The Psalms are perfect psychology. What is psychology? The scientific study of how people behave, think, and feel. It investigates the connections between feeling, thinking, and doing. It’s more focused on the inner life but it does explore how the inner relates to the outer and vice versa.
That’s what the Psalms are. They explain the connections between feeling, thinking, and doing. But whereas psychology makes mistakes, often proposing theories that don’t match the data, or can’t explain the data, the Psalms are perfect psychology.
Of course, psychology isn’t just about explaining. It’s also about healing, fixing what’s broken in the inner life and the out life. That’s what the Psalms do also, again perfectly. Psychology often goes wrong in its diagnosis of the problem, in its idea of perfection, and in its plan for how to get there. The Psalms never do that, because although they are penned by human authors, they are also inspired by God and therefore perfect expressions of the human psych which he made. Psalm 1 answers the most common question in psychology, “How can I be happy?”
While we’re going to be looking at psychology in the Psalms by looking at individual Psalms, we need to step back and see the big picture of praise throughout the Psalms. In that songbook we have 150 reminders that praising God is key for a healthy psychology. The Psalms are perfect psychology and perfect our psychology.