How Is the Word a Lamp to Our Feet and a Light to Our Path?

Award-winning Christian Novelist and Journalist
How Is the Word a Lamp to Our Feet and a Light to Our Path?

The notion of God’s word serving as a light is a common theme in the Bible, mentioned often enough that even the hint of a lamp or light evokes the thought of the Lord. But one of the Psalms contains language so visual that it brings great comfort and reassurance to believers.

In Psalm 119:105, the psalmist declares,

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”

He’s talking here about God’s laws and precepts, the express rules and guidelines handed down from the Lord to help us live a better and more righteous way in accordance with his wishes and his will. These rules, all carefully written down in Scripture, are meant to be a pathway for us, steering us in the way to live and walk each day.

Our God is a good and loving God, and he has been clear about what he wants from us since the beginning. Not only are these directives written down in the Bible, but they also have been revealed to various prophets both in the Old and the New Testament. God wants us to know him, and he wants us to follow his will and his ways, which are only good for us.

Let’s take a look at how, specifically, the Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.

What Does It Mean That the Word Is a Lamp for My Feet?

In verse 105, the Hebrew used for “word” is dabar, meaning a message, commandment, or promise. We know the psalmist is talking here about God’s word specifically based on what he’s said throughout this chapter. Prior to this declaration, he talks about how important it is that we do what the Lord asks and stay obedient to his commands.

For “lamp,” he uses the Hebrew ner, meaning a burning lamp, such as one fueled by olive oil. But this also has a deeper meaning, implying life and the light of truth. It’s the kind of light that shines brightly and exposes all.

For “feet,” he uses the Hebrew regel, which refers to legs, feet, or the lower aspects of the body in general.

Just like a person might take a bright lamp or lantern and shine it to guide their steps, aiding them so they cannot stumble and fall, God’s word serves as a light so we don’t stumble in our walk to be obedient to him and his laws.

What Does It Mean That the Word Is a Light to Our Path?

While the second part of this phrase (“a light to our path”) is similar, the psalmist uses slightly different word choices. For “light” he uses the Hebrew or, meaning brightness, broad daylight, sunshine, or light of day. For “path” he uses the Hebrew netiba, which is a road or a byway, much like a traveler would take on a journey.

This is no dark and gloomy passage, but rather a well-lit road, one that a person can walk in assuredness and confidence. God’s word is not a mystery, a path obscured and confusing, but rather a clear, direct, and helpful explanation of how we must live to be in full alignment with our Creator.

How Is the Word Like Light or a Lamp?

It is important to God that we know what he expects of us. In Genesis, he told the first man and woman they were free to do anything except eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17). When they disobeyed him, there were consequences — God drove them from his garden. Later, God enjoyed a special relationship with the prophet Moses, giving him many commandments, laws, regulations, and other helpful decrees so the people could live in accordance with God’s wishes and experience God’s blessing.

God tells us what he desires repeatedly. In Deuteronomy 11, he told the people through Moses that they should obey his commands so they could have strength, so they could live long in the land the Lord swore to their ancestors, and so they could enjoy rain and eat and be satisfied (v. 8-15).

If they follow God’s commands, God will take care of them, bless them, and provide for them. As Moses says in Deuteronomy 10:12-13, “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?”

These commands — the content of God’s word — is for our own good. And when we read and know God’s word, we can better follow his commands because we are wise, knowledgeable, and confident in what is expected of us.

Psalm 1:2 tells us that blessed is the person whose “delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.” Psalm 119:11 talks about storing up or hiding God’s word in our heart so we might not sin against him.

Jesus as the Word

Many years later, God sent his son, Jesus, to be our savior and show us the way to salvation. Jesus was a human representation of God’s word. John 1:1 tells us, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” And a few lines later, he tells us, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

God sent us his word in the form of his son, Jesus. Jesus showed us daily what it means to walk with the Lord, and he modeled for us what it looks like to be in perfect alignment with the Father and his wishes.

Those of us who follow Jesus and believe in him as our savior are supposed to model our lives after him. While as humans we know we can never be perfect, we are tasked with striving to be Christlike in all we do, think, and say.

We are to shine the light in the world so all may see. As Jesus taught us in Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

In John 10:27, Jesus says his sheep listen to his voice — he knows them, and they follow him.

In Matthew 4, 8, 9, 19, and in many, many other instances, he repeatedly urged people, “Follow me.”

As he expressly told his disciples in Matthew 16:24, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”

As the light of the world, the Word of God who lights our pathway and assures us salvation, Jesus illuminates our path and shows us the way to go.

He underscored this critical truth in John 14:6, telling people, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

He is indeed the light for our path.

Jesus paid our sin debt and assured our salvation. Those of us who follow him and accept him as our savior know that when we are walking in the way of Christ, we are walking in the way of God’s word. We also know that God’s word is written down for us, “God-breathed” and “useful” (2 Timothy 3:16) in helping us live in a righteous, wise, and godly manner.

Let us strive — together and individually — to remain true to the word of God and do our very best to live in accordance with God’s commands.  

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/francescoch

Jessica Brodie author photo headshotJessica Brodie is an award-winning Christian novelist, journalist, editor, blogger, and writing coach and the recipient of the 2018 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Award for her novel, The Memory Garden. She is also the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism. Her newest release is an Advent daily devotional for those seeking true closeness with God, which you can find at Learn more about Jessica’s fiction and read her faith blog at She has a weekly YouTube devotional and podcast. You can also connect with her on Facebook,Twitter, and more. She’s also produced a free eBook, A God-Centered Life: 10 Faith-Based Practices When You’re Feeling Anxious, Grumpy, or Stressed