Verse of the Day

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Study of the Scriptures - Session 10: Wednesday, 17 June 2015 at Faith Baptist Fellowship Church Lake Ariel, PA

The Study of the Scriptures
Session 10, Wednesday 17 June 2015
Faith Baptist Fellowship Church
Lake Ariel, PA

Review Sessions 1-9[1]

The Means God Uses: The Scriptures, the Holy Spirit, and the Church

“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” (John 5:39)

1. Placing trust in God: The ability of God and the sufficiency of the Scriptures — Coming to the Scriptures with Faith

2. Putting man in his place: The inability of fallen man and an understanding of the responses of the creature to the revelation of God — Coming to the Scriptures with Humility

3. The Unity of the Word of God: the First, Progressive, and Full Mention Principles of Interpretation — Coming to the Scriptures with Hope

4. The Diversity of the Contexts within the Canon of Scripture — Coming to the Scriptures with Respect

5. The Humiliation of Incarnational Hermeneutics — Coming to the Scriptures with Caution

6. Putting the Scriptures in their Place: The Historical Perspective in Bible Study — Coming to the Scriptures with Perspective

7. Familiarity Breeds Contempt - Coming to the Scriptures without Presumption

8. Texts and Translations - Coming to the Scriptures with Thanksgiving

9. Three Issues With Unfulfilled Prophecies - Coming to the Scriptures with Consistency

Lex Rex:[2]
Slow down, Simplify, and Separate

The Death of the One Room Schoolhouse:
Were children better educated in the old one room schoolhouses like in Little House on the Prairie? Were they more literate, etc.?

The Birth of the Pocket Calculator:
Were children better at math before electronic calculators became available? Why was that true?

The Advent of Television:
Are children today growing up better equipped in critical thinking and ability to use their imaginations than a century ago before the advent of television and computer videos? Why is that?

The Discipline of the Chalkboard:
Were you ever disciplined in school by having to go in front of the class to the blackboard, and write something 100 times? How did that work out for you?

2 Corinthians 1:12 — “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 to you-ward.”

2 Corinthians 11:3 — “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

Watch The Cedarmont Kids performing this song on YouTube at [accessed 15 JUN 2015].

Shaker Hymn[3]

'Tis a gift to be simple, 'tis a gift to be free,
'Tis a gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight
'Till by turning, turning we come round right.


Deuteronomy 17:18-20 — 18 And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law[4] in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: 20 That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.[5]

Dt. 31:9 — And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests the sons of Levi, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and unto all the elders of Israel.

Dt. 31:26 — Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.

2 Chr. 23:11 — Then they brought out the king's son, and put upon him the crown, and gave him the testimony, and made him king. And Jehoiada and his sons anointed him, and said, God save the king.

Although some teach that this copy of the Law would be written out for the king by the Levitical priests, this does not seem to be warranted, and may miss both the focus of the context, and the point concerning the making of this copy.

E.g., on verse 18 the New Revised Standard Version reads: “…he shall have a copy of this law written for him…”

Also, C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch: “…written out by the Levitical priests….does not involve writing with his own hand (Philo), but simply having it written.”[6]

Translations that read “…for himself…” contra the New Revised Standard Version:

New American Standard Bible, English Standard Version, Holman Christian Standard Bible, New International Version, New Living Translation, Revised Standard Version, Berkeley Version, Modern Language Bible (New Berkeley Version), and George M. Lamsa.[7]

An interesting dynamic equivalent translation of verse 18 is found in the New English Bible:
“When he has ascended the throne of the kingdom, he shall make a copy of this law in a book at the dictation of the levitical priests.”

Contra Keil and Delitzsch, see e.g., Daniel Block:

“According to this Mosaic mis̆paṭ hammĕlûkâ, “Charter for Kingship,” in the future the reigning king is to write for himself a copy of “this Torah” on a seper, a written document….The Levitical priests, who in 10:6–9 were assigned the role of custodians of the Decalogue, are now presented as custodians of the Torah from whom the king receives the copy and in whose presence he copies it.”[8]

In this regard Moses’ Torah differs radically from Hammurabi’s Law code, whose concern was to govern the conduct of his subjects, not him-self. The closest extra-Biblical analogue to Deut 17:14–20 is found in the early first millennium bc Babylonian document named by W. G. Lambert “Advice to a Prince” (Lambert, Babylonian Wisdom Literature 110–15). This document does indeed contain instructions for a prospective king. However, neither here nor in any other ancient Near Eastern document do we find a king enjoined to write “for himself ” a copy of the laws given to the entire nation to rein in his own exercise of power.[9]

“The king envisioned by Moses was to write a copy of the Torah for himself in the presence of the priests, who as representatives of God would hold him accountable for his personal conduct.”[10]

Also, Matthew Henry, is quite clear on this issue, and waxes eloquent on the profit from the task commended here.

“He must write himself a copy of the law out of the original, which was in the custody of the priests that attended the sanctuary, Deu 17:18. Some think that he was to write only this book of Deuteronomy, which is an abstract of the law, and the precepts of which, being mostly moral and judicial, concerned the king more than the laws in Leviticus and Numbers, which, being ceremonial, concerned chiefly the priests. Others think that he was to transcribe all the five books of Moses, which are called the law, and which were preserved together as the foundation of their religion….Though he had secretaries about him whom he might employ to write this copy, and who perhaps could write a better hand than he, yet he must do it himself, with his own hand, for the honour of the law, and that he might think no act of religion below him, to inure himself to labour and study, and especially that he might thereby be obliged to take particular notice of every part of the law and by writing it might imprint it in his mind. Note, It is of great use for each of us to write down what we observe as most affecting and edifying to us, out of the scriptures and good books, and out of the sermons we hear. A prudent pen may go far towards making up the deficiencies of the memory, and the furnishing of the treasures of the good householder with things new and old. [3.] He must do this even when he sits upon the throne of his kingdom, provided that he had not done it before. When he begins to apply himself to business, he must apply himself to this in the first place. He that sits upon the throne of a kingdom cannot but have his hands full. The affairs of his kingdom both at home and abroad call for a large share of his time and thoughts, and yet he must write himself a copy of the law.”[11]

There are some differences of opinion regarding how much of the Law the king was required by this command to copy.

Jack S. Deere: “The education of a king consisted of his copying, reading, and following carefully the Law and these decrees, that is, the entire Book of Deuteronomy (not just this small section of vv. 14–20). This would insure a right spirit within the king (i.e., humility and obedience) and a long dynastic succession.”[12]

John Calvin: “Because the demonstrative pronoun is used, some think that only the book of Deuteronomy is referred to, but without good reason. I make no doubt but that the whole sum of doctrine is included, which is delivered both here and in Exodus and Leviticus.”[13]

C. W. Bingham, the editor of Calvin’s commentaries on Exodus through Deuteronomy, is quite clear on the fact that the king is to make his own copy, and not to “subcontract” this work out: “C. seems to overlook the command that it should be transcribed by the king himself, of which, notwithstanding the opinion of some ancient commentators, the words appear to leave no doubt.”[14]

On another occasion another copy was made.

Deuteronomy 27:1-8 — 1 And Moses with the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, Keep all the commandments which I command you this day. 2 And it shall be on the day when ye shall pass over Jordan unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, that thou shalt set thee up great stones, and plaister them with plaister: 3 And thou shalt write upon them all the words of this law, when thou art passed over, that thou mayest go in unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, a land that floweth with milk and honey; as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee. 4 Therefore it shall be when ye be gone over Jordan, that ye shall set up these stones, which I command you this day, in mount Ebal, and thou shalt plaister them with plaister. 5 And there shalt thou build an altar unto the LORD thy God, an altar of stones: thou shalt not lift up any iron tool upon them. 6 Thou shalt build the altar of the LORD thy God of whole stones: and thou shalt offer burnt offerings thereon unto the LORD thy God: 7 And thou shalt offer peace offerings, and shalt eat there, and rejoice before the LORD thy God. 8 And thou shalt write upon the stones all the words of this law very plainly.

Joshua 8:31-35 — 30 Then Joshua built an altar unto the LORD God of Israel in mount Ebal, 31 As Moses the servant of the LORD commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of whole stones, over which no man hath lift up any iron: and they offered thereon burnt offerings unto the LORD, and sacrificed peace offerings. 32 And he wrote there upon the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel. 33 And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel. 34 And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law. 35 There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them.

What does this have to do with us? — Slow down, Simplify, and Separate

Revelation 1:1-6 — 1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: 2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.  3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. 4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; 5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Revelation 5:8-10 — 8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. 9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

Phil Collins, “Hand Copying Scripture Practice Tips”

1.      “Identify a passage that you would like to interact with or spend time memorizing.
2.      Commit to writing out a whole book of the Bible instead of isolated sections, especially of narrative style books. This will help you view the book as a whole, understanding its complete message in context.
3.      Pick a specific notebook which will be dedicated to your hand copying.
4.      Find a quiet place that allows you to focus on what you’re writing.
5.      Quiet your thoughts by praying for the Holy Spirit to reveal his truth to you in the passage and help you focus.
6.      Begin writing slowly, focusing on each word and what it means in the immediate and broader contexts.
7.      Take your time as you write. The goal is not to finish writing out the passage but to spend time in God’s Word, to spend time with God. Savor the process as you would an important letter that you just received.”[15]

One company markets products tailored for this, although you can easily do your own with a blank journal, or a three-ring binder. See the Journibles 17:18 Series online.[16]

The time invested depending on your penmanship and writing speed will vary, but e.g., 2 John (13 vv.) took me 10:43; and 3 John (15 vv.) took me 12:29 to copy by hand. At that rate you could figure on an average of one minute per verse or less.

Dillon Burroughs, “It Is Finished: Thoughts on Writing Out Every Word of the Bible”

“On December 31, 2010, at the age of 34, I began handwriting the New Testament. My goal was to complete one chapter per weekday, all 260 chapters, in one year. Nine months later I had completed the New Testament and started with Genesis in the Old Testament. I thought that if I continued at my current pace, I could finish by 2015 at the latest.

Instead, on June 17, 2013, at the age of 37, I completed the final word of Malachi. The 899-day journey left me speechless. For some time, I was not sure what to say or think.”

See the rest of Dillon’s blog post for his reflections on this experience two months later.[17]

Now perhaps the “Shaker Hymn” we listened to in the introduction will take on new significance.

Watch The Cedarmont Kids performing this song on YouTube at [accessed 15 JUN 2015].

Shaker Hymn

'Tis a gift to be simple, 'tis a gift to be free,
'Tis a gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight
'Till by turning, turning we come round right.

John T. “Jack” Jeffery
Pastor, Wayside Gospel Chapel
Greentown, PA

End Notes:

[1] The notes from the previous sessions have been posted to the Wayside Gospel Chapel blog at

[2] From the title of the book by Samuel Rutherford published at Oxford, U.K., in 1644; on Internet Archive at [accessed 17 JUN 2015]. The English translation of this Latin title is “The Law is King.” The full title is actually a bit longer: Lex, rex: the law and the prince, a dispute for the just prerogative of king and people, containing the reasons and causes of the defensive wars of the kingdom of Scotland, and of their expedition for the ayd and help of their brethren of England. In which a full answer is given to a seditious pamphlet, intituled, Sacro-sancta regum majestas, penned by J. Maxwell.

[3] The tune this is sung to is known also as the Shaker Melody, Shaker Song, and “Simple Gifts.” It was written by Shaker Elder Joseph Brackett, Jr. (1797-1882) in 1848. It was later published by Edward D. Andrews in a collection of Shaker melodies titled “The Gift to Be Simple.” It became most familiar due to Aaron Copeland’s five variations on this theme in the seventh section of his orchestral suite “Appalachian Spring.” See “Simple Gifts” on Wikipedia at [accessed 7 OCT 2014]; and “Appalachian Spring” on Wikipedia at [accessed 7 OCT 2014]. The Cedarmont Kids may be seen performing this song on YouTube at [accessed 15 JUN 2015]. Aaron Copland's “Variations on a Shaker Melody” (1956) may be heard performed by the United States Army Field Band on YouTube at [accessed 15 JUN 2015]. A video with some beautiful pictures accompanying the music “Appalachian Spring: Doppio movimento (Shaker melody “The gift to be simple”)” by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, and conducted by Leonard Bernstein is on YouTube at [accessed 15 JUN 2015]. Marilyn Horne sings the words (initial 2 minute segment) on YouTube at [accessed 15 JUN 2015]. Many other beautiful recordings of this song have been done by world class artists including Judy Collins, Jewel, Alison Krauss, Cantus, and Nana Mouskouri. In my opinion it is one of the most beautiful and memorable compositions I have encountered. I place it up there with Anton Dvorak's incorporation of the song “Goin' Home” in the Largo (2nd movement) of his Symphony No. 9 in E minor, From the New World, and Jean Sibelius' “Finlandia Hymn” heard towards the end of his symphonic poem, Finlandia.

[4] The translation of this phrase from Hebrew into Greek in the Septuagint (LXX) is the source of the title of the book, deuteronomion, which occurs also in Josh. 8:32. See C. H. Waller, “Deuteronomy,” in Ellicott’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: A Verse By Verse Explanation, ed. Charles John Ellicott (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, n.d.; 1981 reprint of 1959 ed.), II:52.

[5]  18 καὶ ἔσται ὅταν καθίσῃ ἐπὶ τῆς ἀρχῆς αὐτοῦ, καὶ γράψει ἑαυτῷ τὸ δευτερονόμιον τοῦτο εἰς βιβλίον παρὰ τῶν ἱερέων τῶν Λευιτῶν,  19 καὶ ἔσται μετ̓ αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἀναγνώσεται ἐν αὐτῷ πάσας τὰς ἡμέρας τῆς ζωῆς αὐτοῦ, ἵνα μάθῃ φοβεῖσθαι κύριον τὸν θεὸν αὐτοῦ φυλάσσεσθαι πάσας τὰς ἐντολὰς ταύτας καὶ τὰ δικαιώματα ταῦτα ποιεῖν,  20 ἵνα μὴ ὑψωθῇ ἡ καρδία αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ τῶν ἀδελφῶν αὐτοῦ, ἵνα μὴ παραβῇ ἀπὸ τῶν ἐντολῶν δεξιὰ ἢ ἀριστερά, ὅπως ἂν μακροχρονίσῃ ἐπὶ τῆς ἀρχῆς αὐτοῦ, αὐτὸς καὶ οἱ υἱοὶ αὐτοῦ ἐν τοῖς υἱοῖς Ισραηλ. Emphasis mine.
Septuaginta: With morphology. 1996 (Dt 17:18–20). Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft.

[6] Commentary on the Old Testament in Ten Volumes, C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Vol. I: The Pentateuch: Three Volumes in One, trans. James Martin (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., n.d., 1975 reprint), I:386.

[7] The Holy Bible From Ancient Eastern Manuscripts, Containing the Old and New Testaments Translated from the Peshitta, The Authorized Bible of the Church of the East (Nashville: A. J. Holman Co., 1968).

[8] Daniel I. Block, “Recovering The Voice Of Moses: The Genesis Of Deuteronomy” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 44:3 (Sep 2001), pp. 395-396.

[9] Block, op. cit., pg. 396, note 56.

[10] Daniel I. Block, “The Burden of Leadership: The Mosaic Paradigm of Kingship (Deut. 17:14–20),”  Bibliotheca Sacra 162:647 (Jul 2005), pg. 277; the third article in a four-part series “Rediscovering the Gospel according to Moses,” originally delivered 3-6 FEB 2004 as the W. H. Griffith Thomas Lectures at Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, TX.

[11] Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: Complete and unabridged in one volume (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, n.d., 1994 reprint), pg. 258.

[12] Jack S. Deere, “Deuteronomy,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty, eds. John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), pg. 295, s.v. 17:18–20. Emphasis Deere’s.

[13] John Calvin, and C. W. Bingham, Commentaries on the Four Last Books of Moses Arranged in the Form of a Harmony (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2010), s.v. Dt 17:18.

[14] C. W. Bingham, in Calvin and Bingham, op. cit., editorial note.

[15] Phil Collins, “Hand Copying Scripture Practice Tips” (2014), on Bible Gateway at [accessed 17 JUN 2015]. See also: Phil Collins, “Hand Copying Scripture” (2014), on Bible Gateway at [accessed 17 JUN 2015]; Phil Collins, “Hand Copying Scripture Resources” (2014), on Bible Gateway at

[16] [accessed 17 JUN 2015].

[17] Dillon Burroughs, “It Is Finished: Thoughts on Writing Out Every Word of the Bible” (3 SEP 2013), on Holy Writ at [accessed 17 JUN 2015].

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