8 Key Takeaways from the Psalms

Book of Psalms

The psalms represent a priceless treasure trove of resources for relating to God in all circumstances. They instruct us in how to live, and they teach us great truths about God the great King, his sovereign rule over all things, and his plan for reconciling the world to himself through his Son Jesus, the Christ. With all their beauty and spiritually uplifting messages, here are 8 key takeaways from the Psalms.

1. The book of Psalms engages almost all of the great themes of the Bible.

Beginning with Psalms 1 – 2, the Psalter lays out the theme of —
• The righteous versus the wicked and the importance of relying on God and his Word.
• God’s sovereignty and rule over all people and nations.
• The interplay between divine and human kingship.
• God as a place of refuge for all.

2. As human words to and about God, the Psalms instruct us in myriad ways about how to worship God.

They teach us how to sing, dance, rejoice, give thanks, confess sin, grieve, express anger, make requests of God, proclaim God’s name far and wide, and more.

3. The Psalms teach us that God has sovereign rule as the great King over all things.

God rules over creation itself and over all nations and people groups — down to each individual person. As the sovereign King, God asserts his control over the most powerful forces in nature. He proclaims his authority over all the false gods of the nations, gods that were such a temptation for his own people time and time again.

4. The Psalms celebrate that God is a good God.

God is holy, loving, merciful, protective of his people, faithful, a keeper of promises, a giver of good gifts. He protects the vulnerable in society — the widow, the fatherless, the outsider, and the poor — and expects his representatives on earth to carry out this mission.

5. The Psalms praise God for being a just God.

The Lord vindicates his people, punishes evil, and cares for the marginalized. He opposes the wicked, whether individuals (e.g., Psalms 1:4 – 6) or nations (e.g., Psalm 2), and will mete out justice for their wickedness.

6. The Psalms declare God is a great and powerful God.

The Creator and Sustainer of all things, he is mightier than any god humans can conjure up and more powerful than all the nations and armies of the world.

7. The Psalms reveal God’s plan for the nations that the people of Israel be a testimony to them, causing them to turn to Him.

It is an inclusive vision that shows God’s desire for all peoples to know him.

8. The Psalms are fulfilled in the life and ministry of Jesus.

Jesus was the ultimate example of the righteous person in Psalm 1 and of God’s anointed son, the King Messiah, in Psalms 2. Jesus also experienced most of the same travails that David and other psalmists did, so their laments and prayers anticipated his own (e.g., Psalms 16; 22; 69).

The book of Psalms has been the hymnbook and prayer book for countless generations of Jews and Christians over the centuries. It contains the entire range of human emotion, from the highest points of joy and thanksgiving to the lowest points of depression and loss and everything in between. They instruct the faithful in the best ways to praise and thank God and they model legitimate ways to grieve and to address God boldly and directly in the midst of pain and sorrow. The psalms are transparent, passionate, emotive, personal, and genuine – and they provide believers with language with which to express our own deepest emotions and passions.

Article written from content in the Introduction to Psalms in the NIV Biblical Theology Bible.


NIV Biblical Theology Study Bible

Previously published as the NIV Zondervan Study Bible, the NIV Biblical Theology Study Bible has been renamed to reflect what this Bible does best—trace God’s redemptive plan as it unfolds throughout Scripture. The new edition also features a much-improved reading experience with the NIV Comfort Print typeface. Learn More

Back to the NIV Main Blog Page

Receive New Articles by Email