When I began studying what the word worship means I quickly realized that there isn’t just one word in the Greek and Hebrew. So the first part of our journey in understanding true worship is to look at each of the words individually.
The first word we will look at is Abad (aw-bad) which is a verb. It means to work or serve. To make oneself a servant, serve another by labor, or as subjects. This is found in the Old Testament.
Latreuō is the Greek word in the New Testament for worship which also means to serve. It also means to minister to, to offer gifts, perform sacred services and to worship God in the observance of the rites instituted for His Worship.
Worship is to serve God. To serve means to be a servant; to be of use. To be favorable, opportune, or convenient. To be worthy of reliance or trust.
Here are some examples of verses where the word Abad are used.
“do not forget the LORD who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. "You shall fear only the LORD your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name. "You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you, for the LORD your God in the midst of you is a jealous God ; otherwise the anger of the LORD your God will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you off the face of the earth. Deuteronomy 6:12b –15
"You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.” Deut 13:4
“Worship the LORD with reverence And rejoice with trembling.” Psalm 2:11
“All the earth will worship You, And will sing praises to You; They will sing praises to Your name. Psalm 66:4
Here are examples of latreuō:
“To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.” Luke 1:74-75
“And there was a prophetess,Anna …She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. Luke 2:36-37
“for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,” Phil 3:3
Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;for our God is a consuming fire. Heb 12:28-29
I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day. 2 Tim 1:3
If I am truly worshipping God then I will serve Him. I will serve Him with reverence and without fear. I will serve Him in holiness and in fasting and prayer. I will serve Him by offering my service to His purposes and His will.
Notice that it’s not just on Sunday, our service (worship) to Him is a way of life. It is apart of our daily living before Him. Serving on Sunday as helpers, teachers, ushers etc is good and apart of our worship to God. However if it is the only way we serve God then we might want to ask ourselves if we are truly living a life of worshipping God?
We will serve that which we worship. If we are living a life of daily worship we will also live a life of daily serving God in various ways as we live and move among the world.
How are you doing in this area? What thoughts do you have about worship in this context? Would love to hear from you!
For more on the series True Worship click here.