What Are The Attributes of God?

What are the attributes of God? Wow, this is one of those topics that can be studied for years and still not have explored the depths of what they all entail. 

I mean, just the fact that God is the only uncreated being and is completely self-existent can be a challenge for our limited human brains to comprehend – let alone a long list of attributes that set Him apart from everything and everyone else.

There isn’t enough time or space to do a deep dive into all of the attributes of God in one blog post however I’m working on the attributes of God, one attribute at a time in the shop so be sure to look for those products.

Here’s the first one (free in the shop!) God is Love Bible Study Pack for Kids. It’s a great way to start teaching about God to your kids!

What Are The Attributes of God?

The word attributes is defined as a quality or feature regarded as a characteristic or inherent part of someone or something. Synonyms would be nature, characteristics, traits, features, and qualities, just to name a few.

In regards to Christians, John Macarthur states, “His greatest concern is His Lord’s glory. He lives so that whatever he does brings glory to his Lord. He realizes that it doesn’t matter what people think of him, but only that they glorify God. His motive, his theme, his goal, his reason, his purpose is to give the Lord glory in everything he does. His life reflects the attributes of God, and God is praised by the way he lives.”

He also says, “God’s glory is wrapped up in His attributes. His love, mercy, grace, wisdom, omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence—all the attributes of God—reflect and declare His glory. We glorify God when we in any way praise or acknowledge or experience or display His attributes. When we are examples of His love, for instance, we glorify Him. When we acknowledge and yield to His sovereignty, we glorify Him. That is what it means to glorify God.”

Wow, wow, wow! That right there makes the connection as to why it’s important to understand the attributes of God. A lot of people wonder what God’s will is for their lives. And you see it right there – a big aspect of God’s will for our lives is that we glorify Him. 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

The attributes of God can be separated into two categories – communicable and incommunicable. The dictionary defines communicable as something that can be communicated to others – or transmitted to others. So incommunicable means the opposite, that something cannot be communicated, transmitted to, or shared with others.

The reason I bring up the two categories here is that it’s important to understand that we, as finite (limited) humans, can share in the tiniest of ways in God’s communicable attributes only. These types of God’s attributes include grace, justice, kindness, love, mercy, goodness, truthfulness, and knowledge / wisdom / rational thinking, just to name a few.

In regards to God, John Macarthur states that “He is a personal being with all the attributes of personality—volition, feeling, and intellect.” 

So in our smallest human capacity, we are able to share these types of communicable attributes with God. Like kindness and love. We are able to show others those things. However, the kind of love we are capable of isn’t anywhere even close to what God shows. So even though we share a small capacity in His communicable attributes, we don’t identically share them.

The really cool part about His communicable attributes is that as we spiritually develop, grow, and mature, our character becomes more conformed to that of Christ, so we will be able to better understand how to show others more godly love, for example, than when we are first saved. And through the process of our sanctification (our spiritual development) is how the fruits of the Spirit begin to become developed in us. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23.

Also, as you saw above in the included teaching from John Macarthur that the purpose of our lives is to glorify (and praise) God, and one of the means by which we accomplish that is to reflect His communicable attributes – love, grace, justice, mercy, goodness, truthfulness, etc. And also, when we praise God for any and all of His attributes, we are glorifying Him. That means that none of us get a free pass to stop studying or learning about His attributes. And not only should we be highly motivated because of this, but another thing I want to stress is that learning and internalizing both types of His attributes can become a tremendous comforting source of peace, love, and joy for us. 

So now, let’s look a little deeper into the incommunicable attributes of God. These are the ones that we don’t and will never be able to share in because they are completely His alone. 

These attributes (that belong only to Him) include:

  • holiness (undefiled, completely without sin) 
  • immutable (unchanging) 
  • infinite (not limited in scope, nothing can restrict Him)
  • omnipresence (being everywhere simultaneously) 
  • omnipotence (unlimited power and authority)
  • omniscience (having total knowledge)
  • self-existent and sufficient (needs nothing outside Himself to survive – He has always existed)
  • sovereign (complete dominion – answers to no one)
  • transcendent (supernatural ability – not limited by natural laws)
  • etc.

Can we just stop and pause for a minute? Because the attributes on that list are ONLY possessed by the God that we serve. Kings, leaders, politicians, little “g” gods, or even your boss don’t innately possess or bear them. As kids, we used to laugh and say that our parents had eyes in the back of their heads because we could never get away with anything. But now we can clearly see that, in fact, it’s God that we can never hide from or escape (Jeremiah 23:24). And, Praise God, we don’t have to fear anymore!

And the reason we don’t have to fear is that, as new Christian believers, we are no longer at war with God. The Bible is not foolishness to us like it is to those who are perishing (1 Corinthians 1:18). Instead, to us, God’s Word is our source for everything good (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Let the truth of these Scriptures sink into your soul. Take a minute to worship and praise Him – to glorify Him.

“Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.” Psalm 147:5, also see Psalm 145:3

“There is none like you, O Lord; you are great, and your name is great in might.” Jeremiah 10:6

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” Revelation 4:11

So when those days come (and they will) when things just don’t make sense in your life, having verses like those above memorized or on the tip of your tongue will help you to quickly remember who God is.

The three that I always seemed to mix up in my head were omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience. What helped me remember them is learning what the last part of the word meant or referred to. Here’s what I mean by that. All three of them begin with *omni* which means ALL. So, omnipresence comes from ALL-present or present everywhere. Omnipotence comes from ALL-potent (where potent = power or powerful). And omniscient comes from ALL-science, where science refers to knowledge or knowing (God is all-knowing).

God’s sovereignty is one that I cling to a lot. While we have human will and are fully capable in quite literally messing EVERYTHING up, we also answer to the Lord Jesus Christ. So He, at any time, can CHANGE our human will (our desires, thinking, thoughts, will, and heart), if He should so desire. And sometimes He does and sometimes He doesn’t. It’s completely up to Him. HE alone has the final say. 

As you are studying God’s character, there will be many things that won’t be fully understandable or comprehensible until we get to heaven. That’s okay. Just try your best to study and live out all that you ARE able to. God never expects us to be perfect! 

When there doesn’t appear to be any way something can happen, I remember that God is omnipotent, meaning He is capable of doing anything that He desires. And I can praise and worship Him for that. Psalm 147:5 says, “Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.” And Matthew 19:26, which says, “But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” And Isaiah 46:10, that says, “declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.’”

Or when a family member or friend is sick, and there’s no way I can be in two places at once, I remember that God is omnipresent. He is with them, and everyone else involved or impacted at the same time. And I can bow down and worship Him that there is no other who possesses these traits or characteristics. Revelation 1:8 says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” And Psalm 139:7, which says, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?” Or Jeremiah 23:24, which also says, “Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.”

Or when I have been praying about something for a long time and there’s no answer. Our tendency is to feel forgotten and want to complain – we need to quickly and firmly remind ourselves that God is all-knowing. That He’s omniscient, and He never forgets us or our prayer requests. So we want to memorize verses like these so that we can draw on them before we sink into a pity party. Psalm 139:4, “Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.” And Psalm 56:8, which says, “You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?” As well as 1 Corinthians 2:11, “For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.”

I’m not sure about you, but I don’t go around using the word immutable in my daily conversations. Immutable means unchanging. The way I remember this attribute is to think of TV commercials. Don’t laugh. Here’s what I mean. So many commercials are advertising something *new and improved,* or when your local restaurant is under new management, and they want you to check out their improved customer service, food menu, etc. God never ever (nope, not ever) will need to improve. He is perfect. He always was perfect. He will always BE perfect.

He doesn’t need to add anything to improve, nor does He need to lose anything to improve. Everything about Him is absolutely one hundred percent perfect. Look at these verses – you might be familiar with Hebrews 13:8, which says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” or Malachi 3:6, “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.”

As for me, I never ever have grown tired of learning about God’s sovereignty. It was one of the most fascinating things to me as a new Christian believer. So here are some of my favorite Bible verses that speak to the sovereignty of God.

Psalm 115:3, “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.”

Proverbs 16:33, “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.”

Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”

Proverbs 21:1, “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.”

1 Corinthians 1:25, “For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

If you’re a new Christian believer, you are at such a beautiful place – you’re excited and want to learn everything you can about how to live this Christian life. If I could encourage you at this very moment – it would be to dig into these attributes more. 

And as you come across new verses in your daily study, become curious as to if that particular verse is revealing something new about God’s character or nature to you. Write down and record what you learn, and pray for God to help you apply it to your life. Remember that all Scripture was breathed out by God (2 Timothy 3:16-17). And also, 2 Peter 1:21, which says, “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

Investing your time and energy into reading, studying, and memorizing your Bible will yield eternal benefits because you will be learning how to become more Christ-like, and in turn, you will be glorifying God more and more. Your mind will begin to desire what God desires and what His will is. It will also help you here on earth in your direct evangelizing efforts as well as in the day-to-day routine tasks and mundane activities. 

Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” 

Proverbs 3:1, “My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments,”

Sarah Titus

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