Who Is the Author of the Psalms?
- Meg Bucher Writer and Author
- 2022 23 Feb
“Let all that I am praise the LORD. O LORD my God, how great you are! You are robed with honor and majesty.” - Psalm 104:1 NLT
The Psalms are a poetic book full of songs that sing praise to God in profound and prophetic ways. The Author of all Scripture is the Lord Himself, and we interpret and are able to apply it to our daily lives through the work of the Holy Spirit living in us as believers in Christ Jesus. The writers who received the word of the Lord fulfilled their purpose in life according to God’s will. He continually uses the stories of everyday people to reach into our everyday lives with compassion and understanding. The Psalms were widely recorded by King David, a boy whom God chose from the humble position of shepherd boy to reign Israel as King. The Lord called David a man after his own heart. What better person to communicate the cries of his heart through the book of Psalms, than the shepherd boy with a heart after God’s very own.
Who Authored the Psalms?
The NIV Study Bible lists the following writers to the Book of Psalms: David, Asaph, the Sons of Korah, Solomon, Heman, Ethan, Moses, and other unknown authors. “One hundred Psalms identify their author with an introduction,” Jeannie Myers explains, “Of these, 73 name David as the writer.” Solomon wrote Psalm 72 and Psalm 127, Ethan wrote Psalm 89, Heman wrote Psalm 88, Asaph wrote 12 Psalms, Moses wrote Psalm 90, and The Sons of Korah wrote 11 Psalms.
What Type of Genre Is the Book of Psalms in the Bible?
The Psalms were written to God’s people, then and now. They consist of hymns, laments, and thanksgiving psalms (NIV Study), and are poetic, descriptive, and melodious. They differ from some of the more historical documentation of the Old Testament, and even the recording of Jesus’ life in the New Testament, in that they paint a vivid picture and profound descriptor of emotions and feelings of the human heart.
The NIV Study Bible assigns the theme of the book as “God, the Great King, inspires the psalmists’ words of lament and praise that are appropriate responses to God.” The Psalms are relatable because we all feel the way the writers felt as the words dripped off onto parchment paper in ancient times. They reach in and touch our modern lives, which harbor the same emotions, thoughts, anxieties, and praises as the hearts of God’s ancient people. They looked forward to the Messiah …we embrace the power of His resurrection.
“The Book of Psalms is an amazing gift to the church,” Pastor John Piper explains, “The Psalms, more intentionally than any other book of the Bible, is designed to carry, express, and shape our emotions, to give vent to them- all of them, and to shape them, to reign them in, and to free them up, to explode them, and to kill them when they should be killed.”
How Should We Read the Psalms?
“Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. You rule with a scepter of justice.” - Psalm 45:6 NLT
The miraculous commonality of Scripture is Jesus Christ. He is present throughout the entirety of the Bible, including the Psalms. Daily as we seek Him in God’s Truth, the Spirit will faithfully reveal, teach, lead, connect and comfort us. “God has declared to the Son that He shall reign forever and that His kingdom shall be ruled with righteousness,” Ligonier Ministries explains.” James reminds us we are heirs of the kingdom! (James 2:5)
When we read the Psalms, we recite prayers from the depths of the human heart and reflect on the character of our almighty God. Many of the Psalms are actual songs and hymns we sing in worship on Sunday or sing along to in our commute to and from our careers or listen to as we wait in car pick-up lines. What we listen to matters. The soundtrack of our thoughts is important. In fact, it’s crucial in the battle we fight for our faith, daily.
The Psalms are an amazing way to pray. When we lack the words to form into prayers, we can look to the Psalms and simply replace the pronouns of the writers with our own names. For Scripture was written with us in mind, and given to us as a way to hear the Lord’s comfort, instruction, wisdom, and encouragement. Psalm 139, without changing a single word, can be prayed:
“O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I am far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!” (Psalm 139: 1-I 6 NLT)
The Message Paraphrase of the same verses reads:
“GOD, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. I’m an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking. You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight. You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence. I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there, too- your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful- I can’t take it all in!”
The incredible reality of Scripture is the way the LORD”s ancient words in the text of the Bible pop off the page into our everyday lives in a relevant, immediately applicable way. Through the power of the Holy Spirit gifted to us through Christ Jesus, we are able to cry out, sing out, and proclaim the same emotions to the LORD as King David, Moses, and the other writers of the Psalms poured out onto paper through divine inspirations.
The writers of the Psalms were divinely inspired by the ultimate Author and Authority, the One True God. He knows our hearts as He knew theirs. He sees our struggles, triumphs, pain, and joy. He is with us every step of the way, reaching out through His timeless Truth to comfort, instruct, encourage, enlighten, and guide us every step of the way home to Him in Heaven. Let the words of the Psalms resonate in our hearts as we pray, sing, and read them, today and always. Knowing, undoubtedly, the Lord God meets us there every single time. In every single phrase.
NIV Study Bible, Copyright © 1985, 1995, 2002, 2008, 2011 by Zondervan.
Photo credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Christiane Lois Dating
Meg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ. Join her on the journey as she launches her new site Joy Overflowing, or join her longstanding community at Sunny&80. She is also the author of “Friends with Everyone, Friendship within the Love of Christ,” “Surface, Unlocking the Gift of Sensitivity,” and “Glory Up, The Everyday Pursuit of Praise,” and “Home, Finding Our Identity in Christ.” She earned a Marketing/PR degree from Ashland University, but stepped out of the business world to stay home and raise her two daughters …which led her to pursue her writing passion. A contributing writer for Salem Media since 2016, Meg is now thrilled to be a part of the editorial team. Always active in her community and the local church, Meg also leads Bible study and serves as a leader for teen girls.
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These verses serve as a source of renewal for the mind and restoration for the heart by reinforcing the notion that, while human weakness is inevitable, God's strength is always available to uplift, guide, and empower us.
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