Read the Bible in a Year
This week, read: Psalms 1-25
At Least Know This
The Book of Psalms is the beautiful poetry of the Jews. Some psalms were sung in public services. Some psalms were sung for private edification. Some follow the rules of various kinds of Hebrew poetry. All Psalms proclaim the greatness of God.
Author and Date
The date of the psalms probably stretches the whole length of Jewish history. Some psalms are easy to date; for example, Psalm 137 dates from the time of the Babylonian Exile (587-538 BC). Others are not easily dated.
Many of the Psalms have a superscription (an explanatory note at the beginning of the psalm). Some of the superscriptions are “A Psalm of David.” This does not mean that David wrote the Psalm. It can also be translated “A Psalm about David,” or “A Psalm Dedicated to David.” Probably, many people wrote psalms that describe events in David’s life.
There are also superscriptions such as “To the Choirmaster.” Sometimes there are musical terms, like “Selah”; it is unclear what these terms mean—possibly something like “Now there will be a musical interlude.”
Many of the psalms are written about famous events in the history of the Jews. Some are more personal.
Some psalms (for example, Psalm 1) reflect the Deuteronomic code: “Obey God’s law, and you’ll be rewarded; Disobey God’s law and you’ll be punished.”
Many of the psalms are cited by Jesus (for example, Psalm 22). Many are cited in other parts of the New Testament, such as Psalm 2 is cited in Hebrews.
All the psalms are beautiful, and will speak to you differently depending on your life situation.
From the sublime Psalm 23, to the strong words of courage in Psalm 40, there is something for everyone in the psalms. Some are laments (yelling at God for their terrible situation). Some are cries for help. Some are thanksgiving psalms. Some plead with God during unjust situations. Some lift God up in praise. As we walk the journey of the Christian life, we can see God in every situation that we find ourselves in. The psalms can help us see the presence of God in all situations.
If you run across a passage that you have questions about, feel free to post questions (or insights that you have received from the Bible reading), then please click here, and then click on the most recent reading guide. You can also feel free to email the question to me.
Our next face-to-face meeting is on May 9, 2019 at 6:30-7:45.