Psalm 119:130

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 130. The entrance of thy words giveth light. No sooner do they gain admission into the soul than they enlighten it: what light may be expected from their prolonged indwelling! Their very entrance floods the mind with instruction for they are so full, so clear; but, on the other hand, there must be such an "entrance," or there will be no illumination. The mere hearing of the word with the external car is of small value by itself, but when the words of God enter into the chambers of the heart then light is scattered on all sides. The word finds no entrance into some minds because they are blocked up with self conceit, or prejudice, or indifference; but where due attention is given, divine illumination must surely follow upon a knowledge of the mind of God. Oh, that thy words, like the beams of the sun, may enter through the window of my understanding, and dispel the darkness of my mind!

It giveth understanding unto the simple. The sincere and candid are the true disciples of the word. To such it gives not only knowledge, but understanding. These simple hearted ones are frequently despised, and their simplicity has another meaning infused into it, so as to be made the theme of ridicule; but what matters it? Those whom the world dubs as fools are among the truly wise if they are taught of God. What a divine power rests in the word of God, since it not only bestows light, but gives that very mental eye by which the light is received -- "It giveth understanding." Hence the value of the words of God to the simple, who cannot receive mysterious truth unless their minds are aided to see it and prepared to grasp it.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 130. -- The opening of thy words enlightens, making the simple understand. The common version of the first word (entrance) is inaccurate, and the one here given, though exact, is ambiguous. The clause does not refer to the mechanical opening of the book by the reader, but to the spiritual opening of its true sense by divine illumination, to the mind which naturally cannot discern it. --Joseph Addison Alexander.

Verse 130. -- Entrance, lit. opening, i.e. unfolding or unveiling. --J.J Stewart Perowne.

Verse 130. -- The entrance of thy words giveth light. The first entrance, or vestibule: for the Psalmist wishes to point out that only the beginnings are apprehended in this life; and that these beginnings are to be preferred to all human wisdom. --Henricus Mollerus.

Verse 130. -- The entrance of thy words giveth light, etc. The beginning of them; the first three chapters in Genesis, what light do they give into the origin of all things; the creation of man, his state of innocence; his fall through the temptations of Satan, and his recovery and salvation by Christ, the seed of the woman! The first principles of the oracles of God, the rudiments of religion, the elements of the world, the rites of the ceremonial law gave great light unto Gospel mysteries. --John Gill.

Verse 130. -- The entrance of thy words giveth light. A profane shop man crams into his pocket a leaf of a Bible, and reads the last words of Daniel: "Go thou thy way, till the end be, for thou shalt rest and stand in thy lot at the end of the days," and begins to think what Iris own lot will be when days are ended. A Gottingen Professor opens a big printed Bible to see if he has eyesight enough to read it, and alights on the passage, "I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not," and in reading in the eyes of his understanding are enlightened. Cromwell's soldier opens his Bible to see how far the musket ball has pierced, and finds it stopped at the verse: "Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth; and walk in the ways of thine heart and the sight of thine eyes; but know thou that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment." And in a frolic the Kentish soldier opens the Bible which his broken hearted mother had sent him, and the first sentence that turns up is the text so familiar in boyish days: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden," and the weary profligate repairs for rest to Jesus Christ. --James Hamilton, 1814-1867.

Verse 130. -- He amplifies this praise of the word of God when he saith that the entrance thereof, the first operant of the door of the word, gives light: for if the first entrance to it give light, what will the progress and continuance thereof do? This accuseth the age wherein we live, who now of a long time hath been taught by the word of God so clearly, that in regard of time they might have been teachers of others, yet are they but children in knowledge and understanding. But to whom doth the word give understanding? David saith to the "simple": not to such as are high minded, or double in heart, or wise in their own eyes, who will examine the mysteries of godliness by the quickness of natural reason. No: to such as deny themselves, as captive their natural understanding, and like humble disciples submit themselves, not to ask, but to hear; not to reason, but to believe. And if for this cause, naturalists who want this humility cannot profit by the word; what marvel that Papists far less become wise by it, who have their hearts so full of prejudices concerning it, that they spare not to utter blasphemies against it, calling it not unprofitable, but pernicious to the simple and to the idiots.

And again, where they charge it with difficulty, that simple men and idiots should not be suffered to read it, because it is obscure; all these frivolous allegations of men are annulled by this one testimony of God, that it gives light to the simple. --William Cowper.

Verse

  1. -- Light. This "light" hath excellent properties.
  2. It is lux manifestans, it manifests itself and all things else. How do I see the sun, but by the sun, by its own light? How do I know the Scripture to be the word of God, but by the light that shineth in it, commending itself to my conscience! So it manifests all things else; it layeth open all frauds and impostures of Satan, the vanity of worldly things, the deceits of the heart, the odiousness of sin.
  3. It is lux dirigens, a directing light, that we may see our way and work. As the sun lighteth man to his labour, so doth this direct us in all our conditions: Ps 119:
  4. It directs us how to manage ourselves in all conditions.
  5. It is lux vivificans, a quickening light. "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life": Joh 8:
  6. "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light": Eph 5:
  7. That light was the life of men: so is this spiritual life; it not only discovereth the object, but helpeth the faculty, filleth the soul with life and strength.
  8. It is lux exhilarans, a comforting, refreshing, cheering light; and that in two respects.
    1. Because it presents us with excellent grounds of comfort.
    2. Because it is a soul satisfying light. --Condensed from Manton.

Verse 130. -- It giveth understanding. If all the books in the world were assembled together, the Bible would as much take the lead in disciplining the understanding as in directing the soul. It will not make astronomers, chemists, or linguists; but there is a great difference between strengthening the mind and storing it with information. --Henry Melvill.

Verse 130. -- It giveth understanding to the simple. There are none so knowing that God cannot blind; none so blind and ignorant whose mind and heart his Spirit cannot open. He who, by his incubation upon the waters at the creation, hatched that rude mass into the beautiful form we now see, and out of that dark chaos made the glorious heavens, and garnished them with so many orient stars, can move upon thy dark soul and enlighten it, though it be as void of knowledge as the evening of the world's first day was of light. The schoolmaster sometimes sends home the child, and bids his father to put him to another trade, because not able, with all his art, to make a scholar of him; but if the Spirit of God be master, thou shalt learn, though a dunce: "The entrance of thy word giveth light, it giveth understanding to the simple.": No sooner is the soul entered into the Spirit's school, than he becomes a proficient. --William Gurrnall.

Verse 130. -- To the simple. He does not say, "giveth understanding" to the wise and prudent, to learned men, and to those skilled in letters; but to the "simple." -- Wolfgang Musculus.

Verse 130. -- To the simple. This is one great characteristic of the word of God, -- however incomprehensible to the carnal mind, it is adapted to every grade of enlightened intelligence. --W. Wilson.

Verse 130. -- The simple. The word is used sometimes in a good sense, and sometimes in a bad sense. It is used in a good sense, First, for the sincere and plain hearted: "The Lord preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me": Psalms 116:6 . "For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly toward you": 2 Corinthians 1:12 . Secondly, for those that do not oppose the presumption of carnal wisdom to the pure light of the word: so we must all be simple, or fools, that we may be wise: "If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise" ( 1 Corinthians 3:18 ); that is, in simplicity of heart submitting to God's conduct, and believing what he hath revealed. --Thomas Manton

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 130. --

  1. The essential light of the word.
  2. The dawn of it in the soul.
  3. The great benefit of its advancing day.

Verse 130. --

  1. The source of divine light to man: "Thy words."
  2. Its force. It forces an entrance into the heart.
  3. Its direction: "unto the simple."
  4. Its effect: "it giveth understanding." --G.R.

Verse 130. -- A Bible Society Sermon.

  1. Evidence from history and from personal experience that God's word has imparted the light of civilization, liberty, holiness.
  2. Argument drawn from hence for the further spread of the word of God. -- G.A.D.

Verse 130. -- The Self evidencing Virtue of God's Word.

  1. Prove it. "Entrance of thy word giveth light." If this be true, God's word is light for only light can give light. But light is self evidencing; it needs nothing to show its presence and its value but itself; so the word of God, show its own truth and divinity to the believer.
    1. His conscience it; in its convictions of sin; in its
      peace through the stoning blood.
(b) heart proves it; in its outgoings of love to the God,
the Christ, and righteousness revealed.
(c) His experience in affliction and temptation it; in the
solace and in the strength given by the word.

  1. Answer an objection. "If God's word were self evidencing as light is, then everyone would acknowledge it to be truth." Answer, No; for the law holds good universal experience, that the "entrance" only of light gives light. Light cannot enter a blind man.
    1. The Scriptures teach that men by nature blind.
(b) If all men did perceive, by merely reading and hearing
word, that it was light and truth, paradoxical as it may
seem, the would not be truth.
(c) Hence the want of universal acknowledgment is an
objection, but a confirmation.

  1. Show its importance.
(a) It the believer independent of church authority for his
faith.
(b) He need trouble to examine books of evidence; his faith
is valid enough them.
(c) He who receives the word into his soul shall be
satisfied of truth and value. --J.F.
Read Psalm 119:130