A brief formula for expressing praise or glory to God. Doxologies generally contain two elements, an ascription of praise to God (usually referred to in third person) and an expression of His infinite nature. The term “doxology” (“word of glory”) itself is not found in the Bible, but both the Old and New Testaments contain many doxological passages using this formula.
Biblical doxologies are found in many contexts, but one of their chief functions seems to have been as a conclusion to songs (Exodus 15:18), psalms (Psalms 146:10), and prayers (Matthew 6:13), where they possibly served as group responses to solo singing or recitation. Doxologies conclude four of the five divisions of the Psalter (Psalms 41:13;
Psalms 106:48), with
Psalms 150:1 serving as a sort of doxology to the entire collection. Doxologies also occur at or near the end of several New Testament books (Romans 16:27;
1 Timothy 6:16;
2 Timothy 4:18;
1 Peter 5:11;
2 Peter 3:18;
Jude 1:25) and figure prominently in the Revelation (Revelation 1:6;
Doxologies continued to be written and sung in the Christian church after the close of the New Testament period. Post-biblical doxologies, in reaction against the Arians and other heretical groups, tended to emphasize the doctrine of the Trinity. The doxologies which have been and still are used most commonly in the Christian church are the Gloria in excelsis Deo (“Glory to God in the highest,” an expansion of
Luke 2:14 which is often called the “Greater Doxology”), the Gloria Patri (“Glory be to the Father,” the “Lesser Doxology”), and Thomas Ken's “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow” (familiarly known simply as “The Doxology”).
David W. Music