The Bound Heart

March 4, 2010 at 9:51 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments
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In Old Testament times Hebrew men would sometimes place passages from the written Word of God into containers, and bind these containers around their necks, across their forehead, or on their upper arms.

These contraptions were called “phylacteries,” and were designed to remind the wearer at all times of the importance of remembering God’s commands. In modern English we have come close to taking the idea of a “phylactery,” and making it into something lewd by combining it with the prefix “pro,” meaning “before.” The idea is that a “prophylactic” is something that prevents the consequences of an immoral act before it occurs.

In contrast, Proverbs 3:3 describes God’s plan for preventive measures against sin. “Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:” A Christian who wants to please the Lord will keep his head down in the Bible on a regular basis to prevent his neck from swiveling around to gaze at every worldly temptation that passes by. He will also go to the trouble (and pleasure) of memorizing Scripture so that it will be written on his heart when he encounters temptation.

Rather than tying actual pages to his arm, a Christian will show forth his true love for Christ in open and obvious ways, thereby wearing his “heart” on his sleeve.

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  1. […] son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: Bind them continually upon thine heart, [and] tie them about thy neck. When thou goest, it shall lead […]

  2. […] the Old Testament, priests and Jewish scholars, and those serious about obeying God, bound the Word of God on their arms, on their foreheads, on their chests. It might be good for us to put Philippians 4:11 […]

  3. […] on the rabbis probably went too far in taking these “phylacteries” […]

  4. […] The Pharisees had taken God’s Levitical laws about cleanliness, which God had given to separate the Jewish people from the Canaanites, and also for health reasons, and had completely stripped them of their spiritual meaning. The Pharisees placed all their emphasis on the outward appearance, and none on the inward heart. […]

  5. […] Word of God is to be kept ever before their eyes. It is to be ingested through reading, and through attendance on teaching and preaching by trained […]


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