The word "doxology" literally means a study of praise. However, dictionaries usually define the term as expressions of praise to God, often associated with a hymn sung during Christian worship.
What is a doxology, and is it found in the Bible?
Throughout history, certain songs have been specifically labeled as doxologies by the church. The Catholic Church has primarily used the Gloria Patri or "Great Doxology." There is also a "Lesser Doxology" whose lyrics include, "Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen."
The traditional doxology used in Protestant churches was written in 1674 in England:
Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow
Praise Him, all creatures here below
Praise Him above, ye Heavenly Host
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Certain passages in Scripture are often considered short hymns or doxologies. For example, Ephesians 1:3 says, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places." Romans 11:36 says, "For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen." Ephesians 5:14 says, "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."
First Timothy 3:16 is another well-known doxology that praises Jesus Christ:
He was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated by the Spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory.
The Psalms contain several passages that the church has transformed into doxologies. Jesus and His followers likely sang one of the Psalms as a hymn on the night of the Last Supper (Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:26).
In 1 Corinthians 14:26 we are told that the church regularly shared hymns as part of their worship gatherings. Ephesians 5:19-20 also says we should be "addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with [our] heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Doxology has been an important part of the church since its beginning, a practice continued throughout history, and of valuable importance today.
How can I worship the Lord in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24)? What is true worship?
What does holy, holy, holy mean in reference to God?
Why does God demand our worship?
What is the Trinity?
Can we use musical instruments in church?
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