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How does the bible define TRUE WORSHIP?

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23-24)

Is it singing? Is it ministering? Is it obedience?

An interesting question indeed, because "worship" is an English word and the entire way we use that word with all of its modern-day connotations has no direct referent in scripture (cf. Mk.7:7; Jn. 4:23-24; Col. 3:16; Rev. 22:8). In the Bible, the two words in the Hebrew translated for "worship" literally means, "do work for" thus "serve" (*'abhadh*) and "bow down before" (*shachah*), while the Greek word used almost exclusively for "worship" means "show obeisance towards", in the sense of usually bowing down before (*proskyneo* -- Matt. 2:2; Lk. 24:52; Jn. 9:38; Acts 7:43; 1 Cor. 14:25; Heb. 11:21; Rev. 4:10, et al.). So getting emotional by hand raising and praising and shouting may be considered "praising the Lord", and while that is undoubtedly one aspect (if done in an appropriate manner) of "worshiping" Him. The two Hebrew verbs give the two important aspects of biblical worship while the Greek words sums up the meaning, namely, doing what God wants done (work/serve) and demonstrating our obedience towards and appreciation of Him (manifest in biblical times by kneeling physically or prostrating oneself before Him).

The passage cited in John 4:23-24 makes clear, and as my observation about Christians who make an ostentatious display of "worship" on Sundays but show little sign of it on Mondays does as well, being responsive in the heart and obedient -- in the spirit through the Spirit, and in truth truthfully -- is what is truly pleasing to the Lord. God despises hypocrisy (Isa. 29:13; Matt. 6:1,5; 7:5; 15:7-9; Lk. 6:46; 16:15; 2 Tim. 3:5; Gal. 6:3; Tit. 1:16; Jas 1:26; 2:14-26; 1 Pet. 2:1; 1 Jn. 2:4,9; 4:20) .Singing to we're blue in the face doesn't change who we are on the inside. Neither do any emotional displays. Attending church, joining, tithing, going to fellowships and socials, singing in the choir, and all of the other things people "do" in churches are all in VAIN if it's not coming from the HEART of the believer in response to the truth (cf. Lev. 10:1-2; Isa. 29:13; Matt. 15:8-9, 19; Mk. 7:7; Jn. 4:22; Phil. 3:3; Col. 2:23; cf. Heb. 12:28). There -- in the heart -- is where we truly "worship God" in what we are thinking; not in what we doing if that is not really genuine and merely superficial or based upon what He wants done (as most of what is done in churches today is not).

If our devotion is truly devoted to the Lord, it changes everything about us (cf. Ps. 51:10; Prov. 4:23; Hos. 10:12; Matt. 5:8; Jn. 14:15; Rom. 12:1-2; 2 Cor.3:18; 5:17; 7:10; Gal. 2:20; 6:15; Heb. 10:22 ). He wants us to grow closer to Him through the truth. That won't happen listening to sermons where the person preaching is simply preaching instead of teaching and clearly knows little of the truth and is compromised by all manner of false "doctrines". He wants us to honor Him by what we have learned, applying the truth, and believed and committed to by living in accordance with it on Monday and every day in truth rather than just giving lip-service to it on Sunday (Rom. 13:14; Eph. 5:8; Col. 3:16; Tit. 2:10; 1 Cor. 11:1-2; 4:16; 2 Tim. 2:15; Heb. 12:1; Jas. 1:22; 2:14; 2 Pet. 1:10; 1 Jn. 1:7). He also wants us to help other believers do the same as well through ministering to them -- but that cannot happen if we ourselves are not doing it. And as long as we are focused on the emotional and the ostentatious and calling that "worship" and thinking that this is plenty as we "nod to God", we will never get anywhere in the TRUE Christian life.

God Bless!

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