This summer I'm spending my time in the Psalms. I'm calling it Summer in the Psalms! (Details below about how to join me).
The book of Psalms is an all-time favourite for many people. Beautifully written as a collections of songs for the nation of Israel, they were used in worship to God. The depth of emotion and praise found in the Psalms are timeless, applying to every person at every time in every circumstance. The variety of psalms give this book a unique place in the devotional life of the believer. We see all of life's experiences in the psalms including joy and sorrow and victory and failure.
Yet the Psalms cause us difficulties when we try to study them. The style of poetry is unfamiliar. Many images they use are foreign to us today. And the psalmists sometimes express thoughts that seem almost unthinkable to mention in Scripture.
Here are some tips for how you can engage with the Psalms:
1. Use the Same Bible Study Method for the Psalms
Although unique in form and content, the psalms are a part of Scripture, and therefore we should approach the text with the same Bible study methods and tools as we would with any other text. Here are 5 steps to use when studying Scripture (Study with S.T.O.R.Y.):
Simply Read: Read the passage multiple times to increase comprehension. Consider using a different translation or listening to an audio Bible. What are your initial observations? What questions do you have about the text – both questions of curiosity and questions for clarity?
Thoroughly Mark: Using coloured pens and symbols, mark key repeated words in the passage. You can do this either in your Bible or on a printed version of the text. Make a list of what you learn each time the key words are used. Then do a word study by looking up key words in the original language (blueletterbible.org).
Openly Explore: What does the rest of the Bible have to say about the key topics in your passage? Using an online concordance (biblehub.com), look up cross references for the key verses and note what you learn.
Re-write Text: Handwriting scripture is a beautiful way to slow down and dwell on the meaning of the passage. Copy the text word-for-word in your own handwriting. You may also want to check out my Bible Writing Plans for handwriting whole books of the Bible.
Your Story: Where did you catch a glimpse of God in the passage? Write down what you learn about His character and ways. Then discern how the Holy Spirit wants you to apply the truths from the passage to your life. What action steps will you take?
2. Pray the Psalms
The Psalms teach us how to pray. As we follow the example of the psalmists, we quickly learn that we can bring our desires, fears, temptations, struggles, confessions, praise and worship to God in prayer. No situation or emotion is off limits. We have a standing invitation to bring our whole selves to the God of the universe. And we would do well to do so, because nothing is hidden from His sight, including the depths of our hearts.
3. Immerse Yourself in the Psalms
Scripture is meant to be studied, meditated on, delighted in, and memorized. The same is true of the Psalms. Spending time in the Psalms increases our devotion to God. Slow down and really savour the text. Listen to an audio version of the Psalms. Read them aloud. Draw an image of how they make you feel. Choose a verse to memorize. As we immerse ourselves in the Psalms, they will dramatically shape how we relate to God.
4. Handwrite the Psalms
Handwriting Scripture is a simple yet highly beneficial practice, and it's especially fun with the Psalms. Copying the text of Scripture naturally forces us to slow down and think about what we are writing. Details we previously missed spring to life in vivid colour. We meditate on the words, imagine the scene and carefully consider the truths as we write. The slow pace of handwriting Scripture allows time and space for the Holy Spirit to connect truth to our daily lives. He guides and directions, convicts and challenges, encourages and exhorts, and we have the opportunity to apply biblical wisdom to our circumstance and respond in obedience. As we imprint God’s truth on the page, the Holy Spirit imprints His truth on our hearts, and we are able to respond in worship and prayer.
Will you study the Psalms with me this summer? (Details below)
We are studying the Psalms this summer using a resource called Summer in the Psalms.
Summer in the Psalms is a Scripture Writing Plan to guide you through handwriting 40 Psalms. Simply follow the writing plan (or you can choose 40 of your favourite psalms to write) and handwrite one psalm a day (5 psalms a week) during the months of July and August.
Summer in the Psalms goes from July 3 - August 25, 2023. If you want to join our community for Summer in the Psalms, simply DM me @scripture.and.story or email me at email@example.com and I will send you the info!