In Matthew 4, Satan shows Jesus "all the kingdoms of the world and their glory" (NKJV) and says that he'll give it all to Jesus if He would worship him (vv. 8-9). Jesus rejects this, saying, "Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve’" (NKJV). The reason the New King James Version capitalizes "LORD" is because, in the originally quoted verse (apparently Deut. 6:13), the word used was YHWH (also known as Jehovah).

Does this mean that only YHWH/Jehovah can be worshiped? If so, this would have implications for the fact that, elsewhere in Scripture, Jesus accepts worship. Thanks!

  • Jesus is not seen by Christians as standing in opposition to God; worshipping and obeying him is equivalent to the latter, since he was sent by Him. For instance, if you obey and pay reverence to the king (as was often the case in ancient and medieval times), you also had to obey and pay reverence to his noblemen or soldiers (as opposed to those belonging to a rival king, for instance).
    – Lucian
    Commented Aug 1, 2021 at 3:59
  • @The Editor. "the fact that, elsewhere in Scripture, Jesus accepts worship. Thanks!" Can you give the verses supporting this statement please? Commented Aug 1, 2021 at 5:45
  • @Lucian In Acts 10:25-26, the apostle Peter, a representative of Christ, refused to be worshiped because such was reserved for God. In Revelation 19:10 and 22:8-9, even angels, messengers of God, are not to be worshiped. Would this suggest that not even representatives are worthy of worship?
    – The Editor
    Commented Aug 1, 2021 at 19:49
  • @AlexBalilo I'd direct you to Dottard's answer below. He lists such verses.
    – The Editor
    Commented Aug 1, 2021 at 19:49
  • 1
    @The Editor. "do you have a verse showing that certain kinds of worship could be offered to humans or angels?" See Revelation 3:9. Commented Aug 3, 2021 at 19:02

2 Answers 2


It is true that in some version of the NKJV, "LORD" is fully capitalized in Matt 4:10, but only because the OT source, Deut 6:13, translated the tetragrammaton.

  • Deut 6:13 (from Hebrew) - Fear the LORD your God, serve Him only, and take your oaths in His name.
  • Deut 6:13 (from LXX) - Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve; and thou shalt cleave to him, and by his name thou shalt swear.

This is consistent with other OT teaching including the first commandment, Ex 20:3, Deut 5:7, as repeated in other places such as Ex 34:14, Deut 8:19, 1 Kings 17:35-38, etc).

The matter at issue here is the intent of the verb προσκυνέω (proskuneó) and how it should be translated. Most English versions simply translate it "worship". BDAG offers a single meaning for this word:

to express in attitude or gesture one's complete dependence on or submission to a high authority figure, (fall down and) worship, do obeisance to, prostrate oneself before, do reverence to, welcome respectfully

There are several cases in the the NT where such behavior, with this specific verb, is forbidden to anyone by God, namely:

  • Matt 4:10 - “Away from Me, Satan!” Jesus declared. “For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’ ”
  • Luke 4:8 - But Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’”
  • Acts 10:25, 26 - As Peter was about to enter, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet to worship him. But Peter helped him up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.”
  • Rev 19:10 - So I fell at his feet to worship him [the angel]. But he told me, “Do not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who rely on the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
  • Rev 22:8, 9 - And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had shown me these things. But he said to me, “Do not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God!”

Thus, there is ample support for the OT passages that declare that only the LORD God is worthy of our worship:

  • Ex 34:14 - Do not worship [προσκυνέω LXX] any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
  • Deut 8:19 - If you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods and worship [προσκυνέω LXX] and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed.

In the NT we often find this same verb used of people worshiping Jesus such as: Matt 2:2, 8, 11, 8:2, 14:33, 15:25, 18:26, 20:20, 28:9, 17, 5:6, 15:19, Luke 24:52, John 9:38, Heb 1:6, Rev 5:14,

In fact, the largest portion of the occurrences of προσκυνέω are used to denote worship of Jesus, but some are used of worshiping the Father, such as John 4:23, 24, 1 Cor 14:25, Rev 11:16, etc.

Occasionally, it is used of someone offering false (illegal) worship of a false deity such as: Acts 7:23, Rev 9:20, 13:4, 8, 12, 15, 14:11, 16:2, etc. In all these contexts, the worship of such false deities is condemned by the context.

  • Thanks for the answer. The expansive list of passages you gave supports the teaching that only the LORD (YHWH/Jehovah) is to be worshiped (Greek, proskuneó), and the weight of the usage for proskuneó that you cited suggest that this very action is done for Jesus with HIs acceptance. Would this imply that Jesus is therefore YHWH/Jehovah (at least in some sense)?
    – The Editor
    Commented Aug 1, 2021 at 19:42
  • @TheEditor - absolutely! The same as the LORD is creator in the OT and Jesus is creator in the NT; same for savior; same for first and last; same for the Shepherd; same for "Lord of Lords; same for "Lord of All", same for the Bridegroom, etc.
    – Dottard
    Commented Aug 1, 2021 at 21:13

Yes, Jehovah God is the only one we should worship. That is the essence of the first commandment.

Thou shalt have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:3, KJV)

To worship anyone or anything else is to break this commandment.

The Bible is clear that we have only one true God, who is identified, in the New Testament, as being the Father.

But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. (1 Corinthians 8:6, KJV)

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; (2 Corinthians 1:3)

But the Father is in Jesus, and when we worship at Jesus' feet, it is not his humanity that we are worshiping, but the divinity of the Father who is in him. This is acceptable worship.

Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake. (John 14:10-11, KJV)

Even the very words that Jesus spoke were those of the Father.

He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me. (John 14:24, KJV)

And it was to the Father whom Jesus directed his disciples to pray. It was the Father whom Jesus called "the only true God" in his prayer.

These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: ... And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (John 17:1,3, KJV)

Because Jesus' flesh veiled the presence of the Father within him (see Hebrews 10:20), no one has seen God (see John 1:18). But we can worship the Father, the divinity in Christ, without seeing the Father in him.

God is not a man (see Numbers 23:19) and whereas, as a man, Jesus was tempted in the wilderness (see Matthew 4:1), God cannot be and was not tempted (see James 1:13). On the cross, the immortal God (see 1 Timothy 6:16) did not die, but Jesus, in his human flesh, did die. When we worship Jesus, we acknowledge the Divinity within him.

  • when we worship at Jesus' feet ... we are worshiping ... the divinity of the Father who is in him (Quote) So, in that case, not worshipping the Person of the Son at all : it would seem.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Aug 1, 2021 at 0:06

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