The Bible often uses creative expressions that make us stop and think about what the text is really saying. These are my thoughts on Joshua 1:8. What does it mean that "this book of the Law should not depart from your mouth?"
Joshua 1:8 – My Literal Amplified Translation:(1) This book of the law will not depart [be removed, be taken away] from your mouth,
(2) but you will meditate [muse, ponder, utter, recite] on it day and night,
(3) in order that you may take care [keep, guard, observe, retain] to do all that is written in it.
(4) For then, you will cause your way to thrive [advance, prosper, succeed]
(5) and then you will have success [prosper, act prudently].
In English, we have a number of different ways of phrasing commands.
1. The Warning / Request – “Don’t do this thing!”
2. The Emphatic Command – “You WILL NOT do this thing!”
3. Event-oriented Command – “This thing will not happen!”
My Interpretive Translation:
This verse is structured as a command, a legal requirement much like the 10 commandments. It requires regular study of God’s word. In this regard, it has similarities with the frequent commands in Deuteronomy and elsewhere, challenging the people of
2. Speak It. (Confess it. Mouth, Lips)
3. Do It. (Act on it.)
James says “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (ESV) Matthew 12:34b “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (ESV)
Also see Romans 10:8-10 where v. 8 quotes Deut. 30:14.
This verse is urging regular study and oral reading (not eating) of the Bible to promote active obedience of Scripture.