Greek Words for Worship in the Old and New Testaments
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Latris is noun used in classical Greek writings to mean “a hired menial to accomplish a technical task because they are qualified to do so, particularly of priests.” It is not used in the bible.
Latreia is a noun regarding the “by-hire ritual-worship-service offered to anyone, even of God,” even within synagogues (a). The Israelites were given the the Law, the regulations for ritual-worship-service (b), and the promises (c). The old covenant certainly gave the Jews regulations of ritual-worship-service (d). Now, Jesus warned His disciples of Jewish persecution: “They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will suppose [it is] a ritual-worship-service to offer unto God” (e). However, Peter considers ordinary Christians to be the priests of God (f), but so does Paul telling them to: “definitively/wholly present/offer your soma bodies (g) as a living sacrifice, holy/consecrated/dedicated-for-special-use and/coupled acceptable/pleasing to God, [which is] your logikos logical/rational (h) latreia ritual-worship-service.” <Notes> a) John 16:2, b) Exodus 12:25; Hebrews 9:1, c) Romans 9:4, d) Hebrews 9:1, e) John 16:2, f) 1 Peter 2:5-9; Romans 15:16, g) of the flesh – see Identity , h) logically as chosen priests, based on Romans 9-11’s argument.
Leitourgia is a noun, where we get the term “liturgy,” generally referring to “a public service in an honorary religious or civic office, even military, in classical Greek at one’s own expense, that leaves a significant impact on the community,” or later specifically of “official service offered by a leitourgos duly authorized minister, particularly Levitical priests” (a), such as cleansing with blood (b). The NT uses it of Christians giving sacrificial ministry-service to the Lord, even as a drink-offering (c) as if they were as duly-commissioned priests (d), just as Jesus has obtained a ritual-worship-service-position that is as much more excellent than the old as the [New] Covenant He mediates is better (e). In addition, leitourgia can also refer to “a gift or benefaction for the relief of the needy” (f). <Notes> a) Luke 1:23 based on Numbers 8:22, 16:9, 18:4; 2 Chronicles 31:2, b) Hebrews 9:21, c) Philippians 2:17, d) 1 Peter 2:5-9; Romans 15:16, e) Hebrews 8:6, f) 2 Corinthians 9:12; Philippians 2:30.
Leitourgos is a noun that comes from leitos “belonging to the people” and ergon “work,” thus referring to “an official, duly-authorized servant who works for the good of the community.” In classical Greek, it means “one who discharges a public office at his own expense” but later generally of any “public servant or servant of the state, like military laborers, servants of a king (a), the priest-servants busy with holy things (b), even of heathen priests in Greek literature. In the OT LXX and NT it is used of “people impacting the community by priestly-service.” Particularly in the NT it speaks of Christians as priests (c); of governing magistrates of God (d); or of angels of God (e); or finallly of those who minister to the needs of others (f). <Notes> a) Joshua 1:1; 2 Samuel 3:17-18, b) Hebrews 8:2; Nehemiah 10:39, c) Romans 15:16; 1 Peter 2:5-9, d) Romans 13:6, e) Hebrews 1:7 from Psalms 103:4; cf Hebrews 1:14 leitourgikos, f) Philippians 2:25.
Leitourgikos is an adjective of leitourgos, “given to officially, serving for the good of others” as with the angels of God in Hebrews 1:14, who are the “letourgos ministers like a winds, like a flame of fire” of Hebrews 1:7.
Leitourgeo is the verb form of the words above that means “to officially serve a ruler or community.” In the OT, it refers to the priestly service within the tabernacle (a) or the temple (b). In the NT, it refers to OT priests who daily are officially-worship-serving to God by offering repeatedly the same sacrifices that can never take away sins, in contrast to Christ’s single, eternally-effective sacrifice (c). The prophets and teachers of the church of Antioch were gathered and officially-worship-serving the Lord Jesus when the Holy Spirit told them to set apart Barnabas and Paul for ministry work (d). Now since all Christians are priests to God (e), our soma bodies (f) are a temple of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us to glorify God by (g), thus offering up of ourselves now as living sacrifices [as a priest offers sacrifices] as their logical/rational latreia ritual-worship-service (h), just as we will also latreuo ritually-worship-serve God in heaven (i), even offering financial gifts to help other Christians (j), and even offering the sacrifice of praise (k). <Notes> a) Exodos 28:35, 43; 29:30; 30:20; 35:19; 39:26; Numbers 1:50; 3:6, 31, b) 2 Chronicles 31:2; 35:3; Joel 1:9, 13; 2:17, and many more examples, c) Hebrews 10:11-12, 26, d) Acts 13:1-2, e) 1 Peter 2:5-9; Romans 15:16, f) of the flesh – see Identity, g) 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, h) Romans 12:1-3, i) Revelations 22:3, j) Romans 15:27, k) Hebrews 13:15-16.
Latreuo is a verb that comes from a latris ‘qualified, hired technical worker,’ thus meaning “to render qualified, technical, acceptable service or ministry, but especially of religious homage or ministry to God, and is also an idiom for worship.” Latreuo commonly translates the OT Hebrew word abad meaning “service by labor whether voluntarily or as subjects or slaves, especially of serving God by ritualistically performing services, offering gifts and sacrifices, and worshipping as dictated by OT commandments” per Deuteronomy 6:13 and 10:12, cited by Matthew 4:10 and Luke 4:8, coupling/linking this latreuo “serving” directly to proskuneo “worshiping.” Thus I translate it “ritually-worship-serve.”
There is clearly a link between latreuo “serving” and “worshiping,” whether of God the Creator or nations and their idols, strictly prohibited (a) made in the images of creation (b). The English Standard Version and other bible often translate latreuo as “worship” (c) because of this implied connection, but they are inconsistent because elsewhere they correctly translates it “serving” (d) – see Bible Info for other confusion created by translators. Again, to combine the ideas I translate it “ritually-worship-serve.” <Notes> a) Exodus 20:5, 32, 23:24, b) Deuteronomy 8:19, 11:16, 17:3, 29:26, 30:17; 1 Kings 9:6, 9, 16:31, 22:53; 2 Kings 17:16, 21:3, 21; 2 Chronicles 7:19, 22, 33:3; Jeremiah 8:2, 13:10, 16:11, 22:9, 25:6; Daniel 3:12, 14, 18, 28; Acts 7:7, 42 and Romans 1:25, where sebazomai is used only here, meaning “to revere in awe,” though often haphazardly translated “worship” in many bibles, c) Acts 7:42, 24:14, 27:23; Hebrews 9:9, d) Hebrews 9:14; Revelation 7:15, 22:3.
Paul recognizes that the 12 Jewish tribes of Israel hope to attain ‘the promise’ to our forefathers as they earnestly latreuo ritually-worship-serve night and day (a). The Israelites were given the Law, the ritual-worship-service, an earthly sanctuary, and the promises (b). Yes, there were godly Jews waiting for the Messiah, like the 84-year old prophetic widow named Anna who didn’t depart from the temple, ritually-worship-serving with fasting and deesis supplicating-prayers night and day (c). <Notes> a) Acts 26:7, b) Hebrews 9:1; Romans 9:4, c) Luke 2:37.
The Jews do this through “gifts and sacrifices offered, but they are unable to complete-to-perfection the ones who are latreuo ritually-worship-serving in this way, but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation” (a). Every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices . . . and there are priests who offer gifts according to the Law, but they serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things . . . because God told Moses to ‘see that you make everything according to the pattern what was shown you” (b). <Notes> a) Hebrews 9:9-10, b) Hebrews 8:3-5.
Even during the days of a Tabernacle before the Temples were built, there were regulations of latreia ritual-worship-service (a), where priests latreuo ritually-worship-served with sacrifices on altars (b). Again, the Law is only a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities. Therefore, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make complete-to-perfection those who proserchomai draw near (c). Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since those ritually-worship-serving, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins (d). Even the Day of Atonement wasn’t enough! That’s why Christ had to come! <Notes> a) Hebrews 9:1, 6, b) Hebrews 13:10, c) proserchomai: a Hebraism for “seeking an audience with, approaching, inquiring of, calling on to visit, or be heard by” God, thus closely akin in spelling and meaning to proseuche conversational-prayer and proskuneo worship, d) Hebrews 10:1-4.
However, now Christians are the ones who are receiving a kingdom that can’t be shaken apart, as we possess unconditional-favor-of-grace by which we might latreuo ritually-worship-serve God with reverence and awe (a). John the Baptist’s father Zechariah prophesied that God swore to Abraham that we was to be delivered from the hand of our enemies so that we might ritually-worship-serve Him without fear by the means of holiness and righteousness . . . to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the forgiveness of their sins” (b). <Notes> a) Hebrews 12:28, b) Luke 1:73-77.
Therefore, now Christians are ones who are the true circumcision despite the claim of the Pharisees and Circumcision Party Jews, because we latreuo ritually-worship-serve by the means of the Spirit of God and/coupled glorying in Christ Jesus, not the Jews who put their confidence in the flesh and circumcision of it (a). Paul ritually-worship-serves God (b) with a pure conscience (c) by the means of the Spirit of/belonging-to himself in/by/with the gospel of His Son (d). <Notes> a) Philippians 3:3, b) Acts 27:23, c) 2 Timothy 1:3, d) Romans 1:9.
After Paul talks about the role of Israel in the Last Days in Romans 9-11 explaining that “not all who are descended from Israel are Israel just as not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring” (a) and that “only a remnant of them will be saved” (b), “so, too, at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by unconditional-favor-of-grace (c). To these ordinary ‘remnant’ Christians, as if the ‘priests of God,’ Paul says: “to definitively/wholly present/offer your soma bodies [of the flesh] as a living sacrifice, holy/consecrated/dedicated-for-special-use and/coupled acceptable/pleasing to God, [which is] your logikos logical/rational [d] latreia ritual-worship-service.” To this remnant, Jesus warns of coming Jewish persecution: “They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will suppose [it is] a latreia ritual-worship-service to offer to God” (e). <Notes> a) Romans 9:6-7, b) Romans 9:27, c) Romans 11:5, d) as chosen priests, based on Romans 9-11’s argument, e) John 16:2.
As you can see, there is a lot from the OT moved forward into the NT about latreuo ritually-worship-serve and the other forms of the word, but there are other words for serving used much more in the NT: 25 occurrences for douleuo being a slave/servant, 122 occurrences of doulos slave/servant, 10 occurrences of syndoulos fellow servant, 3 occurrences for doule female slave/servant, 5 occurrences of douleia slavery/bondage, 1 occurrence of doulagogeo subjugate/enslave – too many to look at them all!
Douleuo is a verb meaning “to serve as a doulos slave, this word derived from deo “to tie, bind, ensnare, capture,” having all personal-rights assigned to the owner, to voluntarily (if a bond-servant) or involuntarily give over the prerogative to be self-governing.” This service can be of nations in subjection to other nations (a). This service can be of Jews bearing the yoke of slavery to the Mosaic Law (b), set free from the guardians and managers set over them as children until the date of sonship-inheritance, thus being no different than a slave as a child until being set free, set fee from being enslaved to the stocheion elementary, childlike-education ‘abc’ fundamental principles of this world, common to every religion, even of the Jewish religion, that teach by rote people what not to touch, handle, taste, etc. that have an appearance of wisdom but are absolutely useless in curbing the indulgences of the flesh (c). Even the prophetic ‘Oracles of God’ used to convert Jews to Christ were considered simple ‘milk’ for infants compared to the ‘solid food’ of learning through practice how to discern good versus evil by the means of the Spirit (d) – see New Covenant Ways – BT16. However, Christians have been set free from the captivity of the Law (e) by dying with Christ in water-baptism to no longer serve God in the palios old, antiquated, worn-out, useless way of the gramma letter, here equated to the Law or old covenant, but in the completely different-in-kind New Covenant Way of the Spirit (f). Being led by and walking by the steps of the Spirit is where they should be after the Mosaic Law (g). <Notes> a) John 8:33; Acts 7:7, b) Galatians 4:25, c) Galatians 4:1-5, 9; Colossians 2:8, 14-23, d) Hebrews 5:12-14, e) Galatians 5:1, f) Romans 7:6, g) Romans 8:4, 14; Galatians 5:16, 18, 25.
This douleuo service can be of men being obedient doulos slaves to sin to obey their body’s (a) various passions, pleasures, and appetites of their belly, passing our days in foolishness, disobedience, smooth-talking & flattery for deception, malice, envy, and hatred to one another, which all leads to or ends [as due wages] in death or instead by being obedient doulos slaves to righteous obedience to God that leads to sanctification/holiness that ends [as a grace-gift] in genuine-life everlasting (b). However, Paul as a Jewish Christian wrestles with this present and ongoing battle between serving the Mosaic Law/Principle-Instruction of God within his mind/heart/inner-being and serving the law/principle-instruction of sin within his flesh or bodily members (c), even though as a Christian he was water-baptized so that his old man/self/inner-being was crucified with Christ so that the body of sin might be rendered powerless/ineffective in order that we would no longer be enslaved to sin (d). I don’t know one water-baptized Christian who can’t relate to this constant struggle with sin! Of course, I noticed my greatest victories each time after I was Spirit-baptized or filled by the Spirit, which is what Paul talks about in Romans chapter 8 after describing his struggles in chapter 7! Maybe that’s why Jesus encourages us to “take up your cross every day and follow Me” (e). <Notes> a) or flesh’s – see Identity, b) Romans 6:12-23, 16:18; Titus 3:3, c) Roman 7:25, d) Romans 6:6, e) Luke 9:23; Matthew 10:38.
This douleuo service can be done by respectfully serving ‘all the better’ earthly masters who are fellow, believing brothers (a), but even not, still obeying with ‘fear and trembling’ reverential awe & respect with a sincere heart as to Christ, not just eye-serving, people-pleasers but as bond-servants of Christ, serving the Lord, doing the will of God from the heart [or heartily] with good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing your reward/inheritance is from the Lord whether a free slave or not (b). This service can be “the older Esau [and descendants] serving the younger Jacob [and descendants]” – no wonder the Pakistani people hate the Jews (c). <Notes> a) 1 Timothy 6:2, b) Ephesians 6:5-8; Colossians 3:22-24.
This douleuo service can NOT be shown to 2 masters at the same time, for either you will hate/despise the one and love/be-devoted-to the other (a). You could apply this to “sin/fleshly passions versus God/righteousness” (b) or “money versus God” (a). This service can be Israel’s attempts to obey God as their Father, even if they grumble (c), serving the Law of God with their minds/hearts/inner man, even Paul did (d). <Notes> a) Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13, b) Romans 6:12-23, c) Luke 15:29, d) Romans 7:25.
This douleuo service can be implicitly or explicitly stated as having at one time, being ignorant of the true God, served/worshiped idols or the demons behind them (a). This service can be serving the Lord Jesus Christ, even with zeal and fervor (b). This douleuo service can be Christians, free from the yoke of slavery to the Law, not using their freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through-the-realizing-channel-of unconditional-love serving one another (c). This can even be fellow ministers of the gospel serving with each other (d). <Notes> a) 1 Thessalonians 1:9; Galatians 4:8, b) Acts 20:19; Romans 12:11, 14:18; Colossians 3:22-24; Ephesians 6:5-8, c) Galatians 5:1-13, d) Philippians 2:22.
Like other words for “serve” there is a connection between Christian doulos servants/slaves and worship: In the heavenly city, “a great multitude . . . from every nation . . . standing before the throne and before the Lamb clothed in white robes . . . crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb’ . . . these are the ones coming out of the great tribulation . . . before the throne of God and latreuo ritually-worship-serving Him day and night in His temple” (a), and “there will no longer be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His doulos servants will proskuneo worship Him. They will see His face and His name will be on their foreheads” (b). When John began to proskuneo worship an angel, the angel told him not to, for “I am a syndoulos fellow-servant/slave with you and your brothers . . .[so] proskuneo worship God” (c) and in another place, “You must not do that! I am a syndoulos fellow-servant/slave with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book, [so] proskuneo worship God (d). <Notes> a) Revelation 7:9-15, b) Revelation 22:2-4, c) Revelation 19:10, d) Revelation 22:9.
So this doulos and various forms for ‘slave or servant’ is broader than latreuo ritual-worship-serving, but in many cases synonymous. But we see the NT moving away from the latter, so well described in the gramma writings of the OT, and more to the former because the NT moves away from “a form/appearance of godliness that denies its dunamis, dynamite-like enabling-power of it,” which is “the promise” of the Holy Spirit in the completely different-in-kind New Covenant.
Prokunetes is a worshipper, the one who proskuneo worships. It’s used only in John 4:23 for the true/genuine/real worshippers that God is seeking – see below under proskuneo.
Proskuneo comes from “pros towards + kuneo kiss = to kiss towards,” but practically it means to kiss another’s hand as a dog licking the hand; kissing the hem of one’s garment; Egyptians did by throwing a kiss toward a deity with outstretched hand; kissing the ground when prostrating in reverent submission before a superior (a); fall before another (b); bow or kneel before another (c) even before Jesus or God in worship (d) or mockingly of Jesus (e); of mistakingly kneeling before angels (i). In the OT, proskuneo bowing or kneeling showed respect for authority, reverence, submission, and worship (f). In the future, everybody will kneel to worship Jesus (g). Prophecy in the churches will cause unbelievers to be cut to the heart as their secrets are disclosed, even falling on their faces and thus worshipping God (h). <Notes> a) Revelation 5:14, 11:16; Matthew 18:26; 1 Corinthians 14:25, b) Matthew 2:11; Acts 10:25; Revelation 4:10, 7:11, 19:10, 22:8, c) Matthew 4:9; Mark 15:19; Ephesians 3:14; Acts 21:5, d) Matthew 2:11, 9:18, 15:25, 20:20, 28:9; Mark 5:6; Luke 5:8; Acts 7:60; by angels Hebrews 1:6; Revelation 4:10, 5:14, 7:11, 11:16, 19:4, 22:3, e) Matthew 27:27; Mark 15:19, f) Exodus 12:27; Hebrews 11:21; Romans 11:4, g) Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:10, h) 1 Corinthians 14:25, i) Revelation 19:10, 22:8-9.
The key NT verses for proskuneo worshipping are in John 4:10-24. Talking to the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus said “If you knew the grace-gift of God, and WHO it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you ‘living water’ (the Holy Spirit – see Prophetic-Rhema – BT12) . . . The woman said to him . . . Our fathers have proskuneo worshiped on this mountain [of Samaria], but you say that in Jerusalem [in the Temple] is the place where people ought to presently/ongoingly proskuneo worship.’ Jesus said to her, “Woman, have trusting-relying-faith in Me, the hour is coming when in fact neither on this mountain nor in fact in Jerusalem shall you actually proskuneo worship the Father . . . but an hour is coming and now is when the true/genuine/real prokunetes worshipers shall actually proskuneo worship the Father by the means of the singular Spirit and/coupled [singular] Truth, and/coupled for-the-reason-is-that the Father is presently/onogingly zeteo earnestly-seeking/craving such people who are presently/ongoingly/routinely proskuneo worshipping Him. God [is] Spirit and/coupled those presently/ongoingly/routinely proskuneo worshipping Him by the means of the singular Spirit and/coupled [singular] Truth, it is presently/ongoingly absolutely necessary to presently/ongoingly proskuneo worship.” This is another way of saying, don’t stop the true/genuine/real worship you are already doing, but also an exhortation to start doing it if you aren’t already!
Although the definite article isn’t used for “Spirit’ or “Truth”, the words are singular in the dative case and always used by Jesus to refer to “by the means/instrument of the Holy Spirit of God,” as the context made clear, and always refers to Jesus as “by the means/instrument of The Truth” (b), as the other NT writers routinely do also – see Spirit – Promise and The Truth pages. <Notes> a) Douglas Petrovich wrote a great master’s thesis “The Meaning of ‘En Pneumati’ in Ephesians 5:18” in 1996, b) Truth without article: John 1:14, Ephesians 4:21; Truth with article John 1:17, 8:32 [is the Son in 8:38], 14:6, 1 John 5:20.
The Samaritan woman wanted to talk about WHERE to worship, but Jesus redirected the conversation to HOW to worship and WHO the mediator between God and man is for a completely different in kind New Covenant – Jesus Christ (a), which is NOW independent of WHERE to worship. This verse absolutely should not be translated as “in human spirit” as some bibles erroneously translate. How dare they add words! Translating the preposition en with pneuma in the dative case en pneumati as “in spirit” as if the “dative of location” obscures the meaning of the context – it’s HOW, the means, or instrument by which people are going about worshipping that Jesus is concerned, not what location or WHERE they do it at. By using “in” the translators also make it very vague of what Jesus meant – another case of making the bible “mysterious.” Are we to envision ourselves praising the Lord while inside the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Godhead, or Universal One? This is very New Age! Also, translating “[singular] truth” as or “in sincerity” also misses Jesus making Himself the focal point of the entire conversation and the many references to Himself as being “The Truth,” integrally related to “The Spirit of The Truth” (b), because the Lord is the Spirit (c). <Notes> a) 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 9:15, 12:24, b) John 14:17, 15:26, 16:13; 1 John 4:6, 5:6, c) Acts 5:9, 16:7; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18; Galatians 4:6.
Philippians 3:3 confirms this interpretation of “by the means of Spirit and Truth” and of who “the true/genuine/real worshippers are,” not necessarily the Jews visiting their places of WHERE to worship and performing liturgical rituals of worship, for “We [Christians now] are the [true] circumcision, who by the means/instrument of [singular] Spirit of God latreuo ritually-worship-serve and/coupled glory/boast/vaunt/rejoice by the means/instrument of Jesus Christ, that is, absolutely not in fact peitho having already been [with ongoing results] ‘confident, trusting, convinced, persuaded, or compliant with’ by the means/instrument of [singular] flesh.”
The “might and power” of the flesh through works of obedience is the essence of the Jewish old covenant religion, but the gospel message prophesied by Zechariah 4:6 is all about replacing this under a completely different-in-kind New Covenant to “by the means of My Spirit through trusting-relying-faith in Jesus Christ, WHO is The Truth.” The two always belong together, for Jesus told the Samaritan woman that He was the ONE who would give her the grace-gift of the Holy Spirit (a). The whole conversation of the gospel revolves around Jesus: “WHO do you say that I am?” (b), and Christ’s answer of “I am the Son of God” (c) and “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me” (d) is what got Him killed, but our trusting-relying-faith in Christ’s Identity is our only limitation (e). See the Spirit-Power page for the dunamis, dynamite-like enabling-power of worship under the completely different-in-kind New Covenant. <Notes> a) John 15:26, 16:7, 20:22; Ephesians 4:8, b) Matthew 16:15; Mark 8:29; Luke 9:20, c) John 10:36, d) John 14:10, e) John 4:12.
Worship is related to praise and thanksgiving! The beginning of the Lord’s Prayer model is ‘hallowing’ the name/authority/name of God (a). Mary megaluno magnified/exalted the Lord, her spirit rejoicing in God my Savior for He who is mighty has done great things for me and hagios holy is His name” (b). Hagiozo means “to regard as special, separate, set-apart, consecrated, sanctified, pure and unmixed, or holy” – see the Holy page. We see this same megaluno magnifying/exalting of the Lord after the God-fearing Gentiles who while listening to Peter preach to them the gospel had the grace-gift of the Holy Spirit poured out on them. The way Peter knew this was “by faith” but they were speaking in tongues and megaluno magnifying/exalting of the Lord, which is what happened to the Jews on the Day of Pentecost (c) – see Spirit-Baptism and Grace-Gifts pages! <Notes> a) Matthew 6:9; Luke 11:2; Isaiah 29:23, b) Luke 1:46-49, c) Acts 2:4, 11, 10:44-48.
The name of Jesus was megaluno magnified/exalted in Ephesus after a lot of healing by Paul was done but demons clobbered Jewish exorcists trying to get in on the action (a). It was Paul’s prayer that Christ would be megaluno magnified/exalted in his body, whether by life or by death (b). In the OT we see “singing praises” related to “bowing down and worshiping” (c). In the NT, we are encouraged: “Through Christ, let us continually offer up a sacrifice [as if we were priests] of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips that acknowledge His name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what yo have, for SUCH SACRIFICES are pleasing to God” (d). This is patterned after the OT “thanksgiving sacrifice” (e) and exhortation to “offer sacrifices of thanksgiving” (f). <Notes> a) Acts 19:17, b) Philippians 1:20, c) 2 Chronicles 29:30; Psalms 66:4, d) Hebrews 13:15-16, e) Leviticus 7:12, f) Psalms 107:22, 116:17.
There is also a strong relationship between worship and prayer. In www.sermonindex.net, the NIDNTT writes that “In OT prayer…the suppliant never forgot that he was addressing the holy, almighty God. The frequent use of the verb proskuneo for worship therefore indicated the customary bowing, kneeling, or prostrate posture in prayer.”
The Hebrew idea of proserchomai drawing-near to God in order that God will draw near to us is actually an idiom for worship (a). Notice that proseuchomai conversationally-praying and proserchomai drawing-near sound almost the same, both are used 86 times in the NT, and both have the prefix pros for “the bending, kneeling, throwing, or falling on one’s face toward” because both are nearly the same idea! See the proseuche Conversational-Prayer page to understand this devoted, waiting, watching, listening, worshipful dialogue of prayer and how it differs from the monologue of deesis supplication-prayer or aiteo asking-prayer and other types of prayer. <Notes> a) James 4:8, Hebrews 7:19, Ezekiel 43:19, Zephaniah 3:2, and Isaiah 58:2 actually uses eggizo to emphasize drawing extremely close/near, but these verses use proserchomai: of approaching God’s grace through full assurance that God exists and rewards those who have trusting-relying-faith in Christ: Hebrews 4:16, 7:25, 10:22, 11:6; of attaching/connecting oneself to Christ to participate in the benefits procured by Him: 1 Peter 2:4, cf. John 15:1-8 abiding in Christ; warnings of NOT drawing-close-to the sound-messages of the Lord Jesus Christ but especially not teaching them: 1 Timothy 6:3; of priests about to offer sacrifices: Leviticus 21:17, 21; Deuteronomy 21:5, that can’t make anybody perfect as Jesus can: Hebrews 10:1; of seeking God’s counsel: 1 Samuel 14:36.
As Christian musicians, let us move past the “form and appearance of godliness” with so much emphasis on outward rituals of worship as so many religions have, even that of the Old Testament. The New Covenant isn’t just more of the old but somehow better. By definition and all the prophecies and descriptions of it in the Old and New Testament, it is completely different-in-kind, unprecedented, and sharing nothing with its predecessors. If we borrow from the old “shadow or copy of things to come” we are building a foundation of The Great Wall quenching the Holy Spirit. If we borrow from the world’s religions or businesses, we are adding stones to The Great Wall to further quench the Spirit.
Instead of concentrating on what our body is to do during worship, how many songs to play, the order of the songs to progress the mood, getting the lighting and sound just right, and all the other trappings of external worship that come from religion, let us focus on offering our minds, hearts, and bodies as living sacrifices to the Lord, as rightful slaves of our Master Jesus Christ, for this is our logical, rational worship-service now.
Instead of worrying about what “might and power” external resources and internal abilities we can “work-up” FOR God as all religions are about, let us surrender our control completely to the Lord so that worship can become a “by the means of My Spirit” experience within the actual presence of the Lord, instead of some cleverly concocted environment by churches with special mood lighting, wind and fog machines, and million-dollar sound systems! Let us humbly lay our skills and talents down and trust that God will play in and through us for anointed, prophetic, and spontaneous music! Let God take our mind and emotions to wherever He wants!
Let us put aside the “abc” elementary principles of all religions that focus on rules, regulations, and commandments in order to curb the indulgence of the flesh, but they simply don’t work – even biblical ones. The New Covenant is about experiential relationship ginosko knowledge of Jesus and being filled with the Spirit to walk by the Spirit! The ‘milk’ is bible writings to spell it all out for you, to force-feed you like a baby. The ‘solid food’ is practicing to learn “by the Spirit’ how to discern good from evil!
We are ALL priests and saints, not just some “special people” on stage! Do those on stage not realize they are only “equipper” coaches and facilitators to help the saints do the work of ministry? Then why are they hogging the stage? Why are they doing all the work of the ministry? Did we all come out to a concert? Or just to watch the conductors? Did we all go to the football game to watch the coaches play instead of the players? Why do we even have a stage and an audience? Where is that in the family of God model? Where is the agape love feast the early Church regularly enjoyed? Where are the “prophets speaking one after another with everybody weighing in to be encouraged and learn together?” Where is “each one of you bring a teaching, revelation, word of knowledge, prophecy, psalm, hymn, or even a spontaneous song by the Spirit?” Where is Body-of-Christ-ministry? Or is church to be more like a seminar or business meeting where 1 person talks and the rest just watch?
Shouldn’t our serving of God be just like worship, in adoration, awe, reverence, praise, and thanksgiving? Or just out of religious duty? Or just for a paycheck? Let us draw very close beside the Lord through prayer that is worship and worship that is prayer, trusting that God will then draw very close beside us! The Lord’s presence and enabling-power of His Spirit will be our reward! Let us be in dialogue conversation with the Lord the whole time, not just offering a monologue of desires and demands, then grumbling when “our vending machine God gets stuck.”
Let our worship be totally focused on WHO Jesus is, The Truth, and HOW to worship Him – by the means of His Holy Spirit. Leave all the external details of when, how long, and where to Him! These things have been the focus of religion for too long now! Why are we even looking at our watches? Are we telling God to fit into our plans and schedules? Are we saying there is somewhere better to be? If Jesus is there with us “where 2 or 3 are gathered in My name,” why are we grumbling if there aren’t hundreds of people gathering? Why are we even making buildings to house these hundreds, when we can “teach one another” and “build one another up” and “admonish one another” and all other Body-of-Christ-Ministry any where and any place when 2 or 3 are gathered in His name? Where are the NT models for all the “might and power” resources the modern church spends? Haven’t we deviated from “simplicity that is devotion to Christ” and the NT priorities given to us?
Lord, thank You for calling me to be a saint, holy or separated for your special purposes, a priest within a priesthood to latreuo worship-serve You, now under the completely different-in-kind New Covenant by offering my entire Identity – my soul’s intellect, emotions, and will-power along with my body’s members – as a living sacrifice on Your altar. Burn out of me ALL that is not holy for Your purposes!
Lord, I know that I am NOT my own. I am not the “captain of my own ship” to say “I did it my way,” but “I pledged my conscience toward You to be a good one” and confessed that ‘Jesus is Lord’ when I was water-baptized. Therefore I died with Christ and was raised with Him to no longer live for myself but to now as a willing doulos slave of Yours to live for You. I went from being a doulos slave to sin that “steals, destroys, and kills” resulting in eternal separation from God to being a doulos slave to righteousness that “frees the captives and gives us genuine-life even super-abundantly,” resulting in communion with You forever. I was also set free from douleuo slave-serving God through the old, antiquated, worn-out, abc’s elementary, ‘milk’ way of gramma written commandments, ordinances, precepts, and regulations to douleuo slave-serving by the completely different-in-kind, unprecedented, ‘solid food’ New Way of the Holy Spirit. Instead of ‘getting wrapped up’ in the ‘milk’ of bible writings that feed people like babies, I can ‘get wrapped up’ in the ‘solid food’ of learning directly from You by “the One Teacher” of the “Holy Spirit who will guide me into ALL the Truth so that I have absolutely no need of any other teacher.”
Lord, I know that I cannot serve 2 masters at the same time – I will end up despising one or the other! Now my body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit that dwells within me, so I honor and glorify You with my body. Now I only have 2 commandments to keep watch over – having trusting-relying-faith in the Son and unconditionally-loving one another the way Christ did. Therefore, I present every part of myself to You as a sacrificial offering, including my voice and instruments in praise and worship. I draw close beside You in reverential-awe “fear and trembling” through conversational-prayer and worship, trusting that You will draw close beside You and transform me into Your likeness with every increasing glory as I do so.
Lord, I want to be one of the “genuine worshippers that You are cravingly-searching for in order to find. Find me as I “worship You by the means of singular Spirit and/coupled singular Truth,” which is clearly Your Holy Spirit and Your Son, “the Way, the Truth, and the Genuine-Life” who “sets men free indeed from the slavery of practicing sin!” As I do, routinely fill me with the “living water” of Your Holy Spirit so that I will never again be thirsty, restlessly “looking for zoe genuine-life in all the wrong places” and thus “miss the target,” which is the definition of sin. Thank You so much that now I need no longer concern myself with the “outward form or appearance” and “might and power” details of ritual worship as so many religions do, but have been set free to focus instead on “sincere and pure devotion to Christ,” even by “making melody to You with a sincere heart.”
Lord, I will magnify, exalt, thank, and praise You for the great things You have done and will do in and through me. I will also draw close by You in humble, kneeling, bowing, devoted, worshipful, patiently-waiting, watching, and listening dialogue of conversational-prayer so that I will see and hear from You in order that I may live, keep in step, and walk by the means of Your Spirit of holiness.