Thomas Ken, 1637–1711
I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify Your name forever. (Psalm 86:12)
The lines of the “Doxology” have been the most frequently sung words of any known song for more than 300 years. Even today nearly every English-speaking Protestant congregation unites at least once each Sunday in this noble overture of praise. It has been said that the “Doxology” has done more to teach the doctrine of the Trinity than all the theology books ever written.
Instead of being merely a perfunctory hymn that is sung each week, the “Doxology” should be regarded by Christians as an offering or sacrifice of praise to God for all of His blessings in the past week (Hebrews 13:15). True worship always involves an offering. In the Old Testament period, Levitical priests offered blood sacrifices to God on behalf of their people. In this New Testament era, God wants our sacrifice of praise. Other sacrifices desired by God of New Testament believer-priests include: Our bodies (Roman 12:1); the service of our faith (Philippians 2:17); our material gifts (Philippians 4:18); our good works and communication (Hebrews 13:16).
The author of this text was a bold, outspoken 17th century Anglican bishop named Thomas Ken. Ken’s illustrious career in the ministry was stormy and colorful. He served for a time as the English chaplain at the royal court in the Hague, Holland. He was so outspoken, however, in denouncing the corrupt lives of those in authority at the Dutch capital that he was compelled to leave after a short stay.
Upon his return to England, he was appointed by King Charles II to be one of his chaplains. Ken continued to reveal the same spirit of boldness in rebuking the moral sins of his dissolute English monarch. Despite this, Charles always admired his courageous chaplain, calling him “the good little man.” The king rewarded Thomas Ken by appointing him to the bishopric of the Bath and Wales area. The historian Macaulay gave this tribute to Bishop Ken: “He came as near to the ideal of Christian perfection as human weakness permits.”
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; praise Him, all creatures here below: praise Him above, ye heav’nly host; praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
For Today: Psalm 97:1; 100; 150:6
It has been said that a Christian’s theology must become his doxology. As a believer-priest, are you offering to God the sacrifices that He desires? Give Him your praise even now as you sing the “Doxology”—