Welcome to our new study, Psalm 119: The Glory of God’s Word!
What does God’s Word teach us about…itself? Weighing in at a hefty 176 verses, Psalm 119 is well known as the longest chapter in the Bible, and is similar in length to Philippians and James. Over the next several weeks as we make our way through this lovely psalm, you’ll learn about loving God’s Word, the reliability of God’s Word, and the various ways Scripture helps us in our daily lives. But most importantly, you’ll learn about and increase in your love for the God of the Word.
Our lovely title pic for the study was designed by Susan Snyder. The photo is her own, captured in beautiful Greenville, South Carolina. Susan says:
The psalmist loved God’s Word and wanted his life to reflect that love through obedience. The path of God’s commandments is delightful. I thought a nice-looking path might illustrate that thought…
Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it. Psalm 119:35
Many thanks to all of those who worked so hard on your entries for our title pic contest. You ladies were very creative and did some outstanding work!
There were too many entries to share all of them with you, but here are a few “honorable mentions”:
If you’re new to using my Bible studies, just a few housekeeping items and helpful hints:
The studies I’ve written (you can find all of them at the Bible Studies tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page) are like “training wheels”. They’re designed to teach you how to study the Bible for yourself and what kinds of questions to ask of the text so that, when you get the hang of it, you won’t have to depend on other people’s books and materials – even mine – any more. To that end, I do not provide answers for the study questions in the studies I’ve written.
My studies are meant to be extremely flexible and self-paced so that you can use them in the way that works best for you. You can do an entire lesson in one day or work on the questions over the course of the week (or longer). You do not need to feel obligated to answer all (or any) of the questions. If the Holy Spirit parks you on one question for several days, enjoy digging deep into that one aspect of the lesson. If He shows you something I haven’t written a question about that captures your attention, dive in and study it! Those are ways the Holy Spirit speaks to us through His Word. This is your time to commune with the Lord, not a school assignment or work project you are beholden to complete in a certain way by a certain deadline.
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I use hyperlinks liberally. The Scriptures for each lesson will be linked at the beginning of the lesson and in the lesson questions. As you’re reading the lesson, whenever you see a word in a different color text, click on it, and it will take you to a Scripture, article, or other resource that will help as you study.
All of the studies I’ve written are suitable for groups or individuals. You are welcome to use them as a Sunday school or Bible study class curriculum (for free) with proper attribution.
You are also welcome to print out any of my Bible studies (or any article I’ve written) for free and make as many copies as you’d like, again, with proper attribution. I’ve explained more about that in this article (3rd section).
From time to time I receive inquiries from men about using my studies for their personal quiet time or for teaching a co-ed or men’s Bible study class. It is my personal conviction that it is more in keeping with the spirit (though not the letter) of 1 Timothy 2:12, Titus 2:3-5, and related passages for men to use Bible study materials authored by men rather than by women. Therefore, on the honor system, I would request that men please not use my studies for personal use, or when teaching a class with male members. (Vetting the studies for your wife, daughter, or the women of your church, is, of course, fine. Encouraged, actually.)
Introduction to Psalm 119: The Glory of God’s Word
Before we begin studying a book of the Bible, it’s very important that we understand some things about that book. But even though we’re not going to be studying the whole book this time, we still need to know…
Who the author was and anything we might be able to find out about him or his background.
Who the audience of the book is: Jews or Gentiles? Old Testament Israelites or New Testament Christians? This will help us understand the author’s purpose and approach to what he’s writing.
What kind of biblical literature we’re looking at. We approach books of history differently than books of wisdom, books of wisdom differently than books of prophecy, etc.
What the purpose of the book is. Was it written to encourage? Rebuke? Warn?
What the historical backdrop is for the book. Is Israel at war? At peace? In exile? Under a bad king? Good king? Understanding the historical events surrounding a piece of writing help us understand what was written and why it was written.
When the book was written. Where does the book fall on the timeline of biblical history? This is especially important for Old Testament books which are not always arranged in chronological order.
So this week, before we start studying the actual text of Psalm 119, we need to lay the foundation to understanding it by finding the answers to these questions.
Read the following overviews of the book of Psalms, taking notes on anything that might aid your understanding of the book, and, particularly Psalm 119, and answer the questions below:
Bible Introductions: Psalms at Grace to You
Overview of the Book of Psalms at Reformed Answers
Summary of the Book of Psalms at Got Questions
You may also wish to read these resources on Psalm 119 itself:
What should we learn from Psalm 119? at Got Questions
What are the Acrostic Psalms? at Reformed Answers
The Greatness and Glory of God’s Word at Blue Letter Bible (I have vetted only the introduction of this resource, and I would encourage you to stop reading at the end of the introduction rather than continuing on through the commentary. That way you can begin the study of the text of Psalm 119 next week with no pre-conceived notions, ready for the Word of God itself to write on the blank slate of your heart.)
1. Who are some of the authors of Psalms? The author of Psalm 119?
2. Approximately when was Psalms written? What is the geographical setting of the book of Psalms?
3. Who is the original, intended audience of the book of Psalms? Describe the historical setting (historic events, politics, sociology of the time, etc.) of Psalms.
4. Which genre of biblical literature is the book of Psalms: law, history, wisdom, poetry, narrative, epistles, or prophecy/apocalyptic? What does this tell us about the approach we should take when studying from this book versus our approach to books of other genres?
5. What is the theme or purpose of the book of Psalms? Of Psalm 119?
6. What are some ways Psalms and Psalm 119 point to and connect to Jesus?
7. Describe the format and structure of Psalm 119. Why was it written this way?
8. What else did you learn about Psalms or the setting of this book that might help you understand Psalm 119 better?
Take some time in prayer this week to begin preparing your heart for this study. Ask God to grow your love for Him and His Word as we study Psalm 119: The Glory of God’s Word together.