No one would ever think to store the Hope Diamond in a shoebox under a bed. Valued at 350 million dollars, the Smithsonian protects the rare gem under three inches of bullet-proof glass in the heavily secured Harry Winston room. Beyond the jewel’s extreme worth is its rare beauty. The phosphorescent, 45-carat diamond is one of the most famous pieces of jewelry in history. How much more valuable and precious is God’s word? When the Psalmist declares in Psalm 119:11, “Thy word have I hid in my heart,” he understands that nothing on earth, including a polished blue rock, could ever compare to the treasure of Scripture.
What Does ‘Thy Word Have I Hid in My Heart’ in Psalm 119:11 Mean?
“Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11 KJV).
This well-loved verse can be broken down into three parts, each bearing as much significance as the next.
“Thy word”—In this verse the term “word” refers to God’s revealed written work. In the Psalmist’s day, that included the entirety of the Torah, the books of Moses, and the prophetic writings. But today, the “word” extends to the entire Bible.
The central focus of the entire chapter of Psalm 119 revolves around the value and importance of God’s word. “It may be written as His ‘word,’ ‘ways,’ ‘statutes,’ ‘decrees,’ ‘law,’ ‘precepts,’ ‘commands,’ or ‘promise’—but it’s in some way mentioned through most all of the verses,” explains Debbie McDaniel in 5 Truths to Know about Psalm 119.
“have I hid in my heart”—The Hebrew word used for “hide” in this verse is tsaphan, which means to treasure, hoard, or cover. The word goes beyond our typical English definition of hide. It stretches past the idea of suppressing an object from view or storing an item in a cupboard or box. Only a possession of great value deserves to be cherished the way tsaphan suggests.
What makes God’s word so valuable? Not only is Scripture direct communication from the Creator of all things; not only is it profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16) or a lamp for our feet and light for our path; (Psalm 199:105) it doesn’t just divide soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and judge the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. On top of all these things, God’s word is alive and active.
“that I might not sin against thee”— In 1 Peter 5:8, the Apostle Peter warns us to be alert and sober-minded because the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Sin is real and rampant in this world, and temptation is waiting to pounce at any given moment.
In When Temptation Appears, Andrew Farmer explains why only a supernatural weapon will do when battling temptation. “The doctrine of indwelling sin tells us that, although the dominion of sin over our lives has been broken, the activity of sin remains. We are by nature lustful, rebellious, and foolish creatures who operate 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week idol factories in our hearts. Nothing should surprise us. Yet the good news is that we have been rescued and are being changed into ever-greater likenesses of our Rescuer, Jesus Christ.”
When wielded through the power of the Holy Spirit, God’s living and active word becomes a sword against the lure of sin (Hebrews 4:12).
Why Is Scripture so Important for Battling Temptation?
Every believer faces seasons of fiery testing. In fact, Jesus promises that trials are an inevitable part of life in this temporal world. But He also promises that He has overcome the world. We don’t have to face our trials alone; Christ is with us and He has equipped us with everything we need to overcome too.
This powerful provision is not an empty assurance provided by a God who can’t relate to worldly temptations. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
Shortly after Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, He was confronted by Satan in the wilderness. Satan pulled every trick in the book to taunt, tempt, and torment Jesus. But our Savior didn’t summon a league of warring angels to get rid of the enemy. He used the best weapon at His disposal—God’s word.
Jesus was armed and ready to answer every alluring whisper of temptation with the strong voice of the Truth. He knew God’s word; he had hidden it in His heart since childhood. That word set Him free from Satan’s snare.
“After fasting forty days and forty nights, he [Jesus] was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread. Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:4).
“Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. ‘If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test’” (Matthew 4:5-7).
“Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only’” (Matthew 4:8-10).
When Satan discovered that the truth lived inside Jesus, he gave up the fight and departed. When we, like Jesus, allow scripture to become a part of our innermost arsenal—the spiritual battles that lie ahead are already won.
3 Ways to Hide God's Word in Your Heart Today
"Thy word have I hid in my heart." Memorizing scripture is a no-brainer when it comes to hiding God’s word in your heart. But it’s important to remember that “Treasuring or hiding God’s word in our inner being goes far beyond simple memorization—though committing words to memory is a great place to begin. The living word of God is not for us to simply think fondly or emotionally about, like a family antique or heirloom, but a treasure of infinite value and substance that will transform our lives and equip us to live victoriously for Christ,” says Leigh Ann Thomas in Why Should We Hide God's Word in Our Hearts?
Here are three practical ways to transfer God’s word from your Bible to your heart.
Identify your battles, then choose your sword—The best way to begin preparing your inner scriptural arsenal is to look up scriptures that speak directly to your current spiritual battles. Are you struggling with discouragement, self-control, or anxiety? A simple Google search will help you locate Bible verses that speak to every issue imaginable. Pray and ask God to guide you through His word and help you select scriptural ammunition against your struggles. Write these verses on index cards and verbally repeat them to yourself when your strength wanes. These verses will come alive as the Holy Spirit enables you to apply them to your life and gain victory.
Surround yourself with scriptural reminders—We all need timely reminders of God’s truth. While we’re learning to hide God’s word in our hearts, we can display key verses in unavoidable places. Affix written or printed Bible verses inside kitchen cabinets, to the bathroom mirror, on the fridge, or tuck it in the car visor. Set Scripture on attractive backgrounds and use it as a screensaver for your phone, tablet, or computer. Instead of listening to the radio or a podcast on your way to and home from work, listen to a Bible reading app instead. The incessant lies of the devil, this world, and our own negative self-talk won’t stand a chance against God’s immersive truth.
Use your God-given creativity to engage with scripture—Do you enjoy music? Like to draw? Does poetry speak to you? God made us complex creatures with unique tastes, preferences, and giftings. When we tap into our creative side to seek God, passion becomes a part of the pursuit. If you sing—put scripture to music. If you paint—illustrate a verse you’d like to memorize. If you dance—dance with all your might before the Lord while meditating on David’s Psalms.
God uses Scripture to strategically mold us into the image of His Son and equip us for life. If we hide God’s word in our innermost being it takes root, transforms us, and becomes a guardian against our old nature, the evil world, and the enemy.
Photo credit: ©Unsplash/Hush Naidoo
Annette Marie Griffin is an award-winning author and speaker who has managed and directed children’s and youth programs for more than 20 years. Her debut children’s book, What Is A Family? released through Familius Publishing in 2020. Annette has also written curriculum for character growth and development of elementary-age children and has developed parent training seminars to benefit the community. Her passion is to help wanderers find home. She and her husband have five children—three who have already flown the coop and two adopted teens still roosting at home—plus two adorable grands who add immeasurable joy and laughter to the whole flock.
This article is part of our larger resource library of popular Bible verse phrases and quotes. We want to provide easy to read articles that answer your questions about the meaning, origin, and history of specific verses within Scripture's context. It is our hope that these will help you better understand the meaning and purpose of God's Word in relation to your life today.
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