The language of the Psalms is a universal language, one that people of all nations can understand.
In The Spirit of the Old Testament, Sidney B. Sperry wrote: "The Book of Psalms is the greatest book of devotional literature in existence. It is a sounding board of the heart and soul of the Hebrew people. In fact, it reflects the soul experiences of the whole race of mankind."In the days of the early Church the Psalms were on the tongues of all Christians and Jews. Of the scriptures they were the best known and most used and it is said that many Christians knew the Book of Psalms by heart."
According to Sperry, the Psalms have had an enormous influence on literature in lands all around the world. The Psalms have also been much used in hymns because they are relatively easy to set to music.
"It ought to be especially noted," Sperry wrote, "that the Book of Psalms was quoted and used more by the Savior than any other Old Testament Scripture. His love of it must have been greatly responsible for the use made of the Psalms by the New Testament writers other than the authors of the Gospels. In the later Christian Church the same great use of this Book continued."
The Psalms are a collection of some of the oldest poems in the world, according to the Old Testament student manual, composed long before those in which ancient Greece and Rome gloried.
The Hebrew poets "were men inspired of God, holy in their lives, pure in their hearts, labouring for the good of mankind; proclaiming by their incomparable compositions the infinite perfections, attributes, and unity of the Divine nature; laying down and illustrating the purest rules of the most refined morality, and the most exalted piety. God, His attributes, His works, and the religion which He has given to man, were the grand subjects of their Divinely inspired muse. By their wonderful art, they not only embellished the history of their own people, because connected intimately with the history of God's providence, but they also, by the light of the Spirit of God that was within them, foretold future events of the most unlikely occurrence . . . ."
Articles on this page may be used in conjunction with the Gospel Doctrine course of study.
Information compiled by Kellene Ricks.
Sources: The Church Educational System's Old Testament student manual; The Promised Messiah, by Bruce R. McConkie; Unlocking the Old Testament, by Victor L. Ludlow; and The Spirit of the Old Testament, by Sidney B. Sperry.