The Psalms possess an enduring fascination for us. For frankness, directness, intensity and intimacy, they are unrivaled in all of Scripture. Somehow the psalmists seem to have anticipated all our awe, desires and frustrations. No wonder Christians have used the Psalms in worship from the earliest times to the present.
Yet the Psalms cause us difficulties when we look at them closely. Their poetry is unfamiliar in form. Many images they use are foreign to us today. And the psalmists sometimes express thoughts that seem unworthy of Scripture.
Tremper Longman gives us the kind of help we need to overcome the distance between the psalmists' world and ours. He explains the various kinds of psalms, the way they were used in Hebrew worship and their relationship to the rest of the Old Testament. Then he looks at how Christians can appropriate their message and insights today. Turning to the art of Old Testament poetry, he explains the use of parallelism and imagery.
Step-by-step suggestions for interpretating the psalms on our own are followed by exercises for further study and reflection. Also included is a helpful guide to commentaries on the Psalms.
Introduction: An Invitation to the Psalms
Part I: The Psalms Then and Now
1. The Genres of the Psalms
2. The Origin, Development and Use of the Psalms
3. The Psalms: The Heart of the Old Testament
4. A Christian Reading of the Psalms
5. The Psalms: Mirror of the Soul
Part II: The Art of the Psalms
6. Old Testament Poetry
7. Understanding Parallelism
8. Imagery in the Psalms
Part III: A Melody of Psalms
9. Psalm 98: Let All the Earth Praise God, Our Warrior
10. Psalm 69: Lord, I Suffer for Your Sake
11. Psalm 30: Thank You, Lord, for Healing Me!
Answers to the Exercises
Guide to Commentaries