Worship Terminology: “Proskuneo”

GuitarThis is the third post in a series on worship terms.  The previous posts were on the English word “worship” and the Hebrew word “shachah“.

The primary language of the original New Testament manuscripts is Greek.  This post will look at the most common Greek word for worship: “proskuneo”.

Proskuneo means to “kiss the hand; to kneel down in homage or obeisance; to prostrate oneself”.

Some scholars believe the word actually is derived from the idea of a dog licking its masters hand.  The idea is to show profound reverence and submission to someone.

What can we learn about worship from the word proskuneo?

  • Servanthood.  Worship is about a servant approaching his Master.  Like a dog coming to his owner, we are very much the lesser being.  All we have comes from our Master and we approach Him knowing our place.
  • Submission.  Worship is about submission.  Like the Hebrew word, “shachah“, proskuneo reminds us that underlying all our worship of God should be a profound recognition of our responsibility to be in full submission to our Master.
  • Physical.  In both the Hebrew and Greek words for worship we find that worship is directly connected with physically bowing, kneeling or even lying prostrate on the ground.  In our modern mindset, we often overlook the importance of physically responding to God.  We were created as physical beings and our worship should also be physical at time.  To restrict our physical actions is often to restrict our hearts.

Take time to offer yourself fully to God.  Submit to His will and bow before Him.

Question: Why do you think bowing is so strongly connected with worshiping?  Please leave a comment.

by Jerry Wyrick, President of Worship Arts Conservatory


Posted in General Worship.