Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words

gary and chelsea

Gary Pollard

I occasionally hear the statement, “It sounded like something biblical.” It’s usually said after coming across archaic English, but that’s a topic for later. There are quite a few words even in modern translations that we don’t use outside of a worship setting. 

This is partially because the bible wasn’t written in English. Attempting to convey meaning from dead languages to modern, evolving languages is a daunting task. Some translators choose to use obsolete or traditional words for various reasons. Most bible versions include a section in the preface that explains the translator’s reasoning. 

We’re going to look at some of these words a little closer. Today’s word is “glory” (as used in the New Testament). We’re familiar with the word, but its meaning in some contexts in scripture is not what we’re used to. Glory (δόξα) can be understood in some of the following ways (BDAG used as a reference and this list is far from exhaustive): 

  1. Paul used it to describe variations in the brightness of stars (I Cor. 15.40ff). 
  2. It is used to describe otherworldly experiences or beings, especially if they are bright or very powerful (examples in Luke 2.9, John 2.11, Rev. 15.8, 21.23).  
  3. A faithful Christian’s experience in the next life is superior to how it is now. Our new bodies will be awesome (I Cor. 15.43, Phil. 3.21). 
  4. A faithful Christian will get recognition and celebration for making it (II Cor. 4.17, I Pet. 1.7).

Glory can mean a lot of things, and looking at context can be helpful in figuring out what that’s supposed to be. It’s easy to pass right by the word when we’re reading, but stopping to explore its meaning is extremely beneficial! For more information on “glory” in the New Testament check out BDAG, TDNT, or Google. Since the next several articles in this blog will be informal word studies, feel free to reach out with any requests! 

One thought on “Glory

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