An Explanation of the Difference Between the Seven Biblical Legal Terms Applied to the Word of God

Seven is a biblical number for completion. It begins in Genesis with the six days of creation followed by a rest upon the seventh day. It proceeds thus throughout all of scripture with an easily recognized relationship to a finishing point. For example: The bible applies seven legal terms to the word of God. Each legal application conveys a distinct meaning and should not be tossed off as though they are mere synonyms for the same thought. The longest chapter in the bible, Psalm 119, reveals the seven fold, multifaceted character of God’s Word. In this brief discussion, we address these legal divisions as they are applied in the first nine verses of Psalm 119.

” Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways. Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments. I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly,” (Psalm 119:1-8).

Here we go:

Law, meaning, “to teach”, is referenced in verse one. This legal term can represent an individual directive or it can include the entire Pentateuch. This is the Torah, a reflection of what is holiness. It defines a step-by-step process of dealing with sin.

Testimonies, as seen in verse two, is defined as the witness of men concerning conversion or grace, but rather it is defined as the power of the bible to reveal unto mankind what God says concerning Himself and His will. See the most powerful example of this in the words, “I AM THAT I AM”.

Precepts, as addressed in verse four, means “the duties of man toward God”. This involves those components of the Word that reflect the orders of a superior officer when directing the expected behavior of a subordinate. It encompasses the instructions to praise, honor, glorify, and to seek the ways of God.

Statutes, used in verse five, defines the permanent, inflexible requirements that God engraves upon the heart of a Christian. See this as regulations such as “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil,” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-22). These are the regulations that God imposes upon His children.

Commandments, verse six, is revealed as the unquestionable authority of the King of Kings to issue absolute laws that contain an inherent necessity of obedience from the subjects. To love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, body, soul, and spirit is not a mere duty that can be ignored, nor is it a regulation that one might break; it is an absolute and unavoidable condition of acknowledged Lordship. Though falling short in many ways, we love God because within us is a Spirit that humbles Himself to that commandment.

Righteous Judgments, expressed in verse seven, reveals the supreme decisions that God, as sovereign ruler of creation, enacts to ensure that human behavior conforms to His personal standards. Though wickedness may be permitted moments of abandonment, it is never given complete authority. God in His righteous judgment has promised justice to this world. “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God,” (Revelation 19:11-13).

When you first begin reading, you may have noticed that I stopped on verse eight. If you paid attention, you also realized that these eight verses included only six of the seven fold, legal terms for the multifaceted character of God’s Word. To see the final term, we must include verse nine. Yet I hold this verse separate because it is an all-embracing term.

Word, as applied in verse nine, is the answer to “how can a young man cleanse his way?” This term, meaning “to say”, reflects Gods spoken truths as they are recorded in scripture. Just as God created the heavens and the earth in six days, and then rested on the seventh, the Word encompasses all that is defined or relayed via the first six legal applications of God’s word. It is the confirmation and the assurance that the bible, in any version that is recognized by the Holy Spirit that abides within you, is the true and exact Word of God.

Now I cannot close this discussion without reminding each of you that the bible is not a law book, it is a schoolteacher. Please do not use any component of this discussion as a means of browbeating your Christian brothers and sisters. Though we must hold to personal, traditional, and core values, remember always that we worship in spirit and in truth. Rather than hammering with the law, let us always remember the words as spoken by a lady who met Jesus by the stones of a well, “Come see a man”.