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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In this, the earliest historical reference to the glory of God, Moses asks the Lord to reveal it.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. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

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  • April 14, 2014 09:17 AM


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


    Elijah prayed god open this yung man eye.... For us to see the glory of god our spiritual eyes should be wide open.
  • February 23, 2014 04:51 PM


    The word Glory came in mind earlier today. I then realized I wasn't sure what it meant. I had took look it up to get a better understanding of the word . Thank you for this . I am going through a tough time in my life and I need prayer and enlightenment.
  • February 09, 2014 08:38 AM


    this is so blessing
  • January 10, 2014 07:34 AM


    We all need for God to show his glory. To have the glory of God on your life is something good.
  • January 08, 2014 05:41 AM


    I am Philip from Ghana, I am really blessed with this. God bless you in Jesus' name
  • December 03, 2013 07:00 AM


    I thank God for His ministry of InTouch. It is a ministry I can trust to give me the help and insight I need to see God more clearly, love Him more dearly and follow a Him more nearly. God bless and keep each and every person who is a part of this ministry by their service and giving. Especially my "Grandfather in God" Dr. Stanley!
  • November 13, 2013 10:10 AM


    Awsome Thee Glory of God is so big that my mind can't wrap itself around it how wonderful.thank you for the true definition of the the Glory of God.
  • November 07, 2013 04:57 PM


    Is the presence that brought the glory
  • October 11, 2013 12:42 PM


    The Glory of God is simply the manifest presence of God! God manifest himself in so many ways, but people are so caught up in things that they miss it! This was a great teaching, and it has truly bless me. Thanks Dennis
  • July 30, 2013 07:25 AM


    My son and I were on our way to church one Sunday morning, he was only 4 or 5 yrs old. As the sun was bursting through the clouds, my son said to me, "Dad look at God's glory " I was so proud of my son that he recognized God's glory, I will always remember that morning. Out of the mouths of babes
  • July 17, 2013 10:18 AM


    Something we need to know more of "the glory of the lord"
  • July 16, 2013 05:00 AM


    Thahk you so much for teaching on the word glory,
    I have used it without the fullness of understanding what I was saying. Gods word says in The Book of Proverbs, "Therefore get wisdom and with all thy getting get understanding.

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