Teach Me the Meaning of Your Statutes

Open Your Bible

Psalm 119:33-56, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, James 1:16-25

One of my strongest memories from my sophomore year of high school is of a black, 5-inch thick three-ring binder I carried everywhere. I was part of the not-so-exclusive academic quiz bowl team at my school, and every few weeks, I would compete against other schools to see which team could “buzz in” first to earn points answering trivia questions. My binder was filled with the printed records of previous tournament questions and answers. Though questions were rarely repeated, I poured over that binder every opportunity I could find, hoping that my incessant studying might reveal recurring subject matter or a pattern in how questions are worded for tournaments to give me an edge over the competition. To this day, I’d still choose a trivia night at a local restaurant over almost any other activity.

I used to think taking this same approach to Scripture was proof that I loved God’s Word. Studying the Bible—its words, history, cultural contexts, and languages—has been life-giving to my faith in my undergraduate and postgraduate studies, as well as in my career. But I have to be reminded that life as a follower of Jesus is so much more than just memorizing facts about God or storing up interesting trivia about the Bible. Our reading and study of Scripture should shape us and reorient our hearts as it shows us who He is and who we are in Him.

I come back to the book of James over and over when I find my heart wanting to make a god of knowing about God, rather than truly knowing Him. The book is full of direct one-liners that cut right to the truth: truly delighting in God’s Word means living out what the Word teaches us. In the opening passage of his letter, James sums this up by telling believers that we must be “doers of the word and not hearers only” (James 1:22).

Hearing without acting is more than useless—it’s self-deception, because as believers, we are new people born of the gospel (v.22,18). James writes that God has implanted His Word in us (v.21). We miss the point if we are not willing to let its truth take root, growing and bearing fruit in us as we are changed and made more like Christ.

Essentially, we are living out what the psalmist pleads with God to do: transform him so that he can keep God’s commands. By His Spirit and His Word, we’ve been made into new people. Unlike the person who looks in the mirror and responds, “I forget,” when asked what they look like (vv.23–24), we are called to remember who we are as we walk away from reading the Bible. If we go about our lives without acting on what it teaches, we live as fractured people, at odds with who we now are in Christ. Praise God, because He’s done the hardest work in giving us new hearts already!

Being in the Word of God every day equips us to live out the Word of God every day. It guards against forgetting what is true of our God and of ourselves. Let our prayer echo that of the psalmist as we come to the Bible each day: ”Teach me, LORD, the meaning of your statutes, and I will always keep them” (Psalm 119:33).

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75 thoughts on "Teach Me the Meaning of Your Statutes"

  1. Evelyn Foster says:

    Lord, help me, change me, Lord. So I am not just a hearer of your word. Forgive me, change me so I can be a better wife and mother.

  2. Virgil Johnson says:

    Thank for sharing I needed more understanding of God’s statues thanks again have a blessed aloha weekend. Aloha

  3. Kristen Childress says:

    Lord, help me to be a doer of your word. Teach me your ways and help me to guard my heart!

  4. Shemeka Isom says:

    Trust God

  5. Kennadi Omundson says:

    God, I will start to be more of a doer starting now.

  6. Lesley Delgado says:

    God help me to live out your will❤️

  7. Chipo Samantha Chironga says:

    God is tremendously awesome and help me understand more and trust in you more

  8. Chipo Samantha Chironga says:

    God is tremendously awesome

  9. Justina Robinson says:

    This is a necessary reminder for me to be a doer if Gods word!

  10. Amber Charles says:

    This is my prayer to one day be so I grossed in the word that it’s first nature to me in my actions and in my day to day things. James 1:22 really hit me because I said I would be a doer verses just someone who just listens. This gives me so much hope. I took often forget how relevant the word is to our times.

  11. Maria Guevara says:

    Thank you Jesus that you have given us a new heart. Lord help me not just listen and read your word but practically implement it in my life. Let your word transform my way of living and thinking and speaking. God help me to be a doer of your word. Teach me what it looks like to be doer of your word Jesus.

  12. Erica Askren says:

    It’s beautiful that we are children of God.

  13. melonee says:

    I find my heart wanting to make a god of knowing about God, rather than truly knowing Him.
    Yuck ….this statement hurts. It’s so easy to sit at home and read the Word or go to church or bible studies and take in God’s word but then do nothing with it.
    Lord help me to read your word and be a doer!!

  14. Leslie Orellana says:

    Be quick to learn, slow to speak and slow to anger….this small passage really stood out to me because it is the one thing I ask God on a daily basis. To please instill these values in me. I’m not slow to anger, I have a bad temper, but I’m learning to not allow myself to become angry. I’m instead learning to listen and thinking about my words.

  15. Vicky Joe says:

    I am learning that relying on my emotions as the measurement of my progress on my journey in building an intimate and personal relationship with God is deceiving. The Holy Spirit reminds me that I’m doing better than I’m feeling.

    1. Carlee Crocker says:

      I’ve been feeling inadequate lately in my relationship with God because I haven’t felt like my emotions are where they should be. This was so encouraging to read — thank you for sharing!

    2. Drusilla Campbell says:

      So very true Vicky!!

  16. Nicole Burgos says:

    Opening up scripture and sitting to truly be in his presence is a struggle but I am trying .

  17. Jill Rummer says:

    My family is going through some particularly hard times, feels like spiritual warfare . Over and over others have said lean in to God, read his word, recite his scripture and pray. Typically I pray until things seems to calm down, but what I long to do is pray and read scripture to be near to God and build a relationship with him. So, today I ask God to transform my heart , to build my relationship and to teach me the meaning of your statutes . Your way is better than my way.

  18. Emily Thomson says:

    Sometimes I struggle with forcing myself to open scripture as an act of obedience and wanting so badly for the words to come alive and reveal something to me. To make me feel that closeness to the Lord. Sometimes it feels like I’m going through the motions and I have to reread over and over to try and find meaning. My prayer today is that my heart would be opened, truly opened to what the Lord is trying to show me and I would feel a connection with it again.

    1. Chelsea V says:

      Emily, I struggle in the same way. Amen ❤️

    2. Emily Rouse says:

      Yes!!! Same here!

  19. Angela Nelson says:

    My biggest takeaway from today’s reading is that the Lord is reliable and trustworthy. We can rely on Him to always be who He says He is and who Scripture shows us He is. He is good..always. He is faithful..always. He is worthy..always. He is loving..always. He is here..always. I’m so thankful for these truths!

    1. Jen Brewer says:

      Amen! ❤️

  20. Amara Thein says:

    I so, so appreciate this community. I don’t post, but I want to become more comfortable doing so. But I want every Vince here to

  21. Victoria McAlman says:

    A verse that stood out in today’s reading was a beautiful reminder to be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. This is essentially important with everything that we are enduring in the world and in personal lives. Thank you, God!

    1. Carol Burlew says:

      This is the same verse that spoke to me as well. ❤️

  22. Beth says:

    Statutes, law, testimonies, precepts, ways, commandments, judgments, word, are all synonyms for God’s Word in Psalm 119. Every verse (176 of them) uses one of these words speaking of God’s Word. David held God’s Word in very high esteem, that’s why he wrote this Psalm praising God’s Word.

  23. Sara Morman says:

    Praying for you ChappyBeach Girl & Pam C.

  24. Lisa May says:

    The verse that jumped out to me in today’s Scripture is the second half of James 1:21:
    “Humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”
    Humbly: we cannot understand the thoughts of God in Scripture without the Spirit of God revealing them to us. We must come to Scripture with this humble attitude in order for Him to teach us. (1 Cor. 2:10-16)
    Receive the implanted word: by the grace of the new covenant, God writes His word on our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33). What an incredible gift! Yet we have a role to play by receiving it, which involves both intentionally hearing the word (studying Scripture) and doing the word (obeying the Scripture He has written on our hearts).
    Which is able to save your souls: the words of Christ lead us to salvation and sanctify us.
    Oh, the value of God’s Word! Lord, may your word be the theme of my song during my earthly life! (Ps. 119:54)

    1. Alicia Gilbert says:

      Yes, Lisa! I love this insight!

  25. Angela Sutherland says:

    Before I opened to today’s readings, I was praying and asking Jesus to teach me, to help me grow in freedom and confidence and boldness to stand up and speak out when/if needed. And then as I read the portion from Psalm 119, I saw the same prayers echoed in the psalmist’s words and if felt like a direct affirmation. It’s not enough for me to just know about the Word and about my God. I want to KNOW THE WORD and KNOW MY GOD! Not just be one who hears but one who puts it in action. And when I fail (I’m a human on this fallen earth!) His mercy is there. Not as a get out of jail free card, but we will make mistakes as long as we draw breath on this old earth.

  26. Bessie H says:

    Praying for you Pam C and Chappy Beach Girl. Let us know!

  27. Madi Hall says:

    What does the psalmist mean by Gods “statues”?

  28. Chelsey Green says:

    Beautiful! I love the forthright one liners in James. My favorite is also

    “But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

  29. La'Lisa pugh says:


  30. Kaitlyn says:

    My youth pastor preached on this section of James two weeks ago, how we need to be doers in faith as well. He prompted us to think of something God might be calling us to do,pray over it and then take a step in faith. I didn’t have anything come to mind until last night. I was worshipping as I was getting ready for bed and was thinking about how this school year will look so different (I’m going to be a senior in HS). I felt God prompting me to begin praying for each and every person in my grade. So I took out my yearbook and started at the beginning of the alphabet.
    I would appreciate prayers for diligence and perseverance, as I know this will be a task that will take a while, and I might not see a tangible difference from my prayers, but I believe God will work through them anyway.
    I am always so encouraged by the wisdom you sisters have, and I look forward to finishing this study with you all. <3

    1. Kris Wolverton says:

      Praying for you Kaitlyn. This sounds like a wonderful plan for your senior year!

    2. Angela Nelson says:

      Oh, Kaitlyn, this is beautiful! I am a junior high teacher, and this just brings tears to my eyes! I pray for my students and feel like I am fighting back the darkness with the light of Jesus in my school on a daily basis. To know that there are students like you who are praying for your peers? That is just amazing! I will be praying for you – I know the Lord hears your prayers for your classmates, and I know He will move in their lives. ♥️ I’ll be praying for you too. This is going to be a strange year, but God is still good and you still have a purpose!

  31. Joy Loftus says:

    It’s just all too easy to think of God’s commands as rules to follow in order to be ‘good’. I am learning through this study that it is possible to delight in his precepts, in order to both please Him and become closer to Him. I pray that I remember to always delight in His requests and to persevere to fulfill them.

  32. Audrey Brooks says:

    So true!

  33. Audrey Brooks says:

    Psalm 119:34 – “Help me understand your instruction, and I will obey it and follow it with all my heart” this verse speaks so to my Heart that wants to UNDERSTAND and OBEY and FOLLOW with ALL of MY HEART.
    Then James came in and reminded me (James 1:19,22) that under God’s Instruction I must UNDERSTAND to LISTEN MORE and be SLOW in speaking and Anger.OBEY God. FOLLOW God will bring me to Doing as Christ did.

    Thanks be to God. I am praying for SRT community. May our light shine into this dark world to bring Christ to others(Psalm 119:41)”Let your faithful love come to me, Lord, your salvation(which is Christ), as you promised.”

  34. Makenzie Benish says:

    I can relate to the difference between reading and following gods commands. It is so hard sometimes in the moment to be obedient, and I need to remember to ask god for help. I can do all things through him who strengthens me!

  35. Rhonda J. says:

    I love this study, and it is so timely. Your comments are always so helpful and encouraging as well. It is nice over the years how I have come to know so many of you by name.
    I pray that my heart soaks up these passages and I use my words and actions appropriately in all that I do.

  36. Traci Gendron says:

    I’m thankful for the reminders and instruction from the writer. I’m praying for help in being a doer of the word. That I will reflect God in my actions.

  37. kim tavaglione says:

    This is my DREAM, to not only understand the Word of God, but to reflect Him too. This is my prayer…

  38. Brandi F says:

    Good morning! This message is a good one the I love that the blessing is in the action and not just in knowing what’s right. Sometimes I forget the scripture after reading it earlier in the morning and get frustrated. I want to learn to carry more scripture with me. Any memorization tips?

    1. Kerry Rowley says:

      I use the app Bible Memory

      1. Caroline Bridges says:

        Yesterday’s She Reads Truth Podcast has some tips in it

  39. Dorothy says:

    Being a doer is a lot harder than being a hearer but doing God’s will and way is the Christian way of life. We should be living this way of life, I should be living this way of life. Sometimes I can’t believe myself and what I have done. I do things things that are not Christian-like at all and I have to remind myself of that. Lord, when I stray please help me remember to be more like Your Son and You. Amen.

  40. Mari V says:

    Praying for you now ChappyBeachGirl.

    1. AnneLyn P says:

      Also praying for you, ChappyBeachGirl.

  41. Chris Swan says:

    Thanks Angie.

  42. Alexis says:

    Praying for you PamC and your husband that you guys will have peace, no matter the outcome.

  43. Melissa Riley says:

    Praying you hear soon and are able to get relief!

  44. PamC says:

    This morning I come with a quick prayer request. We’re headed to the doctor’s office now. They have found a mass on my husband’s kidney. The 1st tests, scans, etc. are done and we go to find out what’s next this morning, if they’re expecting cancer. Pray please for courage and comfort. Thank you, sweet sisters in Christ.

    1. Barb Cole says:

      Praying now!

    2. Joy Loftus says:

      Praying for you Pam. I too am awaiting results of my dad’s recent scan. You’re not alone x

    3. Gillian MareePapanek says:


    4. Jane K says:


  45. Lindsay C. says:

    In Psalm 119:33-43, the psalmist is asking God to teach, help, turn, confirm, give, let, never take away His statues so the psalmist can always keep, obey, follow, take pleasure in, receive, produce, hope, and trust in them/Him.
    There is a shift in vs 44-56 where the psalmist is confident. He uses the words I will, I delight, I remember, I obey, and (my favorite) the Lord has given.
    The psalmist was taught, rebuked, corrected and trained in righteousness and now he feels equipped to put what he’s learned into practice. To be a doer and not only a hearer. (2 Timothy and James) This sanctification process will continue for the rest of his life.
    May I be confident in who God is and what He has done. May I remember, obey, and put it into practice.

  46. Ashley White says:


  47. Maura says:

    Teach me and help me understand are words I am always needing to ask God, because I am so limited sometimes in what I truly understand until He opens it up for me. I remember when I gave my heart to Jesus how a new understanding came of so many things in the word of God, how what was once such a struggle to even read became freedom and life as God revealed His truth to me. Now that I am getting those lines of the years taking residence on my face I so want to understand all He is doing and how to live more faithfully in it all. Angie I love what you did with the capitalization, made it very clear in a striking way. May His peace be your joy this day sisters. He is so very good.

  48. Angie says:

    As with yesterday, I continue to see the verbs.
    We are dependent on God to do His work, so that we may draw closer and serve Him. We do not earn anything from our efforts except for what really matters: honor and glory for Him.
    (Like yesterday I will put the God stuff in all caps and people in lower case.)
    Psalm 119:33-56
    TEACH ME YOUR STATUTES-I will keep them.
    HELP ME UNDERSTAND-I will obey.
    HELP ME STAY-I will take pleasure.
    CONFIRM WHAT YOU SAID-it produces reverence in You.
    Then I can answer, trust, hope, obey, walk freely, study, speak, delight, lift up my hands, meditate.
    I do not turn away, I remember, find comfort, rage at rejection of your instructions, remember your name, obey…this is my practice.

    2 Timothy 3:14-17
    Continue in what you’ve learned and firmly believed.
    so that God’s children are complete and equipped for every good work.

    James 1:16-24
    Do not be deceived.
    Quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger, rid of self, moral filth and evil.
    Be doers of the Word, persevere-BE BLESSED.

    God is always working to draw us, teach us, love us, grow us. I am overwhelmed by the fact that it always starts with Him…I cannot earn anything of value or goodness, period. And yet, He values me. He sees worth and potential in me. And, He values, and sees worth and potential in you.

    We are dependent on God and HE IS COMPLETELY DEPENDABLE.

    Lord, You are doing a work in my heart and mind. Thank you. I pray for eyes to see, ears to hear, hands that do, and a heart that obeys. When it is hard, help me to persevere. When the way is easier, help me to maintain focus and continue on faithfully. May You, Lord God, be honored and revered. Amen.

  49. Mary Pitner says:

    Today’s study was just the reminder I needed to be sure I set aside time for studying God’s Word every day, yet not to “binge study”. My focus should be on truly getting to know Him, not “making a god of knowing ABOUT God.”

  50. Rachel Kelley says:

    I love this morning’s call to action. Although our works do not save us, we are called to do not just be.

  51. Blessed Beth says:

    I must smile as our pastor’s weekly sermons are being based on James right now. Thank you God for constantly being in my head and drawing me to the parts of your word that I so deperately need. You know so much more about what I need than I do.

  52. Churchmouse says:

    VS. 33-40 seem to me to be the psalmist’s prayer for understanding, knowledge and trust in the Scriptures. Vs. 41-48 seem to be a profound commitment to act on what he knows. The psalmist repeatedly uses “I will” and “I shall.” Then in vs. 49-56, comfort from the Scriptures is acknowledged in the face of ridicule by those who have turned away and forsaken the law. The psalmist expresses his frustrations with them, yet he is determined to not let it dim his enthusiasm for the law. He resolves to stand in hope and even to sing as he continues his pilgrimage on earth. May we too study the Scriptures, put them into action, draw hope and comfort from them and rejoice because of them. Especially for such a time as this.

    1. Sharon W says:

      Amen, well said Churchmouse. Yes, yes, may we too STUDY the SCRIPTURES, PUT them in ACTION, DRAW HOPE, COMFORT from them and REJOICE because of them.
      Especially for such a time as this. PRAISE THE LORD❣️ Thanks to you!

    2. Denise N says:

      So insightful Churchmouse. Thank you for sharing.

    3. Lisa May says:

      This is a valuable summary, Churchmouse!

  53. Rachel H says:

    So many of the issues we face today are due to our wrong way for seeing ourselves and each other. The truth is God’s Word IS who we are. His Word is our true reflection.

    Lord, I give you today. Let me remember who You say I am. Let the pace of my life never distract from me from remembering who or whose I am.

  54. Helen Mills says:

    At the start of a new day it’s so good to be reminded that God is with me. The passage from James prompted me to think of intention, perseverance and blessing. Through intentional study of his word and allowing it to work within me I am blessed! Thank you Father

  55. Kristen says:

    Thank you for loving us and making us children of God! https://youtu.be/lKw6uqtGFfo