Lesson #1 Biblical Foundations of Dance
The Body of Christ needs to desire to come into the truth in Gods word to remove the skeptical, doubtful, negative attitude towards dance and the creative arts.
God desires for us to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth (John4:23) and to do this we must be aware of what His truth is.
As a dance team leader and a minister of the gospel we must understand and establish our ministry on the biblical foundation and origin of dance.
In studying the Bible there are about 25 occurrences of the English word dance and 50 occurrences in the Hebrew and Greek in reference to an act or action that can be viewed as dance.
For the purposes of this teaching we will be using as a reference a scriptural resource and study guide by Monica Di Franceso. ” Biblical Foundations of Praise and Worship”
What Is Dance?
Dance [according to Webster’s dictionary] means “move in rhythm to music. The American College Dictionary says to skip, leap etc. as from excitement or emotion.
A simple definition “emotional movement of the body”. [Biblical Foundation of Praise & Worship – Ch. 4 Pg.1]
Movement without the component of emotion is just movement, dance is movement that is caused by or that releases emotion.
Dance can also go beyond words to convey what words cannot. Dance is one way of expressing the passion and love in our hearts towards God. Dance turns our body into an instrument that blesses God and allows God’s blessing and power to flow through us.
Psalm 149:3 “Let them praise His name in the dance”
The biblical purpose of dancing
- to worship (Romans 12:1)
- to declare our praise to God (1 Pet 2:9)
- to obey God’s word (Ps. 150:4)
- to honor and glorify God with our body and spirit ( 1Cor. 6:20)
- to overcome adversity (Ps. 30:11)
- to express and release joy (Deut16:14) (Esther9:17)
- to love God (Mark 12:30)
Hebrew Words Related to Dance and Movement
(a) “…King David leaping (pazaz) and dancing (karar) before the Lord… (2 Sam. 6:16)
(b) “And David danced (karar) before the Lord with all his might; and David girded with a linen ephod.” (2 Sam. 6:14)
Our spirit dances through our body. We dance before the Lord, in His presence. It is for Him and to Him that we dance and give ourselves. Because our heart touches the heart of God it can touch others.
Chul -- to twist or whirl ( in a circular manner) i.e. to dance, writhe( travail) in pain or fear ( Judges 21:21)
Karar – prime root; to dance (whirl) ( 2 Sam. 6:14)
Pazaz – prime root; to solidify; to spring; leap, be made strong ( 2 Samuel 6:16)
Raqad – prime root; to stamp, dance, jump, leap, to spring about wildly for joy (1 Chron.15:29) (Job 21:11) (Ecc 3:4)
Chagag – to move in a circle (spec) marching in a sacred procession, to observe a festival; translated celebrate, dance, feast, reel to and fro (Ex. 5:1)(Ex. 23:14) (1 Sam. 30:16)
Sachaq- prime root; to laugh (in pleasure or distraction); by imp. to play, make merry, mock, rejoice, scorn or to make sport (1 Sam. 18:7) (2 Sam. 6:5, 21) (1 Chron.13:8) (Zech. 8:5)
Gil, Gul – prime root; spin around, usually rejoice, or (cringing) ear.(Ps. 9:14) (Ps. 13:5) (Ps. 97:8) (Isaiah. 9:3b)
Dalag – prime root to spring – leap (2 Sam. 22:30) (Song of Sol. 2:8) (Isaiah 35:6)
Machol – this word comes from the word chul, it means a (round) dance; translated as dance or dancing (Ps. 149:3) (Lam. 5:15) (Ps. 150:4) (Jer. 31:13) Healing comes through dancing. “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing (machol) (Ps. 30:11). In this Psalm David recounts his despair and proclaims God’s healing.
Mecholah – a feminine form of Machol; a dance company, dance, dancing Praising God together with others in a circle is symbolic of God’s never-ending love and eternal glory (Exodus 15:20) “and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. (Mecholah)
An example of God doing the dancing
(Zephaniah 3:17) “The Lord Thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy (gil) over thee with singing.”
He spins around with great emotion, passion and joy and singing.
Greek Words Related to Dance and Movement
Orcheomai – (a ring or row); to dance (from the rank like or regular motion) (Matt 11:17) (Mark 6:22) (Luke 7:32) Jesus is affirming dance here.
Choros – a ring, i.e, round dance (choir) – dancing (Luke 15:22-27) The prodigal son returns. His father celebrates. We should dance when a lost soul comes into the Kingdom of God or rededicate their lives.
Skirtao – To skip; to jump; leap (for joy) ( Luke 1:41,44)
Hallomai – To jump, to gush; translated leap, spring up (Acts 14:10)
Agalliao -- From ‘agan’ (much) and ‘hallomai’; to jump for joy, exult, be exceedingly glad; rejoice (Rev 19:7)