Psalm people

In a book that I’m currently reading, Ancient Paths, the author, Corey Russell quotes Matthew Henry who quotes his father Philip Henry about the benefits of meditating on a different verse from Psalm 119 every day. (Yes, I’m quoting someone who quotes someone who quotes someone who speaks about quoting a Psalm).

But let’s go to the source. Here’s what Matthew Henry had to say about his father Philip in Matthew’s work entitled An Account of the Life and Death of Mr. Philip Henry:

Once pressing the study of the Scriptures, he advised to take a Verse of Psalm 119 every morning to meditate upon, and so go over the Psalm twice in the Year; and that (saith he) will bring you to be in love with all the rest of the Scripture; and he often said, ‘All grace grows, as love to the Word of God grows.’

Psalm 119 consists of 22 stanzas of eight verses each - so 176 verses in all. If one were to follow Philip Henry’s advice that would mean meditating on verses of Psalm 119 352 days out of 365/366 days a year.

It’s an interesting idea because the longer I am a believer, the more I think that most genuine spiritual growth and benefit comes through biblical meditation. It can come through reading books. It can come through prayer. It can come through listening to sermons/talks/seminars/teaching. But in my experience 1 it comes through the revelation made to me by the Holy Spirit when I sit with, chew over, pull apart, put together, pray through, pray over and meditate on a verse or two. I tease apart the words - thinking about each one in turn. I ask questions of the text - why was it written? Why did the original author put it like that? How do I live in the light of whatever truth is contained here? Sometimes it involves looking at the original languages the Bible was written in - Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek - to get a better view and understanding.

I think the main benefit or purpose of meditation is that we sit with a verse long enough that we exhaust our own ideas about what it means and that then gives the Holy Spirit the opportunity to speak to us about it. But that rarely happens quickly 2 because my brain fills up with my own ideas about what it means rather than what God is seeking to build in me through that verse.


  1. for me ↩︎

  2. for me, again ↩︎