Reflections on the Psalms, by C.S. Lewis


Psalms 1 begins: “Blessed is the one, who does not walk in step with the wicked, or stand in the way that sinners take, or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law, day and night.” Psalms written as poetry, song, praises, and prayers of meditation.

C.S Lewis’s “Reflections on the Psalms begins saying: “This is not a work of scholarship, I write for the unlearned about things in which I am unlearned myself.” His approach conveys his intent of presenting himself as just another student rather than the obvious great teacher that he was. 

The message is of the Lord looking over the righteous, but some critics say that it applies a Christ centered worldview of God, in contrast to the Old Testament view. 

Lewis tells us that words like “devilish” used in the chapter titled, “The Cursing’s” can feel like the spirit of hatred which strikes us in the face like the heat from a furnace mouth. In tackling these types of scripture we find that the more that is written about them the more trivial and even comical they become, suggesting that they just ought to be left alone. Lewis didn’t leave them alone but attempted to find real connections to the Lord he knew in them.

Lewis is well known for his allegorical writings, but he still insists on downplaying that aspect of his work saying, “some of the allegories thus imposed on my own books have been so ingenious and interesting that I often wish I had thought of them myself.” 

In the final chapters, Lewis deals with the idea of “Second Meanings” and with the manner in which the “Scriptures” came to be written, and they’re how the second meanings evolved, even comparing Pagan mythology and religion. “Lewis’s musings on myth have alarmed some of his less literate admirers, just as they have riled his less literate critics, who both misunderstood his language, believing it to imply the factual falsity of the Christian faith.”

Lewis addresses the assumption of saying, “because it comes in the Bible, all this vindictive hatred must somehow be good.” Lewis disputes this saying this is incorrect and to help change this view he tells us “every psalm must be read as a poem, we must dissect the language used, recognizing the words not as a spur-of-the-moment outburst, but a well-planned and honest prayer to God.”

The book is a meditation of the human condition and is of value in gaining more understanding and perspective. 

Is C.S. Lewis a Great Literary Influence? Of course he is. See Literary Influence Section - click here


“The most valuable thing the Psalms do for me is to express the same delight in God which made David dance.”

“No single book of Scripture, not even of the New Testament, has, perhaps, ever taken such hold on the heart of Christendom.”
― J.J. Stewart Perowne

“The psalms teach us about God and our relationship with Him; that is the heart of theology. The Psalter may be thought of as a portrait gallery of God, presenting us with multiple images of who God is.”
― Tremper Longman