29 Best Psalms to Read of All Times

The best psalms listed below are a compilation of the most searched, used, quoted, and most-read Bible verses in the entire book of Psalms. They are full of emotions, questions, and experiences that we can relate to.

The book of Psalms is a deep source of lessons, songs, literature, praises, prayers, and even questions. It is also a full display of a wide array of human emotions. It is why a lot of people can relate to it, and find comfort and solace in it. It is time to delve deeper into all the best that the book of Psalms can offer.

What are the Best Psalms

What are Psalms

Psalms are songs. Unfortunately, only the words survived and the music didn’t. We only know that they are supposed to be sung but we do not know how they were sung before. The book of Psalms is composed of sacred songs that people in Bible times used to sing in their worship.

The word “psalm” is derived from the Greek word “psalmoi” which means “instrumental music” or “the words accompanying the music.” The original name for the book of Psalms is the Hebrew word Tehilim meaning “praises.”

The book of Psalms is divided into five books. Some sources say, though, that it was based on the five books of the Torah. Here are the sections or books that the Psalms are divided into.

  1. Book 1: Psalms 1-41
  2. Book 2: Psalms 42-72
  3. Book 3: Psalms 73-89
  4. Book 4: Psalms 90-106
  5. Book 5: Psalms 107-150

Bible scholars found a pattern to these sections or books of the Psalms. They are each ended with a benediction ending with the phrases “Praise the Lord!” and “Amen! Amen!.” Some of the most common topics we can see are the connection between God, nature, and humans.

We can also find passages talking about God’s salvation. Some psalms also talk about obedience, faithfulness, and even rebellion. Some call to God for help others ask difficult questions. But, throughout the Psalms, we can see God’s love, power, and justice.

History of the Book of Psalms 

It is believed that King David wrote 73 of these psalms. Asaph is said to have written 12 psalms. If you’re wondering who Asaph is, he is believed to be the ancestor of the Asaphites who were one of the groups of musicians who played in the First Temple.

Other psalms were written by King Solomon. A man called Herman the Ezrahite, who has a rich and complicated story, is also said to have written at least one psalm (Psalm 88). An extremely wise man called Ethan the Ezrahite is believed to have written Psalm 89. 

A psalm that was written by Moses also found its way into this compilation. Nobody knows for sure but it is believed that Ezra together with some religious leaders compiled and arranged the book of Psalms. It is also believed that these psalms are as old as or even older than 3,000 years.

Why study the Book of Psalms

I believe asking “Why?” is crucial. The process of getting answers to this question can show us what is important. The thing is, when we know why something is important, we take an interest in it. 

As mentioned earlier, the Psalms are full of raw human emotions. Sometimes it is very easy to forget that the Bible characters are humans. It is easy to forget that things that happened in the Bible are things that happened to people – people who have emotions, struggles, and regrets.

Take King David for example. He was called “a man after God’s own heart.” This makes him sound almost like a superhuman. It makes him sound like someone who always asks “What would Jesus do?” before doing anything.

Yet, Psalm 51 says otherwise. A superscript in Psalm 51 tells us that David wrote this psalm after Prophet Nathan came to him and pronounced judgment on him after he had Uriah killed to get Bathsheba. We know the story but maybe few of us know how much of an impact it had on King David.

In Psalm 51, we can read King David asking for a clean heart. The man after God’s own heart was begging God to give him a clean one. The Bible is full of amazing testimonies, inspiring stories, miracles, and people who remained faithful to God no matter what. 

The Psalms are full of expressions of grief, hope, struggles, guilt, of everything that we humans feel. If we study the Psalms, we might just find that link that connects us to people who lived thousands of years ago and find inspiration in the lives they have led.

The Psalms also contain some prophecies about Jesus. There are so many Psalms that are believed to have prophesied the coming of Jesus, His nature, His ministry, and His death. It is believed that Psalm 22 is one of the most famous prophecies about the coming of the Messiah and His suffering.

If you’re still looking for reasons to study the Psalms, let’s look at them some more. If you are new to praying and praising God and have no idea how to do it, you can turn to Psalms and its 150 chapters of examples on how to do it.

If you have been a Christian for a long time and praying and praising are starting to feel like a routine and no longer satisfied with your longing for God (trust me, it happens to everyone), then maybe reading the Psalms just might refresh and renew your connection to God. 

Another good reason to read and study the Psalms is the fact that it gives us a glimpse of the kind of life that people had back then. We learn about the musical instruments they used, and the ancient names of nations and tribes that have prospered and died. 

There are so many reasons why we should study the Psalms but the most important thing is our desire to. If you are now set on studying it, here is a good way to do it.

The best way to study the Book of Psalms

Here are some simple steps to study the book of Psalms:

Read the verses at least 3 times

I’m an avid reader and one thing I noticed is that my first time reading something is more like a familiarization than anything else. The second time I read the same words, I notice more details. I see deeper into the context. The third reading helps me understand the words enough to raise questions. 

Questions we raise are personal. They bring out what we want to know, what we are curious about, and even what is important to us. Without raising our questions, we just jam random information and knowledge we find sometimes, without addressing our needs.

Research

I know, I know, it can be tedious, yes. But aren’t you even a little bit curious about who wrote these psalms, why they wrote them, and maybe for whom? Raising questions and looking for answers is important. Research makes this easy for us. 

Put yourself in their shoes

As I have mentioned earlier, the Psalms are full of human emotions. Even after over 3,000 years, human emotions have pretty much stayed the same. To truly understand and grasp the message of the Psalms, put yourself in the shoes of the composer.

Imagine what they must have been feeling, what emotions their words are conveying. Claim these emotions as your own. Think of the moments in your life where you felt the way the composer must have been feeling when they wrote it. 

Record your learnings

After learning something new, it is best to keep a record of it. You can always go back to it and be reminded of what you learned. It would be a shame if you had all those learnings and they made changes in your perspective only for you to forget them over time.

These are the basics for me, the foundation. If you are the kind of person who learns better when they write something down, then you can add journaling to the steps. If you learn better through listening, then you can substitute reading the verses with listening to audio recordings of the readings of Psalms.

There are so many ways that can help us study and understand. We have to determine which way is best for us and apply that or add them to these steps.

Here are some of the most popular Bible verses from the book of Psalms:

Psalm 119:105

This verse is from the longest chapter of the book of Psalms. The passage talks about the benefits of following God and His word. Following God can be confusing at times, and it can also be hard. But, this verse reminds us that God’s word will light the way.

Psalm 23:1

Sheep and their shepherd have a very special bond. The sheep trust the shepherd completely, and the shepherd loves the sheep and provides everything for the sheep. King David proclaimed that God is his shepherd. Can we do the same?

Psalm 27:1

Sometimes, in our lives as Christians, we have to make bold declarations like this. If we are with God, and God is with us, then what can get to us? It is not boasting or being arrogant. It is a declaration of complete faith in God, in His power, and most of all, in His love.

Psalm 86:5

God never seems to run out of second chances for us. Whenever we make mistakes, God is always ready to forgive if only we are repentant and are ready to turn our back on our sins. He wants to grant us forgiveness no matter how unforgivable we see ourselves.

Psalm 127:1

We make plans because we look forward to the future or, at least, we want to be prepared for it. But unless we surrender these plans to God and His will, it will all be in vain.

Psalm 111:10

Wisdom has been defined as knowing what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is bad. Knowing this stems from following God and learning from Him. Let us live wisely by following His teachings.

Psalm 19:14

We all want to do what God wants. We want to follow Him in everything we do and it is the cry of our hearts to make Him proud.

Psalm 139:14 

God has always found us loveable. He created us, saw us, and said “It is good.” God is good and we came from Him. Keep this truth in your mind and your heart.

Psalm 8:3-4

Looking at nature, space, the vastness of the skies, and the beauty of all the colors nature offer, one can only look in amazement. But no matter how amazing and beautiful these things are, God showered us with favor and love. 

Psalm 42:1

Longing is part of human life. We long for things and people. We will always want something. Sometimes, it’s bad for us, sometimes it’s good. Longing for God and His ways may always be present in all our list of wants.

What are the Best Psalms to Read

Best can indeed be quite subjective. What might be the best for one person might not be the best for others. But in this case, we have determined the best by looking at which psalms speak to and for us most proficiently.

Best Psalms For Comfort

  1. Psalm 46:10 – As humans, we strive for control. Surrendering control, even just the thought of being still, stopping trying to do something, sounds terrifying. However, God implores us to take time to breathe and remember that He’s got us and He is God.
  2. Psalm 9:9-10 – We know how to turn to God for help, for things that we need, and even for things that we want. Let us keep in mind that we can always turn to God for comfort too. He will never forsake us.
  3. Psalm 16:8 – Having someone on our side means a lot. It provides a sense of security and belongingness. It can even give us hope. If someone believes in us enough to think that it is worth taking our side, it can even boost our confidence and help us in the long run. How much more can we gain by knowing that God is on our side?

Best Psalms for Hope and Healing

  1. Psalm 6:2-4 – Pain is one of the most common things in our lives. It is okay, even encouraged, to be open with God about our pain. No matter what kind of pain we are having, may it be physical, emotional, or mental, God is never out of reach for us.
  2. Psalm 41:4 – God’s mercy is ever abundant in our lives. He never takes pleasure in our suffering. Wherever we are, His mercy and His healing are always ready and available for us.

Best Psalms for Protection

  1. Psalm 32:7 – God’s love for us is no secret. God is our parent. Like most parents, God wants what is best for us and He always wants to protect us. He is only a prayer away.
  2. Psalm 91:1-2 – Fortresses are great protection. The same goes for God’s dependability.

Best Psalms for Encouragement

  1. Psalm 121:1-2 – God’s power is greatly known far and wide. He created the heavens and the earth. He created our intricate and complex bodies. He is powerful and He is ever ready to help.
  2. Psalm 27:10 – Being accepted and knowing we belong somewhere are blessings. Unfortunately, people don’t always feel these things. A lot of people feel unwelcome in a lot of places and they have never known what it’s like to be accepted. The good news is, we are always welcome with God.

Best Psalms for Thanksgiving

  1. Psalm 7:17 – It is always good to acknowledge the good things, to take note of them, and appreciate them. The same goes for God and His work. Let’s give Him praise because He deserves it and because we are honored to give it to Him.
  2. Psalm 9:1-2 – Sometimes we experience God’s presence so powerfully that it overwhelms us. We can always express this in prayer, praises, or psalms.

What are the Best Psalms for Children to Memorize

Here is a list of verses from the book of Psalms that children can easily memorize.

Psalm 20:4

May He grant the dreams of your heart and see your plans through to the end.

Psalm 34:18

Yahweh is near to those who have a broken heart and saves those who have a crushed spirit.

Psalm 51:10

Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me.

What are the Best Psalms to Pray

Psalm 30:1-5

Like a shot given by a doctor, the discomfort of God’s anger lasts only a moment, but the good effects go on for a long time. Let God’s anger be a sharp pain that warns you to turn from sin. 

Psalm 5

We all go through trials and struggles. Like the psalmist, we can always go to God whenever we feel overwhelmed. But in the end, let there always be trust that God would always do what is best for us.

Psalm 51

Guilt can eat away at people for a long time. It is an unpleasant position to be in. King David knew the burden of guilt. The good news is God is always ready to forgive us if we are sincere in repenting.

Psalm 8

God works in different ways. There are times when it can feel like our hearts would burst because of how intense our happiness and amazement are. We can use this psalm to express our gratitude to God.

Psalm 22

At times our pain and our eagerness to trust in God are at war inside us. We feel torn between them. Always remember that we are not alone in this. We have God and we have others to rely on.

In Summary

The book of Psalms is quite a long book. It might sound daunting but reading and studying the book of Psalms can prove to be very beneficial not just for our faith but also for our growth as a person.

The best Psalms contain lessons, realizations, testimonies, questions, and emotions of people just like us who have had their relationship with God and wrestled with their struggles, doubts, and growth. For thousands of years, God’s love for us remains constant and powerful.

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Alex Shute
EDITOR
Alex Shute, MBA
Alex is a family man and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. His passion is to serve the global Church and bring people of diverse backgrounds together to learn & grow.


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