The Book of Psalms is found in the middle of our Bibles. The book is comprised of 150 prayers, which were sung in worship by the ancient Israelites. Reading them is like attending a "school of prayer" where we learn about praise & passion, honesty and adoration.
- Campbell Morgan
The Psalms are a beautiful example of Hebrew poetry. Here are some characteristics of such poetry:
What to look for when reading the Psalms:
- Take note of the introductory words for author & context.
- Don’t worry about the words that are notations for the musicians! Ex. "Selah" – 71 x
- “Listen” for rhythms, parallelism and refrains.
- Be careful not to make a doctrine out of an emotional prayer. The psalms often reveal theology, but they do not set out to teach it.
One of the wonderful literary features of the psalms is parallelism. It's where a statement is made and then it's restated in a slightly different way, amplifying the original statement. Psalm 19 is a fine example of parallelism.
The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
The decrees of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple;
The commandment of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eyes;
Sweeter also than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb.