The obligation to respond to God’s character and actions by giving Him honor, glory and obedience; also used specifically of a church’s public activity of glorifying God together by means of instruction, confession, prayer, singing, and participation in the Lord’s Supper.
- From scripture:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Roman 12:1-2 ESV)I will tell of your name to my brothers;in the midst of the congregation I will praise you… .(Psalm 22:22 ESV)
- From the London Baptist Confession of Faith, 1689:
Chapter 22: Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day
1._____ The light of nature shews that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty over all; is just, good and doth good unto all; and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart and all the soul, and with all the might. But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God, is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imagination and devices of men, nor the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures.
2._____ Religious worship is to be given to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and to him alone; not to angels, saints, or any other creatures; and since the fall, not without a mediator, nor in the mediation of any other but Christ alone.
3._____ Prayer, with thanksgiving, being one part of natural worship, is by God required of all men. But that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the name of the Son, by the help of the Spirit, according to his will; with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance; and when with others, in a known tongue.
5._____ The reading of the Scriptures, preaching, and hearing the Word of God, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in our hearts to the Lord; as also the administration of baptism, and the Lord’s supper, are all parts of religious worship of God, to be performed in obedience to him, with understanding, faith, reverence, and godly fear; moreover, solemn humiliation, with fastings, and thanksgivings, upon special occasions, ought to be used in an holy and religious manner.
6._____ Neither prayer nor any other part of religious worship, is now under the gospel, tied unto, or made more acceptable by any place in which it is performed, or towards which it is directed; but God is to be worshipped everywhere in spirit and in truth; as in private families daily, and in secret each one by himself; so more solemnly in the public assemblies, which are not carelessly nor wilfully to be neglected or forsaken, when God by his word or providence calleth thereunto.
- From Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem:
Ultimately, worship is a spiritual activity and it must be empowered by the Holy Spirit working within us. This means that we must pray that the Holy Spirit will enable us to worhip rightly.
The fact the genuine worship is to be carried on in the unseen, spiritual realm is evident in Jesus’ words:
The hour is coming, and no is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:23-24)
To worship “in spirit and truth” is best understood to mean no “in the Holy Spirit,” but rather” “in the spiritual realm, in the realm of spiritual activity.” This means that true worship involves not only our physical bodies but also our spirits, the immaterial aspect of our existence that primarily acts in the unseen realm. Mary knew when was worshiping in that way, for she exclaimed, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:47-47.
- Theopedia: Worship
- GotQuestions.org: What is true worship?
- Blue Letter Bible: What Should Be the Response of the Believer for What God Has Done for Us?
- Don Carson and Tony Payne: Is the Church a House of Worship?
- John Broadus: Worship
- John Piper: All of Life Is Worship (mp3)
Do you have a term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it, giving you credit for the suggestion and linking back to your blog when I do.
Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms in alphabetical order.