PSALM 23 Meaning

What is the Meaning of Psalm 23 ?

of reading

Christians around the world turn to Psalm 23 as a source of comfort for life’s challenges. People have incorporated it into songs and teachings to show the goodness of God upon our lives. This bible verse can be found in the Book of Psalms and generally well known for his first sentence:

"The Lord is my Shepherd..."

This Psalm of David is a way to remember that our Lord, who is our Shepherd, is always with us, He gives the heal by trusting in Him, He cares for us physically and personally.

In this article, we will explain what's the meaning of Psalm 23 and what can we learn from this biblical verse to improve our life and our relation with God.

book of psalm

1) Who Wrote Psalm 23 and Why?

King David wrote the 23rd Psalm as a way of expressing his heart toward God. It was the way he best worshipped God because he was musically gifted. 🎼

A. Who was King David?

King David's reign timeline was from 1000 to 961 BC. He was the third King of Israel 🇮🇱 and the father of Solomon.

This Psalmist is well known in Christian faith and the accounts of his exploits can be found in the Old Testament, especially in the Books of Samuel and The Chronicles

king david

The texts do not say much about the time of his kingship. Rather, they show the difficulties he had to overcome in order to take power and ensure his succession.

👑 David is the great king, the one who was anointed by God, in other words, the Messiah.

B. Why King David Wrote Psalm 23?

David honors God as his Shepherd for he sees Him as the One who can lead him in the right direction in life.

The shepherd is the provider and protector of his flock. Without him, the sheep are helpless. It is the same with human existence, which is nothing more than a carnal and sinful experience if God is not an integral part of our lives.

psalm 23

2) Psalm 23: the Message in the Bible

Each of us knows Psalm 23 and could probably recite it without any hesitation, from the first to the last verse. But the Word is an infinite Book and we have barely scratched the surface of the pages that we think we know best.

Psalm 23, so well known, so often meditated upon, is one of the richest portions of Holy Scripture. Let's see now more in-depth, what this sacred scripture is all about:

A. Different Versions of Psalm 23

There are different versions of Psalms 23 depending on the translation of the Bible you are reading. 📖

different versions of psalm 23

Psalm 23 NKJV Bible (New King James Version)

"The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever."

Psalm 23 NIV Version (New International Version)

"The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

👉 If you like Psalm 23, you will probably love this Psalm 23 Bracelet from our Bible verse collection. It's a good reminder that the Lord is here to guide you in your everyday life.

      Psalm 23 Bracelet

      Psalm 23 ESV (English Standard Version)

      "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
      He makes me lie down in green pastures.
      He leads me beside still waters.
      He restores my soul.
      He leads me in paths of righteousness
      for his name's sake.

      Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
      I will fear no evil,
      for you are with me;
      your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

      You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
      you anoint my head with oil;
      my cup overflows.
      Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
      and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

      Psalm 23 ICB Children's Version  (International Children's Bible)

      "The Lord is my shepherd.
      I have everything I need.
      He gives me rest in green pastures.
      He leads me to calm water.
      He gives me new strength.
      For the good of his name,
      he leads me on paths that are right.
      Even if I walk
      through a very dark valley,
      I will not be afraid
      because you are with me.
      Your rod and your shepherd’s staff comfort me.

      You prepare a meal for me
      in front of my enemies.
      You pour oil of blessing on my head.
      You give me more than I can hold.
      Surely your goodness and love will be with me
      all my life.
      And I will live in the house of the Lord forever."

      B. Psalm 23 a Message of Comfort

      Psalm 23 has a special place in the heart of every Christians and has a significant meaning for each of our lives. However, there are general things we can draw from the meaning of Psalm 23.

      psalm 23 a message of comfort

      • Comfort - Sheep are comfortable in the presence of their Shepherd because they know they are safe. 🐑
      • Hope - With God, there is always hope for a better life. He gives us hope for the restoration of our souls when we sin or others hurt us. We can be hopeful even when we are in the valleys of life where evil surrounds us. He is always there with us and we don’t have to deal with the difficult situations alone.
      • Justice - God promises to right our wrongs and ensures justice and righteousness prevail in our lives. He doesn’t let our enemies trample over us. He protects us from them and when they think we have failed or fallen; He prepares a table of honor for us as they watch.

      • Guidance - A shepherd guides his sheep to where he wants them to feed, drink water and rest. God guides us daily toward the path He has ordained for us. Like sheep, we don’t always know which way to go or what to do. God, the Good Shepherd leads us along paths of righteousness.

      • JoyTwenty third Psalm fills us with joy because of the good things God has promised us. We can look forward to His goodness and mercy and dwelling in His presence daily and to eternity. He makes us live in the overflow of life by providing for our needs. God also gives us the anointing to do what He has called each of us to do. 

      3) Psalm 23 Explained Line by Line

      A. Meaning: "The Lord is my shepherd"

      David was himself a former shepherd, immediately putting himself in the position of a sheep dependent on Jesus Christ.

      The Shepherd, the one who cares for me through all the dangers I'm exposed to in this world. He is not a shepherd subject to weakness or imperfection. He is perfect in all things.

      He is the One who has paid the infinite price for his sheep's suffering and death on the cross - who now has the power to keep them and wants to care for them in a way worthy of Him.

      B. Meaning: "I shall not want"

      In this world, our needs are many and varied, often particularly pressing, but each of those who have the Lord for a Shepherd can say with confidence: I shall not want for anything.

      It is the certainty that He will provide for all our needs, both material and spiritual. While the sheep do not know which way it will have to go, He knows it.

      the lord is my shepherd

      C. Meaning: "He makes me lie down in green pastures"

      The good Shepherd gives his sheep the food they need ☘, both the food that the body needs and the food that is indispensable for the life of the soul. We are often concerned about our material needs, forgetting that God has made promises and that He is faithful and powerful to fulfill them.

      D. Meaning: "He leads me beside still waters"

      In this world, there is nothing for the renewed heart - it is famine, unrest and sometimes storm. In this "arid and weathered land, without water" there are only "cracked tanks". But the good Shepherd who feeds our souls also wants to refresh them.

      E. Meaning: "He restores my soul"

      The Lord restored us when we fell... He restores our souls, not after a fall, but so that we may never fall.

      23rd psalm

      F. Meaning: "He leads me in the paths of righteousness"

      He himself traces the path in which his sheep have to walk. i.e. paths to which evil has no access. Could the good Shepherd lead us on a path other than this one?

      So that in the midst of the world in which we have to live, where all is corruption and violence, we can walk in the "paths of justice" where the good Shepherd leads us.

      G. Meaning: "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil"

      For the believer, death has lost its power, it is no more than "the shadow of death" 💀. By His death, the Lord Jesus rendered impotent the one who had the power of death, that is, the devil.

      I. Meaning: "For You are with me"

      This is the midst of the Psalm, the secret of the experiences made by the sheep along its path! The Lord is always with us, faithful to his promise:

      ✝ "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:20)

      I walk through the valley of the shadow of death

      J. Meaning: "Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me"

      The rod and staff are the characteristic instruments of the shepherd.

      K. Meaning: "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies"

      The table that is set up every day and at which we nourish ourselves with Christ, enjoying His fellowship.🍇

      L. Meaning: "You anoint my head with oil"

      The Oil is a figure of the Holy Spirit.

      M. Meaning: "My cup runs over"

      An overflowing cup could be a symbol of abundance, not only in terms of physical provisions but also of spiritual blessings. Just as David experienced God's grace and abundant fellowship, we too can enjoy God's immense grace throughout our days.

      N. Meaning: "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
      All the days of my life"

      The kindness, the gratitude of the Lord, the care of the Shepherd, none of this will stop. The enjoyment of this part will be continuous if I remain constantly in the sanctuary.

      O. Meaning: "And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever."

      In the house of the Lord - our Father - with whom I live by faith while waiting to live there in reality forever.

      4) Psalm 23 and Songs

      There are many songs and poems about Psalm 23, here is a non-exhaustive list of our favorite songs:

      • Psalm 23 (I Am Not Alone) by People & Songs - 2018
      • Psalm 23 (Surely Goodness, Surely Mercy) by Shane and Shane - 2015
      • You Bring Peace by RESOUNDWorship - 2014
      • There's a Love That Seeks Us by RESOUNDWorship - 2018
      • O Faithful Lord by RESOUNDWorship - 2019

      Listen to more songs from Psalm 23 and many other Christian artists on WorshipTogether

      Psalm 23 (I Am Not Alone) - People & Songs featuring Josh Sherman

      5) Psalm 23: Conclusion

      There is much more you can draw from this beautiful Psalm. The meaning of Psalm 23 is personal because we each have a personal relationship with God.

      psalm 23 conclusion

      🙏 Start a meditation on Psalm 23 today and make it part of your worship to God during your quiet time.

      6) Listen to Psalm 23 (KJV) in Audio


      1 comment

      • Ramon Sanchez Castillo

        Thank For the instructions the Guidance and the Meaning of psalm 23 Let’s All Have A Blessed Journey in Our Lives in the Name of Jesus we Pray So Be it Amén❤🙏

      Leave a comment

      Newsletter

      Stay tuned for new articles on the blog