What Is a Psalm? 3 The book of Psalms is just one of sixty-six books of the Holy Bible. The psalms are part of the Old Testament of the Bible. The book of Psalms is divided into five sections, each closing with a benediction, a kind of prayer. The word psalm comes from a Greek word meaning “instrumental music” and spe- cifically relates to the words accompanying the music. So, the book of Psalms is a collection of 150 individual lyrics to old Hebrew songs. Many of the psalms were thought to be written by the Hebrew king David, but we cannot know that for sure. What we can know is that whoever the authors were, each was empowered by God to write these words. But what are psalms? Psalms are poems. Unlike other parts of the Bible, they don’t preach or tell a story or prophesy. They use figurative language to either praise God, thank God or express deep emotion. Psalms are also songs. The Hebrew title of the book of Psalms is Tehillim, which means “songs of praise,” and many of the psalms note that they are for the “Director of Music.” And why are the psalms important? Psalms are tools of worship and praise. The writers of the psalms used them to express their emotions about their circumstances, to praise God and to thank God for his wonderful gifts. The psalms are another way for us to interact with the God of our hearts through the power of his Word.