Bible Study – December 2022

Finish Strong!

2022 – A Doxology

In just about every area of our life – finishing strong, and finishing well, are important goals. As we approach the end of the year, let us begin with some words from Paul’s letter to the Philippians:

Read Philippians 3:12–16

What is a doxology?

A doxology is a short hymn of praise to God which often ends a prayer, hymn, or psalm.

“A Doxology for the end of the year”

At this blessed time of year, we rejoice with the angels over Christ’s birth with the words of the Gloria – itself one of many doxologies we find in Scripture. How perfect then, that we also complete our Lord’s Prayer studies with the doxology concluding that prayer!

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.

In Anglican Evensong, the Lord’s Prayer does not conclude with these final words which are also referred to as the doxology. In Roman Catholic liturgy they are also never used. They are not in all of the original translations and scholars have different opinions. I like to stay pretty simple in these matters. If scholars and entire denominations have different views I am not going to get to the bottom of it in my own studies! So, let’s look at the words themselves, and how we can use this in our prayers as the year itself draws to a close.

However we feel about the addition of the doxology to the Lord’s Prayer, and its omission from Luther’s small catechism – we pray and ascribe greatness to God at the end of the prayer Jesus taught us.

Take a moment to pray the Lord’s prayer and pause over these words.

As we think of the end of the year, what has been, what has not been – ascribe greatness and glory to God in all things.

Take a few moments to write down some key memories from the year. Praise points, blessings, and difficulties.

(In a group study perhaps share some of these with each other).

There are many doxologies in Scripture, some of which we are familiar with and may even hear every week at the end of our church service.

Read Numbers 6:22–26

If you can, search YouTube for the composer John Rutter’s “The Lord bless you and keep you”. Have a listen – and take to heart the instruction given to Aaron and his sons through Moses to bless the Israelites with these words.

Who can you pray this blessing over, today?

As we give glory to God, we have the richness of scripture to aid our prayers!

Has the year been a struggle for you in some ways? Probably in one way or another we have all had such times.

Read Romans 15:5,6

As well as endurance and encouragement from God, we note the prayer for unity in this Scripture of praise. As we praise and glorify God together, let us do this with one mind and one voice.

As praise is often sung to God, what psalms or hymns spring to mind as you read these words?

Read Ephesians 5:18–20

How wonderful! Let us rejoice in the glorious riches of Scripture and our liturgies with these words of praise to God and remember to follow these instructions. Sometimes we have live musicians, or an organist. Sometimes we may use pre-recorded music. Sometimes music and tradition are the source of disagreement and disunity. Remembering the numerous exhortations to unity and praise to God, let us embrace all these styles and resources and give our Father in Heaven the praise due to his name: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name!

We find rich words in the midst of Paul’s instructions to Timothy, reminding him about God’s greatness and glory:

Read 1 Timothy 6:15,16

King of Kings and Lord of Lords! Again, those familiar words from Handel’s Messiah, often used in our Christmas celebrations! We praise and thank God for his “unapproachable light” as we celebrate indeed the coming of the Light of the World.

Let us finish the year strong – just as in the Lord’s Prayer – with a song of praise.

For group studies: If any among you know this doxology, you may choose to sing it together unaccompanied:

Thomas Ken, 1674:

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

Just as with the Lord’s prayer, we begin and finish with praise to God – how can we make this more natural in our everyday lives?

He is the Alpha and the Omega.

Read Revelation 7:12

About the Author

Sal Huckel

Sal is married to Pastor Matthew Huckel, Moorabbin-Dandenong Lutheran Church, Victoria. They have six children aged 10–20 and as a family love music, hospitality, friendships, travel, and daily beach walks. Sal loves writing, speaking, and sharing God’s Word with others. She is re-learning how to find God in nature.

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