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Holman Bible Dictionary


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One of humanity's many responses to God's revelation of Himself. The Bible recognizes that men and women may also be the objects of praise, either from other people (Proverbs 27:21 ; Proverbs 31:30 ) or from God Himself (Romans 2:29 ), and that angels and the natural world are likewise capable of praising God (Psalm 148:1 ). Nevertheless, human praise of God is one of Scripture's major themes.

Praise comes from a Latin word meaning “value” or “price.” Thus, to give praise to God is to proclaim His merit or worth. Many terms are used to express this in the Bible, including “glory,” “blessing,” “thanksgiving,” and “hallelujah,” the last named being a transliteration of the Hebrew for “Praise the Lord.” The Hebrew title of the book of Psalms (“Praises”) comes from the same root as “hallelujah” and Psalm 113-118 have been specially designated the “Hallel” (“praise”) psalms.

The modes of praise are many, including the offering of sacrifices (Leviticus 7:13 ), physical movement (2 Samuel 6:14 ), silence and meditation (Psalm 77:11-12 ), testimony (Psalm 66:16 ), prayer (Philippians 4:6 ), and a holy life (1 Peter 1:3-9 ). However, praise is almost invariably linked to music, both instrumental (Psalm 150:3-5 ) and, especially, vocal. Biblical songs of praise range from personal, more or less spontaneous outbursts of thanksgiving for some redemptive act of God (Exodus 15:1 : Judges 5:1 ; 1 Samuel 2:1 ; Luke 1:46-55 ,Luke 1:46-55,1:67-79 ) to formal psalms and hymns adapted for corporate worship in the Temple (2 Chronicles 29:30 ) and church (Colossians 3:16 ).

While the Bible contains frequent injunctions for people to praise God, there are also occasional warnings about the quality of this praise. Praise is to originate in the heart and not become mere outward show (Matthew 15:8 ). Corporate praise is to be carried on in an orderly manner (1 Corinthians 14:40 ). Praise is also firmly linked to an individual's everyday life (Amos 5:21-24 ). See Music; Psalms; Worship .

David W. Music

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Praise'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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Thursday, October 29th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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