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Delivered By
Pastor Ed Dinkins
Delivered On
October 25, 2015
Central Passage
Pslams 119:105-120
Subject
Fourth Sunday Service
Description

Commentary - Pslams 119: The Priority of God's Word by Rev. Steven J. Cole

"Because the Bible is God’s authoritative, reliable, and powerful Word, we should make it top priority in our lives.

The Bible is God’s authoritative Word.

When God speaks, He does not mumble. The Bible is not a book of “helpful hints for happy living.” It speaks with authority. The terms used as synonyms for the Bible in this psalm convey the concept of authority:

(1) Law (v. 1; the main synonym, used 25x in this psalm) has the nuance of “teaching”; it can refer to a single command, to the first five books of Moses, or to all of Scripture (John 15:251 Cor. 14:21). The law reveals God’s will for how His people are to live. Since it comes from God the law is not just for academic interest, but for obedience.

(2) Testimonies (v. 2; used 10x in the psalm), from a root meaning “to bear witness.” It points to the dependability of the Bible as a witness of things of God. It also has the nuance of warning.

(3) Ways (v. 3; used 7x of God’s ways in this psalm) refers to God’s characteristic manner of acting, as contrasted with our ways (119:5, 26, 29, 59, 168).

(4) Precepts (v. 4; 21x in the psalm) comes from a word meaning to oversee or pay close attention to a matter. Thus it “points to the particular instructions of the Lord, as of one who cares about detail” (Derek Kidner, Psalms [IVP], 2:418).

(5) Statutes (v. 5; 22x in the psalm) comes from a word meaning “to engrave in stone” and thus they “speak of the binding force and permanence of Scripture” (Kidner).

(6) Commandments (v. 6, 22x in the psalm) points to “the straight authority of what is said” (Kidner). It has the idea of giving orders.

(7) Judgments or ordinances (NASB, vv. 7, 13, same Hebrew word; 23x in the psalm) has the idea of justice rooted in God’s character. These are “the decisions of the all-wise Judge about common human situations” (Kidner).

(8) Word (v. 9; 23x in the psalm) is the most general term of all, emphasizing the fact that God has spoken.

(9) Word (v. 11; 19x in the psalm) is similar to the previous term. It is derived from the verb “to say” and may sometimes have the nuance of promise (NASB margin, vv. 38, 41).

(10) Faithfulness (v. 90), righteousness (v. 40), and name (v. 132) are also sometimes cited as synonyms for the Scriptures in this psalm.

The sum effect of these terms is that the Scriptures speak with God’s authority. They are notReader’s Digest type hints on how to live or suggestions for success. What the Bible says, God says. Obedience is not optional for us as believers.

2. The Bible is God’s reliable Word.

You can trust God’s Word. All of it is faithful, righteous, and true (vv. 86, 138, 140, 151, 160). It doesn’t change with the times (vv. 89, 152). One of the amazing things about the Bible is that it speaks with practical relevance to every culture in every period of history. When I read John Calvin’s expositions of Scripture, written almost 500 years ago to people in a very different world than our own, he still speaks with relevance to me! The answers to all the problems we face today are in the Bible, because it speaks God’s truth to our human condition, which has not changed over the centuries.

Satan is always trying to undermine the credibility of God’s Word. If he can’t do it by attacking the inerrancy of Scripture, he does it by subtly eroding belief in the sufficiency of Scripture. Pastor John MacArthur writes,

Contemporary evangelicalism has been beguiled and sabotaged by a ruinous lack of confidence in God’s Word. I’m not talking about the question of whether God gave us an inerrant Bible. Of course He did. And the great majority of evangelicals accept that without question. But many who would never doubt the Bible’s authenticity as God’s Word or distrust its essential authority as a guide for righteous living have nevertheless accepted the notion that Scripture simply does not contain all we need to minister well in these complex and sophisticated modern times. So they turn to human expertise in the fields of psychology, business, government, politics, entertainment, or whatever else they think might supply some recipe for success that’s lacking in Scripture. (Our Sufficiency in Christ [Word], p. 117, emphasis his.)

We need to come back to what the psalmist here repeatedly affirms, that Scripture is reliable because it comes to us from God who understands our needs and who graciously has revealed how we should live. The Bible is God’s authoritative and reliable Word. We must trust it!

3. The Bible is God’s powerful Word.

Down through the centuries the Bible has had life-transforming effects in the lives of countless people from every conceivable walk of life. Here are five effects of the Word fromPsalm 119:

A. THE WORD BRINGS US INTO A LIVING RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LIVING GOD.

We don’t study the Bible to become Bible scholars. Nor do we study it simply to learn and follow its moral precepts, although we should do that. We study the Bible to seek God Himself (v. 2). The Word of God brings us into spiritual life (John 3:5James 1:181 Pet. 1:23) and sustains us in that life when our hearts grow cold. Since God is the author of life itself, His Word has life-giving power, both to bring the spiritually dead person to life and to renew the believer."

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