When defining worship, I believe we need to see what God says. So I look in the Bible to see what words are used. I looked at the NAS.
There's a primary word in Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew.
The primary Hebrew word, for "worship", shachah, is a powerful one. It describes the physical act of actually prostrating yourself on the floor before a sovereign, someone who has complete control over you. There are 171 uses of shachah in the Old Testament. It is translated bow, homage, prostrate, worship, weighs it down or a similar words.
Daniel wrote in Aramaic or Chaldean. The word he used, 12 times, is cegid, pronounces segeed. It is translated to prostrate oneself, do homage, worship. It is related to the Hebrew cagad, used four times (Isa 44:15, 17, 19, 46:6). It means to prostrate oneself (in worship).
The primary Greek word is proskuneo. It means to kiss the hand to (towards) one, in token of reverence. Among the Orientals, esp. the Persians, to fall upon the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of pro-found reverence. In the NT by kneeling or prostration to do homage (to one) or make obeisance, whether in order to express respect or to make supplication. It is used 60 times in the NAS it is translated bow, prostrated himself be-fore, worship or similar words.
Then there are secondary words. I've divided then into service, reverence and religion.
Many have used these two words for service as their only secondary word for worship. A few have used it as their only worship word. Each time the NAS translates the word into worship; serve or service fits. We are to worship and serve Him. Do we think we can choose how we can serve God? Do we tell God that we how to maximize our skills? Do we question or ignore God, when He says to do something? We need to do what He wants to do, when He wants us to do it. We are His slaves, free to obey or disobey.
In the Old Testament, there is `abad which is to actively serve, to work, to minister. It can be a personal expression or we can join with other people corporately to serve. Of the 290 times it is used in the Old Testament, `abad is translated worship or worshipers only 13 times in the NAS. It is also translated slaves, burdened, cultivate, culti-vated and work. It is translated some form of serve over 200 times. Some translate the word in Zephaniah 3:10, as supplicants.
The New Testament word for service is latreuo. It means to serve for hire or to serve, minister to, either to the gods or men It is to render religious service or homage . to perform sacred services, to offer gifts. It is used of priests, to officiate, to discharge the sacred office. It is used 16 times in the New Testament. It is translated worship or wor-shiper only 5 times, in the NAS. Romans 12:1 can be translated reasonable or intelligent service. For Hebrews 9:6 service
of God fits in the place of divine worship.
I wonder why this is not the secondary word that people use. Proskuneo has the sense of reverence. It is one missing part of worship today . this may be the reason I did not see it used as a worship word. Worship can be replaced by reverence.
It means to revere, to worship. It is the root word for the words that follow. It is translated worship 6 times. It's also translated devout 3 times and religious, once. ((Matthew 15:8-9; Mark 7:6-7). Cross-reference Isaiah 29:13-14)
It means to act piously or reverently towards God, or whomever regard or reverence is due. It is translated piety in 1 Timothy 5:4. The root, eusebes, pious is from eu, acting well, and sebomai, worship. (Acts 17:23)
It means to fear, be afraid or to honor religiously, to worship. It is translated worship once. It is a derivative of sebomai, the previous word. (Romans 1:25)
It means whatever is religiously honored, an object of worship ... of temples, altars, statues, idolatrous images. It is from sebazomai, the previous word. (2 Thessalonians. 2:4)
It means religious worship. It is from a derivative of threskos (fearing or worshipping God; or to tremble), used in James 1:26. In turn, threskos is probably from the base of throeo, which is from threomai (to wail). Threskeia is translated worshipped once and the other three times it is religion. (Colossians 2:18)
There are other words that are not translated worship in the NAS, which have a flavor of being worship.
To fall on the knees, the act of imploring aid, and of expressing reverence and honor, is the meaning of this Greek word. It from a compound of gonu (the knee, to kneel down ) and the alternate of pipto (see below).
Mark 1:40, uses the word gonupeteo, while Matthew 8:2 uses shachah. This is where a leper asks to be made clean.
This Greek word means to descend from an erect to a prostrate position It is in passages Mark 5:22 and Luke 8:41, not shachah, as it is in Matthew 9:18. Jarius knelt before Jesus, asking that his daughter be restored to life. Luke 5:12 uses the word is pipto, while Matthew 8:2 uses shachah. This is where a leper asks to be cleansed.
Matthew 27:29 uses gonupeteo, while Mark 15:19 uses shachah to describe the soldiers were mocking Him, as King of the Jews.
Is Greek for, to bow in honor of one, in religious veneration, appearing four times in the New Testament. Philippians 2:10 says every knee will bow at the name of Jesus and confess Jesus Christ is Lord. Romans 14:11 where the Lord says that every knee will bow before Him and confess to God. We will see other places that use the primary worship words to recount this same scene. Ephesians 3:14 is where Paul says he bows his knees before the Father, because he does not want them to be discouraged (vs. 13). In Romans 11:4, the word is used is referring to those who didn't bow their knee to Baal.
8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and un-der the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:8-11).
For it is written, "As I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God" (Romans 14:11).
The Hebrew equivalent of kampto, is kara' (to bend, kneel, bow, bow down, sink down to one's knees, kneel down to rest (of animals), kneel in reverence. Romans 11:4 cross-reference is 1 Kings 19:18. For Romans 14:11 it is Isaiah 45:23. Kara' is used with proskuneo (2 Chr. 7:3; 29:29; Psa. 22:29, 72:9, 95:6).
1 Kings 8:54 shows Solomon bowing in prayer with his hands raised. Ezra took the same position (Ezra 9:5).
Deuteronomy 6:13 is the passage Jesus quoted to Satan in Matthew 4:10 and Luke 4:8, "You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only." Yare' means to fear, revere, be afraid.
"You shall fear only the LORD your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name" Deuteronomy 6:13.
English is a poor language. Languages who do not use Old and Middle English do not use worthiness when they talk about worship. The idea of worthiness, is found in where the Lord and the Lamb are called worthy (Rev. 4:11, 5:9, 12). Note this is praise, not worship. That is seen in 5:14. I believe mixing praise and worship is one mistake the church has
The number of verses translated worship varies, from Young's Literal Translation which has 19 verses, to The Good News Bible in Today's English Version, with 537 verses. So do we choose to define worship by what others say, or investigate the Scripture ourselves, and see what makes sense?