How God Teaches the Deep Things of His Word

The reason Psalm 119 has 176 verses is that the Hebrew alphabet has 22 letters. The psalmist exults in the multifaceted preciousness of God’s word by taking each letter of the alphabet and writing eight verses of exultation, each verse beginning with that letter. It’s like saying: “The word of God is precious in every way from A to Z—beyond perfection.” (Eight is one more than seven, the number of completeness and perfection.)

Ordinarily in each group of eight verses, the psalmist uses mostly different words that start with the letter for that section of the acrostic. For example, the verses beginning with the letter heth (verses 57–64) use eight different words beginning with that letter. But verses 65-72, that start with the Hebrew letter teth, stand out, because they begin with the same word five times—the word good (tov). This makes us sit up and take notice.

Something really good is being emphasized. What is the good he wants us to see?...

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John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.