A photo of an open Bible with a beam of light shining on the word "praise," emphasizing its significance and highlighting its meaning within the biblical context.

What Does ‘Praise’ Mean In The Bible?

Praise is an important concept in Christianity and the Bible. In fact, the word ‘praise’ appears over 200 times throughout the scriptures. If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Praise in the Bible generally refers to worshipping, honoring, glorifying, blessing, thanking, and exalting God through words, songs, prayers, or actions.

In this comprehensive article, we will explore the meaning of biblical praise in detail. We’ll look at various Hebrew and Greek words translated as ‘praise’ and examine their meanings. We’ll see how praise is described and demonstrated throughout the Old and New Testaments.

And we’ll consider why God is worthy of praise and how we can praise Him in Spirit and truth.

The Meaning of ‘Praise’ in Hebrew

Yadah – Give Thanks and Praise

The Hebrew word “yadah” means to give thanks or praise. It conveys the extending of one’s hands in adoration. This word is commonly seen in the Psalms, as the psalmists frequently invited others to join them in thanking and praising God for His wondrous love and mighty deeds (Psalm 107:8, Psalm 118:1).

Lifting our hands symbolizes surrender and readiness to exalt the Lord.

Halal – Be Foolish Over God

The Hebrew root word for “praise” halal means to be foolish or crazy. When we praise God, we abandon reason and propriety to lavish extravagant love and admiration on Him. The Psalms tell us to “sing praises to God” and to do so “foolishly” (Psalm 47:6-7).

What an awesome picture of intensely loving God beyond all reason!

Zamar – Make Music to God

The Hebrew word zamar means making music accompanied by instruments. About 150 times the Psalms call us to praise God with music and singing. Ephesians 5:19 says to sing and make melody from the heart to the Lord.

There is something powerful that happens when God’s people join together in songs of praise to Him. Lifting our voices in unified praise brings great joy and glory to our King!

Barak – Bless the Lord

The Hebrew root word barak means to bless or kneel down. Praising God is an act of kneeling in humility and adoration. It is cognizant of His greatness and our smallness. “Bless the LORD, O my soul” begins the unparalleled Psalm 103, inviting us to kneel in reverence and awe.

As we bless the Lord through praise, we are the ones who actually receive the blessings, for the Giver of all good gifts showers blessings on those who so praise Him.

Shabach – Address in a Loud Tone

The Hebrew root word shabach means to address in a loud tone. This pictures jubilant, robust praises to God. “Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph!” entreats Psalm 47:1.

Shabach praises recognize God’s glorious majesty and triumph over all powers, including sin and death. Resounding, victorious praise gives God His rightful place on the throne over every aspect of our lives.

The Meaning of ‘Praise’ in Greek

Aineó – Give Thanks and Praise

The Greek word aineó means to “praise” or “give thanks.” It is used around 39 times in the New Testament. This word often refers to praising and thanking God for all He has done. For example, Luke 2:38 says that Anna “gave thanks to God” after seeing the infant Jesus.

Giving praise and thanks to God should be a regular part of a believer’s life.

Epainos – Approve Highly, Commend

The Greek word epainos means to “approve highly” or “commend.” It is used around 10 times in the New Testament. This word refers to praising someone for who they are or what they have done. For instance, Romans 2:29 says “Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.”

Our highest praise should ultimately come from the Lord.

Exomologeómai – Openly Confess

The Greek word exomologeómai means to “openly confess” or “acknowledge.” It is used around 6 times in the New Testament. This word can refer to openly praising and glorifying God. Matthew 11:25 says “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.”

Praising God openly demonstrates our trust and reliance on Him.

Hymneó – Sing a Hymn

The Greek word hymneó means to “sing a hymn.” It is used 4 times in the New Testament. This refers to singing praises to God, often through hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs. For example, Acts 16:25 states that “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God.”

Singing hymns of praise is a beautiful way to worship the Lord.

Praise Demonstrated Throughout Scripture

Old Testament Examples of Praise

The Old Testament provides many inspirational examples of praise to God. After the Israelites crossed the Red Sea and escaped from the Egyptians, Moses and Miriam led the people in a song of praise to God (Exodus 15:1-21).

The Psalms, which originated in the Old Testament, are filled with praise and thanksgiving to God. David repeatedly praised God for guiding, protecting, and blessing him (Psalm 18:1-3). The prophet Isaiah proclaimed praises to God for His mercy, comfort, and restoration of Israel (Isaiah 12:1-6).

Throughout the Old Testament, praise is lifting up and glorifying God for who He is and what He has done.

New Testament Examples of Praise

The New Testament continues the theme of praise and worship. When Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the crowds welcomed Him with shouts of “Hosanna!” meaning “save now” (Matthew 21:9). After the Last Supper, Jesus and His disciples sang a hymn before going to the Mount of Olives (Matthew 26:30).

Paul urges Christians to speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in their hearts to the Lord (Ephesians 5:19). In the book of Revelation, saints and angels offer endless praise to God and the Lamb on the throne (Revelation 5:9-14).

Just as in the Old Testament, the New Testament portrays praise as joyfully acknowledging God’s mighty acts of salvation and His divine character.

The Book of Psalms Filled with Praise

Perhaps the greatest examples of praise are found in the book of Psalms. Out of the 150 psalms, over 100 of them contain praise and thanksgiving to God. The psalmists praise God for His strength (Psalm 59:16-17), His creation of the universe (Psalm 33:1-9), His deliverance (Psalm 28:6-7), His help and care in time of need (Psalm 28:6-7), and His eternal love and mercy (Psalm 136).

Some significant praise psalms include Psalm 8, 19, 29, 65, 100, 103, and 150. This divinely inspired collection shows how extensive and diverse praise to God can be. The Psalms model heartfelt praise that flows from a deep love for God and awe of who He is.

Why We Should Praise God

He Alone is Worthy

God is the Creator of the universe and everything in it, including us. As our Maker, He alone is worthy of our praise and worship (Revelation 4:11). We praise Him because of who He is – holy, sovereign, almighty, merciful, gracious, and loving.

As finite creatures, we can never fully understand His greatness, but we honor Him by acknowledging His supreme worth.

The Bible is filled with examples of those who recognized God’s glory and praised Him. The seraphim in Isaiah’s vision cried out, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isaiah 6:3).

The four living creatures in Revelation declared day and night, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come” (Revelation 4:8). We join with them and all creation in praising our wonderful God.

It Pleases and Honors Him

God created us to praise and worship Him. He takes pleasure when we exalt His name and give Him the honor He deserves (Psalm 149:4). Praise is the overflow of a grateful heart recognizing what God has done.

The book of Psalms contains many exhortations to praise God for His love, faithfulness, righteousness and saving acts. “I will praise You, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify Your name forever” (Psalm 86:12). Our praise brings joy to God’s heart.

Heartfelt praise also opens the door for God’s presence to operate in our lives. As we magnify the Lord, we draw closer to Him and position ourselves to receive more of His blessings. Our praise invites God to move powerfully as the true focus remains on Him.

Lifting our voices in honor to God has a way of lifting our hearts at the same time.

Brings Us Joy and Changes Us

The wonderful thing about praise is that it not only blesses God but changes us in the process. As we fix our eyes on the Lord and reflect on His goodness, our perspective shifts from the natural to the eternal.

Praise takes our focus off our troubles onto the One who is able to help us rise above them.

Many passages link praise and joy together as praise releases feelings of gladness in our hearts (Psalm 28:7; Psalm 33:1-3). Even when we face trials, God uses praise to lift our spirits and stir faith within us.

We can choose to praise God by an act of our will, and many times our emotions and attitudes will eventually follow.

In addition to bringing joy, consistent heartfelt praise increases our intimacy with God. As we make exalting God a lifestyle, we draw closer to Him and become more like Christ. Praise brings breakthrough, victory and transformation in our lives.

God is worthy of our praise, and there are so many benefits as we honor Him!

How to Praise God in Spirit and Truth

With Reverence and Awe

When praising God, it is important to approach Him with reverence and awe, recognizing His holiness and majesty (Psalm 89:7). We can reflect on His attributes – His love, grace, mercy, justice, and power – to cultivate a heart of worship (Psalm 103:1-2).

Gestures like bowing down, kneeling, or lifting hands help express honor and submission to God (Psalm 95:6). We should also prepare our hearts by confessing any known sin which would hinder our worship (Psalm 139:23-24).

Verbally Thanking and Blessing Him

Praising God verbally is a fundamental way to worship Him. We can speak words of thanksgiving for who He is, and what He has done in our lives and in the world (Psalm 9:1). Prayers, songs, poetry, or just telling God how amazing He is express gratitude and awe.

We can also bless and extol His holy name, proclaiming His greatness and virtues (Psalm 34:1, Psalm 145). Heartfelt words in private or corporate worship honor God.

Singing Songs of Praise

Singing spirit-filled praise songs and hymns to God with joy is a powerful way to worship (Psalm 100:1-2). Upbeat melodies, meaningful lyrics, and uplifting themes create an atmosphere to glorify God. Singing with other believers at church reinforces our shared faith and praise.

Even just humming or singing worship songs privately demonstrates a heart of praise to God. Popular Christian songs across genres offer many options to praise God in song.

Rejoicing Always

Having an attitude of continual praise and thanksgiving brings joy to our lives and honors God. Even in difficult circumstances, we can rejoice in God’s sovereignty, goodness, and salvation (Habakkuk 3:17-19). An awareness of His blessings humbles us with gratitude.

We can maintain a spirit of praise in all we do through regular prayer and fellowship with other Christians (Philippians 4:4-7). Our lives then become a living sacrifice of praise, reflecting Christ’s light to others (Romans 12:1).


In closing, praise in the Bible is centered around enthusiastically worshipping, thanking, honoring, blessing, singing to, and glorifying God. Scripture gives us many examples of praise as well as reasons why our Creator alone deserves all praise.

As we better understand biblical praise, may we be compelled to praise Him more for who He is and all He has done for us.

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