“For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” Hosea 6:6
There is no higher pursuit, privilege or pleasure than to know God. Unlike all of the man made gods of all other religions, the God of the Bible is a living God, a relational and knowable God, who longs for we humans to know Him fully and completely as He is.
In this study I’ve sought to provide at least one passage in the Old and New Testaments (with a few exceptions) for each of the attributes or characteristics of God sited below. And then I’ve provided some thoughts towards a definition for each.
May the Holy Spirit open our eyes and ears as we meditate on these wonderful attributes of our great God!
Angry – “My anger burns against them (Israel); Hosea 8:5; “God is a righteous judge, And a God who has indignation every day.” Psalm 7:11 “Who understands the power of Your anger And Your fury, according to the fear that is due You?” Psalm 90:11
Note: Because the apostle John tells us that Jesus “explained” God (John 1:18) while He was on the earth, and because Jesus never did anything on His own initiative, but only what He saw the Father doing or what He heard the Father saying, we can therefore conclude that how Jesus responds to people and situations or how He teaches the people about Himself - - this informs us about what God is like.
For instance in Mark 3:1-5 Jesus responding to the hard heartedness of the Pharisees looked “around at them with anger…” vs. 5.
In Luke 14:16-24, assuming the “man” in vs. 16 and the “master” in vs. 21 and the “head of the household” are all speaking of the same man, who is meant by Jesus to be Jesus, the King of a kingdom, we can deduct that when the “head of the household became angry” in vs. 21, this is an accurate depiction of God responding to this situation of empty excuses for not following Jesus as Lord and Master.
Definition/Comments: Question: Should it be said that God is angry like God is love or that God is righteous? We know He is love all the time. We know He Is righteous all the time. But is He angry all the time? Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say, He often responds in anger and indignation and perhaps wrath when people He created for His glory and pleasure disobey Him and rebel against Him and harm people He cares for?
Blessed/Happy – “according to the glorious gospel of the blessed (happy) God, with which I have been entrusted.” I Timothy 1: 11 “which He will bring about at the proper time – He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords,” I Timothy 6:15
Definition: The Greek word translated “blessed” in these two verses appears nowhere else in the New Testament referring to God. It is the same word Jesus uses in the Beatitudes, when He says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3 Many commentators/scholars agree blessed in this context means happy. (If u want to read a sermon I gave on this concept see: https://www.kingdomstreams.net/post/how-knowing-god-as-happy-leads-to-a-happy-life
Compassionate – “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.” Psalm 103:8 “….the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.” James 5:11
Definition: full of compassion; caring. “Having a temper or disposition to pity; inclined to show mercy; merciful; having a heart that is tender, and easily moved by the distresses, sufferings, wants and infirmities of others.” From Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
Eternal – “Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were born, Or You gave birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” Psalm 90:2 “For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy,…” Isaiah 57:15
Definition: Unlike man, God never had a beginning. He has always been. “Without beginning or end of existence.” From Noah Webster’s Dictionary 1828
Faithful – “Your lovingkindness, O Lord, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.” Psalm 36:5 “God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” I Corinthians 1:9
Definition: God always fulfills His promises and keeps to His commitments. He can be counted on. He is utterly dependable. Never fickle.
Forbearing – “whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sin previously committed; Romans 3:25
Definition: “Patient, long suffering” from Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. Tolerant. Merciful. Bearing with.
Good – “How great is Your goodness, Which You have stored up for those who fear You, Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You, Before the sons of men!” Psalm 31:19 “For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You.” Psalm 86:5 “And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” Matthew 19:17 “Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious (literally “evil”) because I am generous (literally “good”).” Matthew 20:15
Definition: “Kind, benevolent, affectionate, faithful” from Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. One who is always full of goodness; cannot act apart from His goodness. Everything from God comes out of His goodness.
Great – “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, In the city of our God, His holy mountain.” Psalm 48:1 “Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, You are very great; You are clothed with splendor and majesty.” Psalm 104:1 “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.” Luke 1:32; “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,” Titus 2:13
Definition: “Chief, of vast power and excellence; supreme; illustrious” from Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. In a class all His own. Without compare.
Blessed/Happy – “according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.” I Timothy 1:11 “which He will bring about at the proper time – He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords,”
Definition: The state of being full, glad and complete, needing or wanting nothing. Able to enjoy One’s efforts and activities/works.
Holy – “Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel.” Psalm 22:3
“because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” I Peter 1:16;
Definition: “Holy is the way God is. To be holy He does not conform to a standard. He is that standard. He is absolutely holy with an infinite, incomprehensible fullness of purity that is incapable of being other than it is.” A. W. Tozer “Applied to the Supreme Being, holy signifies perfectly pure, immaculate and complete in moral character” from Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary.
Impartial – “….Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any.” Matthew 22:16
“Opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality,” Acts 10:34 “For there is no partiality with God.” Rom. 2:11
Definition: “Not partial; not biased in favor of one party more than another; indifferent; unprejudiced; disinterested; as an impartial judge or arbitrator” from Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary.
Immutable – “For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.” Malachi 3:6 “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.” James 1:17
Definition: God has never changed, never will change, is unable to change in His character and attributes. He has changed His mind and extended mercy in response to man humbling himself and repenting before Him. But there will never be a hiccup in His righteousness, goodness, compassion, love, mercy, justice, etc.
Invisible – “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” John 1:18 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” Colossians 1:15 “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” I Timothy 1:17
Definition: “That cannot be seen; imperceptible by the sight.” Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
Just – “but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 9:24
“for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:26
Definition: Always - upright, true, equitable, right, fair.
Love – “But God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom. 5:8; “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” I John 4:7-10
Definition: Somehow the God of the universe who has no need to love or be loved, has deep unending, inexplicable affection toward we humans. He actually finds pleasure in relating to us. And one of the reasons He has sent the Holy Spirit according to Romans 5 is to help our hearts believe and receive and walk in that love.
Merciful – “The Lord is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.” Psalm 145:8 “We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.” James 5:11
Definition: Mercy is not giving us what we deserve. “Having or exercising mercy; compassionate; tender; disposed to pity offenders and to forgive their offenses; unwilling to punish for injuries; applied appropriately to the Supreme being.” Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
Omnipotent – “For nothing will be impossible with God.” Luke 1:37 “He upholds all things by the word of His power.” Hebrews 1:3; “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things and because of Your will they existed, and were created.” Revelation 4:11
Definition: All powerful; nothing is too difficult or impossible with Him; infinite in power
Omnipresent – “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,” Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.” Psalm 139:7-12
Definition: Ever present – present everywhere at the same time – no place is hidden from Him.
Omniscient – “O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O Lord, You know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.” Psalm 139:1-6; “And God who knows the heart, bore witness to them, giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us.” Acts 15:8 “in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things.” I John 3:20
Definition: All knowing; knows everything about everything; nothing hidden from His knowledge.
Patient – “Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.” I Tim. 1:16 “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” II Peter 3:9
Definition: “Not easily provoked; calm under the sufferance of injuries or offenses; not revengeful.” Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
Perfect – “The Rock! His work is perfect, all His ways are just;…” Deut. 32:4 “Therefore you are to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48
Definition: “Complete in moral excellencies” Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
Righteous – “O Lord God of Israel, You are righteous,…behold we are before You in our guilt, for no one can stand before You because of this.” Ezra 9:15 “You have fulfilled Your promise, For You are righteous.” Nehemiah 9:8 “Because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a man whom He has appointed…” Acts 17:31
“whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, Romans 3:25
Definition: God is perfect in all His relationships and responsibilities and responses. He always without exception deals rightly with men and the rest of His creation. His thoughts are always right and perfect.
Self Existent – “…..Then Moses said to God, …..What shall I say to them? God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM’; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.” Exodus 3:13,14 “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created through Him and for Him He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:16,17
Definition: “Existing by its own nature or essense, independent of any other cause. God is the only self-existent being.” Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
Self Sufficient – “Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, Or as His counselor has informed Him? With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding? And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge And informed Him of the way of understanding?” Isaiah 40:13,14 “For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself;” John 5:26
Definition: Needing nothing from anyone or anything. Sufficient in and of oneself.
Sovereign – “Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O Lord, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone.” I Chronicles 29:11,12 “He who is the blessed and only sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords.” I Timothy 6:15
Definition: God rules over everything. Nothing happens apart from His acute awareness. Nothing can surprise Him. “Supreme in power; possessing supreme dominion; as a sovereign ruler of the universe.” Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
True – “But the Lord is the true God.” Jeremiah 10:10 “He who has received His testimony has set his seal to this, that God is true.” John 3:33 “Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar.” Romans 3:4
Definition: In God there is not one ounce of deceit or falsehood and there never can be.
Upright – “The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.” Deut. 32:4
Definition: “Honest, just…conformable to moral rectitude” Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
Wise – “Wise in heart and mighty in strength, Who has defied Him without harm?” Job 9:4; “With Him are wisdom and might; To Him belong counsel and understanding.” Job 12:12; “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” Romans 11:33
Definition: God sees to the root of things. He understands complexities that no human can. He sees angles and factors that only He can see. And He solves the problems of humanity accordingly.
Wrath – “But the Lord is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth quakes, And the nations cannot endure His indignation.” Jeremiah 10:10 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,” Romans 1:18
Definition: “holy and just indignation against sin.” Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
Zealous – “For out of Jerusalem will go forth a remnant, and out of Mount Zion survivors. The zeal of the Lord will perform this.” II Kings 19:31 “His disciples remembered that it was written, “ZEAL FOR YOUR HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME.” John 2:17
Definition: “Passionate ardor in the pursuit of any thing.” Noah Webster 1828 Dictionary