3 True Facts About Hallelujah That’ll Change Your Praise

Revised: Saturday, April 30, 2022

Hallelujah is the highest praise” or is it? Contrary to the belief of many, if you search the scriptures (KJV), there is no proof. In fact, the word “Hallelujah” is not found in the King James Bible (or NKJV) at all. However, “Alleluia” is found 4 times in Revelation 19, verses 1, 3, 4, and 6.

3 true FACTS about hallelujah (tap/click on each, they are links to the three main sections of this lesson):
1. “Hallelujah” does not praise nor is it a word that praises God!
2. It means to praise the Lord!
 3. Unfortunately, there is no proof that “Hallelujah” is the highest praise!

STM Bible Lesson

Lesson focus: Alleluia (hallelujah). Bible lesson background: Revelation 19:1, 3, 4, and 6.

And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. 7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. Revelation 19:6-8 (KJV)

Picture of rainbow, blue sky, and white clouds for the hallelujah bible lesson
Hallelujah is not praise but is a command to praise – study your Bible

Fact #1 “Hallelujah” does not praise nor is it a word that praises God?

When you praise God, you should honor, worship, and express admiration for/to Him. When saying “hallelujah”, you are merely giving a command to ‘praise the Lord” or saying “praise the Lord”. It is very important that we know the meaning of a word before we use it, do you agree?

Some believe it is a command/phrase that means “Praise the Lord”

  • Bible Reader’s Companion – “Hallelujah” (19:1, 3, 4, 6). The word means “praise the Lord” and here introduces a series of brief, jubilant psalms.
  • The Defender’s Study Bible – Alleluia meaning, “Praise the Lord!” it is the same as “Hallelujah,” and occurs in the Hebrew in the first and last verses of each of the last five psalms of the book of Psalms.
  • Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown’s Commentary – Alleluia—Hebrew, “Praise ye Jah,” or Jehovah: here first used in Revelation, whence Ellicott infers the Jews bear a prominent part in this thanksgiving.
  • Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible – Alleluia represents the Hebrew word meaning “praise the Lord.”
  • Ryrie Study Bible – Hallelujah = Praise the Lord.
  • Word Pictures in the New Testament – Hallelujah (Allēlouia). Transliteration of the Hebrew seen often in the Psalms (LXX) and in 3 Macc. 7:13, in N.T. only in Rev. 19:1, 3-4, 6. It means, “Praise ye the Lord.”

Others believe it is not praise but “empty words” or words that take up space while not adding meaning.

  • J. Vernon McGee’s Thru the Bible – Hallelujah is an expletive of praise as the final phase of salvation is coming to pass.

Let us analyze Psalms 104:35 (KJV vs. CJB {Complete Jewish Bible} and others) for example. Notice how the King James translators replaced the word “Halleluyah/Hallelujah” with the phrase “Praise ye the Lord“!

Psalms 104:35

Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless thou the Lord, O my soul. Praise ye the Lord. (KJV)

May sinners vanish from the earth and the wicked be no more! Bless Adonai, my soul! Halleluyah! (CJB)

  • As for the sinners, they shall be consumed out of the earth, and the ungodly shall come to an end. But praise thou the LORD, O my soul: Praise the everlasting! Hallelujah! (MSTC) {Modern Spelling Tyndale Coverdale}
  • Let sinners cease out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless the LORD, O my soul. Hallelujah. (JPS) {Jewish Publication Society}
  • May sinners vanish from the earth and wicked people be no more. My soul, praise Yahweh! Hallelujah! (HCSB)
  • Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless thou the LORD, O my soul. Halelu-JAH (Praise ye the LORD) (EJ2000).
There’s more…

Please do not stop or leave, come with me to a lexicon (dictionary of a language, e.g., Hebrew or Greek). We will continue to examine Psalms 104:35. Follow this link to BibleHub.com’s KJV Hebrew Lexicon. The Hebrew words for Hallelujah are hal·lū- (to praise) and yāh Jah (Jehovah in the shortened form).

a graphic of the word hallelujah and it's meaning

Like many things, the lexicons do not agree on the spelling and the definitions of the words (see below). However, they agree that it is not praise, it is a command to praise.

Blue Letter Bible: hālal – “to praise” and yâ – “Jah” (Jehovah in the shortened form).
Bibletools.org, studylight.org, studybible.info, and lexiconcordance.com: hâlal – 2b1) “to praise” and yâhh – 1) Jah (Jehovah in the shortened form)
Mickelson’s: halal – (of acclamation) “to splendidly praise” and Yahh – Yah, the sacred name. short for YAHweh.

“A strong command…”

Therefore hallelujah is not praise, as a matter of fact, according to the IVP Bible Background Commentary “it is a strong command to praise the Lord. (A piel – it is the strongest possible command, probably originally uttered by the inspired Levite musicians summoning their hearers to worship)”.

The following are examples of how to praise God:

Psalms 3:3 (NCV)
But, Lord, you are my shield, my wonderful God who gives me courage.
Psalm 86:5 (VOICE)
O Lord, You are good and ready to forgive; Your loyal love flows generously over all who cry out to You.
Isaiah 25:1-2 (NLV)
O Lord, You are my God. I will praise You. I will give thanks to Your name. For You have been faithful to do great things, plans that You made long ago. 2 For You have laid waste a city. You have destroyed a strong city. The beautiful house of strangers is a city no more. And it will never be built again. [Read Isaiah 25:1-5]

Fact #2 Hallelujah is a command to “praise the Lord”

So, what does allelouia mean?

The Greek word, ἀλληλούϊα allelouia (al-lee-lou’-ya), comes from a 2-word Hebrew phrase. The first Hebrew word is הָלַל halal (haw-lal’) a verb (Piel) meaning to praise. Followed by יָהּ Yahh (yaw) meaning Jah, the Lord.

Britannica.com: “hallelujah, also spelled alleluia, Hebrew liturgical expression, usually rendered in English as “praise the Lord.”

Alleluia: Greek – G239 ἀλληλούϊα allelouia (al-lee-lou’-ya) Hebrew Transliterated word. Mickelson’s definition:

  1. (properly) Splendidly praise Yahweh! (an adoring exclamation).
  2. (as full interjection) Splendidly praise Yahweh, Halleluyah!
  3. (transliterated) Halleluyah! (Hallelujah). [of Hebrew origin (imperative of H1984 and H3050)]

KJV: alleluia (Revelation 19:1,3, 4, and 6).

Blueletterbible.org – hallēlouia G239 αἰνέω aineo (ai-ne’-ō)

imperative mood verb:
The imperative mood is a verb form that gives a command.
A mood in English grammar that inflects a direct command or a strong request.
This form expresses commands, demands, explicit requests, orders, and so on.
  1. Strong’s: Of hebrew origin (imperative of [H1984] and [H3050]); praise ye Jah!, an adoring exclamation: – alleluiah.
  2. Thayer’s: praise ye the Lord, Hallelujah
  3. Mounce’s: hallelujah; from Hebrew hallelu-yah, praise Yah(weh).
  4. Abbott-Smith’s: Rec. ἀλληλούϊα ; Heb. H1984 H3050, praise the Lord.

[from G136] KJV: praise.
See Harper Douglas, “Etymology of hallelujah,” Online Etymology Dictionary

  • Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament and Defender’s Study Bible: allelouia = “Praise ye the Lord”.
  • Barnes’ Notes and Wiersbe: allelouia = “Praise Yahweh,” or “Praise the Lord”.
  • Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary: allelouia = ‘Praise ye JAH’.
  • Life Application Bible Commentary: The word is derived from a combination of two Hebrew words, halal and Jah, meaning “Praise Yahweh” or “Praise God.”

Praise

Apparently, many of us need to find out what praise is or how to give praise. It really should not be hard to find something to praise God for. After all, He is the creator of everything we see!

Think of what He has created:

  • Look at the variety of birds, fish, trees, flowers, etc.
  • Just think about all the colors, shapes, and textures created by our Lord!
  • Have you been able to enjoy the different seasons and the beauty that the rains produce? How about the scenery after a snowfall?
  • Do you marvel at the mystery of what lies beneath the depths of the seas, seen on documentaries or in other ways?

Attributes of effective praise:

  1. The use of words that make known your feelings of thanks.
  2. Trusting in God is a form of praise. It shows that you believe He knows what is best for you.
  3. Praise must be positive and sincere.
  4. It helps to be specific.

Psalm 32:1-5 (CEV) Example of praise

Our Lord, you bless everyone whose sins you forgive and wipe away. 2 You bless them by saying, “You told me your sins, without trying to hide them, and now I forgive you.” 3 Before I confessed my sins, my bones felt limp, and I groaned all day long. 4 Night and day your hand weighed heavily on me, and my strength was gone as in the summer heat. 5 So I confessed my sins and told them all to you. I said, “I’ll tell the Lord each one of my sins.” Then you forgave me and took away my guilt.

Excerpt from the McClintock and Strong Biblical Cyclopedia on hallelujah – “The ancient Church retained the Hebrew word, as also did the Church of England in its first Liturgy; though now it is translated “Praise ye the Lord,” to which the people reply, “The Lord’s name be praised.”

Praise is at the heart of true worship. Let your praise of God flow out of your realization of who he is and how much he loves you (Life Application Study Bible).

Praise: G134 αἰνέω aineo (ai-ne’-ō) verb

  1. Mickelson’s: to praise (God).
  2. Thayer’s: to praise, extol, to sing praises in honour to God.
  3. Strong’s: From G136; to praise (God): – praise.
  4. Mounce’s: to praise; in the NT, speaking of the excellence of God

[from G136] KJV: praise (Luke 19:37; Romans 15:11; Revelation 19:5); praising (Luke 2:13 and 20; Acts 2:47, 3:8-9)

Cambridge Dictionary: to honor, worship, and express admiration for (God or a god): Praise God/the Lord.

Why should you hallelujah, in other words, “praise the Lord”?

You should praise God for His faithfulness, compassion, grace, and mercy. Keep in mind, that praise is an acknowledgment [the action of expressing or displaying gratitude or appreciation for something] made of the excellency [the state or quality of excelling or being exceptionally good; extreme merit; superiority] or perfection of God.

Psalms 86:15 (NET)

But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and merciful God. You are patient and demonstrate great loyal love and faithfulness.

Fact #3 Hallelujah is NOT the highest praise

Then I heard what seemed to be a large crowd that sounded like a roaring flood and loud thunder all mixed together. They were saying, “Praise the Lord! Our Lord God All-Powerful now rules as king. Revelation 19:6 (CEV)

So my friends, the next time someone says “Hallelujah“, remember they gave the command topraise the Lord” so respond with praise! By the way, since hallelujah is not praise, it is NOT the highest praise! One can only assume that this false belief began by not understanding that the heavenly hosts were giving a command to praise not giving the highest praise in Revelation 19:6.

Are you convinced?

If you are not convinced, I encourage you to ask your Pastor to show you Scriptures that prove Hallelujah is praise and/or the highest praise. Or search the Scriptures to see if you can find anything that supports your belief!

Therefore, change your praise from saying hallelujah and start praising God correctly with true praise (one more example is Psalms 104). Please do not just read your Bible, learn to study the word and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth. Blessings to you and your loved ones— Tim. ☺

Coverdale was the first English-translated bible to use the word “hallelujah” (halleluya) in the Psalms. The Geneva Bible (link to the 1599 edition) translators were the first to use “Halleluyah” in Revelation 19:1, 3-4, and 6.

Related Bible lessons:

See what is available on the Sound Truth Ministry website.

Reference Scriptures

Note: parenthesis (#) encloses the key verse(s).

Revelation 19:1-8 (1, 3, 4, and 6). Psalms 3:3-4 (3); Romans 15:7-13 (11); Psalms 86:14-15 (15).

NOTE: “Alleluia,” without the initial “H,” is a misspelling. (from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)


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2 thoughts on “3 True Facts About Hallelujah That’ll Change Your Praise


  1. Updated: Thursday, July 21, 2022; comments are working again!


  2. null

    Sound Truth Alert: Please understand, you are NOT praising God when you say “Hallelujah”, in fact, you are merely giving a command to ‘praise the Lord”! So, since Hallelujah is not praise, it is NOT the highest praise!
    #hallelujah #praisethelord #praise

    Message in the picture:

    Hallelujah is not praise but is a command to praise – study your Bible

    Focus Scripture:

    And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
    Revelation 19:6 (KJV)

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