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Friday, October 14, 2011

Believe or Worship?

What do we do?  Does believing lead to worship? Is believing in itself worship? Or, is worship by itself evidence of [a] belief?  Then we have  what I think of as the 'next layer' of questions.  Is a belief something we only hold to be true, with or without any type of worship occurring?  Does worship of a person, place, or thing have to be preceded by some type of stated belief in something relative to that person, place, or thing?  Or, does believing in something cause that 'something' to evolve into a belief?  And does that whole operation only take us back to our original questions involving believing and worship?

I think we need to get the experts involved here, and who better to go to than the esteemed James Hastings for widely accepted and very much accredited definitions of the two words behind all of this confusion. 

Worship, both as subst. and verb, was formerly used of reverence or honour done to men as well as to God, and so occurs in Lk 14:10.....  (A Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. 4 )

Hastings goes on to make the point that New Testament worship of GOD grew out of the Jewish Synagogue Worship concept, and that the worship of the members of the Early Church closely resembled what took place in Jewish Synagogues. 

When we go on to our other key word, belief, we're left to determine an adequate definition from Scripture(s) referred to by Hastings.

Belief occurs in AV (Authorized Version) only 2 Thessalonians 2:13 'b. of the truth'; to which RV (Revised Version) adds Romans 10:17 'b. cometh of hearing'....   (A Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. 1) 

The meaning of the word belief coming from the Scriptures referrenced by Hastings coincides in large part with what we find in Nelson's Dictionary of Christianity.

Belief  Trust and assurance in a  person, thing, or idea which is held to be true; emotional and intellectual assent to a set of values and ideas; conviction about the reality of the object of a religious faith.  (Nelson's Dictionary of Christianity, Pg. 80)

To go just a bit farther, we'll also develop a Biblical definition for one who holds certain belief's to be true.

Believer Synonym for Chrisian, especially one who believes in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  (Nelson's Dictionary of Christianity, Pg. 80)

To fully appreciate the significant differences in our key words, belief and worship, we really have to take a close look at the Scripture referred to by Hastings in his definition of the word worship.

'But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.'  (Luke 14:10    AV [Authorized Version, which is how the King James Version was originally referred to])

Remember that the word 'worship' connotates not only reverence and honor for GOD, but also reverence and honor given to, and recieved by, other men as well.  In this Scripture from the book of Luke, JESUS was giving instruction on how not to seek out worship, or reverence and honor, from man.  The point HE was making here was to remain humble, regardless of who had invited you to wherever you were.  The lesson we should take from this seemingly innocent lesson on seating arrangements is that although we've been invited to the most majestic mansion to partake of the grandest wedding feast man cannot even begin to imagine by our most Holy HOST, we shouldn't let the fact that each of us were singled out by HIM to receive a personal invitation to the wedding banquet ever come between us and being humble not only before the LORD, but also before man as well.

Our look at a Biblical definition of the word 'worship' leaves us with the understanding that the reverence and honor given and received by man isn't necessarily restricted to matters related to the FATHER, the SON, and the HOLY SPIRIT.  But, what we find in the meaning of the word 'belief' combined with what a 'believer' is commonly construed to be is that even among non-Believers it's understood that a Believer  is someone who holds the truths about the FATHER, the SON, and the HOLY SPIRIT to be the basis for a firmly focused belief in GOD.

So with the meanings of our keywords established, I'm going to do something a bit different than is my norm.  I'm going to leave it up to you to go back to our original questions, and answer them based on your understanding and guidance, not of anything I've presented today, but by HIS Holy Spirit. 

Be Blessed!

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