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Q&A: Does the doxology belong in the Lord’s Prayer?

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!”

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Q&A Bible study open bible 2023 Dave Scharf

Favorite doxologies

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

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This entry is part 4 of 67 in the series question-answer

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