If I were to ask you what the word glory meant, how would you respond? Like so many of the words in the English language, it can have many definitions, many uses, some overlapping, some very different.
Glory is one of those words I find fascinating, whether I hear someone exclaim Glory, whether it’s used to describe the American flag, or whether it’s used in Christian circles or other religions, as a word person I find myself looking at different dictionaries to see what can be found about the word. But of course, as a Christian, discovering the word as it relates to my faith walk, is the most captivating.
It has been reported that glory is the most common praise word in the Bible. The concept of glory is relayed with several different Hebrew words throughout the Old Testament, relaying the concepts of deference, importance, heaviness, honor, majesty, and respect. In the New Testament, these concepts were translated into Greek, with the meanings of good reputation, honor, opinion, and judgment.
Of course, the above are mere generalizations of years of scholarly theological research by a non-theologian who just loves words. What I will include are different references on the use of glory in the Bible.
Glory (Heb. kabhod; Gr. doxa).
- Abundance, wealth, treasure, and hence honour ( Psalms 49:12 ); glory ( Genesis 31:1 ; Matthew 4:8 ; Revelation 21:24 Revelation 21:26 ).
- Honour, dignity ( 1 Kings 3:13 ; Hebrews 2:7 1 Peter 1:24 ); of God ( Psalms 19:1 ; 29:1 ); of the mind or heart ( Genesis 49:6 ; Psalms 7:5 ; Acts 2:46 ).
- Splendour, brightness, majesty ( Genesis 45:13 ; Isaiah 4:5 ; Acts 22:11 ; 2 co3:7 ); of Jehovah ( Isaiah 59:19 ; 60:1 ; 2 th. 1:9 ).
- The glorious moral attributes, the infinite perfections of God ( Isaiah 40:5 ;Acts 7:2 ; Romans 1:23 ; 9:23 ; Ephesians 1:12 ). Jesus is the “brightness of the Father’s glory” ( Hebrews 1:3 ; John 1:14 ; 2:11 ).
- The bliss of heaven ( Romans 2:7 Romans 2:10 ; 5:2 ; 8:18 ; Hebrews 2:10 ; 1 Peter 5:1 1 Peter 5:10 ).
- The phrase “Give glory to God” ( Joshua 7:19 ; Jeremiah 13:16 ) is a Hebrew idiom meaning, “Confess your sins.” The words of the Jews to the blind man, “Give God the praise” ( John 9:24 ), are an adjuration to confess. They are equivalent to, “Confess that you are an impostor,” “Give God the glory by speaking the truth;” for they denied that a miracle had been wrought.
These dictionary topics are copied from
M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition,
published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.
After researching a word like glory, how it is used, both secularly and Biblically, it helps me comprehend just how feeble my own efforts to bring glory to God can be. Yet, it encourages me, it reinforces my awareness of the supremacy of God, and it makes my daily prayer of “Father, do not let me do, say or think anything that doesn’t bring glory to You” richer and more meaningful to me.
Glory to God!
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