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Apologetics from the Psalms

One can easily obtain apologetics from the Psalms.

That’s right. I said the Psalms.

Most of the time when we think of the Books of Psalms in the Scriptures, we think songs or prayers. Well, that’s what they are.

But, it’s not very often that we consider the Psalms as a source for apologetics though. But, because the Psalms are written from man’s perspective in an attempt to understand life through worship of a Holy God, they necessarily describe that relationship and often do so in a way that provides evidence.

Furthermore, because the Psalms often approach worship in a way that describe God as creator, arguments for his existence emanate from the verses.

This summer my pastor is preaching through some of the Psalms and it has been interesting so far to hear these apologetic titbits fall off the pages and from his exposition. Hopefully, he won’t mind me sharing some of what unfolded from Psalm 19 a couple of weeks ago, although his sermon wasn’t necessarily apologetic in nature. (This was not his sermon and it is not my intention to reproduce that in any way.)

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat. The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19, ESV)

The first and most obvious statement in this Psalm is the very first line: The heavens declare the glory of God…

This is the summary of the premises of the Cosmological Argument for God’s existence. Premise 1) Everything that exists (the heavens) has a cause. Premise 2) The universe (the heavens)-all time, space, and matter exists. Conclusion-The universe (the heavens) must have a cause which is timeless, space-less, and immaterial (God). In that general sense, it is the heavens themselves by their very existence which proclaim God’s glory.

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.” (Psalm 8:1, ESV)

The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge! Selah” (Psalm 50:6, ESV)

Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Lord, your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones!” (Psalm 89:5, ESV)


Next, I noticed that David, the Psalmist, makes another claim. He claims as Paul did that this heavenly declaration of God (the cosmological argument) does so transcendently. No one can escape what the universe is saying. God exists.

The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all the peoples see his glory.” (Psalm 97:6, ESV)

Day to day and night to night (all time) speech and knowledge is poured out, he writes and there is no speech or any words that is not heard through all the earth (all people).

That sounds pretty exclusive doesn’t it?

Matthew Henry sums it up this way…

This instance of the divine power serves not only to show the folly of atheists, who see there is a heaven and yet say, “There is no God,” who see the effect and yet say, “There is no cause,” but to show the folly of idolaters also, and the vanity of their imagination, who, though the heavens declare the glory of God, yet gave that glory to the lights of heaven which those very lights directed them to give to God only, the Father of lights[1]

David is saying in a poetic way that God’s glory is declared by the heavens and that no one in any place or any time can escape that knowledge. This is an argument from transcendence. But he doesn’t stop there.

David’s praise resembles another of the Classical Arguments for God’s existence, Teleological Argument, or the Argument of Design. After that, the Psalmist changes gears and begins to praise God for the “law of the Lord”. In other words, his praise changes focus from General to Specific Revelation.

We may look at those soon but the point is this: If you’re having a hard time coming up with Biblical references that argue Classically for God’s existence, then look no further than the songs right in the middle of the Bible. The Psalms are a great resource and you can easily obtain apologetics from the Psalms.


[1] Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 767). Peabody: Hendrickson.

I was born in the mountains of Southwest Virginia, born again at a very young age, married a beautiful and likeminded woman, moved to Tennessee, and raised two children in the Southern traditions of loving God and neighbor, exercising manners, and being stewards of the land and its bounty. After becoming involved in youth ministry in our local church, the need of teaching people "what they believe and why they believe it" became painfully apparent, especially in my immediate context (rural Southern churches). We began an apologetics/theology ministry there but have since moved on. After serving in church leadership and being called to faithfulness and duty to protect our congregation from a rogue pastor under church discipline of his previous church, my experiences in this biblical process shape much of what I believe about how churches in the South have become weak and why nominal Christianity is prevalent. I love the Church and Southern culture so you can expect to read about apologetics and theology as well as church and culture here, written southern style, by the grace of God. Deo Vindice

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