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Reading the Psalms

During this course, we will examine four types of psalms, showing how to utilize varying types of psalms for their fullest effect.


In this course, Dr. Knut Heim seeks to excite and motivate students to learn more about the Psalms in ways that will transform their lives. He will examine four very different psalms, showing students how to read varying types of psalms for all they are worth.

The course was developed in collaboration with Denver Seminary faculty.

  • Explain why it is worthwhile for Christians to study the Psalms.
  • Identify several literary devices and explain how they contribute to a psalm’s meaning.
  • Look for new and imaginative ways to read the Psalms.
  • Describe modern applications for four specific psalms: Psalm 23, Psalm 103, Psalm 72, and Psalm 137.
  • Very practical

    — Esosa, United States (US)
  • From the videos, one can see the lecturer's passion for reading the psalms imaginatively and responsibly, and how he tries to inspire you with this passion. I also appreciate his new angles of looking at the very familiar Psalm 23 and the very difficult Psalm 137. It heightens my appreciation of the scenario of the metaphor or helps me resolve an interpretative difficulty. Compared to other lectures of the Psalms which may tell you general background like the five divisions or the authors to help you know the psalms, this course plunges you into a few psalms to help you love the psalms. Definitely to be recommended for the lover of Scripture.

    — Weng Yuen, Singapore
  • This course on the Book of Psalms is inspiring.

    — Samuel, Nigeria
  • Although only 4 Psalms were briefly dealt with, a huge window has been opened for me through which new light is shining. I will definitely make the reading of these beautiful poems so much more exciting and may I say challenging.

    — Johann, United States (US)
  • Loved it!! Dr. Heim's explanation of the various types of Psalms was excellent. I especially liked learning how the modern interpretation of the language used can change the way we look at the poet himself, the circumstances in which he is writing, and how we should view the message the Psalm gives us.

    — Theresa, United States (US)
  • The course was insightful and in depth. Truly enjoyed the course in it's entirety.

    — Darlene, United States (US)
  • Dr Heim's lectures bring out the poetry, the beauty, and the deeper meanings in the Psalms. He discusses, as well as, stimulates a desire to read and appreciate all the Psalms.

    — Bobbi, United States (US)
  • What was taught is of incredible importance and value to our understanding of the Psalms. At various times through these lessons, Dr. Heim would say we don't have time for this or that, so I felt rushed. This interfered sometimes with my study of the lessons.

    — Cheryl, United States (US)
  • Helped my understanding of the Psalms.

    — Russell, United States (US)
  • Gave me a better understanding of where Psalms came from and how to interpret poetry.

    — Lisa, Virgin Islands (US)
  • Enjoyed the studies

    — George, United States (US)
  • Great understanding of difficult psalms. Helpful in hope and encourages.

    — Michelle, United States (US)
  • The course has been very informative and helpful in my understanding of the book of Psalms. It has also provided me with a good framework as well as guidelines as I read and interpret the psalms.

    — Mizuho, Japan
  • While I enjoyed looking closely at all of the included Psalms, I particularly appreciated the inclusion of Psalm 137 at the end.

    — Larissa, United States (US)
  • Very good

    — Manaini, New Zealand
  • Each course was the right length in time. Great speaker!

    — Dayton, United States (US)
  • I learned many things about how personification is used in the Psalms. Knowing this helped me to better understand the true message that was coming forth in this scripture and how I could apply what I learned to my life today.

    — Pamela, United States (US)
  • Keep up the fantastic work! :-)

    — Walter, United States (US)
  • The lectures were interesting, educational and can be applied to life today. I learned many facts about the psalms and their authors that I wasn't aware of.

    — Penny, United States (US)
  • Boring and irrelevant. It was just the instructor's opinion, I would have liked ideas on how to interpret/study the Psalms myself, not have it told to me.

    — Jo ann, United States (US)
  • Great course with excellent insights.

    — NIBU, United Kingdom (UK)
  • An excellent course!

    — Russell, Canada
  • Praise God for wonderful preachers who love the Word of God and love to teach it to others, such as this lecturer.

    — Pamela, United States (US)
  • Dr Heim did an excellent job in engaging me as a student and building excitement for the topic of the Psalms. He demonstrated fresh ideas and comments on the Psalms. I particularly appreciated the new insight of the compound noun describing the “Valley of the Shadow of Death” more accurately as “Deep Darkness”. The emphasis on Poetic Metaphors and Parellisms gave me newer appreciation and insights on analyzing the Psalms.

    — Donna, Canada
  • The course helped me to learn how to better study the Psalms. I enjoyed it. This has inspired me to study the Psalms more when I read them.

    — Evon, United States (US)
  • Good course. I wish that more pslams could be covered because they form an essentila part of the Christian faith.

    — Peter, United States (US)
  • intelligent and informative

    — Craig, United States (US)
  • It was edifying. The lesson adds perspective on the psalter to me.

    — Solus, United States (US)
  • In the first lesson Dr. Heim gives the following: from the Roman Catholic Spanish theologian Luis Alonso Schokel, “What has been written with imagination, must be read with imagination.” And by the way, if you forget everything else from this lecture on the introduction to the Psalms and remember only this sentence, you remember the most important thing I want to share with you: “What has been written with imagination, must be read with imagination.” I do not believe that any of the psalmist or others used to gives us the Old and New Testament scriptures wrote with imagination. I believe they were written as God wanted them to be written. Second Timothy 3:16 tells us, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." All scripture was given by inspiration not by imagination. Therefore, scripture is not understood by our imagination, but through the inspiration of God. In Second Peter 1:21 we are told, "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." The Word of God did not come by the will or imagination of man, but they wrote or spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost not by their imagination. Scripture was not written through imagination. It was written through the inspiration of God.

    — Horace, United States (US)
  • Going to view Psalms with a new eye due to this course.

    — David, United States (US)
  • Dr. Heim was very clear and concise, and I appreciated his ability to proclaim the truth. An excellent teacher! I really enjoyed this session on the psalms!

    — Jeurgen, United States (US)
  • The course helped me to understand the Psalms better so I can go forward and read them now.

    — Patti, United States (US)
  • I enjoyed it as it was helpful while being brief. I think that there's plenty of room for more study but this was a good introduction to [the Psalms].

    — Steve, United States (US)
  • I am extremely grateful for this brief introduction to reading the Psalms. My enthusiasm has been fired up to spend regular time applying what I have learned so far, and to further study the Psalms to add to my understanding and appreciation of the Psalms, and apply the lessons learned to my life.

    — Stephen, United States (US)
  • Good course

    — Ian, United States (US)
  • I am beyond satisfied and have learned so much from this.

    — Lauren, United States (US)

Course Content

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Basic Level
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Course Details

  • 5 Lessons
  • 16 Activities
  • 6 Assessments
  • 12 Min Average
  • 2 Hrs Minimum
  • 0.87 CEUs
  • Course Award

Course Resources

Videos Audios Transcripts Discussion Questions

Knut Heim, PhD