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It is not proposed to embrace in this article all the words which our English versions render by ‘glory’; it is confined to the most important of these-δόξα.

As applied to men and things, δόξα has two principal meanings: (1) honour, praise, good repute (2 Corinthians 6:8, 1 Thessalonians 2:6); (2) that which by exciting admiration brings honour or renown; a natural perfection (1 Peter 1:24 : ‘the glory of flesh’; 1 Corinthians 15:40-41 : ‘glory of the celestial … the terrestrial,’ etc.; 1 Corinthians 11:15 : ‘l long hair is a glory to a woman’); or a circumstance which reflects glory upon one (1 Thessalonians 2:20 : St. Paul’s converts are a ‘glory’ to him; Ephesians 3:13 : St. Paul’s sufferings are a ‘glory’ to his converts; 2 Corinthians 8:23 : worthy Christians are the ‘glory’ of Christ; Revelation 21:24-25 : the kings of the earth and the nations bring their ‘glory’ into the New Jerusalem. Cf. Haggai 2:7-9).

Minor significations are (a) that which is falsely regarded as bringing honour to oneself (Philippians 3:19), and (b) persons endued with glory (Judges 1:8, 2 Peter 2:10 = ‘dignities’ in both Authorized Version and Revised Version , the reference probably being to angelic powers).

In the numerous and important passages where the idea of ‘glory’ is associated with God and the heavenly world, with Christ, Christians, and the Christian life here and hereafter, we find the same two principal meanings. There is the glory which belongs to the Divine Being in itself, in which God manifests Himself to His creatures, so far as such manifestation is possible, and the glory which He receives back from His creatures; the outshining (Erscheinungsform) of the Divine nature, and the reflexion of that outshining in the trust, adoration, and thanksgiving of men and angels, as also in the silent testimony of His works, find especially by the results of the Divine redemption in the character and destiny of the redeemed.


1. The glory which is native to the Being of God.-To the modern mind the chief difficulty of this conception, as presented in the NT, is due to that fusion in it of the physical, the rational, and the ethical, which is characteristic of biblical psychology throughout. In biblical thought these elements are conceived not abstractly, as if constituting separate spheres of being, but as they are given in experience, as inter-dependent and integral to the unity of life. Thus, whatever ethical content comes to be associated with the Glory of God, the basis of the conception is physical-the splendour which is Inseparable from the Divine Presence in the celestial world. In the OT, when Jahweh lifts the veil that hides Him from mortal eyes, the medium of theophany is always Light, a supra-mundane but actually visible radiance (which is localized and assumes a definite uniformity in the Shekinah-glory).

For later Judaistic developments, see Weber’s Jüdische Theologie, pp. 162ff., 275ff. In apocalyptic the ‘glory’ is definitely associated with the sovereignty of God in the heavenly world (1 En. xxv. 3), and is especially connected with the Divine Throne (ib. ix. 4, xiv. 20). In the Ascension of Isaiah (x. 16, xi. 32) it is equivalent to the Person of God; God is ἠ μεγάλη δόξα. δόξα in this sense of ‘radiance’ is unknown to ordinary Greek literature. Deissmann’s suggestion, that this may have been an ancient meaning which survived in the vernacular and so passed into the dialect of the Septuagint , seems more probable than Reitzenstein’s, who, on the ground of certain magical papyri, claims for it an origin in Egyptian-Hellenistic mysticism.

In the NT the same idea lies behind the use of the concept δόξα. Wherever the celestial world is projected into the terrestrial, it is in a radiance of supernatural light (Matthew 17:5, Acts 26:13, Matthew 28:3, Acts 12:7, etc.); and this is ultimately the radiance that emanates from the presence of God, who dwells in ‘light unapproachable’ (1 Timothy 6:16). To this the term δόξα is frequently applied-at Bethlehem (Luke 2:9), and at the Transfiguration (2 Peter 1:17); the ‘glory’ of God is the light of the New Jerusalem; Stephen looking up saw the ‘glory of God’ (Acts 7:55); and the redeemed are at last presented faultless before the presence of His glory (Judges 1:24; Jude cf.1 En. xxxix. 12).

With St. Paul the conception is less pictorial; the rational and ethical elements implicit in it come clearly into view. With him also the δόξα is fundamentally associated with the idea of celestial splendour, to which, indeed, his vision of the glorified Christ gave a new and vivid reality; but the idea of revelation, of the Glory as God’s self-manifestation, becomes prominent. St. Paul’s thought does not rest in the symbol, but passes to the reality which it signifies-the transcendent majesty and sovereignty that belong to God as God; and for St. Paul the most sovereign thing in God, divinest in the Divine, is the sacrificial sin-bearing love revealed in the Cross. God’s glory is displayed in His mercy (Romans 9:23), in the ‘grace which he freely bestowed upon us in the Beloved’ (Ephesians 1:6); its perfect living reflexion is in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6). Yet it is the glory, not of an ethical ideal, but of the Living God, God upon the Throne, self-existent, supreme over all being. It is especially associated with the Divine κράτος (Colossians 1:11, Ephesians 3:16) and πλοῦτος (Romans 9:23, Philippians 4:19, Ephesians 3:16) by which the Apostle expresses the irresistible sovereign power and the inexhaustible fullness of God in His heavenly dominion. Believers are ‘strengthened with all power, according to the κρἁτος of his glory,’ i.e. in a measure corresponding with the illimitable spiritual power signified by the glory which manifests the Divine King in His supra-mundane Kingdom. Every need of believers is supplied ‘according to his riches in glory, in Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 4:19), i.e. according to the boundless resources which belong to God as Sovereign of the spiritual universe, and are made available through Christ as Mediator. Christ is raised from the dead through ‘the glory of the Father’ (Romans 6:4). The precise sense of this expression has not yet been elucidated (in Pss.-Sol. 11:9 there is what seems to be a parallel to it: ἀναστήσαι Κύριος τὸν Ἰσραὴλ ἑν ὀνόματι τῆς δόξης αὐτον), but it would seem that the ‘glory of the Father’ is practically equivalent to the κράτος, the sovereign act of Him who is the ‘Father of glory’ (Ephesians 1:17). To formulate is hazardous; but perhaps we may say that for St. Paul the δόξα is the self-revelation of the transcendent God, given through Christ, here to faith, in the heavenly world to that more direct mode of perception which we try to express by saying that faith is changed to sight.

2. The Divine glory as communicated.-(a) As originally given to man, it has been lost (Romans 3:23).

According to Rabbinic doctrine, when Adam was created in the image of God, a ray (זַיו) of the Divine glory shone upon his countenance, but among the six things lost by the Fall was the זַיו, which went back to heaven (Weber, Jüdische Theologie, p. 222). At Sinai the זַיו was restored to the children of Israel, but was immediately lost again by their unfaithfulness (ib. p. 275). There can be little doubt that this pictorial rendering or spiritual truth lies behind the Apostle’s peculiar mode of expressing the fact of man’s universal failure to represent the Divine ideal (see Sanday-Headlam in loc.). The same allusion may possibly serve to explain the obscure passage, 1 Corinthians 11:7.

(b) But the departed glory is more than restored in Christ, the second Adam, to whom as the Image of God it belongs (2 Corinthians 4:4), who is the Lord of Glory (1 Corinthians 2:8), and in whose face it shines forth in the darkened hearts of men, as at the Creation light first shone upon the face of the earth (2 Corinthians 4:6). Here the conception is emphatically ethical; it is above all the glory of Divine character that shines from the face of Christ and in the hearts of believers. Yet here again the glory is not that of an ethical ideal merely; it is the full, indivisible glory of the Living God of which Christ is the effulgence (ἀπαύγασμα [Hebrews 1:3]).

(c) By Christ as Mediator the Divine glory is communicated, not only to believers, but to every agency by which He acts: the Spirit (1 Peter 4:14, Ephesians 3:16), the gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4, 1 Timothy 1:11), the ‘mystery’-God’s long-hidden secret, now revealed, the eternal salvation of men by Christ (Colossians 1:27). The whole Christian dispensation is characterized by ‘glory’ (2 Corinthians 3:7-18). As the inferior and temporary nature of the old dispensation is typified in the veiled and fading splendour of Moses, its mediator, the perfection and permanence of the new are witnessed in the unveiled and eternal glory of Christ, which is reflected partly here, more fully hereafter, on His people (a merely figurative interpretation is excluded by the very terms εἰκών and δόξα). Their transfiguration is in process-already the ‘Spirit of glory and the Spirit of God’ rests upon them (1 Peter 4:14); at His appearing it will be consummated (Philippians 3:21, John 3:3).

(d) In the majority of cases in which ‘glory’ is predicated of Christ, of Christians, and of the environment of their life, the sense is distinctly eschatological. The sufferings of Christ are contrasted with their after-glories (1 Peter 1:11; 1 Peter 1:21); also those of believers (1 Peter 4:13, 2 Thessalonians 2:14, Philippians 3:21). As already in Jewish eschatology, δόξα is a technical term for the state of final salvation, the Heavenly Messianic Kingdom in which Christ now lives and which is to be brought to men by His Parousia. This is the ‘coming glory’ (Romans 8:18), ‘about to be revealed’ (1 Peter 5:1), the ‘inheritance of God in his saints’ (Ephesians 1:18) unto which they are prepared beforehand (Romans 9:23), called (1 Peter 5:10), led by Christ (Hebrews 2:10); it is their unwithering crown (1 Peter 5:11), the manifestation of their true nature (Colossians 3:4), their emancipation from all evil limitations (Romans 8:21); in the hope of it they rejoice (Romans 5:2); for it they are made meet by the indwelling of Christ (Colossians 1:27) and by the discipline of the present (2 Corinthians 4:17).

II.-The second chief sense in which ‘glory’ is predicated of God or Christ is that which may be termed ascriptional in contrast with essential. Passing over the strictly doxological passages, we note that ‘glory’ is given to God (or to Christ) (a) by the character or conduct of men: by the strength of their trust (Romans 4:20), in eating, drinking, and all that they do (1 Corinthians 10:31), by thanksgiving (2 Corinthians 4:15), brotherly charity (2 Corinthians 8:19), the fruits of righteousness (Philippians 1:11), repentance and confession of sin (Revelation 16:9); (b) by the results of God’s own saving work, the Exaltation of Christ (Philippians 2:11), the faithful fulfilment of His promises in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20), the reception of both Jews and Gentiles into the Church (Romans 15:7), the predestination of believers to the adoption of children (Ephesians 1:6), the whole accomplishment of that predestination, by faith, the sealing of the Spirit, and final redemption (Ephesians 1:14), by the marriage of the Lamb, the final and eternal union of Christ with the redeemed, sanctified, and glorified Church. (Revelation 19:7).

Literature.-There is, so far us known to the present writer, no satisfactory monograph on the subject, either in English or in German. W. Caspari, Die Bedeutungen der Wortsippe כבד im Hebräischen, Leipzig, 1908, is not without value for the student of the NT. H. A. A. Kennedy, St. Paul’s Conception of the Last Things, London, 1904; P. Volz, Jüdische Eschatologie, Tübingen, 1903; F. Weber, Jüdische Theologie2. Leipzig, 1897; B. Weiss, Bibl. Theol. of NT, Eng. translation 3, Edinburgh, 1882-83, i. 396, ii. 187; O. Pfleiderer, Paulinism, Eng. translation , London, 1877, i. 135. Commentaries: Sanday-Headlam (51902), and Godet (1886-87) on Romans; Erich Haupt, Die Gefangenschaftsbriefe7, in Meyer’s Krit.-Exeget. Kommentar, 1902; J. B. Mayor On James (31910), Jude, and Second Peter (1907); articles ‘Glory’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) .

Robert Law.

Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Glory'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament.​dictionaries/​eng/​hdn/​g/glory.html. 1906-1918.