Teaching the Psalms: Experience First, Discuss Second

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When I started teaching the psalms a few months ago I started with a pretty standard teaching method, discuss your topic for a while and then dig into some examples. After doing this a few times I realized it didn’t really work as well for the psalms. You get a bunch of people talking about what lament is, how you do it, why we can relate to it and then read a few psalms to actually get informed after we had already had a lot of discussion. The weakness here is that you have people throw around opinions for 20 minutes before you even read a Lament psalm together. I realized it would be a lot more effective to let a few Lament psalms sink in and then talk about what happened. So we would read a Lament psalm say 2-3 times over and over again, let it sink in and then talk about what we heard and relate it to our lives. Then we would try another psalm and do it again. This became the approach for the class and it seemed to work really well. Maybe that will be helpful to someone out there who is trying to figure out what approach they want to take to reading and/or teaching the psalms.

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