What Does “Vox Populi, Vox Dei” Mean?

“The voice of the people is the voice of God,” is the translation of the ancient Latin expression serving as the title of this article. In a democracy such a sentiment sounds good. Especially does it soothe the ear in a society that is permeated with humanism.

When one examines God’s infallible Will, he immediately notices that most of the time most of the people are not in sympathy with the Truth of God. More than this is the fact that the Bible reveals that God’s people are very rarely content to remain submissive to His Will over any extended period of time. Just six chapters into the Bible and some 1500 years from the creation, God is pleased with only eight people out of the whole human race (Genesis 6:5-6).

Concerning God’s chosen people of the Old Testament, the Jews, God said of them at the time of the golden calf incident: “...I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiffnecked people” (Exodus 32:1-9).

Paul warned that some members of the church would conduct themselves according to the aforementioned phrase, with not a few elders and preachers in the lead (Acts 20:28-31; I Timothy 4:1ff; II Timothy 4:1-4)! Therefrom a great apostasy resulted; and there is not any indication that mankind, in the church or out of it, has changed. That is, man has yet to learn that the voice of the people is NOT the voice of God.

It is still true that the Bereans “...were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11; also see II Timothy 2:15). Yes, all of us have, do, and will continue to benefit from those who have gone before us in their studies. Surely no one is opposed to such benefits and blessings in the least; but that is not the point under consideration. My point is this: THE MAJORITY POSITION ON ANY SUBJECT DOES NOT IN AND OF ITSELF ALONE MAKE IT RIGHT! When the people understand this point they will know why the Bereans were called noble by God, and they will understand Acts 17:11.

"Vox Populi, vox Dei” is Satan’s formula and has no place among the faithful of God. Let us strive to make the voice of God the voice of the people. Our plea, therefore, is: “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God...” (I Peter 4:11); “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation...” (Romans 1:16); “But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1); and “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (I Thessalonians 5:21).

David P. Brown