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Seven Precepts to Understanding the Bible

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Preface

I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

Psalms 138:2

“Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” How much glory and honor is God placing upon his word by putting it above his name?

Deuteronomy 28:58 If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD;

Psalms 111:9 He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.

Psalms 29:2 Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

Psalms 148:13 Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.

Jeremiah 31:35 Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name:

It is sure, many more verses extolling God’s name could be listed. It is glorious and fearful, his name alone is excellent and reverend. Yet God has magnified his word above his name.

It must now be asked, if God’s name is glorious, to be praised and reverenced, what is our attitude suppose to be toward his word which he puts above his name?

You Christians look after a document containing enough dynamite to blow all civilization to pieces, turn the world upside down and bring peace to a battle-torn planet. But you treat it as though it is nothing more than a piece of literature.

Mahatma Gandhi 1869-948
Leader of the Indian independence movement

And it is the English Bible we are thinking about, the Bible in the vernacular, the tongue most of us best understand. One is grateful to have studied Hebrew and Greek, just to be able to tell others who have not that they do not require either to hearken to our Heavenly Father’s voice. He has an advantage as a scholar who can utilize the original tongues; but the Bible was not given to scholars, but to the people, and “hear we every man in our own tongue wherein we were born” (Acts 2:8)

“How to Master the English Bible”,
James M. Gray, D.D.
The Winona Publishing Co. 1904

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