Digging Deep into the Bible

Learn the Psalms with Dr. Matt Ayars

About the Course

This course offers a literary, historical and theological analysis of the book of Psalms. Special emphasis is lent to reading the Psalms as a book and understanding how the various parts of the book and dominant and sub-dominant themes relate to one another.

What you Will Learn:

  1. Identify and explain the major and minor motifs of the book of Psalms as a whole.
  2. Identify the different Psalm types within the form criticism matrix.
  3. Correctly interpret the book of Psalms and individual psalms within the appropriate canonical, literary, historical, and theological context.
  4. Integrate the theology of the Psalms into the broader perspective of Christian orthodoxy as it particularly relates to ministry.
  5. Understand the book of Psalms as the Law of David which has eschatological messianic motifs as a book of instruction on prayer.

About Dr. Matt Ayars

Dr. Matt Ayars is the President of Wesley Biblical Seminary. Prior to serving at WBS, Dr. Ayars served as President of Emmaus University of Haiti. Dr. Ayars’ primary area of expertise is biblical Hebrew poetry in the Psalms. Other areas of expertise include biblical hermeneutics, the Psalms, Wesleyan Theology, the so-called “New Perspective of Paul,” and soteriology.

Aug. 20

Starts

Dec. 3

Finishes

$250

cost
Apply By

August 26

What This Course Will Cover

By the end of this course, you will have a deep and textured understanding of the Psalms. The following lesson overviews will allow you to dig deeper into the information you will learn.

Introduction to the Psalms--The Uniqueness of the Psalms

Description: This mini intro-lesson introduces the study of the book of Psalms via a treatment of the various ways that the Psalms are unique in comparison to all other parts of the canon of Scripture.

Primary Learning Outcome: The PLO of this lesson is that students will be able to understand and articulate the various ways in which the book of Psalms is unique including: (1) the unparalleled length of the book, (2) the variety of authorship, (3) point of view, (4) theological motifs, and (5) role of Psalms in the New Testament.

Lesson 1: Title, Terms, and Interpretation

Description: This lesson treats the various titles and terms used in the book of Psalms. These titles and terms establish the overarching framework interpreting the Psalms both as a book and its individual poems respectively. The orienting aim of this lesson, then, is to help students arrive at an understanding of the multi-dimensional, macro-hermeneutical framework for interpreting the Psalms; namely, that the book of Psalms is a book that orients our prayer and inspires our worship of God as King while awaiting the return of Jesus the Messiah.

Primary Learning Outcome: The PLO of this lesson is that students will understand and explain why the book of Psalms, while comprising a variety of genres, is ultimately understood and to be interpreted as a book that orients our prayer and inspires our worship of God as King while awaiting the return of Jesus the Messiah.

Lesson 2: Authors, Superscriptions, and Dates

Description: This lesson looks at the various authors of the psalms and the importance of authorship for intrepretation. Futhermore, gaining an awareness of authorship also informs the dates of composition.

Primary Learning Outcome: The PLO of lesson 2 is for students to be able to place the psalms in their historical setting.

Lesson 3: The Structure of the Psalter

Description: This lesson looks at the overall literary shape of the Psalter including the five “books” of psalms and the various collections making up the whole. This lesson also considers the impact of the literary shape of the psalter on the overarching theme of the book.

Primary Learning Outcome: The PLO of this lesson is for students to gain a graps of the various collections and sub-collections making up the Book of Psalms as a whole.

Lesson 4: Theological Themes

Description: This lesson looks at the various theological themes in the Book of Psalms and how they work together.

Primary Learning Outcome: The PLO of Lesson 4 is for students to understand and articulate how and why it is that the “Kingship of Yahweh” is the dominant theological theme of the Psalter.

Lesson 5: Hebrew Poetry

Description: This lesson orients students to Hebrew poetry and linguistic parallelism as the dominant characteristic of Hebrew poetry.

Primary Learning Outcome: The PLO of this lesson is for students to be able to identify and describe the workings of Hebrew poetry, namely, linguistic parallelism, with robust exegesis as the overall orienting aim.

Lesson 6: Psalm Types and Form Criticism

Description: This lesson treats the various types, or genres, of Psalms including: hymns, laments, songs of thanksgiving, songs of trust, divine kingship songs, and wisdom songs.

Primary Learning Outcome: The PLO of this lesson is for students to be able to identify and describe the various genres of the psalms in order to help facilitate more robust exegesis of the Psalms.

Lesson 7: Book 1 (Psalms 1-41)--The King's Laments

Description: This lesson looks in greater detail at Psalms 1–41 which comprise Book 1 of the Psalms with its literary shape, authors (primarily David), theological motifs (trust, praise, and lamentation), and contribution as one of the movements in the five-book structure of the Psalter as a whole.

Learning Outcomes: The Primary Learning Outcome of this lesson is for students to be able to identify, describe, and analyze the various movements and motifs in Book 1, particularly the cycle of: (1) Promise, (2) Cry for Help, (3) Deliverance, (4) Praise that marks this first part of the Davidic collection. Attention will also be lent to the sub-motif of moving closer to the Temple.

Lesson 8: Book 2 (Psalms 42–72)—The Book of David Continues

Description: This lesson looks in greater detail at Book 2 of the Psalms with its literary shape, authors (Sons of Korah, Asaph, and David) theological motifs (kingship, trust, lament, and praise), and contribution as one of the movements in the five-book structure of the Psalter as a whole.

Primary Learning Outcome: The PLO of this lesson is for students to be able to identify, describe, and analyze the various movements and motifs in Book 2.

Lesson 9: Book 3 (Psalms 73–89)—Asaph and the Sons of Korah

Description: This lesson looks in greater detail at Book 3 of the Psalms with its literary shape, authors, theological motifs, and contirbution as one of the movements in the five-book structure of the Psalter as a whole.

Primary Learning Outcome: The PLO of this lesson is for students to be able to identify, describe, and analyze the various movements and motifs in Book 3.

Lesson 10: Book 4 (Psalms 90–106)—Praise and Increased Anticipation

Description: This lesson looks in greater detail at Book 4 of the Psalms with its literary shape, authors, theological motifs, and contribution as one of the movements in the five-book structure of the Psalter as a whole.

Primary Learning Outcome: The PLO of this lesson is for students to be able to identify, describe, and analyze the various movements and motifs in Book 4.

Lesson 11: Book 5 (Psalms 107–150)—Thanksgiving and Praise

Description: This lesson looks in greater detail at Book 5 of the Psalms with its literary shape, authors, theological motifs, and contribution as one of the movements in the five-book structure of the Psalter as a whole. Particular attention is lent to the motifs of collective deliverance and collective praise.

Primary Learning Outcome: The PLO of this lesson is for students to be able to identify, describe, and analyze the various movements and motifs in Book 5.

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