The Attributes of God
What the Bible says about God.
Before there was anything, before time or space or physical matter, there was God...One who is far beyond our ability to fully comprehend or describe. Through His story, we find that God is Spirit without a beginning or an end. He is complete within Himself, lacking in nothing. He is all knowing and all wise. He is perfect in every way. He is not limited by anything.
– The HOPE, Chapter 1
Observe & Consider
The first week of our study presented evidence that the Bible is the most trustworthy reference point in all the world for understanding reality. The Bible is God's revelation of Himself, and it reveals truth about God in two ways. One way is by demonstration: recording God’s action and interaction with the world and humankind. Another way is by declaration: making direct statements or claims about the nature and character of God.
Consider the following Bible verses that support the excerpt from The HOPE quoted above.
- Before There Was Anything, There Was God
"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. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. " (Colossians 1:16-17)
- God Is Beyond Our Ability to Fully Comprehend
"Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable." (Psalm 145:3)
"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)
- God Is Spirit
"God is spirit..." (John 4:24)
- God Is Eternal – He Has No Beginning or End
"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)
"...And Your years will not come to an end." (Psalm 102:27)
"Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen." (1 Timothy 1:17)
- God Is Complete within Himself, Lacking in Nothing
"The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things." (Acts 17:24-25)
- God Is All Knowing and All Wise
"...His understanding is infinite." (Psalm 147:5)
"...for the Lord searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts" (1 Chronicles 28:9)
"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable." (Isaiah 40:28)
- God Is Perfect – He Is Holy
In Matthew 5:48, God is described as “perfect.” This attribute of God is closely related to another attribute of God: He is holy. The makers of The HOPE video chose to use the word perfect rather than holy because it is a term that is more commonly understood. However, by understanding the word holy, we are able to understand just how perfect God is.
The word holy literally means to be set apart, or unlike any other.1 Not only is God perfect, but in His perfection He is beyond comparison to any other.
"Who is like You among the gods, O LORD? Who is like You, majestic in holiness...?" (Exodus 15:11)
"There is no one holy like the Lord, Indeed, there is no one besides You." (1 Samuel 2:2)
"...there is none like You, and there is no God besides You." (2 Samuel 7:22)
"O Lord, there is none like You, neither is there any God besides You" (1 Chronicles 17:20)
"For You alone are holy." (Revelation 15:4)
- God Is Not Limited by Anything
He Is More Powerful than Anything
"You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You." (Jeremiah 32:17)
"You can do all things." (Job 42:2)
"With God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26)
- He Is Not Limited by Time or Space
Sometimes the question is asked, “How, or when, did God begin?” It can be difficult to think of a being that is beyond time and space. But that is who God is. Time and space are created things. God is everywhere at the same time for all time.
"Can a man hide himself in hiding places so I do not see him ...Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?" (Jeremiah 23:23-24)
"If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there." (Psalm 139:8)
"...With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day." (2 Peter 3:8)
- He Is in Complete Control
"Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth." (Psalm 135:6)
"...for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created." (Revelation 4:11)
"He does whatever He pleases." (Psalm 115:3)
"...according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will." (Ephesians 1:11)
"He does as He pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back His hand or say to Him: ‘What have You done?’" (Daniel 4:35)
Ask & Reflect
- These Bible verses only scratch the surface as we attempt to understand something about the character of God. Considering His attributes as listed above, what has been confirmed for you about God? What did you discover that was new?
- Driving into a large city, we can usually spot the tallest buildings first. From a distance they appear small, but when we drive past them they are like giants towering over us. This is a matter of perspective. The closer we are to something, the larger it appears. How close are you to God? How big is He to you?
Decide & Do
The Bible book of James says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8). Drawing near to God is a choice we must make. If this is your desire, how will you determine to do so? (Refer to the “Knowing God” section at the end of the Study Guide.)
For Further Study
- John Piper, Holy, Holy, Holy Is the Lord of Hosts. (© Desiring God Ministries, 2006; from a sermon dated January 1, 1984). (http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByDate/1984/419_Holy_Holy_Holy_Is_the_Lord_of_Hosts/). Retrieved November 15. 2006.
1Holy. Dictionary.com. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/holy). Retrieved November 15, 2006.