The Witness of the New Testament
The New Testament bears witness to the authorship of many of the Psalms. These poems were often cited or at least alluded to. Here are some examples:
- When the Pharisees said that the Messiah Christ was the Son of David, immediately Jesus posed this question to them: “He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, “‘The Lord said to my Lord …” (See Matthew 22:43-45; Mark 12:36-37; Luke 20:42-44 and Psalm 110:1).
- The superscription over Psalm 110 reads, “A Psalm of David.” While these superscriptions are not inspired of God as the text of Scripture is, it is evident that Jesus Himself authenticated the Davidic authorship of Psalm 110.
- Nor should there be any question about the occasion when, on the first Pentecost in Jerusalem, Peter said, “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand'” (Acts 2:34).
- Elsewhere Peter cites David when describing the events of Jesus’ life.
- Acts 1:16, “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus” (cf. Psalm 41:9).
- In Acts 4:25, Peter quotes Psalm 1:1-2 when he says, “…who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit, ‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain?'” (cf. Psalm 2:1-2).
- In Acts 2:25-32 Peter alludes to Psalm 16:8-11 as of Davidic authorship, confirming what the Old Testament says.
- And Paul confirms David’s authorship when he quotes Psalm 32:1-2 in his argument for righteousness through faith. “… just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: ‘”Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.'” (Romans 4:6-8).
- Again the apostle quotes Psalm 69:22-23 in Romans 11:9, “And David says, “Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them.”
- While critics write long and scholarly works on why the internal character of these psalms cannot support Davidic authorship, both the Apostle Peter and the Apostle Paul refute them and the Lord Jesus Himself held the view that David authored many of the psalms in the Psalter.
- If I have to choose, I’m going with Jesus, Peter and Paul as more reliable sources.