Scripture Notes


Psalm 132:16.

Our attention has been called to a mistake in a comment upon this scripture in the book entitled Pilgrim Songs. We had said that the word is the same as in the last clause of verse 9, and thus that the addition "aloud" was hardly justified. The word is the same, but its repetition was overlooked. The force of the repetition in the Hebrew language is to intensify the meaning of the word. For example, in Psalm 40:1 (and many such instances might be adduced), we read, "I waited patiently for the Lord": exactly rendered it would be, "In waiting I waited for the Lord" - that is, the repetition of the word gives a deeper and more sustained significance, and this is shown by translating "I waited patiently." The Authorised Version therefore is correct in giving in our scripture, "Her saints shall shout aloud for joy," as the equivalent of the original. Thus it is beautifully seen, as very often pointed out, how exceedingly-far beyond the desires of His people the heart of God responds to their petitions. They had cried (to go no further), "Let Thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let Thy saints shout for joy." In transcendent grace He replies, "I will also clothe her priests with salvation: and her saints shall shout aloud for joy." Blessed be His name for ever!


1 Corinthians 11:19-20.

Grave disorders, it is evident, had crept into the assembly at Corinth, and in order to correct them, the apostle does two things: he lays bare the root of the confusion, and he communicates to them the true character of the Lord's Supper as he had received it from the Lord Himself. It is rather with the former we have to do in this note, in reply to our correspondent. Paul then, manifestly with grief of heart, writes that he had heard that, when they came together in the assembly, there were divisions (schools of opinion and the like) among them. (See chapter 1:10-13, etc.) He partly believed it for the reason here given, that "there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you." It was Satan's work to make these divisions, and thus to destroy the realised unity of the saints; but God used them to test and sift His people, so that those He approved might be made manifest. They were manifested, we apprehend, by standing apart from all these different schools, and by using all diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. They refused to be parties to strife and divisions, or to join those who said they were of Paul, or those who claimed to be of Apollos, and in so doing they were approved of God. The saddest feature of all was that these divisions were seen even when they professedly came together to eat the Lord's Supper. It is quite probable that the Supper followed upon a "love-feast"; but what happened? Instead of partaking of it unitedly or together, the rich, as it would seem, ate by themselves apart from the poorer members of the assembly. At any rate, this is implied by the apostle's words, "For in eating everyone taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken." This he tells them plainly is not to eat the Lord's Supper, as even the least-instructed Christian would readily admit. It may be true that such abuses are rarely seen in the present day; but it is well to remember that man, man in all that he prides himself in, has passed away for ever in the "Lord's" death from the eye of God; and that to make any distinctions among the saints is to lose sight of that which is announced as often as we eat the bread and drink the cup. And who, it may be inquired, who, in the presence of all the love of the heart of the Lord Jesus, of which the bread and the cup speak to us, could wish to give man a place when gathered to eat the Lord's Supper?


1 Peter 3:8.

"Courteous" is scarcely the right rendering of the original in this scripture. "Friendly" would be much more exact, as the conduct enjoined should flow from affection. The reading, however, which is generally accepted gives another word altogether, and is translated "humble-minded." And this word is instinctively felt to be more in harmony with the spirit of the whole passage, every feature of which presents Christ Himself to us. Another change might be profitably made. The phrase "having compassion one of another" is really a paraphrase upon one word, and the exact meaning of this is "sympathising." It is not a little remarkable that sympathy is only found three times in the Scriptures: first, it is used of our Great High Priest, who is not One who cannot "sympathise with our infirmities"; secondly, in the same epistle the apostle says that the Hebrew saints had "sympathised with prisoners" (Hebrews 10:34, New Translation); and lastly, in our scripture from Peter. We may return to the significance of this on another occasion. Finally, the term "pitiful" in Peter is far better given as "tender-hearted." Now look for one moment at the force of this beautiful passage, and as we do so let us remember that it flows from the blessed example of Christ which the apostle has commended to us in chapter 2, that we should follow His steps. First, then, we are to be "all of one mind," for the Spirit of God could not possibly lead to diverse judgments (compare 1 Cor. 1:10); then "sympathising," feeling with one another in their sorrows and afflictions; "love as brethren," holy love being the circle in which we live, and move, and have our being, so that we may express it one to another; "tender-hearted," not harsh and censorious; and, lastly, "humble-minded," breathing the spirit of Him who was meek and lowly in heart. The reader can travel through the next verse for himself; and we are well assured that if anyone possess the characteristics of verse 8 he will speedily answer to the directions of verse 9. One reflection may be permitted. What a testimony to our blessed Lord would be rendered in this dark world if His people were, even in a small measure, marked by these traits of His own life in their mutual relationships! He Himself said, "By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another."