[This is the second of three articles on the subject of worship. If you haven’t already done so, please get yourself a pen and paper and write down what you understand “worship” to mean. Don’t consult a dictionary. Just write down whatever comes to mind first. Set the paper aside for comparison purposes once you reach the end of this article.]
In our previous discussion, we saw how formalized worship is generally portrayed in a negative light in the Christian Scriptures. There is a reason for this. For men to govern others within a religious framework, they must formalize worship and then confine the practice of that worship within structures where they can exercise supervision. By these means, men have time and again accomplished government which stands in opposition to God’s. History supplies us with abundant evidence that religiously, “man has dominated man to his harm.” (Ec 8:9 NWT)
How uplifting it was for us to learn that Christ came to change all that. He revealed to the Samaritan woman that no longer would a dedicated structure or holy place be required to worship God in a manner pleasing to Him. Instead, the individual would bring what was needed by being filled with spirit and truth. Jesus then added the inspiring thought that his Father was actually looking for such ones to worship him. (John 4:23)
However, there are still important questions to answer. For instance, what exactly is worship? Does it involve doing something specific, like bowing down or burning incense or chanting verse? Or is it just a state of mind?
Sebó, the Word of Reverence and Adoration
The Greek word sebó (σέβομαι) [i] appears ten times in the Christian Scriptures—once in Matthew, once in Mark, and the remaining eight times in the book of Acts. It is the second of four distinct Greek words which modern Bible translations render “worship”.
The following excerpts are all taken from the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, 2013 Edition. The English words used to render sebó are in boldface font.
“It is in vain that they keep worshipping me, for they teach commands of men as doctrines.’”” (Mt 15:9)
“It is in vain that they keep worshipping me, for they teach commands of men as doctrines.’” (Mr 7:7)
“So after the synagogue assembly was dismissed, many of the Jews and the proselytes who worshipped God followed Paul and Bar′na·bas, who, as they spoke to them, urged them to remain in the undeserved kindness of God.” (Ac 13:43)
“But the Jews incited the prominent women who were God-fearing and the principal men of the city, and they stirred up persecution against Paul and Bar′na·bas and threw them outside their boundaries.” (Ac 13:50)
“And a woman named Lyd′i·a, a seller of purple from the city of Thy·a·ti′ra and a worshipper of God, was listening, and Jehovah opened her heart wide to pay attention to the things Paul was saying.” (Ac 16:14)
“As a result, some of them became believers and associated themselves with Paul and Silas, and so did a great multitude of the Greeks who worshipped God, along with quite a few of the principal women.” (Ac 17:4)
“So he began to reason in the synagogue with the Jews and the other people who worshipped God and every day in the marketplace with those who happened to be on hand.” (Ac 17:17)
“So he transferred from there and went into the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshipper of God, whose house adjoined the synagogue.” (Ac 18:7)
“saying: “This man is persuading people to worship God in a way contrary to the law.”” (Ac 18:13)
For the reader’s convenience, I’m providing these references should you wish to paste them into a Bible search engine (E.g., Bible Gateway) so as to see how other translations render sebó. (Mt 15:9; Mark 7:7; Acts 13:43,50; 16:14; 17:4,17; 18:7,13; 29:27)
Strong’s Concordance defines sebó as “I reverence, worship, adore.” NAS Exhaustive Concordance gives us simply: “to worship”.
The verb itself doesn’t depict action. In none of the ten occurrences is it possible to deduce exactly how the individuals mentioned are engaging in worship. The definition from Strong’s does not indicate action either. To reverence God and to adore God both speak about a feeling or an attitude. I can sit in my living room and adore God without actually doing anything. Of course, it can be argued that true adoration of God, or of anyone for that matter, must eventually manifest itself in some form of action, but what form that action should take is not specified in any of these verses.
A number of Bible translations render sebó as “devout”. Again, that speaks of a mental disposition more than any specific action.
A person who is devout, who reveres God, whose love of God reaches the level of adoration, is a person who is recognizable as godly. His worship characterizes his life. He talks the talk and walks the walk. His fervent desire is to be like his God. So everything he does in life is guided by the self-examining thought, “Would this please my God?”
In short, his worship isn’t about performing a ritual of any kind. His worship is his very way of life.
Nevertheless, the capacity for self-delusion that is part of the fallen flesh requires us to be careful. It is possible to render sebó (reverent, adoring devotion or worship) to the wrong God. Jesus condemned the worship (sebó) of the scribes, Pharisees and priests, because they taught commands of men as coming from God. Thus they misrepresented God and failed to imitate him. The God they were imitating was Satan.
“Jesus said to them:“If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I have not come of my own initiative, but that One sent me. 43 Why do you not understand what I am saying? Because you cannot listen to my word. 44 You are from your father the Devil, and you wish to do the desires of your father.” (John 8:42-44 NWT)
Latreuó, the Word of Servitude
In the previous article, we learned that formalized worship (thréskeia) is viewed negatively and has proven to be a means for humans to engage in worship that is not approved by God. However, it is entirely correct to revere, adore and be devoted to the true God, expressing this attitude by our way of life and demeanor in all things. This worship of God is encompassed by the Greek word, sebó.
Yet two Greek words remain. Both are translated as worship in many modern Bible versions, though other words are also used to convey the nuance of meaning each word carries. The two remaining words are proskuneó and latreuó.
We will start with latreuó but it is worthy of note that both words appear together in a pivotal verse that describes an incident in which the fate of humanity hung in the balance.
“Again the Devil took him along to an unusually high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him: “All these things I will give you if you fall down and do an act of worship [proskuneó] to me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him: “Go away, Satan! For it is written: ‘It is Jehovah your God you must worship [proskuneó], and it is to him alone you must render sacred service [latreuó].’”” (Mt 4:8-10 NWT)
Latreuó is usually rendered as “sacred service” in the NWT, which is fine as its basic meaning according to Strong’s Concordance is: ‘to serve, especially God, perhaps simply, to worship’. Most other translations render it as “serve” when it refers to service to God, but in some cases it is translated as “worship”.
For example, Paul in answering the charge of apostasy made by his opposers said, “But this I confess to you, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship [latreuó] I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:” (Acts 24:14 American King James Version) However, the American Standard Version renders this same passage, “…so serve [latreuó] I the God of our fathers…”
The Greek word latreuó is used at Acts 7:7 to describe the reason why Jehovah God called his people out of Egypt.
“But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves,’ God said, ‘and afterward they will come out of that country and worship [latreuó] me in this place.’” (Acts 7:7 NIV)
“And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage will I judge, said God: and after that shall they come forth, and serve [latreuó] me in this place.” (Acts 7:7 KJB)
From this we can see that service is an important component of worship. When you serve someone, you do what they want you to do. You become subservient to them, putting their needs and wishes, above your own. Still, it is relative. Both a waiter and a slave serve, yet their roles are hardly equal.
When referring to service rendered to God, latreuó, takes on a special character. Service to God is absolute. Abraham was asked to serve up his son in a sacrifice to God and he complied, stopped only by divine intervention. (Ge 22:1-14)
Unlike sebó, latreuó is all about doing something. When the God you latreuó (serve) is Jehovah, things go well. However, rarely have men served Jehovah throughout history.
“So God turned and handed them over to render sacred service to the army of heaven. . .” (Ac 7:42)
“even those who exchanged the truth of God for the lie and venerated and rendered sacred service to the creation rather than the One who created” (Ro 1:25)
I was once asked what the difference was between slavery for God or any other form of slavery. The answer: Slaving for God makes men free.
One would think we have all we need now to understand worship, but there is one more word, and this is the one that causes Jehovah’s Witnesses in particularly, so much controversy.
Proskuneó, a Word of Submission
What Satan wanted Jesus to do in exchange for becoming the ruler of the world was a single act of worship, proskuneó. What would that have consisted of?
Proskuneó is a compound word.
HELPS Word-studies states that it comes from “prós, “towards” and kyneo, “to kiss“. It refers to the action of kissing the ground when prostrating before a superior; to worship, ready “to fall down/prostate oneself to adore on one’s knees” (DNTT); to “do obeisance” (BAGD)”
[“The basic meaning of 4352 (proskynéō), in the opinion of most scholars, is to kiss. . . . On Egyptian reliefs worshipers are represented with outstretched hand throwing a kiss to (pros-) the deity” (DNTT, 2, 875,876).
4352 (proskyneō) has been (metaphorically) described as “the kissing-ground” between believers (the Bride) and Christ (the heavenly Bridegroom). While this is true, 4352 (proskynéō) suggests the willingness to make all necessary physical gestures of obeisance.]
From this we can see that worship [proskuneó]is an act of submission. It recognizes that the one being worshipped is the superior. For Jesus to perform an act of worship to Satan, he would have had to bow down before him, or lain prostrate. Essentially, kissed the ground. (This throws a new light on the Catholic act of bending the knee or bowing to kiss the ring of the Bishop, Cardinal, or Pope. – 2Th 2:4.)
We need to get the image into our minds of what this word represents. It isn’t simply bowing down. It means kissing the ground; placing your head as low as it can go before the feet of another. Whether you are kneeling or lying prostrate, it is your head that is touching the ground. There is no greater gesture of subservience, is there?
Proskuneó occurs 60 times in the Christian Greek Scriptures. The following links will show you all of them as rendered by the NASB, though once there, you can easily change the version to see alternate renderings.
- In the Gospels
- In the Epistles
- In the Revelation
Jesus told Satan that only God should be worshipped. Worship (Proskuneó ) of God is therefore approved.
“All the angels were standing around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell facedown before the throne and worshipped [proskuneó] God,” (Re 7:11)
Rendering proskuneó to anyone else would be wrong.
“But the rest of the people who were not killed by these plagues did not repent of the works of their hands; they did not stop worshipping [proskuneó] the demons and the idols of gold and silver and copper and stone and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk.” (Re 9:20)
“And they worshipped [proskuneó] the dragon because it gave the authority to the wild beast, and they worshipped [proskuneó] the wild beast with the words: “Who is like the wild beast, and who can do battle with it?”” (Re 13:4)
Now if you take the following references and paste them into the WT Library program, you’ll see how the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures renders the word throughout its pages.
(Mt 2:2,8,11; 4:9,10; 8:2; 9:18; 14:33; 15:25; 18:26; 20:20; 28:9,17; Mark 5:6; 15:19; Luke 4:7,8; 24:52; John 4:20-24; 9:38; 12:20; Acts 7:43; 8:27; 10:25; 24:11; 1 Cor. 14:25; Heb 1:6; 11:21; Rev 3:9; 4:10; 5:14; 7:11; 9:20; 11:1,16; 13:4,8,12,15; 14:7,9,11; 15:4; 16:2; 19:4,10,20; 20:4; 22:8,9)
Why does the NWT render proskuneó as worship when referring to Jehovah, Satan, the demons, even the political governments represented by the wild beast, yet when it refers to Jesus, the translators chose “do obeisance”? Is doing obeisance different from worshipping? Does proskuneó carry two fundamentally different meanings in Koine Greek? When we render proskuneó to Jesus is it different from the proskuneó that we render Jehovah?
This is an important yet delicate question. Important, because understanding worship is pivotal to getting God’s approval. Delicate, because any suggestion that we can worship anyone else but Jehovah is likely to get a knee-jerk reaction from those of us who have experienced years of Organizational indoctrination.
We must not be afraid. Fear exercises a restraint. It is the truth that sets us free, and that truth is found in God’s word. With it we are equipped for every good work. The spiritual man has nothing to fear, for it is he who examines all things. (1Jo 4:18; Joh 8:32; 2Ti 3:16, 17; 1Co 2:15)
With that in mind, we will end here and take up this discussion next week in our final article of this series.
In the meantime, how did your personal definition stack up against what you’ve come to learn thus far about worship?
[i] Throughout this article, I will be using the root word, or in the case of verbs, the infinitive, rather than whatever derivation or conjugation is found in any given verse. I ask the indulgence of any Greek readers and/or scholars who may happen upon these articles. I am taking this literary license solely for the purpose of readability and simplification so as not to detract from the main point being made.
Hello Meleti. Thanks for the article, very good thoughts. I just want to draw attention to the absence of one verse in the article from Acts 19:27 (you only published 9 out of 10), and this verse is indicated in parentheses as 29:27, but should be 19:27. (This refers to the part were talking about sebo)
[…] Please keep your personal written definition of “worship” handy, as we’ll be making use of it with next week’s article. […]
[…] a previous article, we learned that the most common word for worship in Greek—the one implied here—is proskuneo, […]
[…] similar ambiguity exists in Revelation 22:1-5. In an excellent comment, Alex Rover brings the point out that it is impossible to know who is being referred to in the […]
Thank you Meleti for your research on this word “worship” wouldn’t it be great to have a translation that conveyed the different Greek words -it’s like our English word for love, if you asked people the definition there would be so many different ideas thrown around but the Greek word has 4 different words to convey types of love which clarifies the concept – it seems the same for this word “worship” :-)) billy
No debate Anonymous, Just sharing what I do know from a Hebraic linguistic perceptive, you are all free to take the info for what it’s worth or not. May the peace of messiah be into you all.
Not this greek thinking verses hebrew thinking debate again . Im not a scholar but it makes sense to me if the NT was written in greek then the thinking behind the language would also be in greek . Granted the jews for many years would perhaps of had a different way of explaining things ..and yes the apostles and bible writers were jews .. but why do we get this idea that the apostles and jesus himself could not express themselves via greek thinking .when the grreeks had had a vast influence on jewish thinking and culture for over… Read more »
I dont think its too difficult to understand this meaning of proskuneo .basic words meaning to bow down and kiss . If i remember rightly from history . Many high ranking officials used to have to do this when a king came to power .in order to show thier loyalty and submission to thier ruler . Psalm 2 v 10 to 12 phillipians 2 v 9 to 11 .kev
In fact if the greek word proskyneo is to be taken literally it describes what a loyal dog does with his master . We get the picture . Kev c
I have to disagree with your understanding of the greek word proskuneo to mean submission, there is an equivalent hebrew word to proskuneo from which this greek word came from..that word is sha’chah it’s basic concrete meaning is to bow down. this is a semitic practice that is done out of respect to an authority figure. and not out of submission as you say, to bow down that act can be done to God or a human king or to any figure of high rank.The english word worship being an abstract word needs explaining, that greek word latreuó is the… Read more »
While the two words may be related in meaning, what is your basis for suggesting that the Greek word, proskuneo, came from the Hebrew word, shachah? I had always understood the two languages were distinct. While it is possible for any given word in any language to be derived from another language (English is foremost among modern tongues in its use of this practice), what evidence is there for this particular etymology? As to the suggestion that proskuneo does not mean submission, I did not mean to suggest that the word has one, and only one, meaning. Few words have… Read more »
You need to understand that Greek is an intellectual language, while the Hebrew language in which Jesus spoke is a concrete one it’s about function. There is a consensus among Greek scholars that the gospels like Mathew for example was originally written in Hebrew due to it’s underlining Semitic word play that is dressed in Greek language. Those word plays does not make much sense in Greek, but it does in the Semitic tongue, in which it was originally written. what we today have are just copies of copies of a translation in Greek. But we must understand that it… Read more »
So you believe all four gospels were written in Hebrew then translated into Greek?
No brother not all four there is evidence for matthew and the book of mark..the point I am trying to get is altho the vast copies are from greek. it does not erase the fact that we are dealing with a hebrew culture and mind set ..not a greek one. the only reason why we have so much greek copies is because naturally there where more non jewish believers of jesus as the prophets fortold that God would draw his attention to the nations…we do have tho surviving copies of 28 manuscripts of Matthew in the hebrew langauge, that have… Read more »
Peter i do respect that your a thinking person and obviously do alot of research and are therefore a very learned man .who probably knows far more than i do . Im sorry but i do not understand what you have just said in that blog .for you said that the only way you can judge a version is to read and understand the language it was written .but you admitted at the start of the blog that only matthew and perhaps mark were written in hebrew . .i thought this was about the way the biblle writers thought not… Read more »
The quality of a translation is not a one way judgement. People who like a so-called literal translation will not like a translation that is focused on the meaning. There are those translators who translate towards the audience, meaning scenes, expressions of typical events in original language are completely translated into the other language’s style or wording and audience. Very often one will not recognize the original wording anymore. Is this wrong? It depend the objectives of the translator. If by doing this the reader fully captures what is written, I guess it is fine. If it is to push… Read more »
May I ask………What was Daniel doing when he went to worship God everyday at certain times of the day?. He was bowing to God and he was doing this privately. Therefore I am satisfied that he did not need to attend a meeting to show his faithfulness to the Almighty. I would like some clarification on this point as I have often used it in support of my personal belief in our worship not relying upon being in a group or religion….Still……..was Daniel worshiping in the sense that we were taught by our religion?
Another wonderful article! When I went to speak with a therapist after distancing myself from the Organization, she asked me what I considered worship to entail. It took me a minute, but my answer helped me to see that the constant routine of works I completed while being an active JW for 10 years, didn’t fit into my description of worship. I agree with some of the others, the way you live your life, and how you reflect the love of God in the world is a good start. 🙂 Just wanted to mention, while I was looking up the… Read more »
Thanks Shannon. I’ll fix that right away.
some random thoughts – Jesus said Jehovah should receive latreuseis: Jesus said: “It is [written:] Jehovah your God you must worship [Proskynēseis], and it is to him alone you must render sacred service. [latreuseis]” (Luke 4:8) Who are they latreusousin/serving? “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves… Read more »
Thanks for expanding on this point, Alex. Your reference to Re 22:1-5 got me thinking about the angel that visited Abraham. We know that the angel was not Jehovah himself, for no man can see God and live. Nevertheless, the Bible at times refers to the angel speaking as Jehovah. Though representing Jehovah as a spokesman, he was for all intents and purposes at that point in time from Abraham’s perspective, God. While Jesus and Jehovah are separate, when Jesus sits on the throne of Jehovah, he becomes Jehovah as did the angel. There is no reason to distinguish between… Read more »
Meleti, Angels are messengers. When an angelic messenger speaks to a man he is speaking the words of God in real time. He is receiving God’s instructions in real time. Abraham recognizing it was God speaking by means of his messenger addressed God accordingly. But should we be blessed with such an experience we must remember what God’s angel said to John. Rev 22:8,9 “I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. But he said… Read more »
No one is suggesting that proskuneo should be rendered to angels. However, proskuneo is used in an approved context with regard to Jesus. So the question is, is it acceptable to render proskuneo to Jesus? You’ll notice I don’t say “worship” because if I say worship, the question is, do I mean sebó, or thréskeia, or latreuó, or proskuneó, or some combination of these words with their attendant meanings? This is where much of the confusion comes from. Our one word, worship, does not serve to convey the fullness and nuance conveyed by these words, yet we often work under… Read more »
Meleti, I ask please for your patience. Would you please answer the following questions so that I can have a clearer understanding of your views. Do you believe Jesus should be worshiped as God Almighty himself is worshiped? Do you believe Christians should render to both Jesus and Jehovah the same kind and level of worship? Do you believe that when Jesus said he and the Father are one he meant that to worship him was to worship the Father and to worship the Father was to worship Christ. Do you believe Christians can refer to Christ as “My God,”?… Read more »
I plan to answer every one of your questions in my next post. However, you could help me by explaining how you define “worship”.
Meleti, I believe the best “definition”, if you will, of the word “worship” is the definition Jesus himself lived. It is much more than a word, or bowing down, it is an EXISTENCE. He continually glorified his Father because he loved him completely. He gave credit to his Father for everything he said and did. He was obedient to his Father in ALL things even at the most difficult moment when he said to his Father, Father let your will be done and not mine. He stood firm against those Jews who hypocritically claimed to love his Father. Jesus LIVED… Read more »
You’ll recall the superman movies, and how it was so obvious to us that Clark and Superman were one and the same, and we wondered how Lois and others could be fooled simply by a pair of spectacles. To me, once you’ve appreciated the NT message of who Jesus really is, it makes you wonder when others don’t accept the most obvious explanation. Recall how you felt by the 3rd movie and nobody was still making the connection that Clark and Superman were never around at the same time. Didn’t you feel it was getting far fetched that nobody connected… Read more »
apollosofalexandria, the Messiah did not come during the time of Moses, or King David, or Jeremiah. The day of the Messiah, the day of the anointed King of God’s Kingdom, was like the days of creation in that it was placed in its own time and order. Jehovah God places all things in their proper place and time. The time for Jesus Christ was what we call the first century and not any time before that. John 17 is a beautiful example of Jesus’ love for his Father and the recognition that his Father had given Jesus the Father’s own… Read more »
What you say is quite true. The Messiah did not come in the time of Moses. But all you are drawing attention to by stating this is the timing of when the Son of God came in human form as the Messiah. It has no bearing on who is was before that, or who he is in general.
Apollos, who do you believe he was “in general”? If I may ask.
Superman 😉 I simply believe the Gospel of John, along with the rest of God’s Word. I don’t try to make John’s Gospel fit with a preconceived idea as some do. I find a way to reconcile the whole picture as this last piece of writing was added to the puzzle. (John 20:28) And my point isn’t to send this discussion of Meleti’s article off topic. It’s simply to point out that scriptures which seem to need explanation on the subject of worship such as Rev 22:3 and others that have been discussed, are all perfectly harmonious and understandable if… Read more »
This is a fun idea. 🙂
Superman’s father Jor-El sent his son to earth. Superman was only a super man on earth where his powers were greater than all mankind put together but not greater than his father’s on Krypton. 😉
Thank you for the reply and the superman smile.
Not greater indeed. But not necessarily lesser once in his own environment either. The disciples should rejoice that the Son was returning to the Father for the Father was indeed greater than the Son in that context (John 14:28). Unlike Superman, Jesus actually humbled himself and took a slave’s form (Phil 2:7). Yes, he exercised his Father’s power while in human form but he was truly human, and approaching his death he did not claim he could defeat his enemies under his own power but rather that he could call on jor-el – sorry I mean the Father – to… Read more »
I agree but while Superman and Jor-El had the same powers on Krypton it still remained that even after returning to Krypton, Jor-El was still his father, his superior.
Jesus calls God “My Father” even in heaven.
Hi Laura I don’t dismiss this by any means. But there is a matter of perspective involved. I’m not certain that each person’s father is his “superior”. Of course it depends on what you mean by that. We give honor to our parents as human beings because that is the way we have been organized. But even then under that arrangement does that make your father your “superior”. If so with the actual genealogical record we would have to conclude that Ahaz was “superior” Hezekiah, Hezekiah was “superior” to Manasseh, Manasseh was “superior” to Amon, and Amon was “superior” to… Read more »
Apollos, I must thank you for an enjoyable exchange. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to enjoy a good smile while discussing what is always a very serious topic, our Father and his son. I truly enjoyed it and I thank you so much.
I think we’ve given it all it can be given, though, and I hope I did not give offense.
With deep respect and still that smile,
To the real Superman- Please hurry! We all need you and miss you! Most of all we all love you!
Hi Laura I’ve enjoyed it too, and of course absolutely not a shred of offense. As I said I have come to understand that “flesh and blood” cannot reveal the wonderful reality. All I can say is that to see people having the Jehovah vs. Jesus conversation on a constant basis is mystery to me now that I have overcome the fundamental barriers presented through JW theology. I don’t claim any unique truth – only what is presented through the Word of God. I simply don’t understand a resistance to the obvious conclusions. There is a JW song (14) that… Read more »
Yes thanks meleti for a good article . This word worship has puzzled me for such a long time .In todays modern english its meaning seems obscure . I think for some reason we have been kept in the dark about the true meaning of these original greek words . It makes much more sense to me now . Proskuneo . I can see now how it can be used of both christ and the father . Thank you so much keep it coming . Kev c
I wonder sometime if we mistakenly conjure up too much when it comes to how we are to worship God. When Adam and Eve were given direction by Jehovah, nothing was mentioned as to what God expected from them when it came to worship. In fact, the word does not appear at all. They were simply given 1 command as to what not to eat of and the commission to populate and subdue the earth, which with the latter one, be absolutely thrilling.To me it sounds more like Jehovah wants to serve us and not the other way around. His… Read more »
Hi Yobec, I am more on you side regarding worship. Although I believe this is a good article and helps to understand how the various words for worship can be or are used in the scriptures and in various bible translations, in the end we should avoid to apply an almost scientific meaning to the word. We run the risk to lose the true meaning behind it all: live a life that shows love, respect and honor for the One who gave you that life and for the One who can grant you eternal life. The bible give many examples… Read more »
After this article i think im beginning to understand this word proskuneo . If it does mean a word of submission i can see how it applies to both the father and the son . By submitting to the son we are therefore also submitting to the father because thats what god wants us to do . That to me has finally answered this puzzle about worship . The word worship to my mind is vague . Cheers meleti . Kev
Meleti, at Matthew 18:26 Jesus used the word Proskuneó in reference to bowing down to a human king. The NASB, like the NWT, does not use the word “worship” in that scripture but rather “prostrated”. KJV- Mat 18:26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped ( Proskuneó) him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. NASB- Mat 18:26 “So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated (Proskuneó) himself before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.’ Translators do not live outside their personal beliefs. Ironically, in this instance the… Read more »
Hi Laura, the word (προσκυνέω) is also use in Matthew 9:18-19 where the ruler bowed/worshipped/did obeisance to Jesus and Jesus did not correct him. The same word in Matthew 28:17 regarding the apostles towards Jesus.
My point, there is more to this word than just stating that Jesus worshipped the Father (who else, he cannot worship himself). And yes, The Father should be worshipped by honoring the Son like we honor the Father. John 5:23.
Menrov, Matthew 9:18 in the NASB “While He was saying these things to them, a synagogue official came and bowed down before Him, and said, “My daughter has just died; but come and lay Your hand on her, and she will live.” Again we have an example of a translation revealing the first century nuances expressed in the word Proskuneó. The NASB translators are Trinitarians there would be every reason for them to use the word “worship” in that scripture but they do not. They are recognizing something we are not recognizing. Perhaps it’s the fact that this man being… Read more »
Hi Laura, here is what John 5:22,23 reads: “22 Furthermore, the Father does not judge anyone, but has assigned all judgment to the Son, so that all people will honor the Son just as they honor the Father. The one who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him” The Father assigned all judgment to the Son, with the objective that they will honor the Son as they as the Father. It was a decision y the Father, not by the Son. If we want to follow Jesus’ example we should obey the Father and… Read more »
In addition, it interesting to read Isaiah 29:13: Isaiah 29:13 (ABP_Strongs) 13 G2532 And G2036 the lord said, G2962 G1448 [2approach G1473 3unto me G3588 G2992 1this people] G3778 G1722 with G3588 G4750 their mouth, G1473 G2532 and G1722 by G3588 G5491 their lips G1473 G5091 they esteem G1473 me, G3588 G1161 but G2588 their heart G1473 G4206 is far off G566 at a distance G575 from G1473 me; G3155 and in vain G1161 G4576 they worship G1473 me, G1321 teaching G1778 the precepts G444 [3of men G2532 1and G1319 2instructions] or MKJV(i) 13 And Jehovah said, Because this people… Read more »
menrov, I honor the son, very much so. I listen to him as I would listen to the Father. I love him as my co-creator, I would follow him to my death. I honor the son as I honor the Father. But brother I do not WORSHIP the son as I worship the Father. I keep my head, and remember that Jesus did not teach such as thing. Jesus said we are to love Jehovah our God with ALL our heart, mind, soul and strength. This is what he did. This is what he taught. This is what I do… Read more »
Your comments on posts are always thoughtful and filled with insight. please keep it up.
omionmen, thank you for your kind encouragement.
With much appreciation,
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