1 Min Read

You have to work hard to keep the poem alive.

As a preacher, it’s very helpful to see if the center of the psalm is the heart of its message. If it is, it often gives you a different angle on the psalm. We generally assume that a poem moves horizontally and that the end must be the most important part. In Hebrew poetry, however, the center is usually the most important part. Getting the structure right helps to get the meaning right, which is also hard for preachers because oftentimes we are not as literate as we should be.

In the Bible, structure is very significantly related to meaning. Where you miss the structure, you’re going to miss some of the meaning. This is not to say that the Psalms aren’t a great blessing if you don’t know all these things. The Psalms are always a blessing, even when read in the most cursory way. But if you’re going to preach them, you have an obligation to study them carefully, and that’s the place to start.

We always want to see how Christ is present in the psalm. Usually, He’s there as the spokesman. After all, David is the precursor of Christ in all sorts of ways, and he points us to Christ.

This transcript is from a live Ask Ligonier event with W. Robert Godfrey and has been lightly edited for readability. To ask Ligonier a biblical or theological question, email ask@ligonier.org or message us on Facebook or Twitter.