The Keys to Knowing How to Live

Psalm 100

Some Christians who know the most, love and do the least. In response, other Christians advocate for dismissing doctrine in favor of more action. So how exactly does right thinking, feeling, and doing relate to one another? In this lab, John Piper follows a psalm to find a helpful formula for all of life.

Principle for Bible Reading


A “ground” is an argument or reason for another statement. The supporting (or grounding) statement comes after the statement it supports, often introduced by the words “for,” “because,” or “since.” One way to remember this is that the ground is the ground upon which another statement is built. When you come to a grounding statement in the Bible, ask how what comes after the “for” or “because” explains (or grounds) what comes before the “for” or “because.” The key words for grounding statements are “for,” “because,” or since.

For more about grounding statements.

For Example

Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” How do we know that Jesus loves us? For (or because) the Bible tells me so.

In This Lab

Pastor John identifies both verses 3 and 5 as both grounding the verses that came before them. Why should you praise the LORD with singing and serve him (Psalm 100:1–2)? Because the Lord created us and he owns us as a shepherd does his sheep (Psalm 100:3). Why should you praise and give thanks to him (Psalm 100:4)? Because the LORD is good and his steadfast love endures forever (Psalm 100:5).

Note: Even though verse 3 does not have a “for,” “because,” or “since,” it still can be grounding the previous verse. The Psalms are songs, and as is often the case with songs and poetry, the conjunctions (i.e. the connecting words) are absent.

Study Questions

  1. What is the connection between knowing truth and joyful living? What are some things that you know from God’s Word that have led you to live more joyfully?
  2. What reason(s) does the psalmist give for serving and singing to God in Psalm 100:1–2? What reason(s) does the psalmist give for thanking and praising him in Psalm 100:4?
  3. “Right knowing leads to right affections, right affections lead to joyful acting, and joyful acting leads to God glorifying living.” Can you give a personal example of this chain playing out in your own life?