From Your Precepts I Get Understanding

Text: Psalm 119:97-104

Thirteenth stanza of Psalm 119 – God meant for His word to be understood. Not only can it be understood, it can be understood by anyone. Furthermore, if we have the right attitude, we can continue to progress in our understanding, even to the point that we surpass those who might generally be “older and wiser” than we are. Let us consider what the psalmist says about the understanding we gain from God’s word.

We Gain Understanding From God’s Precepts (v. 104)

  • God meant for His will to be understood – revealed to us in His word (1 Corinthians 2:12-13); immediately after creating man, God told him His will (Genesis 1:27-30), did not leave man to discover it on his own
  • God was fully capable of making His will understandable – He is our creator and Father of spirits (Hebrews 12:9); He has a perfect understanding as to how we learn and understand
  • Some claim we cannot understand the Bible; but if we do not understand it, the reasons are our fault, not God’s – we might fail to study (2 Timothy 2:15; John 8:31-32); we might ignore the fact that His word is an objective standard (John 17:17; Romans 3:4); we might allow human ideas to block out the word (Colossians 2:6-8)
  • We can understand God’s word – but we must be honest and allow the word to grow in our hearts (Luke 8:15)

We Can Surpass Others (v. 98-100)

  • This is not about arrogantly seeking knowledge (1 Corinthians 8:1) – we are not to be arrogant against others (1 Corinthians 4:6)
  • Wiser than our enemies (v. 98) – we need to be wise as serpents (Matthew 10:16); know how to answer (Colossians 4:5-6); use the sword of the spirit to demolish arguments (Ephesians 6:17; 2 Corinthians 10:5)
  • More insight than our teachers (v. 99) – the goal of a teacher should be for students to teach (2 Timothy 2:2); in the Bible, “we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16); we are not (should not be) limited by our teachers (Romans 11:33-34)
  • More understanding than the aged (v. 100) – wisdom is generally associated with age (Job 12:12); but sometimes the younger can teach the older (Job 32:7-9); always receive the word in humility (James 1:21)

We Must Have the Right Attitude Toward the Word (v. 97, 103)

  • We must love God’s law (v. 97) – this attitude is necessary for salvation (2 Thessalonians 2:10)
  • We must meditate on God’s law (v. 97) – requires it to be written on our hearts (Hebrews 8:10); dwell in it (Philippians 4:8)
  • We must be sustained by it (v. 103) – live by it (Matthew 4:4)
  • It must be something good to us, not bitter (v. 103) – depends on our attitude (2 Corinthians 2:14-16)

We Must Keep His Word (v. 100-102)

  • Observe God’s precepts and keep His word (v. 100-101) – we must do God’s will (Matthew 7:21)
  • Keep from every evil way (v. 101) – avoid sin (1 John 2:1); we are to be dead to it (Romans 6:11)
  • Do not turn aside from God’s ordinances (v. 102) – they are from Him (1 Thessalonians 2:13); do not settle for the word of man (Galatians 1:6-7)

We Must Hate Every False Way (v. 104)

  • The world wants us to be tolerant toward sin and error – to the point that we cannot even call it sin and error
  • We should “hate every false way” because God hates it (Psalm 5:4-6) and because it causes souls to be lost (Isaiah 59:2; Romans 6:23)
  • If we understand God’s word, we cannot help but hate what is false


  • We can understand the will of God – but only through the word
  • We must study His word, obey it, and continue to grow in it so we can be pleasing to Him

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