Don’t miss Adrienne Camp’s new Bible study, As For Me: Life Through the Lens of the Psalms.
I have an old-school letter board propped up in our kitchen. It has the chores listed for the week, as well as a little saying of some kind. One day I wrote, “Stay hungry,” as a tongue-in-cheek response to my growing kids, who seemingly always are. More importantly, I wanted the reminder to never stop hungering after the things of the Lord. Sometimes we become so familiar with His presence and His promises that we neglect to make Him an active part of our lives or to allow the Holy Spirit to shape who we are.
For me, the cultivating of a hungry heart happens through ongoing prayer, worship, and frequent Bible reading. When I have these rhythms in my life, I’m quicker to recognize God being before all things and holding all things together (see Col. 1:17). I’m more starved for His work in my life, more desperate for His voice, and long for His wisdom. I know I need His Spirit to purify mine and help me walk in His power and not in my flesh, and I’m convinced He will never run out of resources to pour into my heart and help me pay attention to deeper things.
We have a longing in our hearts for more. We are here because we want to grow. We read God’s Word and attend Bible studies because we recognize the need for something significant in our lives, and we desire a deeper walk with Jesus.
So, let’s approach today hungry and hopeful for the change that comes from delighting in the Word of God. To grow in your delighting and understanding of the book of Psalms, keep reading to learn more about the background of Psalms and the different genres of psalms in the book.
Background on the book of Psalms
David is mentioned in the titles of seventy-three psalms. Twelve psalms are ascribed to Asaph and eleven to “the sons of Korah.” Other named authors are Moses, Solomon, Heman, and Ethan. Fifty psalms are anonymous.
The oldest psalm, Psalm 90, is that of Moses (1400s BC). The largest group was composed during the Davidic era (1010–970 BC). The final compilation probably occurred during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah (458–430 BC). Psalm 137 may have been the last psalm composed.
The book of Psalms is part of a section of Old Testament books known as wisdom literature. Also included in this category are the books of Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs. Psalms is a collection of Hebrew poems and songs that focus on humanity’s relationship with God and were recorded so they could be preserved as a part of Israel’s worship practices. God, the true and glorious King, is worthy of all praise, thanksgiving, and confidence—whatever the occasion in personal or community life.1
Types of Psalms
The psalms are traditionally categorized based on their main idea or writing style. Traditionally, these categories include thanksgiving, wisdom, lament, royal, trust, praise, prophecy, pilgrimage, imprecatory, and temple hymns. Many psalms fit into more than one of these categories.
As you work your way through your Bible study, you’ll spend a week with each of the following types of psalms.
Thanksgiving psalms describe a situation of distress and how God delivered the psalmist. These psalms show us our need to acknowledge God’s work in our times of trouble and to witness to others what God has done for us.
Wisdom psalms probe life’s mysteries to teach the congregation about itself and God.
Royal & Prophetic
Royal, or kingship, psalms detail the role of the human king in God’s rule over His people. When these psalms are prophetic in nature, they point ahead to the Messiah, who would inaugurate God’s kingdom and rule forever.
Psalms of lament cry out for help in a situation of distress or frustration. Psalmists protested their innocence or confessed their sins. Such psalms show prayer as an honest communication with God in life’s worst situations.
Trust & Imprecatory
Psalms of trust are prayers or songs of praise that specifically highlight trust and confidence in the Lord for who He is and how He has worked among His people. Imprecatory psalms take trust in God a step further by calling on Him to carry out justice and bring judgment on one’s enemies.
Psalms of praise are hymns that lift the congregation’s praise to God, describing God’s greatness and majesty. In the hymn, worshipers invite one another to praise God and to provide reasons for such praise.2
1. CSB Study Bible (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 859.
2. Types of psalms list adapted from Holman Bible Dictionary (Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 1991), accessed from logos.com (WORDsearch Corp., 2008).
3. The Psalms Genre chart was adapted from the Holman Bible Dictionary [David M. Fleming, “Psalms, Book Of,” Holman Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: B&H, 1991)] and the Christian Resource Institute (https://www.crivoice.org/psalmtypes.html, accessed March 8, 2023). Many of the psalms fit into more than one category, with some of the most frequent overlap being among the lament, trust, and thanksgiving genres.
In this 7-session Bible study, author and singer Adrienne Camp invites you to join her on a journey through the book of Psalms. Gain a deeper understanding of who God is and be encouraged to hold on to Him no matter what is happening around you. Let the psalms become the prayers you carry with you into every moment of every day, so that you, too, can say with confidence, “As for me, I will worship and serve the Lord no matter what.”
Adrienne “Adie” Camp, a South African singer and songwriter, was the lead singer of the Christian rock band The Benjamin Gate before launching her solo career. She is married to fellow musician Jeremy Camp, whom she met on tour in 2002. They have been married since 2003 and have two daughters, Bella and Arie, and one son, Egan. Adrienne is deeply passionate about her marriage and her family. She homeschools her children as they often accompany Jeremy on tour.
She has authored three books—Even Me, an illustrated children’s book about her daughters’ adventurous trip to Uganda, In Unison, which she coauthored with her husband, Jeremy, about navigating their marriage and relationship, and As for Me: Life Through the Lens of the Psalms, a Bible study book with Lifeway Women. So far, she has traveled to twenty different countries and is motivated by a desire to see people encounter God’s love all around the world.