Old Testament


Psalms of Poetry – Discussion Questions

Interpretation Questions:

  1. How does it affect our reading of the psalms, or any biblical text, to read them as poetry?
  2. What are the major differences between the aesthetics of the psalm poetry and the conventions we expect of modern poetry? Are there any important similarities?
  3. How can the poetic structure of the psalms (e.g. parallelism, acrostics) help us to understand them differently?

Application Questions:

  1. The psalms do not claim to be divine revelation; they claim human authorship. Does this affect your relationship to the Book of Psalms? Why or why not?
  2. Is it important that the psalms be aesthetically pleasing? How are our own aesthetic sensibilities shaped by biblical poetry, and how do we import our own preferences into the biblical text?
  3. Do you find the instructive psalms more powerful (or useful), or do you prefer the emotive psalms like Psalm 23? Why or why not?
Yale Bible Study