Please note that all Biblical quotes, in this and all other lessons posted to Greek Thoughts, are from The Literal English Translation of the Bible produced by BTE Ministries - The Bible Translation and Exegesis Institute of America.
In our study of Greek words that are rendered "worship" in the English translations, we have covered two important ones so far. First, we studied προσκυνὲω (Strong's #4352) the main verb for worship. Προσκυνὲω expresses the idea of submission to the Spirit of the Lord and His truth as the only acceptable form of worship of God. We also studied σὲβομαι (Strong's #4576), which represents a religious worship and reverence either for God or for pagan idols. Σὲβομαι is used to describe a religious approach to God, but one that is lacking in a heart response of true worship to God. Understanding the differences between these first two words is very important.
This week we are studying σεβὰζομαι (Strong's #4753), which is a verb form derived from σὲβομαι. Σεβὰζομαι denotes the expression of religious veneration as well as general reverential behavior. Romans 1:25 is the only place σεβὰζομαι is used in the New Testament.
Beginning at Romans 1:18, Paul expresses that the wrath of God is presently being revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. He then qualifies his statement that they are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness by saying that the truth of God is fully known within them, because God has revealed His eternal power and divinity through creation. In Romans 1:21, Paul continues with the fact that God has already become known to them and lays out their response.
- On account of that after having known God, they did not glorify Him as God, or gave thanks. But they became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened.
Once these people had come to know the truth about God, they turned from glorifying Him as God and did not give Him thanks. Their reasonings became empty, and their heart that was without understanding became darkened.
- While professing to be wise, they became foolish,
- and they changed the glory of the incorruptible God consisting in a likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and of four-legged animals, and of reptiles.
According to this text, those who reject the truth about God do not stop worshiping, but change their view of God instead. Those who reject the truth and the glory of God change God into the image of corruptible man, and of birds, and of animals. They change God so that He becomes the same as themselves. In fact, they become "self" worshipers by worshiping the things and the people created rather than the Creator Himself.
- On account of which, God gave them over into uncleanness in the lusts of their hearts, that they might dishonorF1 their bodies among themselves,F2
This verse clearly teaches that God gives self-worshipers over to uncleanness found in the lusts of their hearts, with the dishonoring of their own bodies among themselves being the end result.
- who exchanged the truth of God consisting in the lie, and worshiped (σεβὰζομαι) and served the creation rather than the One who created, who is blessed forever. Amen.
In his summary, Paul states a fundamental truth of the Bible, that the venerating of self and the things of creation constitute worship. Everyone is worshiping someone or something. Those who reject the truth about God actually establish their own image of who God is, and they set their life on a course with their imaginations. It is sobering to understand that the worship of a version of God which exalts self above the true and living God is biblically presented as a form of religious worship with the practice of lust being the fulfillment of its expression, and that relatively few people are involved in the genuine spiritual worship expressed in submission to the truth that God has revealed about Himself.
*SEBAZOMAI is the English font spelling of the Greek word σεβὰζομαι.
F1: The articular infinitive of purpose τοῦ͂ἀτιμὰζεσθαι, "the to dishonor," is translated νὰ͂ἀτιμὰζωται, "that they might dishonor."
F2: The preposition ἐν with the dative ἑαυτοῖς, "in themselves," is translated μεταξὺ͂ἑαυτῶν, "among themselves."
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