Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Psalms: Language for All Seasons of the Soul Paperback – October 1, 2013
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
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’mplanning 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 starsReview by John Nielsen, Net Galley
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 faithfulnessof 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.
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.
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 theygive 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.
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.
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.
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 sharea 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
President Emeritus, Asian Outreach
Founder, Hosanna Foundation, Hong Kong
Top customer reviews
Helped me enormously to appreciate where studies on the Psalms have travelled over the the past century or so. Helps prayer life too.
"If the Bible is about GOD’s in-breaking of HIS kingdom, that is to say, of HIS will being done on earth as it is in heaven, then the Psalms are the faithful voice of the people of GOD in response to HIS saving history. In the Psalms we hear the voice of the faithful petitioning GOD to irrupt into the world with HIS just rule; and of praising HIM for HIS faithfulness to HIS creation of the world that sustains them and for HIS faithfulness to them in their salvation history. More specifically, we hear the voice of Israel in corporate solidarity - that is to say, in a covenant relationship - with their king who expresses their common voice of praise and petition. As such the historical king and Israel are a type of CHRIST and HIS church.” Bruce K Waltke
The book is divided into five different main sections: (1) Psalms Studies in the Twenty-First Century (2) Psalms of Praise: Expressing Our Joys (3) Psalms of Lament: Expressing Our Sorrows (4) Considering the Canon: The Psalter as a Book (5) Communicating the Psalms: Bringing the Psalms into the Present Day. Through these main sections, the different authors present new and fresh perspectives regarding the book of Psalms.
Pastors and those in ministry may find section 5 especially useful for you as preachers. In this section you can find four sermons on the book of Psalm delivered by four different preachers. It is sometimes hard trying to preach on any of the Psalms of lament. This section provides pastor with many insightful ideas about how to preach on the book of Psalms.
Writing style is accessible for every reader. However, some chapters contain some Hebrew words for those who can read Hebrew. If you, like me, do not read Hebrew, do not worry. The amount of Hebrew terms does not interfere with the ease of understanding of the book.
Summarizing, this book is a necessary resource for pastors and Bible students in general who want to deepen into the book of Psalms, the psalter. Your perspective about the books of Psalms will never be the same.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review
I come from a tradition that reads the Psalms through, every month, as part of daily prayer. We also regularly chant the Psalms in worship. So the Psalms have played an integral and primary role in training my own prayer language.
This collection has eighteen highly-esteemed biblical scholars to share perspectives on the way we faithfully read the Psalms, and how those same Psalms influence and shape our prayers and worship. The Psalms highlights the theological, literary, and canonical shape of the book in an accessible way for pastors and Sunday School teachers.
The book itself is divided into five parts. Part I highlights the way the Psalms have been studied in academia in recent years. It sets the context for the various ways the Psalms are read in the rest of the collection. Parts II and III discuss a variety of psalms from two different genres (lament and praise). Part IV is perhaps the strongest part of this collection, and discusses the key areas for contemporary Psalm studies. But it's Part V -- "Communicating the Psalms" -- that most pastors will find useful.
The Psalms is a real treasure for Psalm studies. It brings together so many different voices -- much like Psalms itself -- who together still sing the praises of God and give voice to the variety of genres in the Book of Psalms itself. Most importantly, this book reminds us God's words speak to all of God's faithful, not just isolated individuals.
I received a free copy of this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for my honest review here.
Most recent customer reviews
This book contains essays by evangelical scholars and pastors.Read more