The Psalms – Psalm 119

This week, we are going to study only Psalm 119. This Psalm is the longest book in the Bible. It is an acrostic of the entire Hebrew alphabet whereby its 176 verses are divided into twenty-two stanzas, one stanza for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Within each stanza, each of the eight verses begins with that Hebrew letter, which is why it is so long. Martin Luther read this Psalm every day and said that this Psalm lays out the three means by which anyone can become a great theologian:

Moreover, I want to point out to you a correct way of studying theology, for I have had practice in that. If you keep to it, you will become so learned that you yourself could (if it were necessary) write books just as good as those of the fathers and councils, even as I (in God) dare to presume and boast, without arrogance and lying, that in the matter of writing books, I do not stand much behind some of the fathers. Of my life I can by no means make the same boast. This is the way taught by holy King David (and doubtlessly used also by all the patriarchs and prophets) in the one hundred nineteenth Psalm. There you will find three rules, amply presented throughout the whole Psalm. They are Oratio, Meditatio, Tentatio (prayer, meditation, and affliction).

A good discussion of Luther’s reading of Psalm 119 by John Piper is Here. (“Desiring God” 1/23/96).

When you begin reading through this Psalm:

·         Pray that the Holy Spirit will “Open my eyes, that I may see the wonders of your law.” Ps.119:18,

·         “I will meditate on your commandments and give attention to your ways.” Ps. 119:15, and

·         Understand that “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.” Ps. 119:71.

In addition to Psalm 119 and the attachment, please read Bonhoeffer’s “The Law” and Lewis’ chapter 6. Also, do not neglect a general daily reading of the Psalms. It is the beginning of the month, and so a great opportunity to begin a daily reading through the Psalter which allows us, as Lewis says, to be steeped in the word of God.

Dinner is at 6. Hope to see you there.

Teaching Notes: The Law of Psalm 119
           Bonhoeffer “The Law”; Lewis, Ch.6
           Psalm 119

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