Should We Rename the Bible? (Psalm 119)
Abraham Lincoln once said, “I believe the Bible is the best gift that God has ever given to man. All the good from the Savior of the world is communicated to us through this Book. I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.”
Indeed, the Bible is the best gift that God has ever given to man. The Bible tells us of our God and his love for us. The Bible tells us why man is here. The Bible tells us how to come to God in order to have salvation.
The Bible gives many names for itself. Psalm 119 gives seven different names for the Bible. Tonight, we want to examine these names and see what we can learn about the Bible.
God’s Word is God’s Law
Many times Psalm 119 refers to the Bible as God’s law. “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, Who walk in the law of the LORD!” (Ps 119:1). “Open my eyes, that it may see Wondrous things from Your law” (Ps 119:18).
Laws are for obeying. The government expects its laws to be obeyed, and they punish people who disobey the laws. We need to obey God’s laws, too. “Be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, lest you turn aside form it to the right hand or to the left” (Josh 23:6). “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Lk 11:28).
We must make every effort to obey God’s law. God did not give his law so that we could treat it lightly; we must obey! It does us no good to know God’s Law and not to do them–“Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (Js 1:22). Are you obeying God’s law?
God’s Word is God’s Testimonies
Psalm 119 refers to God’s Word was God’s testimonies. “Blessed are those who keep His testimonies” (Ps 119:2). “I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies” (Ps 119:14).
The Hebrew word for “testimony” used here conveys the idea of God’s laws giving a divine warning. The verb form is often used to speak of a strong warning. God has given his people warnings. “Hear, O My people, and I will speak, O Israel, and I will testify against you” (Ps 50:7). “I earnestly exhorted your fathers in the day I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, until this day” (Jer 11:7).
God’s word gives us warnings. God’s Word warns us about the horrors of hell. God’s Word warns us about the consequences of sin in this life. Are we paying attention to God’s warnings?
God’s Word is God’s Light
Psalm 119 refers to God’s Word as God’s light. “Your word is a lamb to my feet And a light to my path” (Ps 119:105). “The entrance of Your words gives light” (Ps 119:130).
Indeed, the Bible serves as a light. The Bible refers to itself as a light. “The commandment is a lamp, And the law a light” (Prov 6:23). “So we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place” (2 Pet 1:19). Are you following God’s light?
God’s Word is God’s Commandments
Psalm 119 refers to God’s Word as God’s commandments. “Then I would not be ashamed, When I look into all Your commandments” (Ps 119:6). “Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!” (Ps 119:10).
an must obey God’s commandments. In the idea of a commandment is the idea that in order to obey the commandment man must remember them. The Hebrews were to make tassels on the corners of their garments to remind them of the law (Num 15:39). God’s law was written in the Book of the Law so that man could remember them (Deut 30:10).
We need to make an effort to remember God’s commandments. We need to commit Scripture to memory so that we can use it when we need it. We need to study Scripture so that we can commit it to memory. Are you remembering God’s commandments so that you can obey them?
God’s Word is God’s Ways
Psalm 119 refers to God’s Word as God’s ways–“I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways” (Ps 119:15).
“Way” is often used in a figurative sense in the Old Testament meaning “the way to life or death.” God’s way is then the way which leads to life. God’s Word is able to lead us to life. Timothy had known from childhood “the Holy Scriptures, which [were] able to make [him] wise for salvation” (2 Tim 3:15). “These [miracles of Jesus] are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (Jn 20:31). God’s Word does lead us to life. Scripture produces faith that is absolutely essential to salvation. Scripture teaches what we must do to have eternal life.
Jesus spoke of the way that leads to life and the way that leads to death in his Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 7:13-14. Scripture teaches us that way of life and allows us to follow it. Are you following the way that leads to life?
God’s Word is God’s Statutes
Psalm 119 refers to God’s Word as God’s statutes. “Oh, that my ways were directed To keep Your statutes!” (Ps 119:5). “I will keep Your statutes” (Ps 119:8). “Blessed are You, O LORD! Teach me Your statutes” (Ps 119:12).
The Hebrew word for “statute” comes from a root word that means “to scratch” or “to engrave.” It was a common practice in antiquity to engrave laws upon slabs of stone or metal and to set them up in a public place–the code of Hammurabi and the Ten Commandments were engraved on stone. This word denotes duties imposed by God–“I will make known the statutes of God and His laws” (Ex 18:16). The verb most commonly connected with “statutes” is “keep”–this shows that God’s statutes are to be obeyed. Are you obeying God’s statutes?
God’s Word is God’s Judgments
Psalm 119 refers to God’s Word as God’s judgments. “My flesh trembles for fear of You, And I am afraid of Your judgments” (Ps 119:120). “Righteous are You, O LORD, And upright are Your judgments” (Ps 119:137).
The Hebrew root for “judgments” is the word for “rule” or “govern.” Our government is divided into three branches–executive, legislative, and judicial; therefore, we think of government in this manner. The ancients, however, did not see their government divided–they saw their government as unified. Therefore, “justice” refers to the whole process of governing. “Judgments,” then, are God’s decrees as if they were coming from the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government all at once.
“Judgments” here does not just mean “decrees”; it refers to the just claims of God. God, because of who he is, can demand, and he does demand–He is our Creator, and he has the right to expect our obedience. All the right to govern is his, “for the LORD is a God of justice” (Is 30:18). What God does is right; therefore, we can follow him confidently, knowing that what he asks will be for our own good.
There are many names for the Bible in Scripture. These names reveal something about the nature of the Bible.
Are you obeying the Bible?