Through the Bible in a Year – April 5

The Scheme for March – April can be found here

Deut 3-4; Phil 1; Psalm 119:1-16

Today we embark upon readings through Psalm 119. Famous for being the longest of the Psalms, it is also an extended meditation upon the Word of God.

Sadly for most of us, part of the beauty of these words is lost. In Hebrew it is an acrostic, that is each section begins with the successive letters of the alphabet, from Aleph to Taw.

This of course is no mere poetic device, rather it is a meas by which those who ‘read’ the Psalms come to memorize and thus interiorise these prayers.

Whilst a good number of us no doubt have memorised one or two Psalms, we live in an age which is already impoverished by the ready availability of print, and soon to be further impoverished no doubt as reading also is surpassed for other even more individualistic and ephemeral ways of ‘learning’.

Until the invention of printing, most had only one way to learn the Psalms and that was by listening and recitation. Thus the Psalms would go deep down into the interior, where they would feed our prayer lives and thus our ‘everyday lives’. They were the Daily bread on which we fed.

Indeed postulants of monastic orders would usually have to have learnt all the Psalms in such a way before admittance.

Although these posts are written to encourage us to get to know the whole of Scripture – in our highly pressurised modern lives it is rather like trying to eat an elephant. If you are finding keeping up difficult, perhaps just a diet of a slower meditative reading of Psalm 119 for the next few days would suffice. After all in this one Psalm we meditate on all of Scripture in a unique way.

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