O Lord, if you heal me, I will be truly healed; if you save me, I will be truly saved. My praises are for you alone! Jeremiah 17:14 (NLT)
Praise has come up in several different contexts over the past several weeks: prayer times, on the radio, reading the Scriptures, within the depths of my heart, and visiting people, at a social distance of course. I began to think more about praise when I heard there are several words in the NT for praise. I did some research and found 6 different words for praise: 6 verbs and 3 nouns; the 3 nouns have the same root as 3 verbs totaling 6 different words for praise.
I found this exciting as I thought through and discovered a deeper understanding of praise, it makes sense how my life has radically changed and how praise is an integral part of me. I pray you are encouraged and find something that will bring praise and glory to God as well.
Here are the words for praise in the New Testament:
ainéœ (ahee-neh'-o) (lit. "extol, glorify"; Luke 2:13,20; 19:37; Acts 2:47; 3:8)
To express the greatness of God, through outward expressions of joy and excitement for what He has done. One can be so touched by God’s greatness that no word can express the awe and thus a quiet reflection is all that can be expressed. God is glorified in the praise!
doxázœ (dox-ad'-zo) (lit. "extol, honor"; Matthew 6:2; Luke 13:13; 17:15; 23:47; Acts 4:21)
Honor is given where honor is due; to lift up the honor of God. To express the touch of God, through outward expressions of joy and excitement for what He has done. One can be so touch by God’s work that no word can express the awe and thus a quiet reflection is all that can be expressed. God is honored in the praise!
epainéœ (ep'-aheen-o) (lit. "approve, praise"; Romans 15:7-13)
Jesus made away for the Gentiles “so that God will be given glory.” For the Gentile, we remember God’s mercies towards us which brings praise (Romans 15:9). This tends to be an outward expression.
exomologéomai (ex-om-ol-og-eh'-o) (lit. "confess, praise"; Romans 14:10-12; 15:7-13)
To express the “awe” and greatness of God, through outward expressions of joy and excitement for what He has done, doing or will do. We all have so much to confess considering God’s greatness.
hymnéœ (hoom-neh'-o) (lit. "sing hymns of praise"; Hebrews 2:12, many Psalms: 9:2, 9:11, 47:6)
An outward expression of glory and honor to God through song.
psállœ (psal'-lo) (lit. "play a stringed instrument," "sing to a harp"; RSV "sing praise," James 5:13, 1 Peter 1:6-7, and many Psalms).
As many of the Psalms, Peter, and James point out, singing and praising God is done regardless of circumstances.
In the NT "praise" translates the Hebrew/Greek words as nouns: The object of the action is a noun: I never thought of praise as a noun until I looked at the context of how praise is used in these Scriptures.
épainos (ep'-ahee-nos) (lit. "approval, praise"; Romans 2:29; Ephesians 1:6,12,14; etc.)
Seeking/receiving praise from God or someone who would bring “praise” to God.
dóxa (dox'-ah) (lit. "glory"; Luke 17:18; John 9:24; 12:43)
Give “praise” that is glory to God for His great act of Mercy, Love, Grace.
aínos (ah'-ee-nos) (Matthew 21:16; Luke 18:43), and aînosis (Hebrews 13:15).
Giving or receiving praise…praising God or offering “a sacrifice of praise to God”
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Electronic Database Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc.
Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.
Text book definition
Praise: An act of worship or acknowledgment by which the virtues or deeds of another are recognized and extolled. (Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary)
Let’s look at two major objects of praise for the Christian life – man and God, that is, praise of: man-toward-man; God-toward-man; and man-toward-God.
We know that the praise of man toward man can be very helpful and encouraging (1 Corinthians 11:2; 1 Timothy 1:3), because it is important to build each other up and to encourage each other. Although, it seems that praise can be quite a snare to man (Proverbs 27:21; Matthew 6:1-5). I have experienced this snare in my own life and because of the experience, I find it difficult to give praise to people. I try to be very careful and express praise in context to what God is doing or has done within the person’s life. To help build up, so that God is glorified and the person is given proper praise.
We know that the praise of God toward His children is the most satisfying approval a person can ever receive. When God is glorifying/praising it reflects the true servant's heart (Matthew 25:21; 1 Corinthians 4:5). A person after God’s own heart, brings praise and glory to God, because of God being pleased with him/her. It is humbling to think of serving God and pleasing Him; that I could please God, through Christ Jesus, is exciting, bringing joy and awe to my life….so very humbling. How wonderful the words are “well done good and faithful servant.”
Our, followers of Christ Jesus, highest priority and our main focus must be “true” praise. True praise is always directed to and for God. The praise of a person toward God is the way he/she expresses: awe, joy, love, hope, adoration, and thanksgiving to the Lord (Ephesians 1:3-14).
We are to praise God both for who He is and for what He does (Psalms 150:2), the major purpose of our praise is: Praising God for who He is, defined as adoration and Praising Him for what He does, is defined as thanksgiving. (Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary)
There are a variety ways “Praise” of God is expressed: Often we praise in song (outward or inner expression) or prayer (outward or inner expression), maybe individually or collectively as the Family, perhaps praise is spontaneous or prearranged.
Praise originates from the emotions of knowing God or from the will of God who now dwells within us, through Christ Jesus our Lord. It is important to point out that praise can be an inward expression or an outward declaration of both who God is and what He does, and is a part of the very fabric of our life as a follower of Jesus. (Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary)
Oh, that we might echo King David's words,
Psalms 71:6 Yes, you have been with me from birth; from my mother's womb you have cared for me. No wonder I am always praising you! (NLT)
Psalms 71:14 But I will keep on hoping for your help; I will praise you more and more. (NLT)
J.C. Lambert explains the duty of praise to be: - Praise is everywhere represented in the Bible as a duty no less than a natural impulse and a delight. To fail in this duty is to withhold from God's glory that belongs to Him (Psalms 50:23; Romans 1:20); it is to shut one's eyes to the signs of His presence (Isaiah 40:26), to be forgetful of His mercies (Deuteronomy 6:12), and unthankful for His kindness (Luke 6:35-36). If we are not to fall into these sins, but are to give to God the honor and glory and gratitude we owe Him, we must earnestly cultivate the spirit and habit of praise.
From holy men of old we learn that this may be done by arousing the soul from its slothfulness and sluggishness (Psalms 57:7-10; 103:1), by fixing the heart upon God (57:7; 108:1), by meditation on His works and ways (77:11), by recounting His benefits (103:1-2), above all, for those to whom He has spoken to by His Holy Spirit and Son, we focus and praise Him for His unspeakable gifts (2 Corinthians 9:15; compare Romans 8:31-33; 1 John 3:1-3).
(International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Electronic Database Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc.)
As we continue to grow in our love for God and understanding His ways, I pray that the praises of His people will flood all of heaven; that God’s praise of His people will permeate their lives, that others might come to know the One true God; and that we as Children of God, will encourage and build each other up through praising for what God is doing in and through our lives.
I pray that all of our circumstances are seen through the lens of Scriptures. Even though life seems harsh and perhaps even lifeless that we would remember the Love, Grace, and Mercy that is extended to us through Christ Jesus our Lord. That we would, with an open heart, listen to the Holy Spirit as He comforts us.
Oh, thank you Lord, for a life full of praise.
Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. (NLT)