Definition of worship in hebrew/greek


#1

I was just curious if there is a concrete difference between the usages of the word “worship” in the old/new testament as in reference to the difference between worship in god, vs worship of another person/entity. Is this merely a contextual definition variation (such as the difference between “I cried a single tear” and “That shirt has a tear in it”), or were they different words in the original biblical languages? Thanks for any information. :slight_smile:


#2

I looked into it and found no such distinction in the original languages.

I don’t know if there were any homographs in Greek or Hebrew (words that are spelled the same but have completely different pronunciations and meanings which can only be rightly divined by the context of the usage - as your example of “tear”).

However, it is not uncommon to find that several completely different Greek or Hebrew words might be translated into the same English word (or that a particular Hebrew or Greek word might be translated into several different English words). Translation is an inexact science.

A Young’s Analytical Concordance is your friend when you entertain these sorts of curiosities. Unlike a regular concordance (which groups by English word), Young’s groups by the Hebrew/Greek words (in English fashion - you do NOT need to know Hebrew or Greek to use Young’s).

Unfortunately, Young’s is based on the KJV, which is not even a good protestant Bible. I do not know of a similar tool for a Catholic Bible, or a good protestant text. The implication is that the translators of the KJV may have rendered some words differently than modern (and far better) scholarship would call for. For example, in Matthew’s infancy narrative, the KJV says the Magi came to “worship” but some modern texts translate the same Hebrew word as “do him homage.”

Anyway, according to Young’s, there were four Hebrew words which are rendered as “worship” in the KJV.

[list]
*]“segad,” (to bow down) occurs a dozen times, but only in the book of Daniel. It always refers to worship of someone/something other than God.
*] “Atsab” occurs only once (in Jeremiah) but the word actually means “make an idol” and thus would not apply to God.
*] “Abad” (to serve) occurs five times, but only in 2Kings, and is used in the context of “Worshippers of Baal.”
*] “Shachah” (bow self down) is by FAR the most common OT term for Worship. It is used interchangeably for both God and idols.
[/list]In the New Testament, 11 different Greek words were translated as “worship” in the KJV. The most common Greek term is “proskun” (to kiss the hand). This is by far the most common Greek word - of the other ten options, one is used four times, one six times, and the others occur only once. “proskun” does not distinguish between worship of God or the Beast of Revelation.

(of course, I’m using transliterated characters, since I can’t reproduce the Hebrew/Greek characters in this forum).


#3

[quote=DavidFilmer]I looked into it and found no such distinction in the original languages.

A Young’s Analytical Concordance is your friend when you entertain these sorts of curiosities. Unlike a regular concordance (which groups by English word), Young’s groups by the Hebrew/Greek words (in English fashion - you do NOT need to know Hebrew or Greek to use Young’s).

Unfortunately, Young’s is based on the KJV, which is not even a good protestant Bible. I do not know of a similar tool for a Catholic Bible, or a good protestant text. The implication is that the translators of the KJV may have rendered some words differently than modern (and far better) scholarship would call for. For example, in Matthew’s infancy narrative, the KJV says the Magi came to “worship” but some modern texts translate the same Hebrew word as “do him homage.”

Anyway, according to Young’s, there were four Hebrew words which are rendered as “worship” in the KJV.
[list]
*]“segad,” (to bow down) occurs a dozen times, but only in the book of Daniel. It always refers to worship of someone/something other than God.
*]“Atsab” occurs only once (in Jeremiah) but the word actually means “make an idol” and thus would not apply to God.
*]“Abad” (to serve) occurs five times, but only in 2Kings, and is used in the context of “Worshippers of Baal.”
*]“Shachah” (bow self down) is by FAR the most common OT term for Worship. It is used interchangeably for both God and idols.
[/list]In the New Testament, 11 different Greek words were translated as “worship” in the KJV. The most common Greek term is “proskun” (to kiss the hand). This is by far the most common Greek word - of the other ten options, one is used four times, one six times, and the others occur only once. “proskun” does not distinguish between worship of God or the Beast of Revelation.

(of course, I’m using transliterated characters, since I can’t reproduce the Hebrew/Greek characters in this forum).
[/quote]

What were the other words used in the new testament? Are they derivatives of “proskun”?


#4

Thanks Dave. That’s what I suspected (consolidated vocabulary through translation). :slight_smile:


#5

[quote=jimmy]What were the other words used in the new testament? Are they derivatives of “proskun”?
[/quote]

The NT uses (once) the terms doxa, eusebo, therapeuo, neokoros, proskunetes, sebasma, and sebazo. *Latreuo *occurs four times, and *sebomai *occurs six. *proskun *is maybe 60 times.

According to my Strong’s Concordance, none of these different words are derived from proskun.

Oops, that’s not right… proskunetes is indeed derived directly from proskun. This word occurs only once (John 4:23, “when the true worshippers shall”)


#6

[quote=DavidFilmer]The NT uses (once) the terms doxa, eusebo, therapeuo, neokoros, proskunetes, sebasma, and sebazo. *Latreuo *occurs four times, and *sebomai *occurs six. *proskun *is maybe 60 times.

According to my Strong’s Concordance, none of these different words are derived from proskun.

Oops, that’s not right… proskunetes is indeed derived directly from proskun. This word occurs only once (John 4:23, “when the true worshippers shall”)
[/quote]

proskunetes looks like a participle from proskun. I see Latreuo there, what verses is that used in? I would say that that coresponds to the latin word “latria”, which is worship due to God alone. Except it is a verb.


#7

[quote=jimmy]proskunetes looks like a participle from proskun. I see Latreuo there, what verses is that used in?
[/quote]

I thought I answered that… though I wouldn’t call *proskunetes *a “participle” since “worshippers” is a noun, not a verb-ish word. At least in English - I have no idea what this might be in Greek.


#8

John 4:23 has
proskunhtai
προσκυνηται

The generic term for changing the endings in greek, is inflection. It doesn’t matter if it is a noun or verb – they are both inflected.
(For different reasons though).

The verb ending (inflection) tells the tense, mood (what’s that right?), etc. We do something similar with verbs in English: Jump vs. Jumps. Although in English we generally add letters, in Greek the ending letters change.

So here is the word, inflected in diffent ways. The dashes are my addition to break the word into its parts. eg. Jump vs Jump-s

The word is popularly believed to come from:

προσ κυνε-ω – toward kiss.
rather than
προσ κυνα-ω - toward playing the cynic( dog ).
even though the word as ‘kiss’ was rather rare. :slight_smile:

The word in John is:
προσκυνη-ται (3rd person present-tense middle single)

The ending of the word shows that a single person, spoken of as he/she in John is presently doing obesiance.

Even if it isn’t a dog, they may look like a dog kissing the ground. :smiley:

It doesn’t necessarily mean worship, though it is commonly understood that way when the object of obesiance is a God.

Hope this helps.


#9

[quote=Huiou Theou]John 4:23 has
proskunhtai
προσκυνηται
[/quote]

How did you do the Greek characters? Can you do Hebrew as well? This website obviously supports UTF-8, but I don’t see how to TYPE these characters (unless you’re doing the old DOS-style ALT-NumberPad thing - what a pain in the neck).


#10

[quote=DavidFilmer]How did you do the Greek characters? Can you do Hebrew as well? This website obviously supports UTF-8, but I don’t see how to TYPE these characters (unless you’re doing the old DOS-style ALT-NumberPad thing - what a pain in the neck).
[/quote]

Sorry david, I can’t really help you. I use a Mac now, have been using it for a few months. I enterUTF-8 mode by changing my keyboard input method, and then I can freely exchange between typeing in either english or Greek or Hebrew or …

I have seen some websites which allow IBM/PC users to type unicode characters as well. They offer programs to do so without using the ALT numberpad sequences.

Linux also allows it with input methods under Gnome/GTK.

do a google search on Greek Keyboard for several sites which carry the entry software for windows. Good luck.


#11

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