Sunday, August 7, 2011

Nine Aspects of Praise

A word study developed by Dr. Terry W. Dorsett.
• In Bible is filled with examples of people praising the Lord.
• Our various English versions use the word “praise” to mean many different things, which we do not always appreciate as fully as we should.
• To fully understand what it means to praise the Lord, we need to look at the Hebrew and Greek words that were used in the original Bible.
• Though those words have ALL been translated into “praise” in English, each of them had a distinct meaning to the original readers of the Bible.
• Though there are a few words that we cannot translate as well as we would like, most of the time the word “praise” refers to one of SIX Hebrew words or one of THREE Greek words.

1. Halal
• Halal is the primary Hebrew word for praise.
• Our word "hallelujah" comes from this word.
• It means "to be clear, to shine, to boast, to rave, or to celebrate."
• Psalms 113:1-3 -Praise (halal) the Lord, praise (halal) O servants of the Lord, praise (halal) the name of the Lord.
• Psalms 150:1 - Praise (halal) the Lord! Praise (halal) God in his sanctuary; Praise (halal) him in his mighty expanse.
• The focus of this type of praise is with a clear word that gives glory to God.
• Saying “Amen,” “Hallelujah,” “Praise the Lord,” or “Glory to God” would be examples of how this aspect of praise could be used.
• Halal praise is not necessarily loud, nor does it need to draw attention to itself.
• It tends to be spontaneous and wells up from deep within us in response to something the Spirit reveals to us in the moment.

2. Shabach
• Shabach is a Hebrew word that means, "to shout, to address in a loud tone, to command, or to triumph."
• Psalms 47:1 - O clap your hands, all peoples; shout (shabach) to God with the voice of triumph.
• Psalms 145:4 - One generation shall praise (shabach) Your works to another and declare Your mighty acts.
• Isaiah 12:6 - Cry aloud and shout (shabach) for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, For great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.
• This aspect of praise is similar to Halal, but it is NOT quiet. It is loud!
• Though some people’s personalities are quiet and therefore they may not use this aspect of praise often, for those who tend to be loud anyway, this helps them channel their energy toward the Lord instead of worldly things.
• People who tend to be on the “loud” side find great freedom in being able to express themselves to the Lord with Shabach praise.
• One danger in this type of praise is that it is easy to make it about self instead of the Lord.
• For it to really be Shabach praise, our shouts must be to the Lord and not just about being heard by those around us.
• When our motive is to be heard by people, God will not bless our Shabach praises.

3. Yadah and Towdah
• Yadah is a Hebrew word which means, "to extend a hand, or to throw out the hand."
• Towdah comes from the word Yadah and means the same thing but is specifically focused on adoration or worship of God.
• Psalms 107:15 - Oh that men would praise (yadah) the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men.
• Psalms 63:1 - So I will praise You as long as I live; I will (yadah) lift up my hands in Your name.
• Jeremiah 33:11 – Praise (Towdah) the LORD of Hosts, for the LORD is good; His faithful love endures forever.
• Psalm 42:4 - I remember this as I pour out my heart: how I walked with many, leading the festive procession to the house of God, with joyful praise and thankful shouts.
• This aspect of praise focuses on lifting our hands in recognition of the greatness of the one being praised.
• While Yadah praise could apply to either the Lord, or to a person of prominence, Towdah praise can ONLY be applied to the Lord.
• While some people may never feel comfortable lifting their hands to the Lord, for those who do, it is a very freeing experience.
• There is something about lifting our hands to the Lord that makes us feel like we are opening our whole selves to the Lord in praise.

4. Barak
• Barak is a Hebrew word that means "to kneel down and bless God as an act of adoration.”
• Psalms 95:6 - O come let us worship and bow down; let us kneel (barak) before the Lord our maker.
• 1 Chronicles 29:20 - Then David said to all the assembly, "Now praise (barak) the Lord your God." And all the assembly praised (barak) the Lord, the God of their fathers, and bowed low and did homage to the Lord.
• This aspect of praise is similar to Yadah and Towdah in that it involves using our bodies to praise the Lord.
• But this aspect of praise is not just lifting a hand to the Lord, but it uses the whole body to kneel or bow before Him.
• Though the attitude of our hearts is more important than the position of our bodies, sometimes we just feel closer to the Lord when we kneel before Him.

5. Zamar
• Zamar is a Hebrew word that means "to pluck the strings of an instrument.”
• It was mostly used in connection with playing musical instruments in joyful expressions of worship.
• Psalms 57:8-9 - Awake my glory; awake harp and lyre, I will awaken the dawn! I will give thanks to You, O Lord among the peoples; I will sing praises to You among the nations.
• Spirit filled people who play musical instruments to the lord are praising Him in with this very special Zamar praise.
• Sadly, some of us will never get to praise the Lord in this way because we lack the skills, but for those who do, let it flow outward and upward in praise the King of Kings!
• People who play musical instruments in worship are not “performing.” (At least not if their hearts are in the right place!)
• The ability to use Zamar praise can easily become a point of pride for those who have great musical skills.
• But musical skill alone is not a guarantee that Zamar praise will happen.
• People who practice Zamar praise must be diligent to keep their hearts right and remain filled with the Spirit instead of filled with pride.

6. Tehillah
• Tehillah is a Hebrew word that means "to sing, especially singing hymns of the Spirit.”
• This is praise through singing.
• Psalms 22:3 - Yet You are holy, You are enthroned upon the praises (tehillah) of Israel.
• Psalms 33:1 - Rejoice in the Lord, o you righteous, for praise (tehillah) is appropriate for the upright.
• Though we may not all be able to give God Zamar praise through playing an instrument, we can all give the Lord Tehillah praise through singing.
• Singing to the Lord is not about hitting all the right notes, it is about expressing our hearts to the Lord through music.
• Music is a powerful force in our lives and should be a significant part of our relationship with the Lord.
• Whether in private or in group settings, we should be willing to lift our voices in song to the Lord.
• Just because our voice may not be perfect is not a reason to miss out on this powerful aspect of praise.
• Learn to love singing, even if others do not love hearing it!
• The Lord loves hearing us sing, and that is what matters.

7. Agalliao
• Agalliao is a Greek word that means “to jump for joy, to leap, or to exult”.
• It is sometimes translated as “rejoice” in English Bibles.
• Acts 16:34 - And then the jailer brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household.
• Sometimes we are so overjoyed with what God is doing in our lives that we just cannot sit still.
• We feel the need to move in some joyful expression of praise.
• Maybe we tap a foot.
• Maybe we jump.
• Maybe we dance.
• Maybe we sway.
• However we move, we do it unto the Lord.

8. Proskuneo
• Proskuneo is a Greek word that means “to prostate oneself in worship; to reverence.” It is also sometimes translated as “worship.”
• Revelation 5:11-14 - Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders . . . saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” . . . And the elders fell down and worshiped.
• Just as we are sometimes so full of joy that we want to jump, other times we become so overwhelmed with God’s holiness that we want to fall to the ground in humility before God.
• This aspect of praise is similar to the Hebrew Barak, but instead of just bowing or kneeling, we take this type of praise all the way and lay prostrate before God.

9. Thriambeuo
• Thriambeuo is a Greek word that means “to celebrate a victory or to triumph.”
• 2 Corinthians 2:14 - Now praise be unto God, who always causes us to triumph in Christ, and makes manifest the knowledge of the Savor through us in every place we go.
• This aspect of praise focuses on acknowledging a victory or triumph in our lives.
• It usually includes sharing a testimony or an experience of how God helped us in some way.
• The purpose of this type of praise is so that the knowledge of Christ might be spread.
• It is not about how great OUR faith is.
• It is about how great our JESUS is.
• This is the only aspect of praise that is more effective in a group setting than in private.

• God has made all kinds of praise because there are all kinds of people.
• Each of these aspects of praise can help us grow in our relationship with the Lord.
• No one should look down anyone else for not using any particular aspect of praise since all the words are used interchangeably in scripture.
• What is important is that we praise God in some way! Praise is important.
• Most of these aspects of praise can be done by anyone, though a few may be limited by skill or personality type.
• All of them can be done privately or in a group, though one type of praise (thriambeuo) is more effective in a group than in private.
• The key to all of these various aspects of praise is to keep the focus on the Lord, not on ourselves.


  1. That was a good one Pastor T.

  2. Loved the way you told the Phillipian jailer story in two different ways. Had me laughing almost out of my chair.

  3. The planking picture was great! What did Jacob's mom say?

  4. My son says "that guy is easy to listen to." Thanks for making church come alive again for our family.

  5. Thanks for all the kind words. I enjoy preaching and glad the Lord chooses to use my words to encourage the saints.