Bible Study on the Glory of God and How to Understand it
Table of Contents
The glory of God is something that is spoken of throughout the entire Bible. The study of the glory of God is an immensely expansive and deeply immersive subject that allows us to understand one of the most fundamental and important aspects of our God. In fact, the glory of God is so fundamental, that as we begin to understand it, we find that it becomes the very central focus and purpose for all created begins.
All created begin exist for Gods pleasure and to glorify Him (Rev 4.11). We find that God glorifies Himself, as each person of the God head glorifies each other (John 17.1-5), and His people get the privilege of sharing in glorifying Him. When we glorify Him, we get to willfully do something that God does for Himself, a divine action or activity.
We are to glorify God in all that we do, to live our lives and in all things glorify God (1 Corin 10.31, John 15.8).
Doctrine of Sola Deo Gloria
One of the most important doctrines that where rediscovered during the reformation is the Sola Deo Gloria, which means that everything exists for the glory of God alone, or that ultimatly, in the end, everything (that exists and that occurs) is all for the glory of God. As we go through the various scriptures throughout the Bible, we see the theme that all things exist for the glory of God and that the purpose for all created things is ultimatly for God’s glory.
Definitions of Glory
To understand a word used in the Bible, it is important to understand the definition of that word used in the ancient Aramaic or Hebrew text of the Old Testament or of a Greek word used in the New Testament. However, that words’ definition alone may not fully define what the meaning of that subject is that the Bible is referring to.
A biblical subject may be much more expansive beyond a simple words’ definition. Much like trying to describe what the word beautiful means. The more you study about it, the clearer your understanding of its meaning becomes.
H3519 – כָּבֹד כָּבוֹד – Kabod – kaw-bode’, kaw-bode’- From H3513; properly weight; but only figuratively in a good sense, splendor or copiousness: – glorious (-ly), glory, honour (-able). Total KJV occurrences: 200
G1391 – doxa – dox’-ah – From the base of G1380; glory (as very apparent), in a wide application (literally or figuratively, objectively or subjectively): – dignity, glory (-ious), honour, praise, worship. Total KJV occurrences: 168
G1392 – doxazō – dox-ad’-zo – From G1391; to render (or esteem) glorious (in a wide application): – (make) glorify (-ious), full of (have) glory, honour, magnify. Total KJV occurrences: 62
In short, glory speaks of the weight or value or completeness. It refers to the very definition of importance or meaning of a thing. It is the the complete measure of value that something has or holds.
Glory of God in the Bible
When Isaiah sees God on the throne, the Seraphim are crying out one to another saying that God is Holy, and are expressing the importance of this attribute of God. They are not focused on His loving attributes, nor mercy, compassion, justice, power, but rather, on His holiness.
They continue to express His holiness over and over, three times. Then they continue to worship and share how Gods holiness is expressed. They don’t say the whole earth is filled with His holiness. They use the word glory, that God is holy and the whole earth is filled with His glory. Again, emphasizing that the glory of God is what fills the earth, it is expressing His holiness.
In terms of human expression; God is holy or sanctified and is set apart unto Himself. He is so special that his worth, value, honor or magnificence fills the entire earth. A similar expression could be said of the sun, when you walk outside the sun is so bright that its light fills the earth. Or a garden, whose flowers are so fragrant, their scent fills the landscape. Or the universe is so big that its expanse fills the heavens. God is so holy that the whole earth is filled with His glory.
Isa 6.3 – Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory.
Lev 10.3- Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord spoke, saying: ‘By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified. (NKJV)
God is Holy, and He expresses His holiness in His glory. We express His holiness in glorifying Him and in turn we experience His glory.
Ps 19.1, 97.6 – The heavens declare the glory of God.
Ps24.7-10 – He is the King of Glory, the Lord of Hosts is the King of glory.
Ps 57.11, Ps 108.5, Ps 113.4 – His glory is above the heavens and the earth.
Ps 72.19 – The earth if full of His glory.
Ps 104.31 – the Lords glory endures forever.
Acts 7.2 – The Lord of Glory appeared to Abraham.
God Works for the Sake of His Own Glory
All things where created and exist for the pleasure of God and for the praise of His glory. God works for His names sake and for the sake of His glory. He saved His people for His own pleasure, and it was done to the glory of His grace.
Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. – Eph 1.5-6
In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who works all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. – Eph 1.10-11
Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth, who I created for my glory. – Isaiah 43.6-7
Let your light shine before all me that they see it and glorify your father in heaven. – Matthew 5.16
You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for you have created all things, and for your pleasure they exist and were created. – Revelation 4.11
God’s Name is Glorious and He Works for His Names Sake
God’s name is glorious and He works for the sake of His name, He is jealous for His name and desires that it be maintained as Holy. God pardons sins and helps His people for His names sake.
Neh 9.5 – Stand up and bless the LORD your God for ever and ever: and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.
Eze 20.44 – And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I deal with you for my name’s sake, not according to your evil ways, nor according to your corrupt deeds, O house of Israel, declares the Lord GOD.”
Eze 39.25 – thus says the Lord GOD: Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel, and I will be jealous for my holy name.
Ps 31.3, 25.11, 23.3 – for your names sake you will pardon my iniquity and guide me in paths of righteousness.
Ps 29.2, 96.8 – Glory or honor His name.
Ps 79.9 – Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake!
Ps 102.15, Eze 39.21 – the heathen fear His name and His glory.
Isa 48.9 – For my name’s sake I defer my anger; for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off.
Jer 14.21 – Do not spurn us, for your name’s sake; do not dishonor your glorious throne; remember and do not break your covenant with us.
1 Thess 2.12 – we are called according to his kingdom and glory.
God’s Creation Glorifies Him
All of God’s creation exist to glorify Him. All of creation is to give Him glory and put him first above all things. Everything is to be for and to the praise of His glory.
Doesn’t everything already glorify God? Does God get glory for himself just by the creations existence? Will the wicked glorify God’s wrath just as much as a believer glorified God in his praise? We can reason that since God desires that all of His creation would be saved and glorify Him willingly, that the willful expression of praise and honest desire to glorify Him makes Him look more glorious?
For example, just as we experience in this world; the existence of a beautiful piece of art that exclaims the talent of its artist. When the artist has an admirer that exclaims the beauty of that piece of art, that exclamation and confirmation of its beauty makes the artist look glorious.
We cannot make God more glorious, as His glory is already eternal, infinite and complete. We are able to glorify God more in abundance by making Godly choices in our will, actions, praise, fruits, etc.
1 Sam 6.5 – Give glory to God.
1 Chron 16.24, 28-29; Ps 96.3 – Declare His glory to the heathen, give worship, glory and strength to Him.
2 Chron 7.3 – The people worshipped when seeing the glory of the Lord.
Ps 19.1, 97.6 – The heavens declare the glory of God.
Ps 29.1 – the mighty are to give the Lord Glory.
Ps 66.2- make his praise glorious.
Ps 115.1 – not to us but to you give glory for your mercy and thy truths sake.
Ps 149.5 – let the saints be joyful in your glory.
Isa 40.5 – all flesh will see the glory of God.
Isa 58.8 – The Glory of God is our reward!
Isa 66.19 – declare Gods glory among the gentiles.
Mal 1.6 – honor or glory God as a father.
Matt 6.13 – to God is the Glory forever.
John 5.44 – how can you believe when you don’t seek the glory of God
Rom 5.2 – we rejoice in the hope of the Glory of God.
Rom 11.36 – to him be glory and praise forever and ever.
1 Corin 10.31 – do all to Gods glory.
1 Corin 11.7 – Man is the image and glory of God.
Gal 1.5 – To whom be glory forever.
Phil 1.11 – we are filled with fruit to the praise of His glory.
Phil 4.20 – to God be glory forever and ever.
Matt 9.8, Mark 2.12, Luke 7.16 – people marveled and glorified God for the power he gave to mankind.
John 14.13 – whatever you ask in my name I will do, so that the Father will be glorified in the Son.
John 15.8 – we glorify God by bearing much fruit.
1 Corin 6.20 – glorify God in your body and spirit.
1 peter 1.8 – seeing him not you rejoice full of glory.
1 Peter 4.11 – that all things be to the praise of His glory.
God Gives Glory but not His Glory
God will give glory to His creations and to those who honor Him. However God will never give His glory to any other being. His glory is for Him alone, it is God’s glory. The worth and honor that is God’s is to Him alone.
Isa 42.8, 48.11 – (God says) I will not give my glory to another.
Ps 84.11 – God will give grace and glory to those who walk uprightly.
Ps 73.24 – God receives us to glory when we die.
Ps 85.9 – glory will dwell in our land that fear Him.
Pr 3.35 – The wise will inherit glory.
Rom 2.10 – for every worker of good receives glory.
Rom 8.18 – we cannot compare our current sufferings with the glory will be that is revealed in us.
Rom 8.30 – those who he called He glorified.
Rom 9.23 – gives glory to the vessel that He prepared for glory.
1 Corin 2.7 – we speak mysteries of wisdom which God ordained for our glory.
1 Corin 15.40 – different bodies have different glories .
2 Corin 1.20 – all the promises of God are yes and amen to His glory.
2 Corin 4.17 – all troubles work for our glory in God.
Eph 3.16 – he gives strength according to the riches of His glory.
Phil 3.21 – God will exchange our vile body for a glorious one.
Phil 4.19 – God supplies our needs according to His riches in glory by Jesus Christ.
Col 3.4 – we shall appear with Him in glory.
2 Tim 2.10 – gives eternal glory to believers.
Heb 2.10 – Jesus brings many sons to glory.
1 Peter 5.10 – we are called to His eternal glory.
Dishonoring God’s Glory
There are many things that bring shame or reject God’s glory. Sinful beings are able to trade the glory of God for other things, which are of lesser value. As sinful being reject or trade the glory of God for the lesser, they fall short of God’s glory.
Psalms 4.2, Hos 4.7 – We turn God’s glory into shame.
Isa 3.8 – Judah provoked the eyes of Gods glory.
Mal 2.2 – if you don’t Glorify Gods name you will be cursed.
John 12.43 – they loved the glory of men more then the glory of God.
Acts 12.23 – the wicked are smitten when not giving God the glory.
Rom 1.23 – Sinners exchange the glory of God for the image of corruption.
Rom 3.23 – we all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God.
Phil 3.19 – Sinner’s glory is in their shame.
1 Peter 1.24 – the glory of man fades away.
Jude 1.8 – the wicked speak evil of glories.
The Son’s Glory
Jesus has the glory of God because He is God. The Father and the Son seek glory for each other continually. We see in John 17, Jesus is speaking with the Father about the glory they seek to give to each other.
Jesus spoke, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. 4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. – John 17.1-5
Matt 16.27 – The son shall come in the glory of the Father.
Matt 24.30, Mark 8.38, 13.26, Luk2 21.27 – The Son will come in power and great glory.
Luk 2.32 – Jesus is the light to the gentiles and glory of Israel.
Luk 9.26 – He came in his glory and the Fathers.
Luk 24.26 – the son will suffer and enter into his glory.
John 8.50-54, 17.5, – Jesus did not seek his own glory, but the father does.
John 13.31 – the son of man is glorified and God is glorified in him.
John 17.10 – Jesus is glorified in us.
Rom 6.4 –Jesus was raised by the Glory of the Father.
Rom 16.27 – to God be glory through Jesus Christ forever.
1 Corin 2.8 – He is the Lord of Glory.
2 Corin 4.6 – the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Phil 2.11 – every tongue confess Jesus is Lord to the glory of the father.
Lessons from the Bible about God’s Glory
Moses Prays to See God’s Glory
There is a major lesson we can learn from Moses’ encounter with God in the Old Testament and how he sought the glory of God.
Humanity is spiritually blind until we turn to God. When we turn to God the spiritual veil is lifted and we are free to experience God. As we experience God and develop our relationship with Him we experiencing His glory in our life. This becomes a process that over time and through experience, changes us from one degree of glory to another, being transformed into the image of God.
But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 3. 16 – 18
Moses the man of God, spoke with God face to face as a man speaks with his friend. He could have asked God for anything, life, power, riches or the life of his enemies. What was the focus in his mind, what was the desire of his heart? What was the most important thing to this man of God, who literally saw God face to face, and could ask for anything that he wanted?
In v. 13 He begins his request asking to know Gods ways and to find favor in His sight.
Next in v. 15 he asks for God’s presence in his life and to be with the people. Earlier God said he would send His angel to go with them (Ex 23.20-33), but Moses asks for God’s presence and none other. In fact if it isn’t God’s presence that goes with them, Moses doesn’t want to move from that place.
Finally in v. 18 Moses asks of God, the very thing he has been building up to ask for the entire time, to show him His glory. Moses asks to see the glory of the Lord, which was the most profound and important request a person can make of God, this is the greatest and most important treasure or reward in the universe (Gen 15.1). No being in creation can ask for anything greater than this, to experience the glory of God.
Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.” – Exodus 33.13
And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. – Exodus 33.15
Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” – Exodus 33.18
After Moses lead the construction of the tabernacle, the glory of God continues to be presented in the camp of Israel and of the people for generations to come. From the time of the tabernacle and then to the Holy Temple, we see throughout all of the Old Testament the presence of the glory of God. There are additional lessons we find, as God would respond to His people and send His glory after they were obedient to Him and made atonement for their sins.
The glory of the Lord appeared as they were obedient in their sacrifice for their sins. – Lev 9.6
How does God’s love for us relate to His glory
One of the things people begin to struggle with when learning that all of creation is for God’s glory and all things are centered around His glory, is the question “do I even matter at all.” Or, how does God’s love for me fit in with God seeking glory for Himself.
First, we know there is no deficiency in God in which he had to overcome by creating us. God is complete and jovial within His infinite self. His glory is complete and absolute in His own presence. However, He created us for his pleasure and for His glory (Rev 4.11, Eph 1).
There is nothing greater God can give to His creation then Himself and that experience is glorious, or is His glory. When He gives us the experience of His glory, He is giving us the greatest experience, the most treasured possession and the most valuable presence in all of existence. God loves us so much that He gives us Himself, and to such a degree that He displayed it to the utmost degree in dying for us. God loves us so much that He gave himself for us and died for us.
The question you are to ask yourself is, “do I feel more love from God because I want him to make much of me,” or do you feel loved because He frees you so that you may make much of Him. It is a question of desiring self-exaltation, vs humbling yourself to make much of the One who is worthy!
True love is about sharing and giving. God wants to give us the greatest gift of all, Himself, and to show us His glory that we may get to experience it and take joy in it and worship Him in it.
We find in the historic account of Lazarus in John Chapter 11, a glimpse of God’s love for us and how glorifying Him supersedes everything else, however love is a part of the glory of God and works all these experiences together.
Jesus loved Lazarus and was sad when he died, even though He knew He was going to raise him from the dead. Jesus could have healed him so that he would not have to die, but He allowed him to die.
God shows us that He weeps with us because He experiences the pain that we feel. Even though He knew that Lazarus would suffer, along with his family and friends would suffer, and even God Himself would suffer the loss of a friend, God still allowed this to happen. Why would God allow something like this to happen? Jesus explains it to us, so that God could be more glorified in the incident. There was a greater purpose for Lazarus’ death, so that God would be glorified.
Therefore his (Lazarus) sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou love is sick. When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. – John 11. 3-4
Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him. – John 11. 14-15
When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the Spirit, and was troubled, And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept. – John 11.33-35
Jesus said to her, didn’t I say to you, if you would believe, you would see the glory of God? – John 11.40
God is God Centered
In God’s word we find the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength (Matt 22.37). God is to be the center of all things in our life, He is the center of all creation. All beings live and move and have their being in Him (Acts 17.28).
What about God, what is the center of His heart and being? All throughout scripture we find that God tells us that He does everything for His own glory, the Father seeks glory for the Son, the Son seeks glory for the Father. The Holy Spirit seeks to glorify the Father and Son.
We understand it is wrong for us to seek glory for ourselves, and some struggle with the idea that ‘isn’t God being selfish?’ First of all, God is a different being all together, He is the creator, and we are the created. Shouldn’t the being that created all things, who is the fundamental reason for all existence, who holds all the power, be the center of the universe, even for Himself? Doesn’t it stand to reason that the one who is worthy would have a central focus on the most worth being Himself?
What is so amazing is the most magnificent being in the universe is so good and compassionate, that He chose to humble Himself to give us an example of how to live and love. That He chose to give us the gift of experiencing His glory so that we may experience the greatest gift in the universe, a gift so profound that even God himself takes pleasure and delights in it!
Revelation of God Glory – Allegories of Gods Glory
The glory of God is revealed in different ways, in some instances as a cloud, or as fire or in other instances like a rainbow of lights. Other times it is depicted allegorically like the water covering the ocean.
Ex 16.10 – Revealed as a cloud.
Ex 24.17 – The Glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire.
Eze 1.28 – like a rainbow.
Eze 10.19 – Glory of god hovered above the cherubim.
Hab 2.14 – The earth shall be covered with the knowledge of the glory of the lord as water covers the sea.
Acts 7.55 – We look upon the glory of God and the Son.
Activity of the Glory of God
The glory of God has other attributes that perform various effects such as sanctification, or a defense.
Ex 29.43 – it sanctified the children of Israel.
Pr 25.2 – it is the glory of God to conceal a matter and the duty of kings to search it out.
Isa 4.5 – the LORD will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defense.
Isa 11.10 – His rest is glorious.
Acts 22.11 – Gods glory was blinding to Paul.
Things of God are Glorious
The Glory of God is shown in many of the things attributed to Him.
2 Corin 4.4 – The light of the glorious gospel of truth.
2 Thess 1.9 – Glory of His power.
1 Tim 1.11 – The glorious gospel of the blessed God.
1 Peter 4.14 – Spirit of glory.
Rev 21.11 – New Jerusalem had the glory of God.
2 Thess 3.1 – Word of the Lord be glorified.
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