Scripture’s Sufficiency Celebrated by David
There is perhaps no grander description of the nature, power, and purpose of the word of God then that which is provided by David in Psalm 19. After proclaiming and praising the graciousness of God in revealing his glorious self, matchless power, and inexhaustible knowledge to humanity through his creation (vv. 1–6), the king turns the attention of his pen to God’s written revelation.1
“The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul.
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether” (vv. 7–9).
The Nature of the Word
David makes use of six different titles for the Scriptures he’s describing, all of which end with a statement of to whom they belong and from whom they originate—“of the Lord.”
God teaches his flawless doctrine throughout “the whole run and rule of sacred Writ.”2 His word is his reliable testimony, bearing perfect witness to his character and will. The Scriptures communicate God’s right expectations of and principles for humanity’s productivity. They are his flawless and illuminating commandments. When the Almighty speaks it is awe-inspiring and worship-inducing and what he says faultlessly determines right and wrong.
Like examining a priceless gem from different angles, the psalmist expresses his praise for the incomparable nature of God’s beautiful and multi-faceted word. It is without blemish, without equal, and without deficiency. In it God perfectly, purely, reliably, and efficaciously reveals his will, standards, demands, character, and expectations to his people. It is sufficient.
The Functions of the Word
But David doesn’t stop there. Interwoven into his description of the nature of God’s word are statements of the functions of God’s word. Not only does he honour what the Scriptures are—i.e., their sufficiency—but he also eulogizes what they’re for—i.e., their intended purpose.
According to the psalmist, God’s word restores the soul and makes wise the simple. It revives that which is decaying under affliction and enlightens the otherwise ignorant. The Scriptures bring rejoicing to the heart and enlightenment to the eyes. For God’s people they are not a burden but a thrill, giving wisdom and insight to the dumb and dim. What God has revealed endures forever and is wholly righteous. Its teachings, purity, and precepts are of perpetual and never-expiring obligation and, at the same time, could not be more true from beginning to end.
God’s word is perfectly sufficient. But, for what? It is sufficient—lacking nothing necessary—for providing spiritual healing, wisdom, joy, illumination, guidance, and morality. For the purpose for which it was given, Scripture is enough.
It is of little wonder that, after this brief reflection on the nature and power of God’s word, David is moved to declare his affection for it, claiming it to be “more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb” (v. 10).
Next week, to the New Testament!
1 “The nineteenth psalm is one of meditative praise. The psalmist, looking abroad over the whole world, finds two main subjects for his eulogy—first, the glorious fabric of the material creation (vers. 1–6); and, secondly, the Divine Law which God has given to man (vers. 7–11).” H. D. M. Spence-Jones, ed., Psalms, vol. 1, The Pulpit Commentary (New York, NY: Funk & Wagnalls Co., 1909), 128.
2 C. H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, vol. 1 (McLean, VA: MacDonald Publishing Co., 1975), 272.