Most of us spend 12-16 years in school and never learn about wisdom—what a shame. Wisdom has been right in front of us all along. God wrote it for us and gave it to us in a book.
I think we should at least read it and try to understand it. But you already know that because you’re here, so I’ll just get to answering: what are the Psalms?
Table of Contents
What Are The Psalms?
Psalms is a book in the Bible that contains 150 individual songs. They are poetic compositions that express a full range of emotions from praise, worship, and thanksgiving to lament, supplication, and reflection.
The Psalms are mostly attributed to King David, but also include works by other authors. They express faith, sorrow, hope, and the search for God throughout the varied circumstances of life.
Synopses for Psalms 1 through 10:
Contrasts the way of the righteous, who delights in God’s law, with the way of the wicked, who are like chaff in the wind. [read more]
Speaks of the rebellion of nations, God’s establishment of His king, and the blessedness of taking refuge in Him. [read more]
A cry to God in the face of enemies—expressing trust in God’s protection and deliverance. [read more]
A call for God’s justice and an expression of confidence and peace in God’s care. [read more]
A morning prayer for guidance—contrasting the fate of the wicked with the protection of the righteous.
A plea for mercy in times of distress and sickness, and a declaration of God’s eventual acceptance of the prayer.
A lamentation seeking deliverance from persecutors—affirming trust in God’s righteousness.
Praise for God’s majestic name and the honor given to humanity—reflecting on God’s creation.
Thanksgiving for God’s justice and a prayer for continued help against enemies.
A question of why God seems distant in times of trouble and a call for God to arise and judge the wicked.
Synopses for Psalms 11 through 20:
Affirms faith in the Lord’s righteousness and His love for justice, despite the foundations being under attack.
A lament over the prevalence of deceitful people and a trust in God’s promise of protection for the oppressed.
A heartfelt plea for God’s attention and help—expressing both a sense of abandonment and steadfast trust.
Declares the foolishness of denying God and the corruption of humanity, yet ends with hope for salvation.
Describes the characteristics of those who may dwell with God—emphasizing integrity and righteousness.
Expresses a deep trust in the Lord as the psalmist’s chosen portion and the source of counsel and joy.
A prayer for vindication and protection from adversaries—affirming the psalmist’s commitment to righteousness.
A song of deliverance praising God as a fortress and savior—recounting His mighty acts of rescue.
Celebrates the revelation of God through creation and the law, and ends with a prayer for purity of heart.
A prayer for the king’s success in battle—expressing confidence in God’s anointing and support.
Synopses for Psalms 21 through 30:
A thanksgiving for the king’s victory and a prayer for his continued strength and longevity.
A poignant cry for help that foreshadows the suffering of Christ—ending with trust in God’s deliverance.
A beloved psalm expressing trust in God as a shepherd who provides, guides, and comforts.
Declares the Lord’s sovereignty over the earth and describes the qualities of those who may approach Him.
A plea for guidance, forgiveness, and protection, highlighting the psalmist’s trust in God’s goodness.
Asserts the psalmist’s integrity and love for God’s house—asking for vindication and blessing.
Expresses confidence in God’s protection and a desire to dwell in God’s house—seeking His face.
A request for God to hear the psalmist’s cries for help with thanksgiving for answered prayer.
A hymn of praise to the God of glory whose voice is powerful and majestic over creation.
A song for the dedication of the Temple—thanking God for healing and deliverance from enemies.
Synopses for Psalms 31 through 40:
A plea for deliverance from enemies—affirming trust in God’s protection and timing.
Joy in forgiveness is expressed, and the psalmist teaches the importance of confession and guidance.
Calls for righteous rejoicing in the Lord—praising His creative power and sovereign care.
A testimony of God’s deliverance—inviting others to experience God’s goodness and seek refuge in Him.
A request for God to contend with those who contend with the psalmist—asking for justice and rescue.
Reflects on the wickedness of man contrasted with the vastness of God’s love and righteousness.
Advises not to fret over the wicked but to trust in the Lord for He will deliver justice.
A lament of personal suffering and sin, seeking God’s mercy, and fearing His displeasure.
Contemplates the brevity of life—expressing a mixture of despair and hope in God’s discipline.
Thanks God for past help, expresses ongoing trust, and commits to doing God’s will.
Synopses for Psalms 41 through 50:
A prayer for healing and deliverance from betrayal—concluding with a doxology affirming God’s eternal kingship.
Expresses deep longing for God’s presence—likening it to a deer panting for water.
A plea for God’s light and truth to lead the psalmist back to God’s holy presence.
Recounts past divine victories, contrasts current suffering, and appeals for God’s aid.
A wedding song celebrating the king’s virtues and the bride’s beauty—symbolic of Christ and the Church.
Affirms God as a refuge and strength—unshakable even when the earth gives way.
Calls nations to praise God as the great King over all the earth who reigns with authority.
Praises Zion as the city of God—reflecting on God’s steadfast love and protection.
Warns against the folly of trusting in wealth and the certainty of death for all.
God summons the earth to judgment, and calls for genuine worship rather than mere ritual.
Synopses for Psalms 51 through 60:
A penitent plea for mercy and cleansing from sin—acknowledging God’s just judgment and seeking renewal.
Denounces the deceitful and boasts of God’s enduring love and justice.
Echoes the sentiment that fools deny God, and leads to widespread corruption and evildoing.
A prayer for deliverance from enemies, while trusting in God’s name for help.
A cry to God about betrayal and the desire for escape from such treachery.
Expresses trust in God when faced with constant attack and the treachery of foes.
Seeks refuge in God amidst trials—praising His glory above the heavens.
Calls for divine justice against the wicked and the vindication of the righteous.
A plea for protection from violent enemies with confidence in God’s strength and mercy.
Laments God’s apparent rejection in battle but ends with a prayer for restoration and aid.
Synopses for Psalms 61 through 70:
A prayer for protection—expressing a longing to dwell with God forever and trust in His enduring covenant.
Affirms God as the only source of salvation and refuge—warning against trusting in worldly power or wealth.
A passionate expression of thirst for God’s presence and praise for His love and kindness.
A plea for protection from secret enemies and trust in God’s justice to prevail.
A song of praise for God’s provision, blessings in nature, and His righteousness.
An invitation to witness God’s mighty works and a personal testimony of His answered prayers.
A prayer for God’s blessing and mercy—that His ways may be known on earth.
A celebration of God’s majesty and His care for the vulnerable while recounting His mighty deeds.
A cry for help in distress, suffering due to zeal for God, and a plea for God’s deliverance.
An urgent request for God to save and for the swift shaming of those who seek harm.
Synopses for Psalms 71 through 80:
A lifelong plea for God’s refuge and deliverance, with a commitment to continuous praise.
A royal prayer for the king’s righteous and just reign, and a vision for an ideal kingdom.
A personal struggle with the prosperity of the wicked—resolved by understanding their ultimate fate.
A lament over the desolation of the sanctuary—asking God to remember His people and covenant.
A declaration of God’s judgment—asserting that He is the judge who sets up and brings down.
Praises God’s renown and awe-inspiring deeds in Judah—His victory over earthly powers.
A troubled cry to God in times of distress—reflecting on His past deeds and wonders.
A historical psalm recounting Israel’s history, their rebellion, and God’s mercy and guidance.
A plea for help against invading nations, and seeking retribution for the defilement of the holy city.
A communal lament asking for God’s restoration—likening Israel to a vine brought out of Egypt.
Synopses for Psalms 81 through 90:
A call to celebration and obedience by reminding Israel of God’s provision and the importance of heeding His voice.
Calling for justice for the weak and fatherless.
A plea for God’s intervention against hostile nations conspiring against Israel.
The deep longing and joy of pilgrims yearning for the courts of the Lord.
A prayer for restoration and revival—reflecting on God’s past mercies and the hope for salvation.
A personal supplication for God’s mercy, guidance, and strength—praising His gracious nature.
Celebrates Zion as the city of God, the birthplace of His people, and the focus of His love.
A somber prayer of one who suffers greatly—feeling as if life is near to the grave.
Recounting God’s covenant with David—questioning why it seems forsaken despite God’s eternal promises.
A meditation on the eternal God and the brevity of human life—praying for wisdom and favor.
Synopses for Psalms 91 through 100:
Assurance of God’s protection for those who trust in Him while promising deliverance and refuge.
A song for the Sabbath day—praising God’s works and the just fate of the wicked versus the righteous.
Proclaims God’s majesty and eternal reign—His strength and holiness enduring beyond time.
A call for God’s vengeance against the wicked, and comfort in God’s law for the afflicted.
An invitation to worship and bow down before God, but warning not to harden hearts as in the past.
A call to sing a new song to the Lord—declaring His salvation and glory among the nations.
Celebrates the Lord’s reign, His justice, and the joy of the righteous in His righteous judgments.
A song of victory for God’s marvelous deeds and His just rule over the earth.
Exalts the Lord as King, holy and just, and responsive to the prayers of His people.
A joyful summons to all the earth to serve the Lord with gladness and enter His gates with thanksgiving.
Synopses for Psalms 101 through 110:
A commitment to lead a life of integrity and godliness—avoiding wickedness and injustice.
A plea of an afflicted person who is overwhelmed with sorrow—seeking God’s enduring mercy.
A call to bless the Lord for His mercies, forgiveness, and compassionate love.
A hymn to the Creator—celebrating His wisdom in the order and richness of creation.
A recounting of God’s faithful deeds and promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and His care for Israel.
A confession of Israel’s repeated rebellions despite God’s steadfast love and miraculous deliverance.
A thanksgiving to the Lord for His enduring love—recounting the redemption of people from various distresses.
A song of steadfast faith and a prayer for deliverance and victory over enemies.
A plea for justice against an accuser, with a trust in God’s help and vindication.
A royal psalm that speaks of the Messiah as both king and priest—prophesying His eternal priesthood.
Synopses for Psalms 111 through 120:
Praise for God’s great works and enduring righteousness—urging the faithful to study them.
Blessings for the one who fears the Lord and delights in His commands—contrasted with the fate of the wicked.
A call to praise God who is exalted yet stoops to care for the lowly and needy.
Recounts the miraculous power of God in leading Israel out of Egypt and through the Red Sea.
A contrast between the living God and lifeless idols, with trust in God’s blessing and care.
Gratitude for God’s deliverance from death and a vow to continue calling on Him.
The shortest psalm—calling all nations to praise the Lord for His steadfast love and faithfulness.
Thanksgiving for the Lord’s enduring mercy and the joy of salvation, with a procession to the temple.
An word puzzle, or acrostic meditation, on the beauty of God’s law, precepts, and commandments—their role in guiding life.
A cry for deliverance from deceitful tongues—reflecting the distress of living among hostile people.
Synopses for Psalms 121 through 130:
A song of trust—affirming that help comes from the Lord—the Maker of heaven and earth.
A joyful song about going to the house of the Lord and praying for the peace of Jerusalem.
A plea for mercy from the Lord, and looking to Him as a servant looks to their master.
A recognition of God’s past deliverance, stating that without the Lord, the people would have been overwhelmed.
A reassurance that those who trust in the Lord are secure like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved.
Reflects on past joys and times of being rescued by the Lord while praying for restoration and renewed joy.
Teaches that labor is in vain without the Lord’s blessing—emphasizing the value of children as a heritage from Him.
Blessings pronounced on those who fear the Lord and walk in His ways, including prosperity and family happiness.
A lament over the afflictions of Israel from enemies, yet they have not prevailed.
A cry from the depths for God’s mercy, with a hopeful waiting and trust in His redemption.
Synopses for Psalms 131 through 140:
A humble and contented trust in the Lord—like that of a weaned child with its mother.
A prayer recalling David’s devotion to finding a dwelling for the Ark and God’s promises to David’s lineage.
Celebrates the goodness and pleasantness of brethren dwelling together in unity.
An exhortation to bless the Lord, directed at the Levites, who stand by night in the house of God.
Praise for God’s greatness, sovereignty over creation, and His gracious acts toward Israel.
A thanksgiving psalm with a refrain celebrating God’s steadfast love that endures forever.
A lament of the Israelites in exile—yearning for Jerusalem and remembering their captors’ cruelty.
A thanksgiving for God’s faithfulness and answered prayers—asserting that God cares for the lowly.
A profound meditation on God’s omniscience and omnipresence, and a plea for guidance and purity.
A plea for deliverance from evil and violent men—trusting in the Lord as a protector.
Synopses for Psalms 141 through 150:
A prayer for the Lord to guard the speaker’s actions and keep them from wickedness.
A cry for help when the psalmist is overwhelmed and feels deserted—trusting God as a refuge.
A plea for mercy, guidance, and deliverance from enemies—desiring God’s spirit to lead to a land of uprightness.
A prayer for victory and blessing—praising God as the rock who trains hands for war.
An exhortation to trust in God, the creator and just ruler, rather than in mortal princes.
Praise for God’s care over Jerusalem, His power in nature, and His provision for the earth.
A call for all of creation, celestial, earthly, and all living things—to praise the Lord.
A song of joy for God’s people—celebrating God’s victory and the honor He bestows on His faithful.
A closing doxology (liturgical praise)—summoning everything that breathes to praise God with music and dance.
What are the purpose of the Psalms?
The Psalms are passages of worship, prayer, and instruction. They are full of praise, gratitude, and show us God’s character. We can use the Psalms for devotionals and wisdom.
Who wrote the Psalms?
The Psalms were written by several authors—many of them are unknown. We do know many of them: King David, Asaph the temple musician, the sons of Korah (singers), King Solomon, Moses, Heman the Ezrahite, Ethan the Ezrahite.
What are the 3 main points of the Psalms?
The 3 main points are awe and reverence for God’s power, human emotion from joy to sorrow, and wisdom through living a life that’s faithful to God.
Why do Christians read the Psalms?
Christians read the Psalms for spiritual enrichment, comfort, and guidance. The Psalms give us a model for how to express praise, thanksgiving, and sorrow. We also see reflections of Christ’s life and His teachings all over the Psalms.
Each psalm is a unique composition that fits into the larger work, which collectively expresses the breadth of human emotion and the depth of devotion to God.