THY WORD IS A LAMP UNTO MY FEET
By John C. Carpenter
The psamlist wrote, I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment
is exceeding broad. O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day. Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine
enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand
more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts. I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word. I have
not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me. How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments. I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according
unto thy word (Psalms 119:96-107). Many in Christendom believe that the word word in verse 105 above refers to the bible. But, is
this interpretation accurate? Let us take a look at these verses. There are five reasons why word refers, not to the bible, but to
the supernatural speaking, operation, and movement of God's Holy Spirit.
First of all, in verse 105, the word word is translated
from the Hebrew word dabar, which means a matter as spoken of, chronicles, oracle, speech. A simpler definition might be what is spoken
or speech. Dabar refers to speech or speaking, and although we may believe that God the Father periodically speaks to the believer
via the bible, and He certainly can do that if He wills, scripturally and technically, the bible may guide us, but it is not God's
primary mechanism to speak to the believer in Christ.
The second reason why the word does not refer to the bible is that dabar can,
and should, be differentiated from all the other pertinent Hebrew words mentioned in the context of verse 105. For example, in verse
96, the English word commandment is translated from the Hebrew word mitsvah, which means a human or divine command, ordinance, or
precept. In verse 97, the word law is translated from the Hebrew word torah, which means a precept, statute, the Decalogue or Pentateuch,
or law. In verse 99 the word testimonies is translated from the Hebrew word eduth, which means testimony or witness. In verse 100,
the word precepts is translated from the Hebrew word piqqud, which means appointed, mandate of God or the law, commandment, precept,
or statute. In verse, 101, as in verse 5, word is again translated from the Hebrew word dabar, which means a matter as spoken of,
chronicles, oracle, speech. In verse 102, the word judgments is translated from the Hebrew word mishpat, which means verdict, judgement,
sentence, formal decree of human or divine law, or determination. In verse 103, the word words is translated from the Hebrew wordenrah, which means commandment, speech, or word. In verse 104, the word precepts is translated from the Hebrew word piqqud, which
means appointed, a mandate of God, the Jewish Law, commandment, precept, or statute. In verse 106, the word judgments is translated
again from the Hebrew word mishpat, which means verdict, judgement, sentence, formal decree of human or divine law, or determination.
Lastly, in verse 107, the word word is again translated from the Hebrew word dabar, which means a matter as spoken of, chronicles,
oracle, or speech. The Hebrew words translated into the English words commandment, law, testimonies, precepts, word, or judgments
refer to various parts of the old testment, but cannot be correctly translated as speaking in any form. Dabar, which means to speak
or speaking, is certainly different from all these other translations of the above mentioned Hebrew words which do not refer to speaking
in any way.
THE SCRIPTURE OF TRUTH
The third reason is that, within the old testament, the Engligh word scriptures is not
mentioned one time - not one. However, in the book of Daniel, the English word scripture [singular] is mentioned only once in the
entire old testament: But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in
these things, but Michael your prince (Daniel 10:21). In verse 21, the English word scripture is translated from the Hebrew word kathab,
which means something written, a writing, a record, a book, register, scripture, or writing. In the old testament, however, the wordwritten is found 145 times in 141 verses and does refer to what has been written within the old testament scriptures. Clearly, dabar refers
to what is spoken, while kathab refers to what is written. The reason this distinction is confusing is that many in Christendom continue
to refer to the bible as the word, when in the old and new testament, the bible refers to itself as scripture.
The fourth reason
the word in verse 105 does not refer to the bible is that the bible, or word as many call it, does not bring life. The bible, or scriptures,
do however, testify of Christ, who does have life. The Lord chastened some Jews, who depended upon the scriptures for their righteousness,
life, and salvation, with these words: Search the scriptures [Greek, graphe, meaning holy Writ, that which is written, scripture];
for in them [the scriptures] ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that
ye might have life (John 5:39-40). Christ is teaching here that it is not the scriptures or bible that is the source of life, but
Christ who is the one source of life. The psalmist wrote, Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. I have sworn,
and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments. I am afflicted [Hebrew, anah, meaning abased, browbeaten, humbled,
ravished], very much: quicken [Hebrew, chayah, meaning keep alive, make alive, promise life, nourish, preserve, recover, restore life,
save, be whole] me, O LORD, according unto thy word (Psalms 119:105-107). Immediately after the psalmist mentioned that he had been
afflicted, he immediately asked God for assistance and relief by asking for quickening, or that which brings new life. In context,
the best definition of chayah [Hebrew, chayah, meaning keep alive, make alive, promise life, nourish, preserve, recover, restore life,
save, be whole] is that which brings life, preserves, or savees. We know that the word word in verse 105 does not refer to the bible
because the bible [scriptures] does not bring eternal life, but does testify of Christ. Paul wrote the Corinthian church, Not that
we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers
of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter [Greek, gramma, meaning writing, letter note, epistle,
book, written, or scripture]. Writing to Timothy, the apostle Paul referred to our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death,
and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel (2 Timothy 1:10). Jesus gives us the clearest connection between
the miraculous functioning of His Holy Spirit and life with these words: It is the spirit [Greek, pneuma, meaning Christ's spirit,
the Holy Spirit] that quickeneth [Greek, zoopoieo, meaning revitalize, make alive, or give life]; the flesh profiteth nothing: the
words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life (John 6:63). Speaking of His own words, the Lord told His disciples,It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words [Greek, rhema, the speaking and movement of the Holy Spirit] that
I speak unto you, they are [the speaking of the Holy] spirit, and they are [bring] life (John 6:63).
The fifth, and final reason,
is that the Hebrew word dabar is found many times within the old testament, and seems to refer to the speaking of the Holy Spirit
to men. For example, the scriptures instruct us that God, through His Holy Spirit, prophesied to Abram: After these things the word [Hebrew,dabar, a matter as spoken of, chronicles, oracle, speech] of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy
shield, and thy exceeding great reward. And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of
my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine
heir.And, behold, the word [Hebrew, dabar, a matter as spoken of, chronicles, oracle, speech] of the LORD came unto him, saying, This
shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad,
and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be (Genesis
15:1-5). At the very moment, the very instant, that God spoke to Abram, what was it that spoke to Abram? At that moment, there was
no bible as we know it. It could not have possibly been the bible that spoke to Abram - it was God's Holy Spirit, His dabar, that
spoke to Abram.
In 1 Samuel, God spoke to Samuel about king Saul: Then came the word [Hebrew, dabar, a matter as spoken of, chronicles,
oracle, speech] of the LORD unto Samuel, saying, It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following
me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night (1 Samuel 15:10-11). Through
His Holy Spirit, God, expressing His sorrow at Saul being King, spoke either to the ears, spirit, or mind of Samuel. This word, ordabar, of the Lord that God spoke to Samuel was not the bible, but the speaking, movement, and operation of God's Holy Spirit.
prophesied via the Holy Spirit, who spoke to Him: And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As
the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word [Hebrew,dabar, a matter as spoken of, chronicles, oracle, speech]. And the word [Hebrew, dabar, a matter as spoken of, chronicles, oracle,
speech] of the LORD came unto him, saying, Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is
before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. So he went
and did according unto the word [Hebrew, dabar, a matter as spoken of, chronicles, oracle, speech] of the LORD: for he went and dwelt
by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the
evening; and he drank of the brook. And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in
the land (1 Kings 17:1-7). In these scriptures, God clearly spoke, via the Holy Spirit, to Elizah, and Elijah clearly repeated the
instructions of the Lord to Ahab. Again, the dabar, or speaking, appears to be from God's Holy Spirit, not the bible.
Spirit spoke to Isaiah: Then came the word [Hebrew, dabar, a matter as spoken of, chronicles, oracle, speech] of the LORD to Isaiah,
saying, Go, and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears:
behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years (Isaiah 38:4-5).
Through His Holy Spirit, God also spoke to the prophet Jeremiah:Then the word [Hebrew, dabar, a matter as spoken of, chronicles, oracle, speech] of the LORD came unto me, saying, Before I formed
thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto
the nations. Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child:
for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak (Jeremiah 1:4-7).
Spirit spoke to Ezekiel: And the word [Hebrew, dabar, a matter as spoken of, chronicles, oracle, speech] of the LORD came unto me,
saying, Son of man, what is that proverb that ye have in the land of Israel, saying, The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth?
Tell them therefore, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will make this proverb to cease, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel;
but say unto them, The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision. For there shall be no more any vain vision nor flattering
divination within the house of Israel. For I am the LORD: I will speak [Hebrew, dabar, a matter as spoken of, chronicles, oracle,
speech], and the word [Hebrew, dabar, a matter as spoken of, chronicles, oracle, speech] that I shall speak shall come to pass; it
shall be no more prolonged: for in your days, O rebellious house, will I say the word [Hebrew, dabar, a matter as spoken of, chronicles,
oracle, speech], and will perform it, saith the Lord GOD (Ezekiel 12:21-25).
Many more old testament verses could be given showing
that God's word [Hebrew, dabar, a matter as spoken of, chronicles, oracle, speech], at least in many cases, refers to the speaking
and operation of God's Holy Spirit, but the point has been made.
THUS SAITH THE HOLY GHOST
The scriptures clearly teach
that it is not the bible, but the Holy Spirit which speaks. Jesus, Himself, taught For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of
your Father which speaketh in you (Matthew 10:20), while in the book of Acts, we read, when they agreed not among themselves, they
departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers (Acts 28:25). In Acts,
we see further evidence that the Holy Spirit speaks; And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands
and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver
him into the hands of the Gentiles (Acts 21:11). As a final example, Paul wrote Timothy, Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in
the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils (1 Timothy 4:1). Lastly,
the author of the book of Hebrews teaches, God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the
prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us [via the Holy Spirit] by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom
also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the
word [Greek, rhema, operation and speaking of the Holy Spirit] of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the
right hand of the Majesty on high (Hebrews 1:1-3). Christ told His disciples, It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth
nothing: the words [Greek, rhema, utterance matter or topic, words that pour forth, narration] that I speak unto you, they are [the
speaking and operation of the Holy] spirit, and they are [bring, result in] life (John 6:63).
THY WORD IS A LAMP UNTO MY FEET
we mentioned earlier, in verse 105 the word word is translated from the Hebrew word dabar, which means a matter as spoken of, chronicles,
oracle, speech. A simpler definition might be what is spoken, speaking, or speech. In the simplest terms, Dabar refers to speech or
speaking by the Holy Spirit. The word lamp is translated from the Hebrew word niyr [lamp has four other spellings and words as well],
which means to glisten, a lamp, fire, fiery, the burner, candle, or light. A simpler definition might be any thing which gives off
light. The word feet is translated from the Hebrew word regel, which means a foot as used in walking, by implication a step, journey,
or time. A simpler definition might be journey [as referring to our life]. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet could be better translated
as follows: the supernatural speaking of the Holy Sprit is He who provides revelation and guidance in our daily journey through life.We know from the new testament that light refers to revelation, because Paul wrote believers in Ephesus ...whatsoever doth make manifest [Greek,phaneroo, to render apparent, appear, declare, make known, reveal, or shew] is light [Greek, phos, to shine or make manifest, luminousness]
(Ephesians 5:13). Paul also defined hidden things as darkness when he wrote to the believers in Corinth about the hidden [the opposite
of revelation] things of darkness (1 Corinthians 4:5). Clearly, it is the miraculous, supernatural operation, working, movement, and
revelation of God's Holy Spirit, and not the bible, which enlightens and guides our walk in life and brings us life. AMEN.