Dec 31, 2014

The Richness of the Psalms

“This great diversity of emotion and perspective is the source of Psalter’s richness for believers. Because the Psalter is a collection of poetry, it does not have a plot in the same way that narrative books of the Bible do. Nor does it have a central argument in the same way that the epistles of the New Testament do. Nor does it have a unified vision or source as many of the prophetic books of the Old Testament do. Comprised of a 150 compositions from many authors, the Psalter more resembles a great choir of witnesses than it does a story, or letter, or collection of visions. The Psalter gives voice to the faith struggles, theological insights, and liturgical witnesses than it does a story, or letter, or collection of visions. For this reason and others, even though more than two thousand years separate us from days when they were first written, the psalms continue to be central to the life of faith for both Christians and Jews. Near the beginning of life, people of faith memorize them as children at their mother’s feet. They sing or chant them when they come together for weekly worship. In times of trouble they recall the psalms’ words of promise and hope. And to mark the end of life, they utter them solemnly when they bury their fathers.” 

Nancy deClaissé-Walford, Rolf A. Jacobsen, and Beth LaNeel Tanner, The Book of Psalms, New International Commentary on the Old Testament, ed. Robert L. Hubbard Jr. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2014), 1–2.

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