Praise & Worship: Simply Defined – Part 1

“The whole assembly bowed in worship, while the singers sang and the trumpeters played. All this continued until the sacrifice of the burnt offering was completed.

When the offerings were finished, the king and everyone present with him knelt down and worshiped. King Hezekiah and his officials ordered the Levites to praise the LORD with the words of David and of Asaph the seer. So they sang praises with gladness and bowed their heads and worshiped.”

~ 2 Chronicles 29:28-30 (NIV)

“Praise & Worship” is a phrase often used in Christianity, the words themselves often being used interchangeably. When someone is asked what the difference is between Worship and Praise, a distant look might appear in their eyes as they wonder at what the difference really is between the two.

While we will — in a moment — look at the actual definitions of the words as they are used in scripture, here first are some of the generalizations or characterizations that are floating around regarding the difference between “Praise” and “Worship:”

  • The Praise & Worship difference is characterized by the tempo of the music of the song:
    • i.e. Worship is a slow tempo, and Praise is a high tempo.
  • The Praise & Worship difference is characterized by the volume of the music of the song:
    • i.e. Worship is quiet, and Praise is loud.
  • The Praise & Worship difference is characterized by the source of the words of the song:
    • i.e. Worship is when the words of the song are read from a Hymn Book, and Praise is when the words of the song are read from a Projection Screen.
  • The Praise & Worship difference is characterized by the age of the song’s authorship:
    • i.e. Worship is when the song was authored [perhaps] at least 50 years earlier, and Praise is when the song was authored sometime during the last 20 years, [at most].
  • The Praise & Worship difference is characterized by the denomination that sings the song.
    • i.e. Worship is when the older, more established evangelical denominational churches sing in church, and Praise is when the more recently established Charismatic churches sing in church.
There are some other generalizations that float around, but you get the idea. In my next posting, we will take a look at some of the definitions in Scripture of the Praise and Worship terms.
Perhaps clarifying these terms will help us not only have a better characterization of the difference between Praise and Worship, but maybe it will enhance our own times of Praise and Worship!

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