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The normal Christian life is a life of moment by moment worship. Along with the day to day life, believers come together in assembly to worship in a formal way. This kind of worship is not restricted to music or even worship team led “worship.” The teaching of God’s word, prayer, giving, the Lord’s table, biblical music, and water baptism all are biblical worship.


  • Worship in the modern world has lost touch with God and God’s revelation of himself.
    • Many churches today have only form or some kind of ritual without meaning. Many people believe that worship is only in church and then only with appropriate windows, lighting, music, or formal reading of the Bible.
    • Some churches reject any personal emotion and try to be only cerebral or academic.
    • Many churches are driven by emotion. People want emotional activity that they claim is God centered, but is actually man centered.
    • Worship is a balance of thinking based on God’s revelation expressed with controlled emotion, both of which combine to honor God.
    • The history of Israel teaches us that mankind is drawn to worship someone or something, and when God’s revelation is rejected the object can be anything. Israel worshiped idols of gold or silver or wood even though God had revealed himself to them (Exodus 32:1-10; Isaiah 40:18-20; Acts 7:42-43).
  • What, then, is worship? Worship is submission to and recognition of God and his greatness based on His revelation and it takes place anywhere and anytime. Worship is a way of life, with concentrated times of worship when assembled believers respond to the Lord through Bible teaching, service, singing, giving, and the Lord's Table. The Psalms give a picture of Israel in assembly worshipping the Lord. This is formal worship. In the Psalms we see God has revealed himself in some way and the people respond to his revelation by trusting him, by thanking him, by praising him with word and song, and by reciting what he has done for them.
    • Worship is an inner or human spirit activity (in spirit, John 4:24) with outer expression. Worship must be genuine (in truth in John 4:24). Worship is anywhere and anytime. Worship is listening with faith to the Lord speak through His word then faith application of the learned doctrine in assembly and throughout life. Worship is also music that is led by God’s revelation of himself and his work. Formal worship occurs mostly in assembly with other believers.
    • Genuine worship is based upon God's self revelation to mankind (Psalm 138.2 and throughout the Psalms). In this verse, the words “according to” come from the Hebrew preposition al. This preposition here means based on or on account of. The preposition has a range of meanings: upon and hence on the ground of, according to, on account of, on behalf of, concerning, beside, in addition to, together with, beyond, above, over, by onto, towards, to against. Jeremiah 7:2 and John 9:38 illustrate that revelation from God and about God is the basis for worship of God.
    • Worship is often mentioned in the Bible in connection with a group, the tabernacle, the temple, around God's throne, and in assembly of believers (Genesis 22.5; Exodus 24.1; Isaiah 27.13; Psalm 5.7; Psalm 29.2; Psalm 99.9; Isaiah 27.13; Daniel 3.18-28; Zechariah 14.16; Matthew 2.2; Matthew 4.9; John 12.20; Acts 8.27; Acts 24.11; 1 Corinthians 14.25; Hebrew 1.6; Revelation 4.10; Revelation 11.1; Revelation 14.7).
    • Genuine worship is an application of the Word of God, but wrong application or refusal to listen to the Word of God will produce false worship (Jeremiah 13.10; Matthew 15.5-9; Mark 7.7).
    • Doctrine and mental attitude define the form of worship. There is flexibility. Culture and frame of reference will influence the form. The book of Hebrews illustrates a form true at one time that has been abandoned. Old Testament sacrifices were no longer proper forms of worship.
  • From the Psalms, Matthew 14:33, John 4.20-24, and Ephesians 5:18-21 we can draw some principles about worship.
    • Not related to one particular place.
    • God is the object of worship. Faith or belief in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is God.
    • In spirit and so a spiritual, not a physical activity. The inner person worships. This is the activity of the human spirit and the soul.
    • In truth means it must be genuine.
    • Requires revelation from God. In John 4 the revelation was about the Messiah. The word of God in your soul and spirit. Worship must arise from God's self revelation found in the Bible. Scripture that speaks of worship and praise of God relate that worship to God’ revelation.
      • God wants His own to worship Him.
      • The Holy Spirit. Genuine worship depends on the ministry of the Holy Spirit as Ephesians 5 demonstrates.
      • Submission to God and His Word in all of life—faith acceptance and application.
  • The word “worship” is found 112 times in 107 verses the New American Standard Bible. The word “worshiped” is found 50 times in 49 verses.
    • The idea of worship is brought out in two main words found in the Bible and ancient life.
      • The Hebrew word is chavah, in histachava form. See the newer studies such as TWOT number 619, as opposed to BDB and Strong which incorrectly  related the word to shacha (BDB 1005). The verb occurs 170 times. One example is Nehemiah 8:6. In all but two cases in the LXX this form was translated by proskunew.  It means to bow, prostrate oneself, make obeisance, bend low.
      • The Greek word is proskunew. Note TWOT 1.267ff; TDOT 4.248ff; TDNT 6.758ff. Proskunew from 4314 and a probable derivative of 2965 (meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master's hand); TDNT - 6:758,948.
        • To kiss the hand to (towards) one, in token of reverence.
        • Among the Orientals, esp. the Persians, to fall upon the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence.
        • In the NT by kneeling or prostration to do homage (to one) or make obeisance, whether in order to express respect or to make supplication.
        • It is also used of homage shown God, Christ, angels, and demons.
      • Both words emphasize to prostrate oneself before God or one in authority. This prostration indicated submission. In most cases the outer act showed the inner attitude.
      • The Bible adds that this must be an inner activity (that is a human spirit activity, not just body function), and that it must be done truthfully (that is arising from truth) (John 4.23-24).
      • 4.1.5.   Another Greek word sometimes translated worship is latreuw, which means service to God or gods (Acts 7.7, 42; 24.14; Romans 1.9, 25; Philippians 3.3; Hebrews 8.5).
  • Who or what did people worship?
    • Worship of God: Genesis 22.5; Exodus 4.31; Psalm 22.27; 29.2; Isaiah 27.13; Matthew 2.2; 14:33; John 4.20-24; 9.38; Acts 8.27; 10.25; 24.11; 1 Corinthians 14.25; Hebrews 1.6; Revelation 4.10.
    • Worship of idols and false gods: Exodus 20.5; Isaiah 44.17; Acts 7.43).
    • Worship of Satan and demons:  (Matthew 4.9; Luke 4.7; Revelation 9.20; 13.4-12).
  • Assembly worship includes people together, the right attitude, God’s word, singing, giving, prayer, and the Lord’s Table.
    • Assembly of people to participate in worship through ministry (John 12.20; Acts 24.11; 1 Corinthians 14.25).
    • One’s attitude and reason for doing things (1 Corinthians 10.31; Romans 12.1-2; Colossians 3:23).
    • Bible teaching (Psalm 25.5; Psalm 86.11; John 4.24; 2 Timothy 3.16).
    • Singing (Psalm 29; Psalm 33.1-5; Revelation 4.8-11; 5.9-14; 15.3-5).
    • Giving to the Lord (Matthew 2.11).
    • Prayer is demonstrated when believers gathered and talked to the Lord as in the Psalms, Acts, and Revelation.
    • Observance of the Lord's Table (Submission through ritual remembering and proclamation of His person and work, 1 Corinthians 11.23-26).
  • The so what? of worship is that our entire lives are to be lived in faith, in the Spirit, governed by God’s revelation, and in recognition of him and his acts.
    • We are to live our whole lives in worship (Ephesians 4.1; Colossians 1.10; 1 Thessalonians 2.12). The word “worship” is not used in these verses, but the call to live in a way that recognizes God and is worthy of God means that we live according to his revelation of himself and his acts. That is worship.
    • Since the whole church service is worship, then explicit or formal worship happens every time believers correctly assembly in church.
    • In both day to day worship and formal worship, our lives should be characterized by submission to God and His Word, by following the Lord, by biblical enthusiasm for God, the Bible, and service, and by listening to the Lord speak through his Word and saying yes to Him with definite plans to make application.
    • When looking for a Biblical pattern for worship, we need to be careful about copying Israel. Remember that Israel was a physical, visible, ritual oriented people. The church is an invisible, world wide gathering of believers. Yet God is the same; his truth is the same; believers always serve Him; and God wants believers to live by faith.
    • In conclusion, we see that the normal Christian life is a life of moment by moment worship. Along with the day to day life, believers come together in assembly to worship in a formal way. This kind of worship is not restricted to music or even worship team led “worship.” The teaching of God’s word, prayer, giving, the Lord’s table, biblical music, and water baptism all are biblical worship.
    • Let’s all worship God in spirit and in truth.

Last Update

Wednesday, April 4, 2007