19: Psalms: The Book of Worship

The book of Psalms is a collection of poems, hymns, and prayers that describe the Believer’s response to God. It was composed over a period of a thousand years, from the era of Moses until the Jews return from the Babylonian captivity. Because they were written to different recipients under various conditions, the Psalms reflect a wide variety of emotions and attitudes.

The book’s title in Greek is Psalmoi, meaning “a song sung to musical instrument accompaniment.” Although numerous authors contributed to the compilation, David wrote about half of them. Because Hebrew poetry was often lyrical, primary literary devises include numerous forms of parallelism. The book is rich in personification, hyperbole, apostrophe, simile, and metaphor. The primary focus of Psalms is the adoration of God and how we feel about Him. It is the longest book in the Bible and accurately reflects the full range of human emotions.

Subjects include creation, worship, wisdom, righteousness, lament, sin, judgment, and the Messiah. There are Messianic psalms, imprecatory psalms, prophetic psalms, didactic psalms, and psalms sung by pilgrims during their travels. Other psalms focus on repentance, praise, gratitude, supplication, and confession.

The dominant themes in Psalms are thanksgiving to God, communication with Him, remembering His acts, and victory over our enemies. The Lord is worthy of praise for who He is, what He does, and what He continues to do.

Essay Questions

1. What do Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 suggest concerning worship in the early church?

2. The book of Psalms is directly quoted more often in the New Testament than any other Old Testament book. List a dozen examples from Paul’s epistles.

3. What title is given to David in II Samuel 23:1? What is said regarding David in Amos 6:5, II Chronicles 7:6, and I Samuel 16:18?

4. Working from Psalm 119, list the numerous attributes of God’s Word.

5. Psalms is a book of comparisons and contrasts. Answer the following:
Who is like a tree (1:1-3)?
Who is like the chaff (1:4)?
Who will be cut down like grass (37:2)?
Who is like a green olive tree (52:8)?
Who is like a snake (58:4)?
Who is like a barking dog (59:6)?
Who is like a sheep (78:52)?
Who will flourish like a palm tree (92:12)?
Who is like an insect (118:12)?
Who is compared to a fruitful vine? (128:3)

6. From the following Psalms, develop a statement concerning the topic of Mercy: 37, 85, 89, 100, 103, 109, and 136. 

7. From each of the following Messianic Psalms, list facts concerning the Messiah and give the book, chapter and verse in the New Testament regarding its fulfillment: Psalm 8, 16, 22, 23, 34, 35, 40, 41, 45, 69, 96, 110 and 118.

8. From the following Psalms, list reasons why human beings should praise the Lord: Psalm 7, 21, 28, 33, 54, 56, 63, 71, 79, 86, 99, 102, 118, 138, and 148-150.

9. Based on quotations from several Psalms, create a portfolio regarding the character of God.

10. The words “righteous” and “righteousness” are used extensively in the Psalms. Define this term and explain why it is so prevalent in this book.

11. What can be learned regarding victory over our enemies from Psalm 35, 52, 58 and 59?


Maxim of the Moment

Love is blind, but marriage is an eye-opener.