The Psalter â€“ (My approach in these posts)
When studying the psalms you will find a variety of study aids readily available to you (many of them on the internet). You will need to pick the resources you use according to what you are trying to accomplish. At the present time, I am using the psalms as a devotional tool and trying to examine at greater length the psalms presentation of God (the theology of the psalms) and my understanding of that presentation in a Christian context. I have found J. Clinton McCann, Jr.’s approach to the psalms most helpful, “that the psalms anticipate Jesus’ bold presentation of God’s claim upon the whole world and that Jesus embodied the psalter’s articulation of God’s will for justice, righteousness, and peace among all peoples and all nations.” I believe that this reasonably states many of my assumptions when I come to the psalms.
At times I will refer to different books in the psalms. The NRSV and NIV editors suggest that the doxologies in Psalms 41:13, 72:19, 89:52, and 106: 48 divide the Psalter into five books Psalms 1-41 as Book 1, Psalms 42-72 as Book 2, Psalms 73-89 as Book 3, Psalms 90-106 as Book 4, and Psalms 107-150 as Book 5. William G. Braude found in the Midrash Tehillim the following statement, “As Moses gave five books of laws to Israel, so David gave five books of Psalms to Israel.” This division of the psalms is one that I have worked with in seminary and one that seems to creep into these postings.