One of the ways I like to study the Bible is to take a passage or verse and try to dig in and pull it apart. I love it when preachers/teachers go back to the original Hebrew and Greek words because there is such depth and significance there that is sometimes lost in translation. I try to do that on my own as much as I'm able - which isn't a whole lot since I'm illiterate in both languages. Still, I do find some rewarding things by at least trying to dig deep. I like to go through a passage word by word with a word study book and dictionary to look up the definitions for each word and the grammatical construct of each word. Then, I like to re-write the passage in my own words based on what I've learned. Sometimes it ends up basically the same - but sometimes I discover "hidden treasures". The following verse is one I found some "hidden treasures" in.
"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18 (NASB)
My paraphrase from my word study -
The Lord (the covenant keeping God) is near to those whose hearts are (continued action) breaking, bursting, and shattered; and He keeps saving and delivering those who are crushed and crumbled in spirit.
Some treasures I found -
"Lord" in English is pretty generic - at least in my mind. But in Hebrew (Yahweh, Jehovah) it refers to the covenant keeping character of God. That's such a beautiful promise and assurance to start this verse with.
Brokenhearted is a great description, but I found the other definitions for this word to be really meaningful as well. In particular, I keep coming back to the word "shattered". It seems to indicate a kind of violent bursting of something into hundreds of tiny pieces - much like dropping glass on a tile floor. As I've learned first hand - glass doesn't just break - it shatters! And it's tiny pieces go far and wide over the floor. also the "crushed" can be defined as a crumbled substance or something that has been crushed into a powder. That's a pretty significant and destructive crushing! Not what I generally associate with crushing. I was reminded of grinding something in a mortar and pestle.
I also loved the fact that the actions in the verse were continuous. God's not just near to us when we are broken and shattered *one* time, but every time. God doesn't just deliver and save us *one* time, but He keeps doing it every time we are feeling crushed and ground down. What a beautiful assurance!
*Disclaimer - I am not a student of Hebrew and Greek. Nor have I been taught how to exegete Scripture. As such, the above may not be entirely accurate or true though I certainly don't intend to say anything unbiblical or false. I simply am trying to do the best that I can with the resources and understanding that I have.