Do Christians honor and revere God by doing good unto others? In Matthew 25:34–46, Jesus depicted His second coming that He will divide the good people from the evil by whether they did good unto others or not.
Benevolence is to do good unto others. Are Christians worshiping God when they do good unto others? Is benevolence worship to God? To know if benevolence is worship, then one must first know what worship is.
Balancing Views of Worship
One can eliminate what many have come to believe by tradition of men. Many have come to the conclusion that worship is only that of reverent services done in assembly, but this idea is narrower than what the Scriptures teach. Worship is not always in assembly. In fact, there are only two times that a Greek word for “worship” is even slightly connected to assembly in the Scriptures. An unbeliever becoming a believer and worshiping after being convicted by the preaching of the assembly is an example of worship in 1 Corinthians 14:23–25 (cf. Acts 13:2). Edward C. Wharton, author of the book “The Church of Christ” published by Gospel Advocate, stated, “We should not think of worship as confined to praise or a worship activity in a church house.” For example, prayer is worship when done in and out of assembly. Singing spiritual songs is worship in and out of the assembly. The point is that worship goes across the boundaries of assembling. On the other hand, worship is not so broad as all of life. Worship is not the blinking of the eye, breathing air, playing golf, or fishing. Those who support these ideas justify themselves saying “worship is all of life.” These two extremes will be eliminated when we know what worship is.
To understand worship, the English word “worship.” Someone might ask, “What about the Bible’s definition?” The Bible does not define English terms, but Greek terms. The question is: “Is the English ‘worship’ a Biblical concept in Greek?” Is the meaning of “worship” a scriptural concept?
The Oxford Dictionary states that worship is, “n. 1a homage or reverence paid to a deity. b acts, rites, or ceremonies of worship. 2 adoration or devotion (worship of wealth)… v. 1 tr. adore as divine; honor with religious rites. 2 tr. idolize. 3 intr. attend public service.” Also note Merriam-Webster’s definition,
“n. 1 chiefly British : a person of importance — used as a title for various officials (as magistrates and some mayors) 2 : reverence offered [to] a divine being or supernatural power; also : an act of expressing such reverence 3 : a form of religious practice with its creed and ritual 4 : extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem v. 1 : to honor or reverence as a divine being or supernatural power 2 : to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion intransitive senses : to perform or take part in worship or an act of worship”
“Worship” simply defined is to revere, adore, and honor something perceived to be greater than oneself. Looking ahead, is there any part of this definition that rejects benevolence from being acts of reverence, adoration, and honor to the great Creator of the universe? Not at all, benevolence fits worship. Now, does the word “worship” match any of the New Testament’s Greek terms translated “worship”? Yes, it does.
Biblical Greek Words for Worship
Most are surprised to know that 4 of the 6 words translated as “worship” in English Bibles have more specific or just different meanings than that of the English word “worship.” Translators often render these Greek words as other English words. Despite this, “worship” is a biblical concept because the English concept does line up with the meaning of two Greek words, proskuneo and sebomai. Both Greek words actually meet the definition of worship accurately. “The Greek Words for the Biblical Definition of Worship” provides a deeper study of the biblical words for worship.
Inferring Acts of Worship
After looking at the terms, no exclusion exists to deny benevolence from being worship to God. One can do good to others with honor and reverence to God thus making benevolence worship to God. By using good reasoning with a sound knowledge of the Scriptures, most conclude that praying, singing spiritual songs, and taking of the Lord’s Supper are worship though no passage says that praying, singing, and the Lord’s Supper are worship. However, scriptures do directly present sacrifices, temple worship, and teaching as worship. How does one know if praying, singing, and the Lord’s Supper are worship? One knows by necessary inference that praying, singing, and the Lord’s Supper are worship. For instance, Hebrews 13:15 reveals that praising God with lips is worship, “Through Him then let us offer up a sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of lips which make confession to his name.” Praise to God from the lips is a spiritual sacrifice and therefore it is an act of worship.
Benevolence as Worship
Benevolence is an act of worship though not a direct act of worship like praise or praying to God. A scripture that supports benevolence as worship is Hebrews 13:16. The Spirit reveals through the writer, “But to do good and to commune forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” Sacrifices are acts of worship in the Old Testament, and now Christians offer spiritual sacrifices of the New Testament (1 Pet 2:5; cf. Rom 12:1). In Hebrews 13:16, “to do good” is such an act of worship including “to commune,” which means literally “to share.” Benevolence is certainly an act of worship since sharing and doing good are spiritual sacrifices that please God. In fact, “to do good” is as broad as an act of worship can be defined in the Scriptures. However, the specifics of the definition of worship in the Scriptures exclude the marginal views of “all of life is worship” and “worship only occurs in Christian assemblies.”
Is benevolence worship? Yes! In “Questions and Answers – Open Forum Freed-Hardeman College Lectures” (Henderson, TN: Freed-Hardeman, 1976. P. 333), Guy N. Woods is asked the question, “Would you please comment on the difference between serving God and worshiping God?” Woods commented that, “There is not nearly as much difference between these concepts as many today apparently believe. Occasionally, we see over the entrance to a church auditorium these words, ‘Enter to worship and leave to serve.’ This concept results from ignorance of what the New Testament teaches about service and worship to God.” In this same discourse, Guy Woods commented on acts of worship stating, “When, for example, a basket of food is carried to a needy family, the act is grounded in the concept of service, but it is done out of regard to our relationship to God, and to this extent involves an act of worship. Therefore, we worship God in serving others!”
— Note to those who prefer to use James 1:27 to teach that benevolence is worship. James 1:27 contains the Greek word “threiskeia,” which means “religion” not “worship.” “Threiskeia” does not have a verb form and so does not agree with the act of worship. The use of this passage to prove benevolence to be worship may result in someone rejecting that benevolence is worship. —
The Hebrew word that is translated as “worship” is only translated that way in about half of the times it appears in our Old Testament. The other times it is simply translated as “bow down to” or an equivalent. The reason is that this is what the word means. It is taking on a physical position of surrender and submission. The Greek equivalent, proskuneo, also has this meaning. When we submit to God we then serve him. These are closely related but not the same. Confusion has come from men who have used the word “worship” as a catch all that includes service, sacrifice, and praise. If the Holy Spirit had intended this then this is what would have been penned. This will sound strange but I think that we would do well to not even use the word “worship”. Instead use bow down to or submit to when we see the word worship. Unfortunately I fear that most of us are so rooted in our traditions that we would prefer to bury our head in the sand when confronted with such an idea of replacing a word that has caused such confusion with the meaning of the original words. It is my understanding that the word worship came from the old English word “worthship” which is a type of relationship where on is worthy and the other not. I fear that man has used this ill defined and rather vague word to redefine God’s word. The word is actually a noun that describes a relationship. Translators used the word “baptism” to in correctly translate what should have been immersion. This was done to prop up false teaching. The same thing has done with worship. We should either use the word as the original language intended or not use it at all. Over the past few months I have avoided using the word worship and have not missed it. When I would have used it I simply use submit or surrender. All life is not submit and surrender, such as blinking, but we can submit and surrender to God in many ways. Play golf is not worship(submission to God) but if you are invited to play golf with an unbeliever and you use to opportunity to share the gospel you are “serving” God by playing Golf. The worshiping (or submitting) to God is done before the Golf game when you put aside your own plans for the day and surrendered to God’s will instead. Worship is not serving but it leads to serving. We should use Bible name for Bible things and when we learn that man has messed up the Bible names we should fix it.
Worship can indeed be done in our living….”for ye were bought with a price: glorify God therefore in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:20 ASV) and in our death…..”Now this he spake, signifying by what manner of death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.” (John 21:19 ASV)
The word translated “glorify” (doxazō) means to honour, magnify and esteem. I would certainly call that worship!
God- is what//who put us here on this earth. when we worship him we should do it because we want to. zip zap nada
well a spiritual act of worship is worshiping God because because we want too. not against our will. act is doing the deeds he wants us to do.
I agree mostly, though there are 5 regular acts of congregational worship for the Assembly and then 2 irregular acts in the Scriptures. Now as you quoted the phrase “5 acts of worship”, some would say that there are only 5 acts of worship, which from the Scriptures above, this is evidently error. The Bible is ambiguous in the sense that not everything is laid out, “1, 2, 3” precisely for worship and assemblies, but the Scriptures still speak and present these 5 acts in 1 Cor. 11, 14, and 16.
I do think that the Scriptures imply singing as worship in Acts 4, Romans 15, Hebrews 13:15, 1 Corinthians 14:15, and so on by the definition of worship shown above. There are so many things that the Scriptures teach by implication like the delivering of Jesus to be crucified as a sin is actually developed by necessary inferences in Scripture as presented in Thomas Warren’s book on “When Is a Bible Examples Binding?”, which is a great book until his final reasoning for meeting on the 1st day of the week. I don’t disagree about meeting on the first day of the week just his reasoning is off from the rest of his book.
Thanks for the comment.
You know, something rather profound about the idea of worship in this context is that to my knowledge, there aren’t any scriptures that actually say or even really imply that “singing is worship,” or “prayer is worship.” In fact, I get the impression that the Bible is almost a bit ambiguous about worship in a sense. I do think the scriptures indicated that worship is intentional and even purpose-based. But I think we need to shed the simplistic view that there are “5 acts of worship.” Especially since we can’t scripturally nail them down. Does that make sense?