Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Psalms 40:7

King James Version (KJV)
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

In the volume of the book - ספר במגלת bimegillath sepher, "in the roll of the book." Anciently, books were written on skins, and rolled up. Among the Romans, these were called volumina, from volvo, I roll; and the Pentateuch in the Jewish synagogues is still written in this way. There are two wooden rollers; on one they roll on, on the other they roll off, as they proceed in reading. One now lying before me, written on vellum, is two feet two inches in breadth and one hundred and two feet long. To roll and unroll such a MS. was no easy task, and to be managed must lie flat on a table. This contains the Pentateuch only, and is without points, or any other Masoretic distinction. The book mentioned here must be the Pentateuch, or five books of Moses; for, in David's time no other part of Divine revelation had been committed to writing. This whole book speaks about Christ, and his accomplishing the will of God, not only in "the seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent," and "in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;" but in all the sacrifices and sacrificial rites mentioned in the law.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Then said I - In Hebrews 10:7, the apostle applies this to the Messiah. See the notes at that verse. This is the most simple and satisfactory interpretation of the passage. The word “then” in this verse means, “since this is the case;” or, “things being thus.” It does not refer to time, but to the condition of things. “Since it was certain that the work needful to be done could not be accomplished by bloody offerings - the sacrifice of animals - under these circumstances I said;” that is, I resolved or purposed to come.

Lo, I come - It is difficult to see how this could be applied to David; it is easy to see how it could be applied to the Messiah. When all bloody offerings under the law - all the sacrifices which men could make - did not avail to put away sin, it was true of the Messiah that he came into the world to perform a higher work that would meet the case - a lofty work of obedience, extending even unto death, Philemon 2:8. This is precisely the use which the apostle makes of the passage in Hebrews 10:7, and this is clearly the most obvious meaning. It is in no sense applicable to David; it is fully applicable to the Messiah.

In the volume of the book - literally, “in the roll of the book.” See the notes at Luke 4:17. The phrase would most naturally denote the “scroll of the law;” but it might include any volume or roll where a record or prophecy was made. In a large sense it would embrace all that had been written at the command of God at the time when this was supposed to be spoken. That is, as spoken by the Messiah, it would include all the books of the Old Testament. See the notes at Hebrews 10:7.

It is written of me - It is recorded; or, there is a record made of me; to wit, in this respect, that his great delight would be to do the will of God. The proper interpretation of this expression must he, that there must be some record to be found in the “book” or” volume” referred to, which was designed to describe him in this respect, or which had an original reference to him. The meaning is not that there was a general record on the point of obedience which might be applied to him as well as to others, but that the record was intended to be applied to him, and to describe his character. This is one of the passages in the Psalms which cannot with any propriety be applied to David himself. There was no such antecedent record in regard to him; no statement in any “book” or “volume” that this would be his character. There is no promise - no intimation - in any of the books of Scripture written before the time of David that he would come to do the will of God with a view to effect that which could not be done by the sacrifices and offerings under the law.

The reference of the language, therefore, must be to the Messiah - to some place where it is represented or affirmed that he would come to accomplish by his obedience what could not be done by the sacrifices and oblations made under the law. Thus understood, and regarded as the language of the Messiah himself, the reference might be to all the books of the Old Testament (for all were completed before he came), and not merely to those which had been written in the time of David. But still, it is true that no such declaration, in so many words, can now be found in any of those books; and the meaning must be that this was the language which was everywhere implied respecting the Messiah; that this was the substance of the description given of him; that this characterized his work as predicted there; to wit, that when all sacrifices and offerings under the law failed; when they had all shown that they were not efficacious to put away sin, One would come to perform some higher work that would be effectual in putting away transgression, and that this work might, in the highest sense, be described as “obedience,” or as “doing the will of God.” This was true. The language and the institutions of the Old Testament contemplated him as the One who only could put away sin. The entire spirit of the Mosaic economy supposed that a Saviour would come to do the will of God by making an atonement for the sin of the world. The meaning then is, “I come to do thy will in making an atonement, for no other offering would expiate sin; that I would do this, is the language of the Scriptures in predicting my coming, and of the whole spirit and design of the ancient dispensation.”

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The psalmist foretells that work of wonder, redemption by our Lord Jesus Christ. The Substance must come, which is Christ, who must bring that glory to God, and that grace to man, which it was impossible the sacrifices should ever do. Observe the setting apart of our Lord Jesus to the work and office of Mediator. In the volume, or roll, of the book it was written of him. In the close rolls of the Divine decrees and counsel, the covenant of redemption was recorded. Also, in all the volumes of the Old Testament something was written of him, Joh 19:28. Now the purchase of our salvation is made, the proclamation is sent forth, calling us to come and accept it. It was preached freely and openly. Whoever undertook to preach the gospel of Christ, would be under great temptation to conceal it; but Christ, and those he calls to that work, are carried on in it. May we believe his testimony, trust his promise, and submit to his authority.
Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, 59

To the apostle John on the Isle of Patmos were revealed the things which God desired him to give to the people. Study these revelations. Here are themes worthy of our contemplation, large and comprehensive lessons which all the angelic host are now seeking to communicate. Behold the life and character of Christ, and study His mediatorial work. Here is infinite wisdom, infinite love, infinite justice, infinite mercy. Here are depths and heights, lengths and breadths, for our consideration. Numberless pens have been employed in presenting to the world the life, the character, and the mediatorial work of Christ, and yet every mind through which the Holy Spirit has worked has presented these themes in a light that is fresh and new. 6T 59.1

We desire to lead the people to understand what Christ is to them and what are the responsibilities they are called upon to accept in Him. As His representatives and witnesses, we ourselves need to come to a full understanding of the saving truths gained by an experimental knowledge. 6T 59.2

Teach the great practical truths that must be stamped upon the soul. Teach the saving power of Jesus, “in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins.”Colossians 1:14. It was at the cross that mercy and truth met together, that righteousness and truth kissed each other. Let every student and every worker study this again and again, that they, setting forth the Lord crucified among us, may make it a fresh subject to the people. Show that the life of Christ reveals an infinitely perfect character. Teach that “as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” John 1:12. Tell it over and over again. We may become the sons of God, members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King. Let it be known that all who accept Jesus Christ and hold the beginning of their confidence firm to the end will be heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ “to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:4, 5. 6T 59.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, 121

Yet this glorious Being loved the poor sinner and took upon Himself the form of a servant, that He might suffer and die in man's behalf. Jesus might have remained at His Father's right hand, wearing His kingly crown and royal robes. But He chose to exchange all the riches, honor, and glory of heaven for the poverty of humanity, and His station of high command for the horrors of Gethsemane and the humiliation and agony of Calvary. He became a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, that by His baptism of suffering and blood He might purify and redeem a guilty world. “Lo, I come,” was the joyful assent, “to do Thy will, O My God.” 4T 121.1

The sacrificial heifer was conducted without the camp and slain in the most imposing manner. Thus Christ suffered without the gates of Jerusalem, for Calvary was outside the city walls. This was to show that Christ did not die for the Hebrews alone, but for all mankind. He proclaims to a fallen world that He has come to be their Redeemer and urges them to accept the salvation He offers them. The heifer having been slain in a most solemn manner, the priest, clothed in pure white garments, took the blood in his hands as it issued from the body of the victim and cast it toward the temple seven times. “And having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” 4T 121.2

The body of the heifer was burned to ashes, which signified a whole and ample sacrifice. The ashes were then gathered up by a person uncontaminated by contact with the dead and placed in a vessel containing water from a running stream. This clean and pure person then took a cedar stick with scarlet cloth and a bunch of hyssop, and sprinkled the contents of the vessel upon the tent and the people assembled. This ceremony was repeated several times in order to be thorough and was done as a purification from sin. 4T 121.3

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Ellen G. White
Sons and Daughters of God, 48

The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable. Isaiah 42:21. SD 48.1

The law of God's government was to be magnified by the death of God's only begotten Son. Christ bore the guilt of the sins of the world. Our sufficiency is found only in the incarnation and death of the Son of God. He could suffer, because sustained by divinity. He could endure, because He was without one taint of disloyalty or sin. Christ triumphed in man's behalf in thus bearing the justice of punishment. He secured eternal life to men, while He exalted the law, and made it honorable.31The Youth's Instructor, August 4, 1898. SD 48.2

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Ellen G. White
In Heavenly Places, 41.2

Christ was Himself without spot or stain of sin, but having taken the nature of man, He was exposed to the fiercest assaults of the enemy, to his sharpest temptations, to the keenest of sorrow. He suffered being tempted. He was made like unto His brethren, that He might show that through the grace given, humanity could overcome the temptations of the enemy.... Listen to His words, “Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:7, 8). Who is it that thus announces His purpose of coming to this earth? Isaiah tells us: “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). HP 41.2

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