GLORY. The Hebrew word so translated, kābôd, means the “weight” and therefore the “worth” of something—as we speak of someone whose word “carries weight.” The glory of God is the worthiness of God, more particularly, the presence of God in the fullness of his attributes in some place or everywhere. It is in this sense that Isaiah reports the words of the seraphim that “the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isa.6.3), meaning that the Lord in his full person, deity, and majesty is present in every place. Again, when the Lord says of the tabernacle that it “will be consecrated by [his] glory” (Exod.29.43), he means that without diluting or diminishing his full deity he will himself dwell in the great tent and make it holy by his presence. Moses asked that he might see the Lord’s glory (Exod.33.18), and the Lord responded that he would himself proclaim his name to him, i.e., make Moses aware of all the glorious attributes and capacities that the one and only God possesses (Exod.33.19-Exod.34.8). Sometimes the Lord allowed his glory to become visible. Since the cloudy-fiery pillar was the place where he was present, there were occasions (e.g., Exod.16.10) when (whatever form it took) there was a manifestation of his presence. Possibly the same was true in Exod.40.34-Exod.40.35: Either there was an awesome manifestation of the Lord’s presence or an overwhelming sense that God was there so that Moses dared not come near. Later thought defined this indwelling presence of God as the shekinah (or “indwelling”).

New Testament references to the shekinah glory are seen in John.1.14 and Rom.9.4. Glory is both physical and spiritual, as is seen in Luke.2.9 (“the glory of the Lord shone around them”) and John.17.22, where it refers to the glory of the Father that Jesus Christ|Jesus gave to his disciples. As for the saints, glory culminates in the changing of their bodies to the likeness of their glorified Lord (Phil.3.20).

Glory in the Old Testament

In many instances the word signifies brightness. This is especially the case in Ezekiel. The vision of the glory of God that Ezekiel saw was characterized by brightness (Ezek 1:4, 14, 28; 11:22f.). Consider also Exodus 24:17, where the appearance of the God of Israel was like a devouring fire. He was gloriously majestic. All these meanings, “splendor,” “reputation,” “worth,” etc., can be combined in applying the word to God to describe His intrinsic worth and majestic splendor.

Glory in the New Testament

Chiefly, however, the word refers to the revelation of God in Christ. “He reflects the glory of God” (Heb 1:3). John expresses the idea when he writes, “we have beheld his glory” (John 1:14). It was seen in the Miracle|miracles (2:11) and in the transfiguration (2 Pet 1:16f., etc.). He is the Lord of glory (James 2:1). In His incarnate life, the glory of God is seen. The word, as in the LXX, indicates the outshining of the divine glory, but with particular reference to the outshining in Christ. The subjectiveness involved in “opinion” is gone, and in its place is an objective fact—the glory of God in Christ.

The glory of God

Whereas the glory of God is His essentially and inherently, the major emphasis of Scripture is on the glory in its manifestation. It describes the self-revelation of God’s being and character. Isaiah summarizes this point, “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you” (Isa 60:1f.). When Moses requested to see God’s glory, he was told, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you my name” (Exod 33:18ff.). Isaiah uses the impressive phrase, “The glory of his majesty” (Isa 2:10, 19, 21). He had in mind a frightening revelation of God Himself. In Numbers 14:22, the revelation of His glory is associated with the signs in Egypt. A few quotations will show how much weight the glory of revelation receives among theologians. “The glory of God is thus in effect the term used to express what we can comprehend, originally by sight, of the presence of God on the earth” (A. Richardson). “The glory of God is when we know what He is” (Calvin). More tersely, and yet clearly, Bengel writes, “The Glory is the Divinity manifest.”

Because the glory of God is so much involved in His self-disclosure, man cannot ignore the revelation in Scripture itself, which is a light shining in a dark place (2 Pet 1:19f.). Whereas the most glorious revelation is Christ, the extant knowledge of this revelation is in Scripture. The word “glory” thus embraces the whole Biblical knowledge of God.

The glory of God in creation and in man

Although the whole duty of man is to glorify God, it is possible for man to become the mighty rebel and take to himself what really belongs to God. Calvin, having quoted Jeremiah 9:23f. and 1 Corinthians 1:29, says, “We never truly glory in Him until we have utterly discarded our own glory...whoso glories in himself glories against God.” This perfectly sums up what the Lord says about the sin of receiving glory one from another (John 5:41ff.). In glorifying God, self-boasting must be excluded (Rom 3:27; Eph 2:8f.). The whole trouble with man since the Fall is his attempt to become as God (Gen 3:5), and as a result he does not fulfill his true destiny. He ruins his glory when he is a rebel. Man is truly glorious only when he looks on God as God and man as man.

The glory of Christ

Whereas man failed to glorify God, Christ glorified His Father completely, so that at the end of His earthly life He could say, “I glorified thee on earth, having accomplished the work which thou gavest me to do” (John 17:4). He did what no man ever did; He glorified God in all He was, said and did (cf. Heb 2:6ff.).

Old Testament Israel expected the Messiah to be glorious. In the wilderness wanderings they possessed a forward look. The Tabernacle was to be sanctified by God’s glory when erected (Exod 29:43). This forward look was present in the whole history of Israel; none of the religious achievements was final; more was to follow. This is exemplified in the following Scriptures: “Over all the glory there will be a canopy and a pavilion” (Isa 4:5); the dwellings of the root of Jesse “shall be glorious” (11:10); “the Lord of hosts...will manifest his glory” (24:23); “the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together” (40:5). Such longings and hopes find fulfillment either in the Incarnation or the parousia of the Messiah.

The glory of Christ existed before the Incarnation, since He was preexistent. Christ (John 17:5) refers to the glory He had before the world was made (cf. v. 24). 2 Corinthians 8:9 refers to His riches, and Philippians 2:6, to Him being “in the form of God.” This glory must have been personal glory, entirely divorced from any activity in revelation.

John 1:14, “the Word became flesh...we have beheld his glory,” associates glory with the incarnate life, which was completely glorifying to God, and which also was full of His own personal glory. He glorified God in making Him known (John 1:18; 17:4, 6). Westcott, commenting on John 2:11, remarks regarding the fourth gospel, “It represents the whole human life of Christ, under its actual condition of external want and suffering and of external conflict and sorrow, as a continuous and conscious manifestation of Divine glory.”

The glory of Christ, although always present, was also largely veiled in the Incarnation. It flashed out in miracles (John 2:11; 11:40) and words of wisdom, but largely there was “no beauty that we should desire him” (Isa 53:2). He was just a carpenter to many. Paul maintains that because none of the rulers of this world recognized Christ for what He was, they put Him to death (1 Cor 2:8). He was crucified in weakness (2 Cor 13:4). The glory was there, but the god of this world so blinded men that they saw His humanity only and not “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Cor 4:4, 6; cf. Heb 1:3). The same is still true.

Eschatological glory

Popularly, heaven is spoken of as glory. The idea is not absent in Scripture, “the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory” (2 Pet 1:17). Psalm 73:24 refers to being received to glory. In heaven we shall see Christ’s glory (John 17:24).

Additional Material

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)




1. As Applied to External Things

2. As Applied to Yahweh


1. Material Wealth

2. Human Dignity and Majesty

3. "My Soul": the Self

4. Self-Manifestation of God (Yahweh)

(1) Exodus 23:18 ff

(2) Isaiah 6

(3) Psalms 19:1

(4) Sinai and the Temple

(5) Ezekiel’s Visions

(6) Messianic Ideal

(7) Its Ethical Content


1. In the Apocrypha:

(1) As Applied to External Things

(2) As Applied to God

2. In the New Testament:

(1) As Applied to Men

(2) As Applied to God

(3) As Applied to the Saints

(4) As Applied to the Messianic Kingdom

3. Its Ethical Significance


I. Method of Treatment.

In this article we deal, first, with a group of words, translated "glory" in the English Versions of the Bible, and in which the ideas of size, rarity, beauty and adornment are prominent, the emphasis being laid in the first instance in each case upon some external physical characteristic which attracts the attention, and makes the object described by the word significant or prominent.

These are (’addereth) perhaps to be connected with the Assyrian root ’adaru, meaning "wide," "great"; (hadhar, hadharah), perhaps with root-meaning of "brightness"; (hodh), with essentially the same meaning of "brightness," "light"; (Tehar), Ps 89:44, translated "glory" in the King James Version, in the Revised Version (British and American) rendered "brightness"; (yeqara’), an Aramaic root meaning "rare"; (tiph’arah), with the root-meaning of "beauty "; and finally (tsebhi), perhaps on the basis of the Assyrian cabu, meaning "desire," "desirable."

Secondly, this article will discuss the most common and characteristic word for "glory" in the Old Testament, the Hebrew (kabhodh) including the special phrase "the glory of God" or "the glory of Yahweh." In dealing with the Old Testament usage, attention will also be called to the original Hebrew of the Book of Ecclesiasticus or Wisdom of Jesus, the Son of Sirach, cited in this article as Sir. Thirdly, with the Greek word (doxa) in the Apocrypha and in the New Testament. The nouns kauchema, kauchesis, translated "glory" or "glorying" in the New Testament, will be dealt with in the concluding paragraphs in which the use of the word glory as a verb will briefly be discussed. It will be possible within the limits of this article to give only the main outlines of the subject as illustrated by a few of the most significant references. The lexicons and the commentaries must be consulted for the details.

II. General Use of the Term.

In the first group, as has already been stated, the ideas of beauty, majesty and splendor are prominent. And these qualities are predicated first of all, of things. David determines to make the temple which Solomon is to build "a house of fame and of glory" (1Ch 22:5).

1. As Applied to External Things:

Then, and more commonly, glory belongs to men, and especially to men of prominence, like kings. This glory may consist in wealth, power, portion, or even in the inherent majesty and dignity of character of its possessor. The reference is most frequently, however, to the external manifestations. Physical power is suggested in De 33:17, where "glory" of the King James Version is replaced by "majesty" in the Revised Version (British and American). The king’s glory consists in the multitude of his people (Pr 14:28). The glory and the pomp of the rebellious people shall descend into Sheol (Isa 5:14). Here the reference is clearly to those external things upon which the people depend, and the possession of which is the ground of their confidence.

2. As Applied to Yahweh:

But chiefly glory is the possesion and characteristic of Yahweh, and is given by Him to His people or to anything which is connected with Him. In Isa 60:7 the Lord promises to glorify the house of His glory, and the meaning is clearly that He will impart to His house something of the beauty and majesty which belong to Him. Glory is one of the qualities which are distinctive of Yahweh (1Ch 29:11); and Isaiah, in one of his earliest utterances, uses the word "glory" to describe Yahweh’s self-manifestation in judgment to bring to naught the pride and power of men (Isa 2:10,19,21). The use of the word in Ps 78:61 is not quite certain. The most natural interpretation would perhaps be to refer it to the ark as the symbol of the presence of Yahweh, but in view of the parallel word "strength," it is perhaps better to interpret glory as meaning power, and to suppose that the Psalmist means that Yahweh allowed His power to be temporarily obscured, and Himself to be seemingly humiliated on account of the sin of His people.

III. The Uses of Kabhodh.

The use and significance of kabhodh in the Old Testament and in Sirach: The fundamental idea of this root seems to be "weight," "heaviness," and hence in its primary uses it conveys the idea of some external, physical manifestation of dignity, preeminence or majesty. At least three uses may be distinguished: (1) It defines the wealth or other material possesions which give honor or distinction to a person; (2) the majesty, dignity, splendor or honor of a person; (3) most important of all, it describes the form in which Yahweh (Yahweh) reveals Himself or is the sign and manifestation of His presence.

1. Material Wealth:

In Ge 31:1 (margin "wealth") it describes the flocks and herds which Jacob has acquired; in Ps 49:16 f, as the parallelism indicates, it refers to the wealth of the sinner; and in Isa 10:3 it is said that in the day of desolation the heartless plunderers of the poor shall not know where to leave their ill-gotten gain. This idea is also probably to be found in Hag 2:7, where the parallelism seems to indicate that the glory with which Yahweh will fill the house is the treasure which He will bring into it. See also Sirach 9:11, where the glory of the sinner which is not to be envied is probably his wealth.

2. Human Dignity and Majesty:

It describes the majesty and dignity or honor of men due to their adornment or to their position. In Ge 45:13, Joseph bids his brethren tell their father of his glory in Egypt; according to Ex 28:40, the priestly garments are intended for the glorification of their wearers; in 1Sa 4:21 f, the loss of the ark means, for Israel, the loss of her glory, that which gave her distinction from, and preeminence over, her neighbors; in Isa 22:23 it is said that Eliakim is to be a throne of glory, i.e. the source and manifestation of the splendor and dignity of his father’s house; in Job 19:9 the complaint that God has stripped him of his glory must be taken to refer to his dignity and honor. Reference may also be made to the numerous passages in which the glory of Israel and other nations describes their dignity, majesty or distinction; so we hear of the glory of Ephraim (Ho 9:11), of Moab (Isa 16:14), of Kedar (Isa 21:16). This use is quite common in Sir. Sirach 3:10 f states that the glory of man comes from the honor of his father; the possessor of wisdom shall inherit glory (4:13; 37:26); note also 4:21 with its reference to "a shame that is glory and grace," and 49:5 where the forfeited independence of Judah is described by the terms "power" and "glory."

3. "My Soul": the Self:

Before leaving this use of kabhodh it is necessary to call attention to the fact that in a few cases it is used to describe things, perhaps because these things are thought of as practically personified. The "glory of the forest" (Isa 10:18) is clearly a personification, referring to the majestic force of the Assyrians. We may probably assume a personification also in the case of the glory of Lebanon in Isa 35:2; 60:13, and the nature of the parable in Eze 31 makes it probable that personification is intended in 31:18.

4. Self-manfiestation of God (Yahweh):

But unquestionably the most important use of the word kabhodh is its employment either with the following gen. God or Yahweh, or absolutely, to describe the method or the circumstances of the self-manifestation of God. In discussing this subject we shall deal first of all with the use of the term as connected with actual or historical manifestations of the Deity, and then with its use to describe the characteristic features of the ideal state of the future, or, otherwise stated, the Messianic kingdom.

(1) Exodus 23:18 ff.

The significance of the phrase in its earliest occurrence is by no means clear. Notwithstanding the uncertainty as to the exact documentary connection of the famous passage in Ex 33:18 ff, it seems quite certain that we may claim that this is the earliest historical reference that the Old Testament contains to the glory of Yahweh. "And he (Moses) said, Show me, I pray thee, thy glory. And he (Yahweh) said Thou canst not see my face; .... and it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand until I have passed by: and I will take away my hand, and thou shalt see my back; but my face shall not be seen." The passage in its present form bears unmistakable evidences of the editorial hand, due perhaps, as Baentsch (Hand-kommentar zum Altes Testament, "Ex-Lev-Nu," 279) suggests, to a desire to transform the primitive, concrete, physical theophany into a revelation of the ethical glory of God, but in its basis it belongs to the Jahwist (Jahwist) and is therefore the earliest literary reference to the glory of God in the Old Testament. The glory of Yahweh is clearly a physical manifestation, a form with hands and rear parts, of which Moses is permitted to catch only a passing glimpse, but the implication is clear that he actually does see Yahweh with his physical eyes.

It seems not improbable that in its original form it was related that Moses saw the glory, i.e., the form of Yahweh, and thus that we are to find in this narrative the source for the statement in Nu 12:8, that he (Moses) will behold (or perhaps better rendering the tense as a frequentative), beholds the form of Yahweh (see also the description in Ex 24:9-11). The mention of the cloud (Ex 34:5) as the accompaniment of the manifestation of Yahweh suggests that the form of Yahweh was thought of as being outlined in cloud and flame, and that Yahweh was originally thought of as manifesting Himself in connection with meteorological or more probably volcanic phenomena.

(2) Isaiah 6.

Later the glory of Yahweh and the form of Yahweh are no longer identical terms, but the glory is still the physical manifestation of the Divine presence. This is clear from Isaiah’s account of his great inaugural vision. The prophet sees the enthroned Yahweh with His skirts filling the temple. There is no indication of what it was that he saw or how he recognized that it was Yahweh. The attendant seraphim in addition to the solemn "Holy, Holy, Holy" declare that "the whole earth is full of his glory."

Unquestionably His glory is here regarded as something visible, something, a part of which at least, Isaiah sees. The glory as such has no ethical significance except in so far as it is the method of manifestation of one who is undoubtedly an ethical being. The phraseology suggests that the skirts which fill the temple and the glory which fills the whole earth refer to the phenomena of fire and smoke. Some think that the smoke is caused by the clouds of incense that would fill the temple in connection with the sacrificial observances. But in view of Isaiah’s horror of these observances, this interpretation is very questionable. A more probable interpretation connects the clouds and gloom with the phenomena of a great storm, and even possibly of an earthquake, for it seems highly plausible that the call of Isaiah in the year of the death of King Uzziah coincided with thee great earthquake in the days of Uzziah referred to in Zec 14:5. (It seems at least probable that the references to the darkness and light in Zec 14:6 f may have their origin in the phenomena attendant upon this earthquake. It is probable that the earthquake by which the prophecy of Amos is dated (Am 1:1) is also this same historic earthquake.) The clouds and fire attendant upon this storm or earthquake become the media by which the glory of Yahweh is made known to the youthful prophet, and this glory partly reveals and partly conceals the presence of Yahweh of which, through, and in part by means of, these phenomena, Isaiah is made so vividly conscious.

(3) Psalms 19:1.

(4) Sinai and the Temple.

De 5:24 indicates that in theophany at the time of the giving of the law, the glory and the greatness of Yahweh. consisted in the fire and thick darkness which enveloped the mountain, and out of which Yahweh spoke to the people. Essentially the same idea is expressed in the account of the dedication of Solomon’s temple (1Ki 8:10 f; 2Ch 5:14). The cloud which filled the house of Yahweh, preventing the priests from ministering, is identified with the glory of Yahweh which filled the house. It is noteworthy that in 2Ch 7:1-3 the glory of Yahweh which fills the house manifests itself in the form of the cloud of smoke from the sacrifices which were consumed by the fire coming down from heaven.

(5) Ezekiel’s Visions.

Perhaps the most elaborate description of the glory of Yahweh to be found in the Old Testament is that given by Ezekiel in the various accounts of his visions. It is not easy to interpret his conception, but it seems clear that he does not identify the glory with the stormy clouds, the fire, the cherubim and the chariots. "The appearance of the likeness of the glory of Yahweh" (Eze 1:28) is not applied to all the phenomena which have been described in the preceding verses, but only to the likeness of form which looked like a man above the sapphire throne (1:26). The same idea is indicated in 9:3 which states that "the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon it was"; that is, the glory is something peculiar to Yahweh, and is not quite identical with the phenomena which accompany it. This is true of all his visions. The glory of Yahweh manifests itself with all the accompaniments which he describes with such richness of imagery, but the accompaniments are not the glory. For other descriptions of the glory of Yahweh in Ezekiel, see 3:12,23; 8:4; 10:4,18 ff; 11:22 f.

(6) Messianic Ideal.

These passages just cited stand on the border between the historical and the ideal descriptions of the glory of Yahweh, for whatever may be one’s views as to the historical worth of P’s account of the Exodus and the wilderness sojourn, all must agree in seeing in it really the program or constitution for the ideal state of the future. And in this state the distinguishing characteristic is to be the manifest presence of Yahweh in His sanctuary, and this manifestation is the glory. This is the view of Ezekiel, for whom the essential action in the establishment of the new community is the return of the glory of Yahweh to the house of Yahweh (Eze 43:2,4,5; 44:4). The same thought is expressed very clearly in Isa 4:5 f, which may be rendered on the basis of a slight rearrangement and regrouping of the original, `And Yahweh will create over .... Mt. Zion ...., a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over everything the glory (of Yahweh) shall be a canopy and a pavilion, and it shall serve as a shelter from the heat, and a refuge and a covert from the storm and the rain.’ This translation has the advantage that it furnishes an intelligible and characteristic conclusion to the description of the Messianic age which the chapter contains. Isa 11:10, reading with the Revised Version, margin, "and his resting-place shall be glory," has the same thought, for it is clearly the glory of Yahweh that is manifested in the resting-place of the root of Jesse, and this resting-place can be none other than Mt. Zion (compare also Isa 24:23).

The Psalms and Deuteronomy-Isaiah have many passages in which this phase of the thought is brought out. For both books the restoration of the people from captivity is to be accompanied by, or, perhaps better, itself is, a revelation of the glory of Yahweh (Isa 40:5). The children of Israel have been created for the glory of Yahweh, and hence they must be restored that His glory may be made manifest (Isa 43:7). The light of the restored community is to be the glory of Yahweh (Isa 60:1 f). The presence of Yahweh brings grace and glory (Ps 84:11), and His salvation of those that fear Him causes glory to dwell in the land (Ps 85:9). To these and many similar passages in Isa and the Psalms may also be added Sirach 36:14, which refers probably to the manifestation of God in glory in the Messianic kingdom.

(7) Its Ethical Content.

IV. In Apocrypha and New Testament.

"Glory" in the apocryphal books and in the New Testament is almost exclusively the translation of the Greek noun doxa. In all these writings the Old Testament usage seems to be the most important, and it seems to be the fact, if one may judge from the Septuagint and from the original Hebrew of Sir, that the Greek noun doxa, in the great majority of cases, represents the Hebrew kabhodh, so that the underlying thought is Hebrew, even though the words may be Greek

1. In the Apocrypha:

(1) As Applied to External Things.

It will be perhaps a little more convenient to deal with the usage of the Apocrypha separately, following essentially the order that has been adopted for the Old Testament discussion of kabhodh, and bearing in mind that the usage of Sir has been discussed under the Old Testament. The use of the word "glory" to describe the honor, reputation and splendor which belong to men is quite common. In this sense 1 Esdras 1:33 refers to the glory of Josiah, while in The Wisdom of Solomon 10:14 the perpetual glory given by The Wisdom of Solomon to Joseph must be interpreted in the same way. In 2 Macc 5:16,20 glory refers to the beautification and adornment of the temple in a sense like that of tiph’arah in Isa 60:7. In Judith 15:9 "glory" is the translation of the Greek gauriama, and indicates that Judith is the pride of Israel.

(2) As Applied to God.

But the most significant use of doxa in the Apocrypha is that in which it refers to the light and splendor which are regarded as the invariable accompaniments of God. The reference may be to the historic manifestation of God in glory at Mt. Sinai, as in 2 Esdras 3:19, or to the manifestation of God in Israel, which is to be the especial characteristic of the Messianic kingdom. In 1 Esdras 5:61 songs sung to the praise of the Lord, "because his goodness and his glory are forever in all Israel," are based upon the hope that Yahweh is about to establish the Messianic kingdom among the people who have bound themselves to obey His law. In several passages in 2 Esdras the reference seems to be not to the Messianic kingdom in the historical sense, but rather to that kingdom of God which the saints are to inherit after death. This is clearly the thought in 2 Esdras 2:36 and in 7:52; also in 8:51 where the context shows clearly that the reference is to the glory of Paradise, which is the heritage of all those who are like Ezra in their devotion to Yahweh (compare also 2 Esdras 10:50).

But most frequently in the Apocrypha, in a sense which approximates that of the New Testament, the word "glory" refers to the blaze of light and splendor which is the essential expression of the holy majesty of Yahweh. The prayer of Manasseh refers to the unbearable majesty of the glory of Yahweh; while 2 Esdras 8:30, trusting in Yahweh’s glory is equivalent to trusting in Yahweh Himself; and in 16:53 the oath "before God and his glory" is simply before the Lord God Himself. The same thought is expressed in Tobit 12:15; 13:14; The Wisdom of Solomon 7:25. In the So of Three Children, verses 31,33, the glory of Yahweh refers to His self-manifestation in His heavenly kingdom, and this is undoubtedly the significance in the frequently recurring doxologies, "Thine is the glory forever."

2. In the New Testament:

(1) As Applied to Men.

In the New Testament, much the same variety of usage is to be noted as in the Old Testament and the Apocrypha, and it is not easy to trace the exact relationship and order of the various meanings. The ordinary classical use of the word in the sense of "opinion," "judgment," "view," occurs in Hellenistic Greek only in 4 Macc 5:17 (18) on the authority of Thayer.

(2) As applied to God.

Closely related to this usage is the employment of the word to ascribe honor and praise to God; see Lu 17:18, where only the stranger returned to give glory to God; or Joh 9:24, where the man who had been born blind is bidden to give glory to God; or the phrase "to the glory of God" in Ro 15:7, where the meaning is to secure the honor and praise of God among men. Similar is the use in the frequently recurring doxologies such as, "Glory to God in the highest," "to him," that is, to God, "be glory," etc.

While the foregoing meanings are frequently illustrated in the New Testament, it is undoubtedly true that the characteristic use of the word doxa in the New Testament is in the sense of brightness, brilliance, splendor; and first of all, in the literal sense, referring to the brightness of the heavenly bodies, as in 1Co 15:40 f, or to the supernatural brightness which overcame Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus (Ac 22:11).

(3) As Applied to the Saints.

But the most common use of the word is to describe the brilliance which is the characteristic of all persons who share in the heavenly glory. Moses, Elijah and Jesus Himself have this glory on the Mountain of Transfiguration (Lu 9:31 f). It was the same glory which gave the angel who came out of heaven power to lighten the earth (Re 18:1), and also which shone about the shepherds when the angel appeared unto them (Lu 2:9). Paul refers to this glory, when he speaks of the face of Moses as it appeared after God had spoken with him (2Co 3:7 f). And as in the case of Moses, so here, the source of this glory is God Himself, who is the God of glory (Ac 7:2, and frequently).

(4) As Applied to the Messianic Kingdom.

3. Its Ethical Significance:

In all these cases it has a distinctly ethical signification, for it is the term which is used to describe the essential nature, the perfection of the Deity, and is shared by others because they are made partakers of the Divine nature. So Paul refers to "the glory of the incorruptible God" (Ro 1:23; compare also Eph 1:17 f, and often). And the essential nature of Christ comes to be described in the same way. He has glory as of the only begotten of the Father (Joh 1:14); he shows His glory in the performance of miracles (Joh 2:11); and like the Father, He is the Lord of glory (1Co 2:8).

As a verb in the Old Testament the most common signification of the word "glory" is, to make one’s boast in or of anything, usually of the pious glorying in Yahweh (Yahweh), but occasionally with some other reference, as in Jer 9:23 of man glorying in his riches, might or wisdom. In all these cases it represents the Hebrew hith-hallel. In Ex 8:9 the phrase, "Have thou this glory over me," is the translation of the Hebrew hith-pa’er, and means take to thyself the honor or distinction as regards me. In 2Ki 14:10 it translates the Hebrew hik-kabhedh, "honor thyself," i.e. be satisfied with the home which you have already attained.

In the Apocryphal books it means either "glorify thyself," the middle voice of the verb doxazo, as in Sirach 3:10, where the original Hebrew has hith-kabbedh, or "to exult," "boast over," as in Judith 9:7, where it represents the Greek gauroomai; or "to boast," "take pride in," where it represents, as it does usually in the New Testament, the Greek kauchaomai (Sirach 17:9; 24:1; 38:25; 39:8; 48:4, in the second and fourth of which cases it represents the Hebrew hith-pa’er).

In the New Testament the verb is used 3 times in James, and several times in the Epistles of Paul, and everywhere is used to translate the verb kauchaomai, or, in two cases in James, the same verb is compounded with the preposition kata. In all these cases the meaning is "to take pride in," "to congratulate oneself," upon anything.

In this connection attention may be called to the use of the noun "glorying," once or twice rendered "to glory," where the meaning is either the occasion or ground of glorying, or sometimes the act of glorying. The original has kauchema or kauchesis. This usage occurs in Jas 4:16; Heb 3:6, and several times in the Epistles of Paul.


In addition to the commentaries and works on Biblical theology among which, Briggs, ICC on the Psalms, Scribner, N.Y., 1906, especially the note in I, 66, 67; and Weiss, Biblical Theology of the New Testament, English translation, T. and S. Clark, Edinburgh, 1882-83, may be mentioned especially, the chief works on the subject are von Gall, Die Herrlichkeit Gottes, Giessen, 1900; and Caspari, Die Bedeutungen der Wortsippe k-b-d im Hebraeischen, Leipzig, 1908. The discussions by G. B. Gray and J. Massie in HDB, II, are valuable, and also the brief but significant article by Zenos in the Standard Bible Dictionary, Funk and Wagnalls, N.Y., 1909.


  • J. Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (1559, 1949 ed.), I, 90-92, II, 68-70, 273;

  • W. Sanday and A. C. Headlam, Epistle to the Romans, ICC (1907 ed.), 84, 85;

  • B. F. Westcott, The Gospel according to St. John (1908), 100, 101;

  • I. Abrahams, The Glory of God (1925);

  • L. H. Brockington, “The Presence of God, a Study of the Use of the Term ‘Glory of Yahveh,’” ET, LVII (Oct. 1945), 21-25;

  • E. G. Selwyn, The First Epistle of Peter (1949), 250-258;

  • A. M. Ramsey, The Glory of God and the Transfiguration of Christ (1949);

  • W. H. Rigg, The Fourth Gospel and its Message for Today (1952), 46-80;

  • W. Hendriksen, The Gospel of John (1959 ed.), 85-89;

  • E. Brunner, The Christian Doctrine of God (1962 ed.), 285-287;

  • A. Richardson, An Introduction to the Theology of the New Testament (1962 ed.), 64-67;

  • B. Ramm, Them He Glorified TDNew Testament, II, (1964), 233-255;

  • L. H. Brockington, “Presence,” RTWB (1965 ed.), 172-176; R. H. Preston, “Transfigure, Transfiguration,” RTWB (1965 ed.), 267-269.

  • I. Abrahams, The Glory of God, 1925;

  • A. M. Ramsey, The Glory of God and the Transfiguration of Christ, 1949; G. Kittel, TDNT, 2:232-55.