Many of us desire to Love God’s Word more, but are unsure of how to cultivate those desires. Psalm 119 is a heartfelt prayer from the Psalmist that can be used as a tool to transform your affections to love God’s Word more.
Here are 10 Things to Know about Psalm 119:
1. Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible with 176 verses. It has a similar length to some of the Bible’s shorter books like Philippians, James, or Ruth!
2. The purpose of this Psalm is to celebrate God’s word and instruction to His people. It is used in Jewish tradition to celebrate Rosh Hashanah (which is Jewish New Year). This holiday is the first of a series of holidays called Yamim Nora’im, or in English ‘Days of Awe.’ It is fitting to use this psalm in that setting because the Psalmist beautifully expresses awe and adoration of God for His Word. Here is one verse commonly used in this celebration:
“The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.” Psalm 119:72
3. The structure of Psalm 119 is comprised of 22 stanzas, each starting with a different letter in the Hebrew alphabet. Each stanza has 8 verses with two lines each.
4. There is a tradition in the Eastern Orthodox Church that King David used this psalm to teach his son Solomon both the Hebrew alphabet and the “alphabet of the spiritual life.”
5. Many of the verses mention God’s Word in one line, and then in the second line connect it to God’s revelation. Other words used to describe God’s revelation are: law, testimonies, precepts, statutes, commandments, word, and rules.
6. Psalm 119 is a prayer that includes many different elements, including prayers of praise (45-48), lament (81-88), vindication (132-134), obedience (57-64), and petitions for wisdom (33-40).
7. David Powlison observes, “Psalm 119 is actually not about the topic of getting Scripture into your life. Instead, it is the honest words that erupt when what God says gets into you. It’s not an exhortation to Bible study; it’s an outcry of faith…Psalm 119 is the thoughtful outcry that rises when real life meets real God.” (Speaking the Truth in Love, p. 14).
“It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.” Psalm 119:71
8. Charles Spurgeon liked this Psalm so much, he said, “we might do well to commit it to memory.” That’s a tall order for a Psalm that has 176 verses!
He also had this to say about it from his Psalm 119 commentary:
“As those who drink the Nile water like it better every time they take a draught, so does this Psalm become more full and fascinating the oftener you turn to it.”
9. The song “Thy Word” by Amy Grant is based on one of the most memorable verses from this beloved Psalm, verse 105 which says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (KJV).
10. Use this Psalm as a tuning fork to tune your heart to love God’s Word more. Read the psalm straight through and pray that God will shape your life and heart to Love Him and His Word more!
Psalm 119 New International Version
1 Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
who walk according to the law of the Lord.
2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes
and seek him with all their heart—
3 they do no wrong
but follow his ways.
4 You have laid down precepts
that are to be fully obeyed.
5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast
in obeying your decrees!
6 Then I would not be put to shame
when I consider all your commands.
7 I will praise you with an upright heart
as I learn your righteous laws.
8 I will obey your decrees;
do not utterly forsake me.
9 How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
12 Praise be to you, Lord;
teach me your decrees.
13 With my lips I recount
all the laws that come from your mouth.
14 I rejoice in following your statutes
as one rejoices in great riches.
15 I meditate on your precepts
and consider your ways.
16 I delight in your decrees;
I will not neglect your word.
17 Be good to your servant while I live,
that I may obey your word.
18 Open my eyes that I may see
wonderful things in your law.
19 I am a stranger on earth;
do not hide your commands from me.
20 My soul is consumed with longing
for your laws at all times.
21 You rebuke the arrogant, who are accursed,
those who stray from your commands.
22 Remove from me their scorn and contempt,
for I keep your statutes.
23 Though rulers sit together and slander me,
your servant will meditate on your decrees.
24 Your statutes are my delight;
they are my counselors.
25 I am laid low in the dust;
preserve my life according to your word.
26 I gave an account of my ways and you answered me;
teach me your decrees.
27 Cause me to understand the way of your precepts,
that I may meditate on your
28 My soul is weary with sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word.
29 Keep me from deceitful ways;
be gracious to me and teach me your law.
30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I have set my heart on your laws.
31 I hold fast to your statutes, Lord;
do not let me be put to shame.
32 I run in the path of your commands,
for you have broadened my understanding.
33 Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees,
that I may follow it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law
and obey it with all my heart.
35 Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.
36 Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.
37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.[c]
38 Fulfill your promise to your servant,
so that you may be feared.
39 Take away the disgrace I dread,
for your laws are good.
40 How I long for your precepts!
In your righteousness preserve my life.(BP)
41 May your unfailing Love come to me, Lord,
your salvation, according to Your promise;
42 then I can answer anyone who taunts me,
for I trust in your word.
43 Never take your word of truth from my mouth,
for I have put my hope in your laws.
44 I will always obey your law,
for ever and ever.
45 I will walk about in freedom,
for I have sought out your precepts.
46 I will speak of your statutes before kings
and will not be put to shame,
47 for I delight in your commands
because I love them.
48 I reach out for your commands, which I love,
that I may meditate on your decrees.
49 Remember your word to your servant,
for you have given me hope.
50 My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life.
51 The arrogant mock me unmercifully,
but I do not turn from your law.
52 I remember, Lord, your ancient laws,
and I find comfort in them.
53 Indignation grips me because of the wicked,
who have forsaken your law.
54 Your decrees are the theme of my song
wherever I lodge.
55 In the night, Lord, I remember your name,
that I may keep your law.
56 This has been my practice:
I obey your precepts.
57 You are my portion, Lord;
I have promised to obey your words.
58 I have sought your face with all my heart;
be gracious to me according to your promise.
59 I have considered my ways
and have turned my steps to your statutes.
60 I will hasten and not delay
to obey your commands.
61 Though the wicked bind me with ropes,
I will not forget your law.
62 At midnight I rise to give you thanks
for your righteous laws.
63 I am a friend to all who fear you,
to all who follow your precepts.
64 The earth is filled with your love, Lord;
teach me your decrees.
65 Do good to your servant
according to your word, Lord.
66 Teach me knowledge and good judgment,
for I trust your commands.
67 Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I obey your word.
68 You are good, and what you do is good;
teach me your decrees.
69 Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies,
I keep your precepts with all my heart.
70 Their hearts are callous and unfeeling,
but I delight in your law.
71 It was good for me to be afflicted
so that I might learn your decrees.
72 The law from your mouth is more precious to me
than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.
73 Your hands made me and formed me;
give me understanding to learn your commands.
74 May those who fear you rejoice when they see me,
for I have put my hope in your word.
75 I know, Lord, that your laws are righteous,
and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
76 May your unfailing Love be my comfort,
according to Your promise to Your servant.
77 Let Your compassion come to me that I may live,
for Your law is my delight.
78 May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause;
but I will meditate on Your precepts.
79 May those who fear You turn to me,
those who understand Your statutes.
80 May I wholeheartedly follow Your decrees,
that I may not be put to shame.
81 My soul faints with longing for Your salvation,
but I have put my hope in Your Word.
82 My eyes fail, looking for Your promise;
I say, “When will You comfort me?”
83 Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke,
I do not forget Your decrees.
84 How long must Your servant wait?
When will You punish my persecutors?
85 The arrogant dig pits to trap me,
contrary to Your law.
86 All Your commands are trustworthy;
help me, for I am being persecuted without cause.
87 They almost wiped me from the Earth,
but I have not forsaken Your precepts.
88 In Your unfailing Love preserve my life,
that I may obey the statutes of Your mouth.
89 Your Word, Lord, is eternal;
it stands firm in the Heavens.
90 Your faithfulness continues through all generations;
you established the Earth, and it endures.
91 Your laws endure to this day,
for all things serve You.
92 If Your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction.
93 I will never forget Your precepts,
for by them You have preserved my life.
94 Save me, for I am Yours;
I have sought out Your precepts.
95 The wicked are waiting to destroy me,
but I will ponder Your statutes.
96 To all perfection I see a limit,
but Your commands are boundless.
97 Oh, how I Love Your law!
I meditate on it all day long.
98 Your commands are always with me
and make me wiser than my enemies.
99 I have more insight than all my teachers,
for I meditate on Your statutes.
100 I have more understanding than the elders,
for I obey Your precepts.
101 I have kept my feet from every evil path
so that I might obey Your Word.
102 I have not departed from Your laws,
for You Yourself have taught me.
103 How sweet are Your Words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 I gain understanding from Your precepts;
therefore I hate every wrong path.
105 Your Word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.
106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it,
that I will follow Your righteous laws.
107 I have suffered much;
preserve my life, Lord, according to Your Word.
108 Accept, Lord, the willing praise of my mouth,
and teach me Your laws.
109 Though I constantly take my life in my hands,
I will not forget Your law.
110 The wicked have set a snare for me,
but I have not strayed from Your precepts.
111 Your statutes are my heritage forever;
they are the joy of my heart.
112 My heart is set on keeping Your decrees
to the very end.
113 I hate double-minded people,
but I Love Your law.
114 You are my refuge and my shield;
I have put my hope in Your Word.
115 Away from me, you evildoers,
that I may keep the commands of my God!
116 Sustain me, my God, according to Your promise, and I will live;
do not let my hopes be dashed.
117 Uphold me, and I will be delivered;
I will always have regard for Your decrees.
118 You reject all who stray from Your decrees,
for their delusions come to nothing.
119 All the wicked of the Earth You discard like dross;
therefore I Love Your statutes.
120 My flesh trembles in fear of You;
I stand in awe of Your laws.
121 I have done what is righteous and just;
do not leave me to my oppressors.
122 Ensure Your servant’s well-being;
do not let the arrogant oppress me.
123 My eyes fail, looking for Your salvation,
looking for Your righteous promise.
124 Deal with Your servant according to Your Love
and teach me Your decrees.
125 I am Your servant; give me discernment
that I may understand Your statutes.
126 It is time for You to act, Lord;
Your law is being broken.
127 Because I Love Your commands
more than gold, more than pure gold,
128 and because I consider all Your precepts right,
I hate every wrong path.
129 Your statutes are wonderful;
therefore I obey them.
130 The unfolding of Your Words gives light;
it gives understanding to the simple.
131 I open my mouth and pant,
longing for Your commands.
132 Turn to me and have mercy on me,
as You always do to those who Love Your name.
133 Direct my footsteps according to Your Word;
let no sin rule over me.
134 Redeem me from human oppression,(IE)
that I may obey Your precepts.
135 Make Your face shine on Your servant
and teach me Your decrees.
136 Streams of tears flow from my eyes,
for Your law is not obeyed.
137 You are righteous, Lord,
and Your laws are right.
138 The statutes You have laid down are righteous;
they are fully trustworthy.
139 My zeal wears me out,
for my enemies ignore Your Words.
140 Your promises have been thoroughly tested,
and Your servant Loves them.
141 Though I am lowly and despised,
I do not forget Your precepts.
142 Your righteousness is everlasting
and Your law is true.
143 Trouble and distress have come upon me,
but Your commands give me delight.
144 Your statutes are always righteous;
give me understanding that I may live.
145 I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O Lord: I will keep thy statutes.
146 I cried unto thee; save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies.
147 I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word.
148 Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.
149 Hear my voice according unto thy lovingkindness: O Lord, quicken me according to thy judgment.
150 They draw nigh that follow after mischief: they are far from thy law.
151 Thou art near, O Lord; and all thy commandments are truth.
152 Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever.
153 Consider mine affliction, and deliver me: for I do not forget thy law.
154 Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me according to thy word.
155 Salvation is far from the wicked: for they seek not thy statutes.
156 Great are thy tender mercies, O Lord: quicken me according to thy judgments.
157 Many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from thy testimonies.
158 I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word.
159 Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O Lord, according to thy lovingkindness.
160 Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.
161 Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word.
162 I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil.
163 I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love.
164 Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments.
165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.
166 Lord, I have hoped for thy salvation, and done thy commandments.
167 My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly.
168 I have kept thy precepts and thy testimonies: for all my ways are before thee.
169 Let my cry come near before thee, O Lord: give me understanding according to thy word.
170 Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word.
171 My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes.
172 My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.
173 Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts.
174 I have longed for thy salvation, O Lord; and thy law is my delight.
175 Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me.
176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.