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The Bible

Psalms About God's Word

Psalm 119:160
Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.
KJV

The Psalms are the music of the Old Testament. But, they are more. They are the poetry of the Old Testament which express the inner most feelings of God's people. It is only fitting that the Psalms address the issue of God Word and its importance in the life of the people. Consider:

Psalm 19:7-14
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. 8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. 9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. 12 Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults. 13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. 14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. KJV

We note that the psalmist has used six terms to describe God's Word.

Why is this so important?

The Psalms show the importance of God's Word and the reverence place upon it. We have lost this reverence, awe and respect. Too many people in the world place not faith in the concept of the Bible being the Word of God. Unfortunately, this is as true in the Christian community as it is in the secular world. The rationalism of centuries gone by have instilled this belief in the superiority of man and man's ability to be rational. In this cultural climate, the supernatural has no place. This includes the place of the Bible. These rationalist say the Bible may "become" the word of God to a given individual, in a given circumstance, but the Bible as a whole is not God's Word. THIS IS WRONG! One's view on the Bible become the true watershed of one's faith.

No Psalm represents and glorifies the majesty of the written Word as does Psalm 119.

This Psalm is the longest book in the Bible, being 176 verses. In all but four of these verses, one of ten synonyms are used for God's Word -

It is an acrostic, meaning that there is an alphabetical sequence to the order of the verses, when read in the original Hebrew language. In other acrostic psalms the first line commences with Aleph, the second with Beth, the third with Gimel, and so forth. Here the pattern changes. Not the first line, but the first eight lines commence with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the second eight lines with the second letter, and so on, until each of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet has eight verses of poetry which commence with that letter. This produces the 176 total verses of the Psalm. In most translations, either the Hebrew letter or the transliterated word ("Aleph," etc.) appears before each section of verses.

Psalm 119:1-16
Aleph Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD. 2 Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart. 3 They do nothing wrong; they walk in his ways. 4 You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed. 5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees! 6 Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands. 7 I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws. 8 I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me.
Beth 9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. 10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. 11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. 12 Praise be to you, O LORD; teach me your decrees. 13 With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. 14 I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. 15 I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. 16 I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.
NIV

To show the concept of the alphabetical arrangement of the Psalm, consider the following literal rendering of the Hebrew prepared by Pastor Theodore Kubler of Islington England in 1880.

1: All they that are undefiled in the way, walking in the law of the Lord, are blessed.

2: All they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart, are blessed.

3: Also they do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.

4: All thy precepts diligently to keep thou has commanded us.

5: Ah, Lord! That my ways were directed to keep thy statues!

6: Ashamed I shall never be, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.

7: Always will I praise thee, with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.

8: All thy statutes will I keep: O forsake me not utterly.

9: By what means shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word.

10: By day and by night have I sought thee with my whole heart: O let me not wander from thy commandments.

11: By thy grace I have hid thy word in my heart, that I might not sin against thee.

12: Blessed art thou, O Lord: teach me thy statutes.

13: By the word so my lips will I declare all the judgments of thy mouth.

14: By far more than in all riches I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies.

15: By thy help I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.

16: By thy grace I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word. (1)

Look at what the Psalmist says of God's Word. As the longest book of the Bible, one of several descriptions of God's Word is used in all but four of the verses to represent God's law. These words represent the translation of eight different Hebrew words. Compare the translations:

KJV NKJV NIV NASB
law way law law
word law word testimonies
ordinances testimonies statutes ways
commandments precepts commands precepts (order)
precepts statutes decrees statutes (decrees)
testimonies commandments precepts commandments
statutes judgments word judgments (ordinances)
judgments word promise word
way ordinances   path
(way) of truth justice   promise

There are shades of differences in these terms as they are used in Scriptures.

"'Law' is primarily instruction or teaching, then all of God's revelation for life. 'Word' is speech or utterance, a general word for the disclosure of God's will. 'Ordinances' (also 'judgments') refer to legal pronouncements, rules of divine administration. 'Commandments' are authoritative orders used as religious principles. 'Precepts' relate to man's moral obligations as enjoined by God. 'Testimonies' indicate God's own declarations concerning His nature and purpose. 'Statutes' refer elsewhere to civil and religious appointments of the Mosaic law. The word 'way' is used as synonym for all of these terms. (2)

Yet, in the final analysis, each is just another method of referring to God's Written Revelation as it has been conveyed down through time to the then modern day of David and onto the modern day of Christ, and finally to our modern day.

1. Spurgeon, Page 147 & 162.

2. Scofield, Page 658.

 

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