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About TURNING RIGHT or LEFT From Obedience to God's Commands

Look Up the Verses That Illustrate these Principles:

Deuteronomy 4:2

Deuteronomy 5:32

Deuteronomy 12:32

Deuteronomy 17:11

Deuteronomy 17:20

Deuteronomy 28:14

Joshua 1:7

Joshua 23:6

2 Kings 22:2

2 Chronicles 34:2

Proverbs 4:27

Proverbs 30:6

Revelation 22:18

Revelation 22:19


The references to adding and subtracting seem to focus on the way we respond to God's Word, the Bible.

The references to turning to the left or to the right seem to focus on the way we respond to God's "straight and narrow way." This "straight and narrow way" refers to a lifestyle that is pleasing to God and that glorifies him most. It is a reflection of his very own character. [There are some verses which uses the words "left" and "right" in a different manner - see the note below.]

God always forbids any addition to or subtraction from the message of his Word. He always forbids any turning to the right or left from his "straight and narrow way." From the beginning to the end of the Bible, the message is consistent: We never find verses which permit either of these.

Furthermore, there are blessings associated with the refusal to add/subtract or to turn right/left. And there are curses associated with the willingness to do those forbidden things.


NOTE: Another way the Bible occasionally uses the concepts of "right" and "left."

There is a verse in the Old Testament that uses the words "right" and "left" in a way that is different from the others:

This verse does not emphasize deviation from God's "standard" (which we could describe as "center" or "straight ahead" in a direction that does not turn to either "side"). Rather, it stems from various concepts related to the idea of being "right-handed" - which most people are.

Since a right-handed person tends to be stronger and more skilled with his right hand, the right hand came to be associated (symbolically) with strength, skill, good, etc. To the average person (being right-handed), the left hand came to be associated (symbolically) with weakness, clumsiness, bad, etc.

It is important to realize that this symbolic use of right and left hands does not reflect good or bad upon the nature of people who are right or left handed. (A concordance could be used to provide various verses that mention the symbolic use of right-handedness... as well as, if desired, verses mentioning left-handed people.)

A New Testament passage which uses the words "right" and "left" in a similar way is the parable of the sheep and the goats - Matthew 25:31-46.

Dennis Hinks © 1992
Scripture quotation taken from the NASB.