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Bible Basics

For Smart People
Who Do Not Want To Be Dummies
About God and the Bible

(Parts I, II, III)
By J. George Cover

Lesson 18 - What About Worship? (Text Version)

Scripture References: Hebrews 2:12; John 4:20-24

The first of the Ten Commandments was: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Exodus 20:30). In Deuteronomy 6:13, it says "Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name." Jesus stated these matters in the positive tone: "THOU SHALT WORSHIP THE LORD THY GOD AND HIM ONLY SHALT THOU SERVE" (Matthew 4:10).

The fourth commandment is "REMEMBER THE SABBATH DAY, TO KEEP IT HOLY" (Exodus 20:8).

Definition of Worship

Hebrew = There are mainly three words (segad, abad, shachah) with somewhat similar meanings = to bow down to, do obeisance, to serve.
Greek = Two words (latreuo and proskun) are used in most passages. Four other words are used once each. Latreuo = do homage to; worship publicly. Proskun = to kiss (the hand) toward, something like a dog licking its master's hand.
English = worth-ship. Devotional act in honor of deity; religious exercises; to perform service to God; to adore; loving or admiring devotion. "Your worship," a term of respect applied to magistrates.

Physical and Spiritual Worship

All of the above Hebrew and Greek words indicate something done physically. However, Jesus said "God is a Spirit and the true worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth. Many today go through physical acts of worship but do not worship in spirit. Our spirit is dead in trespasses and sin before we are born again. When we get saved, we are given spiritual life. God gives us His Spirit, so that we can worship God "in truth and in Spirit."
Although God requires us to worship with our spirit, he also wants us to express that worship physically and publicly as well.

Old Testament Worship

There are recorded instances of worship where the word "worship" is not used. Examples of this are:

  1. Cain and Abel each brought an offering unto the Lord. We would assume that this was in worship, at least on the part of Abel.
  2. After the great flood, Noah budded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart... " (Genesis 9:20-21).
  3. When Abraham came into Canaan, the promised land, he built altars at various places at various times (Genesis 12:6-9; Genesis 15:9-12).
  4. The tabernacle and the various offerings which God ordained when Israel came out of Egypt were for the purpose of worship.
  5. David had the ark of God brought up to Jerusalem from the house of Obed-edom. David sacrificed oxen and fatlings. David danced before the Lord with all his might. "David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. They brought in the ark of the Lord and set it in his place, in the midst of the tabernacle that David had pitched for it: and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. And as soon as David had made an end of offering burnt offerings and peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts" (2 Samuel 6:12-19). It sounds like worship, although the word worship is not used.

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