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Psalms

Psalms Bible Study Notes

Overview of Psalms

The Hebrew name of this book is Tehellim, which means Praises. The Septuagint uses the name Psalms, as do many of the English translations of the Bible.

David is most commonly associated with Psalms. While he contributed significantly to this beautiful collection of hymns, Psalms spans the period from Moses to the Babylonian captivity.

In the Hebrew Scriptures the Book of Psalms, like Job, belongs to the Hagiographa or Writings, not to either the law or the prophets. However, we have the testimony of Christ himself regarding the doctrinal correctness of many of the teachings contained in the Book of Psalms:

[44] And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. (Luke 24:44Luke 24:44
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.  

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The Apostles also cited Psalms in support of their teachings:

[20] For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. (Acts 1:20Acts 1:20
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. bishoprick: or, office, or, charge  

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[33] God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. (Acts 13:33Acts 13:33
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

33 God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.  

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Indeed, perhaps more than any other book of the Old Testament, Psalms deals with the mortal mission of Christ. It speaks of his character, his death and atonement, and his resurrection. It reveals his merciful character to us. Studying Psalms very much enhances our understanding of Christ, his mission, and his great love and compassion for mankind. For example, consider the following verses taken from Psalms:

[1] My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?

[7] All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,
[8] He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.

[13] They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.
[14] I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.
[15] My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.
[16] For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
[17] I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.
[18] They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.
Psalms 22:1, 7-8, 13-18Psalms 22:1, 7-8, 13-18
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

22 To the chief Musician upon Aijeleth Shahar, A Psalm of David. Aijeleth...: or, the hind of the morning 1 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? helping...: Heb. my salvation 7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, shoot...: Heb. open 8 He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. He trusted...: Heb. He rolled himself on seeing...: or, if he delight in 13 They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. gaped...: Heb. opened their mouths against me 14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. out of...: or, sundered 15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. 16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. 17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. 18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.  

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Psalms was the hymnal used anciently in both the synagogues and first century Christian churches. It fills a need for man to reach for something higher, to commune in song, prayer, and praise with God. A meditative reading of Psalms does indeed lift the spirit of man to a higher sphere.

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