5 Reasons to Read the Psalms

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When I began reading The Confessions, St Augustine’s gripping and spiritual autobiography, one thing that stood out to me was his incessant reference (directly and indirectly) to the Psalms. At that time, I already had an appreciation for them. But after reading Augustine, that appreciation reached a high–and it has never sense descended. So, please let me take a minute of your time, and share with you 5 reasons why I think you should read the Psalms regularly.

The Psalms are memorable

When you read the Psalms, you’ll quickly find that you can recall what you read, because they’re written in such a (poetic) way that the verses and thoughts are memorable. Just think of some you probably already know:

  • “The Lord is my Shepherd.” (Psalm 23:1)
  • “The Lord is my light and my salvation; who shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)
  • “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” (Psalm 107:1)
  • “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14)

Incidentally, these are also wonderful verses to commit to memory if you haven’t already. (You can read about Scripture memorization here and here.)

The Psalms are personal

One thing that stands out in the Psalms, as opposed to the majority of the Old Testament, is the predominant use of the personal pronoun I. The psalmists are, like other authors, telling stories, but they are very personal stories. So, we read about sin (51), confession (32:5; 38:18), depression (42-43), and celebration (148), but not in the typically objective, record-keeping sense. It’s personal: intensely personal. And since the Psalms are personal, we can relate to them…which is the next reason.

The Psalms are relatable

Because they’re personal, we can personally relate to them. We may not be able, for example, to identify with David as a King of Israel, but we certainly can relate to his prayer life, which sometimes struggled (22:2; 88:1-2) and other times bloomed (3:4); we can relate to the psalmists excitement over worship (84:1-2; 150); we can relate to their brotherhood (122; 133); we can relate to their desire to sing God’s praise (150).

The Psalms are instructional

Finally, the Psalms are instructional. Although not a theology book, Psalms teaches us a lot about God, about life, about time, about worship, and about many other important topics. Leaving them unread is to leave great material unlearned.

I hope that these 5 reasons are enough to motivate you to read the Psalms–and read them regularly. I know from personal experience that reading them is a means to great blessing and richness.

Blessings,
Joe

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