Why do people post Deuteronomy 11:18-21 on their walls?


I have a question regarding Deuteronomy 11:18-21. I am sure this is a easy question to answer but for some reason I cannot get my mind around it. I have seen many people place the passage in their homes.

I am not really sure what this verse is fully referring to and how it corresponds with people placing this verse in their homes on the wall or on their door posts.


"Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth. For if you carefully keep all these commandments which I command you to do-to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, and to hold fast to Him- then the LORD will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess greater and mightier nations than yourselves" (Deuteronomy 11:18-23).

When people post Deuteronomy 11:18-21, they are misunderstanding what God said on several levels.

First, notice that this is an Old Testament law given to the Israelites. I quoted Deuteronomy 11:22-23 in the passage above so that you can see that the command was tied to the Israelites ability to conquer the land of Canaan. We aren't under the Old Law. See "Why We Don't Follow the Old Testament" for more details.

Second, it taking literally a commandment that was meant to be understood figuratively. Notice how it starts out, "Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes" (Deuteronomy 11:18). Notice the use of the word "as." God wasn't saying to literally bind copies of these words on their hand or on their forehead. He is saying to make His words a part of their being: "lay up these words of min in your heart and in your soul." It should be with them so prevalently that it is as if they were written on their hands or right in front of their eyes. They were to constantly talk about God's word and instruct their children in them. The words should be constantly before them as if they were written on all the walls and posts of their home.

Would it hurt to actually write them there? No, but God is talking about how important His words should be to the Israelites in their day-to-day life. To relegate it to household decorations is to completely miss the point.

Further, God wasn't talking about just the words in Deuteronomy 11:18-21. He was speaking about all His words, the entire law. Knowing the law that says an Israelite should know the law intimately isn't nearly the scope of what God wanted His people to learn.

The scribes and Pharisees of Jesus' day made the same mistakes. They took these words and three other passages very literally. It did nothing for them. It was merely a way for them to show off that they were "religious" to other people. See "The Scribes and The Pharisees" for more details.

It used to be that Christians were teased about being "walking Bibles." Actually it is compliment. That is what God wanted for the Israelites and it is want He wants for His current people.

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord" (Colossians 3:16).

"Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away" (Hebrews 2:1).

"Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior" (II Peter 3:1-2).