A New Word

Explicate – verb used with an object

  1. to make plain or clear; explain; interpret
    • to clarify
  2. to develop (a principle, theory, etc.)
    • to expand

From the Latin explicare: to unfold, unravel, explain; to smooth out, spread flat.

This year, in our annual women’s mission trip to Cofradia, Mexico, I hope to explicate the Psalms to our hermanas en Cristo. My prayer is that we will share Bible study time together and learn how to unfold these precious poetic compositions to the blessing of our souls and to the glory of God.

The process of unfolding will involve clarifying and explaining the uniqueness of these inspired verses. On first consideration one might think that poetry would not lend itself to the necessity of translation. Just think: Hebrew poetry translated into English and Spanish, explained in English and then the explanation translated into Spanish – much could vanish like smoke in the process. Our normal expectation of rhyme and rhythm will not translate, but the patterns of repetition (parallelism), the use of metaphors and similes, and the deliberateness of the acrostic verses – once they are ‘spread flat’ – will allow interpretation of the poetry to our best advantage.

What is the purpose of the Psalms? Why was this large body of poetry included in our Bibles? Many of the psalms were used in worship but there are some that seem unsuited for this purpose.

Again, I hope to use our study to explicate this also! I invite you to join us by participating in the process of learning new things to help you to enjoy God’s poetry. I would love to have you comment with questions or your own insights. I have not yet settled on which Psalms we will develop in detail – do you have a favorite? What does it mean to you? (Yes, I believe we can honestly ask this question regarding interpretation of the Psalms!)

I have been in the Psalms all year – for an early reaction go here – and I know that learning and understanding the form, purpose, and methods of this poetry has blessed my soul even as I have studied other passages of Scripture. I pray that God will direct this process for all of us.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Denise
    Nov 04, 2011 @ 13:30:16

    I have a special attachment to Psalm 121. I have received much comfort from this Psalm for the past 18+ years. I get hope and encouragement when I can “lift my eyes to the hills” and see that my help comes from the Lord. “maker of heaven and earth.”

    Have a great day! Good to have you back on the blog!


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