Psalm 119:97-104, the section labeled mem because every sentence begins with this letter, is about Bible study, or more accurately, Torah devotion. Today we look at v 97 and v 104.
O how I love your Torah! It is my study (or musing) all day long (97).
I ponder your precepts (piqud), or judgment-decisions-mandates.
The psalmist “loves” the teachings of God — and he devotes himself all day long to thinking about them. And he ponders in the sense of examining for discernment.
I wonder how much you read the Bible, how much you ponder the Bible, how much you delight in the Bible. Let me make a suggestion that you do something that has helped me, and it is something I wrote about briefly in Praying with the Church. Sometimes I think we try to get too much from the Bible. Sometimes I think we approach the Bible as something to be studied by way of intense examination of Greek and Hebrew and Aramaic words — and we can’t seem to open our Bible unless it is to figure out something new and clever.
Exegesis has its place.
But more importantly, listening to the Bible has its place. The psalmist was like the many in ancient Judaism: they pondered as they read and heard the Bible. They didn’t have concordances and word studies and commentaries. They had the Torah; they opened it; they read it; they heard it; and they pondered what they heard.
If we read it to hear it, we will also learn to love it.
Recently I became aware of Zondervan’s new The Bible Experience. It is the Bible “read” — CDs of the whole NT with actors and acrtresses reading the Bible with the skill of oral interpretation. Why not think of popping it in, sitting in a chair with your eyes closed, and just listening?