When I teach little three and four-year-olds at my church on Sundays, our Bible story time always begins with the same reminder: The Bible is from God, and it is about God! I say it a few times and then ask them, “Is the Bible about me? Is the Bible about you?” And the children shake their heads with enthusiasm, “No! It is about God!”

I hope that as these children grow, they will always remember this simple truth: God gave us his Word so that we could know him. He did not give it so that we could know ourselves. However, we do learn about our own hearts through learning about him.

We see our depravity in light of his holiness. We see our foolishness when we see how wise he is. We see the answer to our troubles through his grace and mercy. We only see anything about ourselves in Scripture because we first see our Creator and Savior.

God gave us his Word so that we could know him... and we learn about our own hearts through learning about him.


God’s attributes are the things about him that make him who he is. The Scriptures are full of teachings about who God is. Some of these teachings are explicit. The Bible directly tells us: “God is love” in 1 John 1:17, that he is “the only wise God” in Romans 16:27, and that “the LORD is a God of justice” in Isaiah 30:18.

We are told directly in passages like these that God is love, he is wise, and he is just. But we can also find the attributes of God’s character in less direct, but equally true, ways.


Discovering God's attributes is one of my favorite study habits in reading Scripture. Sometimes it’s easy, and sometimes it’s like a treasure hunt in which the treasure is knowing God more. Let’s look at a passage together and hunt for God’s attributes.

Psalm 2:10-12

 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
    be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear,
    and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son,
    lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
    for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

You may see a few attributes of God’s character immediately jump out when you read this passage. But let’s dig into each line, ask questions, and see what treasures we can find.

Now therefore, O kings, be wise;

Why should kings be wise? From where can they gain wisdom? What will wisdom gain them? As we read on, we see that wisdom will align them with the LORD. So, the LORD must be wise.

Be warned, O rulers of the earth.

Why wouldn’t the psalmist simply call them “rulers” or “kings?” Why must he point out that their rule is of the earth? Because their rule is limited. Their rule does not compare to God’s rule. He alone is sovereign; he alone rules over all things.

Serve the LORD with fear,

What does it mean to serve with fear? The original word for fear in this passage has to do with seeing something as awesome and holding it in reverence and respect because of its power. God is all-powerful, and this attribute is called his omnipotence – and it is to be feared.

And rejoice with trembling.

We can see how serving the LORD with fear should result in trembling. But when I think of trembling and fear, I do not think of rejoicing! How can we acknowledge God’s omnipotence with fear and trembling… and rejoice? There is only one reason that an all-powerful being could cause people to rejoice: his power is used for only what is right and good, and we can rejoice in it. Therefore, God is good.

Kiss the Son,

What does it really mean to kiss the Son? How can the psalmist expect people on earth to kiss Jesus, who is at the Father's right hand? The original word for “kiss” here includes the kind of kiss that shows allegiance, that two leaders were allies who trusted each other.

The original word is sometimes translated differently, like in Psalm 78:9, where the Ephraimites were “armed with the bow.” “Armed” is the same original Hebrew word as “kiss.” They armed or aligned themselves with the bow, trusting its power to win in battle. We must align ourselves, even arm ourselves with the Son, because we trust him. He can be trusted because he is faithful.

Lest he be angry,

Why would God be angry regarding those who do not align themselves with his Son? He is faithful to his people and will respond with righteous justice to those who act against him and his people. He is just.

and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled.

God’s wrath is easy to spot here. Because he is just, he will not let evil go unpunished. Therefore, he must be righteously wrathful.

Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Why does God bless his people and provide refuge for them? He blesses us because he is full of grace, giving us more than we deserve. And he provides refuge from the penalty of sin that we deserve because he is full of mercy.


Remember, the Bible is from God, and it is about God! These three verses alone show that God is wise, sovereign, omnipotent, good, faithful, just, wrathful, gracious, and merciful. As we study Scripture, we can ask God to show us his attributes and to grow our knowledge of him. And friend, he is faithful to answer that prayer.


- This post was contributed to our blog by volunteer Leah Koper