BibleProject | How to Read the Bible


Day 13: The Book of Psalms

The book of Psalms is the largest collection of poetry in the Bible.

There are 150 poems broken up into five sections. The first two sections explore the complicated story of David and his royal family. The third section focuses on the tragedy of Israel’s exile and the downfall of David’s royal line. And the fourth and fifth sections rekindle the hope for the Messiah, a new temple, and God’s Kingdom on the other side of exile. Then the book ends with a five-part conclusion, praising God for his faithfulness.

Each poem has been expertly crafted and intentionally placed within the book to create a storyline from the book’s beginning to its end. At the beginning of Psalms, there’s a short introduction, Psalms 1 and 2, which lays out the main themes of the entire book by reviewing the biblical storyline—God’s original intent for humanity, humanity’s disobedience, and God’s promise of a future human, the seed of the woman, who will come and defeat evil and restore the world.

Psalms is an invitation to a literary temple where you can meet with God and hear the entire biblical storyline retold in poetic form. The poems have been designed for a lifetime of slow rereading and reflection—these prayers and laments and songs of praise are meant to become ours. They’re poems for exiles who are learning to live by God’s wisdom and seek God’s justice in the world as they hope for the coming Messiah and the Kingdom of God.

In today’s video, we’ll explore the design, shape, and main themes of this marvelous book, which was crafted to be read from beginning to end.