The Greek word for “glory” is doxa (DOX ah). In classical times the doxa of a person meant merely the “opinion” others held of him, or his “reputation.” It was simply what a person “seemed” to be.
But the Bible gave doxa a whole new dimension of meaning. It now meant the expression of who or what someone really was. And more than that, the word began to be reserved for special application to God. His glory – his power, majesty, and splendor – was in a class by itself.
One important element of glory is often overlooked: glory is visible! In Old Testament times Moses said, “Show me your glory” (Exod 33:18), and from the cleft in the rock his face was illumined when God’s glory passed by. In New Testament times certain shepherds in the fields were terrified when “the glory of the Lord shone around them” (Luke 2:9). Likewise, the three apostles were frightened when the face of Jesus shone like the sun and “they saw his glory” (Matt 17:2; Luke 9:32). One of these apostles would later write, “We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only” (John 1:14); his partner would say they were eyewitnesses of his “majesty. . . honor and glory” on the sacred mountain (2 Pet 1:17).
Most of all, however, the glory of God will be visible to us in heaven. He who dwells in unapproachable light (1 Tim 6:16) makes unnecessary the light of the sun or the moon, “for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp” (Rev 21:23). Such is the glory – the doxa – of God. Remember this the next time you sing the Dox-ology!