But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you, Romans 6:17.
What is the heart? When your King James Translators saw the Hebrew or Greek word that they translated as heart, what did that make them think? Is the English word "heart" the proper interpretation of that word? Herein is a word which seems to be pretty commonly translated as heart in the varying versions, but what was meant by that word? Is this the physical beating muscle in the human breast?
We will see that lexicons are wholly inadequate for understanding the heart when compared to a simple examination of context. If we do what the silly boys in short pants do, we would look up the word in Strong's Concordance. If we did so we would find this:
So now, if I used Strong as a guide I would think to myself that I needed to obey from my thoughts, or my feelings, or my mind, or from my middle to be free from sin. I suppose that if I had a church full of people ignorant enough to think that somehow I had given them more light by jumbling all of those thoughts together for them, I could feel mighty proud of myself.
Instead, I have encouraged more than one young student of the word of God to look up the word "heart in every one of the almost 1000 places that it is used. Eventually there are a couple of places in the King James Bible that make the meaning abundantly clear. And before I had done speaking in mine heart, behold, Rebekah came forth with her pitcher on her shoulder; and she went down unto the well, and drew water: and I said unto her, Let me drink, I pray thee, Genesis 24:45.
Here we see a clear thought process in Abraham's servant. As he thinks, the words are clear words in his own language. They are a precise word by word description of what he would like God to do, yet he did not speak out loud. He spoke in his heart. I would ask my readers, what part of you speaks to yourself or to God internally? What part of you speaks clearly in your own language, but not out loud? Another proof text that makes the heart to be clearly defined is 1st Samuel 1:13, Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken.
Looking up the word in Strong's Hebrew Lexicon brings little clarity:
In Hannah's prayer we see a perfect illustration of the heart. She spoke a very clear prayer silently. Her lips moved while she prayed, but no sound came out. Have you ever been in a situation where you could not pray out loud, but you felt compelled to pray. Have you ever concentrated on precisely what you wanted to say with such detail that your lips silently moved along with your prayer? Perhaps you were rehearsing what you would say to someone, but you were doing so silently. That was your heart.
In a King James Bible, the heart describes the part of our thought process which imitates speech, but does so internally. In two passages of the bible we can understand what part of ourselves needs to obey God. It is not our outward obedience that pleases. It is our internal reasoning that needs to be in subjection to God. The church is filled with people who in their internal reasoning process are filled with doubt. They claim to believe in their hearts, but if the Lord was to project the thoughts of their heart up on a screen for all to see, they would see an internal thought process which has never been purified by faith.