Ascribe to the Lord!

July 15, 2009 at 8:01 am | Posted in Worship | Leave a comment

“Ascribe to the LORD, O mighty ones, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.  Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.” (Psalm 29:1)  I wondered, when reading this passage today, what “ascribe” really means.  I knew that scribe is “to write,” “the words written,” or “the one who writes,” but I wondered what the prefix means and how ascribe compares to describe, as they appear to be opposites.  Describe adds the Latin prefix “de” which means “out of” or “derived from,” so to describe is to get words out of something.  When I describe God, I derive my words from his character.  Ascribe uses the Latin prefix “ad” which means to or toward, so I take it to mean “words or writing put towards something.”  If I ascribe something to God, I put words towards his character.  This psalm tells me to ascribe to God the glory due his name.  Thus I am commanded to put words of glory toward God.  It is parallel with the phrase “worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.” (v.2)  The rest of the chapter gives an example of how to do that.  It’s worth the time to look up and read.  Examples of ascribing to God in this psalm are “The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is majestic,” and “The voice of the LORD twists the oaks.”  Each of these expressions offers words toward God about his glory and splendor; that is true worship!

          On a related note, I found another interesting derivative of “scribe” when looking up these root words.  The perfect past participle of scribe is “scripture.”  In other words, the English word “scripture” comes from a Latin word meaning “what has been written and still stands written!”  That’s a great thought!   Greek students will recognize in this paragraph Jesus’ use of the word gegraptai when quoting to the Old Testament, the perfect participle of the verb “to write!”  In other words, the English translation of Jesus’ word gegraptai is “what has been written and still stands written!”

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