30 Days in Psalm 22 for Busy Mamas, Day 19: Translations and Structure

The Crucifixion, Salvador Dali

How did your on-your-own study go yesterday? We’ll come back to look at verses 9 and 10 a bit more next week. Today we’re going to back away from all the details and take another look at the big picture.

Assignment: Pray, thanking God for sending His Son, and for allowing Him to suffer and die for us. Ask Him to make that truth real in your life as you study and meditate on His Word.

Most of us have a translation of the Bible that we prefer to memorize and read. After reading this psalm for almost three weeks, let’s take a fresh look at it by reading it in at least two different translations. As you read a less familiar version of the psalm, the slightly different wording may help you notice things you’ve missed in earlier readings!

Open Blue Letter Bible. 

Type “Ps 22” in the search box.

  • Before you click to search, in the box to the right of the search box, click the little down arrow to open the drop-down menu of available Bible versions, and click on one you would like to read. Although I wouldn’t recommend it for study (it’s a dynamic equivalent — thought-for-thought — translation, rather than a literal or formal equivalent word-for-word translation), I would suggest you to try the New Living Translation for this purpose, simply because it is easy to understand.

However, you’ll notice some significant differences, such as the omission of the answer to prayer in verse 21 that most translations clearly indicate. This explains why this translation is not a good choice for serious study. (The NIV, another dynamic equivalent translation, also leaves out this key turning point.)

  • Read the entire psalm in your selected translation, recording any new insights or questions in your notebook.
  • Then select one more translation, and read the entire psalm in that translation, recording new insights and/or questions.
  • Finally, return to the translation you have been using for most of your study, or to your marked copy of Psalm 22.
  • Read the psalm one last time, looking at the structure of the psalm. If you were going to divide the psalm into different sections, how would you do it?
  • In the margin of the text, draw brackets to enclose each grouping of verses, and give them each some sort of title or label. This exercise will help us identify the main themes and ideas in the psalm.
  • Let’s work on the first five verses of the psalm together. We’ve talked about the back-and-forth nature of the first verses of Psalm 22, as they alternate between grievances and remembrances of God’s faithfulness. We could bracket off verses 1-2 and label the section “Cry for Help.” Then we could bracket off verses 3-5 and entitle the section “Faithful in the Past.”
  • Read through the entire psalm, bracketing groups of verses and assigning titles to them.
  • When you have finished, you may want to record in your notebook the references and title for each section you have marked. If you are memorizing this psalm, which I strongly encourage you to do, these divisions and titles will be helpful memory aids.
  • Tomorrow is catch-up day, so don’t despair if you haven’t been able to keep up with each of the daily lessons during the week. 🙂 Enlist someone (like your husband or an older child) to help watch the children so you can devote an extended period of time to your study.

For your children:

  • Give your children paper and drawing materials.
  • Fold the sheets of paper into quarters and then open them out flat again.
  • Read Psalm 22:1-2 aloud, and ask your children to draw a picture (in one quarter section of the paper) to illustrate what is happening or being said in these two verses.
  • Then read verses 3-5 and ask the children to illustrate those verses in another section of their paper.
  • Next read and have the children illustrate verses 6-8.
  • Finish by reading and illustrating verses 9-10.
  • If you have been memorizing any of the psalm with your children, see how much they can recite, with the help of their pictures.
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