What does Psalm 51:13 mean?
ESV: Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.
NIV: Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.
NASB: Then I will teach wrongdoers Your ways, And sinners will be converted to You.
CSB: Then I will teach the rebellious your ways, and sinners will return to you.
NLT: Then I will teach your ways to rebels, and they will return to you.
KJV: Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
NKJV: Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You.
Verse Commentary:
David wanted to be forgiven and restored to a close walk with the Lord, and he believed the Lord's mercies would reinstate him as God's faithful servant. Once again, he would be able to teach transgressors God's ways—how He wants His people to live—and restore sinners to God.

When a believer sins, he damages his testimony, fellowship with the Lord, and effectiveness. He needs to be restored. In Galatians 6:1 the apostle Paul called upon "spiritual" believers to restore a fallen believer "in a spirit of gentleness" and be careful lest they, too, would be tempted. "Restore" means to bring back into alignment. Just as a dislocated limb is ineffective and needs to be put back in place, even so a fallen believer is ineffective and needs to be put back in his proper place in the body of Christ. They don't need to be re-saved, since true salvation can never be lost.

When Peter denied the Lord, he needed to be restored. Graciously, the Lord restored him and gave him the assignment to feed the Lord's sheep (John 21:15–19). If we fall to temptation, we do not have to stay down, the Lord can lift us up and get us back on track.
Verse Context:
Psalm 51:8–15 express David's prayer for renewed joy, a clean heart, and a renewed spirit. This comes after confessing his sins in the prior passage. David also asks the Lord to restore his testimony so that he might teach transgressors the ways of God and lead sinners back to Him. David wants to praise the Lord joyfully.
Chapter Summary:
This psalm opens with David's plea to God to show him mercy. He asks God to blot out his transgressions, wash his iniquities, and cleanse him from sin. He admits his sinning was against God. He also confesses his human sin nature. David asks God to make him as white as snow by purging him with hyssop. He longs for joy to return to him, but knows he was suffering because God had turned away from him. He pleads with God for a clean heart and a right spirit. He does not want God to cast him aside and remove His Holy Spirit. David longs for a renewal of the joy of his salvation. If cleansing from sin occurred and joy returned to him, David would teach transgressors God's ways, and sinners would be converted. He promises near the end of the psalm to declare God's praise if God would forgive him. He knew it would be futile to offer a sacrifice to God, because God delights in a broken and contrite heart and not in sacrifices offered with an unrepentant heart. David closes the psalm with a prayer for God to bless Jerusalem.
Chapter Context:
Second Samuel 11—12 provides the sad background for Psalm 51. Instead of being out on the battlefield and leading his troops, David was walking on the roof of his palace. A woman named Bathsheba was taking a bath on a neighboring roof. David lusted for her and had her brought to the palace, where he committed adultery with her. Learning later that she was pregnant, David summoned Uriah, her soldier-husband and one of David's mighty men, to come home from the battlefield. He expected Uriah to have relations with Bathsheba so it would appear that Uriah was the baby's father. But Uriah did not touch Bathsheba, so David launched an alternate plan. He arranged for Uriah to be put on the frontline of battle and be killed. The plan worked, but the Lord sent the prophet Nathan to confront David with his sin. Overcome with guilt, David poured out his heart to the Lord in confession. Psalm 51 records his confession, and Psalm 32 reports the forgiveness he received from the Lord. Even though he was forgiven, David's sins still carried life-ruining consequences.
Book Summary:
The book of Psalms is composed of individual songs, hymns, or poems, each of which is a ''Psalm'' in and of itself. These works contain a wide variety of themes. Some Psalms focus on praising and worshipping God. Others cry out in anguish over the pain of life. Still other Psalms look forward to the coming of the Messiah. While some Psalms are related, each has its own historical and biblical context.
Accessed 5/20/2024 10:43:53 AM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.