There are many different words translated "worship" in the Bible; but the "worship" of God is no
where defined in scriptures. A consideration of these words shows that it is not confined to praise.
It may be regarded as the direct acknowledgment to God of His nature, attributes, ways and
claims, whether by the outgoing of the heart in praise and thanksgiving or by deed done in such
acknowledgment. There are four types of worship mentioned in the New
Testament and only one is acceptable to God.
- Will Worship occurs in Colossians 2:23. Voluntarily adopted worship, whether unbidden or
forbidden, it is a worship based upon our likes and dislikes rather than the will of God. It is
not in reality worshipping God, therefore God will not accept will worship.
- Ignorant Worship (Acts 17:23) This is a worship that is void of a knowledge of the true and
living God. It is based upon superstition, tradition and the imagination of men, not on a
revelation from God. Naturally ignorant worship is not acceptable to an all-wise Holy God
- Vain Worship (Matthew 15:9) is defined in Matthew 15 as a worship that is based upon the
teachings of men rather than the commandments of God. When men leave the teachings and
example of the Bible for their own likes and dislikes, worship becomes vain and void. God
will not accept it (Leviticus 10:1-2).
- True Worship (John 4:23-24) is defined as worshipping God in Spirit and in truth. Man is a
dual being. He has a spirit and a fleshly body. The flesh has needs and desires. Some are
natural and needful, some desires are egotistical, self-willed and sinful. As we have noted
above, some try to worship God from the fleshly nature. Man has a spirit. In order for man
to worship God in spirit, the spirit must be in control over the fleshly nature in order for man
to be subject to the Word of God which is truth (John 17:17). Then man can and will
worship God in spirit and in truth.
- Congregational Worship (1 Corinthians 11 and 14) In this text Paul speaks of the whole
church coming together. We think of this as corporate worship or the worship of the church.
According to 1 Corinthians 14, this is not a time to display our special gifts or talents but a
time to worship God. Everything is to be done decently and in order. Paul indicated he did
some things in private worship that he would not do in public worship. Some of the women
had the gift to prophesy but they could not use this when the whole church came together
for worship. So, today, in order for a congregation to worship God in spirit and in truth, we
must forgo our personal likes and let the spirit rule over the fleshly nature.
Let us worship God in spirit and in truth "for the Father seeketh such to worship Him."
(John 4:23-24; Romans 8:1-8; Galatians 5:17)
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
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West-Ark Church of Christ