Can You Trust Your Bible Reading? How Do You Read Biblical Poetry?

Ephesians 5:19
_“…Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart…”_ (ESV)
Some of the best poetry both in structure and content are contained in the Bible. I am wowed, for example, every time I think of acrostic Psalms of which Psalm 119 is the epitome. An acrostic Psalm is basically a Psalm which employs the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. In Psalm 119, each stanza captures a letter of the alphabet, beginning with the first letter and proceeding to the last, and each line begins with that letter. It’s beautiful poetry.
Yet the aim of Biblical poetry is to arouse emotions. Rather than just appeal to our minds, the passages and books seek to appeal to our hearts – they aim to work our affections. In the words of a theologian of yesteryears, “No other reason can be assigned why we should express ourselves to God in verse, rather than in prose, and do it with music, but only, that such is our nature and frame, that these things have a tendency to move our affections.”
The other thing about Biblical poetry is that they supply us with prayer and worship vocabulary, especially the Psalms. Paul, while writing to the Ephesians, exhorts them to seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit by singing to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. This means that the portions of the Scriptures which employ poetry are not necessarily to be thought about but to be felt.
Reflections
1. Which is your favourite poetic Bible passage?
2. How do you feel every time you read it?
3. In what way(s) can you practically apply Ephesians 5:19 in your life?
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