a priest” (Lu 1:23; Rom 15:16; Heb 10:11; etc.)
  • diakonia – “to serve God in a special way task, office, ministry” (Acts 20:24; Rom 12:7; 1 Tim 1:12; etc.)
  • therapeuō – “to render service or homage, serve” (Act 17:25)
  • hierateō – “to minister, officiate as priest” (Lu 1:8)
  • thrēskos – “religious service or worship” (Act 26:5; Col 2:18)

Dispositional Expressions

  • phobos – “fear” (Matt 14:27; etc.)
  • eulabēs – “God-fearing, devout, awe” (Lk 2:25; Act 2:5; 8:2; 22:12; Heb 12:28)
  • sebomai – “to fear, to feel awe” (Matt 15:9; Act 16:14; 18:7, 13; etc.)

Activities of corporate worship in Scripture:

  • Praise and adoration (Ps. 33:2–3; 51:14; 59:16; 89:1; 119:172; etc.)
  • Thanksgiving (Ps. 50:14, 23; 95:2; 100:4; 107; 136; 140:13; Eph. 5:20; Col. 3:17; 1 Thess 5:18; 1 Tim. 2:1; Heb. 13:15)
  • Confession (Lev. 26:40–42; Neh. 9:2; Prov. 28:13; Acts 19:18; James 4:7; 5:16; 1 John 1:9)
  • Prayer (Matt. 21:13; Acts 2:42; 6:4; Eph. 6:18; Col. 4:2; 1 Thess. 5:17; 1 Tim. 2:8)
  • Intercession (2 Cor. 11:1; 1 Thess. 5;25; 1 Tim. 2:1; James 5:14–16)
  • Ordinance of baptism (Matt. 28:19; Acts 2:38; 10:38; 19:5; Gal. 3;27; Col. 2:12)
  • Ordinance of the Lord’s Supper (Matt. 26:26–29; Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 11:23–26)
  • Giving (Acts 2:45; 11:29; 1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 9:5–7; Phil. 4:16–17; 1 Tim. 6:17–19)
  • Reading of Scripture (Exodus 24:7; Deut. 31:11; Neh. 8:1–6; Luke 4:16; Col. 4:16; 1 Thess. 5:27; 1 Tim. 4:13; Rev. 1:3)
  • Instruction in the Word (Acts 2:42; Rom. 10:14–15; 1 Tim. 4:13; 5:17; 2 Tim. 3:16; 4:2)
  • Application of the Word (Neh. 8:7–8; 2 Cor. 10:11; 2 Tim. 3:16; 4:2; Heb. 4:2)
  • Fellowship, discipleship, and the exercise of spiritual gifts (Matt. 28:19; Acts 2:42, 46; 1 Cor. 12:7; Gal 2:9; Eph. 4:11–12; Phile. 1:6; Heb. 10:25; 1 John 1:3–4)
  • Church discipline (Matt. 18:15–20; 1 Cor. 5:13)