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Bible verses about God's Attributes
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Most people agree that for salvation a Christian needs more than just a theoretical knowledge of God. Over the course of our lives, we increase our knowledge of Him through life's varied experiences. We also come to greater understanding by studying God's Word. In both areas we can be snared by a major problem that traps many religious people in this world: emphasizing one of His attributes at the expense of others.

God is not one dimensional. Though we should study each of His attributes and think on them separately, we should not separate them from the complete personality that God is. Why? It distorts the model we are to imitate and grow into, and it can radically alter our expectations of what He will do. If He does not do what we expect, we are liable to become grieved because God "let us down."

For instance, the Bible emphasizes that God is merciful and full of grace. We should be thankful that He is! But we should not allow that to overshadow the fact that He is also just. If we do, His mercy can become a justification for failure to overcome besetting sins. Neither God's mercy nor justice can be separated from all that He is. Both are harmoniously applied to each situation and person He judges.

The same can be said of His compassion. Some see God as so compassionate that He disregards the causes of horrible problems and circumstances. If God acted in this manner, flaws with painful results would go uncorrected.

Still others construe God's sovereignty so that it greatly diminishes His goodness and portrays Him as rigid and inflexible. This person lives a guilt-ridden, fearful, and discouraged life, thinking that he will never please Him.

Probably the most familiar of God's attributes is found in John's statement in I John 4:8: "God is love." John states a fact, not a definition of God's essential nature. If he had declared that love is what God is, we would be forced to conclude that God is what love is. Literally, if God is love, then literally, love is God, and we are obliged to worship love as the only true God. This would mean God and love are identical. Fortunately, the Bible reveals God is a multidimensional personality. If we eliminate the idea of God's complex personality, denying outright all His attributes save one, the remaining attribute becomes God, a very subtle form of idolatry. This is not the God of our Lord Jesus Christ.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Wholeness of God


 

Exodus 34:5-8

God expounds eleven attributes: YHWH, El, the Merciful One, the Gracious One, the Longsuffering One, the Mighty One, the Kind and Loving One, the True One, the One who Preserves Kindness, the Forgiving One, and the Chastising One.

God gives Moses, not so much a vision of His power and majesty, but of His love, of how He relates to His creation. The real glory of God is His character, His nature, especially toward His children. His names are signposts of His nature, reminders of what we can expect Him to do as we live by faith.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Third Commandment (1997)


 

Exodus 34:5

God was preaching him a sermon on what He is. The names of God describe Him. They tell us what God is, what He does, and what He will do for us.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Forbearance


 

Exodus 34:6

When God passes before Moses, He preaches him a sermon on His attributes, fulfilling the proclamation of His name. Patience is a major characteristic of our God, and that should fill us with gratitude.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Patience


 

Psalm 18:1-3

David begins by declaring, "Fervently do I love you!" and then delivers a torrent of God's names, eight of them! He knew God's attributes as expressed by His names, trusted what they taught him, and conducted his life accordingly. By faith, he trusted God to intervene in the affairs of men. Paraphrased, the eight names are "strength," "foundation," "place of safety," "fountain," "deliverer," "my strong God," "defender," and "horn of my salvation."

Consider what David did in light of a modern circumstance: When the car needs repair, we take it to the person who has the title ("auto mechanic") or name (reputation). We do not take it to the dentist. In like manner, we are to seek God in our need in areas in which He has revealed Himself to us as skilled and willing to help. However, where does that leave one who has not sought God and does not know what He can and will do or what He requires?

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Third Commandment


 

Psalm 18:2-3

David knew God's attributes as expressed by His names, and thus, he conducted his life accordingly. He called upon the name of God. By faith, he trusted God to intervene in the affairs of men. He knew what God would do—that is, what He could be trusted to do—by the way that God expressed Himself through His name.

Put this into a simple illustration. You do things like this virtually every day with other human beings. If your car breaks down, do you take it to the dentist? No, you take it to the person who has the name (reputation) of "auto mechanic." You call upon that person when your automobile is in need of repair. When your teeth need fixed, you do not go to a bank teller but to the person who has the name, title, and reputation of being able to take care of your teeth.

It is this same principle that is at work with God. By His names, He illustrates what He is skilled at doing—and not only skilled at doing, but what He will do. Sometimes the name will even describe the parameters of His blessing or the conditions that are imposed on receiving the fulfillment of it.

So that is what David is doing here in his prayers. He is calling upon God as God had revealed Himself by His names. He was confident—just as you are confident in taking your automobile to the person who has the reputation of having the skill to be able to fix it. You would call upon that mechanic. We need to do what David did with God. That is why we need to know the names of God. God is skilled and willing to help. It is through His names that He reveals what He is willing to do.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Holiness (Part 1)


 

Psalm 99:5

Knowing our strong tendency to imitate what we admire in others, God wants us to worship Him because of what He is and what He does. He wants us to worship Him because of His attributes and what they produce.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Why Worship God?


 

Romans 1:19-20

God can be understood—even the unconverted can comprehend some things about Him. Despite these verses in Romans 1, the opinions of learned men say that God is incomprehensible, yet Paul is saying that there is a clear testimony. It is a constant and natural revelation of God's power and nature, and that revelation is sufficient for God to hold these people responsible for their conduct.

This natural revelation, however, is not sufficient for salvation because God shows in other places that salvation requires a specific and personal revelation of His word. "No one," Jesus says in John 6:44, "can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day."

But this revelation through what God has created is clear enough for Him to hold people responsible for their conduct. Thus, if His invisible attributes, eternal power, and divine nature are clearly understood by the visible things that God has made in this world, then all we need to do is to use a little common sense in connection with plain statements from Scripture to find out what God really looks like. So, if God says that His attributes can be clearly understood by the unconverted, and if He is seen in the visible creation in this world, what visible things on earth give us a picture of the invisible God?

The very thing that God Himself says in Genesis 1:26. We—mankind—look like Him.

Is that so difficult? Just understanding this principle, it is no wonder that the Greek gods of mythology reflected mankind in all of our foibles, weaknesses, and passions. The Greeks simply turned the principle around. They turned the image around, reflecting in their gods the things of man.

Other portions of Scripture, like I Corinthians 2:6-16, explain the special, personal revelation of God that helps us to know the things of God, so that we can have the mind of Christ and put on His image. However, we know from other passages that the created human being is but a pale reflection of the reality of God, and that God's creative power is still at work reproducing His image in men. That is, we are a work in progress and still unfinished.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Image and Likeness of God (Part 2)


 

1 John 4:8

The words "God is love" mean that love is an essential attribute of God. Love is something true of God, but it is not all of God. He has many other attributes. He is self-existent, eternal, holy, merciful, full of grace, immutable, just, omnipotent, omniscient, and many more things besides. Because God is immutable, He always acts as God, and because He is a whole and perfect personality, He never suspends one of His attributes to exercise another.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Wholeness of God


 

 




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