Black woman smiling in a field

Psalm 44:18 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

18 Our heart has not turned back,
Nor do our steps deviate from your path;

We think of some of the most notorious killers in human histories, such as serial killers,

  • Dennis Rader (the BTK Killer, murdered 10),
  • Ricardo Ramirez (The Night Stalker, murdered 13), Ted Bundy (Murdered 30-36),
  • John Wayne Gacy (Murdered 33-34)
  • Andrei Chikatilo (The Butcher of Rostov, murdered 52)
  • Gary Ridgway, (The Green River Killer, Murdered 70), and
  • Pedro Alonso Lopez (raping and killing more than 300 girls)

While the atrocities of these serial killers are horrendous, they pale in comparison to ones who are taking the everlasting lives of billions. Satan the Devil and his millions of demonic spirit creatures are those killers. The apostle John tells us in the book of Revelation, “Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil [and his demon horde] has come down to you in great wrath because he knows that his time is short!” (Rev. 12:12) We discussed the time of this text back in chapter 1, showing that this takes place before the Great Tribulation. Satan’s objective is to “blind the minds of the unbelievers.” (2 Cor. 4:3-4) One way that he accomplishes this, “Satan himself disguises himself as an angel of light.” (2 Cor. 11:14) Satan also uses this world to cater to the fallen flesh, which contributes to some adopting his attitude, his aims, thought, speech and conduct. 1 Cor. 2:11-16) Yes, our “adversary the devil walks around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” (1 Pet. 5:8) His goal is twofold, (1) to keep the blind leading the blind, and (2) to cause the disciples of Christ to drift away, turn away, fall away, become sluggish, become hardened by the deception of sin, or to tire out. (Heb. 2:1; 3:12-13; 6:6, 12; 10:39; 12:13; Gal 6:9) It is sad to say, but he also uses pseudo-Christianity too, wolves, who are in sheep’s clothing. Not all of the 41,000 denominations that claim to be Christian are leading to eternal life.

The Father and the Son know our minds and hearts, as they created the first human couple. It was said of the Father to the Israelites, ‘for I am your healer.” (Ex. 15:26) Luke said of Jesus, that he “went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” (Ac 10:38) Therefore, we have the help we need to become spiritually strong and to remain that way until the return of Christ. Even if we should stumble spiritually, we also have the help to regain our spirituality. There is one prerequisite, though, which is found at the beginning of Exodus 15:26, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of Jehovah your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes.”

However, it is only by the undeserved kindness of the Father and Son that we have this protection against Satan, our own fleshly desires, as well as the world that accommodates those desires. While it is true that being born again is in but a moment, the old person took years to develop and will take some time to remove and put on the new person. When we consider that some are struggling with serious issues, which have plagued them for years, such as smoking, abusing alcohol and drugs, womanizing, gambling and so, we need not miraculously assume that they will disappear overnight. No one is perfect spiritually. The fact is, we are growing spiritually and will continue to do so until the return of Christ, at which time we will receive the perfection that was lost to Adam and Eve.

Sadly, the spark of interest that was at the beginning of our walking with God grew stagnant for many, meaning that their spiritual growth died out. They had deceived themselves that they were healed from the old person, and so they became apathetic in their prayer, personal Bible study and their application of what they were learning, as well as their Christian meeting attendance. In time, they suffered a relapse into the old person they were. In some case, they became more spiritually sick than they had been. They opened themselves up to the wiles of Satan and his demons, which are very eager to take advantage of their missteps. This should concern every one of us as we walk with God throughout this evil age we live in, as it is a battle between the light and the darkness.

The Holy Bible that we have is the inspired, inerrant Word of God, and is compared to “eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.” (Rev. 3:18) This likely reminds of Jesus applied spit that he had mixed with dirt, when he miraculously healed a blind man. (John 9:1–12). At that time, he told his opponents, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.” (John 9:41) Are we going to be like the Laodicean church, believing that we have spiritual insight, if we are spiritually weak, or have grown spiritually weak? Alternatively, we could recognize our spiritual apathy, ‘so that we may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.’ (Col. 1:9) Jesus prayed to the Father, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17) Jesus had told the Samaritan woman at the well, “true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” (John 4:23)

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Gen. 1:27) While we are imperfect, we still reflect the qualities of God, such as wisdom, love, and justice. Unlike the animals, we have the mental powers and ability to reason, which enables us to see the significance of our Creator’s qualities that we too possess in a small measure, and are able to use for our own good. The Scriptures describe the mental powers and ability to reason by the use of the words mind and conscience.


Having the Right Mind

The mind is the center of consciousness that generates thoughts, feelings, ideas, and perceptions, and stores knowledge and memories. It gives us the capacity to think, understand, and reason. It also gives us concentration, or the ability to concentrate. The Bible uses the term mind in several different ways. One such way is that of taking in knowledge, with the capacity to think, understand, and reason, helping us to arrive at certain conclusions. For example, we might say when we study this book, ‘I am trying to keep my mind on that Spiritual Sicknesses of Mind and Heart chapter.’ What would we mean by that statement? We would mean that we are trying to keep our minds alert, concentrating, and observant to take in all the information contained therein. This thought process is the activity of thinking, i.e., ideas, plans, conceptions, or beliefs produced by mental activity. In speaking of the Bereans, Paul said, “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness [Gr., prothumias, readiness of mind],[1] examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” Simon J. Kistemaker in Exposition of the Acts of the Apostles writes,

The reason for the openness of the Bereans lies in their receptivity to and love for God’s Word. For them, the Scriptures are much more than a written scroll or book that conveys a divine message. They use the Old Testament as the touchstone of truth so that when Paul proclaims the gospel they immediately go to God’s written Word for verification. They do so, Luke adds, with great eagerness. Note well, the adjective great indicates that they treasure the Word of God. Luke ascribes the same diligence to the Bereans as Peter does to the Old Testament prophets, who intently and diligently searched the Word and inquired into its meaning (1 Peter 1:10). The Bereans open the Scriptures and with ready minds learn that Jesus has fulfilled the messianic prophecies.[2]

Another such way that the Bible uses the term mind is the ability store the knowledge we have taken in and reasoned upon in our memories. For example, when we such things as, “I will keep that in mind,” which means that we will store them in our memory, for future recall. The apostle Paul wrote to Titus saying, “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work.” This ability is yet another way that we are made in the image of God, as Jeremiah tells his readers,

Jeremiah 44:21 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

21 “As for the smoking sacrifices that you burned in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, you and your forefathers, your kings and your princes, and the people of the land, did not Jehovah remember them and did not all this come into his mind?


Within our mind is the capacity to think, understand, and reason on the knowledge (i.e., information in mind) which we have acquired, enabling us to make decisions. It depends on the information taken in, as to whether our decision will be wise or unwise. Paul exhorted the Corinthians that they “all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (1 Cor. 1:10) In other words, they were to come to the same biblical truths. Paul told the Romans, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.” (Rom 8:5) Those in the world, who are alienated from God, but who still have a measure of conscience, which can determine right from wrong, entertain wrong thinking on the fallen flesh, awakening wrong desires, which affects their course of action. If they entertain wrong thinking and follow wrong desires for a time, they will begin to build a mindset and a pattern of behavior. This over time, left unchecked, will eventually lead to a personality that is very much at odds with God. When an unbeliever finds God and becomes a Christian, he will need a completely new mindset and a pattern of behavior. Concerning this, Paul said,

Romans 12:2 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Colossians 3:9-10 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old man[3] with its practices 10 and have put on the new man[4] who is being renewed through accurate knowledge[5] according to the image of the one who created him,

Humans have the capacity of having various attitudes of mind. When we think of a high-minded person, this is a prideful person. Then, again, if we are thinking of a humble-minded person, this is a person, who has a modest and unassuming in attitude about himself. The latter here is the mental attitude that Jesus had. In fact, Paul counseled the Philippians to “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 2:5) Peter also says, “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking.” (1 Pet 4:1) The word spirit can refer to one’s will or sense of self, or somebody’s personality or temperament. This is largely influenced by the mind.

Proverbs 25:28 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

28 As a city broken through, without a wall,
is the man that has no restraint over his spirit. [personality or temperament]

However, we are blessed with another loving gift, another mental power from our heavenly Father at the creation of Adam and Eve. Looking again at Genesis 1:27 it says, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them,” which means that man is born with a moral nature, which creates within him a conscience that reflects God’s moral values. (Rom 2:14-15) It acts as a moral law within. Even in imperfection, we are born with a measure of that conscience, which can be developed toward good or bad. The Word of God develops a Christian conscience. Paul told Titus,

25:28–26:2 The collection begins with three similes (25:28–26:2) on foolish actions. Lack of self-control makes one vulnerable (25:28); the one who cannot maintain such control will always be outmaneuvered by an adversary who keeps emotions in check. Giving honor to a fool is not only inappropriate (snow in summer) but destructive (rain in harvest), as the similes imply (26:1), since he may think of himself as competent and actually try to take charge. Reproaches and curses from a fool are ineffective since people are aware of the source (26:2).[6]

Titus 1:15 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

15 To the pure [persons with a conscience guided by the Bible], all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind [mental power] and their conscience are defiled.

We have to appreciate and realize that even after we take on the new person that Paul spoke of, as well as the mind of Christ, we will still be affected by our inborn leanings of a sinful nature. Really, there is a battle because waging between the two.

1:15. In Matthew 23:25–26, Jesus said, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and ‘Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.… First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will he clean.” In essence. Paul said the same thing: To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure.

True purity resides not in the practice of ritual or in devotion to rules and regulations. Purity that God recognizes and commends comes from within, and person can attain this only through faith in Jesus Christ. Cleansed from with in, that person becomes free to live in purity, washed of all selfishness. The mind, transformed by the truth, ignites the conscience to obey God willingly in all manner of living.

Those who refuse the truth—who stubbornly exalt themselves, who believe they can attain righteousness through self-effort—are impure. Their minds continue in enslavement to false ideas, self-deceptions, and empty philosophies. In such a condition, their consciences remain damaged and dysfunctional. Both their minds and consciences are corrupted. For such individuals, nothing will ever be pure, right, or righteous because they remain defiled within.[7]

Put Off the Old PersonRomans 7:21-25 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

21 I find then the law in me that when I want to do right, that evil is present in me. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind and taking me captive in the law of sin which is in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh, I serve the law of sin.

The good news is that if a person is walking with Christ and according to Scripture, he will no longer be a slave to sin. The sinful leaning will be there, but as long as it is not fed, it will not dominate his life. He will no longer have a life that feeds the beast, such as inappropriate music, television, internet viewing, associations, thinking, and so on. This will give him a clean conscience before God, knowing that he now has a righteous standing, and all his past has been forgiven, cast behind the back of God. There may come times in his life when his sinful nature will attempt to reassert itself, and he will have to take steps of dismissing any wrongful thinking, replacing it with rational Scriptural thinking, as well as intensive prayer, even speaking with a spiritually mature one within the congregation.

In v. 14 Paul reminded his readers of the obvious fact that the law is spiritual. Since it has its origin in God, it must of necessity give expression to the holiness of God’s character. In contrast, Paul acknowledged that he was unspiritual. It takes very little self-examination for the Christian to agree that our life and conduct fall miserably short of the divine expectation. Even though the believer has a new nature acquired by a spiritual rebirth, the old nature continues to exert its maleficent influence. To the church at Corinth, Paul wrote that he could not address them as spiritual but as worldly, that is, unspiritual (1 Cor 3:1). Using a metaphor from slavery he confessed that he had been sold into the captivity of sin as a slave. His times of defeat by the power of the lower nature made him feel like a slave to sin. He did not understand his own actions.98 On a regular basis he failed to carry out what he meant to do; instead he found himself doing the very things he despised.100 Acting in this contrary fashion is what it means to be sold under sin.

In the very act of violating his best intentions, Paul was agreeing that the law is a noble thing (v. 16). If it were not good, he would not have had any sense of guilt when he failed to live up to its standards. His best intentions were one with the law. He concluded that when he acted against his own wishes, it must have been the work of sin that had taken up residence in him (v. 17). It was not the real Paul.102 He was not trying to escape the responsibility for his own actions but to explain how deeply lodged within him was the old corrupt nature. In his failure to live up to his own expectations, sin had taken over and dominated his life. So he confessed that nothing good dwelt in his natural self (v. 18). The old man was totally corrupt. The desire to do the right thing was there,104 but not the power to perform it. Instead of doing the good he desired, he kept on doing the evil he did not want to do (v. 19). He concluded, in v. 20, that if he did that which was contrary to his own deepest desires, the real culprit must have been sin that lived within him. In failing to live out his best intentions, he had fallen into slavery to sin.

The experiences of life led Paul to conclude that whenever he desired to do that which was good, sin reared its ugly head. His desire to do what was right was inevitably confronted by sin’s insistence that he do the opposite. So regular was this opposition that Paul could designate it as a “law.” It was a controlling principle of life. It is true that in his inner self he joyfully concurred with the law of God (v. 22). As the psalmist put it, he was the man blessed by God whose “delight is in the law of the Lord” (Ps 1:2; cf. 40:8). This confession removes the possibility that Paul was speaking about his life before coming to Christ.

Yet at the same time that other principle (v. 23) was at work throughout his body. It was at war against his desire to obey the law of God. This basic conflict is nowhere better expressed than in Gal 5:17–18: “For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want” (cf. Jas 4:1; 1 Pet 2:11). Paul went on to say that this alien power took him captive to the law of sin at work in his members. Romans 7:23 speaks of three laws. By the “law of [his] mind” Paul referred to the principle of rational thought. Goodspeed calls it the “law of [his] reason.” It corresponds to that which Paul knew to be the right thing to do. The relationship between “another law” and “the law of sin” is quite clear; they are undoubtedly to be taken as one and the same. This “law” (read “principle”) is the propensity toward sin that arises from a person’s lower nature. So what I am by nature is in constant conflict with what I aspire to be as a child of God in whom the Spirit of God dwells.110 That conflict will never be settled until, seeing God, we shall be like him (1 John 3:2).

Caught up in this spiritual warfare, Paul cried out: What a wretched man am I! Who is able to free me from the “clutches of my own sinful nature?” (Phillips). The “body of death” was like a corpse that hung on him and from which he was unable to free himself.113 It constantly interfered with his desire to obey the higher impulses of his new nature. Who is able to rescue the believer crying out for deliverance? The answer is, Thanks be to God, there is deliverance through Jesus Christ our Lord (v. 25). Through the death and resurrection of Christ, God has provided the power to live in the freedom of the Spirit (cf. 8:2).

Verse 25b (a separate paragraph in the NIV) summarizes the entire discussion of vv. 13–24. Paul said that he himself (who he really was in Christ) had committed himself to serving the law of God (it was the rational thing to do) but that his lower nature was still a slave to the principle of sin. No modern translation captures the meaning better than the NEB: “In a word then, I myself, subject to God’s law as a rational being, am yet, in my sinful nature, a slave to the law of sin.” Although the chapter ends on this realistic observation, the positive declaration in the first part of v. 25 has prepared us for the exciting truths about to be set forth in the chapter that follows.[8]

For As I Think In My Heart_2nd EditionHaving the Right Heart

The term heart as it is commonly used in the Bible is very much related to this discussion. God is not interested in our outward appearances, but rather the inner man and woman. (1 Sam. 16:7) God’s Word tells its reader, “The refining pot is for silver and the furnace is for gold, and Jehovah tests hearts.” (Pro. 17:3) If we want to be clean in the eyes of the one who examines our heart; then, we must guard against what we take into our heart. Proverbs also says, “If you say, ‘Behold, we did not know this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?” (Pro. 24:12) God can examine our hearts, and he can read our minds, as he knows our very thoughts, and he will know if we are indifferent toward him. The Scriptures also counsels, “Keep your heart [inner person] with all diligence, for out of it flow the springs of life.” (Pro. 4:23) The feelings of love, hate, and everything in between, flow from the human heart, which is the inner person, meaning it is about “life” and death. In other words, how we develop our heart, will be indicative of whether we receive eternal life or not.

The Bible also uses the word “heart” in such a context that it is referring to our mental power.  Moses pressed the Israelites, “Lay it to your heart [your mind] that Jehovah is God.” In addition, later he told them, “Jehovah has not given you a heart [mind] to know.” (Deut. 4:39; 29:4) Whether we are talking about the Hebrew Old Testament or the Greek New Testament, the heart is associated with our intellect and thinking. Speaking to some of the scribes, “Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, ‘Why do you think evil in your hearts?’” (Matt 9:4) We are told at Mark 2:6, “some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts.” Mark 6:52 says, “For they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.”

APPLYING GODS WORDAn overview of Scripture would reveal that God in the Old Testament was searching for right-hearted ones (Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Daniel, Jeremiah, etc.), and in the New Testament he has his disciples searching for right-hearted ones, ones with a receptive heart (Cornelius, Lydia, Onesimus, etc.). He is very much interested in our intentions of the heart, love, reasons, steadfast-faith and affection. When we feed our minds on the Word of God, in serious personal Bible study, of the deeper things of God, as we are doing now, we are planting seeds in the soil of our heart (Matt 13:23). This strengthens us against our own imperfect flesh, the world that caters to that flesh, and against Satan and his horde of demons. When the Spirit inspired, inerrant Word of God grows in our heart, it develops the fruitage of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). What may be grown in our hearts in personal Bible study, in preparation for our meetings, and the attendance of meetings will grow twentyfold if we are actively sharing Bible truths with others. Seeds of truth are reinforced and planted even deeper so doubt cannot get at them (Jude 1:3, 22). The Psalmist tells us, “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in Jehovah.” (Psa. 31:24, ASV) Spiritual strength and maturity are not instantaneous, like being born again; rather they are based on our buying out the time to develop them.–Proverbs 2:1-6

Those who allow themselves to remain spiritual babes (Heb. 5:12-6:1) are (1) making themselves vulnerable to Satanic attacks, (2) deviation from the faith by way of human weaknesses, and (3) doubt, i.e., spiritual sickness. While it is true that “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers,” he also has the ability to close the mind of believers (1 Pet. 5:8), if he is given entry through the wall that protects us, a wall of protection, which exists only through the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Job 1:10-12) We ‘were once alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,’ have now been reconciled to God (Col. 1:21), “to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him.” (Col. 1:22) Remember Adam and Eve, who were perfect in mind and body, and had the natural desire toward good. Yes, we do well to heed the words of Paul to the Corinthians and the Ephesians,

2 Corinthians 11:3 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from a sincerity and pure devotion to Christ.

Ephesians 6:14 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

14 Stand firm, therefore, with your loins girded[9] about with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

Ephesians 6:17 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.


11:3. As determined as he was to fulfill this promise, Paul was also afraid that the Corinthians might be led astray from … sincere and pure devotion to Christ. Prior to Christ’s return, the church is betrothed to him, but the possibility of infidelity and annulment still exist. Paul’s responsibility was to help the church remain sincere and pure in its devotion so the marriage would eventually be consummated.

Once again, Paul drew from the prophecies of Hosea, who spoke of Israel’s apostasy as sexual infidelity (Hos. 2:2–13). This analogy was appropriate in the days of Hosea because many Israelites expressed their apostasy by joining fertility rituals. In a similar way, the Corinthians were tempted by the immoral practices of Corinthian culture.[10]

6:14. After instructions to put on the full armor of God and the promise of the power of God in victory over the devil, Paul specifically describes the various pieces of armor. The belt of truth pictures the large leather belt the Roman soldier wore. It held other weapons and kept his outer garments in place. To put on the belt of truth can be understood as accepting the truth of the Bible and choosing to follow it with integrity.

The breastplate of righteousness pictures the metal armor in the shape of a human torso common to the Roman uniform. To put on the breastplate can be understood as choosing not to harbor and nurture known sin. It is striving to be like Christ and live according to his ways of righteousness.

6:15. Feet fitted with the readiness pictures the hobnailed shoes which kept the soldiers footing sure in battle. To put on these shoes could be understood as believing the promises of God in the gospel and counting on them to be true for you. Faith in these promises yields peace in the Christian’s life.

6:16. The shield of faith pictures the small, round shield the Roman soldier used to deflect blows from the sword, arrow, or spear of the enemy. To take up this shield can be understood as rejecting temptations to doubt, sin or quit, telling yourself the truth and choosing on the basis of the truth to do the right thing.

6:17. The helmet of salvation pictures the Roman soldier’s metal protective headgear. It does not refer to our salvation in Christ. First Thessalonians speaks of the helmet of the “hope of salvation,” which is probably a parallel idea. That being the case, taking the helmet of salvation could be understood as resting our hope in the future and living in this world according to the value system of the next.

The sword of the Spirit pictures the soldier’s weapon sheathed to his belt and used both for offensive and defensive purposes. Taking the sword of the Spirit—defined for us as the Word of God—can be understood as using Scripture specifically in life’s situations to fend off attacks of the enemy and put him to flight. We see the example of Jesus using the Scripture this way in Matthew 4:1–11.[11]

Notice the words of the Psalmist as well,

Psalm 139:23-24 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Examine me, and know my anxious[12] thoughts;
24 And see whether there is in me any painful way,[13]
And lead me in the everlasting way

139:23–24 We have come to the conclusion of the psalm. The psalmist has come full circle (see vv. 1–3), only this time he will petition the Almighty God whom he has described throughout the psalm. Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. The word “thoughts” in verse 2 (רֵעַ, rēa˓, “want, purpose, thought”) is quite different from this word “anxious thoughts” (שַׂרְעַפִּים, śar˓appîm, “disturbing, disquieting thoughts,” cp. Ps 94:19). The psalmist is petitioning God for something he knows God already knows! (see vv. 1–2). He wants the truth to be known. See if there is any offensive way in me (v. 24a; cp. v. 3). The term “offensive” is a translation of עֶצֶב (˓eeb, “hurt, pain”). But the word in the Hebrew text is עֹצֶב, ˓ōṣeb, which can mean “false god” or “agony.” If it is the “way of an idol or false god” (some form of pagan cult practice; cp. Jer 2:23; Isa 48:5), then Holladay’s view (Kraus et al.) is probably correct. Labeling the psalm as a “hymnic declaration of innocence” would correspond with other claims of innocence in the psalms (see Ps 7:3–5; 18:20–24; 101:1–8). The only way to go is God’s way—and lead me in the way everlasting (v. 24b). For the psalmist the doctrines of the omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence of God are not just a teaching, it is a lifestyle as one walks with a holy and righteous God. Indeed, it can be fearful, and fleeing or hiding may on occasion be an instinctive desire or impulse, but ultimately “the everlasting way” can only be found with God. Paul wrote: “Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Cor 13:12b). God knows my name.[14]

[1] W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 508.


[3] Or old person

[4] Or new person

[5] Epignosis is a strengthened or intensified form of gnosis (epi, meaning “additional”), meaning, “true,” “real,” “full,” “complete” or “accurate,” depending upon the context. Paul and Peter alone use epignosis.

[6] Duane A. Garrett, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, vol. 14, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1993), 211.

[7] Knute Larson, I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon, vol. 9, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 347.

[8] Robert H. Mounce, Romans, vol. 27, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995), 168–172.

[9] (an idiom, literally ‘to gird up the loins’) to cause oneself to be in a state of readiness–‘to get ready, to prepare oneself.’

[10] Richard L. Pratt Jr, I & II Corinthians, vol. 7, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 420–421.

[11] Max Anders, Galatians-Colossians, vol. 8, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 190–191.

[12] Or disquieting

[13] Or hurtful way

[14] S. Edward Tesh and Walter D. Zorn, Psalms, The College Press NIV Commentary (Joplin, MO: College Press, 1999), 483–484.