This Bible study on Psalm 119 contains outlines, extensive cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, lessons to learn, and applications. Visit our inductive Bible studies for more studies on this and other books of the Bible.
Psalm 119 Overview
Psalm 119 Overview
Meditations on God’s Word
I. W Aleph- Walking in the Law of the Lord (vv 1-8)
II. W Beth- Purifying Our Way (vv 9-16)
III. W Gimel- Beholding Wonderful Things from His Word (vv 17-24)
IV. W Daleth- Strengthening by His Word (vv 25-32)
V. W He- Understanding Produces Obedience (vv 33-40)
VI. W Vav- Walking in Liberty (vv 41-48)
VII. W Zayin- Comforted by His Word (vv 49-56)
VIII. W Heth- The Lord is My Portion (vv 57-64)
IX. W Teth- Affliction Teaches God’s Word (vv 65-72)
X. W Yodh- Unashamed in His Word (vv 73-80)
XI. W Kaph- Help in Persecution (vv 81-88)
XII. W Lamedh- His Word Stands Forever (vv 89-96)
XIII. W Mem- Meditating on the Word (vv 97-104)
XIV. W Nun- Guided by His Word (vv 105-112)
XV. W! Samekh- Safety in His Word (vv 113-120)
XVI. W” Ayin- His Word is Priceless (vv 121-128)
XVII. W$ Pe- His Word Shines on Us (vv 129-136)
XVII. W& Tsadhe- Zeal for the Word (vv 137-144)
XIX. W’ Qoph- Crying out for God’s Word (vv 145-152)
XX. W( Resh- Rescued by His Word (vv 153-160)
XXI. W)W Shin- Loving His Word (vv 161-168)
XXII. W* Tav- A Body in Complete Subject to His Word (vv 169-176)
Outline as found in Believer’s Bible Commentary-
I. W Aleph- The Blessedness of Obeying the Word (vv 1-8)
II. W Beth- Cleansing By the Word (vv 9-16)
III. W Gimel- Discernment by the Word (vv 17-24)
IV. W Daleth- Sense of Personal Insufficiency Through the Word (vv 25-32)
V. W He- The Power of the Word (vv 33-40)
VI. W Vav- Victory Through the Word (vv 41-48)
VII. W Zayin- Rest and Comfort Through the Word (vv 49-56)
VIII. W Heth- Perseverance in the Word (vv 57-64)
IX. W Teth- The Pricelessness of the Word in Good and Evil Times (vv 65-72)
X. W Yodh- Insights Through the Word (vv 73-80)
XI. W Kaph- The Afflicted One Sustained By the Word (vv 81-88)
XII. W Lamedh- Eternity of the Word (vv 89-96)
XIII. W Mem- Wisdom Through the Word (vv 97-104)
XIV. W Nun- The Word a Lamp and Light For All Occasions (vv 105-112)
XV. W! Samekh- The Wicked and the Word (vv 113-120)
XVI. W” Ayin- Separation and Deliverance Through the Word (vv 121-128)
XVII. W$ Pe- Joy and Communion Through the Word (vv 129-136)
XVII. W& Tsadhe- Zeal for the Word (vv 137-144)
XIX. W’ Qoph- Experience Through the Word (vv 145-152)
XX. W( Resh- Salvation Through the Word (vv 153-160)
XXI. W)W Shin- Perfection of the Word (vv 161-168)
XXII. W* Tav- Prayer and Praise Through the Word (vv 169-176)
Outline as Found in Walvoord and Zuck OT Commentary-
I. W Aleph- Blessings of Obedience (vv 1-8)
II. W Beth- Cleansing by God’s Word (vv 9-16)
III. W Gimel- Appreciation of God’s Word (vv 17-24)
IV. W Daleth- Prayer for Understanding (vv 25-32)
V. W He- Loyalty to God’s Word (vv 33-40)
VI. W Vav- Salvation through God’s Word (vv 41-48)
VII. W Zayin- Hope from God’s Word (vv 49-56)
VIII. W Heth- Obedience to God’s Word (vv 57-64)
IX. W Teth- Trust in God’s Word (vv 65-72)
X. W Yodh- Hope in God’s Word (vv 73-80)
XI. W Kaph- God’s Word is Faithful (vv 81-88)
XII. W Lamedh- God’s Word is Sure (vv 89-96)
XIII. W Mem- God’s Word is Sweet (vv 97-104)
XIV. W Nun- God’s Word is a Light (vv 105-112)
XV. W! Samekh- God’s Word is Awe-Inspiring (vv 113-120)
XVI. W” Ayin- Vindication from God (vv 121-128)
XVII. W$ Pe- God’s Word is Wonderful (vv 129-136)
XVII. W& Tsadhe-God’s Word is Righteous (vv 137-144)
XIX. W’ Qoph- God’s Word is True (vv 145-152)
XX. W( Resh- Love for God’s Word (vv 153-160)
XXI. W)W Shin- Rejoicing in God’s Word (vv 161-168)
XXII. W* Tav- Deliverance by God’s Word (vv 169-176)
Key Verse- 119:10&11
Other Key Verses- 119:1, 9, 18, 28, 34, 45, 47, 50, 57, 71, 87, 89, 99, 105, 127, 128, 130, 148, 160, 165, 175, 176
Author- Unclear, but possibly David, Daniel, or Ezra (although Asaph, Solomon, Heman, Ethan, Moses, and the sons of Korah also wrote in the Psalms)
History- In general, the Psalms are a collection of lyrical (to be sung, and often
accompanied by musical instruments) poems. These poems directly
expressed the emotions of the poets who wrote them, as they are stirred by the thought of God and directed to Him. Some of these addressed God directly (were prayed) in petition or praise. Many also made note of God’s faithfulness and works in the past. Basically, they were the “hymnal” used in worship by God’s people.
Psalm 119 is found in “Book Five” of the Psalms (107-150). It is known
as a “wisdom” Psalm, meaning it gives instruction about God’s will and
righteous living. The author apparently wrote it while under some kind of
serious trouble, and was looking to the Scripture throughout night and day
for comfort, protection, wisdom and joy.
· Although Bible chapters and verses are man-made, in the case of Psalm 119, the verses follow the organization on a scroll. There are 176 lines and there are 176 verses.
· The lines (verses) are grouped in eights. Each group of 8 is a stanza, and is organized under a Hebrew letter of the alef-bet, which are grouped in order, beginning with alef and ending with tav. 22 letters = 22 stanzas of 8 lines each = 176 lines (verses).
· Each line (verse) begins with the stanza’s Hebrew letter, and each line is tied thematically to the Hebrew letter pictographically. The psalm consistently employs Hebrew parallelism (e.g. Prov 3:13-26)
· Psalm 119 is not the only Scripture that uses alef-bet or parallelism. This structure is not meant merely as poetic device as many think. Scripture is not just ‘pretty words’ – it is always about revelation of a Person.
· Psalm 119 uses 10 key words that are found in each verse except verse 122. These 10 key words give insights into God’s Word itself:
· Torah = instruction; Edut = testimonies, witnesses; Derek = way; Pikudim = precepts; Chokim = statutes; Mitzvot= commandments, ordinances; Mishaptim = judgments, ordinances; Davar = word; ‘Imrah = word; Tzedek = righteousness.
“By using the alphabet in this acrostic form, Ridout feels that the writer may have been suggesting that ‘all the possibilities of human language are exhausted in setting forth the fullness and perfection of the Word of God.’ We have a similar suggestion in the NT. Our Lord speaks of Himself as the Alpha and Omega (Rev. 1:8). These are, of course, the first and last words of the Greek alphabet. The thought is that He is everything of goodness and perfection that can be expressed by every letter of the alphabet, arranged in every possible combination.” -BBC
Names for God’s Word-
Law- Torah Occurs 25 times and shows direction or instruction. This
word is also used in to cover the entire OT.
Testimony- Edut Occurs 23 times, and is a solemn witness and declaration of
the will of God. It is a general rule for the laws by which
God shows us our standard of conduct.
Way/Path- Derek/Orah Occurs 16 times, and describes the pattern of life marked
out by God’s Law.
Precept- Pikudim Occurs 21 times, and is a poetical word for commands or
Statute- Chokim Occurs 21 times, and means “things inscribed. It refers to
laws that have been carried out.
Commandment- Mitzyot Occurs 22 times and shows a definite, authoritative
Judgment- Mishaptim Occurs 23 times, and represents a judicial decision that
constitutes a precedence, a binding law.
Word- Imrah; Davar Occurs 20 times, and is a general term for God’s revelation,
though the Ten Commandments were also called the “Ten
Ordinance- Mitzyot; Mishaptim
In the NKJV, only four verses do not contain a name or description for God’s Word in them- 84, 121, 122, and 132.
The first observation the psalmist has about God’s Word is that we are blessed if we obey it. God’s Word is full of this kind of cause and effect. Many calls to action are issued, and we are blessed if we fulfill them.
Among other “action” words in this Psalm that dictate how we should relate to God’s Word are- walk, observe, seek, do, keep, look, give thanks, learn, treasure, tell, rejoice, meditate, regard, delight, do not forget, live, understand, and do not forsake.
“Heart” is mentioned 15 times in this Psalm. “All my heart” occurs 6 times. God sees the heart, so it makes sense that it should be the objective of His Word, and that it should be fully involved as we relate to His Word.
Humility is necessary when approaching God’s Word. A teachable heart is a humble heart. The arrogant are mentioned 6 times as men who wander from His commandments, lie against His followers and try to trap them, should be ashamed, and are rebuked by God.
At least 21 verses speak of turning to and trusting God’s Word during times of distress. It should be our first refuge when we are going through trials.
“Meditate” or “Meditation” is mentioned 8 times through this Psalm. It is not enough to read occasionally or even daily, but we should carry what we have studied with us throughout the day and night, thinking on it, praying over it, giving thanks because of it, and figuring out how we can apply it to our live.
There is no room for a half-hearted approach to the Word. Many times throughout this Psalm, words like –diligently, with all my heart, treasured, delight, cling, continually, and many others show an all-out approach to His Word. The psalmist even asks God to enlarge his heart.
God’s Word is our most valued possession. We are to delight in it, to treasure it above all riches, to long after it and languish for it, to rise at midnight to give thanks for it, love it, rejoice over it as one who finds great spoil, praise him seven times a day because of it, and find it sweeter than honey (among other admonitions).
This is both the longest Psalm and the longest chapter in the Bible.