What Does Worship Really Mean?
I have been hearing for years that worship doesn’t mean a literal meaning, but I figurative one. I would like for you to be the judge on this one.
Webster dictionary describes worship as to honor or reverence as a divine being or supernatural power, and to perform or take part in worship.
Before the 12th century and from Old English, this word was spelled as “weorthscipe;” worthiness, respect, from weorth means worthy, and the last part, -scipe, means ship. At the beginning of the 13th century, it was changed to “worshipe.” Why so must attend to the spelling of worship? I guess it was the value of the term worth coming from Old English usage. It has expressed how you see things, or what is deserving of our attention.
In scriptures, the word “worship” is used at random to refer to the homage, given to idols, materials things, or the only true God. The Greek word most often translated “worship” is proskuneo, meaning “to kiss, make obeisance, reverence.” Strong’s defines it as “to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore).” The picture of being prostrate or bowed down is often associated with worship. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for “worship” is shachah, defined as “to depress, i.e. prostrate (especially reflexive, in homage to royalty or God).” This word is also translated in the Authorized Version as “bow down, crouch, fall down, humbly beseech, do obeisance, do reverence, make to stoop, worship.”
Bowing and worshipping go hand in hand in many verses in the Bible. Satan tries to get our Savior to “fall down and worship” him, but Jesus angrily replies, “Away with you, Satan! . . . ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve’” (Matthew 4:9-10). David urges us to “worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD our Maker” (Psalm 95:6). When Abraham’s servant sees how well God has blessed his quest to find a wife for Isaac, “he worship[s] the LORD, bowing himself to the earth” (Genesis 24:52).
When Job hears the horrific news of the total loss of everything he once enjoyed, including all his children, he does what many would consider an unusual thing: “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshipped” (Job 1:20). What an example of faith!
After Solomon dedicates the new Temple to God in prayer, the people worship: “When all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD on the temple, they bowed their faces to the ground on the pavement, and worshiped and praised the LORD” (II Chronicles 7:3). The same acts of worship are repeated in King Hezekiah’s day, as “all who were present with him bowed and worshiped” (II Chronicles 29:29).
Acts of worship like this often occur in heaven itself: “And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sat on the throne, saying, ‘Amen! Alleluia!’” (Revelation 19:4).
What would we think of a worship service where every person present bowed down so low that their faces touched the ground? Would this feel right? Would we be comfortable doing it? Would we believe this to be “overboard”? Yet that is often how our forefathers in Israel worshipped God.
Praise and Worship Bible Study Lessons for Personal Use Only.
We strongly recommend that you look up each reference of the Holy Scriptures from your own Bible. (We recommend using one of the following translations: King James, New King James, American Standard, New American Standard, or Amplified).
Lesson 7 Quiz Questions
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Suggest Book: The Beginner’s Guide to Praise and Worship by Gary Kinnaman
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