In His Letters to Timothy
1 Timothy 1:11; 2 Timothy 1:8; 2 Timothy 1:10; 2 Timothy 2:8
We come now to our closing thoughts on what Paul called "the gospel which I preach". "The gospel of the glory of the blessed God." We need, in the first place, just to note the correct translation of these words, because the different versions render them in different ways. The Authorized Version has: "the glorious gospel of the blessed God." You will note how different this is from the Revised Version from which I have quoted above. The latter - the Revised - is the correct rendering of the statement, and the point in getting it right is this. Paul is not speaking of what the gospel is about - the content of the gospel. he is speaking of the gospel which has to do with the manifestation of the glory of God. That may sound a little technical, but it is very important. Let me repeat: what Paul has in mind here is the gospel, or the good tidings, which is concerned with the manifestation of the glory of God. The glory of God in manifestation - that is the gospel.
Note another thing: "the gospel of the glory of the "blessed" God." There is a transition which changes that word, and uses the word "happy" in the place of blessed: "the gospel of the glory of the happy God." But that does not sound quite right, does it, in our ears? And yet, if we understood the real meaning, we should realize that that is not an altogether inappropriate word.
There are two Greek words translated "blessed" in the New Testament. One, which is much the more common, literally just means "well spoken of". That is its literal meaning, but in the New Testament it is almost exclusively used in the sense of "blessed", and is so translated. That, however, is not the word that is used here. The word used here - the second of the two words to which I have referred - is one that occurs far less frequently. It is a word which expressed that which properly speaking is true of God alone: that is, the uniqueness of God as to what He is in Himself, altogether apart from what men think of Him or say about Him. It is just what he is in Himself. You may thing what you like, and say what you like, but God is this. This is the word here translated "blessed". The word really means that solemn, calm, restful, perpetual gladness that fills the heart of God. If you can get the feeling of that definition, you have got somewhere near understanding the meaning of the word here translated "blessed". It is the gospel of the glory of the calm, restful, confident gladness of the heart of God; the good news, the good tidings, of that.
The Good Tidings of the Glory of God
What is this glory of God which becomes that gospel, that good news? It is the glory of God in the revelation of Himself in His Son Jesus Christ. The revelation of Himself. In the Old Testament the glory of God has symbolic form, as we know. For instance, in the Most Holy Place of the tabernacle, between the cherubim on the mercy seat, the glory was found. The glory covered the mercy seat. It was a light streaming down upon the mercy seat, upon the ark of the covenant; streaming down and focusing there. It was heavenly radiance. It was but a symbol. That which it symbolized is here - the light of God streaming down upon, and through, His Son Jesus Christ. That is the glory of God. Paul in writing to the Corinthians puts it in this way: "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6). It is that which is in the Lord Jesus of God's perfectly restful, calm, tranquil, abiding satisfaction.
(continued with # 48)