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1 The PSALMS

2 Bible Society Trinity Business Centre Stonehill Green, Westlea Swindon SN5 7DG biblesociety.org.uk First published 2015 by The British and Foreign Bible Society Copyright 2017 The British and Foreign Bible Society(BFBS) Map produced for BFBS by Hardlines 1997, Revised by BFBS 2017 Additional material 2017 BFBS Good News Translation (Today s English Version, Second Edition) 1992 American Bible Society. All rights reserved. Anglicisation The British and Foreign Bible Society 1976, 1994, 2004 The copyright for the derivative work of Anglicisation pertains only to the text within the Good News Translation (GNT) that British and Foreign Bible Society adapted for British literary usage, consistent with Section 103(b) of the United States Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 103(b). Bible text from the Good News Translation (GNT) is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by American Bible Society, 101 North Independence Mall East, Floor 8, Philadelphia, PA ( All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The Psalms ISBN: Typesetting and production management by Bible Society Resources Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The British and Foreign Bible Society Cover design by Colin Hall BSRL/2017/1M Printed in Great Britain

3 Contents Welcome to the Good News Bible 4 Introduction 9 Book One Psalms Book Two Psalms Book Three Psalms Book Four Psalms Book Five Psalms Word list 270

4 Welcome to the Good News Bible Welcome to this dyslexia-friendly edition of the Psalms, using text from the Good News Bible. If you are dyslexic, you may find most Bibles very difficult to read, because of their small type, long paragraphs and thin paper. This book has been specially designed with the British Dyslexia Association s style guide in mind, so it has the following features: Thicker paper, so that type does not show through Cream-coloured paper Matt paper Plain font Larger type Wider line spacing Short paragraphs Bold headings The Good News Bible is a clear, easy-to read translation of the Bible. It uses ordinary, everyday language so that as many people as possible can read and understand it. This has made it a very popular translation, selling over 150 million copies in the UK alone. 4

5 Welcome to the Good News Bible About the Bible The Bible isn t one book but a collection of books, one of them being the Psalms. These books were written at different times by different people. They include many types of writing, such as history, poetry, stories, laws, letters, visions, songs and prayers. The Bible has two main sections, known as the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament contains the story of God s relationship with the Israelites, over hundreds of years. It was written mainly in the Hebrew language, with some parts in a language called Aramaic. The New Testament continues the story. It tells us about Jesus Christ and how his first followers began to spread the Christian message across the world. It was written in Greek, a language spoken through most of the Roman empire. Even the newest parts of the Bible are about 2,000 years old, and many parts are much older. This means that everyone who reads it today will find some parts of it hard to understand. It might be helpful if you try to imagine what life was like for the people who first read it. Then think about what the words might mean for us today. If you focus on the parts you do understand, not the parts you find difficult, there will always be something interesting to learn. 5

6 Welcome to the Good News Bible Finding your way around the Psalms The Psalms can be found roughly in the middle of the Old Testament, along with other poetic books such as Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs. The Psalms have been used in Jewish and Christian worship for over 2,500 years. If the Old Testament is new to you, this book is a good place to start, because many of the Psalms are short and easy to read. If you re reading the Psalms on your own, you could read the whole book from beginning to end, or you could dip into some of the most popular parts. Try Psalms 1, 23, 37, 40, 46, 84, 103, 117, 121 and 139 first. However, if you are in church or at a study group, someone might ask you to look up the reference for a verse or short passage. References are always given in this order book title, chapter title and verse number. For example, Psalm 23.1 means the 23rd chapter of Psalms, and the first verse of that chapter. In this book, the chapter numbers are in very large type on a separate line. The verse numbers are the very small numbers that you can see as you read the story. You can also follow the chapter and verse numbers through the book by looking at the reference at the top of each page. 6

7 Welcome to the Good News Bible Enjoy reading! It is all too easy to assume that we know exactly what a Bible story says, especially if it s a famous one or we have heard it many times before. If this book helps you to read the Psalms for yourself more easily, you might find that you understand them in a new way. Don t be afraid to ask questions about what you are reading. What excites you? What confuses you? Which are your favourite passages either whole psalms or single verses? Write notes for yourself, or draw pictures, or memorise the words so that you can think further about them later. Why not get together with other people to read the Psalms? We all bring our own experiences and thoughts to the Bible, so it can be helpful to talk about it together and find out how other people understand it. If you ve enjoyed this book, the Gospel of John, the Gospel of Mark, and Paul s letter to the Romans are also available in a dyslexia-friendly version. Go to our website, biblesociety.org.uk, to find out more. 7

8 Welcome to the Good News Bible Jerusalem in Old Testament Times The Book of Nehemiah tells of the rebuilding of Jerusalem (Neh ) N Tower of Hananel Solomon s Wall East wall of Nehemiah s City THE TEMPLE THE ALTAR UPPER CITY NEW CITY Manasseh s Wall Lower Pool CENTRAL VALLEY Wall of Zion Gate OPHEL CITY OF DAVID THE PALACE Solomon s Wall Old Ditch KIDRON VALLEY Manasseh s Wall Water Tunnel Spring of Gihon Upper Pool HINNOM VALLEY Hezekiah s Tunnel Steps from David s City Gate Old Pool Spring of Enrogel metres yards 8

9 THE PSALMS The offering of praise What s it about? The book of Psalms is a collection of songs to God praise, adoration and worship, together with desperate cries for help and joyful shouts of thanks. Who wrote it? King David is credited with writing around half of the songs in Psalms, while a collection of lesserknown writers composed the rest. One is said to have been written by Moses. Why read it? The poetry of the Psalms is beautiful and inspiring. However, the honesty of the emotions and language is surprising. In the Psalms, we see a relationship with God in all its fullness. What s it to me? When you want to talk to God and you don t know what to say, there is a psalm that will help you out. Sometimes we think we can t be angry or upset with God, but David and the other psalmists demonstrate that we can say what we need to, and God will answer. 9

10 Psalms Book One Psalms 1 41 Psalm 1 True Happiness 1 Happy are those who reject the advice of evil people, who do not follow the example of sinners or join those who have no use for God. 2 Instead, they find joy in obeying the Law of the LORD, and they study it day and night. 3 They are like trees that grow beside a stream, that bear fruit at the right time, and whose leaves do not dry up. They succeed in everything they do. 4 But evil people are not like this at all; they are like straw that the wind blows away. 5 Sinners will be condemned by God and kept apart from God's own people. 6 The righteous are guided and protected by the LORD, but the evil are on the way to their doom. Psalm 2 God's Chosen King 1 Why do the nations plan rebellion? Why do people make their useless plots? 10

11 Psalms Their kings revolt, their rulers plot together against the LORD and against the king he chose. 3 Let us free ourselves from their rule, they say; let us throw off their control. 4 From his throne in heaven the Lord laughs and mocks their feeble plans. 5 Then he warns them in anger and terrifies them with his fury. 6 On Zion, a my sacred hill, he says, I have installed my king. 7 I will announce, says the king, what the LORD has declared. He said to me: You are my son; today I have become your father. 8 Ask, and I will give you all the nations; the whole earth will be yours. 9 You will break them with an iron rod; you will shatter them in pieces like a clay pot. 10 Now listen to this warning, you kings; learn this lesson, you rulers of the world: 11 Serve the LORD with fear; 12 tremble and bow down to him; b or else his anger will be quickly aroused, a Zion: See Zion in Word List. b Probable text tremble him; some other possible texts with trembling kiss his feet and with trembling kiss the Son and tremble and kiss the mighty one; Hebrew unclear. 11

12 Psalms and you will suddenly die. Happy are all who go to him for protection. Psalm 3 Morning Prayer for Help c 1 I have so many enemies, LORD, so many who turn against me! 2 They talk about me and say, God will not help him. 3 But you, O LORD, are always my shield from danger; you give me victory and restore my courage. 4 I call to the LORD for help, and from his sacred hill d he answers me. 5 I lie down and sleep, and all night long the LORD protects me. 6 I am not afraid of the thousands of enemies who surround me on every side. 7 Come, LORD! Save me, my God! You punish all my enemies and leave them powerless to harm me. c hebrew title: A psalm by David, after he ran away from his son Absalom. d sacred hill: See

13 Psalms Victory comes from the LORD may he bless his people. Psalm 4 Evening Prayer for Help e 1 Answer me when I pray, O God, my defender! When I was in trouble, you helped me. Be kind to me now and hear my prayer. 2 How long will you people insult me? How long will you love what is worthless and go after what is false? 3 Remember that the LORD has chosen the righteous for his own, and he hears me when I call to him. 4 Tremble with fear and stop sinning; think deeply about this, when you lie in silence on your beds. 5 Offer the right sacrifices to the LORD, and put your trust in him. 6 There are many who pray: Give us more blessings, O LORD. Look on us with kindness! e hebrew title: A psalm by David. 13

14 Psalms But the joy that you have given me is more than they will ever have with all their corn and wine. 8 When I lie down, I go to sleep in peace; you alone, O LORD, keep me perfectly safe. Psalm 5 A Prayer for Protection f 1 Listen to my words, O LORD, and hear my sighs. 2 Listen to my cry for help, my God and king! I pray to you, O LORD; 3 you hear my voice in the morning; at sunrise I offer my prayer g and wait for your answer. 4 You are not a God who is pleased with wrongdoing; you allow no evil in your presence. 5 You cannot stand the sight of the proud; you hate all wicked people. 6 You destroy all liars and despise violent, deceitful people. f hebrew title: A psalm by David. g prayer; or sacrifice. 14

15 Psalms But because of your great love I can come into your house; I can worship in your holy Temple and bow down to you in reverence. 8 LORD, I have so many enemies! Lead me to do your will; make your way plain for me to follow. 9 What my enemies say can never be trusted; they only want to destroy. Their words are flattering and smooth, but full of deadly deceit. 10 Condemn and punish them, O God; may their own plots cause their ruin. Drive them out of your presence because of their many sins and their rebellion against you. 11 But all who find safety in you will rejoice; they can always sing for joy. Protect those who love you; because of you they are truly happy. 12 You bless those who obey you, LORD; your love protects them like a shield. 15

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