Psalm 1 Term Paper
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Psalm 1 read in different translations.
The New International Version (NIV), The American Standard Version (ASV), The New Living Translation (NLT), The King James Version (KJV), The Contemporary English Version (CEV), The Message (MSG), and The Harper Collins Study Bible, New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).
I read the NIV the most often because I grew up reading the NIV and am comfortable with its language and cadence. I find that, of the Bibles I read, it is the one that feels the most familiar. I actually found reading MSG a little disconcerting; I do not know that it conveyed the feelings that the other translations conveyed. It actually made me think about the number of times the Bible has been interpreted and how connotation and denotation both impact the meaning of different passages.
To me, Psalm 1 is a reminder that sinners have no place in Lord's kingdom. It was also a reminder that the Lord will watch over those who are righteous. Furthermore, it serves as a caution to righteous people that they need to make efforts to remain righteous.
In the NIV, the author speaks in the third person, talking about "the one,"
(Psalm 1:1) "that person," and "the wicked,"
rather than cautioning a specific individual. The NIV also refers to God as "the Lord."
The ASV also approaches Psalm 1 in the third person. It talks about "the man," and "the wicked."
The ASV refers to God as "Jehovah."
The NLT takes the third person approach as well, but uses language that is more gender-inclusive and also less judgmental. The NLT speaks of "those," and "they," but it also specifically speaks of "the wicked."
It refers to God as "the LORD."
The KJV takes a similar approach, referring to "the man" and "sinners" and referring to God as the "LORD."
The KJV is also explicit that the wicked will "be condemned at the time of judgment."
The CEV translates Psalm 1 in a more active way. Instead of talking about how a person will be blessed, it opens with God in an active voice, "God blesses those people who refuse evil advice and won't follow sinners or join in sneering at God."
It also makes a claim that those who do not sin will "succeed in everything they do," which is a promise not extended in the other versions of the Psalm that were read. The MSG speaks in the second person, rather than the third person, speaking directly to "you."
It also takes the interesting position of assuming that the audience is righteous saying, "You're not at all like the wicked, who are mere windblown dust."
The NRSV is similar to the NLT.
While there are clearly differences in the way that the message is conveyed, based upon which Bible one is reading, the overall content remains the same; the righteous will live a good life and the wicked will face judgment.
2. The course textbook The Old Testament Story 8th ed. discusses the role that the Psalms play in the Bible, and speaks of them as poetic expressions of lament.
Poetry is an important component of the Psalms and the poetry in the Psalms is one of the ways that the author is appealing to the Lord.
Specifically, it discusses Psalm 1 as a wisdom psalm, with the goal of introducing the idea that the wicked are not going to be rewarded for their misdeeds, but, instead, will perish.
Psalms serve a specific purpose in worship. They are meant to secure God's help in times of trouble.
Moreover, they are concise, which makes them a ready source of appeal in those troubling times.
According to Arthur Weiser, wisdom literature "was especially concerned with educating people to live their daily lives usefully."
Furthermore, Weiser explains that Psalm 1 is not merely a wisdom psalm, but is also concerned with the idea of judgment. "The ideology of idea of judgment associated with the cult of the Covenant also forms the background of Psalm 1, so that we are justified in assuming that Wisdom literature and the tradition of the cult of Yahweh have mutually influenced each other."
According to the footnotes in the Harper Collins Study Bible, Psalm 1 plays an important role in the Psalter. "This psalm, together...
...The reality is that all people sin and the psalms are meant to help a person work through the moral struggles that accompany sin.
Therefore, this introductory passage highlights the fact that sinning will lead to one's exclusion from the Lord's kingdom.
3. Psalm 1 begins the psalms, therefore reading before Psalm 1 was not particularly helpful in explaining the context of the books. However, it is interesting that the psalms follow the book of Job. Throughout the psalms, and particularly in Psalm 1, the reader is exposed to the idea that the sinners will be punished. However, in Job, one sees a righteous man who is challenged, not because he was tempted to sin, but because he did not sin. The end result, of course, was that Job was eventually rewarded for his loyalty to God; not only was everything that he lost restored, but he was placed in a better position because of his faith. Therefore, it seems that the placement of the psalms after the book of Job is to serve as a reminder that one should always be righteous and always avoid sin, even when tempted. Reading after Psalm 1 is also beneficial. Not all of the psalms are traditional wisdom psalms. For example, Psalm 2 explains how David has come to be the ruler of the Nations.
This is an important introduction to what comes later in the psalms, and, to me, a true understanding of the passage involved reading all of the psalms. The Nations have to understand that David is speaking for God when he rules them. This is critical because the psalms go on to describe how the Nations have turned away from God. This has caused God tremendous grief and aggravation, but he does not give up on them, a message that David conveys to the people. Instead, God says that he will not condemn the entire group for the failings of some of the group; "Those who walk my paths will receive salvation from the Lord."
Looking back at Psalm 1 and how it introduces the book makes it clear that David's words are meant to be the carrot, because God has already provided the stick. He has made it clear that "Sinners won't have an excuse on the day of judgment, and they won't have a place with the people of God."
However, the psalms also discuss the idea of penitence, which makes Psalm 1 seem far less bleak. After all, if all men are born into sin and if sin is inevitable, then the idea that sinners would not have a place with God would exclude people from the Lord. David makes it clear to people that they can repent of their sins and turn away from wickedness, which will bring them under the shelter of the LORD.
4. Footnotes from The Harper Collins Study Bible (NRSV) state that Psalm 1 is "a psalm exalting God's instruction, or law, and the blessings of attending to it."
It is a wisdom psalm, in that it is telling the reader how to live. The basic message of the psalm is that those who avoid being wicked will be blessed, while those who are wicked are going to suffer because of it. The message is simple and uncomplicated.
5. List of keywords in Psalm 1.
There are a number of different words that show up in all of the versions of Psalm 1, though, because such varied translations were used, there is difference among the versions as well. Because The Message uses contemporary languages, few of its words are found in traditional Bible dictionaries. This section will focus on those keywords either found most frequently in all of the versions or words that seemed particularly meaningful in any single passage.
Blessed- From bless or blessing. A blessing is "the act of declaring, or wishing, favor or goodness upon others. The blessing is not only the good effect of words; it also has the power to bring them to pass. In the Bible, important persons blessed those with less power or influence. The patriarchs pronounced benefits upon their children, often near their own deaths (Gen. 49:1-28). Even if spoken by mistake, once a blessing was given it could not be taken back (Gen. 27:33)."
Wicked- "Evil, wrong, malicious."
Fruit- "food (Gen. 1:11), also symbolic for children (Ex.…
Sources Used in Documents:
Addis, W.E. "The Psalms." Peake's Commentary on the Bible. Ed. Arthur Peake. New York:
Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1920. 366-. Print.
ASV. The American Standard Version Bible. Online at Bible Gateway.com.
Blair, Edward. The Illustrated Bible Handbook. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1987.
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