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Holman Bible Dictionary

Glory

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The weighty importance and shining majesty which accompany God's presence. The basic meaning of the Hebrew word kabod is heavy in weight. (Compare 1 Samuel 4:18; Proverbs 27:3 .) Thus it can refer to a heavy burden (Exodus 18:18; Psalm 38:4; compare more idiomatic uses in Genesis 12:10; Genesis 47:4; Exodus 4:10; Exodus 7:14 ). On the other side, it can describe extreme good fortune or mass numbers, a use with many different English translations (compare Genesis 13:2; Exodus 12:38; Numbers 20:20; 1 Kings 10:2 ).

The verb thus often comes to mean, “give weight to, honor” (Exodus 20:12; 1 Samuel 15:30; Psalm 15:4; Proverbs 4:8; Isaiah 3:5 ). Such honor which people give to one another is a recognition of the place of the honored person in the human community. A nation can have such honor or glory (Isaiah 16:14; Isaiah 17:3 ). This is not so much something someone bestows on another as a quality of importance which a person, group, or nation has and which another recognizes. “To give glory” is to praise, to recognize the importance of another, the weight the other carries in the community. In the Psalms people give such glory to God, that is they recognize the essential nature of His Godness that gives Him importance and weight in relationship to the human worshiping community. (Compare Psalm 22:23; Psalm 86:12; Isaiah 24:15 .) Human praise to God can be false, not truly recognizing His importance (Isaiah 29:13; compare 1 Samuel 2:30 ). At times God creates glory for Himself (Exodus 14:4 , Exodus 14:17; Ezekiel 28:22 ). As one confesses guilt and accepts rightful punishment, one is called upon to recognize the righteousness and justice of God and give Him glory (Joshua 7:19; 1 Samuel 6:5 ). God thus reveals His glory in His just dealings with humans. He also reveals it in the storms and events of nature (Psalm 29:1; compare Isaiah 6:1 ). Glory is thus that side of God which humans recognize and to which humans respond in confession, worship, and praise. (Compare Isaiah 58:8; Isaiah 60:1 .) Still, for the Old Testament, the greatest revelation of divine glory came on Sinai (Deuteronomy 5:24 ). Yet such experiences are awesome and fearful (Deuteronomy 5:25 ). Such revelation does not, however, reveal all of God, for no person can see the entirety of the divine glory, not even Moses (Exodus 33:17-23 ).

The New Testament uses doxa to express glory and limits the meaning to God's glory. In classical Greek doxa means opinion, conjecture, expectation, and then praise. New Testament carries forward the Old Testament meaning of divine power and majesty ( Acts 7:2; Ephesians 1:17; 2 Peter 1:17 ). The New Testament extends this to Christ as having divine glory (Luke 9:32; John 1:14; 1 Corinthians 2:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:14 ).

Divine glory means that humans do not seek glory for themselves (Matthew 6:2; John 5:44; 1 Thessalonians 2:6 ). They only look to receive praise and honor from Christ (Romans 2:7; Romans 5:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; Philippians 2:16 ).


Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Glory'. Holman Bible Dictionary. http://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hbd/view.cgi?n=2322. 1991.

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