An examination of magnification


I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. -Psalms‬ ‭69:30‬ ‭(ESV‬‬)

The two verbs in this verse are praise and magnify. The word ‘praise’ shows up 134 times just in the book of Psalms. It might be important.


Praise is a common word among believers and we sort of take it for granted.  We say “Praise the Lord!” when we hear of answered prayers, and we call songs “praise & worship” songs. But do we really know what it means?

Noah Webster’s dictionary says this about ‘praise’: “To extol in words or song; to magnify; to glorify on account of perfections or excellent works.”  Now, you might be thinking, “That doesn’t make much sense if I don’t know what extol, magnify and glorify mean.”


This word, ‘extol’, comes from the Latin extollo; ex and tollo, to raise; To raise in words.  So, maybe, we could say ‘to elevate in thoughts’ is what extol means.


Noah’s dictionary describes ‘magnify’ as “To make great or greater; to increase the apparent dimensions of a body.”  Most of the time we magnify something we make it seem bigger than it really is, but in the case of magnifying the Lord we are able to see Him closer to His actual size.  Also: “To make great in representation; to extol; to exalt in description or praise. ”


Let’s see what glorify means.  The unique word used in this definition is honor: “to ascribe honor to, in thought or words.”

Have you noticed the common thread?

  • To extol in words = praise.
  • To raise in words = extol.
  • To exalt in description = magnify.
  • To ascribe honor to, in thought or words = glorify.

The common thread is thoughts and words.  What is so important about thoughts and words?  Well, they lead to actions, don’t they? And actions do it all. Thoughts effect everything.

When we don’t do what the Psalmist did, our thoughts are doing the opposite of magnify: minimize, and when we think that way it leads to us acting in a way that simply is not based in reality.

Why is it important to magnify the Lord? When we do, our perception of Him is bigger, stronger, clearer and mightier. And when we see Him as He is, then we can see how obvious it is to trust Him.

When we inform, remind and focus our mind on God’s goodness, holiness, faithfulness and loving kindness, aren’t we more inclined to trust and ask for what we need?  Our actions will follow as we align our thoughts with His Word.


Photo by Eric Didier on Unsplash

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