How to Study the Book of Psalms–Sermon Notes


 

Studying Psalms is an essential part of every disciple’s spiritual journey. Here is a summary of how you can study the Psalms 

Largest book of the bible

Largest chapter of the bible Ps 119

Also the shortest Chapter Ps 117

It contains the exact middle chapter of the Bible – Psalm 118. That’s right — there are 594 chapters before and after Psalm 118.

Ps are quoted 36 times in the New Testament and referred to 55 other times – this is more than any other Old Testament book – which highlights its importance

Psalms is the only book quoted by Satan

No other Old Testament book teaches as much about God. All of God’s attributes are outlined. His omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, eternity, and immutability are all clearly set forth.

In Psalms you have, in poetic and musical form, the history of the Hebrew people. From Moses to David and beyond, much of the feeling behind the events is contained in these journalings. You see, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, as well as 1 & 2 Chronicles contain the events; Psalms contains the emotions.

And these journalings – many of which are prayers, praises, and songs – were written as a response to the everyday occurrences going on in their life and nation. Psalms is a peek into how these people lived before God 24/7, such as…
…how they responded to him in times of tragedy
(Psalm 88 and 91)

Put in Ps 88:1-5

O Lord, God of my salvation,
I have cried out day and night before You.
2 Let my prayer come before You;
Incline Your ear to my cry.

3 For my soul is full of troubles,
And my life draws near to the grave.
4 I am counted with those who go down to the pit;
I am like a man who has no strength,
5 Adrift among the dead,
Like the slain who lie in the grave,
Whom You remember no more,
And who are cut off from Your hand.

…how they praised him in times of victory
(Psalms 92 and 66)

Put in Ps 92:1-5

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
2 To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning,
And Your faithfulness every night,
3 On an instrument of ten strings,
On the lute,
And on the harp,
With harmonious sound.
4 For You, Lord, have made me glad through Your work;
I will triumph in the works of Your hands.

5 O Lord, how great are Your works!
Your thoughts are very deep.

how they conversed with him in times of confusion and anger (Psalms 73 and 58)

Ps 73:1-3

Truly God is good to Israel,
To such as are pure in heart.
2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled;
My steps had nearly slipped.
3 For I was envious of the boastful,
When I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

…how they cared for each other in times of need
(Psalm 23 and 37 and 42)

Ps 37:1-7

Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb.

3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
6 He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.

7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.

…how they repented and confessed in times of disobedience (Psalm 32 and 51)

Ps 51:1-4

Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.
4 Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight—
That You may be found just when You speak,[a]
And blameless when You judge.

…how they found God in times of loneliness
(Psalms 71 and 62)

Ps 62:1-2

Truly my soul silently waits for God;
From Him comes my salvation.
2 He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be greatly moved.

…how they felt about the law of God
(Psalm 119)

Ps 119:9-11

How can a young man cleanse his way?
By taking heed according to Your word.
10 With my whole heart I have sought You;
Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!
11 Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.

CHARACTERISTICS

In order to appreciate the Psalms, a certain number of their characteristics should be kept in mind.

1. They were written for singing. They were intended for public worship in the temple, in Israel, and for us. They are not, merely, poems, but are lyrics. They contain musical conventions, peculiar to music and worship during ancient time.

2. The poetry was written over a period of one thousand years, from the time of Moses, to the time of Ezra.

3. They were collected, and arranged, over a long period of time.

4. Written in the language of the human spirit, they reflect the feelings of a person at a certain time, or the utterances of the soul. They are not cool, reasoned prose, but rather, deeply emotional works, which use wrenching language, dramatic exaggeration, and figurative speech.

5. The Psalms were a part of the ordinary life, of the Israelites. The scriptures record a number of times, when the people spontaneously responded to God, with a Psalm of praise.

6. Individual Psalms, were written for different purposes. Some began as works of private devotion, while others were designed for the purpose of public worship. Ultimately, they became the treasures of all the people, in temple worship, for no matter what subject the Psalms addressed, they always lead the people to the worship of the Living God.

7. Written in the language of response, the Psalms record, in powerful, poetic language, one individual’s response to God. From a desperate cry, to an ecstatic shout of joy, each Psalm is a response to God, in the middle of a particular situation.

4 basic ways to study the psalms

1) By book division

2) By Authorship

3) By Subject Matter

4) By Style

1) By Book Division

5 Basic Divisions of the Book of Psalms that corresponds to the first five books of the Old Testament

1.1) Genesis – Ps 1 – 41

The key word is man

Ps 1:1

Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

Ps 8:4

Ps 34:12

Ps 37:37

1.2) Exodus Ps 42 – 72

The Key word is deliverance

Ps 50:15

Call upon Me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”

Ps 59:1

Ps 69:14

Ps 72:12

1.3) Leviticus Ps 73 – 89

The Key word is sanctuary

Ps 73:17

Until I went into the sanctuary of God;
Then I understood their end.

Ps 74:7

Ps 77:13

1.4) Numbers Ps 90 – 106

The key word is wanderings

So Ps 90 and 106 –

1.5) Deuteronomy Ps 107 – 150

The Key word is Word of God

See Ps 119

How can a young man cleanse his way?
By taking heed according to Your word.
10 With my whole heart I have sought You;
Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!
11 Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.

2) By Authorship

2.1) David

The Shepherd Psalms 8,19,23,29,144

1.2 The Sinner Psalms 32,51,38

1.3 The Suffering Psalms 3,4,5,6,7,11,12,13,14,17,22,25,26,27,28,31,34,35,39,40,41,53,54,55, 56,57,58,59,61,62,63,64,69,70,86,109,140,141,142,143

1.4 The Satisfied Psalms 2,9,15,16,18,20,21,24,30,36,37,52,60,65,68,72,95,101,103,105,108, 110,122,124,131,133,138,139,145

Talk about David was a mans man – he was a courageous warrior – he was a great leader – yet the psalms are an insight into his soft and open heart before God.

2.2) The sons of Korah 42,44,45,46,47,48,49,84,85,87

The Sons of korah – It is to the effect that there was elaborate organization, on a large scale, in connection with the musical services of the temple at Jerusalem; that this began in the time of David, as a part of the preparation for building the temple, under the influence of the family traditions of the prophet Samuel; and that the movement continued in the generations following David, either surviving the exile, or being revived after the exile.

2.3) Asaph 50,73,74,75,76,77,78,79,80,81,82,83

He was one of David’s three chief musicians, the other two being Heman, and Ethan, and we first hear of him when the ark was taken to Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 15:16-19).

He conducted with cymbals the music performed in the tent where the ark was housed

2.4) Heman 88

Heman – faithful.
(2.) Grandson of Samuel (1 Chr. 6:33; , to whom the 88th Psalm probably was inscribed. He was one of the “seers” named in 2 Chr. 29:14, 30, and took a leading part in the administration of the sacred services.

Interesting because the sons of samual did not walk with God

1 Sam 8:3

2.5) Ethan 89

Ethan the Ezrahite was a wise man of Israel who lived in the time of King Solomon.

Although Solomon’s wisdom was the greatest in Israel, it was by Ethan the Ezrahite, and a few others, that Solomon’s great wisdom was measured.

“And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about.” (1 Kings 4:29-31 KJV)

Ethan’s Psalm

There is no doubt that Ethan the Ezrahite was a very wise man, primarily because his wisdom was based upon the Holy Spirit of God which he obviously had. Ethan could not have written the 89th Psalm, in which God Himself speaks, without it.

2.6) Solomon 127

2.7) Moses 90

2.8) Hezekiah 120,121,123,125,126,128,129,130,132,134

Hezekiah (God has strengthened”) was the 13th king of independent Judah and the son of King Ahaz He reigned twenty-nine years . He is also one of the kings mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew.

2.9) Anonymous 1,10,33,43,66,67,71,91,92,93,94,96,97,98,99,100,102,104,106,107, 111,112,113,114,115,116,117,118,119,135,136,137,146,147,148,149,150

3) By Subject Matter

3.1) Prayers of Distress – 20 Psalms – 3,4,6,12,13,17,25,27,31,38,43,56,57,70,80,109,120,123,130,143

Ps 3:1-3

Lord, how they have increased who trouble me!
Many are they who rise up against me.
2 Many are they who say of me,
“There is no help for him in God.” Selah

3 But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.

3.2) Psalm of Judgement – 1 Psalm – 50

Ps 50:16-21

But to the wicked God says:
“What right have you to declare My statutes,
Or take My covenant in your mouth,
17 Seeing you hate instruction
And cast My words behind you?
18 When you saw a thief, you consented[a] with him,
And have been a partaker with adulterers.
19 You give your mouth to evil,
And your tongue frames deceit.
20 You sit and speak against your brother;
You slander your own mother’s son.
21 These things you have done, and I kept silent;
You thought that I was altogether like you;
But I will rebuke you,
And set them in order before your eyes.

22 “Now consider this, you who forget God,
Lest I tear you in pieces,
And there be none to deliver:
23 Whoever offers praise glorifies Me;
And to him who orders his conduct aright
I will show the salvation of God.”

3.3) Prayers for Judgement – 11 Psalms – 5,7,28,35,58,59,79,82,83,94,140

Ps 58 6-9

Break their teeth in their mouth, O God!
Break out the fangs of the young lions, O Lord!
7 Let them flow away as waters which run continually;
When he bends his bow,
Let his arrows be as if cut in pieces.
8 Let them be like a snail which melts away as it goes,
Like a stillborn child of a woman, that they may not see the sun.

9 Before your pots can feel the burning thorns,
He shall take them away as with a whirlwind,
As in His living and burning wrath.

3.4) Psalms of Prayer – Praise – 11 Psalms – 9,19,30,33,64,67,71,86,106,138,144

Ps 30:1-3

I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up,
And have not let my foes rejoice over me.
2 O Lord my God, I cried out to You,
And You healed me.
3 O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave;
You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.[a]

3.5) Psalms of Praise – 24 Psalms – 29,65,66,75,95,96,97,99,100,103,104,105,107,117,134,135,136,145,146, 147,148,149,150

Ps 29:3-5

The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
The God of glory thunders;
The Lord is over many waters.
4 The voice of the Lord is powerful;
The voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars,
Yes, the Lord splinters the cedars of Lebanon.

3.6) Psalms of trust – 6 Psalms – 11,20,61,63,125,127

Ps 20:6-7

Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed;
He will answer him from His holy heaven
With the saving strength of His right hand.

7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses;
But we will remember the name of the Lord our God.

3.7) Psalms of the wicked – 2 Psalms – 10,36

Ps 36:1-4

An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked:
There is no fear of God before his eyes.
2 For he flatters himself in his own eyes,
When he finds out his iniquity and when he hates.
3 The words of his mouth are wickedness and deceit;
He has ceased to be wise and to do good.
4 He devises wickedness on his bed;
He sets himself in a way that is not good;
He does not abhor evil.

3.8) Psalms of deliverance – 4 Psalms – 18,34,124,126

Ps 34:4-7

I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
5 They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces were not ashamed.
6 This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him,
And saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel[a] of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him,
And delivers them

3.9) Psalms of God – 8 Psalms – 24,93,111,113,114,115,121,139

Ps 114:1-8

When Israel went out of Egypt,
The house of Jacob from a people of strange language,
2 Judah became His sanctuary,
And Israel His dominion.

3 The sea saw it and fled;
Jordan turned back.
4 The mountains skipped like rams,
The little hills like lambs.
5 What ails you, O sea, that you fled?
O Jordan, that you turned back?

3.10) Psalms of Prayer Testimony – 6 Psalms – 26,39,116,129,137,142

Ps 26:1-7

Vindicate me, O Lord,
For I have walked in my integrity.
I have also trusted in the Lord;
I shall not slip.
2 Examine me, O Lord, and prove me;
Try my mind and my heart.
3 For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes,
And I have walked in Your truth.
4 I have not sat with idolatrous mortals,
Nor will I go in with hypocrites.
5 I have hated the assembly of evildoers,
And will not sit with the wicked.

6 I will wash my hands in innocence;
So I will go about Your altar, O Lord,
7 That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving,
And tell of all Your wondrous works.

3.11) Psalms of instruction – 20 Psalms – 14,32,37,42,44,49,52,53,54,55,60,73,74,76,77,78,81,88,108,133

Ps 37:1-6

Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb.

3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
6 He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.

3.12) Psalms of Prayer4 Psalms – 51,85,90,141

Ps 51:1-4

Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.
4 Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight—
That You may be found just when You speak,[a]
And blameless when You judge.

3.13) Psalms of Zion3 Psalms – 87,122,132

Ps 122:1-5

I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go into the house of the Lord.”
2 Our feet have been standing
Within your gates, O Jerusalem!

3 Jerusalem is built
As a city that is compact together,
4 Where the tribes go up,
The tribes of the Lord,
To the Testimony of Israel,
To give thanks to the name of the Lord.
5 For thrones are set there for judgment,
The thrones of the house of David.

3.14) Psalms of the word of God1 Psalm – 119

Ps 119:105

Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.

3.15) The Messianic Psalms21 Psalms 2,8,16,22,23,24,31,34,40,41,45,55,68,69,72,89,102,109,110,118,129

Ps 22:1

My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?
Why are You so far from helping Me,
And from the words of My groaning?

3.16 The Devotional Psalms 4,9,12,13,14,16,17,18,19,22,23,24,27,30,31,33,34,35,37,40,42,43,46,50, 55,56,61,62,63,66,68,69,71,73,75,76,77,80,81,84,85,88,90,91,94,95,100, 103,106,107,111,115,116,118,119,122,123,126,133,136,138,139,141,142, 144,147,148,149,150

3.17 The Penitential Psalms 6,32,38,51,102,130,143

3.18 The Imprecatory Psalms 35,55,58,59,69,83,109,130,140

3.19 The Ascent Psalms 120,121,122,123,124,125,126,127,128,129,130,131,132,133,134

3.20 The Hallelujah Psalms 113,114,115,116,117,118

3.21 The Historical Psalms 78,105,106

3.22 The Acrostic Psalms 9,10,25,34,37,111,112,119,145

4.The headings to the Psalms – The Style Used:

  • Altaschith
    This word means ‘Thou must not destroy’. These were the opening words of a popular song. Several Psalms were sung to this tune.
  • Gittith
    The word comes from a Hebrew root meaning winepress. It may refer to the tune to which it was to be played or it may refer to the city of Gath and their style of music. (2 Samuel 15:18)
  • Maschil
    This means ‘A Contemplated Psalm’. Thirteen Psalms have this heading. It has a variety of meanings – meditative, instructive, or skilful Psalm.
  • Michtam
    It is only used six times and its meaning is not clear. However all of them are lamentations. Psalm 16, 56-60.
  • Mizmor
    This word is usually translated ‘Psalm’. The word comes from a root word ‘to Pluck’ and so may mean that it was meant to be sung to a stringed instrument, like a harp or lyre. Psalm 57
  • Neginoth
    Instrumental music that would be played on a stringed instrument.
  • Nehiloth
    This refers to a flute. It would have holes drilled in the wood or bone shaft and blown in the end or across the top.
    Sheminith
    This may refer to an eight stringed musical instrument. It is also mentioned in 1 Chronicles 15:21.
  • Shir
    Thirty Psalms have this heading which means ‘Song’. This is both a sacred or a secular song of joyful melody.
  • Shiggayon
    It is found only in Psalm 7 and its meaning is not clear. It may mean ‘dirge’ suggesting the emotion of grief. Used in the heading of the Psalms.
  • Shushaneduth
    This is translated ‘lily (or trumpet) of the covenant’. This was the title of a popular song. Used in the heading of the Psalms.
  • Tehillah
    Used once in Psalm 145 although the whole Psalter is called the book of Tehillah. It may mean the book of ‘Praise’.
  • Tephillah
    It is used five times and appears to mean ‘a Prayer’. Habakkuk 3

Famous Psalms

  • Ps 23
  • Ps 51
  • Ps 119
  • Ps 139
  • Ps 1
  • Ps 22
  • Ps 150

Homework

  • Go over sermon notes
  • Read the famous Psalms
  • Begin to Learn Ps 23 or Ps 1

Meditation time

Hope this helps your understanding of Psalms. I pray a blessing on your walk with God. If this has been helpful please feel free to share it on Facebook or Twitter.

Ps Peter Pilt



Categories: Nowra City Church, Sermon Notes, Theology

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