Introduction to the Psalms

We are studying through the book of Psalms during our Wednesday evening prayer meeting service. I’ll be posting the outlines each week. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Some of the world’s greatest and most beautiful poetry is found in the book of Psalms in the Bible. The Hebrew word for Psalm is “Mizmor”. It comes from a root word meaning to strike with the fingers, or to touch the strings. Perhaps one of the most basic meanings of the word is “melody”. The Psalms were meant to be set to music and sung. They are a vital part of worship for the Jewish people, and they reflect both individual and corporate needs, emotions, and desires of God’s people.

While the authorship of some of the Psalms is unknown, most have clear attribution. King David is credited with writing at least seventy-three of the Psalms. Other contributors include Moses, Solomon, Asaph, and the Sons of Korah. Nevertheless, the most important aspect of authorship, is that all 150 of the Psalms were ultimately written through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God. (2 Peter 1:20-21)

The book of Psalms is divided into five parts. These divisions are often called the five books of the Psalms. Each set of Psalms focuses on an aspect of God’s dealing with His people and ends with a doxology, or declaration of praise, to God.

A brief summary of these divisions are:

  • Book 1: Psalm 1-41 God’s presence beside us
  • Book 2: Psalm 42-72 God’s presence going before us
  • Book 3: Psalm 73-89 God’s presence around us
  • Book 4: Psalm 90-106 God’s presence above us
  • Book 5: Psalm 107-150 God’s presence among us

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