Sunday, February 17, 2008

Psalms 119 and Scripture Numerics

As I was reading through psalms today, I noticed an interesting pattern. Some of you may have heard of a branch of scriptural study called “scriptural numerics.” Many believe that the numbers and patterns found in the scriptures are ubiquitous and meaningful. I lend some credit to the theory, but not as much as others. For instance, three has to do with perfection, completeness, and God especially. Six is a number dealing with the weaknesses of man, satan, etc….

The number that caught my eye today was eight. Previously, I had loved psalms 119 because it dealt with the importance of scriptures and their importance. It took on a whole other dimension today for me when a few things caught my attention.

I have been curious in the past about why this chapter (psalms 119) is subdivided into sections headed by the Hebrew alphabet. I tried to think of some reason that the author would divide it thus. Letters of the Hebrew alphabet can double as numbers, so it’s not unusual that they are used. I thought for fun I would check if the sections were evenly divided.

There are 176 verses in Psalms 119. There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet.
176/22 = 8. Interestingly enough, each sub-section in the chapter contains exactly 8 verses. Most that study this subject believe 8 to point towards new beginnings, creation, and the word. I also believe it has to do with water (flood story found in Genesis 7-8, 8 on the ark, baptized at 8, etc...). Water has to do with the “living waters,” or the words of life (psalms 1:3-4, John 4:14), which would agree with the last of the generally agreed upon meanings of the number 8.

I also noticed that every single verse used one of 8 words that describe the scriptures; namely: law, testimonies, way/s, precepts, statutes, commandments, judgments, and word/s. All but 4 of the 176 verses of Psalms 119 use at least one of these eight words to emphasize the importance of the scriptures. I decided to get geeky and make a diagram just to show it (just to save anyone time who would care enough to see this).

Nobody’s salvation is going to hinge on these semantics, but it is interesting. I don’t find it to be an internal evidence for the Bible. We must remember that not only is the Book of Mormon on trial in the world’s eyes, the Bible is as well, and maybe even more so than the Book of Mormon.

Best Wishes,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting! If salvation was dependant upon that you'd be saved brother!

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