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The Scriptorium

Scripture Enchiridion

It's essential, really. Psalm 119.33-35

Psalm 119: Introduction (7)

Pray Psalm 119.33-35.
Teach me, O LORD, the way of Your statutes,
And I shall keep it to the end.
Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law;
Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart.
Make me walk in the path of Your commandments,
For I delight in it.

Sing Psalm 119.33-35.
(Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
Teach me, Lord, and help me follow in Your holy righteous way!
I will keep Your statutes gladly, all your holy Law obey.
Give me understanding, Jesus, guide me in Your path today!

Make me walk in Your commandments, let me keep Your holy part.
I will keep Your Law unfailing; from it let me ne’er depart.
For Your Word is my delight, Lord; help me keep it from the heart.

Read and meditate on Psalm 119.33-35.

1. What did the psalmist ask of God?

2. Why did he ask that?

An enchiridion is “a book containing essential information on a subject” (OED). The origins of this word go back to ancient Greek in which “en” means “within” and “chir” or “kheir” means “hand.” We might think of a guidebook that one holds in his hand as he walks through a city, looking at the book as it explains the major buildings and roads, architectural wonders, or the historical significance of a place. You’ll want to keep that book “in hand” to help you gain the most from your walking tour.

This is how I think of Psalm 119 in relation to the rest of God’s Word. Psalm 119 is a guidebook or handbook for helping us gain the most from Scripture. As we have seen, it encourages us to read, study, and meditate on all God’s Word so that we might walk in a manner pleasing to Him and gain the most from our great salvation. I find it helpful to come to Scripture each day through the pages of this enchiridion. By reading and praying through a section of Psalm 119, we prepare our soul for reading and meditating on whatever passages may be the focus of our daily devotions. Each of the 22 sections of Psalm 119 reminds us why we read Scripture, how we should read it, what we might expect from our study, and that we should compare our daily reading with other parts of Scripture. As they are also prayers, they connect us with God before we plunge into our walking tour through some part of His Word. Each section also encourages us to seek the Lord Jesus in Scripture, for He is the fullness of God’s Word and is to be found in every part of the Bible (Jn. 5.39).

Psalm 119, more than any other passage of Scripture, can focus and guide us in gaining the most out of all God’s Word. Take it in hand to guide your reading and study of all God’s Word.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
An enchiridion is “a book containing essential information on a subject.” And the word essential is defined as something absolutely necessary and extremely important. Synonyms for essential are critical, imperative, indispensable, integral, must-have, needed, required, and requisite.

The Word of God is essential for our well-being. That’s a given.

But how essential does it seem to us? How critical to our life and work is studying the Bible? Is it imperative to our success as believers? Does God see that we find His Word indispensable?

The psalmist in verses 33-35 pleads with the LORD to:
1. Teach me the way of Your statutes.
2. Give me understanding.
3. Make me walk in the path of Your commandments.

And the reason he pleads for these things is so that:
1. I will keep Your statutes to the end of my life.
2. I will keep Your law.
3. I will observe it with my whole heart.
4. I will delight in Your commandments.

Jesus tells us to “hold fast what you have till I come. And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations” (Rev. 2.25, 26). “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1.7).

But we will not have this power, or love, or that sound mind apart from dwelling in the enchiridion of God’s Word. It is essential and sustaining. “My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and not turned aside. I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23.11, 12).

As Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4.4).

We must be careful to observe all the words of this Law. “For it is not a futile thing for you, because it is your life…” (Deut. 32.46, 47).

The Ultimate Enchiridion.

For reflection
1. What do we mean by saying Psalm 119 is an enchiridion for the rest of the Bible?

2. What do we mean by saying that the Bible is an enchiridion for life?

3. What do you most hope to gain from our study of Psalm 119?

God, by his Spirit, gives a right understanding. But the Spirit of revelation in the word will not suffice, unless we have the Spirit of wisdom in the heart. God puts his Spirit within us, causing us to walk in his statutes...Quicken me in thy way; to redeem time, and to do every duty with liveliness of spirit. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Psalm 119.33-40

Pray Psalm 119.41-44.

Commit yourself to obeying whatever God shows you in His Word. Ask Him to give you an opportunity to share His Word with someone today.

Sing Psalm 119.41-44.
(Dix: For the Beauty of the Earth)
Let Your mercies come to me, Your salvation by Your Word.
From reproaches set me free, for I trust in You, O Lord.
Let my life an answer be for those who may question me.

Let my words be Your words, Lord; strengthen me to keep Your Law.
All my hope is in Your Word, and I seek Your precepts all.
Let me ever keep Your Word, for I trust in You, O Lord!

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website,, and clicking theScriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download any or all the studies in the series on Acts by clicking here.

What is the Law of God and how should we learn and obey it? Two books can help. The Law of God arranges the statutes and precepts of God’s Law under their appropriate number of the Ten Commandments. This book is an excellent tool for meditating on God’s Law and thinking about its application in our time. The Foundation for Christian Ethics, on the other hand, explains why the Law matters and how we are to use it. You can order free copes of each of these here and here.

If you find Scriptorium helpful in your walk with the Lord, please seek the Lord, asking Him whether you should contribute to the support of this daily ministry with your financial gifts. As the Lord leads, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal or Anedot, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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