THE SPIRIT BREATHES UPON THE WORD
William Cowper, 1731–1800
Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. (Psalm 119:105)
The Bible is the only book whose Author is always present when one reads it.
We can never really be exposed to the truths of God’s Word without our lives being affected. Either we become more desirous of becoming like the author of the Book, or we become increasingly hardened to its truths. It has been said that we must know the Word of God in order to know the God of the Word. However, a study of God’s Word must never stop at merely gaining biblical knowledge. It must always lead us to a more intimate relationship with God Himself.
Although William Cowper, the author of this hymn text, was regarded as one of the leading English poets of his day, he suffered periods of severe depression throughout his lifetime. Yet during times of normalcy he wrote great literary works and worked with John Newton to produce the important Olney Hymns hymnal of 1779, to which Cowper contributed 67 texts. “The Spirit Breathes Upon the Word” was from this collection.
This hymn teaches an important truth: The same Spirit of God who authored the Bible is the One who enlightens it for our understanding and guidance—“The hand that gave it still supplies the gracious light and heat.” May we increasingly use this enlightened Word as we pursue the steps of Christ till they lead us to “brighter worlds above.”
The Spirit breathes upon the Word, and brings the truth to sight; precepts and promises afford a sanctifying light.
A glory gilds the sacred page, majestic like the sun: It gives a light to ev’ry age; it gives but borrows none.
The Hand that gave it still supplies the gracious light and heat; His truths upon the nations rise; they rise but never set.
Let everlasting thanks be Thine for such a bright display as makes a world of darkness shine with beams of heav’nly day.
My soul rejoices to pursue the steps of Him I love, till glory breaks upon my view in brighter worlds above.
For Today: Deuteronomy 4:2; Matthew 4:4; 24:35; 1 Timothy 3:14, 15; 2 Timothy 3:15–17; 1 Peter 2:2
Determine to enter into a fresh study of God’s Word with the desire that the Holy Spirit will bring some new truth and insight into your daily life. Carry this musical truth with you—