Psalm 51 (twice)

Below are two versions of Psalm 51. The first is the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV). The second is a paraphrase by Pastor Steve Garnaas-Holmes (taken from

May God illuminate your heart, mind and body today through these words:


Psalm 51 (NRSV)

1 Have mercy on me, O God,

according to your steadfast love;

according to your abundant mercy

blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,

and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,

and my sin is ever before me.

Against you, you alone, have I sinned,

and done what is evil in your sight,

so that you are justified in your sentence

and blameless when you pass judgment.

Indeed, I was born guilty,

a sinner when my mother conceived me.

You desire truth in the inward being;

therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;

wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Let me hear joy and gladness;

let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.

Hide your face from my sins,

and blot out all my iniquities.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,

and put a new and right spirit within me.

11 Do not cast me away from your presence,

and do not take your holy spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,

and sustain in me a willing spirit.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,

and sinners will return to you.

14 Deliver me from bloodshed, O God,

O God of my salvation,

and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.

15 O Lord, open my lips,

and my mouth will declare your praise.

16 For you have no delight in sacrifice;

if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.

17 The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;

a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;

rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,

19 then you will delight in right sacrifices,

in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;

then bulls will be offered on your altar.”

Psalm 51

A paraphrase

Be gentle with me, O God,
hold me in your constant love.
With your abundant mercy
free me from my sins.
Wash away the grime
that covers your image in me.
I know I don’t live the life you give me;
you know the difference.
My love is not perfect;
this you see.

But you lead me to live in harmony
with my inner truth,
to be transparent
to your presence within me.

Purge me with your love,
that I may be pure love.
Fill me,
that I may be pure light.

Deep within me, in your light,
I discover joy,
gratitude even for bones broken
to be reset.
When you look at me you don’t see sins;
you see love.

Create me all over again, O God;
breathe your life-giving breath in me.
Hold me close
and give me your loving spirit.
You are the joy that sustains me;
you give me my willing heart.
O Beloved, when I open my lips,
my mouth will sing praise, only praise.

I can’t offer a thing to please you,
can’t determine your love for me.
What delights you is just me,
this broken heart,
this true, simple heart.
Use me as I am to love the world.
That will be gift enough for both of us.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s