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But, wait. What is worship? What do we mean when we use the word? Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.) defines worship as “reverence offered a divine being” as well as the “act of expressing such reverence.” So, we are to show God reverence. But how? What acts demonstrate reverence for God? Does the Bible offer guidance? In Scripture, the Hebrew word for worship is shachah, meaning “to kneel, stoop, prostrate oneself, or throw oneself down, in reverence.” Closely related are the Hebrew words shabach, “to shout to the Lord”; yadah, “to worship with uplifted hands”; halal, “to celebrate God foolishly and boast about His attributes (love, mercy, goodness, etc.)”; and tehillah, “to sing spontaneous songs of praise.” In the Greek, the word for worship, proskuneo, means to express deep respect or adoration—by kissing, with words, or by bowing down. Associated words include epaineo, “to commend or applaud”; aineo, “to praise God”; and sebomai, “to revere.” That’s a lot of words, with diverse definitions. And these aren’t the only biblical terms that relate to worship. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance1 offers a wealth of information regarding the various words for worship and its synonyms. But how can we make all of this information relevant? When we tie all of these words and their meanings together, what does it all boil down to? Love. Deuteronomy 6:5 says, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (NKJV). Jesus repeated this command three times in the New Testament (Matt. 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27). Why? Because it’s what we were made for— to love God. And if we are in love with Him, we will naturally want to worship Him (shachah). He’s done so much for you and me that it only seems right to fall down before Him (cagad), to throw up our hands in surrender (yadah), to sing His praises (zamar)—to worship Him.

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Called to Worship  

An exploration of worship in the Scriptures, Dr. Whaley's new book is a resourceful tool for ministry professionals, as well as seminary stu...

Called to Worship  

An exploration of worship in the Scriptures, Dr. Whaley's new book is a resourceful tool for ministry professionals, as well as seminary stu...

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