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English: Scroll of the Psalms

Part of our chief purpose is to glorify God; but do we do that?

How do we determine what things glorify God?

If we look inward for the answers or if we rely on someone else, we cannot be confident that our answer will be correct. If we try to be as good a person as we can be; will that glorify God? Will philanthropy or self-sacrifice or asceticism please God? Will winning an Olympic gold medal or a Super Bowl or a Nobel prize—particularly if we tell everyone that we are doing it for God—will that glorify Him? Is quietly raising nice children a God-honoring goal? And what do we do about our nagging conscience and our frequent failures? Is it even possible to glorify God after we have done the things we have done?

Like golf, where the goal is to drop the ball into a tiny 4.25-inch hole surrounded by a vast planet, this question has one right answer and a nearly infinite variety of wrong answers. For that reason—and because the answer is God’s to decide—we must get the answer from Him. You won’t be able to hear God in an audible voice; but you can read His answer because He wrote it down for you.

Yes, God has revealed how we may glorify Him—in the Scriptures.

What are the Scriptures and What Makes Them So Special?

By “the Scriptures”, we mean the Bible, the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament. These books are different from all others in that these are God-breathed, or inspired. God supernaturally guided each of the writers so that the very words they penned are exactly the words God desired to use to convey His thoughts to us.

The Scriptures are clear. What we must understand about God and ourselves is sufficiently clear in Scripture that common intelligence is all that is needed to understand them. Consider these verses which children easily understand.

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)

“There is none righteous, no, not one”, “all have sinned” (Romans 3:10,23).

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105).

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (Psalm 23)

The Scriptures teach us about salvation. They tell us about the source of our sin and misery and its remedy in Christ.

“Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee…In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground.” (Genesis 3:17-19).

“…by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin” Romans 5:12).

“The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

“Jesus said… ‘No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” (John 14:6)

The Scriptures are filled with such surpassing wisdom that the wisest will never plumb their depths.

“Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD (Psalm 36:6).

“O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies. (Psalm 119:97-98)

“A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels” (Proverbs 1:5).

“As also in all [Paul’s] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. (2 Peter 3:16)

So then, what beliefs and what behaviors glorify God?

That’s a huge question (or two questions, really). Those two questions are exactly what we will look at in the rest of this Theology 101 series of posts.

Let’s begin with the end in mind. The fundamental idea is this: if you would learn how to glorify God, and if you would enjoy Him both now and hereafter, know his word. Read it daily. Believe it earnestly. Ponder it constantly. Live it diligently.

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only…” (James 1:22).