It is commanded. But wouldn’t it be better if we praised him out of our freewill gratitude?
In this post, we focus on the New Testament key words. If readers would like to see key words and theology in the Old Testament, they may click on
Let’s look at five words.
First, the verb is eulogeō (pronounced eu-loh-geh-oh [the “g” is hard, as in “get”], and the word is used 41 times). It means “to bless, thank, or praise.” The verb is built on the prefix eu-, which means “well” or “good,” and log- which in this context means “to speak.” It is important to speak blessings out loud.
Now for a little theology. Blessing proceeds from God in the heavenly places, but we can have these spiritual blessing here and now as we prepare to be with him in eternity, where the spiritual blessings get deeper and larger and fuller (Eph. 1:3). We can also bless God. Zechariah blesses or praises God when his mouth is opened (Luke 1:64). Simeon blesses or praises God when he sees the baby Jesus. Paul called God blessed for the blessings he has given the church (Eph. 1:3).
See my post Do I Really Know God? He Is Blessed
Second, the noun epainos (pronounced eh-py-noss and used 11 times) means “praise” or “commendation.” A man’s praise or commendation can come from men (Rom. 2:29). Government authorities can commend you for doing right (Rom. 13:3). Even God will give commendation or praise at judgment (1 Cor. 4:8; 1 Pet. 2:14). Mainly, however, people acknowledge that God deserves praise by the works he has done and who he really is (Eph. 1:6, 12, 14; Phil. 1:11, 4:8).
Third, the verb epaineō (pronounced eh-py-neh-oh and is used 6 times). In an odd twist of New Testament Scriptures, it refers in five cases only to people praising or not praising other people (Luke 16:8; 1 Cor. 11, 2, 17, 22 [twice]). So we can compliment or encouage people with praise: “Good job!” In Rom. 15:11 Paul quotes Ps. 117:1, which says Gentiles will praise God.
Fourth, the other verb is aineō (pronounced eye-neh-oh and used 8 times). The authoritative Greek lexicon is by many to be BDAG, and it defines it simply as “praise” (Luke 2:13, 20; 19:37; 24:53; Acts 2:47; 3:8; Rom. 15:11; Rev. 19:5). It looks like Luke likes the verb.
Fifth, The noun is ainos (pronounced eye-noss and used twice), and yes, it is related to the verb. And BDAG defines it simply as “praise” (Luke 18:43 and Matt. 21:36).
An overview of praise in the Bible
Praise is the major theme of the Psalms and even ends with it (Ps. 150).
I.. Praise to God is commanded throughout the Bible
It is commanded in the law of Moses (Deut. 8:10)
It is commanded in the prophets (Is. 61:11; Jer. 20:13; Joel 2:26)
It is commanded in the Psalms, an ancient songbook (Ps. 103:1; 104:1; 145-150)
It is commanded in the New Testament (Eph. 1:3, 6, 12, 14; 1 Pet. 1:3, 7; Rev. 19:5)
II. Who is commanded to praise him?
It is commanded of God’s people in assembly (1 Chron. 29:20)
It is commanded of God’s people generally (Pss. 8:2; 30:4; Ps. 135:1-2, 19-21)
It is commanded of God’s children (Ps. 8:2; Matt. 21:16)
It is commanded of the nations (Pss. 67:3-5; 103:20; 117:1; Rom. 15:11)
It is commanded of the angels (Pss. 103:20; 148:2)
It is commanded of everything that breathes (Ps. 98:8)
It is commanded of all creation (Ps. 98:8; 148:3-12; Is. 44:21)
III.. Why should we praise God?
We praise him for his greatness (Ps. 145:3)
We praise him for his majesty and splendor (Ps. 96:4-6)
We praise him for his glory (Ps. 99:3)
We praise him for his holiness (Ps. 99:3; Is. 6:3)
We praise him for his love and faithfulness (Ps. 57:9-10; Ps. 89:1-2)
We praise him for his mighty acts (Ps. 150:2)
We praise him for his marvelous deeds (Is. 25:1)
We praise him for his glorious grace (Eph. 1:6)
We praise him for salvation (Ps. 106:1-5; Luke 1:68-75; 2:14-20)
We praise him for his benefits towards his people (Pss. 103:1-18; 111:1-10; Is. 63:7)
We praise him for his deliverance of us (Pss. 40:1-3; 124:6-8)
IV. How do we praise God?
We praise him by our public worship (1 Chron. 29:20; Ps. 100:4)
We praise him with our singing (Pss. 146:1; 147:1)
We praise him with musical instruments (Ps. 150:3-5)
We praise him by speaking (Ps. 51:15; Heb. 13:15)
We praise him by dancing (Ps. 149:1)
We praise him by witnessing to unbelievers (1 Pet. 2:9)
How does this post help me grow in the knowledge of God?
Worship leaders must be aware that people need to bless God, whether the people realize it or not. God has showered us with heavenly blessings, and we are then enabled and gifted to bless God in return. All blessings flow from God, and we return our gratitude by calling God who he is—blessed. Praise flows from the heart that is filled with God. It is an acknowledgement of who God is and what he has done for us. Then we return praise to him. He initiates, and we respond.
At that link, look for the NIV Study Bible, Mounce and BDAG.