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OPINION

A Quick, Compelling Bible Study Vol. 137 – What the New Testament Says About Glorifying God

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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Myra Kahn Adams

Author's Note: Readers can find all previous volumes of this series here. The first 56 volumes are compiled into the book "Bible Study For Those Who Don't Read The Bible."  Part Two, featuring volumes 57-113, will be published later this year.

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Thanks for joining us to learn what the New Testament says about glorifying God. Last week in Vol. 136, we covered this topic from the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible perspective. And to refresh, here are two verses from a prayer/psalm attributed to King David that succinctly summarizes the Old Testament’s teaching:

“There is no one like You among the gods, O Lord, Nor are there any works like Yours. All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, And they shall glorify Your name. For You are great and do wondrous deeds; You alone are God” (Psalm 86:8-10).

Last week we also discussed how “God’s glory” was in the news after NASA released the “Pillars of Creation.” (A fine example of your tax dollars at work in the heavenly realm.)

Today our New Testament study begins with acknowledging that the glory of God “became flesh” in the illustrious opening verses of John’s gospel:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning” (John 1:1-2). “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John:1-14).

Theoretically, this Bible study could end here since one could argue that John’s opening passages and Psalm 86’s verses perfectly explain God’s glory and His glory in Jesus Christ. But keep reading for more inspiration.

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Last week’s study concluded with a preview of two New Testament verses illustrating how you can glorify God by believing in Christ:  

“Christ in you the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). And:

“In order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:11).

Now we ask: “What does it mean to glorify God?” While researching this study on Cripplegate, I found a commentary with that title question authored by a missionary named Jordan Standridge, who wrote: 

“We also give glory to Christ by believing that He is truly God and truly man. That He lived a perfect life, died on the cross, and rose from the dead.” And “The Gospel is the only truth that gives God full glory. So that one day each sinner standing in Heaven will be there based solely on the grace of God through faith in Christ alone.”

All of the above serves as a prelude to the following verses. First, from Matthew’s gospel, when Jesus (as a motivational speaker) instructs his disciples how and why they can and should glorify God:

"‘You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven’” (Matthew 5:14-16).

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Lesson: When you glorify God through good works, your light will shine, reflecting the previously mentioned verse from St. Paul: “Christ in you the hope of glory.” 

Then in Matthew’s “grand finale,” Jesus famously teaches how we are to glorify God in what is known as “The Great Commission”: 

“‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age’” (Matthew 28:18-20). (See Vol. 12 for why the “Great Commission” is so “great.”)

Moving to John’s gospel, not long before Jesus’s arrest and subsequent death on the cross, Jesus prayed to the Father about how He glorified God in the flesh with authority “over all flesh.” Jesus’s prayer is breathtakingly brilliant and called “The High Priestly Prayer”: 

"‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed’” (John 17:1-5).

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Here we learn that the glory of God and Jesus were intertwined “before the world existed.” So then, by His death, Jesus will again glorify God, and those who believe in Him will have eternal life. Moreover, Jesus confirms a theological truth previously mentioned in John’s gospel: “He was with God in the beginning.”

Altogether the three previous gospel verses provide foundational truths echoed in numerous New Testament passages about how to glorify God. For example, what Jesus did for you on the cross, is justified with some advice for healthy living:

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). And:

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). 

Scripture has too many glorious Godly verses, and I don’t have enough space. However, just enough to conclude with a passage that speaks with intense passion and visionary truth sent from God to the hand of John, who, while in exile, wrote Revelation from a cave in Patmos, Greece. (And you can visit this cave as I did in April):

“In a loud voice they were saying: ‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!’ Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!’” (Revelation 5:12-13). Amen to that!

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Myra Kahn Adams is a conservative political and religious writer with numerous national credits. Her book, "Bible Study For Those Who Don't Read The Bible,” reprints the first 56 volumes of this popular study. Myra is also Executive Director of SignFromGod.org, a ministry dedicated to education about the Shroud of Turin. Contact: MyraAdams01@gmail.com  or Twitter @MyraKAdams.

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