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What the Bible says about God's Word as Pure
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Psalm 19:8

In verse 8, statutes means "mandates," "precepts," "rules," deriving from a root that means "engraved" or "permanent." Here, the word is used in a narrower sense than the two previous words, meaning "something appointed by authority." Rules or statutes are given to guide. It is interesting that the holy days are referred to as "statutes" in the Bible. Tithing is also a statute. They are things appointed by an authority and given to guide.

Tied to this is the word right, and interestingly, it means "equal," "just," "proper." The whole phrase teaches that the rules are not merely arbitrary appointments made by someone of authority but are equal and just in themselves. David is challenging us to think of any rules, statutes, or guidance commanded by any person or body that even comes close to matching what God gives as fair and proper. This is why they produce rejoicing as people experience obedience to them.

Think about this time, this age, in which we live. Federal laws already on the books (and more in the process of development in Congress) are gradually isolating the perceived enemies of the government. How many laws bring advantages to special interest groups and discomfort and hardship to all the rest? We will never know. That is the point that David is making. God's statutes are fair—always. There is not one iota of meanness in them. Love saturates every aspect of every one of them.

"Commandment" is another word that the Bible uses frequently as a name of the law of God. Like "statutes," it has a narrower application than the first two words: They are free from imperfection, stain, or any kind of corrupt tendency. That is why David writes, "The commandment of the LORD is pure."

If they are pure, if they are fair, if they cause rejoicing, and if they convert—why would God want to do away with a perfect guide for life? Is this not part of His Word? It is not "just extraneous material." How can people say they "no longer apply" to Christians? The thought boggles the mind!

The word "pure" gives the sense of brightness and cleanness, leading to the next benefit: "enlightening the eyes." The commandments give light so we know where to walk, how to walk without bumping into or falling over obstacles in the path of our life, going off the path all together, or never even finding it.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part Fourteen)

Proverbs 30:5

The word translated as "pure" is actually more closely related to the word "refined." "Pure" is not wrong, but refined means "reduced to a pure state." Every word of God has been reduced to a pure state.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Revelation 2-3 and Works

Proverbs 30:5-6

The word "pure" might be better translated "refined." Its background is putting something to the test and it works. The advice has been refined; it is as pure as it can be. Then he adds, "Don't add to it, and it will be a shield to you."

Why will it protect us?

As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven [similar to refined, tested, pure]; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. (Psalm 18:30)

Protection from what? We need protection from all of the things that bondage and sin imply. If we lack the refined, pure, unadulterated Word of God, the only alternative is the word of men! Nowhere in God's Word does He says the word of men is pure, true, or refined. The word of men is limited to the experiences of men and by their prejudices. Even though a man may try, with all sincerity, to report something as honestly and accurately as he can, he does not have the breadth of experience or the unprejudiced mind of God.

If we trust the words of men in place of the words of God, we will not be protected from bondage. We will slide back into it.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Freedom and Unleavened Bread

John 17:17

Truth indeed does mean "factual," something that is right and good. However, we need to understand it in a slightly different way. The Greek word that is translated as "truth" is also equally well translated into "real" or "reality." God's Word is reality. Another English equivalent is the word "genuine"—God's Word is genuine.

Let us consider a few contrasts at this point. God's Word is factual as contrasted to flawed. Man's word is flawed; some of it is true, some is not true. Man's word is corrupted by the fact that, even though he may have good intentions, even though he may be sincere in wanting to tell the truth, his experience just does not support his ability to give us the whole truth. God sees all things, hears all things, knows all things. He is omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal, "having neither beginning of days nor end of life (Hebrews 7:3). He is the sum total of everything, and if He tells us something, it has behind it the weight of everything that He is. His Word, then, is not flawed because it is impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:18). Thus, God's Word is factual, as contrasted to the flawed word of man.

In addition, God's Word is pure (Psalm 119:140; Proverbs 30:5; I Peter 2:2), as contrasted to that which is contaminated. God's Word is genuine in contrast with what is hypocritical. The word of man may look good on the outside, but it is not all that good all the way through. God's Word is reality, as contrasted to fantasy or vanity.

It is good to understand this because, if we are going to use the Word of God in the right way, we have to believe it. We not only have to believe it, we must trust it. When Jesus says that God's Word is truth, and that we are sanctified by that Word, we need to understand it from the point of view, the perspective, of God: that His Word is pure, genuine, factual, and reality—and all these are contrasted to man's word. Despite having the best of intentions and sincerity, man cannot even begin to come close to ultimate truth of the Word of God.

Whose word will we use as evidence on which to base our lives if we desire to live by faith, by trust?

John W. Ritenbaugh
Faith (Part Three)

1 Corinthians 5:8

We are generally familiar with the word "truth," the same word that appears in John 17:17, "Your word is truth." This word is used in a number of ways in the New Testament. It can mean "genuine" or "real or reality" as opposed to mere appearance. In John 17:17, it is used in the sense of something derived from a pure and holy God that declares the will of God, as compared to that which is from the world, which is sullied by the experiences of men.

Here in I Corinthians 5, it is used in the sense of truth in conduct. In other words, the truth has been taken in by means of words, believed, then been put into practice. "Truth" in the Greek is very similar to sincerity, which precedes it, and is contrasted with malice and wickedness, which are works of the flesh. The word translated sincerity means "pure or clear." The English word "sincere" is an accurate translation of the Greek word. Sincere comes from the Latin and means "without wax," implying that nothing at all contaminates it. It describes behavior that is not contaminated. The word of God in I Corinthians 5:7 has been imbibed by the person, and it has resulted in a pure, sincere, realistic, and genuine behavior or conduct.

The connections there are obvious. As surely as strength and vitality falls on the heels of eating the right kind of food, so does the vitality of the mind—that is, by the Word of God the life of God in us is strengthened so we can grow into an adult. Eating unleavened bread is symbolic of eating the pure and unadulterated Word of God, which is spirit. That spirit, in turn, becomes the basis for thinking within new parameters—parameters that always take God into account.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Freedom and Unleavened Bread


 




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