What Does “Precept” Mean, in its Biblical Sense?


I was looking in the Bible Encyclopedia for the meaning of the word ‘precept’ but could not find it. Webster’s Dictionary says it is ‘a rule of conduct.’ Is this fairly accurate in the Bible sense?


In the Bible the word precept is used seldom, except in the plural form, in which it occurs 21 times in Psalm 119. Here the Psalmist alternates among a variety of words: “testimonies,” “commandments,” “statutes,” “law,” “judgments,” “precepts,” all of which are more or less equivalent terms for Divine ordinances or decrees, God’s exalted rule of conduct for His children. Psalm 119 is widely recognized as a Hebrew poem, richly styled, written to show the highest reverence and honor to God and His law, and this fact may account for the varied terminology.