” Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path. “
– Psalm 119:105 –
Commentary by Enduring Word
Your word is a lamp to my feet: The Psalmist felt that as he walked the road of life, the word of God made his steps clear. He would not know where to step without the guidance of God’s word.
It is possible to walk the path of life not knowing where our steps fall. To use the analogy, we don’t know if our foot will step on good ground or dangerous ground; we are not self-aware. God’s word will be a lamp to our feet.
Simply said, the Bible should help us walk the way God wants us to walk. Think of all the different words we use to describe how a person walks: stroll, saunter, amble, trudge, plod, dawdle, hike, tramp, tromp, slog, stomp, march, stride, sashay, glide, troop, patrol, wander, ramble, tread, prowl, promenade, roam, traipse, mosey, and perambulate. The different words show that there are many different ways to walk, and each of them says something.
How are Christians to walk?
· Worthy (Ephesians 4:1)
· Uprightly (Isaiah 57:2)
· In the light (1 John 1:7)
· Humbly (Micah 6:8)
None of these are possible without the word of God lighting our way.
The picture of a lamp says something. “Thus is our passage in a dark and perilous way irradiated by the lamp and light of the word. But except the lamp be lighted – except the teaching of the Spirit accompany the word, all is darkness – thick darkness. Let us not be content to read the word without obtaining some light from it in our understanding.” (Bridges)
A light to my path: The word of God not only showed him where his feet stepped, but also the path he should remain upon. It showed him the next few steps to take.
We need the Bible to teach us right from wrong. We certainly do have some inner sense of this in our conscience; but our conscience can be weak, ignorant, or damaged. The word of God is higher even than our conscience, and it teaches our conscience.
“This is not convenient guidance for one’s career, but truth for moral choices; see, for example, the kind of ‘snare’ and ‘straying’ that are implied in 119:110.” (Kidner)
“One of the most practical benefits of Holy Writ is guidance in the acts of daily life; it is not sent to astound us with its brilliance, but to guide us by its instruction.” (Spurgeon)
Your word is a lamp . . . and a light: These pictures show us that the word of God is light and brings light; it doesn’t make things darker or harder to understand. It is a light book, not a dark book.
“This stanza emphasizes the clarity of Scripture, the attribute of the Bible that meant so much to the Protestant Reformers, who also called it perspicuity. What they meant by clarity of perspicuity is that the Bible is basically comprehensible to any open-minded person who reads it.” (Boice)
Not all parts are equally clear and easy to understand; and it is helpful to have wisdom from others in what they have seen in the Scriptures. Yet at its core, the Bible can be understood, and Christians dounderstand it. Think of all the common ground Christians, even of greatly different denominations, have together:
· The truth of a Triune God
· The truth of the full deity and full humanity of Jesus
· The truth of our sin
· The truth of Jesus death for us to save us from sin and death
· The work of the Holy Spirit in leading us to faith
· The establishment of the church, the community of believers
· The return of Jesus Christ
· The resurrection of the dead
Taken together, these are a lot! In general, Christians do understand the Bible in agreement.
This doesn’t mean that everyone’s opinion on the meaning of a Bible passage is just as good as everyone else’s opinion. It is really just the opposite; that the Bible is clear enough to be understood, and this means that some so-called understandings are wrong.