What the Bible Says About Worship

One of the most important ways in which we come to appreciate the love of God is when we engage in worship. Here, in this resource, we’re going to explore some of the key concepts in worshipping God—just in a simple list. From this you can arrive at your own ideas of what worship should look like and accomplish in your local congregation. 

Worship is a biblical term: Hebrew: shachah, “bow (self) down, crouch, fall down (flat), humbly beseech, do (make) obeisance, do reverence, make to stoop, worship.”1

In Greek the most common is proskuneo, which comes from pros, a prefix denoting nearness to or motion toward, and “to kiss,” (as in a dog “licking” his master’s hand); to “fawn” or “crouch,” to literally “prostrate” oneself in homage (“reverence,” “adore”).

Here are some characteristics of the act of worship in Scripture:

  • Bowing down (Joshua 5:14; Ps. 95:6; Isa. 46:6; Daniel 3; Matt. 4:9; 1 Cor. 14:25; Rev. 22:8)
  • Singing (Ps. 100:2)
  • Laughing (Ps. 126:2)
  • Shouting (Ps. 5:11; 35:27)
  • Dancing (Ps. 149:3)
  • Raising hands (1 Tim. 2:8)
  • Clapping hands (Ps. 47:1)
  • Playing musical instruments of all kinds (Psalm 149; 150)
  • Praise is mentioned in the Bible more than 400 times, and nearly 200 of those are in the
  • Psalms. For a concise definition of praise in worship, read Psalm 150. The sanctuary service, sacrifices, candles, showbread, singers, and musicians are described in Deuteronomy, Leviticus, and Numbers.2

1. Strong’s Concordance.

2. Adapted with permission from the iFollow Discipleship Resource, ©North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.