Tag Archive for 'Matthew Henry'

Every thought backed up by Scripture

Proverbs 30:5-6 KJV
Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. 6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

Add thou not unto his words, because they are pure and perfect. This forbids the advancing of any thing, not only in contradiction to the word of God, but in competition with it; though it be under the plausible pretence of explaining it, yet, if it pretend to be of equal authority with it, it is adding to his words, which is not only a reproach to them as insufficient, but opens a door to all manner of errors and corruptions; for, that one absurdity being granted, that the word of any man, or company of men, is to be received with the same faith and veneration as the word of God, a thousand follow. We must be content with what God has thought fit to make known to us of his mind, and not covet to be wise above what is written; for, (1.) God will resent it as a heinous affront: “He will reprove thee, will reckon with thee as a traitor against his crown and dignity, and lay thee under the heavy doom of those that add to his words, or diminish from them,” Deut 4:2; Deut 12:32. (2.) We shall run ourselves into endless mistakes: “Thou wilt be found a liar, a corrupter of the word of truth, a broacher of heresies, and guilty of the worst of forgeries, counterfeiting the broad seal of heaven, and pretending a divine mission and inspiration, when it is all a cheat. Men may be thus deceived, but God is not mocked.”

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible

Matthew 11:25-26 HCSB
At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to infants. 26 Yes, Father, because this was Your good pleasure.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5
For although we are walking in the flesh, we do not wage war in a fleshly way, 4 since the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments 5 and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

Verse of the Day

Revelation 1:3
God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.

This blessing seems to be pronounced with a design to encourage us to study this book, and not be weary of looking into it upon account of the obscurity of many things in it; it will repay the labour of the careful and attentive reader. Observe, 1. It is a blessed privilege to enjoy the oracles of God. This was one of the principal advantages the Jews had above the Gentiles. 2. It is a blessed thing to study the scriptures; those are well employed who search the scriptures. 3. It is a privilege not only to read the scriptures ourselves, but to hear them read by others, who are qualified to give us the sense of what they read and to lead us into an understanding of them. 4. It is not sufficient to our blessedness that we read and hear the scriptures, but we must keep the things that are written; we must keep them in our memories, in our minds, in our affections, and in practice, and we shall be blessed in the deed. 5. The nearer we come to the accomplishment of the scriptures, the greater regard we shall give to them. The time is at hand, and we should be so much the more attentive as we see the day approaching.

–Matthew Henry, Commentary

Reflections on Psalm 19:7-10

I take this [Psalm 19] to be the greatest poem in the Psalter and one of the greatest lyrics in the world.

–C.S. Lewis

In memorizing the second half of Psalm 19 I wanted to get a good understanding of the terms used for God’s revelation of Himself through the many facets of his instruction to us. I don’t own a commentary on the Psalms in book form but the commentaries from Matthew Henry, John Gill, Adam Clarke, Charles Spurgeon, Keil & Delitzsch, John MacArthur (from a sermon) and Derek Kidner (from the library) more than suffice.

Even after reading through all of them I still feel like I’m still just beginning to mine the depths of what this text offers (not to mention Psalm 119!). So I would like to write down a synopsis of just these verses based on commentaries and my own thoughts and observations to further embed these ideas in my brain and cause me to ponder further.

Don’t take this as a scholarly paper. It’s just what I’m learning so far. Comments are welcome.

Psalm 19:7a (HCSB used for all)
The instruction of the Lord is perfect,

The HCSB uses the word instruction for tôrâh instead of the usual law here so as not to confuse it with only the law of Moses or the Decalogue (ten commandments). ” תֹּורָה [tôrâh] does not in itself mean the law, but a pointing out, instruction, doctrine or teaching”. (K&D) It’s a complete divine instruction of God’s will for man’s life and conduct.

On a side note, the Bible isn’t just an instruction manual for us. It’s so much more than that. It’s God revealing Himself, His purposes, how He has dealt with people and His redemption story. How much more wonderful this is than a mere instruction manual.

Since God does not reside in our constraint of time, His law is timeless and includes the gospel message and all of His revealed word to us, not just the law as it was revealed up to the time of David when he wrote this Psalm. It’s somewhat prophetic in that way.

Regarding the word perfect John MacArthur says, “I remember the first time I studied Psalm 19, many, many years ago, I wanted to really know what perfect meant. So I went back and I got all the Hebrew lexicons off my shelf and I remember spending several hours chasing this word ‘perfect’ all over the place, trying to wring out of it everything that I could so I would have a grasp of it. And after many hours of study, I came to the conclusion that what it means is perfect. A bit disappointing after all the effort, but that’s exactly what it means…perfect.” He qualifies that as meaning–not as opposed to imperfect but as opposed to incomplete.

The law of the Lord is sufficient for “everything we need for life and godliness”. (2 Peter 1:3)

Psalm 19:7b
reviving the soul;

Restoring, reviving, refreshing, or converting; turning to God or back to God. In any case, transformation takes place.

Psalm 19:7c
the testimony of the Lord is trustworthy,

I think that some of the obvious examples of His testimony are what He has said audibly about Himself and His Son. But more comprehensively it is God disclosing His character, His will and His nature–who He is. (cf. 1 John 5:9)

You can know that what He says about Himself is trustworthy. Believing He is who He says he is–this is vital for trusting Him and making it through hard times. (Psalm 119:92 MSG)

But what kept me going more than anything else was my confidence in the character of God.

–Ravi Zacharias quoting Charles Cooper in the book Cries of the Heart

Psalm 19:7d
making the inexperienced wise.

The underlying Hebrew word for simple (inexperienced) means wide open, as in an open door; people who are easily led one way or another. For those who are simple, or inexperienced in the ways of the Lord, His testimony is trustworthy in making them wise for living in a manner skilled in walking in His ways and for salvation. (2 Timothy 3:15)

Psalm 19:8a
The precepts of the Lord are right,

Precept
1. In a general sense, any commandment or order intended as an authoritative rule of action; but applied particularly to commands respecting moral conduct. The ten commandments are so many precepts for the regulation of our moral conduct.
Webster

Synonyms for precepts would be commandments, decrees or statutes, which many other translations use.

All of His precepts are always right and always leading people in righteousness and in the right path. (Proverbs 8:8) They are always well meaning and for our well-being.

Psalm 19:8b
making the heart glad;

Having His precepts written on our hearts leads us to a right mind which gives us joy. They satisfy our desire for morality.

Retire and read thy Bible to be gay.

–Charles Spurgeon

Psalm 19:8c
the commandment of the Lord is radiant,

HCSB and TNIV use the word radiant, some clear, most others pure. The commandment itself is pure, not adulterated by any person. It also purifies us.

I would guess that the word radiant is used because light is pure. It may also be looking forward to the next line. (Comments?)

Psalm 19:8d
making the eyes light up.

His commandment gives us discernment to see what’s earthly and what’s spiritual; what is of the world and what is of true value. It gives us understanding not only externally but internally–showing us our own sin. (Proverbs 6:23)

Psalm 19:9a
The fear of the Lord is pure,

His instruction taken to heart causes us to fear, venerate, reverence and be in awe of the Lord. Its purpose is to purify (John 15:2-3), as purified silver or gold.

Psalm 19:9b
enduring forever;

The fear of the Lord is perpetual. The coming of Jesus does not and should not alter our fear of the Lord, even though Jesus calls us friends. (John 15:14) The fear of the Lord is in opposition to all false ways of reverencing (or not reverencing) Him.

Psalm 19:9c
the ordinances of the Lord are reliable

The ordinances or judgments of the Lord are unquestionable and need no excuse to justify them. All that He has decided is right and proper.

Psalm 19:9d
and altogether righteous.

Any one of them or all of them together are righteous. They are all alike in their righteousness. Clarke would say that, “they are truth [reliable] and righteousness united.” Spurgeon, “no exception may be taken to a single clause separately, or to the book as a whole.”

Psalm 19:10
They are more desirable than gold-
than an abundance of pure gold;
and sweeter than honey-
than honey dripping from the comb.

Here obviously each idea is intensified. My mind thinks of them as being not only more valuable than money, but more money than we would know what to do with.

I haven’t done a lot of research on honey but obviously honey is sweet. Honey dripping from the comb is very different than the honey we would get at the store. Clarke says honey from the comb has, “a sweetness, richness and flavour, far beyond what it has after it becomes exposed to the air.”

God’s instruction is more satisfying than any earthly pleasure we can imagine. This is the truth. Is this my estimation of God’s Word? I pray that it will be, and more and more so.

Psalm 119:92 with a surprise ending

Most translations of Psalm 119:92 go something like this:

If your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction. (TNIV)

To me the word perish means to pass away, die a physical death, be destroyed etc.

Matthew Henry says:

He was in affliction, and ready to perish in his affliction, not likely to die, so much as likely to despair; he was ready to give up all for gone, and to look upon himself as cut off from God’s sight; he therefore admires the goodness of God to him, that he had not perished, that he kept the possession of his own soul, and was not driven out of his wits by his troubles, but especially that he was enabled to keep close to his God and was not driven off from his religion by them.

John Gill says:

must have perished, not eternally, but as to his comforts: his heart would have fainted in him, and he would have sunk under the weight of the affliction, had it not been for the relief he had from the word of God, the doctrines and promises of it;

So what is the only translation I found that conveys the meaning of this verse to me?

If your revelation hadn’t delighted me so,
I would have given up when the hard times came.
Psalm 119:92 The Message

I’ll just say that I don’t like The Message a lot, to put it in my vernacular. I’ve never seen a single verse or passage quoted that I liked until now. This is the only translation I found that conveys the meaning to me. Let’s just keep this between you and me. I know as of now there are about 6.7 trillion people who don’t read this blog.

For more reading:
C.H. Spurgeons’s The Treasury of David