Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. — Psalm 119:18
I’m gearing up for an overview study of Psalms, which will be the beginning of an in-depth study of several individual Psalms. Whenever I get ready to study a passage in depth, I always zoom out and start at the “bird’s-eye-view” first.
Typically, I’ll listen to sermons from teachers I trust (DesiringGod.org, The Village Church Resources, and Radical.net are my go-to’s.) and also purchase a few books and commentaries. Sometimes I’ll listen and read before I start any sort of study, just to prime the pump for the big-picture themes to look out for, but I try not to get too in-depth before I study for myself. I’ll also listen and read as I go, using the commentaries when I hit sticky passages that I’m not sure of their meaning.
When God opens your eyes you’re going to see things you never saw before, you’re going to hear things you never heard before, you’re going to know things you never knew before because God the Holy Spirit is going to teach you. — Adrian Rogers
What do I need to start studying the Psalms?
First off, start with prayer. Whether you have a Ph.D. or haven’t set foot in a seminary class, the most important action to take when we approach Scripture is to pray. Every time we open God’s Word, we ought to declare our need for the Spirit of God to open our eyes to the meaning, it’s implications to our lives, as well as our desperate need for grace.
Beyond the spiritual preparation, there is much we can do to arm ourselves with a few tools to help with the journey. Here are some resources I’m investing in (or already have) that you might be interested in as well.
Helpful guides for a study of the Psalms
- Reflections on the Psalms by C. S. Lewis
- ESV Journaling Psalter – I’ve pre-ordered this resource. It releases at the end of August 2017, but it would be a great piece to invest in, as a place to keep all your underlines, notes, and prayers through the Psalms.
- Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
- I also own Logos and WORDSearch by LifeWay, both of which have their own extensive libraries.
Helpful resources for praying the Psalms
Here are a few resources for praying through the Psalms.
- God’s Prayer Book: The Power and Pleasure of Praying the Psalms by Ben Patterson
- How to pray through the Psalms – blog post from Crossway
- How to pray the Psalms – a quick 6 minutes interview with Tim Keller on DesiringGod.org
- 10 Questions on Prayer with Tim Keller – DesiringGod.org
How do you prepare to study? Have any resources to add to the list?