Doxology

Cover, A Christian Guide to Spirituality

“For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” (Matt 6:13 KJV)

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Newer translations of the Bible exclude the doxology: “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen” [1]. Why?

Jesus gave the disciples the Lord’s Prayer to teach them how to pray, not as an obligatory prayer. Three times Jesus repeats the phrase: “when you pray” (Matt 6:5-7). Then, he simply said: “Pray then like this” (Matt 6:9). Jesus offers a pattern for prayer which can be adjusted as needed. The early church loved this prayer and took this advice seriously. The most common addition was to add a doxology and the word, amen, which means so be it. Consequently, this addition does not appear in the earliest manuscripts even though churches continue to use it today.

When the reformers began examining the original Greek texts in the fifteenth century, Saint Jerome’s Latin translation of the Bible had been used almost exclusively for a thousand years. The Greek New Testament manuscripts immediately available in local libraries were assembled and translated in English, German, French, and other European languages. Much later, however, when scholars began to compare the thousands of Greek manuscripts available throughout the world’s churches and libraries, they became aware that not all manuscripts were equally ancient. Recent Bible translations focus on the more ancient manuscripts [2].

The older manuscripts exclude the doxology and amen. This is why translations of the Bible made before that discovery include the doxology and amen, while newer translations do not. Hugenberger (1999, 55) observes that the doxology abbreviates a longer doxology found in 1 Chronicles 29:11-13.

Doxology is taken from the Greek word, doxa, which means: “the condition of being bright or shining, brightness, splendor, radiance” [3]. Amen is a Hebrew word attributed to Jesus himself that means truly. When Jesus says: “truly, truly I say to you” (John 1:51), the Greek text reads—amen, amen—which the Greek transliterates from the Hebrew.

Personal prayer is a Christian distinctive. Jesus taught us how to pray, not exactly what to pray. He wants us to come to him as a community of faith, but he also wants us to approach him as individuals. Personal prayer is a Christian distinctive.

[1] .”For example, the English Standard Version and the New International Version do not include the doxology.

[2] Metzger and Ehrman (2005) review the New Testament textual history in great detail.

[3]  (BDAG 2077, 1). For example: “And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory (δόξα) of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.” (Luke 2:9).

References

Bauer, Walter (BDAG). 2000. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. 3rd ed. Ed. Frederick W. Danker. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. <BibleWorks. v.9.>.

Hugenberger, Gordon P. 1994. Marriage as a Covenant: Biblical Law and Ethics as Developed from Malachi. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

Metzger, Bruce M. and Bart D. Ehrman. 2005. The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration. New York: Oxford University Press.

Also see:

Preface to A Christian Guide to Spirituality

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Purchase Book: http://www.T2Pneuma.com

   

You may also like

1 Comment

  1. Hi Stephen!
    The Doxology is one of my very favorite traditions in our Christian theology. Thank you for more insight and history – very interesting. Happy Advent to you and your family.

Leave a Reply