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What Is Worship?

What Is Worship?

Worship may be defined as “the act of showing respect and love for a god.” In the Bible, the original-language words rendered “worship” may convey the idea of someone showing deep respect, or submission, to creatures. (Matt. 28:9) Those words may also describe a religious act to God or a deity. (John 4:23, 24) The context determines how the words are to be understood.

Only Jehovah, the Creator and Universal Sovereign, is worthy of our exclusive devotion. (Rev. 4:10, 11) We worship Jehovah by showing respect for his sovereignty and by honoring his name. (Ps. 86:9; Matt. 6:9, 10) These two themes​—Jehovah’s sovereignty and his name—​are featured prominently in the book of Ezekiel. The expression “Sovereign Lord Jehovah” is used 217 times in Ezekiel alone, and the statement “know that I am Jehovah,” 55 times.​—Ezek. 2:4; 6:7.

Our worship, however, is not just a feeling; rather, genuine worship involves action. (Jas. 2:26) When we dedicate our life to Jehovah, we vow that in every aspect of our life, we will obey him as our Sovereign and show the deepest respect for his name. Recall that in his reply to the third temptation, Jesus linked worship with “sacred service.” (Matt. 4:10) As worshippers of Jehovah, we are eager to serve him. * (Deut. 10:12) We render sacred service to our God when we engage in activities that are directly related to our worship and that call for self-sacrifice. What activities?

Sacred service comes in many forms, all of which are precious to Jehovah. We perform sacred service when we witness to others, share in meetings at our Kingdom Hall, and care for and construct our meeting places. In addition, we render sacred service when we participate in family worship, support the relief work for needy fellow believers, volunteer at our conventions, or serve at Bethel. (Heb. 13:16; Jas. 1:27) When pure worship is foremost in our minds and hearts, we will render “sacred service day and night.” We delight in worshipping our God, Jehovah!​—Rev. 7:15.

^ par. 5 One of the Hebrew words that can express the thought of worship also means “serve.” Worship thus involves service.​—Ex. 3:12, ftn.