by Mary Duryea
Why select Psalms, with 150 chapters, when there are 66 books to choose from, for a brief six-week study? That question echoed in my head as I kept coming back to the decision. It made much more sense to select a short book and do the whole thing. Nevertheless, Psalms it is!
The very word, Psalm, implies words of praise accompanied by stringed instruments. It is a book of praise and worship, a book that doesn’t just teach us about God but teaches us how to communicate with God. It is a book of prayer located in the very center of our Bible. God doesn’t just speak to us but He wants to teach us to speak with Him. It is a journey I want to take and I welcome you to come along with me.
There are countless ways to try to arrange the Psalms into bite sized pieces. Our Bible starts by placing them in five books. Some commentators see those books as being in parallel to the first five books of the Bible, the books of the law. That is a beginning.
We might try to arrange the Psalms by types. Commentators suggest Psalms of praise, lament, penitence. Psalms that are personal or Messianic. Psalms that shock us with the call for God to act against our enemies in ways that seem far from “Christian.” Not all commentators categorize the Psalms the same way.
So, what are we to do?
I suggest we just dig in. In his introduction to his book “Reflections on the Psalms,” C.S. Lewis said, “I am comparing notes, not presuming to instruct.” That is exactly what I trust we will do as we meet and share during these weeks. The Psalms selected for this sample study come from all five of the books and from several different types.
May our hearts as well as our heads grow as we praise this very personal God.
You are invited to sample the Psalms in an all-Zoom study on Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 7:30, March 3 through April 7. To register or for information contact Mary Duryea.