The unparalleled importance and power of God’s Word in the life of those who love, honor, and obey it is the theme of Psalm 119. In verse 11, the psalmist acknowledges, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you,” stressing the purifying quality of the Word of God to keep believers from straying into sin. Outward obedience comes from having the Scriptures buried deep within our hearts like a priceless treasure.
How can we have God’s Word hidden in our hearts? Let’s start by gaining a better understanding of what the psalmist is saying. The word for “hidden” in the original Hebrew means “to treasure, to regard as highly valued, to hide, keep, save up, store.” Translations range from “I have treasured your word in my heart” (CSB), to “I have stored up your word in my heart” (ESV), to “I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart” (The Message).
God’s Word is the agent of His Spirit used to cleanse the hearts of all who believe in Christ and are saved (Ephesians 5:25–27). And it is through keeping God’s Word securely planted in our hearts and living according to what it says that believers continue to walk in holiness (Psalm 37:31; 119:9).
The Lord commanded Israel, “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 11:18–20). This passage mentions several of the ways we can hide, treasure, and store up God’s Word in our hearts. Let’s explore these in detail.
One of the first steps in hiding God’s Word in our hearts is reading the Bible. We get to know God and understand His plan for our lives through the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 4:12; Psalm 119:105). Every Christian ought to pursue a consistent method of reading through the Bible.
Proverbs 2:1–5 conveys the benefits of listening to the Word of God: “My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands. Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. . . . Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures. Then you will understand what it means to fear the LORD, and you will gain knowledge of God” (NLT).
Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ” (NLT). The spoken Word of Christ—the peaching of the gospel message—has the power to produce faith and reveal Christ. In Jesus Christ’s day, Scripture was read aloud in the synagogues and recited in households. When we listen to the Scriptures, either in music or read out loud, we reinforce God’s Word in our hearts.
Proverbs 7:1–3 states, “My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.” Writing down our thoughts as we read and listen to the Bible will help clarify and strengthen those biblical truths in our hearts (Exodus 34:27; Deuteronomy 6:6, 8–9; Habakkuk 2:2).
Discussing God’s Word with our children, spouse, friends, and small group members will further strengthen, illuminate, and solidify its teachings in our hearts and minds (Deuteronomy 6:7).
The Bible urges us to study the Scriptures for greater understanding (Acts 17:11). The apostle Paul told Timothy, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Use a study Bible and other resources to help you accurately apprehend what Scripture is saying, not superficially, but historically and in the proper context.
The Bible also encourages us to “delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night” (Psalm 1:2, NLT). We are to think about God’s instructions and promises all day and night long (Psalm 119:97, 148). As we ponder God’s Word continually, treasuring, storing, and hiding it in our hearts, it will literally transform how we think and behave (Romans 12:2).