The Psalms: Language for All Seasons of the Soul

The Psalms: Language for All Seasons of the Soul

by Andrew J Schmutzer
     
 

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The Psalms: Language for All Seasons of the Soul brings together essays from eighteen Old Testament scholars discussing the latest in Psalms scholarship and applying exegetical insights to the life of faith.

These essays explore the full range of emotion expressed in the Psalms-from elation to distress-while weaving together observations from biblical

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Overview

The Psalms: Language for All Seasons of the Soul brings together essays from eighteen Old Testament scholars discussing the latest in Psalms scholarship and applying exegetical insights to the life of faith.

These essays explore the full range of emotion expressed in the Psalms-from elation to distress-while weaving together observations from biblical scholarship and theology. The reader will gain valuable insights into how the Psalms speak to his or her soul.  

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

A comprehensive overview of approaches to reading and interpreting the Psalms, from a conservative evangelical perspective.
This book is a collection of 19 essays from various authors within evangelical Christianity. It is a dense and scholarly work. Pastors and theology students would probably be the ones to most benefit from this book. This is not to say that the average Christian sitting in the pews wouldn't benefit from reading these essays, but because of some of the technical content it may be difficult for the average reader to understand all that is contained.
I, coming from a more liberal and progressive position, approached the reading of this book a little more skeptically. Although it was clear that I would not be in full agreement with many of the theological and interpretative positions held by most of the essayists, I was pleasantly surprised to discover the robust way in which they engaged opposing and differing views in a respectful manner.
In spite of the fact that, in many instances, the essayists and I would likely reach different interpretive conclusions, I feel that they have offered me new tools that I can use to work through the Psalms. They have opened my eyes to a new way of seeing the Psalms.

- Mark Kubo, review in Net Galley, September 19, 2013

This book is a treasure of all things Psalms. Each chapter is not very long. There are well marked emphasis to help readers understand the structures of each argument. At the same time, the many perspectives summarized by each contributor will leave readers refreshed and encouraged by the diversity of views that will aid the diversity of worship. More importantly, it is a reminder to us that when God speaks, he does not just speak to any one people group. He speaks to all. Psalms is indeed a language for all seasons.

Rating: 4.75 stars of 5.

Review by Conrad Yape, October 11, 2013, Net Galley

Full Text: I'm planning on spending a lot of time in the Psalms this year so I've been looking for books that will help me get the most from my reading. The Psalms: Language for All Seasons of the Soul was the perfect book at the perfect time.

You will find the journey through this forest dense. It's not your entry level reading, but there's so much beauty to behold. It's worth the steady toil. Also, the chapters get gradually less technical. The last part gathers sermons on particular Psalms and so readability increases there.

The Psalms starts with big picture concerns. Three chapters discuss scholarship and studies on the Psalms and set the ground work for the methods and interpretation applied later. You might be tempted to skip over these chapters if you're not used to thicker reading, but they are important for understanding the concepts in later chapters. I appreciate the focus on the transcendence of the Psalms in this section (beyond the individual and corporate settings), the push back against Western individualism, and the encouragement to re-approach the faith tradition of our forefathers for understanding the Psalms (the church today, for instance, doesn't quite know what to do with lament, whereas traditions of the past were able to grasp and incorporate this into their everyday faith and liturgy).

The second and third parts forage for nourishment in the Psalms of praise and lament. For pastors who are looking to preach from the Psalms, these sections are where theory meets application and everyday life. You could live in these chapters for weeks. Our churches today seem comfortable in the Psalms of praise. We have an abundance of good praise songs--some of which directly pull from the Psalms of praise--but as stated earlier we are woefully confused when we approach laments. A few observations from the book about lament. First, lament is not the same thing as confession of sin. Lament and confession often travel together, but lament is more of a sorrow and grieving over sin. Second, lament and praise are often paired. Michael E. Travers quotes C. S. Lewis calling this pairing ""severe delight'" (125). Confession and lament can feel severe, but restored fellowship with God is a delight so we praise. Third, laments are complaints against God to God. This shouldn't be confused with grumbling like we see in Exodus. That was complaints about God but not to Him. One God encourages and other He judges. Last, laments force the believer to fall back on the promises of God (144). We see this time and time again in the Psalter's laments. You have this intense lament then a rehearsal of God's promises thereafter.

The fourth part looks at the Psalms as a whole. This section is concerned with the overall content, arrangement, and thematic unfolding. I enjoyed the first chapter in this section by Robert Cole. In it he argues that Psalms 1 & 2 are an introduction. He also demonstrates that the righteous man in Psalms 1 is revealed as the Messianic King in Psalms 2. As a whole, this fourth part provides new eyes for reading through the Psalms. All the authors did a great job focusing on the Messianic themes and structures in the Psalms. An excellent section for those looking to preach the Psalms with Jesus Christ as the center. The final section is filled with sermons and deals with communicating all the information provided previously in a way that engages. These are sermons that focus on Jesus Christ and Christians lamenting to God. I found these sermons as chapters a refreshing way to end an arduous journey.

For those who love the Psalms and also sense that there's an authentic spirituality found in them that's missing today, The Psalms provides a fresh and helpful way to read this biblical poetry. A way which turns our attention back to the corporate nature of Christian living. A way which turns our eyes to Jesus Christ and allows us to get a sense of the tension these early Christians experienced living before the advent of Messiah. A way which allows us to lament honestly to our God about the suffering we experience in the here and now.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Review by Mathew Sims, Net Galley

This compilation of essays taken from the dedicated work 18 Old Testament scholars, each with their own area of expertise, is not for the faint at heart of for the person looking for a light, devotional read. It is scholarly and it is in depth. The diamond that is the Psalms sparkles in these pages.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Review by John Nielsen, Net Galley

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802409621
Publisher:
Moody Publishers
Publication date:
10/01/2013
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

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Read an Excerpt

The Psalms

Language for All Seasons of the Soul


By Andrew J. Schmutzer, David M. Howard Jr.

Moody Publishers

Copyright © 2013 Andrew J. Schmutzer and David M. Howard Jr.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8024-8718-6



CHAPTER 1

Biblical Theology of the Psalms Today

A Personal Perspective

BY BRUCE K. WALTKE


The Consultation's steering committee has asked me to focus on the biblical theology of the Psalms, specifically consisting of three parts: "my story" with the Psalms, what I have especially learned about the Psalms, and my reflections on the future of Psalms studies. This paper has essentially these three parts, though the first receives the lion's share, and the last two are treated much more briefly.


MY STORY WITH THE PSALMS

The First Step: Teaching Exegesis

My story with the Psalms can be analyzed in nine metaphorical steps. I took my first step in 1963 when, upon my return from Harvard University to Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS), I began to teach second-year Hebrew students the science and art of exegesis. As is well known, exegesis consists of multiple spiral-like processes, beginning with the parts of a text entailed in the grammatico-historical method and ending with a reflection on the text's whole message, refined with each rereading of the text.

In short, a text's message depends on the parts (e.g., historical context, philology, figures of speech, prosody) and the message provides the literary context in which to interpret the parts. To develop exegetical skill the student must repeat that spiral exercise several times. Problematically, the extended nature of most of the Old Testament literature does not allow a second-year student, who has limited reading skills, to see the parts of a text in light of the whole. The psalms, however, are short, restricted texts, allowing the student to rework the text in light of the whole, and so they are ideal specimens for teaching the principles of exegesis.


The Second Step: A Plenary Lectureship

I took my second step in 1967. Knowing of my exegetical work in second-year Hebrew, the seminary administration asked me to teach the book of Psalms to the entire DTS family. Dallas Seminary annually devoted four plenary two-week sessions for the exposition of important biblical books. They did this so that students would "catch" the art of expository preaching. Usually DTS asked a well-known, popular Bible expositor to teach a book, but in the spring of 1967 the administration made an exception and asked me to give the plenary lectureship on the book of Psalms. In preparation for the lectureship I researched the relatively recent history of Psalms studies. From that research I analyzed the commentaries on the Psalms into five approaches:

1. The traditional-historical approach, which accepted the veracity of the superscription and is best represented by Franz Delitzsch (1813–1890).

2. The literary-analytical approach, which dated the Psalms to the second-temple period and is well represented in the International Critical Commentary by C. A. Briggs (1841–1913).

3. The form-critical approach, which, having rejected the credability of the superscripts, sought to reconstruct a psalm's Sitz im Leben by its genres (Gattungen), and is best represented by Hermann Gunkel (1862–1932), the originator of this approach.

4. The cult-functional approach, which, while employing form-criticism, sought to interpret the Psalms in light of the first-temple cultus, and is represented most notably by its founder, Sigmund Mowinckel (1884–1965).

5. The eschatological-Messianic approach, which interpreted the Psalms in light of Christ's first and second advents, and is best represented by Christ and his apostles.


As for the historical approach, philology, ancient translations, and ancient Near Eastern hymns support the notion that the superscripts are historically reliable. As for the form-critical approach, I nearly fell off my chair when, in connection with my researching for another project, I read 1 Chronicles 16:4. There the chronicler distinguishes what I had already judged as legitimate forms three of the five forms of psalms that had been identified by Gunkel: petition/lament, confession of answered petition, and praise of God as Creator of the cosmos and Redeemer of Israel. Of the many commentators since Gunkel using the form-critical approach, I found Claus Westermann's Praise and Lament in the Psalms most helpful. As for the cult-functional approach, the references within the Psalter to sacred personnel—especially the king—sacred sites, sacred seasons, and sacred institutions validated Mowinckel's correction of Gunkel's approach, albeit not his theory of an Enthronement Festival as part of Israel's cultus. As for the eschatological-messianic approach, the New Testament use of the Psalms validates this approach.


The Third and Fourth Steps in My Interpretation

In 1980 I advanced two steps in my interpretation of the Psalter. The third step came about through Brevard Childs' canonical approach, as argued in his Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture. My understanding of this approach was enriched in my writing the article on the canonical process approach for the Feinberg Festschrift (1980). In this article I argued that as the canon developed, the incipient Messianic Psalms were reinterpreted more precisely with reference of the Messiah.

James Kugel's work The Idea of Biblical Poetry: Parallelism and Its History pushed me to my fourth step. Unfortunately I read Kugel's landmark work while on an airplane, traveling to deliver a lecture on Hebrew poetry. When I stepped off the plane, I realized that my prepared lecture, which was founded on Lowth's analysis of Hebrew poetry, was wrongheaded and passé. When I later stepped behind the lectern, I jettisoned my prepared notes and précised Kugel's work.


The Fifth Step: Reading Alter's Biblical Poetry

The fifth step occurred as a result of reading The Art of Biblical Poetry by Robert Alter. His study prompted me to add the rhetorical approach to my exegetical toolbox, which now included a whole new vocabulary, including "inclusio," "janus," and "chiasm."


The Sixth Step: Understanding Anthologies like Psalms, Proverbs

The sixth involved two doctoral dissertations: the Yale doctoral dissertation by the late Gerald Henry Wilson, The Editing of the Hebrew Psalter, and the University of St. Michael's College doctoral dissertation by Raymond Van Leeuwen, Context and Meaning in Proverbs 25–27. These two dissertations convinced me that anthologies, such as the book of Psalms and the book of Proverbs, are intentionally arranged to give semantic depth to the individual psalm or proverb. According to this thesis, editors collected and consciously arranged songs or wisdom sayings to give them semantic depth. The notes by the late John Stek in the NIV Study Bible are at the cutting edge of this approach to the book of Psalms.

Wilson argued, convincingly to me, that the editors of the Psalter succeeded in achieving a sequential "theological intentionality" in the Psalter's current shape. According to this thesis, there is a historical movement reflected in the arrangement of the Psalter. For example, Books IV and V are a response to Psalm 89, a psalm that complains that the Davidic covenant failed, redirecting among things Israel's reliance on an earthly monarchy to the appreciation of I AM's eternal kingship, the message, for example, for Psalm 90.


The Seventh Step: Comparative Studies at Westminster

The seventh step was taken in connection with teaching a doctoral-level course on the Psalms at Westminster Theological Seminary (1989). My own comparative studies of the Psalms with ancient Near Eastern hymns convinced me that Thirtle (1904) rightly divided the so-called superscripts into both superscripts and subscripts. Thirtle based his argument on Habakkuk 3, a psalm in isolation. Here the editorial superscript at the beginning of Habakkuk 3, "a psalm of Habakkuk," pertains to genre and authorship, and the subscript at the end of chapter 3, "for the director of music," pertains to musical directions. I observed the same division of superscripts and of subscripts in ancient Near Eastern texts from Mesopotamia to Egypt. In the book of Psalms, however, there are no subscripts. Rather the editorial musical notations, "for the director of music," often with other musical notations, always precede the editorial notations about genre and authorship.

This internal evidence from the Psalter, the external evidence of Habakkuk 3, and the extrabiblical data from the ancient Near East persuaded me that there was a massive, early textual error of the book of Psalms, namely, that in fifty-five psalms having the notice "to the musical director," the prose subscript of a preceding psalm became confounded with prose superscript of the following psalm. In an article entitled, "Superscripts, Postscripts, or Both" (1991), I argued the case that the superscripts pertained to a psalm's composition and its subscript to its performance. An anonymous external referee of that critical journal scrawled on the article, "Excellent," and no scholar since then, to my knowledge, has refuted it. Disappointingly, however, scholars since 1991 have mostly ignored it. Perhaps this is so both because of my reputation as an evangelical conservative who tends to accept the biblical claims of its own authorship until proven otherwise, and the article's strong inference that the superscripts are an integral part of a psalm and historically creditable.


The Eighth Step: Teaching Hermeneutics

I took my eighth step forward when in 1991, upon my return from Westminster Theological Seminary to Regent College, the college assigned me to teach hermeneutics, the only required course in the college. Until then I had not forged a reasonable link between spiritual discernment and scientific exegesis, though I knew experientially that both were necessary. I vividly recall, upon my return from Harvard to the Dallas classroom, a student asking me their linkage, and my inability to give a cogent answer. About thirty years later the Regent course on hermeneutics compelled me to forge a reasonable link between the role of the Holy Spirit's illumination and of the scientific method.

I found the linkage through reflecting upon Paul's succinct statement regarding the verbal, plenary inspiration of Scripture: "all Scripture is inspired of God" (2 Tim. 3:16, author translation). Let me explain the linkage that works for me.

Every object has a logic to its composition, and so to understand an object one must first discern that logic. For example, to study the stars, one must first perceive their distance from earth and in that realization craft a telescope to see them better. By contrast, to understand a microorganism, one must first perceive its smallness to realize the necessity of crafting a microscope to study the organism. Likewise to understand the Bible we must first understand its logic to craft a reasonable method for its study.

The subject, predicate, and modifier phrase of 2 Tim. 3:16, "all Scripture is inspired of God," provides an insight into the Bible's logic: (1) "of God," a genitive of authorship, identifies God as a text's Author; (2) "inspired" implies a human author; and (3) "all Scripture" denotes a text. Each of these three demands that the exegete craft the proper instrument (i.e., method) for understanding a biblical text, albeit they must be used together because the three components are combined in a unified text. The first two factors pertain to personal authors and so demand a spiritual commitment on the part of the interpreter, and the third demands approaching the text with the detached objectivity of a scientist. To understand the divine Author the interpreter needs the spiritual illumination of the Holy Spirit, an illumination contingent on the spiritual virtues of faith, hope, and love.

J. A. Ernesti, the product of the so-called scientific Enlightenment, pitted the scientific method against this spiritual method. He denied the proposition "that the Scriptures cannot be properly explained without prayer, and a pious simplicity of mind." By contrast, Augustine in his De Doctrina Christiana demarcates clearly that the principles of theological inquiry and the claims for truth are distinctive, when they are "Christian." Augustine contrasts Christian scholarship with classical scholarship in important ways, even when classical procedures for rhetoric are still imitated, and then modified. This quote by Hilary of Poitiers (ca. 320–367/8) illustrates vividly how the early fathers understood the necessity of a devotional approach to the Psalter, as indeed all Scripture: "God can only be known by devotion," he wrote. Elsewhere Hilary says that God requires "warmth of faith." According to this church father, the knowledge of I AM begins with the receptivity of the eternally precedent Being, God. Thus, "only in receiving can we know."

As for the human author, the author's personal dimension demands an appropriate psychology for understanding him. Superior intellectual talent and superb education, though not to be despised, cannot render one fit to interpret the Scripture. To understand an author, a reader must encounter the author with sympathy, not merely empathy.

As for the text, the interpreter must exercise the grammatico-grammatical method of interpretation. That scientific method demands various kinds of criticisms: historical criticism (in the derived [i.e., bastardized] sense of understanding a text's historical context), literary criticism, form criticism, rhetorical criticism, and so forth. These tools were unknown throughout most of the church's history, but Providence has given them to the contemporary exegete, and he or she has a responsibility to honor that Providence and not to ignore the tools God has given us.

Taking these three factors into consideration enabled me to see the connection between spiritual illumination and scientific exegesis and to modify intellectually my mostly lip service to spiritual interpretation in contrast to my de facto commitment to scientific exegesis.


The Ninth Step: Writing a Psalms Commentary

After taking these eight steps I now felt ready to take my ninth step and actually write commentary on the Psalms. The material appears in The Psalms as Christian Worship and in Psalms as Christian Lament by James M. Houston and Bruce K. Waltke. Professor Houston is the founder of Regent Collegeand formerly an Oxford lecturer on the history of geography and a recognized specialist in the history of ideas. I originally intended to write a commentary on selected psalms, but Professor Houston persuaded me that I should include for each one a history of the psalm's interpretation. I recognized the legitimacy of his concern and also my limitations in that connection. So I suggested we co-author the work with my hearing the voice of the psalmist and his hearing the voice of the church in response.

Our interaction profited me immensely. For the first time I listened to the voice of the church from apostles to the present and that voice enabled me to hear more clearly the prophetic voice of the psalmist in his hope for Messiah. Now I met firsthand such great churchmen as Origen, Hilary of Poitiers, the remarkable Herbert of Horsham (1120–1194), and Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274).

These pre-Reformation commentators, who center on Christ with piety and passion, are in fact more biblical than academics who dispassionately and scientifically explain the text both without considering its canonical context and without passion and devotion to Christ. The Christ-centered piety and devotion of these commentators before the recovery of the plain sense by the Reformers should be treasured, not trashed. Although some of their interpretations appear to moderns as ridiculous and silly, for the most part they stayed within the parameters of orthodoxy—that is to say, within the parameters of the apostolic traditions as they found later expression in the creeds of the early church, especially the Nicene Creed.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Psalms by Andrew J. Schmutzer, David M. Howard Jr.. Copyright © 2013 Andrew J. Schmutzer and David M. Howard Jr.. Excerpted by permission of Moody Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

The Psalms: Language for All Seasons of the Soul is the product of a magnificent collaboration of evangelical scholars in their careful reading and exegesis of select Psalms of various genres, reading the psalter as a whole book, and profound reflection on the meaning and preaching of the Psalms. It is an impressive book that will serve well as a textbook for classes on the Psalms, exposing students to the best of scholarship in the field as well as the spirituality of the Psalter itself.

Richard E. Averbeck

Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages,Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois

The Psalter has always been an essential theological and spiritual resource for Christians seeking to live faithfully. Showcasing the best in evangelical scholarship this present volume not only orients readers to key issues in the recent study of the Psalms, but unpacks the power of these ancient poems for contemporary living. Whether you read and use the Psalter on a regular basis or avoid it through fear or confusion, this volume will capture your imagination for the potential of psalms for sharpening your theology and deepening your faith. 

Mark J. Boda
Professor of Old Testament, McMaster Divinity College, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Schmutzer and Howard have achieved the rare feast of creating a book for "all seasons of the soul." It reaches that rare equilibrium of rigorous scholarship, profound spirituality, and practical relevance, all the while without sacrificing the integrity of the Word as divine revelation.

Dan Aurelian Botica

Lecturer, The Emanuel University of Oradea, Oradea, Romania

This book celebrates the lasting significance of the Psalms for the church. Through the centuries, in seasons of pain and pleasure, the Psalms have testified to the faithfulness of Yahweh and given Christians a voice for lament and praise. The volume supplies an effective guide and model that should serve both student and preacher and assist the church in recovering this biblical hymnbook.

Jason S. DeRouchie

Associate Professor of Old Testament, Bethlehem College and Seminary, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Books on the Psalter tend to fall into two categories. They are either wholly devotional, popular works that lack any real interaction with current scholarship or thoroughly scholarly monographs that say little to the church. Few books successfully bridge the gap between the two worlds. The Psalms: Language for All Seasons of the Soul, however, admirably draws together academic research and the life of faith.

Duane Garrett

John R. Sampey Professor of Old Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky

The Psalms: Language for All the Seasons of the Soul is a delightful and insightful combination of the academic and the exegetical. This volume is comprised of a fascinating series of articles that will feed both mind and soul, and it encourages reading the Psalter from beginning to end, i.e., with the "grain" of the book.

Jamie Grant

Academic Vice-Principal, Highland Theological College, Iverness, Scotland

These carefully chosen essays offer a smorgasbord served by some of the most distinguished specialists in Psalms studies. They apprise the reader of current trends in Psalms study and provide important keys to interpretation, theology, and pastoral care. I commend this volume to pastors and scholars alike, who will find it enlightening and useful.

John W. Hilber

Professor of Old Testament, Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan

The Psalms offers exciting insights into the interpretation and texts of the biblical Psalms. It guides the reader into the twentieth-first-century study of the Psalms; shows the importance of reading the Psalms as a book; and makes the Psalms vivid for today. A library or classroom is not complete without this book. 

Dirk J. Human

Deputy Dean Faculty of Theology & Head of Department of Old Testament Studies, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa 

This book is a wonderful reflection of the Psalms themselves, exploring in cascading waves the same fundamental issues: God and his people, confidence and praise, sorrow and lament, life and death. Each article like each psalm has different, complementary insights, and each author like each psalmist has a living, interrogating, proclaiming faith. From the opening essays on biblical theology to the closing sermons, by way of the created world, the tension of pain and praise, the role of the king, and the formation of the psalter, these leading evangelical academics write from the heart as well as the head. Biblical study at its best!

Philip S. Johnston
Senior Tutor, Hughes Hall & Member of the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England

Understanding the Psalms is critical for recognizing the unique attributes of God in order for us to worship and obey Him properly. I am truly honored to recommend this work, which reveals the Almighty's goodness and grace, wholeheartedly to every pastor, Bible student, and believer.

Saji K. Lukos

President of RIMI and Mission India
President of Mission India Theological Seminary, Nagpur, India

I read this book and it made me want to go and immediately begin a preaching series on the Psalms. Sometimes I measure books by how great a push they give you to preach. I rank this book very high on that score! Let this excellent book serve as a guide so you can see how great His reign is. 

Jason Meyer

Pastor for Preaching and Vision, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Pain and suffering.  Joy and delight.  Frustration and lament.  Worship and praise.  The entire canvas of human emotions finds its expression in the Psalms.  Yet this ancient hymnbook is rarely mined to its sublime depths.  This valuable book, edited by Schmutzer and Howard, equips scholars and lay people alike to 'rightly divide' the psalter.  Read from the masters and gain keen insights into this much loved portion of Scripture.

Paul Nyquist

President, Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, Illinois

This is a valuable and delicious collection of essays on the Psalter. The holistic ethos underlying the essays-which seeks to overcome conventional scholarly separation of exegesis from tradition, individual piety from community, interpretation from faith and biblical theology from preaching-is both bold and ambitious but important and necessary.

 Vincent K. H. Ooi

Lecturer in Old Testament, Malaysia Baptist Theological Seminary, Penang, Malaysia

Along with the Psalms themselves, God has blessed his people with keen and probing minds that continue to grapple with the longings, disorientations, and truths that the psalms express.   These essays provide many wonderful introductions to that great conversation.

John Ortberg

Senior Pastor, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, Menlo Park, California

As one who serves pastors, church planters and other spiritual leaders, I highly recommend this work to all who love the Scriptures and love to teach.  Its editors and authors share a high view of God's Word and address contemporary issues related to the Psalms with wisdom, keen insights and a passion for God's glory.

Jerry Sheveland

President, Converge Worldwide (Baptist General Conference), Arlington Heights, Illinois

Without in any way slighting the very best of source criticism and literary analysis, The Psalms restores to us a much maligned but absolutely central aspect of Biblical psalmody: namely, good old-fashioned piety. It is good to have the Psalms back.

Ian Stackhouse

Senior Minister, Guildford Baptist Church, Guildford, England, U.K.

The combination in this collection of technical studies, theological emphases, application discussions, and sermonic examples is brilliant. If you really want to understand and/or explain how and why the Psalms are so important to Christian faith and practice, get this book.

Douglas Stuart

Professor of Old Testament, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Hamilton, Massachusetts

These essays are written with a high view of the Psalms as the Word of God and a deep knowledge of the Hebrew text, motivated by a Christ-centered piety. This work is paradigmatic for an evangelical approach to the Bible, wherein the scholarship and spirituality intertwine with one another.  This volume is a useful tool for every student of the Bible, pastor, and preacher alike.

Silviu Tatu

Associate Professor of Old Testament Exegesis and Theology, Pentecostal Theological Institute, Bucharest, Romania

An important guide for our journey in life with the Psalms! I have been teaching the book of Psalms for years and have found it important to have a holistic approach to it. As one of the church's greatest treasures, the church needs to understand how it speaks to us today. Schmutzer and Howard's book hits all these points!

Brian G. Toews

Provost, Cairn University, Langhorne, Pennsylvania

Being intimately involved with the Church in China amid the turmoil and violence of the Cultural Revolution, I witnessed the banning of Bibles as well as public Bible burnings.   Believers could only draw strength from the Scriptures they remembered.  And by far, more than any other books of the Bible, it was the Psalms that were most memorized, recited, and hand copied.  This book will indeed speak new inspiration to God's people today!

David Wang

President Emeritus, Asian Outreach
Founder, Hosanna Foundation, Hong Kong

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