ABC Extra – Psalm 119:101-105

January 18, 2010 at 4:45 am Leave a comment

Proverbs 14:12 soberly reminds us: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” In the Septuagint, the famed second century BC Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, the word for “way” is hodos.  The word hodos is regularly used figuratively, referring to the ethical way of humans, whether that way be one of righteousness or one of evil.  Such is the case in this verse from Proverbs.  The ethics of a man may seem righteous, but they are righteous only in his own eyes.  To God, a human’s self-contrived way of ethics is a way only to condemnation and damnation.

In worship and Adult Bible Class this past weekend, we talked about the primacy of Scripture at Concordia. Doctrinally, I talked about how:

  • Scripture is inspired. This means that God speaks the very words of Holy Writ – every verb, adjective, noun, and pronoun.  He also speaks all of Holy Writ – from the first chapter of Genesis to the last chapter of Revelation.  Thus, we believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of Scripture.

  • Scripture is inerrant. Because Scripture is inspired by God, and because God is perfect, the Bible contains no mistakes or errors in its original autographs.

  • Scripture is perspicuous. That is, Scripture is clear!  You don’t need a PhD in theology to understand the Bible.  Any Christian can read and study this book.

  • Scripture is sufficient. Although Scripture does not tell us everything we might want to know about God, it does tell us everything we need to know about God, for it tells us of our sin and our need for a Savior.

  • Following this primer on the doctrine of Scripture and its authority, we then considered together a Psalm 119, which well extols the value of Scripture.  The Psalmist writes:

    I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word. I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. (Psalm 119:101-104)

    In the Septuagint’s translation of this Psalm, as in Septuagint’s translation of Proverbs, we find the word hodos used in its ethical sense.  In verse 101, when the Psalmist announces, “I have kept my feet from every evil path,” the Greek word for “path” is hodos.  Again, in verse 104, when the Psalmist says, “I hate every wrong path,” the word is hodos.  The Psalmist despises the way that seems right to a man.  Instead, he desires to follow the way of God, as given in his Word: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105).  The righteous hodos of God is to be found in his Word.

    “Keep the commands of the LORD your God and walk in his ways” (Deuteronomy 28:9). Again, the word for “ways” is hodos.  The ways of God are to be found in the commands and Word of God, as Moses so aptly reminds us.  But make no mistake about it:  God’s holy Way, as given in the Scriptures, is no sterile system of ethics, contained only in some tepid tome.  For in the Scriptures, a Way of God is revealed which offers us eternal life.

    In John 14:6, we again hear of a hodos.  Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”  The word for “way” is hodos.  In the midst of a host of human futile “ways” Jesus declares himself the sole “Way” to God.

    It is no surprise, then, that the earliest Christians called themselves followers of “the Way” (cf. Acts 22:4).  For they knew that the ways of man, no matter how righteous they might seem, lead only to death.  The Way who is Jesus, however, leads to life eternal.

    Jesus is the Way.  And Jesus’ Way is revealed to us in the pages of a book which the Psalmist says is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.  Scripture too, then, is God’s Way.  May we cling to God’s Way of Scripture and God’s Way of his Son.  For here we have the sure and certain Way of life.  May we follow this Way, believe this Way, be forgiven by this Way, and read this Way.  Read your copy of the Way today.

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    Entry filed under: ABC Extra.

    On Baptism, Babies, and Salvation… On Prayer – Matthew 6:5-13

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