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Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
Become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Read His Words Before Ours!

Psalm 119:33-38

Teach me, Lord, the meaning of your statutes, and I will always keep them. 34 Help me understand your instruction, and I will obey it and follow it with all my heart. 35 Help me stay on the path of your commands, for I take pleasure in it. 36 Turn my heart to your decrees and not to dishonest profit. 37 Turn my eyes from looking at what is worthless; give me life in your ways. 38 Confirm what you said to your servant, for it produces reverence for you.

The Original Intent

1) How can the psalmist possibly say, “I will always keep them”? Surely, even the psalmist couldn’t keep all of the God’s commands. 

Translating words from Hebrew (the original language of the Old Testament) to English is a challenging and critical task. The translations we use for study are extremely important (for more on why, check here!). At Gracefully Truthful, we study with the Christian Standard Bible, which holds tightly to the original words while also working to preserve the original intended meaning or idea.

The original Hebrew for the phrase “I will always keep them” is not a direct word-for-word translation because doing so, would not have made grammatical sense. The word translated “keep” originally means “guard, protect, watch over, and preserve”. The word translated “always” originally had the context of a consequence for actions in a positive sense, as in earning a reward, or receiving a solid gain.

In entirety, the original meaning would have meant something along the lines of “I will guard and protect them as my cherished reward or gain.” The psalmist most definitely didn’t mean he had the ability to follow every one of the Lord’s laws perfectly, rather that the Lord’s ways were precious and worth holding close, as a reward of extreme value and importance.  

The Everyday Application

1) How can the psalmist possibly say, “I will always keep them”? Surely, even the psalmist couldn’t keep all of the God’s commands.

Take a few minutes to consider how you view God’s word. What adjectives would you use to describe it from your perspective? How important would you say studying and reading God’s Word is based on today’s passage? The real question is, how do your actions reflect the reality of what you believe?

When it comes to our walk with the Lord, we are exactly where we want to be, because of the choices we have made to be here. If you want to be closer, if you want to know His Word better, if you want to hold His Words as a reward, practice being in His Word. Daily. Consistently. Then watch Him do a great work in you!

The Original Intent

2) What is significant about the structure of verses 33 and 34?

Both of these verses display a logical if A, then B scenario. If the Lord teaches the meaning (or the pathway, as in showing how to succeed) of His statutes (or ways), then I will cherish them as rich reward and will guard them closely. (verse 33

If the Lord helps me understand and know and experience and grasp His instructions, then I will obey and follow wholeheartedly. (verse 34

The psalmist sets up a natural overflow of what happens in our hearts when we are taught by the Lord and when He helps us understand His Word. The result is delight and a life that is solidly built from a heart that takes pleasure in following the right paths of the Lord.

The Everyday Application

2) What is significant about the structure of verses 33 and 34?

Reading the Bible can feel daunting and difficult to understand, but it doesn’t need to be. Even better, the Lord God wants you to know and understand His ways. But knowing Him is discovered and experienced when the Lord Himself is our teacher. We can fill our heads with endless learning and theological studies, but unless the Lord, through the Spirit, who uses the Word of God, is our teacher, our learning will be in vain.

Podcasts, websites, devotional books, pastors, and Bible teachers can be great resources, but it all quickly becomes “just knowledge” if we are not continually digging into Scripture itself. Ask the Lord to teach, request His help in understanding, and He will build your life on a solid foundation.

The Original Intent

3) What benefits does the psalmist list for following God’s ways?

The psalmist finds delightful pleasure in following God’s ways. (verse 35) He receives the deep, rich “life” found only in God and His pattern of living. (verse 37) Reverence, awe, glory to God, and a deepening of intimate relationship between the psalmist and God is built when he sees the glories of the Lord unfolded as a result of following Him. (verse 38) 

Those are rich rewards for following the way of the Lord, which is revealed through His Word. Studying it, holding it near, being teachable to His instruction, and reaching out for help from God and His Word are all necessary components of finding these sweet benefits.

The Everyday Application

3) What benefits does the psalmist list for following God’s ways?

The Bible is full of benefits to following God’s design for living life, which makes sense as He is the Author of life. In just this short passage, how have you experienced the benefits of delight, abundant life, and intimate relationship with the Lord?

Slow down to fully answer that question and then turn it back in praise to the Savior for giving those gifts! If you hunger for more of these benefits with a longing for new and deeper perspectives on them, the pathway to enjoying them is simple: dwell deeply in the Word of the Lord.

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3 years ago

Hmm, it makes a great difference when God is our teacher,He does not teach only knowledge, but gives us revelation of Himself.
I am blessed by this journey.

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