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The Christian and the Word of God

Lesson ▪ 2000
Tags: Psalm 119; Divine revelation; Spiritual life
Related Resources: “The Wrong Side of the Tracks”: Insights from Psalms 119.1-16; Spiritual Maturity through Affliction: Insights from Psalm 119


Psalm 119 (various verses)


Chernobyl illustration (Edward K. Rowell, Fresh Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching: From Leadership Journal [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1997], p. 179).

Today we’ll look at some verses from Psalm 119 and discuss three aspects of the Christian’s relationship with the Word of God. We should note that this passage is the psalmist’s sincere testimony, not a proud statement on his part.

Incomplete Sentence

The Christian should . . .


Love the Word of God

  • Verses: 47, 48, 97, 113, 119, 127, 140, 159, 163, 165, 167
  • Main Ideas
    • The Discipline of Love
      • Meditating on the Scriptures (48, 97)
      • Rejecting truth claims that are at odds with the Word of God (113, 163; cf. 128; 140)
    • The Degree of Love
      • Valuing the Word more than fine gold (127)
      • Loving the Scriptures exceedingly (167)
  • Illustration: Sears catalog illustration (“Bible,” The Preacher’s Illustration Service, 2, no. 6 [November 1989]: 3).
  • Application: We spend time, effort, and money on the things we love. Do we use our time, effort, and money to show that we love God’s Word? Do we let “things” get between us and God’s Word? Do we show our love for the Scriptures by rejecting false ideas?

Delight in the Word of God

  • Verses: 14, 16, 18, 24, 35, 47, 70, 72, 77, 92, 103, 111, 129, 143, 161, 162, 174
  • Main Ideas
    • The Stability of Delight
      • Taking the Scriptures as our permanent possession (111)
      • Viewing God’s Word as the source of our life (77)
      • Relying on the Word in times of difficulty (92, 143, 161)
    • The Splendor of Delight
      • Rejoicing in God’s Word as in great wealth (14, 72, 162)
      • Considering God’s Word to be sweet (103)
      • Praying to discover wonderful things in the Scriptures (18)
  • Illustration: Speaking to Bible teachers, Josh Hunt states that “[o]ur ultimate goal is to create people who feel like reading their Bible and praying. Disciple-making teachers seek to create people who pray whenever they want to . . . and want to quite regularly.” He later notes: “Disciple-making teachers . . . are out to create people who, as Augustine explained, love God, love others, and do whatever they want. Disciple-making teachers are out to create people who pray because they want to, who read the Bible when they feel like it and feel like it often, who serve as much as they want to and want to quite a bit. Disciple-making teachers seek to create people who do all of this, not out of law or obligation, but out of their heart’s desire” (Disciple-Making Teachers [Loveland, CO: Vital Ministry, 1998], p. 16).
  • Application: Have we claimed the Scriptures as our permanent heritage? Is the Word of God our strength in times of adversity? Do we really enjoy spending time in the Scriptures? Do we feel fortunate to know the Scriptures? Are we seeking to learn wonderful things from the Bible? How would our lives be different if we didn’t have access to the Scriptures?

Hope in the Word of God

  • Verses: 42, 43, 49, 66, 74, 81, 114, 116, 147
  • Main Ideas
    • The Risk of Hope
      • Putting our trust in God’s Word when we are weary (81-82)
      • Praying diligently for the vindication of our hope (43, 49, 116, 147)
    • The Reward of Hope
      • Experiencing God’s deliverance when we have been criticized for our faith (41-42)
      • Seeing the fulfillment of God’s promises to us (49)
      • Enjoying fellowship with others who hope in the Lord (74)
  • Illustration: Blind skiers illustration (Craig Brian Larson, ed., Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching: From Leadership Journal [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993], p. 268).
  • Application: Do we trust in money, possessions, intelligence, friendships, physical strength, beauty, or anything other than the Word of God? If so, our hope is truly unfounded. We must learn to take God at his Word regardless of the consequences. When we do so we will find that our hope is richly rewarded.


Our historical and geographical situation as 21st-century English-speaking Christians is very privileged. We have ubiquitous access to the Scriptures themselves as well as a wealth of study tools. This is a fairly unique circumstance in church history. We owe this abundance to the tireless work of dedicated, intelligent believers who have gone before us. Many of them spent their lives--some even forfeited them--so that the Scriptures could be made available for all the world to read. Do we really appreciate what we have?

Psalm 119 tells in great detail about a believer’s relationship to the Word of God. This message has highlighted three aspects of that relationship--love, delight, and hope. To this list we could add such actions as keeping, walking in, learning, meditating on, remembering, and declaring God’s Word. It is safe to say that the quality of our devotion to the Scriptures is directly related to the success of our Christian lives.

What we are talking about today is not a duty to read and study the Scriptures. We are not mandating some specific program of reading. Rather, we’re saying that above all it’s needful that we be emotionally attached to God’s Word. If such is the case in our hearts, nothing will be able to keep us from spending time in the Bible. I encourage you to allow the Holy Spirit to challenge you concerning your love for, delight in, and hope in his Word.

If your relationship with God’s Word is not one of love, delight, and hope, I suggest you consider three things: First, consider your life to see whether you are truly saved. A desire to know God and his Word can only come from a heart that is truly born again. Second, test the quality of your love for, delight in, and hope toward God himself. Your relationship with the Scriptures will probably never be any better than your relationship with God. Third, if you are convinced that you are saved and in a proper relationship with God, pray that he would overwhelm you with a love for his Word.

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Teacher's notes (2 pages)   15k v. 2 Mar 5, 2011, 9:17 PM Greg Smith