© 1999 James A. Fowler

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I. Biblical words for "worship"

    A. Hebrew word shachah - "bowing down before an object of honor"
         Neh. 8:6 - Israelites "bowed low and worshipped the Lord"
         Ps. 95:6 - "let us worship and bow down"
    B. Hebrew word abad - "service or work for God"
         Deut. 6:13 - "fear the Lord your God and worship Him"
         Ps. 2:11 - "Worship the Lord with reverence"
    C. Hebrew word segid - "showing respect" or "doing homage"
         Dan. 3:5-18 - "worship the golden image"
    D. Greek words gonu and gonupeteo - "bending the knee"
         Eph. 3:14 - "bow my knees before the Father"
         Phil. 2:10 - "every knee should bow at the name of Jesus"
    E. Greek words sebo and eusebeo derived from sebas - "fear or reverence"
         Acts 18:13 - "worship God contrary to the law"
         Acts 17:23 - "worshipped in ignorance"
    F. Greek word proskuneo, derived from pros, "toward" and kuneo, "to kiss"
         Matt. 4:10 - "You shall worship the Lord your God"
         John 4:24 - "worship Him in spirit and truth"
    G. Greek word latreuo, derived from latris - "servant"
         Rom. 12:1 - "spiritual service or worship"
         Phil. 3:3 - "worship in the Spirit of God"
    H. Greek word leitourgeo, derived from laos, "people", and ergeo, "to work"
         Acts 13:2 - "ministering to the Lord"
         II Cor. 9:12 - "ministry of service"
    I. Greek word therapeuo - "to heal"
         Acts 17:25 - "God not worshipped by human hands" (KJV)
    J. English word "worship" derived from old Anglo-Saxon weorthscipe, meaning "worth-ship"

II. General concept of worship

    A. Honor, respect, devotion, reverence, veneration, adoration or admiration toward an object of
         value, worth or esteem
    B. Man seems to have an innate God-given need, drive or desire to thus recognize something or          someone beyond himself.
    C. The objects of value, worth or esteem which have been accorded worship
         1. Natural objects - sun, moon, stars, mountains, waters, etc.
         2. Constructed images - idols, icons. cf. Acts 17:22; I Cor. 10:20
         3. Human intelligence, creativity, productivity - Rom. 1:25
         4. Material objects - real estate, automobiles, stocks, bonds, etc.
         5. Persons - hero worship, athletes, musicians, politicians
         6. Associations - fraternities, sororities, societies, churches

III. Religious concepts of worship

    A. Religion is etymologically based on being "bound" or "tied" in devotion to a particular object.
    B. Anthropocentric objects of man's personal concerns
         1. Activity oriented worship - we come, we sing, we pray, we listen, we give, we serve
         2. Emotion-oriented worship - makes us feel good. Mood-altering
         3. Intellect-oriented worship - how we think. Belief-system, ideology
         4. Benefit-oriented worship - do we get strength, patience, energy or blessings?
    C. Event centered worship
         1. Time of worship -
              a. Jewish Sabbath - Day of rest
              b. Christian Sunday
         2. Place of worship
              a. Jewish tabernacle and temple
              b. Christian church buildings
         3. Procedures of worship
              a. Rituals, liturgy, programs, art forms, productions

IV. Christian concept of worship

    A. Christ-centered worship. Christianity is Christ, so Christian worship must be Christ in action.
    B. Jesus Christ is our High Priest and worship leader - Heb. 2:17; 8:1,2;9:11- 14
    C. Jesus Christ is the subject and object of Christian worship
    D. Jesus Christ expresses "worth-ship" of God's character in our behavior
         1. Such worship is a total life reality
              a. Not limited by specified times
              b. Not limited by procedures and form and patterns
              c. Not limited by geographical location and buildings
         2. Christian worship is activated by God's grace
              a. Unique expression in each individual
              b. Spontaneous expression of God's character
    E. Christian's responsibility for worship
         1. Not man's effort - Acts 17:25
         2. Faith - our receptivity of God's activity of expressing His all- glorious character.



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