My Favorite Descriptions of God

Who is the main character of the Bible? God. It’s his book, his revelation, his communication, describing his actions with his people. I should be obvious then that God shows up in the Bible a lot. It’s how he has chosen to reveal himself most consistently throughout time, and even many of his non-literary revelations to mankind (i.e. wrestling with Jacob, appearing to Moses, etc.) are recorded for us in the Good Book.

The Bible is full of rich descriptions of God. He’s pictured as a savior, a redeemer, a protector, a warrior, a roaring lion, a mother, a father, a husband, and the list goes on. Some descriptions of God speak to certain people more loudly than others (this is part of the personal aspect of faith). Limiting myself to only a handful (which is difficult), here are a few of my favorite descriptions of God in the Bible (if such a list is allowed).

1. The One “who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist” (Rom 4:17)

This one is probably my favorite if I had to pick one. It captures the pure power of God in that he alone has these sort of ex nihilo (“out of nothing”) creative capabilities. This description of God is found in the context of Abraham’s faith that he would produce an heir with Sarah even though he was too old. Abraham did not waver in unbelief because he understood that the same God who can give life to death and existence to that which does not exist will keep his promises.

2. “You who hear prayer” (Ps 65:2)

Psalm 65:2 describes God as the one who hears prayer. I find great comfort in this description of who God is. Part of his very nature is that he listens to the petitions of his people. When life is filled with pain and confusion it can seem as if prayer is a waste of time or that it is falling on deaf ears. However, God is the one who hears prayer, therefore, we can be confident when we call out to him that he is listening and he will act (1 Pet 5:7; 1 John 5:14).

3. “God, who comforts the downcast” (2 Cor 7:6)

What an encouraging description of our Heavenly Father! God is in the business of helping those who are downtrodden and dispirited. “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Ps 34:18). God is the “God of all comfort” (2 Cor 1:3) who comforts those who are afflicted (2 Cor 1:4). The world is often a discouraging place, but God is an encouraging God.

4. “God, who never lies” (Titus 1:2)

The prologue to Paul’s letter to Titus is one of the most theologically dense we have (together with the prologue to Galatians). In the introduction of this letter to the young preacher, Paul describes that his apostleship is established “in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began” (Titus 1:2). The fact that God cannot lie has vast implications and is echoed in a few other Scriptures (cf. Num 23:19; Mal 3:6; Heb 6:18; Jas 1:17). It is not just that God chooses not to lie, it is impossible for God to lie (Heb 6:18). By his nature God cannot lie and he would cease to be God if he could. This means we can be certain of his promises and have a hope that transcends all of life’s circumstances.

Limiting myself to only four, these are my four favorite descriptions of God in the Bible. Let me know how any of these speak to you. I would be interested to see the list of your favorite descriptions of God in the comments!