- Paperback: 88 pages
- Publisher: Augsberg Fortress - eBooks Account (January 1, 1974)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0806614390
- ISBN-13: 978-0806614397
- Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 0.5 x 6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 164 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible
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1. It provided a good overview of how to classify Psalms under particular topics. So those psalms that are about guilt, suffering, the church, the Law, etc. This is particularly useful when understanding how to use them when praying.
2. It had a brief 20 page biographical sketch of Bonhoeffer's life that I appreciated. Reading more extensive bios on him has always been on my list but I haven't been able to get to it, so having this abridged version gave me some insights into the man.
I've been using the Psalms in my daily prayer life for a little while now and this is a very useful accompaniment to better understanding how to use particular Psalms when praying.
Nevertheless, I think it sufficiently accomplishes its purpose. It helps us to begin praying with the Psalms. Prudence must be exercised here because no book can actually teach us how to do this. We learn in the doing. The book does give us good reason for beginning to do this. It gives the reader insights into the reality of what is actually happening when we do this, for instance, "The Christian will find scarcely any difficulty in the praying of these Psalms. However, the question could arise as to how one is to think about the fact that Christ also prays these Psalms with us."
The Master, Bonhoeffer also gives us situations wherein we can find prayerful help in praying the Psalms. The following are a sampling:
SUFFERING: The Psalter gives us ample instruction in how to come before God in a proper way, bearing the frequent suffering which this world brings upon us.... They do not deny it or try to deceive us about it with pious words.... Because it happens with God's will, indeed because God knows it completely and knows it better than we ourselves, only God can help."
GUILT: "There is such a thing as the confident leaving behind of sin for the sake of Jesus Christ."
THE END: "... the Psalms request fellowship with God in earthly life, but they know that this fellowship is not completed in earthly life but continues beyond it, even stands in opposition to it."
In these situations, Bonhoeffer points us to the Psalms most useful to us, for instance the Psalms of Lamentation.
It's a very small book worth the read.
The second cannon of the second Council of Nicea (787 AD) states, "Candidates for a bishop's orders must know the Psalter by heart and must have read thoroughly, not cursorily, all the sacred Scriptures"; that this discipline was also a regular practice of pastors and lay people of that day should be enough to give most people pause on the value of the Psalms in a person's life.