Exploring the 7 Types of Worship in the Bible

God lets us express our love for Him with the different types of worship. Intentionally lifting our hands or our voices is less about us and our comfort levels, but more about expressing to God that we know He is worthy to worship.

Singing, raising our hands, and bowing are common aspects of the seven types of worship mentioned in the Bible. 

Understanding the various ways to worship described in the Bible is essential because they provide us with more opportunities to honor God.

Have you ever felt awkward participating in certain aspects of worship at church?

I had a difficult time when I first began participating in worship and the worship leader would tell us to lift our hands or sing along. 

I was a baby Christian in the sense that I had only recently heard of the Bible and Jesus–I didn’t know the songs and had no idea why I needed to lift my hands. Looking back, I can see God was teaching me to notice the various types of worship.

We witness the different types of worship in church and many of us have participated in them even without knowing that there’s more than one way to worship God.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

  • Jeremiah 29:13, NIV

Importance of Worship in the Bible

Why is worship important in the Bible? Worship is important because it lets us turn our hearts towards God and give Him the reverence and praise He already deserves. 

As we actively seek God out during worship, He shows up in return.

While I’ll get more into the types of worship expressed in the Bible later, when we utilize the different types of worship as something we do for God rather than for ourselves, it becomes more meaningful.

I do want to note that the Bible provides valuable insight into the true importance of worship. Worship is a time when we connect with God–it is so essential to spend time with the Lord!

While searching for more information on the importance of worship, my husband and I were finishing the book of Judges this week. Something that popped out to me was Judges 21:25, “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit” (NIV).

Judges is not a book for the faint of heart. The people really ran wild and did their own thing. Some of the situations left me with my jaw dropped. 

But, they didn’t have a king. In other words, Israel wasn’t communicating with God like they had before. They had turned away and began following their moral compasses and were no longer worshipping God as their parents and ancestors did.

God doesn’t make it difficult, He says in Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (NIV). 

God isn’t looking for an open relationship, He wants all of us–all of our heart, mind, and soul.

God has already assured us that He is all in through His Son Jesus. So, why wouldn’t God want us to be as equally committed to our relationship with Him?

True worship moves the heart of God. When we lift Him up regardless of our trials and circumstances, God steps in and fights on our behalf.

He tells us Himself that He will care for us in Psalm 91:14, “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name” (NIV). We show our love to God through worship.

Types of Worship in the Bible

The seven types of worship mentioned throughout the Bible include:

  • Towdah
  • Yadah
  • Barak
  • Shabach
  • Zamar
  • Halal
  • and (my personal favorite) Thillah 

These words of worship are also referred to as the seven types of praise and each expands on the array of ways to worship the Lord.

You may have noticed that I used praise and worship almost interchangeably above. They share similarities but are also different from each other–almost like God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three in one.

Praise is a starting place, but it’s not something we check off and walk away from. We enter the gates with praise and thanksgiving to position our hearts for stepping into a deeper and more intimate state of connection with the Lord.

Praise is the first step in each type of worship.

7 Types of Worship in the Bible

Ponder This

Why does each type of worship start with, and include, praise?

Towdah Praise

"That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works."

  • Psalm 26:7, KJV

In this verse, the Greek/Hebrew word for thanksgiving is towdah. Towdah is well described in Psalm 26:7 because it focuses on giving thanks and praise to God–which is the primary function of towdah praise. 

Towdah is most known as giving a sacrifice of thanksgiving, confession, and adoring God for all the good things He has done.

You can find the term used in the Old Testament 32 times. According to Strong’s Concordance, the first use of towdah was in Leviticus 7:12.

Yadah Praise

"Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me."

  • Psalm 142:7, KJV

Psalm 142:7 really captures the intense nature of yadah worship. Picture the strong desire of wanting your soul let out of prison–it is fierce and powerful.

Yadah is a passionate and earnest type of worship that allows us to speak with the Lord without the concern of how we are perceived. Yadah includes holding out our hands to God and confessing our sins to Him.

I’d like to really dig into Yadah for a moment because confessing sins may not seem like a comfortable way of worshipping God. However, it is highly necessary.

When we come into Yadah praise, we are casting our worship to God. Even the word cast is a forceful action and means we are throwing something towards God.

In 1 Peter 5:7, we are told to cast our anxieties onto God because He cares for us. When we cast anything to God, it’s with two purposes in mind: to reach Him and to get it far away from ourselves.

Barak Praise

“The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of the rock of my salvation.”

  • 2 Samuel 22:47, KJV

Barak is a verb and is most known for bowing (or kneeling) and blessing. Barak is an interesting word of praise because it is used both in worship to God, but also it’s used in verses like Genesis 5:2 by God to bless us.

God gives us a wonderful example of what barak really means because He shows us through His actions what it looks like to bless someone.

When we participate in barak worship, it’s kneeling before God and adoring Him. It’s a very respectful type of worship since it honors God and acknowledges who He is as the King of kings.

Shabach Praise

" Which stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people."

  • Psalm 65:7, KJV

Shabach is the loud and triumphant type of worship. When we worship God with shabach, we come with a loud praise–it’s celebratory and boasts of how wonderful God is.

The other side of shabach is to pacify. A few times throughout the Bible we see people quelling God’s anger. One example of shabach praise is in Exodus 32 when the Lord spoke to Moses and decided to turn His anger away from His people.

Zamar Praise

"Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; talk of all His wondrous works!"

  • 1 Chronicles 16:9, NKJV

Zamar is perhaps the most recognized form of worship because it is praising God with stringed instruments and singing. This type of worship is most common among churches.

Zamar was also done often by King David as he would play stringed instruments and speak to God. The root of zamar worship is to sing praises and psalms to the Lord while playing instruments.

Halal Praise

"Sing unto the LORD, praise ye the LORD: for he hath delivered the soul of the poor from the hand of evildoers."

  • Jeremiah 20:13, KJV

Halal praise is similar to shabach because it is also very loud and celebratory. However, it takes it to a different level because halal praise is described in Strong’s Concordance as making “a show, to boast; and thus to be (clamorously) foolish.”

God isn’t looking for us to be dignified and proper before Him. He is looking for authentic, true, and meaningful worshippers. Halal lets us enter that type of worship before the Lord.

Thillah Praise

"And my tongue shall speak of Your righteousness and of Your praise all the day"

  • Psalm 35:28, NKJV

Also known as tehillah, this type of praise is spontaneous and creative. Hymns fall under tehillah worship because they focus on admiring God. 

Like the other types of worship, tehillah praise includes adoration, praise, and thanking the Lord.

Type of worship–Psalm 35:28

When we incorporate the different types of worship into our lives, we naturally move closer to God because we begin to see Him from new angles of praise that we may not have noticed before.

God created us because He wanted to love us. One of my favorite verses in Genesis is Genesis 1:31, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day” (NIV).

Let’s use these various types of worship to love God back.


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