Recall the things from the introductory lesson that you wanted to keep in mind as you study the text of Psalm 119.
Don’t forget to read in complete sentences instead of stopping at the end of each verse.
Questions to Consider
1. Review your notes from last week’s lesson. Does that passage relate to this week’s passage? How? Do you notice any repeated words, thoughts, or themes?
2. For what purpose does the psalmist ask God to “deal bountifully” with him? (17) When Christians today ask God to “deal bountifully” with them do you think this is what they have in mind? Is it what you have in mind?
3. Think about the approximate time period during which the psalms were written (you may wish to look back at the resources in lesson 1 – link above). Which books of the Bible would the psalmist have had access to? What two kinds of writing – poetry, historical narrative, prophecy, law, or didactic – compose the bulk of those books? (Think and answer first, then scroll down to *.) So when the psalmist uses words like “law,” “commands,” “statutes,” and “rules,” he’s usually using those terms interchangeably with “Scripture” (all of it that he had access to), but in another sense he can be referring specifically to God’s laws. In verse 18, how does he characterize God’s law? Think specifically about the law portions of the Old Testament (the 10 Commandments, Levitical law, etc.). What are some “wondrous things” you see in God’s law? What are some “wondrous things” you see in the other portions of the Scriptures the psalmist had access to?
4. Consider 20-22 together. What is God’s disposition toward those who forsake His Word? Toward those who keep it? Why does this cause the psalmist to “long after” God’s Word? What role does God’s Word play in the psalmist’s relationship with God? Make the connection between this and your own relationship with God.
5. 18, 26-27, 29 – What is the main idea of these verses? Is the psalmist asking God for better reading comprehension skills? Is He saying Scripture is so confusing he doesn’t understand what it means? What, exactly, is he asking God for? What is the illumination of Scripture? Who initiates and drives illumination (18,32)? Why do we need God to illumine Scripture to us? What role does the indwelling Holy Spirit play in illumination? Does God illumine Scripture to unbelievers? Why or why not? How does the doctrine of illumination fit with the concept that God’s Word is “living and active“? Describe the experience of God illuminating His Word to you, personally.
6. Which verses describe the comfort of God’s Word during hard times? What is the psalmist’s perspective or desire regarding God’s Word in these verses?
7. One of the themes you will probably notice in Psalm 119 is those who love and keep God’s law versus those who disobey God’s law. In what ways or verses did you see that theme in today’s passage? What are some other themes you’re beginning to notice? How does the psalmist connect Scripture to each of those themes? Watch for those themes to be repeated in future passages. You may wish to make a list of them to refer to throughout this study.
8. What does today’s passage teach us about the nature and character of God?
*Question 3: At that point in history, the psalmist would have had access to the Pentateuch (Genesis – Deuteronomy), probably Joshua, Judges, and Ruth, and possibly some or all of 1&2 Samuel and some of Psalms. The bulk of these books is historical narrative and law.
Praying Psalm 119
Have you ever tried praying the psalms? I want to encourage you to try praying part of Psalm 119 back to God each week of this study. (If you’re familiar with my other studies, this will take the place of the weekly “Homework” section.)
The psalms are uniquely suited for praying back to God, both verbatim and conceptually, because they are often written as prayers – as though the psalmist is talking to God. Did you notice that about today’s passage? In which verses?
What is a concept or thought for your own life that the Holy Spirit impressed on your heart or convicted you about from today’s passage? Is there a particular verse(s), or maybe the whole passage, that you would like to pray back to God verbatim? Whatever your “prayer point” from today’s lesson, pray it at least daily until we get to the next lesson.