Is There a Right or Wrong Way To Worship God


Is there a right way or a wrong way to worship God? Does it matter to God how you worship Him? Is it totally up to you how you worship God? Does God have a say in how He is worshiped? These are questions that bounce around in my mind. Not that I’m wondering if I’m worshiping God correctly, but am I allowing Him to determine how I should worship Him?

If we look back at the Old Testament we can see a few examples of how God was not pleased with how someone worshiped Him.

  • Had Moses not intervened, God would have destroyed the entire nation of Israel when they worshiped the LORD through the golden calf (Exodus 32:1-14). As it was, 3,000 died that day (verse 28).
  • Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron, were destroyed by God when they offered fire that had not been prescribed (Leviticus 10:1-2).
  • Saul’s impatience, as he waited for Samuel, led him to offer the burnt offering on the altar (which was specifically to be done by the priests). As a result, his kingdom was taken from him (1 Samuel 13:8-14).
  • A festive procession of Israelites, convened by King David to escort the Ark of God to Jerusalem, quickly turned solemn as God struck Uzzah (a Kohathite) dead; for he had laid his hand upon the Ark (2 Samuel 6:1-9; cf. Numbers 4:15).
  • Cain offered a grain offering and God was not pleased with his sacrifice of worship. We are not told of the instructions that God gave Cain and Abel concerning their offerings but we are included in the evaluation of the offerings. Gen. 4:3-16
  • Throughout the Psalms the Bible tells us to shout (Psalm 132:16), clap (Psalm47:1) , sing (Psalm 47:6), dance (Psalm 149:3), and play music (Psalm 150) as an act of worship.

But what about the New Testament and what it says how we should worship God. The answer could be found in Romans.

Ro 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.

I think there is a better verse(s) that might sum it up.


John 4:23 “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

What does it mean to worship in spirit and truth? What it means is when we come to God falsely and utter words and songs from our lips, and gestures from our bodies and thoughts that are not on Him but on other matters then we are not in spirit nor truth? Our attitude in worship is of equal importance to our action. Time and again, God rebuked the attitude of His people Israel through the prophets. They made many sacrifices and prayers, kept the new moons, Sabbaths, and assemblies, yet their observation of these things were “…a trouble…” to the LORD, causing Him to “…weary…” (Isaiah 1:11-20). Though they continued in all these which were commanded by God, their hearts were not pure. They lived in sin. Their presence at the Temple was nothing more than a trampling of that which was holy, and their sacrifices were futile.

In Matthew 15, the Pharisees came to Jesus with an accusation that His disciples did not do according to the tradition of the elders (verse 2). In response, Jesus revealed that the Pharisees, by their traditions, were in fact nullifying the word of God (verses 3-6). And thus, He concluded of them, “Hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'” (verses 7-9).

Where’s you heart when you worship? Is it on what you want or what God wants from you. Are you willing to bow on your knees before him or raise your hands before Him regardless of how silly you look in front of family and friends. Are you willing to shout so loud the whole church hears you. To worship God in Spirit and Truth means to have your heart fully submitted to the one who desires worship and sets the parameters of worship.

If it is done in spirit and truth, then is must line up with God’s word. Is your worship biblical? Does what you consider your sacrifice of worship line up with scripture? You have to answer that for yourself but remember God knows your heart. In order to worship in spirit and truth, it must be spiritually of God and truthfully from God. For God is Spirit (John 4:24) and Truth (John 14:6)!


About Kevin Riner
child of grace, worshiper of Jesus, husband, father, Associate Pastor of GraceLife Church, author of Faith Debugged, musician and baseball enthusiast

One Response to Is There a Right or Wrong Way To Worship God

  1. aunt ann says:

    There are over 70 scriptures to the word worship, ing, ed, er. in the NT. Have you gone through everyone. Yes there is a right way to worship God. Read and it tells you how to worship him. Did you get my comment from some of the others. I never hear back from you, so I don’t know if you get them . love ya aunt ann not tooo long you will be a daddy, and you nor Carrie will have much time on the ole computer. hee hee

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