Chris Walker

March 6, 2023

“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving 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”

Psalm 19:7-8

In Psalm 19:7-8, David pens four succinct couplets, pairing a declaration about the nature of God’s word with a statement on the impact of God’s word in each one. 

The nature of God’s word is described in terms that emphasize its truth and reliability. It is perfect, sure, right, and pure. In a world of doubt, deceit, error, propaganda, and shifting opinions, it is hard to overemphasize the simple, yet profound statement of what God has given us in his word. His word is perfect and pure: without error, confusion, or insufficiency. His word is sure and right: it is trustworthy, it will not become obsolete with the passage of time, nor will any other voice give credible reason to doubt it. In God’s word we find a sure anchor of truth for the mind and soul.

Next, David describes the impact of God’s word: it revives the soul, makes wise the simple, rejoices the heart, and enlightens the eyes. These are substantial claims, but God’s word has proven them again and again. We witness the impact of God’s word on children, who grow up hearing it in Sunday School and from the pulpit. We see it in some who had no religious background whatsoever, but in God’s providence came across a Bible, decided to read it, and were saved. We hear of it from men and women who hungered for something solid and true in the confusion of the last few years and found their souls revived and their eyes enlightened by reading God’s word or listening to God’s word preached on podcasts or YouTube. God continues to demonstrate the truth of Psalm 19:7-8 in the lives of his people.

From its inception, the PCA has listed faithfulness to the Scriptures as its first distinctive. Psalm 19 offers a reminder of why this distinctive is so important. Specifically, this Psalm requires us to ask ourselves three questions as a denomination. 

First, will we continue to treasure the word of God? Psalm 19 goes on to say that God’s word is more to be desired than gold and sweeter than dripping honeycombs. Will our churches and leaders delight in God’s word as our source of truth? Will we consider faithfulness to God’s word more valuable than any other goal, standard, or mark of success? 

Second, will we continue to trust the word of God? Scripture is sufficient for all matters of life and godliness. Will we be tempted to set Scripture aside in favor of newer, more “relevant” voices, or will we regard it as the perfect, pure standard for the issues of our day? Will we be tempted to use other methods, emotional appeals, or cultural relevancy to lure hearts to consider Jesus, or will we trust the power of Scripture to convert and sanctify souls?

Third, will we continue to tell the word of God? We do not know what pressures or opposition to the gospel may come in the years ahead. What we do know is that preaching God’s word in our pulpits and sharing God’s word with our neighbors is God’s appointed means for gathering and perfecting his church. We are not in control of the outcomes. But we are called to be faithful to the Scriptures, proclaiming his word wherever God puts us. 

Chris Walker is senior pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania