Published on February 4, 2008
Themes from the Psalms : Themes from the Psalms Class #1 Quote: Quote His purpose is not that you will do more for Him but that you will choose to be more with Him. Bruce Wilkinson Outline of the Class: Introduction Types of Literature Translation of Poetry Parallelism Expressing Ourselves Religious Background (Mindset of the hearers) About the Psalms Themes Worship Inner Struggle Worthiness Shared Strength Protection Prophecy* Conclusions Outline of the Class These themes are my choice: find your own! Types of Literature in the Bible: Types of Literature in the Bible Which type do you learn the most from? History – give sense of purpose and plan Prophecy – give sense of future Teaching – show the will of God Parables Sermons Allegories Stories Use of imagery Poetry – expression of feelings Like opinion: it truly represents someone’s feelings How godly people respond to life and God How does this relate to inspiration? The Usefulness of the Poetic Form: The Usefulness of the Poetic Form This is how oral traditions were passed on to other generations Memory aids rhyme meter music imagery parallelism also aids in memorization gives different ways of looking at things Some people know the words to any song that they have ever heard! Translation of Language (1): Translation of Language (1) How do you translate idioms? We had hot dogs and Coke for lunch; fish and hush puppies for supper, and then sat around shooting the bull until midnight. Not a letter transformation or substitution Example: Snug as a bug in a rug. Geard Not a word transformation or substitution Translation of Language (2): Translation of Language (2) A Mighty Fortress is Our God -- Martin Luther, 1529 Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott, Ein gute Wehr und Waffen; Er hilft uns frei aus aller Not, Die uns jetzt hat betroffen. Der alt' böse Feind, Mit Ernst er's jetzt meint, Groß' Macht und viel List Sein' grausam' Rüstung ist, Auf Erd' ist nicht seingleichen. God Weapons Emergency concerned enemy means cunning is the same Not a letter transformation or substitution Not a word transformation or substitution God failing flood prevailing foe woe great hate equal Original German Frederick H. Budge computer translation doesn’t have to rhyme with anything Slight rhyming problem Translation of Poetry (1): Translation of Poetry (1) A Mighty Fortress is Our God -- Martin Luther, 1529 Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott, Ein gute Wehr und Waffen; Er hilft uns frei aus aller Not, Die uns jetzt hat betroffen. Der alt' böse Feind, Mit Ernst er's jetzt meint, Groß' Macht und viel List Sein' grausam' Rüstung ist, Auf Erd' ist nicht seingleichen. A mighty fortress is our God, A bulwark never failing; Our helper He amid the flood Of mortal ills prevailing; For still our ancient foe Doth seek to work us woe; His craft and pow'r are great, And armed with cruel hate, On earth is not His equal. A B A B C C D D X Original German Frederick H. Budge, 1852 pattern Translation of Poetry (2): Translation of Poetry (2) A Mighty Fortress is Our God -- Martin Luther A mighty Fortress is our God, A trusty Shield and Weapon; He helps us free from every need That hath us now o'ertaken. The old evil Foe Now means deadly woe; Deep guile and great might Are his dread arms in fight; On Earth is not his equal. A mighty fortress is our God, A sword and shield victorious; He breaks the cruel oppressor's rod And wins salvation glorious. The old evil foe, Sworn to work us woe, With dread craft and might He arms himself to fight. On Earth he has no equal. A B A B C C D D X Other Translation Other Translation sacrifice meaning for rhyme no attempt to rhyme Translation of Poetry: Variety: Translation of Poetry: Variety A Mighty Fortress is Our God -- Martin Luther God weapon need o'ertaken foe woe might fight equal God victorious rod glorious foe woe might fight equal A B A B C C D D X Gott Waffen Not betroffen Feind meint List ist seingleichen God failing flood prevailing foe woe great hate equal A poem, by definition, is a pithy form of expression that can never be accurately translated. Robert Frost Parallelism: Parallelism Bible poetry rarely relies on rhyme or meter, but often on parallelism. Parallelism: a balanced construction of a verse or sentence, where one part repeats the form or meaning of the other. This poetic form translates strongly without needed to paraphrase. The heavens tell God’s glory, The firmament shows his handiwork. Day to day utters speech, Night to night reveals knowledge. Psalm 19:1-2 First two lines: similar pair Next two lines: contrasting pair Types of Parallelism: Types of Parallelism Synonymous The second line repeats the first idea in different words Synthetic The second line adds to the thoughts of the first Antithetic The second line contrasts in theme with the first Climactic Successive lines build to a climax or summary Parallelism is not limited to pairs of lines Other Literary Devices: Other Literary Devices Switching between figurative and literal forms No formal parallelism, but lots of “echoes” Questions and answers Imagery Acrostic (first word, each letter of the alphabet) As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, "Where is your God?" Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. Psalm 42:1-3, 7 Imagine the craving! Expressing Ourselves (1): Expressing Ourselves (1) Have you ever written a poem? Have you ever written one to God? Life causes it to pour forth birth of a baby true love great loss Modesty forbids… Next week’s assignment: write one… How about just changing the standard: Roses are red, violets are blue… (but it doesn’t have to rhyme) Skunks stink, and so do you! (grammar school) Expressing Ourselves (2): Expressing Ourselves (2) It is one thing to just repeat what someone else has said and try to feel it in our hearts. It is quite something else to have the words pour forth from our heart, in our expression of our love and need for God. Be a voice, not an echo… Kahlil Gibran It is useful to have someone’s thoughts to guide us, but… True worship is worship from our heart, not just repetition by rote of someone else’s words. The Bible is seed material for our own expressions of worship (within proper bounds). That is why we should keep writing stories and songs, keep exploring, probing, and thinking. Who says that men don’t express their feelings? Expressing Ourselves (3): Expressing Ourselves (3) Sing your own Song!: Sing your own Song! Releasing your own personal song No one knows about your soul, really, but you and God Release of tension; something within that needs to find a way out Self-creed, a definition of self The encapsulation of personality What is the core of your being? Everyone needs to write a poem or song or create an image Death song (what the American Indians used to do) God’s infinite depth allows the variety of all our personalities The Psalms and Honest Worship (1): The Psalms and Honest Worship (1) Psalm 137 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!" (1-3) How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land? If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy. (4-6) The Psalms and Honest Worship (2): The Psalms and Honest Worship (2) Psalm 137 This shows brutally honest feelings poured out to God are OK Remember, O LORD, what the Edomites did on the day Jerusalem fell. "Tear it down," they cried, "tear it down to its foundations!" O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction, happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us – he who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks. (7-9) God would rather have true love than lip service (being “right”) The people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me! You may want to scream! The Psalms and Honest Worship (3): The Psalms and Honest Worship (3) From Psalms I have learned that I can rightfully bring to God whatever I feel about Him. Philip Yancey The Psalms and Inspiration: The Psalms and Inspiration Question: What is your favorite color? What if I judged your answer wrong? Your opinion is truth… The Psalms contain people’s feelings and opinions, But they contain inspiration as well! How does this relate to prophecy in the Psalms? The Psalms – with Music?: The Psalms – with Music? Psallo – a Greek word indicating songs sung to the accompaniment of stringed instruments What if we were told that we could only read the words of our songs, but not sing them? Bob Brinkmann: We can sing psalms such as Ps 98 (see vss 4ff) but we (speaking as a member of traditional Church of Christ) cannot do what they say. Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, with trumpets and the blast of the ram's horn-- shout for joy before the LORD, the King. Psalm 98:4-6 My heart is steadfast, O God; I will sing and make music with all my soul. Psalm 108:1 The Psalms – with Music (Legalism)?: The Psalms – with Music (Legalism)? Where do we draw the line on considering the Psalms as inspired and authoritative literature? Legalism drives us to exacting (and painful) detail. Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy. Psalm 33:1-3 How many strings does your lyre have?