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Worship Definition: First Worship in The Bible

First Worship in The Bible

It is not difficult to define Worship. It could take forever to try. However, I will try to keep it short.

Simply put, Worship is a way to declare the greatness or excellence of someone or something.

It’s the act of giving up your glory in order to let everyone know that the object being worshiped is awesome.

It can be summarized even better: Worship is bowing down in order to lift up.

Worship has come to be defined in Christian circles as a specific type of music. It can be heard on the radio, and it fills the musical portion of church services. Music is an instrument that many Worship, and it’s the right way to worship. But music is not worshiping in all its entirety. Let’s not consider a slice of pizza the entire pie.

Worship can include any act that honors God. Romans 12:1 says, “Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies to God as a living sacrifice holy and pleasing to God–this will be your true and proper worship.” (NIV).

He says again in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So whether or not you eat or drink, do it all to the glory of God.” (NIV). I love the idea that eating can be Worship.

How else can the Bible define Worship? Continue reading.

The Bible’s Worship Definition

The King James Version’s first mention of the word “worship” is in Gen 22:5 when Abraham instructed his servants that he would worship on the mountain alongside Isaac.

shachah is the Hebrew word that the patriarch uses, meaning to bow down.

The Hebrew word appears before this translational event. shachah first appears in Gen 18:2.

This passage shows God appearing to Abraham as three people in the desert. Abraham recognized his God. King James interprets the word, in this case, more literally. It reads that Abraham “ran to greet them and received them, bowing to the ground.”

When meeting with God, bowing down seems like the right action. Bowing down and kneeling, or “sucking the carpet”, as my senior pastor calls it, are appropriate responses to God’s presence.

Genesis 4:3-4 reveals another aspect of Worship if I continue this word study. This verse states that Cain and Abel brought their offering to God – the Hebrew word minchah –to Him. This word can be translated as a gift, offering, present, or tribute.

Leviticus uses the word 40 times when it describes how to offer sacrifice to God.

According to our quick OT study, Here’s another definition of Worship: To honor God, bow down, and give up/lay down something you love.

(Side note: Cain might not have considered Cain’s offer necessary. God rejected it because it was not a sacrifice worth making.

You may be thinking, “I’m not a big fan of the OT.” What does the NT have to say about Worship?

It’s almost the exact same thing. You know that the OT and NT are both parts of one book.

Matthew 2:2 marks the first appearance of “worship” in the KJV New Testament. Herod was told by the wise men that they had come to worship – The new King.

The NT is written in Greek and not Hebrew. According to Strong’s Lexicon, this Greek word means “to fall on the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as a deep expression of reverence.” This sounds a lot like the Hebrew word for “to fall upon the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence.”

These are just a few examples of where this word appears in the NT:

  • If Jesus worships Satan, he will offer Jesus the whole world (Luke 4;8)
  • After Peter and Jesus have walked on the Sea of Galilee, the disciples worship Jesus. (Mat 14 33)
  • Lepers and their grieving families ask Jesus to heal incurable illnesses and raise the dead. (Matthew 8;2; Matthew 9,18).
  • They mockingly bow down as Jesus is beaten by the soldiers. (Mar 15, 19)

Certain bowing to worship is a thread through both the old and the new testaments.

What did Jesus mean by Worship?

What is True Worship? John 4:20-24 may be the most explicit definition Jesus gave of Worship in the Bible.

This could be the most widely-read scripture on Worship. Yet, many people are left wondering.

Jesus said, “But the hour has come, and now it is when true worshippers will worship the Father with spirit and truth; for He is seeking such worshipers.” (NKJV).

What does it mean to worship in spirit, truth, and love?

Let’s take each word one at a time.

Worshipping in Spirit

Jesus said that God is a Spirit, and we should worship him with spirit. (John 4:24).

I will go Greek on you once more. The English word spirit is equivalent to the Greek pneuma, which means a gentle blow of wind. Christ does not refer to the wind.

He is referring to an invisible force like the wind, the spirit of God, or the Holy Spirit. This means that God can be everywhere and do everything around you, even if you don’t see him.

The same word can be used to describe man’s spirit. His essence is separate from his body and determines his actions, decisions, will. It’s not surprising that we are made in God’s image. Our spirit is currently contained in an enclosure. God’s is not.

Let’s go back to Earth for a moment. We have a spirit, and God is also a spirit. How can we worship him in spirit form?

According to me, worshiping God in spirit means connecting with God on an extra-physical level. Worship does not need to be about rituals, traditions, or a particular building. Worship does not have to be based on rehearsed songs or prayers, corporate or individual. They can be used as vehicles for Worship but are not necessary.

It should be possible to worship in prisons or megachurches.

There is no external force that can stop the Worship of the spirit.

It is a response to God’s presence that involves wholehearted, unrestrained adoration.

2 Samuel 6 is a good example of pure Worship in the Bible. David leaped and danced as he brought the Ark of the Covenant into the City. His exuberant displays were ridiculed by his wife. This is Worship in spirit. This is a heartfelt, unscripted and unhindered connection with God.

Worshipping in Truth

It is not difficult to see the meaning of Truth in Greek. It is the same as English.

Worshipping in truth is the same as worshiping in spirit. Fake it or ulterior motives are not acceptable. You will find more onion when you remove a layer of the onion. True worshippers will also be consistent throughout the process.

Jesus said that God seeks out true worshippers. It is exciting to know that God will pursue you if your Worship is true and spirit.

It is not an easy task to define Worship.

This effort to define one word turned out to be quite the tour de force. You are a true worshipper if you have read it all. I am very proud of you.

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