Most believers know that praise and worship are at the center of Christian life, but few have done an in-depth study on it. As a result, we are unable to recognize true praise and worship or experience it to it’s fullest. The first thing that we will look at are the Hebrew and Greek words for praise. This will give us greater insight into praise.
1) Halal – celebrate, glory, and boast. (used 160 times in the O.T.)
It is the root word for Hallelujah which is a Hebrew expression of praise to God. Hallelujah is translated in Hebrew as “Let us praise God”. The Greek form in the New Testament is translated “Alleluia”.
Examples: Ps. 22:22; Ps.102:18; Ps. 35:18
2)Tehilliah – The emphasis of this word is on singing God praises. (used 57 times)
Ps. 119:171 – “May my lips overflow with praise (singing), for you teach me your decrees.”
Other examples: Habakkuk 3:3, Deuteronomy 10:21
3) Shabach – Means to shout with a loud voice, to shout in triumph, to glory in victory.
Psalms 47:1 – “Clap your hands, all you nations; shout (praise) to God with cries of joy.
Ps. 63:3 – “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify (praise) you.”
Other examples: Daniel 2:23; Ps. 117:1
4) Yadah – to give thanks (used 120 times in the O.T.)
Psalms 35:18 – “I will give you thanks in the great assembly; among the throngs I will praise you.”
Let us now look at some Greek words that are translated praise in our Bibles as we seek further insight into praise.
1) Aineo – A praise offering or celebration, or lifting of voice in thanks.
Romans 15:11 – “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles; let all the peoples extol him.”
2) Epaineo – Means to applaud, to commend for something
Eph. 1:6 – “to the praise (applaud) of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.”
3) Eulogeo – Means to speak well of.
Luke 1:64 – “Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising (speaking well of) God.”
In summary as we reflect on these words for praise, we see a number of characteristics of praise. We see praise has the idea of celebration. Praise is often a form of celebration. We are celebrating who God is and what He has done. We are celebrating our relationship with God. Another characteristic is giving God glory because He merits this. Often praise is a form of boasting, boasting in who God is and what He has done, even in what He will do. Also, we saw that often praise is offered through singing. Singing in itself is not praise, but when offered with the intent of glorifying God, it is praise. As we continue to reflect on the words for praise, we see that praise can be very loud. Shouting and applauding is often involved. Also, we saw another aspect of praise is thanksgiving. Thanking God for all he has done.
In our next blog, we will continue to look further into the characteristics and aspects of praise.