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Reflections on Psalm 119:1-8

In this study, we will explore the meaning of this passage by asking questions. We will begin with a general overview of the passage, followed by an in-depth look at individual verses. After this, we will step back again, look at what we have learned, and ask ourselves a few summary questions that can help us apply this passage to our own lives. Additional suggestions are provided for further study.

Note that the word "blessed" is sometimes translated as happy, but it goes beyond the normal use of that word. It represents an internal condition that is not dependent on external circumstances.

Psalm 119:1-8


Blessed are they whose ways are blameless,
      who walk according to the law of the LORD.


Blessed are they who keep his statutes
      and seek him with all their heart.


They do nothing wrong;
      they walk in his ways.


You have laid down precepts
      that are to be fully obeyed.


Oh, that my ways were steadfast
      in obeying your decrees!


Then I would not be put to shame
      when I consider all your commands.


I will praise you with an upright heart
      as I learn your righteous laws.


I will obey your decrees;
      do not utterly forsake me.

PART 1 - Overview Questions:

What does this passage tell us about the Bible (laws, decrees, commands, etc.)?

What does this passage tell us about God (his attitude, character, and actions)?

What does this passage tell us about the person who loves God and his Word (the person's attitude, character, and actions)?


PART 2 - Individual Verse Questions:

(The following questions focus on specific verses, but they take into consideration the entire passage (the context). Knowing this fact may influence the way you answer some of the questions.)

v. 1-2 Who (or what type of people) are described as "blessed"? What is their attitude toward the Word of God?
v. 3 What is the resulting lifestyle of these "blessed" people? In other words, how is their attitude (v. 1-2) reflected in their lives?

v. 4

What does verse 4 say about the Word of God? (You can answer this question using all of v. 1-8, if desired.) Compare the description of those who are blessed (v. 1) to the requirements of verse 4. What is your rightful response, as suggested by these facts?
v. 5 What is the author's desire? Are his desires being fulfilled? Why? (You may have to consider the entire passage, to answer this.)
v. 6 When the author thinks about what God's Word says, what happens if he discovers that he has not been steadfast (v. 5)? Why? How do you respond when you haven't been faithful? Why?

v. 7-8a

Consider the author's resolve. What does he think about the Bible? What effect is it going to have on him? Why is he filled with praise? How does he get an upright heart?
v. 8b What does the author deserve from God? Why? (Everyone has sinned. What do we all deserve from God?) What is the author's prayer or desire? Do his actions demonstrate the genuineness of his desire? Explain. Is his primary motivation "God-centered" or "self-centered"? Explain.



PART 3 - Summary Questions

Does the author consider himself to be one of the "blessed" people, described in verses 1-3? Does he do the things required in verse 4? If not, what is he willing to do, to become "blessed?

Compare yourself with the author. Are you qualified to call yourself "blessed," based on verses 1-3? How does your lifestyle reflect your values and attitudes (verse 3)? How does your view about God's Word compare/contrast with the author's view (v. 4 and elsewhere)?

Things You Can Do:

Dennis Hinks © 1994
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.