An expression of commendation, of admiration, even of worship when the praise is directed to God. The Hebrew verb ha·lalʹ and the Greek ai·neʹo are rendered “praise.” (Ps 113:1; Isa 38:18; Ro 15:11; see HALLEL; HALLELUJAH.) The Greek noun hyʹmnos, from which the English word “hymn” is drawn, conveys the thought of praise or a song of praise directed to God.—Mr 14:26, ftn.
To praise God’s name means to praise the Most High himself. (Ps 69:30) He is deserving of the greatest praise, for he is “good,” or the ultimate in moral excellence, the Creator, the Helper of those in distress, the Sustainer and Deliverer of his people. (Ps 135:3; 150:2; 1Ch 16:25, 26) Never will he share this praise with lifeless images that can provide no aid to their worshipers.—Isa 42:8.
Praise had an important place in Israel’s worship of Jehovah. Because of being completely surrounded by praise, the Almighty is referred to as “inhabiting the praises of Israel.” (Ps 22:3) It was King David who organized the priests and Levites for praising Jehovah with song and instrumental music. The organized arrangement begun by David continued in effect at the temple built by Solomon, and for years thereafter priests and Levites led the rendering of praise, using inspired compositions that have been preserved to this day in the book of Psalms.—1Ch 16:4-6; 23:2-5; 2Ch 8:14; see MUSIC.
Jehovah’s faithful servants permitted nothing to interfere with their rendering the praise to which he has the exclusive claim. The prophet Daniel did not stop praising Jehovah when it was decreed unlawful and the one doing it could be punished by being thrown into a lions’ pit. (Da 6:7-10) Jesus Christ, by doing nothing of his own originality, set the superlative example in praising his Father. The whole life and ministry of God’s Son, including the miracles he performed, brought praise to his Father.—Lu 18:43; Joh 7:17, 18.
Among first-century Christians, the inspired psalms continued to be used in praising Jehovah. Additionally, there appear to have been Christian compositions—“praises to God,” or hymns, and “spiritual songs,” or songs dealing with spiritual matters. (Eph 5:19; Col 3:16) Christian praise, however, is not limited to song. It finds expression in one’s life and in one’s active concern for the spiritual and material welfare of others.—Heb 13:15, 16.
Praise Directed to Humans. Self-praise is an evidence of pride and is not upbuilding to the hearers. It is unloving, because it is an exalting of oneself above others. (1Co 13:4) If there is to be praise, it should come spontaneously from impartial observers who have nothing to gain by their commendation.—Pr 27:2.
Though coming from others, praise can still be a test to its recipient. It may foster feelings of superiority or pride and thus lead to a person’s downfall. But when accepted in the right spirit, praise may affect an individual in a positive way. He may humbly acknowledge his indebtedness to Jehovah God and be encouraged to conduct himself so as not to fall short of his praiseworthy moral standing. The inspired proverb points to the effect that praise can have in revealing what a person actually is: “The refining pot is for silver, and the furnace is for gold; and an individual is according to his praise.”—Pr 27:21; compare NE.
No greater praise or commendation can any human receive than to be acknowledged as approved by God. Such praise will be given at the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ in glory. (1Co 4:5; 1Pe 1:7) This praise is dependent, not on fleshly distinctions, but on whether a person has lived in a way befitting a servant of Jehovah. (Ro 2:28, 29; see JEW[ESS].) Meanwhile, men in high governmental station and others may praise true Christians for being law abiding and upright. (Ro 13:3) When it is clear to observers that the reason for the fine conduct of Christians is that they are devoted servants of Jehovah, praise goes to Jehovah and to his Son, whose loyal disciples they are.