Your Summer in the Psalms,
This summer our church is focusing on the Psalms in our Sunday teaching. I want to share some ideas about maximizing this experience by enriching your personal devotional time with the Psalms as well. Here is a suggested Psalm to focus on during the week before Sunday.
7/28 Psalm 71
8/4 Psalm 23
8/11 Psalm 149
8/18 Psalm 108
8/25 Psalm 121
9/1 Psalm 139
Do you have a favorite way to immerse yourself in a psalm? Here are some suggestions to consider. Many of the Psalms are poems or lyrics which means that they have structure, meter, and poetic meanings that may not be apparent at the first reading. A first reading of any poem might be slow and thoughtful, then I suggest that you read it again aloud with more emotion and pacing.
Because Psalms is a collection of Biblical writings, we can also use Bible study skills to better understand each Psalm we encounter. For example consider searching out the answer to these questions to provide context:
- Who wrote the psalm? For example David, Asaph, Moses, or the sons of Korah?
- To whom did the author write? To Israel, to God alone, to the choirmaster? The Psalms are primarily written to God but there is an audience listening in as well – who is that audience?
- When did the author write? Bible study tools such as an Old Testament study guide may help here. You can also check the footnotes and references to see if the psalm corresponds to events recorded in other Bible books such as Samuel, Chronicles or Kings.
- What kind of literature is this psalm? Is the psalm one of Praise, Lament, or Ascent?
- What is the outline of the psalm? There may be clear sections within a psalm dedicated to different purposes. For example a psalm of lament can start off with a praise of God e.g. “You are amazing God … but I’m really hurting…”
- Finally try to immerse yourself in the psalm as a whole using the context that you have gained through observation and study.
Sidebar: Authorship of the Psalms. Credit: Jeffrey Kranz
I hope that this summer in the Psalms is one of blessing and reflection for you!
On behalf of the FBC Elders.