What does Psalm 139:6 mean?
ESV: Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.
NIV: Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
NASB: Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot comprehend it.
CSB: This wondrous knowledge is beyond me. It is lofty; I am unable to reach it.
NLT: Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!
KJV: Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
NKJV: Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.
Verse Commentary:
David was overwhelmed by the Lord's omniscience. Such knowledge lay beyond his comprehension. He said it is "too wonderful," meaning extraordinary or surpassing one's ability to grasp.

In Romans 11:33–34 the apostle Paul wrote: "Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?" God's wisdom and knowledge are beyond our ability to comprehend (Isaiah 55:8–9). It is futile to try to figure out such mysteries as the blending of His election and our human responsibility to believe the gospel. It is best to leave incomprehensible matters in the hands of God, whose knowledge is too wonderful to attain (Deuteronomy 29:29). It is also impossible to know how God can transform sinners into saints, but He does so and never fails in the process (Philippians 1:6; 2:13).

That doesn't mean we can't know anything about God. Nor does it mean God wants us to ignore reason in favor of emotion or naivety (Acts 17:11; Matthew 10:16). Scripture upholds the virtues of wisdom, learning, and clear thinking (Proverbs 3:13–15; Colossians 2:8). It encourages us to know what we can, and learn what we're able (2 Timothy 2:15), without pretending we can know everything.
Verse Context:
Psalm 139:1–6 extols God's infinite knowledge. David views God as knowing all about him: when he sits down and gets up, his thoughts and conduct, and even the words that are in his mind before he expresses them. He states that God's knowledge is far beyond his comprehension. This section of the psalm precedes the section that focuses on God's omnipresence—his presence everywhere.
Chapter Summary:
In this psalm David marvels at God's amazing characteristics. God knows everything about him: where he goes, all David's thoughts and everything about his conduct. The Lord knows what David will say even before David says it. There is no place David can go that God isn't already present. David marvels at God's creative work in the womb. He is thankful for God's innumerable thoughts for him and for God's presence day and night. Finally, David's thoughts turn to the wicked. He considers them God's enemies and his, and longs for God to slay them. David is disgusted by evil people because they rail against God and take His name in vain. He asks God to search his heart to see if any sin is there, and he asks God to lead him in the way everlasting.
Chapter Context:
This psalm of David lies in the fifth division of Psalms, Psalms 107—150. It discloses information about God's omniscience: He knows everything. It explains His omnipresence: that He is everywhere. It declares His omnipotence: He formed every part of human beings. It also describes His holiness: He judges the wicked and searches the heart. These attributes reflect common themes across both the Old and New Testaments.
Book Summary:
The book of Psalms is composed of individual songs, hymns, or poems, each of which is a ''Psalm'' in and of itself. These works contain a wide variety of themes. Some Psalms focus on praising and worshipping God. Others cry out in anguish over the pain of life. Still other Psalms look forward to the coming of the Messiah. While some Psalms are related, each has its own historical and biblical context.
Accessed 5/20/2024 12:35:54 PM
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