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1 Introduction to the Book of Psalms 23 March 2008.

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1 1 Introduction to the Book of Psalms 23 March 2008

2 2 Book of Psalms In Greek, psalm = a song sung to the accompaniment of a plucked instrument The Book of Psalms is the largest and perhaps most widely used book in the Bible It explores a full range of human experience in every personal and practical way It covers a large time span – about 1000 years – from Moses (about 1410 B.C.) to the Postexilic community under Ezra and Nehemiah (about 430 B.C.)

3 3 Authors of the Psalms 75 attributed to David 12 by Asaph, Collector, a priest who headed the service of music 10 by the sons of Korah, Bald, a guild of singers and composers 2 by Solomon, Peaceful, Israels most powerful king

4 4 Authors of the Psalms 1 by Moses, Son of the Water, a prince, herdsman, and deliverer 1 by Heman, Faithful, a wise man 1 by Ethan, Enduring, a wise man 50 anonymous, but some traditionally attributed to Ezra

5 5 Outline of Psalms Book12345 Chapters1-4142-7273-8990-106107-150 Chief Author DavidDavid / Sons of Korah AsaphAnony- mous David & Anony- mous No. of Psalms 413117 44 Basic Content Songs of Worship Hymns of National Interest Anthems of Praise

6 6 Notes about Psalms Selah is not a person; it was probably used to mark a pause, musical interlude or a crescendo If you want to learn the Hebrew Alphabet, see Psalm 119. Its an acrostic psalm in which each section starts with one letter of the alphabet.

7 7 Interpreting Psalms When the superscription gives the historical event, the psalm should be interpreted in that light; otherwise dont try to guess Some of the psalms are associated with Israels form of worship (in the temple or offering burnt offerings, etc.); Christian worship does not require entering a building or offering animal sacrifices; instead Christian worship means offering our own lives every day and every minute (see Rom. 12:1)

8 8 Interpreting Psalms Many psalms use definite structure and themes Many psalms anticipate Israels Messiah and are fulfilled in Christ; marvel at these and look forward to more fulfillment Be careful not to allegorize or forget the grammar and history involved

9 9 Labels of Psalms Mizmor, psalm – a song accompanied by a stringed instrument Shir, song Maskil, contemplative poem Miktam, inscription poem Tepillah, prayer Tehillah, praise

10 10 Themes of Psalms 1.Creation 2.The Exodus 3.Penitence / repentance 4.Annual pilgrimage to the temple in Jerusalem 5.Messiahs 1 st or 2 nd coming

11 11 Classification of Psalms 1.Individual lament psalms 2.Communal lament psalms 3.Individual thanksgiving psalms 4.Communal thanksgiving psalms 5.General praise psalms

12 12 Classification of Psalms 6.Descriptive praise psalms 7.Enthronement psalms 8.Pilgrimage psalms 9.Royal psalms 10.Wisdom psalms

13 13 Application 1.When you are upset or in despair, dont complain to people; talk to God. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Ph. 4:6,7 NIV)

14 14 Application 2.Pray in whatever circumstances youre in. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Th. 5:16-18 NIV ) 3.Learn to praise and Adore God 4.Learn the kind of worship God really wants - offering your life as a sacrifice every day and every minute (Romans 12:1)

15 15 Application 5.Read psalms as an aid for praise 6.Try to view God as our Shepherd 7.Try to value Gods Word as the Psalmist did in Psalm 119 Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Ps. 119:105 NKJV)

16 16 Application 8.Gods word – the law – is to be obeyed. The Jews had to obey the Mosaic Law. Christians have to obey Christs law (i.e., the New Testament commands) To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. (1 Cor. 9:21 NIV) The purpose of salvation is to become holy, and holiness comes through obedience.

17 17 Application 9.Gods testimonies are to be shared 10.Gods precepts are to be practiced 11.Gods promises are to be claimed 12.Gods ways are to be followed

18 18 Application 13.Dont curse people, but bless & evangelize them Curses in psalms were acceptable for OT saints, who were commanded to kill or live apart from the wicked. The Mosaic Law did not forbid cursing, and it did not command evangelism. Curses are not acceptable for NT saints, who are supposed to be living in the midst of a pagan world, trying to win people to Christ: Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. (Rom. 12:14 NKJV )

19 Bibliography Special thanks goes to the following: Bruce Wilkinson & Kenneth Boa for their information in Talk Thru the Bible Walt Henrichsen for his wisdom and insight shared during Bible studies he has led and in books, articles and e-mails he has written Edward Reese for his chronology and dating in The Reese Chronological Bible

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