Thanks for joining us to examine the three most quoted Psalms in the New Testament. A more comprehensive view is on this chart showing the chapters where the Psalm verses are quoted.
Let’s start with some background. The book of Psalms is the Bible’s most read book — a collection of 150 praises and prayers loved and revered for their magnificent poetry. In modern terms, Psalms are a self-help manual to help one cope with the traumas and tragedies of life. Whatever you are experiencing, there is a Psalm to comfort you, lift your spirits, and help you feel the presence of God. Psalms are about praising the Almighty for His majestic power while loving and trusting Him.
My NIV study Bible says writing the book of Psalms “spanned centuries” and “temple personnel completed it probably in the third century B.C.” We know that many Psalms were King David’s prayers when he appealed to God during traumatic times and wrote about glorifying His name with praise and thanksgiving.
The Psalms are also the Hebrew Bible book from which Jesus quoted most often.
According to the chart referenced above, what follows is the New Testament’s most quoted Psalm verse:
“Of David. A psalm.”
“The Lord says to my lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet'” (Psalm 110-1).
And why is that the most quoted verse?
God’s authority is connected to Jesus and given to Him.
Researching this study, I found the following explanation with a segment that reads:
“The Bible bears abundant testimony that the Lord Jesus Christ has been given this place [right hand of God] of universal supremacy. Christ is not only above us in honor and power but is seated on the throne of God, above the heaven, the earth and all of God’s creation, waiting for the time when every enemy is made a footstool for His feet, and the last enemy to be defeated is death.”
It is essential to understand that a seat at God’s “right hand” is the universe’s highest place of honor, signifying power second only to Him. And note that “footstool” references ancient kings sitting on their mighty thrones with conquered enemies literally under their feet.
In the gospels, Psalm 110-1, all or in part, was requoted by Jesus and subsequently, numerous references. Shown below is where the verse appears, all or in part, in the New Testament:
Matthew 22:44; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:42, 43; Acts 2:34, 35; Hebrews 1:13. Compare. Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:62; 16:19; Luke 22:69; 1 Corinthians 15:25; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3; 8:1; 10:12, 13; 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22.
Now we turn to the second most quoted Psalm verse in the New Testament:
“The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes” (Psalm 118:22-23).
This verse is referenced in: Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10, 11; Luke 20:17; Acts 4:11; Eph 2:20; 1 Peter 2:4.
The “cornerstone” — integral to the design and structure of a building was similar to Jesus — rejected by “the builders” in charge of the Law. In the three gospels mentioned above, Jesus quotes the Psalm and applies it to Himself during a confrontation in the temple courts when the chief priests questioned His authority:
“Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes'”? (Matthew 21:42).
I love the Psalm 118:22 footnote in my NIV Study Bible that reads:
“This stone disdained by the worldly powers, has become the most important stone in the structure of the new world order that God is bringing about through Israel.”
We turn now to the third most requoted Psalm verse, also from Psalm 118. A familiar verse associated with Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday:
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD” (Psalm 118:26).
The verse is requoted in all four gospels: Matthew 21:9; 23:39; Mark 11:9; Luke 13:35; 19:38; John 12:13.
Let’s read part of Psalm 118 because it encapsulates why Psalms are a poetic gift from God, filled with Messianic prophecies, relevant to the Divinity of Jesus, most quoted by Jesus, and why it is the Bible’s most popular book:
“I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
“Save us, we pray, O Lord! O Lord, we pray, give us success! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We bless you from the house of the Lord. The Lord is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us. Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar!
“You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you.
“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” (Psalm 118: 21-29).
Those powerful verses never get old.
We conclude with another familiar Psalm verse spoken by Jesus from the cross:
“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’”(Matthew 27:46).
That question repeats Psalm 22:1 — “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
In general, this Bible study series always emphasizes how the New Testament fulfills the old. Imagine how much thinner the New Testament would be without quotes or references from the Hebrew Bible?
Our lesson today is that Jesus quoted the Psalms more than any book because of His closeness to His Father about whom the Psalms were written. Thus, reading the Psalms brings you closer to The Father and The Son.
I hope today’s study has renewed or sparked your interest in reading the Psalms.
Author’s Note: Readers can find all previous volumes of this series here. The first 56 volumes are compiled into the book “Bible Study For Those Who Don’t Read The Bible.” Part Two featuring volumes 57-113, will be published later this year.
Cross-posted at Townhall and Substack.
Myra Kahn Adams is a conservative political and religious writer with numerous national credits. Her book, “Bible Study For Those Who Don’t Read The Bible,” reprints the first 56 volumes of this popular study. Myra is also Executive Director of SignFromGod.org, a ministry dedicated to Shroud of Turin education. SignFromGod was a proud sponsor of the Museum of the Bible’s opening events for its high-tech exhibition about the Shroud of Turin, open through July 31. Contact: MyraAdams01@gmail.com or Twitter @MyraKAdams.