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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 19:7

 

 

The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

Adam Clarke Commentary

The law of the Lord - And here are two books of Divine Revelation:

  1. The visible Heavens, and the works of creation in general.
  • The Bible, or Divinely inspired writings contained in the Old and New Testaments.
  • These may all be called the Law of the Lord; תורה torah, from ירה yarah, to instruct, direct, put straight, guide. It is God's system of instruction, by which men are taught the knowledge of God and themselves, directed how to walk so as to please God, redeemed from crooked paths, and guided in the way everlasting. Some think that תורה torah means the preceptive part of Revelation. Some of the primitive fathers have mentioned three Laws given by God to man:
    1. The law of nature, which teaches the knowledge of God, as to his eternal power and Deity, by the visible creation.
  • The law given to Moses and the prophets, which teaches more perfectly the knowledge of God, his nature, his will and our duty.
  • The law of grace given by Christ Jesus, which shows the doctrine of the atonement, of purification, and of the resurrection of the body.
  • The first is written in hieroglyphics in the heavens and the earth. The second was written on tables of stone, and in many rites and ceremonies. The third is to be written on the heart by the power of the Holy Ghost.

    Is perfect - תמימה temimah, it is perfection, it is perfect in itself as a law, and requires perfection in the hearts and lives of men. This is Its character.

    Converting the soul - Turning it back to God. Restoring it to right reason, or to a sound mind; teaching it its own interest in reference to both worlds. This is Its use.

    The testimony of the Lord - עדות eduth, from עד ad, beyond, forward. The various types and appointments of the law, which refer to something beyond themselves, and point forward to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Some understand, the doctrinal parts of the law.

    Is sure - נאמנה neemanah, are faithful; they point out the things beyond them fairly, truly, and fully, and make no vain or false report. They all bear testimony to the great atonement. This is Their character.

    Making wise the simple - The simple is he who has but one end in view: who is concerned about his soul, and earnestly inquires, "What shall I do to be saved?" These testimonies point to the atonement, and thus the simple-hearted is made wise unto salvation. This is Their use.


    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.

    Bibliography
    Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 19:7". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-19.html. 1832.

    Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

    The law of the Lord - Margin, doctrine. The word used here - תורה tôrâh - is that which is commonly employed in the Old Testament with reference to the law of God, and is usually rendered “law.” The word properly means “instruction,” “precept,” from a verb signifying “to teach.” It is then used with reference to instruction or teaching in regard to conduct, and is thus applied to all that God has communicated to guide mankind. It does not here, nor does it commonly, refer exclusively to the commands of God, but it includes all that God has revealed to teach and guide us. It refers here to revealed truth as contradistinguished from the truth made known by the works of creation. Compare the note at Psalm 1:2. There are six epithets used in these verses Psalm 19:7-9 to describe the revealed truth of God, all referring to the same truths, but with reference to some distinct view of the truths themselves, or of their effect on the soul: to wit, law, testimony, statutes, commandment, fear, and judgments. Of the revealed truth of God, thus characterized by distinct epithets, a particular statement is first made in each case in regard to the truth itself as viewed in that special aspect, and then the effects of that revealed truth on the soul are described corresponding with that truth as so viewed. Thus, of the “law of the Lord” it is said:

    (a) that it is perfect,

    (b) that it converts the soul;

    Of the “testimony of the Lord”:

    (a) that it is sure,

    (b) that it makes the simple wise;

    Of the “statutes of the Lord”:

    (a) that they are right,

    (b) that they rejoice the heart;

    Of the “commandment of the Lord”:

    (a) that it is pure,

    (b) that it enlightens the eyes;

    Of the “fear of the Lord”:

    (a) that it is clean,

    (b) that it endures forever;

    Of the “judgments of the Lord”:

    (a) that they are true and righteous,

    (b) that they are more to be desired than gold, and that they are sweeter than honey and the honeycomb; that people are warned by them, and that in keeping them there is great reward.

    Is perfect - On the meaning of the word used here, see the note at Job 1:1. The meaning is that it lacks nothing in order to its completeness; nothing in order that it might be what it should be. It is complete as a revelation of divine truth; it is complete as a rule of conduct. As explained above, this refers not only to the law of God as the word is commonly employed now, but to the whole of divine truth as revealed. It is absolutely true; it is adapted with consummate wisdom to the wants of man; it is an unerring guide of conduct. There is nothing there which would lead men into error or sin; there is nothing essential for man to know which may not be found there.

    Converting the soul - The particular illustration of the perfection of the law is seen in the fact that it “converts the soul;” that is, that it turns it from the ways of sin to holiness. The glory of the works of God - the heavens, the firmament, the sun, as described in the previous verses - is, that they convey the knowledge of God around the world, and that the world is filled with light and life under the genial warmth of the sun; the glory of the law, or the revealed truth of God, is, that it bears directly on the soul of man, turning him from the error of his ways. and leading him to pursue a life of holiness. It is not said of the “law” of God that it does this by its own power, nor can there be any design here to exclude the doctrine of the divine agency on the soul; but the statement is, that when the “law” of God is applied to the heart, or when the truth of God is made to bear on that heart, the legitimate effect is seen in turning the sinner from the error of his ways. This effect of truth is seen everywhere, where it is brought into contact with the heart of man. By placing this first, also, the psalmist may perhaps have intended to intimate that this is the primary design of the revelation which God has given to mankind; that while great and important effects are produced by the knowledge which goes forth from the works of God, converting power goes forth only from the “law” of God, or from revealed truth. It is observable that none of the effects here Psalm 19:7-12 ascribed to the revealed truth of God, under the various forms in which it is contemplated, are ascribed to the knowledge which goes forth from the contemplation of his works, Psalm 19:1-6. It is not scientific truth which converts men, but revealed truth.

    The testimony of the Lord - The word used here - עדות ‛êdûth - means properly that which is borne witness to, and is applied to revealed truth as that which God bears witness to. In reference to the truth of what is stated he is the witness or the voucher; it is that which he declares to be true. Hence, the term is applicable to all that is revealed as being that which he affirms to be true, and the word may be applied to historical truths; or to precepts or laws; or to statements respecting himself, respecting man, respecting the way of salvation, respecting the fallen world. On all these subjects he has borne witness in his word, pledging his veracity as to the correctness of the statements which are thus made. The word, therefore, refers to the whole of what is revealed in his word, considered as that to the truth of which he bears witness. The word is often used in this sense: Psalm 81:5; Psalm 119:14, Psalm 119:31, Psalm 119:36, Psalm 119:88, Psalm 119:99, Psalm 119:111, Psalm 119:129, Psalm 119:144, Psalm 119:157; Jeremiah 44:23. It is often also applied to the two tables of the law laid up in the ark, which is hence called “the ark of the testimony:” Exodus 16:34; Exodus 25:16, Exodus 25:21-22; Exodus 26:33; Exodus 30:26, et saepe.

    Is sure - Established, firm. That “testimony,” or that revealed truth, is not unsettled, vacillating, uncertain. It is so certain that it may be relied on; so well established, that it cannot be shaken.

    Making wise the simple - The word rendered simple - פתי pethı̂y - means simplicity, folly, Proverbs 1:22; and then, simple in the sense of being open to persuasion, easily seduced: Proverbs 7:7; Proverbs 22:3; Proverbs 27:12; Psalm 116:6. Then it means credulous, Proverbs 14:15; and inexperienced, Psalm 19:7. Gesenius, Lexicon. The meaning here is evidently inexperienced in the sense of being ignorant or untaught. It refers to those who need spiritual guidance and direction, and is applicable to men as they are by nature, as untaught, or needing instruction, but with the idea that their minds are susceptible to impressions, or are open to conviction. Those who are naturally destitute of wisdom, it makes wise. The statement is, that that testimony, or revealed truth, makes them wise in the knowledge of God, or imparts to them real instruction.


    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.

    Bibliography
    Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 19:7". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-19.html. 1870.

    The Biblical Illustrator

    Psalms 19:7

    The law of the Lord is perfect.

    The best book

    I would not have you forget the true and proper mission of the Bible,--to reveal saving truth. But it is well to remember that, even as a classic, no book equals the Word of God. The Bible has exercised a remarkable influence in the department of literature. “The English tongue would lose its grandest monument if the works which the Bible has inspired were blotted from it.” Religious books, of course, get everything from the Bible; but writers with no distinctly religious object are enormously beholden to its inspiration. There is not a notable book--a book of transcendent genius or power--which has not culled from the Word of God either thought or illustration or telling phrase. We need not, even in an age of advanced education and culture, be ashamed of the Bible. Its study will confer as much credit on our intellect as on our piety. We are not such Bible readers as were our fathers. This is one evil of the multiplication of books. In this generation we are better educated, we know more than our fathers. But have we the same robust and vigorous intellects? It seems to me that there is a deterioration in this respect along with our neglect of Bible study. There are three things which should make the Bible popular among young people--

    1. Its fervid style. There is not a dull passage, if we except a few chronologies and such like, from Genesis to Revelation.

    2. Its exuberance of illustration. It is a book of pictures.

    3. Its practical wisdom. If you live seventy years you will not have gathered all the practical wisdom you may learn now from studying the Bible. Do not forget that you may find in the Bible eternal life. (A. F. Forrest.)

    The Bible a book for all nations

    Of what is not the Bible the foundation and the inspiration? To what interest of human life does it not give its great benediction? The system of doctrine and duty which the Bible contains is a fixed final system, not a progressive one, and one introductory to a higher, and the Bible will never become obsolete, and will never be supplemented by any other revelation. This proposition has been most flatly contradicted. It is argued that the Bible has accomplished a very good purpose in the world, but it cannot long satisfy the world’s need, because it does not keep pace with the world’s progress. By and by we shall need a broader basis on which to construct the religion of the future. A time, it is said, must come when the theological will be too narrow in its range for the demands of the race, and too dogmatic in its tone for the more liberal, general, comprehensive religion of the future. We are invited to mark the universality of this beautiful law of progressive development in nature, in literature, in the fine and in the useful arts, in human laws and institutions. But those who reason thus overlook the distinction between the apparent and the real progress of man. The true progress of man is the progress of mail’s self, apart from all organisation. Those who eulogise modern progress confine their attention to what man does to promote his convenience and comfort. How absurd it is to mark the progress of a man by that which a man manipulates and moulds and makes subservient to his use! The Bible is the book for the soul, and God put into it exactly those truths that He knew were calculated to regenerate the soul. Unless the soul needs to be made over, and given new facilities, you do not want a new Bible, or any annex to the old one. There is another great distinction to keep in mind. While the Bible is fixed and will never be supplemented, the principles contained in it are admissible of universal and of endless application, and for that reason the Bible will never need to be supplemented. It is with the Bible as it is with nature. No new laws have been given to nature from the beginning. And yet how constantly are men discovering laws that for long ages were hidden from human eyes: and men of science will tell you that there are now many latent forces in nature awaiting the genius of the occasion when they shall be discovered and applied to the use of man. What the world wants is not a new Bible, or new principles, or new truths, but the recognition of the old, and the legitimate application of the old to the purposes for which they were intended. So when new forms of old errors arise, we do not want a new Bible to find new truths with which to antagonise these old errors. The fact is, there are no new forms of scepticism. We do not need any other Bible, or a supplement to the old, because the Bible is a book that has a friendly voice and a helping hand to every race. Here is a book equally adapted to the Oriental and the Occidental mind; adapted alike to the Mongolian and the Circassian mind; adapted to all the different divisions into which society is divided. The Bible is sufficient for the world’s need, because it goes down to the very foundation of man’s mental and moral structure, and takes hold of that which is sinful in his soul’s life. As long as sin and sorrow are in the world, so long will this book take hold of that which is deepest, and truest, and profoundest in the soul’s immortal life. And the Bible gives us a perfect ideal in the character of our blessed Saviour. Moreover, we do not need a new Bible, because we do not want any new motives to the practice of the greatest virtue. (Moses T. Hoge, D. D.)

    The perfect law

    “The law of the Lord” is the Bible phrase for describing the duty which God requires of man. This law embraces all those principles by which our inward life of disposition and desire and our outward life of word and action ought to be guided. It is an expression of the Divine will respecting human conduct. But perhaps the most correct view of the Moral Law is that contained in a sentence which has often been used in the pulpits of Scotland, “the Law is a transcript of the character of God.” Justice and truth and love are the very elements, so to speak, of His own moral being; they have an inherent rightness, and so, while it is true that they are right because He wills them, a deeper truth is that He wills them because they are right. In other words, while the authority of the law rests upon the Divine will, the law itself has its basis in the Divine nature. The law of the Lord is woven into the very nature of the universe. It is graven in indelible lines on the conscience of man. But we must turn to the Holy Scriptures for the fullest exhibition of the Moral Law. The Bible, however, is not a hand book of morals after the common style. We do not find in it a systematic exposition of law for national or individual life; and even those parts of it which, to some extent, have this appearance, come far short of being a full expression of the perfect law. The Mosaic economy, for example, looked at in the light of the higher attainments and the wider wants of Gospel times, is admittedly an imperfect economy on its moral as well as on its ceremonial side. No one would dream of introducing into modern law its enactments respecting (to take a case) usury or divorce. In the same way the moral lessons taught by those histories of nations and individuals of which the Bible is largely composed are often doubtful. All this impresses us with the necessity of some guiding principle to enable us to gather from the rich variety of Holy Scripture the law of God--His will for our guidance. Where, then, shall we go for this guiding and testing principle? We answer without hesitation--to Jesus Christ Himself. The chief cornerstone of the Church is also the chief cornerstone of Christian morality. He came “to show us the Father,” and so in Him, in His own character and conduct and teaching, we have the clearest and most authoritative revelation of the Father’s law. We cannot overestimate the value of having the law of God exhibited in a life as opposed to any statement of it in words. Ill the life of our blessed Lord, as recorded in Holy Scripture and interpreted to His followers by the Holy Spirit and by the providence of God, we have the final standard of moral theory and practice. He is the incarnate Law. Having defined what the law of the Lord is, we pass on to see wherein its perfection lies, and for one thing, it exhibits the quality of harmony. Every lover of art knows that the chief excellence of a painting lies in the consistency of its various parts and their subordination to the main design. A similar principle applies to music. What is true of beauty presented to the eye or ear holds good of truth and righteousness, the beauty which the mind only can perceive. The ultimate test of any new doctrine lies in its harmony with those Scripture sustained convictions which we have already formed. The law of the Lord has this crowning element of perfection--it is a harmonious unity whose parts never jar or clash. Of course, we are quite familiar with the objection that one precept of Holy Scripture sometimes comes into antagonism with other precepts. The obedience which a child owes to God, for example, can only be rendered sometimes by disobedience to a parent whom God has commanded the child to obey. We revert to our definition of the law, and reply that this objection confounds the law which is perfect and eternal with particular commandments which are from the nature of the case inadequate and temporary expressions of the law. The commandment may be inadequate, for it is only the verbal form in which the spiritual principle is clothed, and the letter can never exhaust or completely unfold the spirit. The commandment, moreover, may be only the temporary form of the eternal law. The Decalogue is indispensable on earth, but how many of the relations which it is intended to regulate will have ceased to exist, or be radically changed, in heaven! Thus the particular precepts of the law may be temporary, but the law of the Lord which is perfect abides in all its force wherever intelligent beings are. (D. MKinnon, M. A.)

    A tribute to the law of God

    The law is characterised by six names and nine epithets and by nine effects. The names are law, testimony, statutes, commandments, fear, judgments. To it are applied nine epithets, namely, perfect, sure, right, pure, holy, true, righteous, desirable, sweet. To it are ascribed nine effects, namely, it converts the soul, makes wise the simple, rejoices the heart, enlightens the eyes, endures forever, enriches like gold, satisfies like honey, warns against sin, rewards the obedient. The central thought or conception about which all gathers is that of law. There is a profound philosophy in this passage. It presents Jehovah as Lord, i.e. “Law-ward, or guardian of law. We are to conceive of God’s law as--

    1. A perfect rule of duty, having a basis of common law beneath all its statutory provisions, an eternal basis of essential right and wrong. “Thou shalt” and “thou shalt not,” based upon eternal principles, not upon an arbitrary will. We are to think of this fabric of law as--

    2. Supported like a grand arch, upon two great pillars: reward and penalty.

    The whole passage is therefore a challenge to our adoring homage and obedience.

    1. The law is a perfect product of infinite wisdom and love, (Romans 7:12; Romans 7:14) “holy, just, good, spiritual.”

    2. It is enforced by Divine sanctions of reward and penalty, and these are each equally necessary to sustain the law and government of God. The testimonies and the judgment are equally perfect. The love that rewards and the wrath that punishes are equally beautiful and perfect.

    The transcendent thought of the whole passage is that obedience is a privilege.

    1. Law is the voice of love, not simply of authority, therefore only love can truly fulfil.

    2. Obedience is self-rewarding and disobedience self-avenging.

    The general thought of this whole passage is, obedience the highest privilege.

    1. The law is the expression of Divine perfection; hence leads to perfection.

    2. Of the highest love; hence must be interpreted by love and fulfilled by love.

    3. Of the highest bliss--key to blessing; hence the door to promises.

    4. “Our schoolmaster to lead us to Christ.” Cannot justify, but only conduct to the obedient One who can justify. (Homiletic Monthly.)

    The perfect law of God

    By the law we may understand the entire written Word.

    I. The character of the law. Perfect, that is, complete and entire. See the testimony--

    1. Of Moses (Deuteronomy 6:6-8).

    2. David, throughout the Psalms, as here in our text.

    3. Jesus, the Son of God.

    4. Paul (1 Timothy 1:8-11).

    5. Peter.

    II. Its effects. “Converting the soul.” Note what conversion is, the great spiritual change in a man’s heart.

    III. Practical lessons.

    1. That it is not enough to have a mere intellectual acquaintance with the Word of God.

    2. The vast criminality of those who would withhold the Word of God from men.

    3. How dangerous and wicked to turn from it to the lying fables of deluded or designing men. (J. Allport.)

    The light of nature

    It was not in the material heavens, which with all their grandeur the Psalmist had been contemplating, that he found the lesson of perfection. He turned from them to the law of the Lord, and there he found it. With all that the contemplation of nature is able to do, it cannot regenerate the spirit. Neither poetry nor philosophy can help man in the great exigencies of life. None of them can do any good to a dying man. The damps of the sepulchre put out their light. Nor is this to be wondered at. The works of nature were not made to last; hence how can they teach lessons for immortality? They may serve man in many ways here, and aid his piety too, if he be a converted man. But they will never convert him. Man needs the Bible to convert him to God and to fit him to die. This truth has to be insisted on in our day which speaks so much of “the light of nature,” and which subjects the Bible to its pretended discoveries. But we maintain that it is insufficient, and for proof we appeal--

    I. To fact--history. Glance--

    1. At the heathen world--the people are in gross darkness.

    2. At antiquity--they knew nothing of immortality, or the holiness of God. They never had any natural religion; what they had was all unnatural, monstrous. Reason failed them. They knew nothing certainly, though they made many conjectures; what little light they had came from tradition and through the Jews.

    II. The scriptures themselves. These teach that the heavens declare the glory of God, but they do not say that man was ever converted thereby.

    III. The inconclusiveness of the arguments employed by the disciples of nature. They say, nature teaches the existence of one God. But until the Bible has taught you this you cannot know it. What we see would rather teach that there are two deities, a good and a bad one. And, in fact, without the Bible men never did believe in the unity of God. And so of the Divine attributes. His unchangeableness and goodness, His spirituality and His will, the sanctions of His law and the ,immortality of the soul. The real utility of all the light of nature on the subject of religion consists in this: that it demonstrates its own insufficiency for teaching us a single important truth, and thus turns us over to the Word of God; and having done so, shines as a constant witness, and everywhere, to impress the lessons of Bible teaching upon us. It strikes the infidel dumb, and aids the devotions of the Christian, living or dying. But alone it teaches nothing. God never said it could. And its reasonings, proudly called in the schools “science” and” philosophy,” vanish into smoke when we touch them. You will never read God’s world rightly till His Word teaches you how. After it has taught you you may gather proofs of religion from nature which you could not gather before. The lesson is in nature; but nature is a sealed book to a sinner. It may silence a sceptic, it cannot satisfy a soul. She has no Christ to tell of, no atonement, no pardon, no firm foothold on immortal work. She cannot make men wise or good or happy, or inspire with blessed hope. (J. S. Spencer, D. D.)

    Converting the soul.--

    The restoration of the soul

    I. What is here meant by conversion? In margin it is rendered “restoring.” This restoring the soul is from its fall in Adam to its salvation in Christ.

    1. From the darkness of ignorance to the light of Divine knowledge. Ignorance is general where the means of knowledge are not realised. The light of Divine knowledge, employing and enriching the understanding, is essential to the restoration of the soul.

    2. From the oppressive weight of contracted guilt to a state of conscious acceptance with God (Romans 5:1).

    3. From inward depravity, derived from our first parents, to a conformity to the moral image of God. The removal of guilt from the conscience, and the being “sanctified wholly,” are distinct attainments in the Christian life.

    4. From a state of misery to the possession of real happiness. How can men but be miserable in sin!

    II. The means by which this restoration is effected. By the perfect law of the Lord. For law read doctrine. This doctrine is--

    1. Divine in its origin.

    2. Pure in the means of its communication.

    3. Harmonious, and well adapted to the condition of man in all its parts.

    4. Energetic in its operations. Improvement,--ministers must understand the doctrine of the Lord before they can make it known to others. (Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.)

    The Word of God converting the soul

    The text might be read, “The doctrine of the Lord is perfect restoring the soul.”

    I. The soul of man in its natural state requires to be converted or restored. See how abundant is the Scripture testimony to this truth. Even the best men have confessed their need: David says of himself, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity,” etc. There has been but one bright exception amongst men, and that is “the Man Christ Jesus. He alone “knew no sin.’ It is the exception which proves the rule.

    II. But many take exception to this by denying the fact of the perversion of the human soul. “As for God, His way is perfect,” as may be clearly seen from those of His works which sin has not depraved. But as for man, Scripture and experience alike attest that he has “corrupted his way.”

    III. By denying that man’s recovery is possible. But wherefore? Is anything too hard for the Lord? Cannot He who at first made man upright remodel him after His own image?

    IV. By denying the adequacy of the means of recovery. It is said the Word of God is not an adequate instrument. But experience has proved the contrary. For the word, or doctrine, of the Lord is perfect, complete. It will never fail of the desired issue in those who come to the study of it in a right spirit. (Thomas Dale, M. A.)

    The excellency of Holy Scripture

    There are two methods which God has taken for instructing mankind. He has taught them by the glories of creation and by the words of Holy Scripture. But man as a sinner has no ear to hear the voice of God in His works. It is only by the revealed works of Scripture that he can find the way of pardon and holiness.

    I. The excellent properties of the word of God. As a law it is perfect. Nothing can be added to it, nothing taken from it. It contains all our duty and all our consolation; all that is necessary to make us happy and holy. The writings of the heathen philosophers contain a few mutilated principles and some fine sentiments, but they are not directed to any great end, nor are they complete in themselves. As a testimony the Word of God is sure. Considered as the solemn witness and attestation of God to all those truths which concern man’s everlasting salvation, it is sure. It comes with a force and authority to the conscience. It follows that the statutes of the Lord are right. The equity and holiness of them equal their completeness and certainty. They are in all respects true and just and excellent. There is nothing harsh, nothing defiling, nothing erroneous, nothing arbitrary in them. They have not only authority, but goodness on their side. It is a further property of the Word of God that, as a commandment, it is pure. The Bible is a clear and perspicuous rule of duty. Its pure light has no need of proofs, reasonings, evidences, or study. When considered producing the fear of the Lord it is eternal. The obligations of revealed truth are perpetual.

    II. The surprising effects which the word of God produces.

    1. It converts the soul. This is the first thing the fallen creature needs. Scripture begins, where man’s necessities begin, with the heart. It unfolds the depravity of our nature. It exhibits the astonishing scheme of redemption in the death of the incarnate Saviour.

    2. After conversion follows joy.

    3. The sincere student will advance in knowledge.

    4. It induces a holy, reverential fear of God. Impress the high and affectionate regard which we should pay to Holy Scripture. (Daniel Wilson, M. A.)

    Revelation and conversion

    Trees are known by their fruit, and books by their effect upon the mind. By the “law of the Lord” David means the whole revelation of God, so far as it had been given in his day. It is equally true of all revelation since. We may judge by its effects upon our own selves.

    I. The work of the word of God in conversion. Not apart from the Spirit, but as it is used by the Spirit, it--

    1. Convinces men of sin: they see what perfection is, that God demands it and that they are far from it.

    2. Drives them from false methods of salvation to bring them to self-despair, and to shut them up to God’s method of saving them.

    3. Reveals the way of salvation through Christ by faith.

    4. Enables the soul to embrace Christ as its all in all, by setting forth promises and invitations which are opened up to the understanding and sealed to the heart.

    5. Brings the heart nearer and nearer to God, by awakening love, desire for holiness, etc.

    6. Restores the soul when it has wandered, bringing back the tenderness, hope, love, joy, etc., which it had lost.

    7. Perfects the nature. The highest flights of holy enjoyment are not above or beyond the Word.

    II. The excellence of this work. Its operations are altogether good, timed and balanced with infinite discretion.

    1. It removes despair without quenching repentance.

    2. Gives pardon, but does not create presumption.

    3. Gives rest, but excites the soul to progress.

    4. Breathes security, but engenders, watchfulness.

    5. Bestows strength and holiness, but begets no boasting.

    6. Gives harmony to duties, emotions, hopes, and enjoyments.

    7. Brings the man to live for God and with God, and yet makes him none the less fitted for the daily duties of life.

    III. The consequent excellence of the word.

    1. We need not add to it to secure conversion in any case.

    2. We need not keep back any doctrine for fear of damping the flame of a true revival.

    3. We need not extraordinary gifts to preach it, the Word will do its own work.

    4. We have but to follow it to be converted, and to keep to it to become truly wise. It fits man’s needs as the key the lock. Cling to it, study it, use it. (C. H. Spurgeon.)


    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

    Bibliography
    Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Psalms 19:7". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/psalms-19.html. 1905-1909. New York.

    Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

    "The law of Jehovah is perfect, restoring the soul.

    The testimony of Jehovah is sure, making wise the simple.

    The precepts of Jehovah are right, rejoicing the heart:

    The commandment of Jehovah is pure, enlightening the eyes.

    The fear of Jehovah is clean, enduring forever;

    The ordinances of Jehovah are true, and righteous altogether.

    More to be desired are they than fine gold, yea, than much fine gold;

    Sweeter also than honey and the droppings of the honeycomb.

    Moreover by them is thy servant warned:

    In keeping them there is great reward."

    There are six synonyms used here for the Word Book, namely, the Old Testament, which was the Bible of that dispensation. These are Law, Testimony, Precepts, Commandment, Fear and Ordinances. These words seem to be merely different references to God's Word; but, as Taylor said, "What is here said about these words is of major significance."[9]

    "The law of Jehovah is perfect, converting the soul." This statement that God's Word is "perfect" does not correspond with what critics generally think. In 1 Corinthians 13:10, "That which is perfect" is undoubtedly a reference to the completed Canon of the New Testament; but a critic of that view stated that, "Such an interpretation fails to find any support in the Biblical usage of `perfect.'"[10]

    The reason that the law of the Lord is perfect is that it is able to convert the souls of men, as witnessed by countless generations of the faithful. Nothing except God's Word has ever been able to register an achievement as important as that.

    "The testimony of Jehovah is sure, making wise the simple." God's Word is dependable. A single sentence of it outweighs the opinions of a thousand of the most learned men who ever lived. The Word of God has withstood the unrelenting attacks of Satan for thousands of years; but every single word of it is not merely intact; it is still believed, trusted, and accepted as truth by millions of devoted people. Men who are ignorant of the Bible can never, in any sense whatever, be truly "educated." Only God's Word has any dependable information about who man actually is, where he came from, what his duty is, and what is significant about his life. Only in the Bible can men learn of death, hereafter, the eternal Judgment, and many other subjects of the most urgent importance to all men. Without such a knowledge from the Bible, every man is a simpleton and will continue to be so.

    "The precepts of Jehovah are right, rejoicing the heart." Precepts are not caused to be true merely by their being recorded in the Bible; but, because they are true, they are found there. True rejoicing of the heart derives altogether from that "peace which passeth understanding," a peace from God Himself; and that is directly connected with respect for and obedience of God's precepts. As John Greenleaf Whittier put it:

    "We search the world for truth; we cull

    The good, the pure, the beautiful

    From all old flower fields of the soul:

    And weary seekers of the best,

    We come laden from our quest,

    To find that all the sages said

    Is in the book our mothers' read!"SIZE>

    "The commandment of Jehovah is pure, enlightening the eyes." It is not physical eyesight that is in view here, but the human intellect. Animals are provided by their Creator with instinct to guide them; but men are privileged to be guided by the "commandments" of the Lord. Refusing or neglecting to obey them can result in the utter debauchery of men, a condition in which they sink even lower than the animals, indulging in shameful practices that instinct forbids even an animal to do.

    "The fear of Jehovah is clean, enduring forever." The "fear" mentioned here is a reference to honoring God's commandments. The fact of its being "clean," as Taylor said, "It is free from all the abominations of pagan religions."[11]

    "The ordinances of Jehovah are true and righteous altogether." The only righteousness is that of keeping all the statutes and ordinances of the Lord. "All thy commandments are righteousness" (Psalms 119:172). The evangelist Luke, commenting upon the righteousness of Zacharias and Elizabeth, said concerning them, "They were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord, blameless." (Luke 1:6).

    Psalms 19:10-11 here speak of the desirability of God's commandments.

    "More to be desired than gold ... much fine gold. Sweeter than honey ... or droppings of the honeycomb." These two lines are parallel, "the droppings of the honeycomb," meaning the very finest of honey, corresponding to the "much fine gold" in the first line.

    Walking in the statutes and ordinances of the Lord makes a noble and beautiful person in the sight of God and man; but gold never had any such ability; but on the other hand has betrayed some who either had it or sought it into the most shameful deeds, disastrous both to its owners and to others.

    By them is thy servant warned. If not instructed in the truth of God's Word, men inevitably fall into the snare of the devil, a tragedy which is prevented by the timely warnings against sin to be found in the commandments of God.

    "In keeping them there is great reward." What reward is comparable to that of God's approval? As Jesus said, "Great is your reward in heaven"! Apart from the promised reward of God's faithful servants in Christ, what does human life have to offer? Its pitiful struggle through the uncertainties of childhood, its pitifully brief years of maturity, its constant strivings for earthly success, its constant threat of disease and death, its awful brevity, and the promise of a grave at the end of the struggle - that is what human life promises without the blessed hope of the resurrection to eternal life "in Christ Jesus." The understatement here is amazing, "In keeping them, there is great reward"!


    Copyright Statement
    James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

    Bibliography
    Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Psalms 19:7". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/psalms-19.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

    John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

    The law of the Lord is perfect,.... By which is meant, not the law of Moses, or the ten commandments, but the "doctrine" of the Lord; as the word תורה, "torah", signifies, even the whole word of God, as in Isaiah 8:20. All the Scriptures of truth, which are profitable for doctrine; for setting doctrine in a clear light, and for the vindication and establishment of it, and are the rule of doctrine both to preachers and hearers; and which are "perfect", contain the whole mind and will of God, both with respect to faith and practice; whereby the man of God is made perfect, and thoroughly furnished to all good works, 2 Timothy 3:16; and especially the Gospel part of the word of God may be designed, which both in the Old and New Testament is called "a law" or "doctrine", being eminently so; the doctrine of the Messiah, and of justification by faith in his righteousness, Isaiah 2:3, Romans 3:27. The Gospel is a perfect plan and scheme of spiritual and saving truths: it gives an account of perfect things; as of the perfect righteousness of Christ, and complete justification by it; of the full as well as free pardon of sins by the blood of Christ; and of redemption and salvation from all sin and evils by him: and it also shows where true perfection is; namely, in Christ, in whom the saints are complete, be being made to them wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption; see James 1:25. This character, therefore, suits better with the Gospel than with the moral law; though that, as it is to be gathered out of the whole word of God, contains the good and perfect will of God, with respect to what is to be done or avoided; nor is anything to be added to it; nor did our Lord come to add unto it, or to make it more perfect, but to fulfil it, which men could not do; nor could the law make any man or anything perfect, either perfectly sanctify, or justify, or save; whereas the bringing in of the better hope in the Gospel does, Hebrews 9:7. The effect, under a divine influence and blessing ascribed to it, is,

    converting the soul; which is a further proof that the law of Moses is not intended: for though by it is the knowledge of sin, or conviction of sin, which often falls short of conversion; yet the Spirit of God, as a spirit of regeneration, conversion, and sanctification, is not received through the doctrine or preaching of the law, but through the ministration of the Gospel; which is designed to turn men from darkness to light, and from the powers of Satan to God; and which use it has when it is attended with the demonstration of the Spirit and of power; see Romans 3:20, though the words may be rendered "relieving", that is, refreshing and comforting the "soul"F26משיבת נפש "recreans animam", Vatablus, Schmidt; "refocillat", Piscator. as in Lamentations 1:11; Through want of bodily food, which is the case in the passage retorted to, the spirits faint and sink, the soul is almost gone, when, by the ministration of proper food, it is as it were brought back again, as the wordF1"Restituens animam", Junius & Tremellius, Cocceius; "reducens", Gejerus, Montanus; so Ainsworth. here used signifies, and the animal spirits are cheered and revived: and of like use is the Gospel; it is the food of the soul, by which it is refreshed and exhilarated, when ready to sink and faint away; hereby it is restored and revived, comforted and nourished;

    the testimony of the Lord is sure; this is another name for the word of God, or the Holy Scriptures; so called because they testify of Christ, of his person, office, and grace; of what he is, was to do, and suffer, and perform for his people, and of his glory that should follow thereon, John 5:39; and particularly the doctrine of the Gospel is the testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ, both which he himself testified, and which is a testimony concerning him, 2 Timothy 1:8. And this is "sure", or "to be believed"F2נאמנה "fidele", V. L. Musculus, Pagninus; "fide dignum", Piscator, Michaelis. ; the whole of Scripture is true, coming from the God of truth; having for its principal subject Christ, who is truth itself, and being dictated by the Spirit of truth; and particularly the Gospel part of it, and all the truths therein contained, especially the doctrine of salvation by Christ, which is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation: the Gospel is a testimony of record which God himself has bore concerning his Son, and eternal life by him, and therefore sure and to be depended upon; for if the witness of men is received, the witness of God is greater, 1 John 5:9. The effect ascribed to the word of God, Or to the Gospel under this character, is,

    making wise the simple. The Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, render it "babes" or "children"; and so Apollinarius; and the word פתי, here used in the Arabic language, is said toF3Shemot Rabba, s. 3. fol. 93. 2. signify such; and here it intends babes and children not in years, but in understanding, to whom God is pleased to reveal the truths of his Gospel, when he hides them from the wise and prudent: these simple ones are such who are sensible of their simplicity and folly, and of their want of understanding; who, with Agur, think themselves more foolish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man; and these, by the word of God, are made wise to know themselves, their folly, sinfulness, imperfections, and impotence; and are made wise unto salvation, to know the right way of salvation by Christ; see 2 Timothy 3:15; where the same phrase is used as here, and seems to be borrowed from hence, and is used of the Scriptures; which also make men wise in the knowledge of Gospel doctrines, the wisdom of God in a mystery, which to know is the greatest wisdom and understanding, and much more so than to be acquainted with the law only, Deuteronomy 4:6.


    Copyright Statement
    The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
    A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

    Bibliography
    Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 19:7". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-19.html. 1999.

    Geneva Study Bible

    The f law of the LORD [is] perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD [is] sure, making wise the simple.

    (f) Though the creatures cannot serve, yet this should be sufficient to lead us to him.

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    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

    Bibliography
    Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Psalms 19:7". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/psalms-19.html. 1599-1645.

    Wesley's Explanatory Notes

    The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

    The law — The doctrine delivered to his church, whether by Moses, or by other prophets. Having discoursed hitherto of the glory of God shining forth in, the visible heavens, he now proceeds to another demonstration of God's glory, which he compares with and prefers before the former.

    Perfect — Completely discovering both the nature and will of God, and the whole duty of man, what he is to believe and practice, and whatsoever is necessary to his present and eternal happiness. Whereas the creation, although it did declare so much of God, as left all men without excuse, yet did not fully manifest the will of God, nor bring men to eternal salvation.

    Converting — From sin to God, from whom all men are naturally revolted.

    Testimony — His law, so called because it is a witness between God and man, what God requires of man, and what upon the performance of that condition, he will do for man.

    Sure — Heb. faithful or true, which is most necessary in a witness: it will not mislead any man, but will infallibly bring him to happiness.

    Simple — Even persons of the lowest capacities.


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    Bibliography
    Wesley, John. "Commentary on Psalms 19:7". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/psalms-19.html. 1765.

    Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

    7.The law of the Lord. Here the second part of the psalm commences. After having shown that the creatures, although they do not speak, nevertheless serve as instructors to all mankind, and teach all men so clearly that there is a God, as to render them inexcusable, the Psalmist now turns towards the Jews, to whom God had communicated a fuller knowledge of himself by means of his word. While the heavens bear witness concerning God, their testimony does not lead men so far as that thereby they learn truly to fear him, and acquire a well-grounded knowledge of him; it serves only to render them inexcusable. It is doubtless true, that if we were not very dull and stupid, the signatures and proofs of Deity which are to be found on the theater of the world, are abundant enough to incite us to acknowledge and reverence God; but as, although surrounded with so clear a light, we are nevertheless blind, this splendid representation of the glory of God, without the aid of the word, would profit us nothing, although it should be to us as a loud and distinct proclamation sounding in our ears. Accordingly, God vouchsafes to those whom he has determined to call to salvation special grace, just as in ancient times, while he gave to all men without exception evidences of his existence in his works, he communicated to the children of Abraham alone his Law, thereby to furnish them with a more certain and intimate knowledge of his majesty. Whence it follows, that the Jews are bound by a double tie to serve God. As the Gentiles, to whom God has spoken only by the dumb creatures, have no excuse for their ignorance, how much less is their stupidity to be endured who neglect to hear the voice which proceeds from his own sacred mouth? The end, therefore, which David here has in view, is to excite the Jews, whom God had bound to himself by a more sacred bond, to yield obedience to him with a more prompt and cheerful affection. Farther, under the term law, he not only means the rule of living righteously, or the Ten Commandments, but he also comprehends the covenant by which God had distinguished that people from the rest of the world, and the whole doctrine of Moses, the parts of which he afterwards enumerates under the terms testimonies, statutes, and other names. These titles and commendations by which he exalts the dignity and excellence of the Law would not agree with the Ten Commandments alone, unless there were, at the same time, joined to them a free adoption and the promises which depend upon it; and, in short, the whole body of doctrine of which true religion and godliness consists. As to the Hebrew words which are here used, I will not spend much time in endeavoring very exactly to give the particular signification of each of them, because it is easy to gather from other passages, that they are sometimes confounded or used indifferently. עדות, eduth, which we render testimony, is generally taken for the covenant, in which God, on the one hand, promised to the children of Abraham that he would be their God, and on the other required faith and obedience on their part. It, therefore, denotes the mutual covenant entered into between God and his ancient people. The word פקודים, pikkudim, which I have followed others in translating statutes, is restricted by some to ceremonies, but improperly in my judgment: for I find that it is every where taken generally for ordinances and edicts. The word מצוה, mitsvah, which follows immediately after, and which we translate commandment, has almost the same signification. As to the other words, we shall consider them in their respective places.

    The first commendation of the law of God is, that it is perfect. By this word David means, that if a man is duly instructed in the law of God, he wants nothing which is requisite to perfect wisdom. In the writings of heathen authors there are no doubt to be found true and useful sentences scattered here and there; and it is also true, that God has put into the minds of men some knowledge of justice and uprightness; but in consequence of the corruption of our nature, the true light of truth is not to be found among men where revelation is not enjoyed, but only certain mutilated principles which are involved in much obscurity and doubt. David, therefore, justly claims this praise for the law of God, that it contains in it perfect and absolute wisdom. As the conversion of the soul, of which he speaks immediately after, is doubtless to be understood of its restoration, I have felt no difficulty in so rendering it. There are some who reason with too much subtilty on this expression, by explaining it as referring to the repentance and regeneration of man. I admit that the soul cannot be restored by the law of God, without being at the same time renewed unto righteousness; but we must consider what is David’s proper meaning, which is this, that as the soul gives vigor and strength to the body, so the law in like manner is the life of the soul. In saying that the soul is restored, he has an allusion to the miserable state in which we are all born. There, no doubt, still survive in us some small remains of the first creation; but as no part of our constitution is free from defilement and impurity, the condition of the soul thus corrupted and depraved differs little from death, and tends altogether to death. It is, therefore, necessary that God should employ the law as a remedy for restoring us to purity; not that the letter of the law can do this of itself, as shall be afterwards shown more at length, but because God employs his word as an instrument for restoring our souls.

    When the Psalmist declares, The testimony of Jehovah is faithful, it is a repetition of the preceding sentence, so that the integrity or perfection of the law and the faithfulness or truth of his testimony, signify the same thing; namely, that when we give ourselves up to be guided and governed by the word of God, we are in no danger of going astray, since this is the path by which he securely guides his own people to salvation. Instruction in wisdom seems here to be added as the commencement of the restoration of the soul. Understanding is the most excellent endowment of the soul; and David teaches us that it is to be derived from the law, for we are naturally destitute of it. By the word babes, he is not to be understood as meaning any particular class of persons, as if others were sufficiently wise of themselves; but by it he teaches us, in the first place, that none are endued with right understanding until they have made progress in the study of the law. In the second place, he shows by it what kind of scholars God requires, namely, those who are fools in their own estimation, (1 Corinthians 3:18,) and who come down to the rank of children, that the loftiness of their own understanding may not prevent them from giving themselves up, with a spirit of entire docility, to the teaching of the word of God.


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    Bibliography
    Calvin, John. "Commentary on Psalms 19:7". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/psalms-19.html. 1840-57.

    John Trapp Complete Commentary

    Psalms 19:7 The law of the LORD [is] perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD [is] sure, making wise the simple.

    Ver. 7. The law of the Lord is perfect] Or, doctrine; the whole word of God, commonly distinguished into law and gospel, is perfect, immaculate, sincere, entire, complete. If Cicero dared to say, that the law of the twelve tables in Rome did exceed all the libraries of philosophers, both in weight of authority and fruitfulness of matter, how much rather is this true of God’s law! saith a learned writer. Nothing may be added to it without marring it, Proverbs 30:6. Note this against Jewish, Popish, and Turkish traditions and additions; as also against anti-scripturists, and who at first rejected all books but the Bible, and after that grew so wise as to be religious enough without that also. And last of all they came to blaspheme that blessed book, as a dead letter, and a beggarly element, &c.; when as the apostle telleth us, that all Scripture is pure, precious, and profitable for doctrine, for reproof, &c., that the man of God may be perfect, &c., 2 Timothy 3:16-17. Here in this and the two following verses it is easy to observe - 1. That every one of them are in the Hebrew written with ten words. 2. That here is a sixfold commendation of God’s holy word. (l.) By the several names thereunto given, law, testimony, statutes, &c (2.) By the nature, perfect, sure, right, &c. (3.) By the effects, converting the soul, making wise the simple, &c.

    Converting the soul] This no doctrine besides can do. Integra est doctrina, ae proinde animos redintegrat. Plato went thrice to Sicily to convert Dionysius the tyrant, but could not. Ambrose saith well of Polemo, who of a drunkard, by hearing Xenocrates, became a philosopher, Si resipuit a vino, fuit semper tamen temulentus sacrilegio, If he gave over his drunkenness, yet he continued still drunk with superstition. Seneca the philosopher wrote a book (now lost) against superstitions, but yet lived and died in them; Colebat quod reprohendebat, agebat quod arguebat, quod culpabat adorabat, saith Austin of him, he exercised what he condemned, and would not leave what he did so utterly dislike. But the word works a transmentation, an entire change of the mind and manners, a new creation, 2 Corinthians 5:17.

    The testimony of the Lord is sure] These words are faithful and true, Revelation 22:6, they are all in righteousness, neither is there in them anything perverse or froward, Proverbs 8:8. Testimonies they are called, 1. Because they testify (as a record) to all ages what the will of the Lord is, John 5:39 2. They were given with great contestation, and pressing of all men to keep them. 3. They will be a witness against all such as do not. The gospel also is called a testimony, 1 Corinthians 2:1, 2 Thessalonians 1:10, Isaiah 8:20.

    Making wise the simple] That is, the humble, teachable, and such as are not puffed up with a conceit of their own wisdom, 1 Corinthians 7:18, the very entrance into God’s word giveth light, it giveth understanding to the simple, or to the persuadable, Psalms 119:130. It is reasonable milk, 1 Peter 2:2.


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    Bibliography
    Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 19:7". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-19.html. 1865-1868.

    Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

    Psalms 19:7. The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul {Restoring / Refreshing} the soul. The connection seems to be this: From the mighty scene and prospect of nature in the former verses, the Psalmist turns his thoughts to the consideration of the still greater works of grace. The rational world, as in itself the noblest, so has it been the more peculiar care of Providence to preserve and adorn it. The sun knows its course, and has always trod the path marked out by its Creator. The sea keeps its old channel, and in its utmost fury remembers the first law of its Maker, hitherto shalt thou go, and no further. But freedom and reason, subject to no such restraint, have produced infinite variety in the rational world. Of all the creatures, man only could forget his Maker and himself, and prostitute the honour of both by robbing God of the obedience due to him, and by submitting himself a slave to the elements of the world. When he looked up to the heavens, and saw the glory of the sun and stars, instead of praising the Lord of all, he foolishly said, "These are thy gods, O man!" When man was thus lost in ignorance and superstition, God manifested himself again, gave him a law to direct his will and inform his reason, and to teach him in all things how to pursue his happiness [and grace to fulfil that law, and obtain that happiness]. This was a kind of second creation; a work which calls as much both for our wonder and our praise as any or all the works of nature [and much more]; and thus the holy Psalmist sings the triumphs of grace, and extols the mercy and power of God, in restoring mankind from the bondage of ignorance and idolatry. The law of the Lord is perfect, &c. To this divine law the sinner owes the conversion of his soul; to the light of God's word the simple owes his wisdom; nay, even the pleasures of life and all the solid comforts we enjoy flow from the same living stream: The statutes of the Lord do rejoice the heart, as well as enlighten the eyes; and not only shew us the dangers and miseries of iniquity, and, by shewing, teach us to avoid them, but do lead us likewise to certain happiness and joy for evermore: for in keeping them there is great reward. Bishop Sherlock.


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    Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 19:7". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/psalms-19.html. 1801-1803.

    Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

    The law of the Lord, i.e. the doctrine delivered by God to his church, whether by Moses or by other prophets, and holy men of God after him; for the title of law is given not only to the ten commandments, or the moral law, as it is Romans 2:23,25,27 3:31, but also to the whole word of God, as Psalms 1:2 119:70 &c.; Jeremiah 8:8 Malachi 2:6; to the Psalms, as John 10:34 15:25, compared with Psalms 82:6 35:19; and to the writings of the prophets, 1 Corinthians 14:21, compared with Isaiah 28:11; yea, even to the gospel itself, as Isaiah 2:3 42:4 5:4,7 Ro 3:27 Galatians 2:21. And in this general sense it must be here understood, because the effects here following do not flow from one, but from all the parts of it, precepts, and counsels, and threatenings, and promises, and God’s gracious covenant made with man therein revealed. Having discoursed hitherto of the glory of God shining forth in and demonstrated by the visible heavens, and the heavenly bodies, he now proceeds to another demonstration of God’s glory, which he compares with and prefers before the former; which he doth partly, to prevent that excessive admiration of the splendour and beauty of the sun and stars, by the contemplation whereof the heathens were brought to adore them, an error which the Israelites were not free from the danger of, Deuteronomy 4:19; partly, to make the Israelites sensible of their singular obligations to God, who, besides that common light and influence of the heavenly bodies, had given them a peculiar and a more necessary and beneficial light; and partly, to awaken and provoke the Gentiles (into whose hands these Psalms might come) to the study and love of God’s law, by representing those excellent advantages which they no less than the Jews might obtain by it.

    Perfect; without fault or defect, fully and completely discovering both the nature and will of God, and the whole duty and business of man, whom and how he is to worship and serve, what he is to believe and practise, and whatsoever is necessary to his present and eternal happiness; wherein there seems to be a secret reflection upon the former and natural discovery of God by his works of creation, as that which is defective and insufficient for the great and glorious ends here following, which although it did declare so much of God’s being and nature as left all men without excuse, Romans 1:20, yet did not fully nor clearly manifest the mind and will of God, nor direct and bring men to eternal salvation. Converting, to wit, from the errors of mind and conversation, in which men without this light do generally wander and perish, unto God, from whom all men are naturally revolted. Or, comforting or reviving, as this word is used, Ruth 4:15 Psalms 23:3 Lamentations 1:11,16. Heb. restoring or bringing back the soul, which was drooping and even going out of the body, through grievous troubles of the outward man, and terrors of the mind and conscience.

    The testimony of the Lord, i.e. his law, so called because it is a witness between God and man, what God requires of man, and what upon the performance of tllat condition he will do for man. Is sure, Heb. faithful or true, which is most excellent, and proper, and necessary in a witness· It will not mislead or deceive any man that trusteth to it or followeth it; but will certainly and infallibly bring him to happiness.

    Making wise unto salvation, as is expressed, 2 Timothy 3:15; which is the only true wisdom.

    The simple: this is added either,

    1. By way of commendation, or as a qualification of the person whom God’s word will make wise; he must be humble, and foolish, and little in his own eyes, and willing to be taught: see Matthew 11:25 1 Corinthians 1:25, &c. For God resisteth the proud and scornful, and will not give this wisdom to them. Or rather,

    2. By way of contempt, which seems most agreeable both to the use of the words, Proverbs 1:4 9:6 14:15 22:3, and to the scope of the place, which is to set forth the excellency and efficacy of God’s law in the general, without any restriction to this or that sort of men. So it may note the weak and foolish, even persons of the lowest capacities, and such as are apt to mistake and are easily seduced, as the word implies· And yet these, if they will hearken to the instructions of God’s word, shall become wise, when those who profess themselves wise shall, by leaning to their own understanding, and despising or neglecting the directions of God’s word, become and prove themselves to be fools, Romans 1:22. But this is not spoken exclusively, as if no men of better abilities were thus made wise; but by way of amplification, to show the usefulness of God’s word to men of all sorts and sizes.


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    Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 19:7". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/psalms-19.html. 1685.

    Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

    7. The law… testimony—Here begins the second strophe. The transition from material nature to the written law is abrupt, and scarcely to be accounted for by poetic license. “Law,” here, (torah,) is specifically the law of Moses, the whole body of written law, as Psalms 78:5; Isaiah 51:7. “Testimony” is used as a synonyme of law, and is so called because it is God’s witness of himself, of what is fit and right for man, of his hatred of sin and his eternal purpose to punish it unless atoned for and repented of. Exodus 25:16; Exodus 25:21.

    Perfect—Not as containing every possible detail of duty, but as defining the only moral state which is acceptable to God supreme lovewhich is ethically the essence of all pure law.

    Converting the soul—Restoring, or bringing back the soul. See on Psalms 23:3.The idea is that of moral restoration to the favour of God. It is the office of the law to present to the mind that standard of purity which God will accept, and by reproving sin to turn back the soul to Godthe New Testament idea of conversion. The Septuagint and New Testament, have the word, ‘ επιστρεφω, to turn again, or turn back. Acts 3:19 : “Repent and be turned back.” Matthew 13:15; 1 Corinthians 3:6. The torah, or law of Moses, embraced every means for the restoration of the soul to God.

    Sure—Faithful, true, steadfast. Its derivative, amen, (a word of confirmation.) brings out the idea. It is parallel to 2 Corinthians 1:20.

    Simple—Credulous: the opposite of wise. Those who, from want of experience or judgment, are easily persuaded to a wrong course. Proverbs 1:32; Proverbs 14:15. Comp. 2 Timothy 3:15 : “Wise unto salvation.”


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    Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 19:7". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-19.html. 1874-1909.

    Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

    The revealed Word of God has the same dominant influence over humankind as the sun does over nature. Whereas the sun restores natural life, God"s law restores the life of the human soul. The sun dispels physical darkness, but the Word of God removes the darkness of ignorance from our understanding. It is flawless and reliable.


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    Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 19:7". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/psalms-19.html. 2012.

    Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

    Psalms 19:7. The law of the Lord — The doctrine delivered to his church, whether by Moses, or by other prophets and holy men of God after him: for the title law is not only given to the ten commandments, or the moral law, as Romans 2:23-29; but also to the whole word of God, as Psalms 1:2; Psalms 119:70; Jeremiah 8:8, and elsewhere; and in this general sense it must be here understood, because the effects here mentioned are not produced by, much less are they appropriated to, one part of it merely, but belong to the whole, the doctrines, declarations, narrations, precepts, counsels, exhortations, promises, threatenings, and particularly to that covenant made with man, therein revealed. Having discoursed hitherto of the glory of God, shining forth in, and demonstrated by, the visible heavens, he now proceeds to another demonstration of God’s glory, which he compares with, and prefers before, the former. Is perfect — Completely discovering both the nature and will of God, and the whole duty of man, what he is to believe and practise, and whatsoever is necessary to his present and eternal happiness. Whereas the creation, although it did declare so much of God as left all men without excuse, yet did not fully manifest the will of God, nor bring men to eternal salvation. Converting the soul — From error to truth, from sin to righteousness, from sickness to health, from death to life; Hebrew, משׁיבת נפשׁ, meshibath nephesh, restoring, or bringing back the soul; namely, to God, from whom it had revolted, 1 Peter 3:18, to his favour, his image, and communion with him. This law, or word, convinces of sin, holds forth a Saviour, is a mean of grace, and rule of conduct. The testimony of the Lord — The same word, so called, because it is a witness between God and man, testifying what God requires of man, and what, upon the performance of that condition, he will do for man; is sure — Hebrew, נאמנה, neemanah, faithful, or true, a quality most necessary in a witness: it will not mislead or deceive any man that trusts to it, and follows it, but will infallibly bring him to happiness, Making wise — Unto salvation, as is expressed 2 Timothy 3:15, which is the only true wisdom; the simple — The humble and teachable, who are little in their own eyes; or rather, the weak and foolish, even persons of the lowest capacities, and such as are apt to mistake and are most easily seduced. Even these, if they will hearken to the instructions of God’s word, shall become wise, when those who profess themselves wise shall, by leaning to their own understanding, and despising or neglecting the directions of the divine oracles, become and prove themselves to be fools, Romans 1:22.


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    Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 19:7". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/psalms-19.html. 1857.

    George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

    Hath saved. The prophets speak of future events as past. (Berthier) --- The people were convinced of God's protection, (Calmet) and anticipated what they would say at their triumphant return. --- Anointed (Christus) the king, (Calmet) priest, (Worthington) or our Saviour, at his resurrection, (St. Athanasius) after he had subdued his enemies. (Worthington) --- Powers. That is, in strength. His right hand is strong and mighty to save them that trust in him. (Challoner) --- The plural is often used to denote something most excellent, (Haydock) great strength, or heavenly forces. (Worthington)


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    Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 19:7". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/psalms-19.html. 1859.

    E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

    law. Note the synthetic parallelism of the second half of this Psalm, which compares the written words in the Scripture with the words written in the heavens, and preserved in the names of the signs of the Zodiac and the constellations. See App-12. Note in verses: Psalms 19:7-9 the six titles of the Word, its six attributes, and its six effects (see App-10).

    the LORD. Hebrew. Jehovah. App-4. The Covenant God, in contrast with El (Psalms 19:1) the Creator. Occurs seven times in this latter half of the Psalm.

    perfect: like all His other works. Note the six words in verses: Psalms 19:7-9.

    converting = returning. As the sun returns in the heavens, so here the same word is used of the sinner"s conversion (or returning). Note that all the verbs in this second half are astronomical, as those in the first half are literary. See note above.

    the soul. Hebrew. nephesh. App-13.

    testimony = witness. Compare Psalms 89:37.

    sure = faithful and enduring; as the sun is "the faithful witness in the heavens" (Psalms 89:37).


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    Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 19:7". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/psalms-19.html. 1909-1922.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

    The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

    The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. How is this to be reconciled with Paul's denial that spiritual life is to be had by the law? (Galatians 3:21.) For the law [ towrat (Hebrew #8451)] cannot be explained as meaning the Gospel. The solution is, The law is viewed as in itself "holy, and just, and good" (Romans 7:12); not in contrast to the Gospel of grace, as Paul regards it, but as fulfilled in the Gospel, which realizes its spirit in the converted man. "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth" (Romans 10:4). The ideal of the perfect law is realized in the God-man, Christ Jesus; then, through Him, in His believing members (Romans 8:4). For, "converting" [ m


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    Bibliography
    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 19:7". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-19.html. 1871-8.

    Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

    (7) The law.—The ear catches even in the English the change of rhythm, which is as marked as the change of subject. Instead of the free lyric movement of the preceding verse, we come suddenly upon the most finished specimen of didactic poetry in regular metre, exhibiting a perfect balance of expression as well as of thought, so perfect in the original, that in Psalms 19:7-9 the number of words is the same in each clause. In each clause, too, the Law, under one or another of its many names and aspects, is praised, first for its essential character, then for its results.

    The law . . . . the testimony.—These are collective terms embracing, under different regards, the whole body of statutes and precepts in the Jewish code. The law, tôrah, means in its primary use “instruction,” and therefore is used of prophecy (Isaiah 1:10; Isaiah 8:16), but here undoubtedly bears its common and more limited sense. Testimony, from a root meaning “to repeat,” suggests the solemn earnestness and insistence of the Divine commands.

    The description “perfect” and “sure” suggests the lofty ideal prescribed by the Law, and the reliance which the Hebrew might place upon it as a rule of conduct. The word “simple” is generally used in a bad sense, but here has its primary meaning, “open,” “ingenuous,” “impressible,” easily led either towards folly or wisdom.


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    Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 19:7". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/psalms-19.html. 1905.

    Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

    The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
    law
    or, doctrine.
    78:1-7; 119:72,96-100,105,127,128; 147:19,20; Deuteronomy 6:6-9; 17:18-20; Joshua 1:8; Job 23:12; Romans 3:2; 15:4
    perfect
    18:30; 111:7; Deuteronomy 32:4; Romans 12:2; James 1:17
    converting
    or, restoring.
    23:3; 119:9; James 1:21-25
    testimony
    93:5; 119:14,24,111,152; Isaiah 8:16,20; John 3:32,33; 5:39; Acts 10:43; 2 Timothy 1:8; 1 John 5:9-12; Revelation 19:10
    sure
    111:7; 2 Samuel 23:5; 2 Timothy 2:19; Hebrews 6:18,19
    making
    119:130; Proverbs 1:4,22,23; Colossians 3:16; 2 Timothy 3:15-17

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    Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 19:7". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-19.html.

    Ver. 7. The law of the Lord is perfect, quickens the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, makes wise the simple. To silence those who, after the example of Cocceius, would understand by תורה the Gospel, many expositors maintain that it stands here in its original meaning of "doctrine," and comprehends the whole sum of religion. But this notion is altogether untenable. תורה, although certainly it originally meant instruction in general, always occurs, in the whole of the existing usage, which was formed under the influence of the Pentateuch, in that of doctrine embodied in commands; it always mean's law, not excepting Isaiah 1:10, Isaiah 8:16. But even if its meaning were doubtful, the following synonyms would be sufficient to remove all doubt. Occasion was given to this false view by the consideration that such high terms of praise could not be employed of the law by itself, after the declarations of the Apostle, and the testimony of experience. This consideration, however, is set aside in a legitimate way by the remark, that David only speaks of what the law is for those who, like himself, are in a state of grace, and in whom, consequently, the inmost disposition of the heart coincides with the law,—of that, therefore, which theologians call "the third use of the law," or, "its use to the regenerate" (comp. Melancthon at the close of his Loc. de usu legis; Calvin, Inst. L. ii. c. 7 , § 12; Nitzsch, System. § 155). Such a man is inwardly rejoiced that he has in the law a pure mirror of Divine holiness, a sure standard for his actions. But Paul, on the other hand, has to do with the relation of the law to the fleshly, to those who are sold under sin. That here the Psalm treats only of what the law is to believers, is manifest from the fact of its composition by David, who speaks, in the first instance, in his own name; also from the expression, "Thy servant," in Psalms 19:11, which implies that the speaker was already in a gracious relation to God; from his naming the Lord "his Rock and his Redeemer," in Psalms 19:14; and from Psalms 19:12 and Psalms 19:13, where he indeed claims Divine forgiveness for many sins of imperfection, but confesses himself to be free from presumptuous and daring violations of God's commands, and prays that, through God's grace, he may be able to remain free from such. All these are marks of a state of grace. The right view was already taken by Luther, who says: "The prophet represents to his view those, who through the word of faith have received the Spirit, are joyful thereat, and have conceived a desire to do that which is according to the law. Thereupon he proceeds to teach how holy, how righteous and good the law is, which appears grievous and hard to those who have not the Spirit,—the blame, however, being not in the law, but in the inclination. Moses was, in fact, the meekest man upon earth, Numbers 12:3, though they did not know it. And so also is the law of the Lord very full of love; only the wickedness of our heart understands it not, till the voice of the Bridegroom takes away its wickedness, and gives the Spirit, and then the law is understood and loved. The law does nothing of this sort by itself, but it becomes such a law through the heat of the sun, which breaks forth through faith in the word." The law is named perfect, as being a pure expression of the will of God, and in contrast to the imperfect results of human thought in this sphere, even on the part of the well-disposed. Because it is in itself perfect, it makes those also perfect who follow it; Comp. 2 Timothy 3:15-16. The consequence of the law's being perfect is, that it quickens the heart, namely, by its putting an end to painful uncertainty in reference to the will of God and the means of pleasing Him, which but for the law would still in some measure continue even with believers, and such as are brought to partake of the gifts of the Spirit, and by opening up a perfectly secure way, by which one may attain to righteousness before God, and the peace of a good conscience, and consequently to a joyful hope of salvation. That the perfectness of the law is in so far the cause of the quickening, appears from the following words, "makes wise the simple," which more definitely point out the way and manner in which the law produces quickening. Many, and recently Stier, expound, "converts the soul." But this is inadmissible, as to matter,—conversion has nothing to do here, for the law cannot work it; the subject of discourse at present is simply what the law is for believers, those who have already been converted,—and so it is also in a philological point of view. The expression, placed so absolutely, as here without a terminus ad quem, uniformly denotes quickening, refreshment: the soul is as it were escaped from the pain and misery in which it was imbedded; comp. Lamentations 1:11, Lamentations 1:16; Ruth 4:15; Psalms 23:3. Testimony, עדות, the law is named, not as being a kind of solemn declaration of the Divine will, but because it testifies against sin; comp. my Beitr. Part III. p. 640. Sure, reliable the testimony is named, in contrast to the uncertain, vacillating, unreliable knowledge of reason in matters of this nature. By reason of this very sureness the law is fitted to make the simple wise ( σοφίσαι, 2 Timothy 3:15). The expression simple, does not denote a particular class among believers, as if there were others wise enough of themselves; but it is a common predicate of all believers viewed apart from the Divine Believers are also simple still; for even at their best estate, they lack a sufficient knowledge of the Divine will; but they are only simple, while others are blinded fools, נבלים. The exposition of Stier and others, "the susceptible, open," is refuted by the contrast with wise; comp. also מבין פתיים in Psalms 119:130. On the other hand, Luther's silly is too strong. פתי denotes only a deficiency, a want, not a positively perverted character; an ignorance, which has its root in the region of the understanding, not such as springs from an ethical ground. Gesen. in his Thes.: dicitur de ea stoliditate, cujus fons est in inopia consilii, prudentim, disciplinae et rerum usus, qualis puerorum et adolescentulorum est pellectu facilium, licet non malorum et noxiorum.


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    Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Psalms 19:7". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/psalms-19.html.

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