Thoughts of John

What is on my mind.

The Psalms a Life Time of Learning



Schmutzer, Andrew J., and David M. Howard, eds. The Psalms: Language for All Seasons of the Soul. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2013. 288 pages. Amazon $21.94


The book has a fourfold purpose: 1. to celebrate the enormous impact the Psalter has had and continues to have in Christian faith; 2. to highlight the insights and work of present-day scholars who have studied the Psalms and understand both its tradition and current trends; 3. to weave together some primary theological, literary, and canonical themes of the Psalter; and 4. to offer a book that both trained pastors and professors of the Psalms can use as a tool (pg. 15-16).


The book is divided into five parts: Part 1, Psalms Studies in the Twenty-First Century; Part 2, Psalms of Praise; Part 3, Psalms of Lament; Part 4, Considering the Canon; Part 5, Communication the Psalms. The book is a collection of papers that grew out of the Psalms and Hebrew Poetry Consultation of the Evangelical Theological Society which was established in 2009. Some of the contributors include Bruce Waltke, William VanGemeren, Francis Kimmitt, Robert Chisholm Jr., Andrew Schmutzer, Michael Travers, Walter Kaiser, Allen Ross, Daniel Estes, Randall Gauthier, Robert Cole, David Howard, Jr., Michael Snearly, Tremper Longman III, Mark Futato, David Ridder, and John Piper. As one can tell there are a lot of contributors across many disciplines but all with a vast amount of knowledge and experience.


Part 1 looks at the theology of the Psalms through the life of Bruce Waltke. The Psalms for Waltke have been a life time of study and at each part of his life he gained something in his Christian life from the Psalms. In Part 2, Kimmitt writes about Psalm 46, a Psalm of praise. “Hymns of praise are to be sung or spoken in those moments in life when all is well in the world, when our lives are trouble free and well ordered. We join with the psalmist in praising and thanking God for who he is and what he has done for his people” (pg. 64). In Part 3, Kaiser gives a great definition for a Psalm of lament. “The literary form of ‘lament’ is one of a number of special literary genres that exist in the Bible in a shared pattern of communication that alerts the reader and listener as to how a text or speech is to be interpreted or understood. Such a lament forms may be called compositions of complaint, forms of petition, or examples of prayers, which present a specific need to God, not only so that special need may be resolved, but also that it may often ultimately end to the praise of God’s name and person” (pg. 127). In Part 4, the contributors look at the organization of the Psalms and how the entire book is divided up. Finally in Part 5, Futato, Ridder, and Piper teach the reader how to make the Psalms relevant for today’s Christian. The book is one big strength. I could not find any weaknesses. The only weakness that I would mention is that the book is advanced level reading and not intended to just be a quick read.


I would recommend the book for anyone who wants to gain a greater knowledge of the Psalms. The book is geared toward the pastor, seminary student, or Bible college student. I received this book for free from Moody Publishers for this review.


April 19, 2014 - Posted by | Bible, Bible Study, Biblical Interpretation, Book Review, Christian, Christianity, Church, God, Holy Spirit, Old Testament, Psalm, Psalms, Theology | , , , , , , , , , ,

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