The Bible contains numerous passages encouraging God’s people to glorify Him. From heavenly hosts celebrating Christ’s birth singing “glory to God in the highest” (Luke 2:9) to Christians being raised to glory and sharing in God’s eternal glory (1 Peter 4:111), believers must understand what glorifying God means for them personally.
“Glory” is an often-repeated word used throughout Scripture to refer to God’s splendor and majesty, appearing in nearly every major section and doctrine as well as interweaving throughout its narrative.
In the Bible, glory refers to both God’s intrinsic magnificence as well as what He manifests through creation, providence, redemption and consummation. Additionally, glory refers to honorable attributes associated with God like mercy, grace, truthfulness and wrathfulness; or its manifestation through divine presence such as in the Tabernacle’s Pillar of Fire or Tabernacle being full of Glory.
Glory can have five distinct meanings. Light is one such meaning, referring to something once hidden that becomes illuminated; beauty refers to attractiveness or excellence; Majesty refers to greatness or power; reveling or boasting is also considered glory, such as when Moses asked God for a glimpse of His splendor; Jesus Christ himself is perhaps the epitome of glory, reflecting God’s nature and reflecting it through Him perfectly.
By saying “All glory to God”, we acknowledge that everything good in the universe – the sunset, your partner and even the northern lights – are manifestations of His majestic presence and are worthy of praise as signs that He is present with us all. However, they should not take credit for being His glory, rather they should serve to manage and share it for others’ benefit.
As Christians, we are called upon to glorify God with our lives. Scripture calls on us to do this in various areas: body (1 Corinthians 6:20), food and drink choices (Romans 14:16), spiritual gifts exercised (1 Peter 4:111), but most importantly through the relationship we share with Him – modeling His holiness for others as examples; our relationship will help bring Him glory now and forever!
People typically think of God when they say “All glory to Him,” meaning they should give him praise and honor for everything He has done for us, yet it is essential that we understand what this phrase actually means within its context. The Bible uses glory as an umbrella term referring to light, beauty, majesty and honor; its Greek counterpart (doxa) can also be translated as opinion or praise (usually good), worth and value which leads to praise, or any special quality which reveals itself through praise; heaven can also refer to an endpoint when God comes down again for us all at the end.
Numerous pivotal moments in the Bible attest to God’s glory: from creation and its splendors described in Genesis 1; through Moses’ exodus from Mt. Sinai with its glorious fire-pillars to God himself at Mount Sinai appearing before his face as described in Exodus 34:6-7; to Christ’s reign being announced by angels at His birth and again later on Luke 2:14.
All glory to God can have a tremendous effect in our daily lives, as the Bible teaches. This phrase should guide all aspects of life. When we acknowledge His goodness in all spheres, this should lead to an increase in praise and worship of Him; when we recognize His splendor in character traits or blessings we should express gratitude and increase praise accordingly – which leads to increased appreciation. Therefore it is crucial that we study Scripture, especially Gospels as this will reveal more glory from Him – ultimately leading us closer to him!
There are various practical ways we can give God glory. One such method is through worshipping Him. We can do this in many different ways – through songs of praise or simply extolling His greatness; or other expressions like adoration or exaltation (Luke 2:14-16 shows this happening at Jesus’ birth by angels proclaiming glory unto God). Scripture also offers many examples such as Romans 16:27 which declares, ‘To the only wise God be glory forevermore through Christ Jesus.”
One way we can give glory to God is by obeying Him, as demonstrated by Jesus’ teachings on love – especially as expressed through the Greatest Commandment and its fulfillment by each disciple – including loving God with all our heart, mind and strength and loving our neighbor as ourselves. Furthermore, He instructed us to honor Him with our gifts and works, believing He deserves all honor.
Finally, we can bring glory to God by leading others to Him. This was one of the central tenets of Paul’s preaching; his letters often included titles like ‘To the Glory of God’ as all his teaching was intended as an affirmation of the old covenant promises fulfilled through Jesus.
He argues that Jesus is God incarnate, which means He took on human flesh. This can be seen through Gospel accounts such as his transfiguration with Moses and Elijah (Mark 9:2-3) or suffering and crucifixion (Luke 24:27; Matt 26:53) before being raised up again (Acts 1:11).
The Bible uses many terms to describe God’s glory: these range from general terms such as power, majesty, holiness and incarnation to specific ones such as grace and mercy. Christians should understand which actions glorify or disglorify him so they may live their lives honorably before him.
Peter refers to God as “the Lord of glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18), and this phrase can also be applied to Jesus Christ who is often called the Resurrected Lord (John 17:5; 1 Thess. 4:16) or Son of the Father (John 1:18). Additionally, this term can refer to God’s work of salvation, redemption, and sanctification: God saves, redeems, and sanctifies his people for his own glory (1 Peter 4:4).
Glory can be described as the magnificence, worth and beauty of God’s attributes and perfections; its magnificence being manifested as magnificence cloud in Exodus; in tabernacle in Old Testament and when angelic host proclaimed at Jesus birth: “Glory to God in the highest!” (Luke 2:14).
Words like worship and praise can also refer to specific acts of devotion. Psalmist David urges us to give God his due glory; singing our thanksgiving hymns (Ps.149:1). Finally, “doctrines” refers to an approach or practice which promotes religious beliefs or practices. Carl Ferdinand Walther of Lutheran Theology fame elaborates this doctrine in his book All Glory to God. Walther presented his mature theology through convention essays at LCMS Western District conferences between 1873 and 1886, providing a great example of how scripture, Lutheran Confessions and orthodox church fathers can be utilized to support a doctrine that gives glory exclusively to God. This approach ensures that theology reflects biblical teaching without becoming simply human reasoning or personal preference.