Encountering God Bible Study Chapter 1
Hey Sparkles! Happy Wednesday! For today’s Wednesday Wisdom, I am writing using the subject material of Encountering God: A Study in Psalms by Steve Pettit. Every Wednesday, I will be covering one chapter of Encountering God: A Study in Psalms, so keep coming back every week for more of this cool devotional book.
The Book of Psalms: Special Features
- Psalms is the longest book in the Bible, containing 2,461 verses in the King James Version.
- Psalms 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible, containing 176 verses.
- Psalm 117 is the shortest chapter in the Bible, containing only two verses.
- Psalm 117 is also the middle of the Bible, the very center of the 1,189 chapters found in Genesis through Revelation.
- Psalms has more authors than any other book of the Bible. David, the second king of Israel and “sweet psalmist of Israel” (2 Samuel 23:1), is the chief author of Psalms. He is credited with writing 73 of the 150 psalms.
- Psalms took longer to write than any other book of the Bible, from approximately nine hundred to one thousand years(from the fifteenth century to the fifth century BC).
- Moses composed the first psalm (Psalm 90) during Israel’s 40 years of wilderness wanderings (1445-1405 BC). The last Psalm composed (Psalm 126) is thought to have been written after the time of the Babylonian exile, during the Jews’ return to the land of Judah (between 500 and 430 BC).
- Psalms is the Old Testament book most quoted in the New Testament. Of the 360 Old Testament
- Psalms contains more prophecies concerning the Messiah than any other Old Testament book.
- Psalms was the Jewish songbook.
Take some time to read Psalms 2 and then Acts 4:23-31, which quotes this psalm. What do you notice about the early Christians’ application of Psalm 2? Tell me in the comments below.
The Book of Psalms: Style
The psalms are Hebrew poetry, which is very different from standard English forms of poetry that are based on rhyme and meter. Hebrew poetry is based on rhythm and parallelism. The most basic verse form is two lines. The first line states an idea, and the second line reinforces that idea somehow.
- The second line may restate the first. This is known as synonymous parallelism.
- The second line may contrast with first. This is known as antithetic parallelism.
- The second line may build on the first. This is known as climactic parallelism.
Read Psalm 6 and identify the verses that use synonymous parallelism. Make sure to tell me in the comments below.
Hebrew poetry creates vivid pictures that stir up one’s emotions. One clear example of this is Psalm 23, the beloved psalm about our Shepherd.
What colorful word pictures are expressed in Psalm 23? Be sure to tell me in the comments below.
Types of Psalms
Though all psalms are songs of worship, their purposes and content vary. We cannot be dogmatic about the different types, but the following list is helpful.
- Wisdom Psalms
- These psalms point believers to live godly lives by making the right choices in the pursuit of God’s will. (For example, Psalms 1, 37, and 119.)
- Lament Psalms
- The lament is the emotional heart cry of the psalmist who is living is distressing and difficult times and turns to God for deliverance. (For example, Psalms 22, 42-43, 51, and 102)
- Royal or Kingship Psalms
- These are psalms that prophesy of the coming rule of Jesus as the Messiah. Christ is seen as the coming sovereign ruler. (For example, Psalms 2, 18, 45, 72, 89, 110, and 132)
- Thanksgiving Psalms
- These psalms express gratitude for God’s abundant blessings, whether they are from an individual or from the nation. (For example, Psalms 78, 105, 106, 135, and 136)
- Remembrance Psalms
- God’s redemption through history is the center of attention in the remembrance psalms. In such psalms, a series of God’s acts will be recounted. (For example, Psalms 78, 105, 106, 135, and 136)
- Confidence Psalms
- The psalmist acknowledges his trust and reliance in God’s protection, power, and provision. He is able to be at peace because he has confidence in God. (For example, Psalms 16, 23, 62, 91, and 121)
Application of the Psalms
The word Selah appears seventy-one times in the book of Psalms. The meaning is debatable but most probably it is a call to pause and reflect upon the truth just stated. This is a healthy habit today when studying the book of Psalms.
The key steps in worshiping God through Psalms are Meditate, Pray, and Sing.
Well, there you have it, Sparkles. The first chapter in Encountering God: A Study in Psalms. If you would like to get the book and follow along every week, then you can buy it on Amazon here. Thanks for reading, and Sparkles away!