What It Means To Obey

While there are many passages in the Bible that emphasize obedience, there are none that explains its full meaning better than Deuteronomy 4:1-2 which reads: “Now therefore, hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them…Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.”


This passage not only calls upon Israel to obey God’s commands, it also furnishes us with two important aspects of genuine obedience. First, obedience means to do only what God has authorized: “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you.” Second, obedience means to do all that God commands: “Neither shall ye diminish ought from it.”


This same principle of obedience is stated in another way in Deuteronomy 5:32: “Ye shall observe to do therefore as the Lord your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.”


What does it mean to obey? It means to do exactly what God commands – neither adding to nor taking away, neither turning to the right hand nor to the left.