The words praise and worship are commonly used in church. Praise and worship time is a special time during a church service when everyone stands up and sings songs to glorify God. Do these two words mean the same or are they different notions? What is the difference between praise and worship? Learn here the true meanings of these two words.
Here is all you need to know about the two terms. First, let us define them before getting into a praise vs worship comparison.
So, what is praise and worship?
Meaning of worship
According to the dictionary, worship is defined as the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity. Christian worship can then be defined as the feeling of reverence and adoration for God.
The Greek word that is most often translated as worship in the New Testament is known as “proskuneo”, which mean to “fall down before or bow down before” or “to kiss the hand to (towards) one, in token of reverence”.
It was used as homage shown to men and beings of a superior rank. The Hebrew word for worship in the Bible is "Shaha" which means “to bow low or to prostrate oneself”.
Meaning of praise
According to the dictionary, praise is defined as the expression of one’s gratitude and respect towards a deity, especially in a song.
So, Christian praise can be defined as the expression of gratitude and respect towards God, especially in a song.
There are three Hebrew words in the Bible that are translated as praise. One is “yadah”, which means “praise or give thanks or confess”. Another one is “zamar” which means “sing praise.” And the third one is “halal” (which is the root word for hallelujah), which means to praise, honour, or commend.
Now, let's make a worship vs praise comparison.
What's the difference between praise and worship?
Most people see worship as the slow and melodious songs that often requires the closing of eyes, lifting of hands in reverence to God while praise is considered as the singing of fast songs and dancing to God.
However, these two words mean more than just songs or singing and they are two different things. Worship is completely different from praise but praise can be a part of worship. As a Christian, if you understand the difference between the two, you will have a better understanding of honouring God.
As we have said earlier, praise is appreciating of God, especially in songs. It is joyfully recounting everything that God has done and showing him gratitude for it. Praise usually goes along with thanksgiving, appreciating God for all the might and good works He has done in our lives.
Praise is a universal thing and can be applied to anybody. It doesn’t require much from us other than the acknowledgement of the righteous acts of God. In the Bible, praise is usually presented as highly-spirited, joyful and uninhibited. God asks all creation to praise him.
Worship, on the other hand, goes deeper than praise. It is something that comes from the spirit. It is often said that it is an attitude or state of the heart. In the Bible, Jesus spoke about worship in John 4 verse 23.
"Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks."- John 4:23.
Worship for Christians goes beyond singing. Songs are just tools for worshipping.
Praise stems from recognising the good acts of God but worship is not a function of the acts of God. Worship comes from the core of who the worshipper is and what God means to the them.
In true worship, a Christian is required to surrender himself/herself totally to God and adore Him not just for what He has done but for who He is.
As we have stated above, when talking about the meaning of worship, it involves bowing low before the Lord, not only physically, but also in the heart. Real and true worship is insightful and reflective.
Worship is a lifestyle, and it is not just limited to when people raise their hands to sing to God in church. And praise comes from a heart of worship.
Praise and worship are not limited to just Christians. People sing praises of other people also and even praises to other deities.
People also worship other fellow human beings, especially when that person means everything to them. So, worship can also be seen as an act of reverence and honour for someone or something that a person places his/her faith in.
Bible verses about praise and worship
Here are some Bible verses about the acts:
1. Colossians 3:14-17
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
2. Romans 12:1-2
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God-this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.
3. Psalm 95:1-6
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
4. Hebrews 13:15
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise-the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.
5. Isaiah 12:5
Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.
6. Isaiah 25:1
Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.
7. Psalm 9:1
I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
8. Acts 16:25
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.
9. Revelation 5:13
Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”
10. Acts 2:46-47
Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
11. Exodus 20:2-6
“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Now that you know the exact difference between praise and worship, you will be more careful when using them.
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