An online poll recently had a wide variety of answers, from a new little Corgi puppy to finding a nearby, short, new hiking trail. Several people mentioned different relationships in their family: children, grandchildren, a spouse, or a cousin. One person said their singing voice, and another commented that they loved to sing. Others said journaling, the changes in seasons, seeing wildlife, bike rides, a good cup of tea, conversations, a potato dish, and piano music. What could everything from a fresh cup of hot coffee to autumn’s colorful trees possibly have in common? These were the answers when people were asked what adds delight to their life. Had I responded, I might have listed my wife, my sons, my ministry, coffee, the Andy Griffith Show, the Vols (sometimes), and banana pudding. What would your answer to that question be?

Psalm 1:2 says that the righteous man (the one approved of by God) delights in the law of the Lord. Many understand our need for the law of the Lord, the importance of His law, and even the value of His law. We may recognize how necessary it is to learn, teach, preach, apply, and obey the word of God. If you are reading this article, you may even be fully aware of the need to study the Bible. However, do we delight in it?

When people ask me about bluegrass music, the Denver Broncos, or the latest hunting season, I can (and will) enthusiastically and exhaustively detail those interests’ past, present, and future prospects. Why? I delight in them. I will quickly change the subject if you bring up modern art, politics, or Brussels sprout recipes. But I am excited to talk about things in which I delight. They aren’t just things I study, learn, and experience. They are part of my life. I love those things in which I find delight. Are you beginning to see why it is vital that I delight in God’s word?

Two Hebrew terms for delight are found in Psalm 119. The first is the same word used in Psalm 1, hapes. This word means “delighted attention” or “to take pleasure in.” Like our English word, it is a generic word that has been applied to various areas in good and bad ways. Psalm 119:35 says, “Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.” It is a different word for “path” in 119 from the word translated “way” in Psalm 119:6, but the thought is the same. Whatever we delight in will be that which will lead the direction of our life because we will make decisions based on that thing. I will plan my schedule around opportunities to hunt and fish. I will decorate my office with Tennessee Orange. I will ensure I have time to spend with my wife and sons. If I delight in God’s word, my life will reflect that.

The other Hebrew word for delight in Psalm 119 is hitpalpel. It is used eight times in this great psalm. It can be defined as “take delight in, delight, “and can also be used concerning good or bad things. By way of the parallelism in the verses, note the things he says that will be true if he delights in the word of God.

  1. If I delight in it, I will remember your word (v.16, vv.91-92).
  2. If I delight in it, I will heed its advice (v.24).
  3. If I delight in it, I will love it (v.47).
  4. If I delight in it, I will hold it close (guard, or keep, vv.69-70).
  5. If I delight in it, I will serve (vv.76-77).
  6. If I delight in it, I will deal with problems differently (v.143).
  7. If I delight in it, I will choose God’s instructions (v.174).

You see, I know many people who assemble “every time the doors are open.” I know several people who read their Bibles daily. I know quite a few who have memorized lots of verses. I know some who teach and preach God’s word regularly. But the ones who are genuinely “transformed by the renewal of their mind” (Romans 12:2) are the ones who delight in the word of God. They love digging into it, studying it, and learning from it. They cannot get enough of it, and they constantly find themselves opening it up to study it, meditating on it, and making decisions in their day-to-day life while considering what it says.

I delight in Andy Griffith, the 3 Gs, and sitting in a tree on cool fall mornings while drinking coffee, among other things. But it wasn’t until I learned to delight in it that I became a better Bible student. Ironically, the only way to learn to delight in it is to know it. And the more time we spend in it, not to check the daily Bible reading list, but to learn of it, the more we will delight in it. The more we look at it, not trying to see what we have to do but to see the God behind it and in it, the more we will delight in it. The more I learn about it, the more I want to dive into it. And when I delight in it, it will fundamentally change not only the way I study the Bible but the kind of man I am,

(Definitions from Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon)

Corey Sawyers
+ posts

Corey Sawyers is the preaching minister at the Martin (TN) Church of Christ and an adjunct instructor with Bear Valley Bible Institute. He began preaching at the age of 15, filling in throughout Northwest Tennessee. He has been in full-time ministry since 1998 and has served with congregations in Tennessee and Colorado. He and his wife, Melody, married in 1996, and both are graduates of Bear Valley Bible Institute. They have three sons. Garrett is the youth minister at the Greenfield (TN) Church of Christ and is soon to be married to Bailey Jones. Gordon is the preacher for the Knob Creek Church of Christ in Dukedom, TN, and is soon to be married to Lauren Kelly. Gannon is still at home and wants to go into ministry when he grows up. Corey loves his family, ministry, the Tennessee Vols, the Andy Griffith Show, drinking coffee, and banana pudding.