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Exploring the Psalms
Psalms Home
Why Are They Unique?
How Should We Use Them?
The Power of the Paraphrase
Getting Started
More About Getting Started
Coupling With Prayer
Additional Help
Going Deeper
More Going Deeper
More Going Deeper II
Then What?
Psalms Categorized

 Exploring the Psalms (cont'd)

Getting started

Beginning to explore a paraphrase of the Psalms requires nothing more than a pencil, a piece of paper, your Bible, and some time. Experience as a writer is not required! The intent is not to produce elegant prose or poetry, but to let the Spirit direct your mind and heart as you seek to bring Godís truth into your understanding. You are not writing to impress anyone else Ė your only audience should be God, and He stands ready to welcome your attempts to touch His heart, not to criticize your literary efforts. 

Perhaps you are used to making notations in your Bible as you read and the idea of paraphrasing is a logical extension of what you are already doing. But you may also feel awkward at the prospect of creating a paraphrase for a Psalm. In that case, you might begin by just using the Psalms as a springboard to prayer for a period of time. Get a spiral-bound notebook and pencil and, for the Psalm at hand, jot down the truths you see that have any bearing on the needs you feel in your life, the tendencies toward sin you are struggling with, the aspects of Godís character that you feel you most need to trust in, the praise-thoughts that strike a response in your heart, etc. Pray these back to God, knowing that He is pleased to respond to your heart-cries. The idea is to begin to relate, even in small ways, the Spirit-breathed truths of the Psalm to your specific experience Ė the issues and struggles that are most significant to you today.

Let the Spirit direct
As you let the Spirit apply a psalm to your specific life circumstances, you will often find yourself writing out thoughts that clearly go beyond what the psalmist intended. Let it flow Ė let the Spirit direct your thoughts as He will!

Fewer verses, more gold
The goal is also not to cover a certain number of verses. Gold is found in flakes and nuggets, most of them small. Likewise, the Spiritís working in your heart will most often be centered on a few verses at a time. You may put them together as He reveals larger patterns that add new layers of truth, but it is a building process.

It is probably easiest to begin by paraphrasing just a verse or two that encompass one thought of the Psalmist. Over time, as you begin to get comfortable with the process of allowing the Spirit to make the connection between your life and the scriptural verities before you, you should naturally begin to expand your notes from individual verses to entire psalms, and in the process begin to unfold themes and truths that span the complete psalm.



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