Psalm 138.2

Sunday I said Jesus has NOT exalted the Bible above himself; a friend sent me a note asking how I reconcile that statement with Ps 138.2? Here is my response:

Has God exalted the Bible above His Name? Does Psalm 138.2 teach that the Bible has a higher precedence then God Himself? When the psalmist wrote, “I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name [emphasis mine].” Did he mean, “for thou hast magnified the Bible above thy name?” Does this verse account for the place of preeminence the Bible is given in the sanctuaries of some Baptist churches? Have you seen this? I have. I have been in sanctuaries before where the traditional place of a cross on the pulpit has been replaced with a Bible, often with the number 1611 on the graven image.

The question is, “What exactly did David mean by ‘thy word’?” Some have concluded that this was a prophetic reference to the 1611 KJV Bible. Is this possible? If it were true, how would you prove it? How does one move from “thy word” to “1611 KJV”? (I think some believe that the Greek and Hebrew were vehicles God used to get the Church to 1611 when He would give us a perfect word in Old English.)

Why wouldn’t it be just as proper to move from the “thy word” to “the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us (John 1.14)”? Is it possible that David was praising God for choosing to reveal Himself to Israel? Could “word” here be utterance, speech, and communication?

What is the Bible? The Bible is God’s revelation of Himself to mankind. Jesus said, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5.39). So then would it be fair to say that David was saying that God has magnified the revelation of Himself above His name. In this case, David would be emphasizing or communicating that He serves, worships and loves a God who has revealed much more than His Name, but a more complete understanding of Himself.

Consider a little girl whose father died before she was born. She knows He existed; she knows he was her earthly father. He died of terminal cancer and only his name is known. Other than that, this little girl knows very little about her father. Then at a more mature age she discovers a series of letters he wrote to her even before she was born. In them he reveals his love for her, his thoughts, desires, aspirations, plans, past, etc. (Don’t get ahead of me.) Can you imagine her joy at discovering these words written by her dad? As she pours through these personal letters, tears flow down her cheeks and stain the letters as she discovers how precious she was to her father in the womb of her mother. The more she reads, the more in love with him she becomes. Previously she knew she had a father and knew his name, but always desired to hear his voice, to know his thoughts. And now all this is happening as she reads the very words he penned.

Is it possible that this is what David is communicating? Read the words in the verse before the “for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name” and you see that David is praising God.

Psalm 138:1-2, “I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee. I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy loving kindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.”

David doesn’t now turn his affection, praise, worship and love toward the book over the author of the book. The little girl who lost her dad before birth and now has a set of love letters doesn’t go around taking down the pictures of her father and replacing them with the letters. The letters serve as the supplement or the augmentation to the pictures. Now she is able to pick up the beautifully framed 8x10 of her father and say, “let me tell you about my daddy; it used to be I only knew His name—Dad—but I praise him for choosing to reveal himself to me through these letters” (the law, prophets, gospels and epistles). Look at what he said about…His mercy, love, grace, goodness, etc.

Do you get the idea? It is all about Him.

David’s words were spoken and penned hundreds of years before the Son of God donned flesh and walked on this earth. If we interpret “thy word” as the scrolls of Scripture being magnified above his name, then we would say that even while Christ was on this planet, as the perfect revelation of God, the law and the prophets were superior to Christ. This in my opinion is ludicrous. The revelation of God has but one purpose and that is to further exalt and glorify God.

Isaiah 42:8, “I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images” is very clear. God is not going to share His glory with another person or any graven image—including a paper copy of the revelation of Himself to mankind.
The purpose of the Bible is to draw me closer to God—not to interfere with Who or what gets my attention. When I read the Bible, I say and think, Oh’ God how I love you. I do not think oh Bible how exalted are you—how has God magnified you.

The context of this phrase within the verse and the chapter demands that the Lord continue to be the focus of all worship, not the Bible. God being magnified above His name is the further revelation of Himself. This then is in concert with Philippians 2 where Christ is highly exalted and given a name above every other name.

To suggest that Christ has exalted the Bible above His own name draws in question His sovereign authority over the law. The person who authors the law retains the freedom at all times to reinterpret and terminate the law as he sees fit. This is what Jesus repeatedly demonstrated each time he healed on the Sabbath.

“Thy word is settled in heaven” (Ps 119.89) is typically quoted and associated with the defense of the Bible being exalted or magnified above the name of God. What is interesting though is the fact that the same Hebrew words are not used for word in Ps. 119.89 and 138.2. Somehow there has crept into the church a misperception that God has a KJV Bible in heaven preserved from the very beginning of time. Ps 138.2 and Ps 119.89 are linked and are interpreted with KJV Bible as the “word.” Is that what the Psalmist was prophetically referring to? Why did God chose English?

Read this paragraph copied directly from an AV 1611 KJV only website: “Over four hundred years ago God chose the English nation for a special purpose. It began with England’s defeat of The Spanish Armada in 1588. It is a year to remember in history. For in that year there was set into motion the ascendancy, and the eventual domination of the English language as the language of the end times.” Says who? According to whose authority? I know of only one people group chosen by God according to His Word and that group is the children of Abraham. The above paragraph in italics is propaganda clear and simple.

I must stop now as I am getting even more frustrated from the lack of attention to detail and academic honesty from some of my KJV only brothers in Christ.


  1. WOW! I was taught that kjv 1611 is the way to go, and the only way to have the bible..... your words of what the bible says bring me to a place where I need to study more about this in the bible. It is so easy to get into one mode of thinkin, and think that it has to be "that way". God is showing me areas where I have built fences, and I think that somehow he is going to have to help me tear them down.

  2. Excellent exegesis of the text Bro. Harris. It's so easy to be robotic in our faith. Thank you for being a genuine student of the Word.

  3. Hello Pastor Sean,

    kjv 1611 is new terminology for me. What is the diff. between the kjv and kjv 1611?

    Thank you for your time. By the way, I have enjoyed my few visits to Berean and your preaching.

    Joan Cary