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What are the Differences Between These Biblical Terms: Ordinance, Testimony, Law, Commandment, Precept and Statute?

11 Mins read

“The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;”

(Psalm 19:7-8)

In the Old Testament, we have several Hebrew words for the English word ‘ law,’ which cover various meanings from laws, statutes, and precepts to directions or teaching.

Ordinance

An ordinance may signify a decree, edict or rescript. The commandments, statutes, decrees, and requirements of God are properly defined as the ordinances of God.

  • Ordinance never changes (Numbers 9:14; Numbers 15:15).
  • Ordinance is an authoritative decree or direction.
  • Keeping and doing God’s Ordinance brings God on your side (Ezekiel 11:20).
  • The word of God is the ordinance of God (1 Corinthians 11:2).
  • Rulers and powers are ordinances of God (Romans 13:2).
  • Submit yourself to God’s ordinance (1 Peter 2:13–15).
  • Ordinance of God is everything ordained and established by God’s authority with the intent that it be applied in the lives of His children.
  • Created things have an ordinance (Job 38:33; Jeremiah 33:35; Jeremiah 31:35).
  • Covenants had ordinance (Hebrews 9:1).
  • A feast is kept by ordinance (Exodus 12:14)
  • A feast is observed by ordinance (Exodus 12:7,24).
  • God’s house has an ordinance (Ezekiel 44:5; Ezekiel 45:14).
  • Every sector has an ordinance (Isaiah 58:2; Ezekiel 43:18).
  • Ordinances are law (Ephesians 2:18, Colossians 2:14).
  • Ordinance departs not before God (Jeremiah 31:36).
  • Ordinance is a rule established by authority, a permanent rule of action.
  • Ordinances are men’s law (Colossians 2:20–21).
  • Ordinances can be made for self (Nehemiah 10:32).
  • Kings have ordinances (Ezra 3:10).
  • Ordinances are written down for you (2 Kings 17:37; 2 Chronicles 35:25).
  • Ordinances hold you accountable and responsible (Numbers 10:8).
  •  Ordinances are memorial (Joshua 24:25).
  • Ordinances are men’s law (Colossians 2:20–21).
  • Ordinances hold everything in their place (Psalms 119:91).
  • Every sector has ordinances (Isaiah 58:2, Ezekiel 43:18).
  • Every created thing has Ordinances (Jeremiah 31:35, Job 38:33, Jeremiah 33:25).
  • Every covenant has ordinances (Hebrews 9:1).
  • Heaven has ordinances (Job 38:33).
  • Kings have ordinances (Ezra 3:10).
  • God’s house has ordinances (Ezekiel 44:5; Ezekiel 45:14).
  • Ordinances are written down for you (2 Kings 17:37; 2 Chronicles 35:25).
  • You can go away from God’s Ordinance (Malachi 3:7).
  • You can despise God’s ordinances (Malachi 3:14).
  •  You can make ordinances for yourself (Nehemiah 10:32).
  • Ordinances are made (Exodus 15:25).
  • Ordinances are given (Psalm 99:7).
  • Ordinances hold you responsible (Numbers 10:8).
  • Keeping an ordinance keeps you from abomination (Leviticus 18:30).
  • Keeping ordinances keep you from sin (Leviticus 22:9).
  • Keeping ordinances make you obedience (Numbers 9:12).
  • Keeping and doing God’s ordinances bring God on your side (Ezekiel 11:20).
  • Changing ordinances lead to defilement & sin (Isaiah 24:5).
  • Ordinances are taught (Exodus 18:20).
  • Ordinances are done (Ezekiel 43:10).
  • Passover is an ordinance (Exodus 12:43; Exodus 13:10).
  • Feasts are kept by ordinance (Exodus 12:14).
  • Rulers and power are ordinances of God (Romans 13:2).
  • Submit yourself to God’s ordained ordinances (1 Peter 2:13–15).
  • Walk in God’s ordinances (Luke 1:6).
  •  

Testimony

The testimony is “edit” in Hebrew, which is the earthly type that gives witness to His plans and Purposes (Tabernacle, Feasts, rulers, and powers). In Hebrew text, the root word, which is translated as “testimony,” means to “repeat,” “return,” or “do again. In the Book of Revelation, you find that the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy.

  • God establishes testimonies (Psalm 78:5).
  • Testimonies are delight and counsellor (Psalm 119:24).
  • The testimony of God is sure, making wise the simple (Psalm 18:7).
  • Testimony of Jesus is recorded (Revelation 1:2,9).
  • Testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10).
  • Jesus’s testimony is God’s seal of truth (John 3:33; John 21:24).
  • Testimonies are learned (Psalm 119:79).
  • God is the testimony of Israel (Psalm 119:152).
  • Testimony of God is declared (1 Corinthians 2:1).
  • Testimony of Christ is confirmed (1 Corinthians 1:6).
  • Testimony of God is a heritage (Psalm 119:111).
  • Turn your feet to God’s testimony (Psalm 119:59).
  • Know God’s testimony (Psalm 119:125).
  • God founded his testimony forever (Psalm 119:152).
  • Walk in God’s testimony (Jeremiah 44:23).
  • Meditate upon God’s testimony to gain understanding (Psalm 119:99).
  • Don’t be ashamed of the Lord’s testimony, (2 Timothy 1:8).
  • Hold to your testimony (Revelation 6:9).
  • Incline your heart to testimony (Psalm 129:36).
  • Speak of God’s testimony (Psalm 119:46).
  • The word of your testimony gives you victory over the devil (Revelation 12:11).
  • Rejoice in the way of God’s testimony (Psalm 119:14).
  • Blessed are those who keep God’s testimony (Psalm 119:2).
  • God keeps his covenant to those who keep his testimony (Psalm 132:12).
  • God gives testimony (Exodus 21:18).
  • Testimony is established by God (Psalm 78:5).
  • Testimonies are laws (2 Kings 23:3, 1 Chronicles 29:19; 2 Kings 11:12).
  • Testimony is a memorial (Deuteronomy 6:20–24).
  • Testimonies are a delight and counsellor (Psalms 119:24).
  • Testimony is a witness (Ruth 4:7; Matthew 8:4; Matthew 10:18, Mark 6:12; Luke 21:31).
  • Testimony is the ten commandments (Exodus 31:15; Exodus 32:15).
  • God founded His testimony forever (Psalms 119:152).
  • God is the Testimony of Israel (Psalms 122:4).
  • Love God’s testimony (Psalms 119:119).
  • Decline not from God’s testimony (Psalms 119:157).
  • Walk in God’s testimony (Jeremiah 44:23).
  • Sticking to God’s testimony, shame runs away (Psalms 119:31).
  • Incline your heart to testimony, (Psalm 118:36).
  • Consider God’s testimony to avoid destruction (Psalms 119:95).
  • Keep and love God’s testimony (Psalms 119:167).
  •  Testimony of conscience (2 Corinthians 1:12).
  • Testimony is wonderful (Psalms 119:129).
  • God’s testimony is righteous and very faithful (Psalms 119:138).
  • Testimony testifies against you (Nehemiah 9:34).
  • Keeping God’s testimony leads to prosperity (1 Kings 2:3).
  • Mercy and the truth of God are shown to those who keep his testimony (Psalms 25:10).
  • Testimony can be rejected (2 Kings 17:15).
  • The righteousness of God’s testimony is everlasting (Psalms 119:144).

Law

When the word “law ” is used, it speaks of the first five books written by Moses, which is called Pentateuch. It also refers to the ten commandments and other sets of law. The ‘Law of God’ has many aspects, and there are a variety of words used in the Hebrew text for the different categories within His Law, which identifies their classification. For example, the word ‘Torah’ is the Hebrew word for teaching and direction for life and is primarily used for the laws/principles God has given to His people for their benefit and spiritual well-being. This is a different concept from the meaning we usually attach to the word ‘law’ and its penalties. So, the word law is defined as a rule or set of rules which prescribe or prohibit our actions to conform to a certain order or pattern of behaviour.

  • There is one lawgiver (James 4:12).
  • Love is the greatest law (Matthew 22:36–40).
  • Jesus came to fulfill the law (Matthew 5:17–18).
  • The law is the plumb line for judgment (Romans 2:12).
  • The law is not sin (Romans 7:7).
  • The law is holy (Romans 7:12).
  • The law is spiritual (Romans 7:14).
  • The law of God is perfect, converting the soul (Psalm 19:7).
  • The carnal mind is not subjected to the law (Romans 8:7).
  • The law speaks to those under the law (Romans 3:19).
  •  The law was not made for a righteous person (1 Timothy 1:9).
  • Break one law; you have broken all the laws (James 2:10).
  • The law revives sin (Romans 5:13,29; Romans 7:8)
  • The law made nothing perfect (Hebrews 7:19).
  • By the deed of the law, no flesh shall be justified (Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:16).
  • Not knowing the law is a curse (John 7:49).
  • Obedience is needed in keeping the law (Genesis 26:5).
  • Breaking His law is sin, and sin separates us from a holy God. Therefore, “… if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” (Matthew 19:17)
  • The law is written (Luke 10:26).
  • The law was until John (Luke 16:16; Matthew 1:13).
  • The law cannot fail (Luke 16:17).
  • A statute in Israel is the law of God (Psalm 81:4).
  • The law brings wrath (Romans 4:15).
  • The law was added because of transgression (Galatians 3:19).
  • The law was a tutor (Galatians 3:24).
  • The law was a guardian (Galatians 3:23).
  • The law is good if one uses it lawfully (1 Timothy 1:8).
  • Love is the fulfilment of the law (Romans 13:8–10, Galatians 5:14).
  • Christ has redeemed us from the law’s curse (Galatians 3:13).
  • Christ is the end of the law for righteousness for everyone who believes (Romans 10:4).
  • The law of Christ is fulfilled in bearing one another’s burden (Galatians 6:2).
  • God has put his law in your mind and written them in your heart (Hebrews 8:10).
  • You are not under the law when the Holy Spirit leads you (Galatians 5:18).
  • A law becomes a law to you when you uphold it (Romans 2:14).
  • Fiery law came from the right hand of God (Deuteronomy 33:2).
  • The law is light (Proverbs 6:23).
  • The law of God is perfect (Psalm 19:7).
  • The law includes statutes, commandments, judgment, and testimonies (1 Kings 2:3).
  • The law can be refuted (Psalms 78:10).
  • The law can be forgotten (Psalms 119:61).
  • The law can be regarded as void (Psalms 119:126).
  • Law keeps you from defilement (Psalms 119:1)
  • You can turn away from the law (Joshua 23:6).
  • You can do violence to the law (Zephaniah 3:4).
  • God can teach you the law (Psalm 94:12).
  •  The law must be understood (Nehemiah 8:7–9)
  • Seek the law of God (Ezra 7:10).
  • Walk in the law of God (2 Chronicles 6:16).
  • Observe the law (2 Chronicles 14:4).
  • Delight in the law of God to be blessed (Psalms 1:2).
  • Meditate upon the law (Psalms 119:97).
  • Esteem the law highly (Psalms 119:72).
  • Love the law (Psalms 119:113, 165).
  • Forget not the law (Psalms 119:109)
  • Give ear to the law (Psalms 78:1).
  • Be careful to heed the law (Joshua 22:5).
  • Not observing the law, judgment is executed on you (Ezra 7:26).
  • The law brings wrath (Romans 4:15).
  • The law revives sin (Romans 5:13, 20 Romans 7:8).
  • The law was added because of transgression (Galatians 3:19).
  • The law is not made for a righteous man (1 Timothy 1:9).
  • The law made nothing perfect (Hebrews 7:19).
  • The law becomes powerless when the wicked surround the righteous (Habakkuk 1:4).
  • The law is truth (Psalms 119:142)
  • The law is a witness (Deuteronomy 31:26). 
  • The law is observed (Deuteronomy 32:46; 2 Chronicles 14:4).
  • Laws are read (Joshua 8:32).
  • Laws are written in a book (Joshua 1:8; Luke 10:26).
  • A curse is on those who fail to do all that is written in the law (Deuteronomy 27:26).
  • Not knowing the law is a curse (John 7:49).
  • The law is good is used lawfully (1 Timothy 1:8)
  • Where there is no law, prophets find no vision from the Lord (Lamentations 2:9).
  • The law of the wise is a foundation of life (Proverbs 13:14).
  • The law of Christ is fulfilled in bearing one another’s burden (Galatians 6:2).
  • The law of the Spirit of life sets free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2).
  • There is a law of works and a law of faith (Romans 3:37).
  • God put his law in our mind and write then in our heart (Hebrews 8:10).
  • Jesus came to fulfill the law (Matthew 5:17–18).
  •  Christ is the end of the law for righteousness (Romans 10:4).
  • Christ has redeemed us from the law’s curse (Galatians 3:13).
  • Love is the greatest law (Matthew 22:36–40).
  •  When the Spirit of the Lord leads you, you are not under the law (Galatians 5:18).
  •  

Commandment 

Commandments are, first of all, prescriptions or directions of God concerning matters. God wants his commandments to be observed with reference to circumstances as they arose in a period where he spoke immediately and with greater frequency afterwards. Commandments are sets of to-dos and not to-dos. A commandment is something that must be obeyed; a command or edict, while a command is an order, an enforceable task given to a person or machine. The commands (mitzvot) are the ordinances or commands related to the terms of the covenant. A commandment is an authoritative rule for action in which the obligation is set forth.

  • The first commandment is to love God (Mark 12:28–30).
  • The second commandment is to love your neighbour as you love yourself (Mark 12:31).
  • Commandments guides (Numbers 9:20, 23).
  • Commandments are commands (Leviticus 27:34).
  • Commandments are law (Romans 7:8–13).
  • Commandments are proclaimed (Exodus 36:6).   
  • The commandment of God is pure, enlightening the eyes (Psalm 19:8).
  • Commandments are part of the law (Matthew 22:36).
  • Obeying Commandments releases blessings (Deuteronomy 11:27).
  • God gave the commandment (John 10:18; John 12:49).
  • The word of God is His commandments (1 John 7–9).
  • Men can give commandments (John 11:57).
  • God’s commandment is life everlasting (John 12:50).
  • The end of the commandment is love (1 Timothy 1:5, 2 John 1:6).
  • God gave ten commandments (Exodus 20:1–17).
  • Jesus summarized the Commandments into two (Matthew 22:36–40).
  • We only have one commandment to keep, which is love (1 John 3:23; 1 John 4:21).
  • The new commandment is love (John 13:34–35).
  • How to keep the commandments (1 Timothy 6:14)?
  • Revelation 22:14 “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter through the gates into the city.”
  • Commandments are lamps (Proverbs 6:23).
  • God gives commandments (Exodus 24:12; John 10:18; John 12:49).
  • God gave us the ten commandments (Exodus 20 1–17).
  • God’s commandment is life everlasting (John 12:50).
  • Believing in Jesus is God’s commandment to you (1 John 3:23).
  • Jesus gave us two Commandments (Matthew 22:36–49).
  • The first great commandment is to love God (Mark 12:28–30).
  • The second great commandment is to love your neighbour as yourself (Mark 12:31).
  • Loving one another is Jesus’ commandment to you (1 John 3:23).
  • Loving a brother is a commandment from Jesus (1; John 4:21).
  • In the New Testament, there is only one commandment which is love (Matthew 22:36–40)
  • The new commandment is love (John 13:34).
  • The greatest commandment is love (Matthew 22:36–38)
  • No one can change God’s commandments (Numbers 23:20; Numbers 24:13).
  • You show your love to Jesus by keeping his commandments (John 14:15).
  • Loving God is having and keeping His commandments (John 14:21)
  • To keep God’s commandments, abide in his love, (John 15:10).
  • Keeping commandments entails obedience (Genesis 26:5).
  • Keeping God’s commandments shows you love the children of God (1 John 5:2).
  • The love of God is for you to keep his commandments (1 John 5:3).
  • Doing God’s commandments, you are blessed and have eternal life (Revelation 22:14).
  • Diligently keep the commandments (Deuteronomy 6:17).
  • Answers to prayers are granted when you keep commandments (1 John 3:22).
  • Keeping commandments create a union with Christ (1 John 3:24).
  • Mercy is shown to those who keep God’s commandments (Exodus 20:6).
  • Not keeping God’s commandments is forgetting Him (Deuteronomy 8:11).
  • You can teach people men’s commandments (Matthew 15:9).
  • You can rebel against the commandments (Deuteronomy 1:43).
  • Not believing God is rebelling against his commandments (Deuteronomy 9:23).
  • Commandments of God can be rejected (Mark 7:9).
  • Walk in the commandments of God (Luke 1:6).
  • The end of commandments is love (1: Timothy 1:5; 2 John 1:6).
  •  

Precept

Precepts are guiding principles or rules used to control, influence, or regulate conduct. Precepts also are commands or principles intended primarily as a general rule of action. It is an order issued by the legally constituted authority to a subordinate official. A precept is (legal) a written command, especially a demand for payment.

  • God commands a precept (Nehemiah 9:14).
  • Precepts are kept (Psalm 119:4, 56, 63, 69, 134).
  • Precepts are meditated on (Psalm 118:15, 78).
  • Precepts are spoken (Hebrews 9:19).
  • Seek the precepts (Psalm 119:45, 94).
  • Precepts must be upon precepts (Isaiah 28:10).
  • God’s word is precepts upon precepts (Isaiah 28:13).
  • Precepts from men divorce you from God (Isaiah 29:13)
  • Forget not God’s precepts (Psalm 119:93,141).
  • Departing from God’s Precepts is sin and rebellion (Daniel 9:5).
  • Precepts are written (Mark 10:5).
  • Keeping precepts usher, you in the presence of God (Psalm 119:168).
  • Keeping precepts give understanding (Psalm 119:100, 104).
  • Esteem Precepts (Psalm 119:128).
  • Erring Precepts ensnares you (Psalm 119:110).
  • Precepts are written (Mark 19:5).
  • Love God’s precepts (Psalms 119:159).
  • Forsake not God’s precepts (Psalms 119:87).
  • Precepts have ways (Psalms 119:27).
  • Precepts are kept (Psalm 119:4, 56, 63, 69, 134).
  • Precepts are to be chosen (Psalm 119:173).
  • You must long for precepts (Psalms 119:40).
  • You must seek precepts (Psalms 119:45, 95).

Statute

The Statute is (Chukkim) in Hebrew, which is the precepts or regulations for health care and hygiene. A statute is written law as laid down by the legislature; a statute is (legal) (common law) legislated rule of society which has been given the force of law by those it governs.

  • Statutes are of God (Leviticus 19:10).
  • Statutes are the laws for living (Numbers 27:11, Numbers 30:16).
  • The statutes of God are right, rejoicing the heart (Psalm 19:8).
  • Statutes are to be observed (Ezekiel 37:24).
  • Walk in statutes and keep ordinance (Ezekiel 11:20).
  • Statutes are laid before you, (Jeremiah 44:10).
  • Statutes are taught (Psalm 119:68, 161).
  • Statutes are sought (Psalm 119:155).
  • Statutes are respected (Psalm 119:117).
  • Statutes are performed (Psalm 119:112).
  • Statutes are learned (Psalm 119:71).
  • Statutes are meditated upon (Psalm 119:48).
  • Statutes to men are the laws from God (Psalm 81:4).
  • Statutes can be despised (Ezekiel 20:24).
  • Statutes can be broken (Psalm 87:31).
  • Statutes can be rejected (2 Kings 17:15).
  • Statutes are law (Deuteronomy 4:8).
  • God gives good statutes (Nehemiah 9:13).
  • Statutes of King change not, (Daniel 6:15).
  • Statutes are right and rejoice the heart (Psalms 19:8).
  • Statutes are made (1 Samuel 30:25).
  • Statutes are set (Joshua 24:25).
  • Statutes are commanded (Zachariah 1:6).
  • Royal statutes are established (Daniel 6:7).
  • Statutes are given (Ezekiel 20:25).
  • It takes obedience to keep statutes (Genesis 26:5).
  • Statutes are kept (Ezekiel 44:24; Psalms 119:145).
  • Statutes of men are kept (Micah 6:16).
  • Not keeping statutes attract a curse (Deuteronomy 28:15).
  • Keeping statutes give you favour (1 Kings 11:34).
  • Keeping statutes lengthen your days (1 Kings 3:14).
  • Keeping God’s statutes, God keeps his word to you (1 Kings 6:12).
  • Keeping statutes leads to multiplication (Deuteronomy 30:16).
  • Keeping statutes give you the right to dwell safely (Leviticus 22:20).
  • Keeping statutes grant your health (Exodus 15:26).
  • Statutes are observed (Ezekiel 37:24).
  • Statutes are spoken (Deuteronomy 5:31).
  • Statutes are declared (Psalms 50:16).
  • Statutes can be sung (Psalms 119:54).
  • Statutes can be shown (Psalms 147:19).
  • Statutes have ways (Psalms 119:33).
  • Walk in the statutes (Ezekiel 36:27).
  • Walk in the statutes of life (Ezekiel 33:15).
  • Walk in the statutes of God (Ezekiel 18:21).
  • Walk not in men’s statutes (Ezekiel 20:28; 2 Kings 17:8).
  • Walk in statutes and keep ordinances (Ezekiel 11:20).
  • Walk in statutes and keep judgment (Ezekiel 18:9).
  • Statutes can be forgotten (Psalm 119:83).
  • Statutes can be put away (Psalms 18:22).
  • Statutes can be changed into wickedness (Ezekiel 5:6).
  • You can reject to walk in statutes (Ezekiel,20:21).
  • You can turn away and forsake statutes (2 Chronicles 7:19).
  • You can depart from statutes (2 Samuel 22:23).
  • Erring from statutes leads to destruction (Psalm 119:118).
  • Statutes can be bad (Ezekiel 20:25).
  • Be sound in statutes (Psalm 119:80).
  • Delight in statutes (Psalm 119:16).
  • Be directed to keep statutes (Psalms 119:5).
  • To do statutes is a command (Deuteronomy 6:24).
  • Fulfilling statutes leads to prosperity (1 Kings 2:3).
  • Statutes are your wisdom and understanding, (Deuteronomy 4:6).
  • Statutes are everlasting, (Numbers 35:29).

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By Gilbert Magomere Ayieko
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