Volume. XXIV, No. 29
Sunday, 17 January 2010

Worship Part 1 (from New Life B-P Church, London)

The necessity of this study

In general, worship has been known as an act demonstrating and proving a state of our devotion to God. As is well known, worship is derived from worth-ship, which is the act of giving worth to something. In Christian worship, it is God who is worthy of worship. There are many elements in Christian worship such as prayer, praise, preaching and teaching, and offering. However, each and every one of them may be further divided into sub-categories. For example, prayer may be a personal as well as a corporate act of the believers. Each prayer may include confession of sins as well as faith, thanksgiving, petitions, and praises. Even each worship group may have different types of prayers. Some prefer silent prayer, some loud, some individual prayer, and some prefer group prayer by uttering words all together at the same time. Even when it comes down to praise, we see more diversified styles of worship. Thus, in a simple manner, some categorize worship styles as contemporary and traditional worships. There have been many controversies and debates over worship styles. The following questions are not unfamiliar to our discussions: Should we sing hymns or choruses? Should we have drums? Should we dance as a part of worship praise? Accordingly, the styles of worship leaders vary. Some churches emphasize on religious rituals and liturgical worship, while others do not follow them. People who used to worship in Pentecostal churches are disheartened by more conservative worship, saying "The Spirit is just not there."

All churches have worship orders. Following the order is a part of worship. Thus, the worship order themselves reflect the notion or concept of worship of each congregation. Recently, we have changed our worship order by putting everything before the sermon, emphasizing the proclamation of God’s Word and the worshippers’ further meditation upon the Word preached afterward. Let me give you an example to illustrate the importance of our understanding of worship. In the Middle Ages, the notion of worship was an outcome of human reasoning about the transcendent God and the sinful mankind. The sinful man cannot be and should not be allowed in the worship process actively. Thus, the worshippers became spectators, and only the priests were trusted with participation in worship. The faithful participated in the Lord’s Supper during early church history, but it was replaced by the "mass" which was said for the people by the priest. The Episcopalian churches, Catholics, and Lutherans have used liturgies for worship, while the Pentecostal movement introduced the immediacy and urgency of the joy of the Holy Spirit into their worship style. The issue of worship does not end with style or order. It often includes even more controversial issues such as worship clothing. Until quite recently ministers were expected to wear uniforms (or robes) of their office while presiding at the worship. Do they need a special uniform? Some congregational dress has become casual, and some ministers wear casual clothes during preaching. Some churches have only one service, while other churches have two services on Sundays. Some churches encourage their congregations to kneel for prayer at the worship, while some have abolished that practice. Some congregations raise their hands to praise God, while others consider it a sign of human intervention in worship. Some people say there is no need for worship order or any structured form of worship because the Spirit of God gives us liberty and freedom in worship. However, liberty and freedom do not mean disorderliness. It is because God is not an author of confusion but of peace and order.

In any rate, all of these observations only indicate the complicated understanding of worship in our days. Furthermore, each congregation argues that its worship style is biblical, and the rest need more spiritual understanding of worship. Then, what does the Bible say about worship? My primary focus is not to discuss any particular worship style but general principles or guidelines of biblical worship. It is to lay some foundations to understand biblical worship. I have paid attention especially to the occurrences of the word worship in the Bible. Though I am going to lay out 12 worship principles based on the uses/occurrences of worship in the Bible, the list can be either shortened by combining more than two points or lengthened by dividing each point into more points. Thus, the number of points is arbitrary.

Its occurrences in the KJV

In the KJV, the book of Revelation has the most occurrences (24 times) of the word, worship, and is followed by Psalms (16x), Matthew (14x), Acts (13x), and Daniel and 2 Kings (11x), Isaiah (10x), 2 Chronicles and Jeremiah (9x), John (8x) and so on. Percentage-wise, based on the number of occurrences of worship in each book against the total number of its occurrences in the whole Bible, Revelation is on the top of the list by 12 percent. It is followed by Psalms (8%), Matthew, John, and Acts (7%), 2 Kings, Daniel (6%), 2 Chronicles, Isaiah, Jeremiah (5%), Exodus, Deuteronomy (4%), 1 Samuel, 2 Kings (3%), Genesis, Nehemiah, Ezekiel, Zephaniah, Mark, Luke, and Hebrews (2%) and so on. In total, it occurs 198 times in 186 verses out of total 31,102 verses with 6 different forms such as worshipped, worship, worshipper, worshippers, worshipping, and worshippeth. Of course, we need to be cautious when we quote these figures because not all the uses of its occurrences refer to God-centred worship. Sometimes it refers to the practice of idol worship.

Its first occurrence is in Genesis 22:5 about Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac: "And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you." Its last occurrence is in Revelation 22:9, which says, "Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God." In this way, worship begins in the first book of the Bible and continues to the last chapter of the last book of the Bible. The Hebrew word used for worship in this verse literally means "to bow down deeply or to do obeisance." Its Greek equivalent means basically the same thing: "fall down and worship, do obeisance to, prostrate oneself before, or do reverence to." The most typical picture of the Hebrew term for worship is well demonstrated in Genesis 24:52, "And it came to pass, that, when Abraham\'s servant heard their words, he worshipped the LORD, bowing himself to the earth."

Word study from International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (IBSE)

I need to study both Hebrew and Greek words translated as worship. Before I go into more detailed word study, let me introduce you to an article from the ISBE for your better understanding of worship:

"The principal Old Testament word is Heb: shachah, ‘depress,’ ‘bow down,’ ‘prostrate’ ..., as in Exodus 4:31, ‘bowed their heads and worshipped’; so in 94 other places. The context determines more or less clearly whether the physical act or the volitional and emotional idea is intended. The word is applied to acts of reverence to human superiors as well as supernatural.... Other words are: Heb[rew]: caghadh, ‘prostrate,’ occurring in Isa 44:15, 17, 19; 46:6, but rendered (English Versions of the Bible) ‘fall down.’ In Dan 2:46; 3:5, 6, 7, 10, 15, 18, 28, it (Aramaic Heb: ceghidh) is ‘worship’ (English Versions of the Bible), 7 times associated with ‘falling down’ and 5 times with ‘serve.’ Heb[rew]: `abhadh, ‘work,’ ‘labor,’ ‘serve,’ is rendered ‘worship’ by English Versions of the Bible in 2 Ki 10:19, 21.... In Isa 19:21 the Revised Version (British and American) has ‘worship with sacrifice and oblation’ (the King James Version ‘do sacrifice’). Isa 19:23 the King James Version has ‘served,’ the Revised Version (British and American) ‘worship.’ Heb[rew]: `atsabh, ‘carve,’ ‘fabricate,’ ‘fashion,’ is once given ‘worship,’ i.e. ‘make (an object of) worship (Jer 44:19).... The Old Testament idea is therefore the reverential attitude of mind or body or both, combined with the more generic notions of religious adoration, obedience, service."

I’ll continue on this subject next week.


Pastor Ki


Dear Ps David Weng, Elder M Lee & Session members of Hope BPC, Adelaide,

Just want to say a BIG THANKS for your missionary support for the Sketch & Tell ministry and now the iSketch & Tell DVD project. generous financial support will be put to good use, as a request has come in from Vientiane, Laos for help after Surish (a missionary from Singapore) saw my cartoon animation video clips posted on YouTube and Tangle.com. will send him some DVDs for his Bible teaching ministry to the Laotians. our Batam mission, I will be showing a few Bible animation clips too, to some 950 Indonesian kids in 3 Christian schools. hope after the short mission trip to collaborate with them in the future with DVD teaching tools.

Yesterday, while searching for my iSketch&Tell cartoon animation videos on GOOGLE, I got an early pleasant SHOCK for 2010 when I saw so many video websites like Woopie (Japanese YouTube), Apni Community (Bollywood), Weekend Rush (American), Spanish, Jewish, etc embedding many of my video clips of the Parables of Jesus on their social networks. wonder why my videos continue to receive so many hits (viewers) on Tangle.com - a Christian social networking.

This is digital web online mission! have left a contact email for those viewers to contact for a full version of video clips in DVD and I will ask for a donation to defray cost.

Many thanks for your kind support to launch this online video mission on a global scale.
Praise God for whom all blessings flow!

Preacher Hai Seng Lim

iSketch&Tell studio


More Lively Hope




Kitchen Rosters: Team Leader: Bro Raymond Ang. Next Lord’s Day Kitchen Roster: Team Leader: Sis Ethel Chung.
Deepest sympathy:
Bro Richie & Sis Myra Hornung on the recent loss of Sis Myra’s twin pregnancy (Phillipines).
Sis Angela Nguyen on the home-going of her maternal uncle, Tran Nhu Thanh Tam.
Sis Joyce Chen & her family on the home-going of her grandmother.
Warm greetings from Pastor Ki (London).
Sparks4Christ members: please let Sis Joyce Gong know if interested to attend the activity next Sat.
Sis Susan Weng discharged from FMC.
More people needed for the Flower roster for last half of 2010. If you want to serve the LORD in this area, please write your name on the notice board.
To leaders of all fellowship groups, committees & ministries, please let Lively Hope Committee know your plans, programmes, activities for 2010.
Looking Ahead
at the University of Adelaide in Feb 2010.
Family Bible Camp, Easter weekend, 2-5 April 2010.
Praise & Thanksgiving
Journey mercies
: Bro Jason & Sis Tabitha Tan (S’pore), Bros Raphael Ng & Jason Teng (Adl) & others who have travelled.
Church activities over the past week.
Birth of Joshua Weng on 10 Jan to Ps David & Sis Susan Weng.
God’s protection & guidance over last 6 months for Bro Raphael Ng in Pt Augusta.
Daily mercies, protection, and guidance.
Prayer Items
Health & God’s healing
- Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren; Rev Stephen Khoo, Dr & Mrs S H Tow; Rev & Mrs James White; Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Tommy Brooks, Colin Creaser, Makoto Kobayashi (JPN), Elton Law, Alan Marion, Len & Richard Pearson, Winston Selvanayagam, Fred Volvricht; Mr Swee Liang Ng; Grandpa Ki; Auntie Oei; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth, Nita Chong’s mother, Annie D’Mello & her mother (Mumbai), Myung Ki, Choon Fong Lee (KL); Fiona & Lehia Paauwe; Margaret, Dianne, & Sarah Pearson; Aranka Rejtoe, Susan Veradi, Irena Kurek-Braden; Mrs Win Hooper; & others in affliction.
Cambodia Missions - Rev David Koo & ministry (Sihanoukville).
Laos Missions - Bro Surish Dharmalingam.
iSketch&Tell Studio - Pr H S Lim (Melb).
IBPFM (USA) - missionaries & funds.
Batam Missions, 20-24 Jan 2010 (organised by Ebenezer BPC, Melb) - preparations.
Myanmar Missions, early Feb 2010 (organised by Bethel BPC, Melb).
Ps Ki’s family & ministry in New Life BPC (Lond). For Moslems in the area to receive Christ.
Hopefuls in S’pore; Teo family (Kuching).
God’s comfort in grief: Bro Richie & Sis Myra Hornun; Sis Angela Nguyen & family; Sis Joyce Chen & family; & Mrs Siew Ling Teh & their families.
Journey mercies:  Elder Michael & Sis Alice Lee (S’hai); Bros Daniel Ki (S’pore/Adl), Yick Ho Lam & Rexson Tse (Siem Reap); Sis Mariam Atijatuporn & Jayden (Udon Thani); students & all others who are travelling.
Job - Sisters Marion Chan, Hui Wei Chua, Judy Li, & Corinne Teng.
Sis Susan Weng - speedy recovery from complications.
Good health in pregnancy - Sisters  Bernadette Ng, & Josephine Wong.
God’s comfort, strength, guidance & care: Sisters Kathleen Creaser & Margaret Hooper.
Unity of fellowship & doctrine of B-P Churches.
Haitian earthquake: Survivors & those who lost their loved ones.
Church bombings in Malaysia: Protection  of believers in Malaysia.



© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041