An Introduction to Psalm 23

The 23rd Psalm undoubtedly is the most universal Scripture known, and loved in all lands.  Strictly speaking, the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th Psalms form an inseparable trinity.  These three Psalms present our Lord Jesus in striking manner.  In the 22nd Psalm He is the Good Shepherd who gave His life for the sheep; in the 23rd Psalm He is the Great Shepherd, who in resurrection glory leads His sheep; in the 24th Psalm he is the Chief Shepherd who is to return in glory.

Most of us can testify that we have known the Psalm from early childhood.  It is the universal Psalm, the pearl of Psalms, the chief Psalm; in fact, one can go on exhausting adjectives in an attempt to express its great message, and still he would only have touched the fringe of its contents.  Yet, it is a Psalm of only six verses.

If I were a lawyer pleading the case of the inspiration of the Bible before a tribunal, I think I would say something like this: “Gentlemen, I rest my case upon the 23rd Psalm.  Where is it possible to find more beautiful language, more apt illustrations, more infinite love, more clear confidence, than in the few words of this Psalm?  If you cannot feel the breath of God in these words, then dull indeed is your intellect and dead are your powers of perception.”

From: Meditations in the Book of Psalms by Erling C. Olsen (Neptune: Loizeaux Brothers, 1939), p. 151. 

Erling Charles Olsen (1896-1966) was a Christian layman – a businessman in New York, New York – who had a Sunday morning devotional program called the “Bible Hour” on New York radio (covering most of the East Coast) from 1934 until at least 1960.  His radio talks on the Book of Psalms lasted from February, 1934 until November, 1938.