Psalms and Proverbs are wells of refreshment and spiritual encouragement for Christians. Few biblical books include so many memorable passages or deliver such penetrating spiritual insight in just a few poetic lines.
But learning to properly read and interpret these books isn’t as straightforward as it seems. In fact, the beauty of their language and the familiarity of their content can lead us into any number of interpretive pitfalls: cherry-picking verses, interpreting out of context, or ignoring their place within the canon and the trajectory of redemptive history.
What’s more, a closer look at those familiar passages (“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death”; “Blessed is the man who does not walk with the wicked”; take your pick . . .) can yield far more powerful discoveries than a cursory glance could ever afford.
But to to truly uncover the riches these familiar books, we must do something more radical than simply spending more time with them, or reading yet another commentary passage.
We need to go back to the beginning. We need to learn again how to read them.