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Magazine > Content

What Does “Glory” Mean?

Christians often use this biblical word, but we don’t always recognize what it reveals about our Creator—and the beauty of all He’s doing in our lives and the world around us.

by Dan Schaeffer

 

Then Moses said, "I pray You, show me Your glory!” (Exodus 33:18)

In this, the earliest historical reference to the glory of God, Moses asks the Lord to reveal it. We wistfully long for the same opportunity, because the glory of God is often a mystery to us.

In the Old Testament, the most common word for glory is the Hebrew kabod, meaning “heavy in weight.” When you glorify someone, you recognize his importance, or the “weight,” of some desirable uniqueness he possesses. Beauty, majesty, and splendor are the main ideas the word seeks to convey.

It might be a person’s wealth (Solomon), or great strength (Samson), or authority and power (Nebuchadnezzar). The glory of someone or something is what sets it apart in a special and inimitable way, in the same way the glory of a Zebra is its stripes; the Cheetah’s, speed; or the peacock’s, plumage.

This insight helps us understand why the Ark of the Covenant falling into enemy hands meant Israel had lost part of her glory (1 Sam. 4:21)—that special possession that made her distinct from, and preeminent among, her neighbors.

“I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another . . . ” (Isa. 42:8)

This glory that the Lord speaks of to the prophet Isaiah refers to the beauty and magnificence of the person and being of God Himself. When the psalmists give glory to the Lord, they’re pointing out those attributes of His that exclusively give Him weight and importance in worship.

In the New Testament, the Greek word for glory is doxazo, and its usage is meant to convey a sense of brilliance, or radiance. We read of “Solomon in all his glory” (Matt. 6:29) and “all the kingdoms of the world and their glory” (Matt. 4:8). But most commonly, the word is used to describe the brilliance of those who share, or participate, in the heavenly glory.

Take the example of Jesus with Moses and Elijah as they appear in glory on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:2-3). Or in the nativity—the birth of Christ—when an angel appears before the shepherds and “the glory of the Lord shone around them” (Luke 2:9). God is the source of all glory, and no person or thing can receive it apart from Him.

To “give glory to God” means to live and speak sincerely and from the heart about His amazing nature or deeds—in such a way that we seek to do justice to the reality of who He is. It’s what He deserves in all things, at all times.

Copyright 2014 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.


36 comments
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  • December 15, 2014 03:01 PM

    by

    i really do appreciate your help.my eyes have been open to understanding,Glory better.thank you
  • December 06, 2014 04:22 PM

    by

    You made it easy for me to better understand, thank you!
  • December 01, 2014 08:14 AM

    by

    I too thank GOD for you. I needed clarity on the word glory.
    Now I don't feel as bad knowing other people like me didn't know either. God bless you.
  • December 01, 2014 08:03 AM

    by

    thanks you have extended my spiritual understanding about the word of "GLORY" and i know through that the eternal life that resides inside of me is being extended in spiritual ream.
  • October 31, 2014 10:58 AM

    by

    What a blessing to have this resource. Thank you!
  • October 21, 2014 05:42 PM

    by

    you are blessed
  • October 05, 2014 12:46 PM

    by

    I'm so glad to read this....it's so thoughful...
  • September 20, 2014 11:16 AM

    by

    Appreciate this beautiful explanation. I have been searching this out . From what
    I am finding there are actually 25 Hebrew words used throughout the OT that are translated into the english word Glory. The Lord is truly much more magnificient and "glorious" than we can descibe, but I am hoping to learn more about the original language He chose for the scriptures. It seems so much has been diluted over time. However I hold to His promise that His Holy Spirit will lead us into ALL truth. May He bless you as Paul explained in 2 Cor 9:8 "...with an abundance for every good deed."
  • September 17, 2014 01:47 PM

    by

    Thanks alot, you have made my day.
  • September 13, 2014 02:00 PM

    by

    Thank you. I was just praying and realized I had been using the word "glory" but then thought to myself... what does that mean? So I entered it in Google and In touch ministries came up. Thank you :)
  • September 12, 2014 01:55 AM

    by

    wow What a revelation.Thanks for this great exposition on the word glory
  • September 08, 2014 01:50 PM

    by

    Thanks
  • August 30, 2014 09:52 AM

    by

    Splendid! Thank you sir for this great wisdom now I understand my dream....bless you!
  • August 20, 2014 03:59 AM

    by

    Thanks for explaining and breaking down glory it understanding is more clears God glory is all over ..,
  • August 02, 2014 06:30 PM

    by

    Simple and insightful!
  • July 03, 2014 06:59 AM

    by

    I thank God for this divine knowledge from heavenly throne
  • June 19, 2014 11:25 AM

    by

    Thank you for these knowledge its so revealing I give God glory for your life
  • June 02, 2014 02:19 PM

    by

    Thank u 4 quickin my understandin.
  • May 27, 2014 01:01 AM

    by

    Very good uplifting
  • May 25, 2014 08:24 AM

    by

    Thanks for the extended and clear explanation of the word "glory". I loved when you wrote that God is the source of all glory, and it is only Him who deserves the gloy.He is exceptional, He is Holy.
  • May 25, 2014 01:42 AM

    by

    Glory be to the lord in the highest.
  • May 14, 2014 12:13 AM

    by

    I would say Glory to God so many times, prompted by the Holy Spirit
    but I really wasn't sure what Glory meant but I knew saying Glory to God
    was praising him highly. Thank you for this knowledge.
  • April 27, 2014 10:31 AM

    by

    This is amazing I never thought of this I got partial understandings of what you have said but you defined it deep may the Lord God bless you and your ministry and live in His glory amen
  • April 14, 2014 09:17 AM

    by

    Wooow, this is amazing.
  • February 26, 2014 10:57 AM

    by

    Elijah prayed god open this yung man eye.... For us to see the glory of god our spiritual eyes should be wide open.

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