This is a dust-off of a very old write, a presentation for a weekly devotional I gave while working for Jitney Jungle over twenty years ago.  I begin this with a brief  description of my life-long respect for communication clarity.

One of my earliest remembrances was spawned at Halloween during the late 1940s.  Battlefield Park in south Jackson, Mississippi held an annual Halloween fest for children, which included an overabundance of candy, bobbing for apples, and a rather tame spook-house.  They also had a ‘fortune teller.’  My older cousins had to explain to me what that was.  I still remember that the little slip of paper I was given by the spooky looking lady sitting behind the crystal ball said… that I would one day be a LAWYER.  I had to be told what that meant also!

   No, I never became a lawyer.  But I suppose that I have had lawyer-like tendencies most all of my life.  My high school yearbook stated something about my propensity to ‘argue.’

   That said, civil law is a stickler for truth!  And truth means saying what you mean and not simply what you say.  In other words… correct word usage is of paramount importance to me.  Say what you mean, and mean what you say.  

   This brings us to the subject of my old devotional.

   The first chapter of the book of John tells of the meeting of Mary (the mother of Jesus) and Elizabeth (the mother of John the Baptist) when both were still pregnant.  In their conversation, Mary is quoted as saying, 

“My soul doth magnify the Lord.”

                                                       Luke 1:46

   Interesting!  But doesn’t MAGNIFY mean to make something larger?  So how is it possible to make the Lord larger?  Was Mary speaking about the baby Jesus growing in her womb?

   Definitely not!

   It’s generally assumed that magnify here means praise.  But could it mean much more?

   Here is where the difference between what Mary actually said, and what it appears that she said, is most important.  What did Mary actually say… what did she say spiritually, correctly, even ‘court-house’ legally?

    Notice that Mary didn’t say, “I magnify the Lord.”  She spoke of her soul, her spirit, her inner and eternal self. 

   Scripture talks about images.  It tells us that…

So God created man in his own image, 

in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Genesis 1:27

   Now, let’s define what an image is.  An image is not the real, actual item, nor even a physical duplicate of that thing.  It is only a likeness, a representation, similar to a photo.

   Mary spoke of ‘magnifying’ the Lord, and magnifying means to increase or make larger.  But this is not a boast of making God larger… but of making His image (the ‘reflection’ of God that the world sees in us) appear to be larger that the images of Him they have previously seen in others!  Think of it this way… when we look at an ant under a magnifying glass, the ant appears much larger.  The aunt in not larger, but the image of the ant is!

   Our world today is beset with Godliness on every side.  God has chosen us to be the visible image of Himself, the invisible God, in the world.  We do this by allowing our lives to be a reflection of His love and mercy.  The less of our nature that shows… and the more of God’s nature that shines within us… the more of God the world will see, and will learn of Him, and will be drawn unto Him.  

All of us, like Mary, should always strive to magnify the Lord… now more than ever!  As it says in Colossians 1:27, Christ in you, the hope of glory!




Bill Murphy  October, 2020

And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord. Luke 1:46 (KJV)

For as long as I can remember, that small verse has intrigued me.  And like Mary said in Luke 2:19 about something that affected her, I kept this word ‘magnify’ close to me and pondered it in my heart.  Deep down I felt that there surely could be a deeper meaning here than at first we might suppose.

Words themselves are tools, tools which depict or portray meaning and understanding.  The incorrect ‘tool’ can portray incorrect understanding.

Love is affection, correct?  When our mate says, “I love you,” what if we respond with “I have affection for you too.” Chances are that would go over like a lead balloon!  

So, what does ‘magnify’ really mean?  

The New Living Translation says, my soul praises the Lord.  Magnify = Praise.  Praise = Magnify.  But, can it possibly be that magnify means something even more meaningful and deeper?  Perhaps it does.

The word magnify means to intensify, boost, amplify, enlarge, increase, enhance, expand, or to   augment something.  Onstage musicians use ‘amps’ to amplify the sound so that it will carry farther.  Amplifiers intensify the sound that the individual instruments and singers are capable of making on their own.

But wait!  We’re talking about our souls (and Mary’s) magnifying the Lord!  It’s utterly impossible for us to ‘increase’ our Lord God Almighty, the Creator of Heaven and Earth!  

Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap;  which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?  And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?  If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? Luke 12:24-26  (KJV)

Consider that big black box on stage, the Amp.  The amp doesn’t increase the original sound.  It doesn’t make the guitar itself louder… it takes the sound which originated with the guitar, and augments the sound, making this ‘second generation’ of sound louder than the original.

Now consider the magnifying glass.  It can never make the actual object larger.  It only makes the image of the object larger.  The original object is left unchanged… and now we see an enhanced and enlarged image of that object!

What does the Bible tell us about God and that word image?

So God created man in his own image,  in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Genesis 1:27. (KJV)

Wow!  I could stop right here.  That one verse explains it all!  

We can never ‘increase’ God!  We can’t add anything to Him.  But, because we are made ‘in His image,’ we are very capable of magnifying the image of Him that others see in us every day.  

Yes, this is most likely a different way of looking at the scriptural word magnify and what it can be interrupted to mean.  But truthfully, when we love Him more and more, and when we worship and praise Him more and more, and when we devote ourself to Him more and more… are not we striving to draw closer and closer to Him, and striving to become more and more like Him?

But how far can we go along this path toward being Holy like God is Holy?  The Apostle Peter gives us a clue in the fourteenth chapter of the the first book of Peter:

As obedient children do not conduct yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance.  But as He who has called you is holy, so be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:14-16

David tells us in Psalms how to both praise and magnify the Lord…

I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. Psalm 69:30 (KJV)