After the original association of the term “oracle” with the Urim and Thummim, in process of time other definitions were added, and the usage of “oracle” became expanded. The Hebrew word for “oracle” is d’bar which simply means “word,” as in the expression, “the word (d’bar) of the Lord,” used many times throughout Holy Scripture. Thus, any message received by Moses and the other Prophets came to be defined as “oracle,” because every message from YEHOVAH God was viewed as being a form of “the word (oracle — d’bar) of the LORD.”
By the time of the First Century A.D., “oracle” had a very expanded meaning, and included many aspects of the Jewish culture, especially of the legal and theological culture. Around 250 B.C., the Jewish Elders who made the Septuagint Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures used the Greek term “logeion” in Exodus 28:15 to describe the High Priest’s breastplate (see: Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, p. 144, vol. 3). “Logeion” (also, “logion”) is derived from the Greek word “logos” — the same term used for the Shekinah Glory of YEHOVAH God in John 1:1, i.e., Word. So, it was the Shekinah Glory that answered through the Urim and Thummim worn by the High Priests of ancient Israel.
Also, when we translate the Hebrew term d’bar (“word”) into New Testament Greek we get “logion,” which is the exact Greek term translated “oracle(s)” in Romans 3:2 (“logia” used in Romans 3:2 is the plural form of “logion”).
On pages 143-144, volume 3, in his aforementioned dictionary, Greek scholar W. E. Vine states:
ORACLE: LOGION: a diminutive of logos, a word, narrative, statement, denotes a Divine response or utterance, an oracle; it is used of (a) the contents of the Mosaic Law, Acts 7:38; (b) all the written utterances of God through O.T. writers, Rom. 3:2; (c) the substance of Christian doctrine, Heb. 5:22; (d) the utterances of God through Christian teachers, I Pet. 4:11. Note: Divine oracles were given by means of the breastplate of the High Priest, in connection with the service of the Tabernacle, and the Sept. uses the associated word logeion in Ex. 28:15 to denote the breastplate.
It was the “oracle of God” which came through the High Priest’s breastplate, i.e., it was the “word of God” or Shekinah Glory that came through the High Priest’s breastplate.
The “oracles of God” are simply “the words of YHWH ” as projected by YHWH’s Shekinah Glory to “the fathers by the prophets”!
What Are the “Oracles of God”?
Just what are the “oracles of God” mentioned by the apostle Paul in Romans 3:2? Why is there so much controversy, today, over the meaning of this expression? What did Paul mean when he said the Jew has an “advantage,” in fact, “much every way”? A study into the original Greek helps answer these provocative questions.
At the present time, some persons are causing controversy about Paul’s remarks in Romans 3:1-2. Paul wrote: “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.” The controversy surrounds exactly what Paul meant by the term “oracles” used in this verse 2. Let us examine Paul’s words, and determine specifically to what he was referring.
First of all, we need to realize the impact of the Greek words translated in the KJV as “Much every way” in Romans 3:2. “Much every way” is translated from the Greek words, “Pialu kata piento tropion,” which literally reads as, “Much, according to every mode” (The Emphatic Diaglatt, p. 517). According to Hebrews 1:1, there were any number of “modes” by which YHWH produced “oracles”: “God, who at sundry (different) times and in divers (various) manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets.” The Greek here for “manners” is “Opiolutrapios” meaning literally “in many ways” or “in many modes.” It is a plural form of the words used in Romans 3:2. The “oracles” were all the many “modes” by which YHWH spoke to the “fathers by the prophets.” What were some of these many modes which comprised “the oracles of God”? The Scripture shows clearly that originally the term “oracles” applied to the Urim and Thummim worn on the High Priest’s Breasplate.