"Worship" - The Different Biblical Types

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In this Bible Study we will be looking at the word worship as used in the Bible.  Many believe that because Christ Jesus received “worship”, then he was in fact Yahweh God, however this is not the case, the word worship in the Bible has been translated from 2 different Greek words.

Let us first look at the 2 types of words used in the Bible that are represented by the word Worship.  The first word translated as worship in the Bible and which should probably be translated better as “reverence” or “homage” is the word “proskuneo” which has a Strong’s meaning of:

Strong’s Number: 4352


Text: from 4314 and a probable derivative of 2965 (meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand); to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore): –worship.

This word is applied to worship, reverence or homage of pretty much anybody, including Kings, Queens, the High Priest, etc.  It means to show respect, do homage, show reverence or to adore as can be seen above. Here are some verses from the Bible to show you how it is used:

NJB Matthew 14:33
33. The men in the boat bowed down (proskuneo) before him and said, “Truly, you are the Son of God.”

NJB Acts 10:25
25. and as Peter reached the house Cornelius went out to meet him, fell at his feet and did him reverence (proskuneo).

NJB 1 Corinthians 14:25
25. and the secrets of his heart revealed; and so he would fall down on his face and worship (proskuneo) God, declaring that God is indeed among you.

NJB Hebrews 11:21
21. By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, bowed in reverence (proskuneo), as he leant on his staff.

As can be seen by the above Scriptures, anybody can be worshipped (proskuneo) from Jacob to Yahweh God himself.  Jesus received this type of worship himself from people as can be seen from the Scriptures above.

The next type of Worship mentioned and used in the original Greek is the word “latreuo”.  The meaning you from Strong’s is:

Strong’s Number: 3000


Text: from latris (a hired menial); to minister (to God), i.e. render, religious homage: –serve, do the service, worship(-per).

This type of worship belongs only to Yahweh, it is never used for anybody other than for God himself in Scripture and the Bible and is never used for Jesus.

The following verse shows very well how the word “latreuo” and the word “proskuneo” are used as both are used in exactly the same verse from the Bible:

NJB Matthew 4:10
10. Then Jesus replied, “Away with you, Satan! For scripture says: The Lord your God is the one to whom you must do homage (proskuneo), him alone you must serve (latreuo).”

This can be seen from the Original Greek text that has been romanised below:

— Romanized, unaccented —
Matthew 4:10 Tote legei autoo ho Ieesous, Hupage, Satana! Gegraptai gar, Kurion ton Theon sou proskuneeseiskai autoo monoo latreuseis.

Now that you know of the 2 types of worship mentioned in the Bible, it should make things easier to understand what is being talked about and that just because the word worship in English has been used doesn’t mean that there is only one type of worship, in fact even the English Dictionary shows more than one type of worship as you can see below:

Oxford English Reference Dictionary Ed. 1996
Homage or reverence paid to a deity, esp. in a formal service
the acts, rites, or ceremonies of worship.
2. adoration or devotion comparable to religious homage shown towards a person or principle
3. archaic. Worthiness, merit; recognition given or due to these; honour and respect.

With these definitions, it is easy to see how many people confuse one word that has several meanings.  With this understanding of the definitions above, we can see that Christ NEVER received the type of worship that was reserved only for Yahweh, and Christ should NEVER receive the type of worship that is reserved only for Yahweh.  Unfortunately, many people today in many churches do in fact worship Christ Jesus the way only Yahweh should be worshipped, even though Christ tells us himself that only God should be worshiped in BOTH forms.


PLEASE, now that you have read this article, do not just take our word for it.  Get your Bible, look at it and read the Scriptures for yourself, and feel free to get our Book of Bible Articles or look at our articles website for further Bible Studies and Articles.