What is worship?
Worship can be understood in two divisions. The first is broad and overarching while the second is narrower in focus. To begin with, one must understand that worship is an action that one participates in; it is what one does. Many have the misconception that worship is an event that one observes taking place while sitting in a padded pew. The biblical picture is just the opposite. More aptly, the Bible presents worship as a way of life in response to the nature of God. Worship is a response to God who has revealed Himself to mankind. This revelation takes different forms in the Old Testament but has its fullest and final revelation in the person of Jesus Christ. The believer’s response to God is most broadly described as a “living sacrifice.” The apostle Paul challenged believers by urging them “to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God- this is your spiritual act of worship” (Romans 12:1). Thus, worship is the act of a person(s) offering their life to God in obedience to His commands. One must be mindful that to obey God’s commands is to imply that one knows what those commands are. This should lead one to a process of growth in worship as they read, study, meditate and apply biblical truth to their life. A worshiper should not be stagnant in their walk with God.
The second division of worship can be understood in a gathering of people for the sake of worshiping God. This is commonly identified in the setting of a “worship service” where prayers, singing and offerings are given to God and His Word is proclaimed to the people. This can be seen in the Epistles of Paul to different churches. More will be discussed about this division of worship later in the essay in relation to “how we worship.”