Psalm 119

  • Read Psalm 119 here.
  • If you missed Sunday’s sermon (7/13) you can listen to it here.


The Church has Christ has often prided itself for our Bible knowledge. Is there a difference between knowing the Bible and loving it as the psalmist seems to?

Of the psalm’s 176 verses some are better known than others. When Pete’s Passionate Sermon Preparation Team met, we identified verses 11, 18, & 105 as the ones we knew best. Are there other verses in this psalm that are special to you? Why?

I believe that many Christians consider the Old Testament and it’s law as a bad thing we’re glad we don’t have to submit to today. Verses such as Gal. 5:1 highlight the contrast between then and now, between liberty and law. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Yet Psalm 119 speaks of the Law as a wonderful thing. Compare vs32, “I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free”. What does the psalmist see that we don’t?

Songs from the Psalm
For a psalm this long you’d think that there’d be a lot of songs written about it, but we couldn’t think of that many. Can you help us out with some more suggestions?

  • How Shall the Young Secure Their Hearts? – based on v9 (GSII, SOC, SFP)
  • Open My Eyes – based on v18. (GSR; SFP)
  • Thy Word – based on v105 (Amy Grant, 1984. Album: Straight Ahead)
  • The Statutes of the Lord (GSII) – all 5 stanzas of text come directly from Ps. 119, Brian recalls that growing up he just sang the chorus “O how I love Thy law”.

Other songs about the Bible

  • Give Me the Bible (SFP, GSR)
  • Word of God Speak (MercyMe, 2002. Album: Spoken For)
  • Speak, O Lord (Keith Getty & Stuart Townend, 2005.) – a really wonderful contemporary prayer
  • Ancient Words (Zoe Group, 2003. Album: Ancient Future)


  1. Jo H

    So, to answer the questions you have laid out…
    Yes, I do think there is a difference between loving the words in the Bible and just knowing them. Many scholars are able to memorize text and know it w/out loving it.
    I have a Bible that stays at home I refer to as my “rainbow Bible”- because it’s filled w/ multicolored highlights of scripture that I enjoy or has some sort of memory for me. Within Psalm 119, the verses that were highlighted where #s 10, and 105. 10 is a prayer for me and 105 maybe could be called a lesson learned.
    I think what the Psalmist sees that some don’t see is the freedom and security that comes with knowing God. Sunday morning Psalm 1 was briefly referenced…my favorites are Ps 1:2-3. Those vs give me the image that our love and knowledge of Gods words should make us like willow trees…deep grounding roots always searching for more “water”, so no matter what comes our way, we are grounded deep and strong in faith and the knowledge of love to survive. IMO
    I can’t think of any more songs that haven’t already been mentioned…

  2. benoverby

    The psalmist knew what Paul knew: the law was good; it was simply working with faulty material, namely our flesh (Ro. 7). I believe Paul’s using “law” as shorthand for boundary markers (dietary laws, circumcision, purity laws) in the Galatian letter. We have the idea that the law is a bad thing because we’ve grown up in Luther’s long shadow and tended to read Paul through that smoky lense. Jesus’ worldview would have been shaped, in no small way, by the psalms.

  3. Mark Wagner

    Rom 3:20 tells us that the law makes us conscious of sin. In other words, it shines the light on
    our cockroach existence. To be shown the truth of our uncleanness might cause someone to run away and deny the truth.

    However, Gal 3:24 says that the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ. So being shown the
    truth and seeing the path to life along that way may also be a strong draw for someone, especially if their life is a shambles. Being on the straight and narrow path would be a cause for
    great celebration for someone in this situation. So despite the boundaries and restrictions
    delineated in the law, knowing that you’re on the path to life would be a happy thing, worthy of great celebration.

    I suspect that the psalmist must have been in a very deep pit before his life was set straight.

  4. ozziepete

    Thanks for your thoughts, I know there’s some big questions this week.
    I believe the psalmist had a a different view of law than we usually do. He didn’t regard it as restrictive, but rather as guidance. It’s more like mapquest (see v105) than legal code. But we’ve spent a long time approaching it as a legal code.
    One of the papers I wrote for grad school looked at Alexander Campbell’s frequent comparisons between the church and US government structure, eg. Bible = constitution. I think this type of thinking has been difficult to move past.

  5. Cynthia

    I don’t think that there is a difference between knowing the Bible and loving it. To know God’s word you must have read it (for the right reason…to know God, etc.), interpreted it (have a level of understanding), evaluated it (ask questions about what you have read), applied it (application in your own life) and correlate the information read in one area of the bible with e.g. truths and principles taught elsewhere in the Bible to form the big picture.

    You can’t understand the big picture without first knowing God and to know God is to love him.

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