Psalm 23 Meaning – Exploring The Passion Translation (TPT)

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Psalm 23 Meaning
Alexis Waid
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Alexis Waid

Alexis has a Master's degree from Denver Seminary and a Bachelor's degree from Colorado Christian University. She has been in professional ministry for over 15 years. She has served in ministry positions such as co-pastor, youth minister, and spiritual director.
She is a mom, wife, and passionate believer that Jesus changes everything.
Alexis Waid
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Psalm 23 Meaning- Exploring The Passion Translation – TPT

I undertook an excursion in Scripture recently to dive deeper into Psalm 23’s meaning based  The Passion Translation. In this post, I’d like to walk you through Psalm 23’s meaning and hopefully encourage you to find new ways to apply this profound chapter to your life.

I was inspired to write this past based on my reading of Psalm 23’s meaning as I reflected on it in a relatively new translation of the Bible, The Passion Translation. (It should be noted that The Passion Translation is more of a paraphrase, like The Message, then an actual translation.)

I love paraphrase Biblical texts for the purpose of looking at a passage through a different lens. As a graduate of Denver Seminary, a seminary that loved deeply diving into the original language and the true meaning of Scripture, I too love and was trained in proper Biblical exegesis. But for today’s purpose, I would like to look at this new translation and consider it as a fresh expression of David’s words in Psalm 23.

Sometimes reading God’s word in a paraphrase helps us have a different connection to the text. For me personally, it helps connect my heart to Scripture in a unique way.

Last summer, I traversed a monstrous storm in my life. I had just received news that my pregnancy was not going well and my baby girl had many life-threatening conditions. Our doctors prepared me for her imminent death, either through stillbirth or dying immediately after full-term birth. Lucy didn’t die, though, she’s actually 1 year-old now. If you are interested in that story, you can read it here: Lucy’s Story, A Turner Syndrome Baby.

As I carried my baby, with little reason to think she would live, I ran to Psalm 23. It brought much clarity, comfort, and an amazing reminder of how good God is. I studied many versions and translations of Psalm 23, but I didn’t come across this Passion Translation version until recently.

Now, the journey of carrying a baby with no chance of survival has finished, and I find myself on a new adventure – mother to a medically fragile baby. While Lucy has a normal life expectancy, for the time being, she has a lot of issues that need “fixed up.”

She cannot eat orally, so she has a G-tube in her stomach so we can pump her food. We are working on oral eating, but this in itself is a challenge. In the spring, Lucy returned to the hospital for surgery #3 to rectify her hip dysplasia. It was a relatively low-risk surgery that turned complicated quickly when Lucy stopped breathing a couple hours later during recovery.

I was a witness to this horrific nightmare as Lucy turned blue and became unresponsive. I remember slowly backing away from the hospital crib as dozens of doctors, nurses, and techs came running in. I thought I was watching my baby die. In that moment, I grabbed a hold of Jesus as I quietly stood, watched, and cried.

I’ve been quite shaken since that moment, which happened in April.  I have been processing with the Lord all I have been through to get this little girl to this world as well as all the surgeries and procedures she will need to be healthy and vital.

That’s when God gently led me back to the amazing Psalm 23. This Psalm is so epic and grounding that no matter where you are today, you can find yourself in this Scripture.

Psalm 23 Meaning

Our God is good and doesn’t want us to live in fear, but instead dwell in His presence. When we do, that our lives change. Our fear, worry, anxiety, anger, etc. dissipate as we realize it is God who is equipping us and propelling us forward. There is nothing to fear when we walk closely with God.

If you want to learn the power of God, you must submerge yourself into this Scripture. God is unstoppable and good and wants to enrich your life.

Below is an introspective meaning of Psalm 23, from my heart to yours.

Psalm 23 Meaning

Psalm 23 Meaning | The Passion Translation TPT

Psalm 23 Verse 1

Psalm 23 Commentary The Passion Translation

The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd. I always have more than enough.

God is good. Jesus called us His friend in Scripture (John 15:15). Not only is God our friend, our companion, but He also is our Shepherd. A shepherd is one to takes care of sheep. Sheep are notorious for being animals who simply cannot take care of themselves. They do not know what is good for them, they do not know how to defend themselves, they don’t even know how to take care of themselves. There is a significant reason why Jesus likens His followers to sheep and Himself as the Shepherd. It is a role that is of utmost importance for any believer. 

We do not know what is best for us. We do not know how to take care of ourselves. We don’t know how to defend ourselves. Sure we have “tactics” to make it through the day, but none of them lead to true life, true health. It is only through God and His power, love, and guidance can we find our way to true life. 

In this full life is where we find an abundance. We find God’s peace, love, truth, joy, kindness, self-control, gentleness, goodness, patience, and faithfulness. This is because we are walking with God actively. Not just at our conversion, but every day. It is in our continued relationship where life to the fullest happens, John 10:10. 

God offers anyone this invitation, but you must not only accept it but actively, intentionally seek to always connect to Him. 

Psalm 23 Meaning | The Passion Translation TPT | Verse 2a

Psalm 23 Commentary The Passion Translation

The Lord offers a resting place in His luxurious love.

It is in God’s love where we find rest. We find the ability to stop, breathe, and sleep. In order for that to happen, we must trust that God is good and capable of taking care of us. If we can’t believe this, then we will not ever rest in Him nor be able to receive His love. God’s love changes the world – that’s what happened when Jesus died on the Cross, an act of selfless love and sacrifice. 

I personally know God’s love abundantly. And I can attest that when I begin to worry, or become afraid, I always realize I have lost sight of God and His love and impact in my life. 

 

Psalm 23 Meaning | The Passion Translation TPT

Psalm 23 Verse 2b-3a

Psalm 23 Commentary The Passion Translation

His tracks take me to an oasis of peace the quiet brook of bliss that’s where He restores and revives my life.

It’s God’s provision that leads you to peace, for peace is a gift that only comes from Him. It is in this peace, this ability to rest in God’s love,  where you find strength and momentum. 

Psalm 23 Meaning | The Passion Translation TPT

Psalm 23 Verse 3b

Psalm 23 Commentary The Passion Translation

He opens before me pathways to God’s pleasure and leads me along in His footsteps of righteousness so I can bring honor to His name.

It is by walking with God in His strength and love that we become a walking, breathing testimony of God’s power in our lives. Others take note and see something different in us. It’s because we are transformed, being continually transformed into the image of Christ. It is our calling from Jesus Himself, Matthew 28:19-20. 

Psalm 23 Meaning | The Passion Translation TPT

Psalm 23 Verse 4a

Psalm 23 Commentary The Passion Translation

Lord, even when your path takes me through the valley of deepest darkness, fear will never conquer me, for You already have! You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way.

I want you to take special note of the beginning of this verse where it states “even when.” You see by walking with God, it doesn’t mean that you will not face pain, disappointment, or loss. Instead, when you experience these things, God will be with you guiding you through the darkness. 

God never abandons us in the darkness, but we must seek Him to find our strength and our way. He will guide us and bring us through the other side, just like He did with Jesus Christ. For when all seemed lost, Christ stood alive on the third day in the Grave. 

Don’t let your circumstances determine God’s power in your life. Will you run to Him or from Him? It’s always our choice for He is always with us waiting for us to walk with and in Him.

 

Psalm 23 Meaning | The Passion Translation TPT

Psalm 23 Verse 4b

Psalm 23 Commentary The Passion Translation

Your authority is my strength and peace.

The authority of God is an astonishing reality. God is the Creator of all things and is above time. God can silence the winds, bring sight to the blind, cast the demons from the tortured because God is the ultimate authority. 

Understanding and actively engaging in this reality will only enable you to dive deeply into the gifts of His strength and peace. These Fruit are always available, but it takes determination to continually seek to strengthen your connection, your relationship with God. 

 

Psalm 23 Meaning | The Passion Translation TPT

Psalm 23 Verse 4c

Psalm 23 Commentary The Passion Translation

 

The comfort of your love takes away my fear. I’ll never be lonely for You are near.

This is a reinforced concept already found in 2a where it states, “The Lord offers a resting place in His luxurious love.” It is no coincidence that this truth is repeated here. David, the author of this Psalm, clearly understands that it is all about God’s love. This is where he finds His hiding spot, his security. 

How well do you understand God’s love? How well do you actively engage in the love God has for you? Is it a difficult truth to accept, that God covers you in His love? If you said yes to any of these, I encourage you to bring your thoughts and concerns to God about this matter. Remember He already knows how you feel, even better than you do, and He simply wants you to bring Him your concerns, for this is what a healthy relationship looks like. 

 

Psalm 23 Meaning | The Passion Translation TPT

Psalm 23 Verse 5

Psalm 23 Commentary The Passion Translation

You become my delicious feast even when my enemies dare to fight. You anoint me with the fragrance of your Holy Spirit. You give me all I can drink of You until my heart overflows.

Again here is another reinforced thought from verse 4a, “even when.” David, who was God’s chosen king, a favored man of God’s, could not avoid people doing harm to him or having hardships. Look at what he says in his own words, “even when my enemies dare to fight.” 

David didn’t flee from adversity but embraced it with the only One who could truly handle it and take care of him, God. God creates a safe sanctuary even during strife. It is through the dwelling of the Holy Spirit that David is protected, and that same Spirit is given to every believer. However, the Spirit works with us and through us when we stay tethered to God. The key to everything is to walk closely with God who is always with us. 

 

Psalm 23 Meaning | The Passion Translation TPT

Psalm 23 Verse 6a

Psalm 23 Commentary The Passion Translation

So why would I fear the future? For your goodness and love pursue me all the days of my life.

In light of this profound realization of what God does for His followers, why would we ever fear the future? We usually fear the future because we don’t realize just how good and big God is, and how powerful and loving He is. lose sight so quickly because the pain that we are facing becomes the biggest thing in our life, and God shrinks or even disappears from our minds and thoughts. No, He doesn’t leave us, but we leave Him with our focus being on circumstances and not what He might be doing amid the challenges we’re facing.

 

Psalm 23 Meaning | The Passion Translation TPT

Psalm 23 Verse 6b

Psalm 23 Commentary The Passion Translation

Then afterward when my life is through, I’ll return to your glorious presence to be with You forever!

Psalm 23 concludes with a look toward the ultimate healing and restoration of relationship God has for us, which is eternity with Him. God fully understands how difficult this world is for us, and that’s why there are so many places in Scripture that point to the time when God will “wipe every tear” (Rev. 21:4). David recognizes here that God has a final peace in store, and while the enormity of God’s love and presence for us in this life is significant, it is also a foreshadowing of the redemption that awaits God’s people ultimately in the next life. Our eternal relationship with God begins in this life and carries on into the next. Psalm 23 concludes with a nod to this important focus and reminds us that no matter what failures or struggles we might encounter – God is waiting to take away all burdens completely and fully when this life and this world are over.

I love every single verse of this Psalm that I decided to make a collage as a reminder to focus on the truth of who God is and what He does always.

Psalm 23 Commentary The Passion Translation

Additional Resources

We have 21 short prayers for banishing fear. If you find yourself in a fearful framework today, check out these prayers.

Psalm 23 Meaning

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Psalm 23 is one of the most famous Psalms in the Bible. This post presents the beautiful new Passion Translation of Psalm 23. In addition, there is verse by verse meanings of Psalm 23, which will help you better understand this vital piece of Scripture and help connect it to your life in fresh new ways.