A Roman Catholic friend told me that the doxology does not belong in the Lord’s Prayer because it was added later. Is that true?
“For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever. Amen.”
These words are called the doxology, which means a “word of praise or glory.” These words have sparked an incredible amount of debate throughout the history of the church. The debate arose because it is not entirely clear whether Jesus ended the Lord’s Prayer with the words we call the doxology.
The Bible records Jesus speaking the Lord’s Prayer on two different occasions (Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4). The original manuscripts that recorded Jesus’ words no longer exist. Instead, we have many copies of those manuscripts. The reality is that not all the copies agree on the wording of the Lord’s Prayer.
The copies of Luke’s gospel do not contain a doxology, while some copies of Matthew’s gospel do and others do not. As a result, it is common for Bible translations to include the doxology in Matthew’s gospel as a footnote.
So how do we address the dilemma of not knowing whether Jesus spoke the doxology? I don’t want to be flippant, but it doesn’t really matter. The words of the doxology are scriptural. King David prayed, “Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all” (1 Chronicles 29:11).
Does that sound familiar? “For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever. Amen.” Regardless of where you come down on the debate, the doxology is a fitting conclusion to this beautiful prayer.
The doxology expresses praise
In the Lord’s Prayer we receive pardon for the past, power in the present, and promise for the future. In a world where nothing seems sacred, through this prayer God keeps his name holy. In a world that strives to snuff out Jesus, he promises that not even the gates of hell will prevail against his kingdom. In a world that seems random, God’s will is done.
He provides your daily necessities. He forgives your sins and opens heaven’s gates to you. He keeps temptation away and the devil at bay. Not bad for a 30-second prayer!
In response, what could we do but praise him? In fact, one theory about how the doxology became part of the prayer is that some copyist was copying this prayer and was so overcome by its magnitude that he just had to burst out in praise!
The doxology expresses confidence
Imagine for a moment that you were the one who controlled the kingdom, every power in heaven and earth was yours, and you received the glory of all. Would you use it all for others? Neither would I. We are sinful.
God does have all of that. What does he do with it? He uses it all for you. He is not out to help himself. His only concern is to help you. The greatest way the One with the kingdom, the power, and the glory did that was the day he lay down on wooden beams. The soldier held the nail over Jesus’ body. Don’t miss this next part. Jesus did not resist. Jesus gave you everything you ask in this prayer by hanging there for you.
Now we can say, “Amen! Yes, it shall be so.” Because of Jesus, “Amen” is not a question mark but an exclamation point. It is not “Will you, Lord?” but a “You will, Lord!”
Have a question, ask it here!
It’s always dangerous calling something a favorite, as some might like one thing and others another. However, when it comes to the doxologies of Scripture, one cannot go wrong!
Doxologies of truth and comfort
There are a myriad of doxologies within the pages of Scripture, both in the Old and New Testaments. When reading the Bible, it is easy to gloss over the doxologies without really thinking through the variety of truths and comforts they contain. They are all the same in the sense of the praise they contain, but they are different in the pictures used and the comforts given.
Below are some favorite doxologies from the New Testament. For each, list the most significant truth or comfort for your faith and explain why.
- Romans 11:33-36
- 1 Timothy 6:15,16
- Jude 24,25
- Revelation 1:5,6
- Revelation 5:12,13
A doxology of Easter confidence
Sermons will often focus on the love of God in sending Jesus to live as our substitute and die for our sins on the cross. What a wonderful thing to focus on! Yet, we do not worship a dead Savior, but a living One. So often, when the apostles preach and teach about Jesus in the Bible, they focus on the truth of Jesus’ resurrection and what it means for us. As we celebrate Easter this month, it is fitting to consider a doxology of Easter confidence.
Read Hebrews 13:20,21.
Describe how Easter and this doxology provide confidence for the following examples:
- When we doubt that God is pleased with us.
- When we are struggling to make a decision.
- When we feel overwhelmed by everything that needs to get done.
- When we feel inadequate.
A doxology for more than you can imagine
My personal favorite doxology is Ephesians 3:20,21. In the verses leading up to these beautiful words of praise, the apostle Paul shares his prayer for the Ephesian congregation. He prays that God would strengthen them to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. It’s a doxology for more than you can imagine.
We live in a three-dimensional world, but God’s love for us is four dimensional. It’s out of this world! Christ’s love is so wide that it encompasses every person. It’s so long that you could never outrun it. It’s so high that Christ came from heaven. It’s so deep that Christ was willing to suffer the torments of hell on the cross to save you.
Read Ephesians 3:20,21.
Share a time when God gave you more than you could ask for or imagine.
Author: David Scharf
Volume 110, Number 4
Issue: April 2023
- Q&A: Why is Pontius Pilate immortalized in our creeds?
- Q&A: How does remembering my baptism help with the guilt I carry?
- Q&A: Do parts of the Bible teach works righteousness?
- Q&A: How can I overcome my struggle with lust and pornography?
- Q&A: How should I help my child struggling with same-sex attraction?
- Q&A: Should Christians pray to saints?
- Q&A: Is anger sinful?
- Q&A: How can parents encourage adult children who wander from the faith?
- Q&A: Does the doxology belong in the Lord’s Prayer?
- Q&A: Is God fair?
- Q&A: When we pray, “Your kingdom come,” what are we praying for?
- Q&A: How can I better manage what God has given me this year so that I glorify him?
- Q&A: What are ways to glorify God besides singing in church?
- Q&A: I have no special gifts, and I mess up all the time. Does God really need me?
- Q&A: How do I overcome the feeling that my life has no purpose and I don’t make a difference?
- Q&A: My friend died and was not a professing Christian. What do I say to the family?
- Q&A: How can my mother and I forgive my father for being unfaithful and causing my parents to divorce?
- Q&A: Why were demon possession, gifts of healing, and gifts of tongues more prevalent in biblical times?
- Q&A: Is Christianity the only religion that gives the certainty of heaven?
- Q&A: If people go to hell, isn’t it their fault because God gave them free will and they rejected him?
- Q&A: Why are the 40 days between Jesus’ resurrection and his ascension important for the disciples and for us?
- Q&A: Can you explain Jesus’ words to the wailing women he met on his way to be crucified?
- Q&A: What if spouses don’t “love” each other anymore?
- Q&A: Is it wrong to have a cross with Jesus’ body on it?
- Q&A: Is our time of grace really unchangeable?
- Q&A: I know that we are saved by grace apart from works, but how can it be that easy?
- Q&A: Are there degrees of glory in heaven as a reward for good works?
- Q&A: Do Lutherans take the Bible literally and teach millennialism?
- Q&A: Are there different interpretations of the Bible?
- Q&A: How can we be sure the Bible includes what God originally gave us?
- Q&A: Why does it seem like Christianity is so negative?
- Q&A: How can I explain how Jesus’ resurrection is possible and if the Bible is reliable?
- Q&A: Is it okay to live together if we are planning to get married?
- Q&A: How is the Bible God’s Word?
- Q&A: Were we “created to make a difference”?
- Q&A: Am I being judgmental if I point out someone’s sin?
- Q&A: Do I need to read the Bible to have a relationship with God?
- Q&A: Can a Christian vote for a political candidate who supports abortion?
- Q&A: Does God really care?
- Q&A: Does it really matter how God made the world?
- Q&A: Does God send people to hell?
- Q&A: Is death natural?
- Q&A: How can I forgive and forget?
- Q&A: Does God help those who help themselves?
- Q&A: How can we say that the Old Testament God is the same as the New Testament God?
- Q&A: Is Jesus the only way to get to heaven?
- Q&A: Doesn’t God want me to be happy?
- Light for our path: Does God hate us?
- Light for our path: What kind of comfort can you give someone when a loved one commits suicide?
- Light for our path: What does a submissive wife in a Christian marriage look like?
- Light for our path: Is it a sin to want to die from a terminal illness?
- Light for our path: What advice can you give about applauding in church?
- Light for our path: Can you please explain Matthew 5:20?
- Light for our path: What is karma?
- Light for our path: Can the devil personally be tempting me and a lot of other people at exactly the same time?
- Light for our path: Does the word Easter refer to Ishtar, the Babylonian fertility goddess?
- Light for our path: What role does emotion play in contrition?
- Light for our path: What does the white stone in Revelation 2:17 mean?
- Light for our path: Is the cross symbol now anti-Christian?
- Light for our path: Were Joseph and Mary engaged or married when Joseph learned of Mary’s pregnancy?