The Doxology

Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him all creatures here below;
Praise him above you heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Doxology

When we sang the doxology (above) in church last Sunday, I was asked where the words come from, and I realised I had no idea, so I have done a little research.

A doxology is a short hymn of praise to God (from the Greek word ‘doxa’, meaning ‘glory’).  There are several fine examples in the Bible, such as Romans 11:33-36, 1 Timothy 1:17, 6:15b-16, Jude 24-25, Revelation 1:5b-6.

What is often called ‘the doxology’ (although there are plenty of others) was originally composed by an English man called Thomas Ken, who later became chaplain to King Charles II and then Bishop of Bath and Wells.  Before that, he had been a scholar of Winchester College, and he wrote what we know as the doxology in 1674 as the final verse of two hymns which he composed for the boys of the college.  He urged them to “be sure to sing the Morning and Evening Hymn in your chamber devoutly.”

He later added a third ‘Midnight Hymn’, so there were now three hymns having the doxology as their final verse.  The opening lines of the hymns are still recognisable today: “Awake, My Soul, and with the Sun,” “All Praise to Thee, My God, This Night,” and “My God, I Now from Sleep Awake”.  The finalised form of the doxology as we know it was published in 1709, although there have been numerous variations since then.  Today this doxology is sung by countless Christians around the world and in numerous languages, and often when the offerings of the people have been collected.

All these doxologies are an invitation to join in praising and giving glory to God.  So, why not stop for a moment and sing the doxology yourself, or look up and pray one of the biblical doxologies listed above?

To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honour and glory and power, for ever and ever!  (Revelation 5:13b)

Yours warmly, in Christ,

Chris Hobbs (Senior Minister)