Doxology is a word that comes from 2 essential words: glory and conversation. Placed together, doxology is a conversation, a talk that has God and His glory as its subject. The apostle Paul offers a stout example in Romans 11. He writes,
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:33-36)
We can clearly see that the source and target of Paul’s doxology is his knowledge and awareness of 1) who God is and 2) God’s supremacy in everything. Further, to truly appreciate doxology, there are 3 basic points that we all need to grasp.
First, doxology should be personal. As the psalmists so often say in one form or another, “I will praise the Lord” (e.g., Pslams 138:1; 145:1). The psalmists don’t encourage others to participate in something that they themselves don’t practice. On the contrary, doxology must first and foremost be personal. We cannot expect our parents, mentors, or even our worship leaders to praise God for us. Why not? Because doxology should be personal.
Next, doxology should be public. There is undoubtedly a time for private doxology in pith song and prayer. Nevertheless, there is something wrong with someone who refuses to publicly compliment the Person who is their love interest. So the poet encourages others in his hearing to participate in what he himself practices: “Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God” (Psalm 147:1). This leads us to our 3rd and final point.
Lastly, doxology should be persuasive. If our doxology is intensely personal, and if our doxology is graciously public, then our doxology should finally be persuasive. Our “talk of God and glory” should be persuasive, leading others to join in the verbal and musical celebration of who God is and what He has done and promised to do. Who wouldn’t want to be a happy participant in that?!