OT Intro – How to Read – The Psalms

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10 Replies to “OT Intro – How to Read – The Psalms”

  1. Question: What are the two ways in which the Praises of Psalms praise God?
    (Page 221)

    Answer: They can praise God by either praising God for who He is, which is descriptive. Or they can praise God for what He does for them, which is declarative.
    (Preaching and Teaching from the Old Testament By: Walter C. Kaiser Jr. Page 153)

    Question for Mr. Webster: The Psalms sets up a Lament with six distinctive elements; address, complaint, trust, deliverance, assurance. This seems like a very formal way to express a lament to our Lord. Was it this formal because it was Old Testament and things were done differently with scripture and talking with God back then? Also should we be more formal in our approach to God when we bring a lament to Him, or does it not matter as much?

  2. Question:
    On page 219 it says that the Disciples and Jesus knew the Psalms very well and encouraged people to use the Psalms in worship. What’s an example of this?

    Answer:
    As we look through all that the Bible says and records about Jesus we see that Psalms is the most often quoted book by Jesus. I think one of the most powerful times that he quoted Psalms was when he was on the cross. “My God, my God why have you forsaken me” (Ps 22) This is powerful because it shows that Jesus had an understanding of the Psalm and used the meaning of it perfectly for the situation. Then shortly after that Ps 22 Quote Jesus again fulfills another Psalms by saying, “Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.” This was the full purpose of Jesus coming to earth to commit his spirit to the Lord and wash away our sins. This is all truly shown inside of Psalms and shows how important Psalms really is.

    -ESV Study Bible (Psalms) and Bible Gateway

    Question for Webster:
    As you know, the wording of Psalms is sometimes complex and a little confusing. How can we today use Psalms in our own personal worship has Jesus and his disciples instructed?

  3. Question for me: In Psalm 136 it discusses God’s use of power? What are some examples of it?

    Answer: First Example shows God’s use of power to create the world. The second example is when God delivers his people from slavery in Egypt. The third example is when God strikes down the Canaanite kings who oppose Israel in it journey to settle the Promised Land. The fourth example is God lovingly recognizes our weakness and supplies our needs. When we use power to do work that benefits others, we are using power as God would use it.
    https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/theology-of-work/the-right-use-of-power-psalm-136

    Question for Webster: The book says that we should not overexegete which means that we should not interpret too much into the Psalms. We are supposed to interpret the bible. So why can’t we interpret the Psalms.

  4. Question: How do a series of prayers and songs to and about God impact our lives as Christians today?

    Answer: The psalms are the most popular book read from the OT today, but there are still major differences with contemporary culture and ancient culture that makes the Psalms difficult for Christians to read. The main difference is that when the Psalms were written Jesus had not yet come. But Jesus is a part of the whole Bible. “We may sing Psalms to our Savior. We may offer him praise, laments, trust, doubts, and our medications as we read, pray and sing the Psalms.” Jesus is a part of the trinity and an appropriate object of our praise.

    Source: “How to Read the Psalms,” Tremper Longman 3

    Question for Webster: If Psalms were mostly cries and praises from the heart, why did they all follow a rigid pattern? Doesn’t the structure that they were written in take away from the raw emotion of the Psalms?

  5. Question for me:Why is psalms so hard for people to understand?

    Answer:Psalms is misunderstood because most people think that the bible is just god’s words to his people. They do not realize that the bible also contains words spoken to god or about god. Psalms 23 is a good example. God is portrayed as a shepherd, and as a psalmist and us as his sheep. Which is evident to those familiar with psalms. But other psalms do not show their meaning in the first glance.

    Source: Bible gateway Psalms

    Question for Webster:Why is there so many different types of Psalms?

  6. Question: How are the Psalms used in ancient Israel?

    Answer: The ancient Israelites used the Psalms as functional songs to connect to God. The Psalms were used both individually and in group settings. Sometimes, they were even used when the Israelites brought sacrifices to the temple in Jerusalem. Along with being used in formal settings, the Psalms were also sung in informal situations to express attitudes and circumstances. The book of Job can be compared to the book of Psalms in that it offers God the emotions of the human heart and mind (Francis I. Anderson, 15). Just like the Psalms were used by the Israelites to pour out their hearts to God, the book of Job reflects the pouring out of his heart to God.

    Source: An Introductions and Commentary; Job by Francis I. Anderson

    Question for Webster: The end of the chapter talks about the importance of balanced prayer. Do you think we can be sincere when we try to balance/organize our prayer, instead of it just coming naturally from the heart?

  7. Question For Nate:
    Why do the writers of the Psalms use synonymous parallelism throughout their writings? (Pg. 214)

    Answer:
    The writers of the Psalms use synonymous parallelism quite often throughout their writings to drive home their most important points. In Psalm 19 a phrase regarding the maker of the heavens and the earth is repeated. In Psalm 51 a phrase regarding our joy and gladness in the Lord is repeated. The Psalm 19 reference allows us to realize that we can see the face of our maker in every part of creation because our God created it all. The Psalm 51 reference shows us that the love of God penetrates our hearts and souls, and allows us to experience the true joy we receive from God. These two points are ones that are seen time and again throughout scripture; therefore, the author of the Psalms repeats these points so that we don’t miss the truly important points that God is trying to get across to us.

    (ESV Study Bible pg. 960 and 1000)

    Question for Webster:
    Are psalms common throughout the entire Bible or are they found strictly in Psalms?

  8. Question: If psalm 23, is not about us being sheep, or not about us needing to leave the city life and living in that rural life. If it is not about any of this then what is it about?

    Answer: According the ESV Study bible Psalm 23 is just a human that is classified as a psalm of confidence. The Lord is our shepherd and he is caring for us. The psalm was not alluding to us becoming sheep, but it is alluding to God becoming our shepherd and watching over us as our shepherd. Also later on it talks about God becoming the head of our table, he is our leader.

    Question for Webster: Question about Job: A lot of people say that God puts them under strife and tribulation because he is trying to make them stronger. What do you think about this? Do you believe that all of our strife and tribulation is because of our sin? Or do you think that it is a test to see how loyal, or for us to become stronger?

  9. Question: How can a person know if a lament in the book of Psalms is an individual or corporate lament? What are the differences between the two laments?

    Answer: The lament is the complete opposite of the hymn on the emotional spectrum. A lament is strictly defined by its mood. Identify the object of the psalmist’s complaint. Does he focus on himself, his enemies or God? It is necessary to study a lament carefully to determine whether it is the cry of an individual or a community. An individual lament expresses trust in God, and helps a person express struggles to the Lord. A corporate lament is the same idea just for a group of people struggling.

    Source: How to read the Psalms by Tremper Longman III

    Question for Web: Reading about the imprecatory psalms I understand that they are meant to guide our anger to and through God verbally rather than to or at anyone else verbally or physically.
    An example of an imprecatory Psalm is in Psalm 69:7 “For it is for your sake that I have borne reproach, that dishonor has covered my face.” It says on page 228 that Psalms that contain verbalizations to God of anger at others are sometimes called imprecatory Psalms. Could you further explain how this works and how Psalm 69:7 represents this type of Psalm?

  10. Question: On page 225, is says the psalm, is not designed to specifically instruct but to be used as a guide. What do they mean by that statement?

    Answer: Colossians 3:16 says: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Based on this verse, it feels like Psalms leads us to His presence and into worship where his spirit can serve as a guide.

    Source: Bible Gateway, Colossians 3:16

    Question for Webster: On page 220, it is talking about laments. What are those and how are they used in the Bible?

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