Psalm 19:7-10

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul;
the decrees of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple.
(v. 7)

“Come look at this,” my husband said to me with tears in his eyes. He was holding the Bible that belonged to our friend Jimmy. Jimmy’s funeral was the next day, and his wife had loaned his Bible to my husband to help him prepare for the service. Inside its well-worn pages, Jimmy had tucked notes and special bulletins and underlined passages. Hand-written prayers were folded beside beloved passages. 

My spouse showed me a certificate that indicated this beautiful leather Bible had been rebound several years ago because it’s cover had fallen apart from use. Our faithful friend had worn out his Bible. 

When Jimmy used his Bible, it looked nothing like the way I’ve sometimes seen people exalt Scripture by making it unapproachable. He wrestled with the stories. He questioned his theology. His study shaped his questions rather than pinpointed his answers. He honored the witness of Scripture by engaging it with both his doubts and his reverence. His use of Scripture was a lifelong practice. 

The law of the Lord revives the soul, the psalmist claims. The psalmist says reviving, rejoicing, and enlightening are the gifts of God’s law. These gifts sound nothing like a constrained, restrictive view of Scripture. They don’t result in a dusty book that sits unopened on a shelf. This psalm tells us that God’s law is life-giving when we wrestle with it and engage it. Jenee Woodard offers a blessing that reflects the kind of Bible study our friend Jimmy knew so well: “May the peace of Christ be with you, and may your study be prayer.”


What does a faithful use of Scripture look like to you? How has the law of God brought revival, rejoicing, and enlightenment into your life?


God who invites our questions, doubts, and hopes, lead us to know Scripture in ways that revive the soul. Amen.

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