Three Versions of Psalm 119:8-16

I am preaching a series called ABC, where the B stands for read the Bible richly.  So I decided to take the second 8 verse section of Psalm 119.  This Psalm is an acrostic, working through the 22 Hebrew letters.  Each verse in the 8 verse sections start with the same letter as the writer worked through the alphabet – in the case of Hebrew it is the Aleph-Beth.

The three versions below show some creativity in translation.  the NIV is more fluid, as usual. the ESV is helpful in that it retains the distinctive words of the psalm, there are at least 8 synonyms for the scriptures (word, statute, decree, etc).  In the Knox version, the translator used the English alphabet to try to reproduce the Acrostic feel. You can find the whole psalm on


How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
12 Praise be to you, Lord;
teach me your decrees.
13 With my lips I recount
all the laws that come from your mouth.
14 I rejoice in following your statutes
as one rejoices in great riches.
15 I meditate on your precepts
and consider your ways.
16 I delight in your decrees;
I will not neglect your word.

ESV –  Beth

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.

10 With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!

11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.

12 Blessed are you, O Lord;
teach me your statutes!

13 With my lips I declare
all the rules of your mouth.

14 In the way of your testimonies I delight
as much as in all riches.

15 I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.

16 I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.


Best shall he keep his youth unstained, who is true to thy trust.

10 Be thou the whole quest of my heart; never let me turn aside from thy              commandments.

11 Buried deep in my heart, thy warnings shall keep me clear of sin.

12 Blessed art thou, O Lord, teach me to know thy will.

13 By these lips let the awards thou makest ever be recorded.

14 Blithely as one that has found great possessions, I follow thy decrees.

15 Bethinking me still of the charge thou givest, I will mark thy footsteps.

16 Be thy covenant ever my delight, thy words kept in memory.

Click to read about the KNOX translation –


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