Tag Archives: Psalms

Torah for the Heart

Torah for the Heart

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Musing on God's Music You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Living in a wicked world presents challenges for people attempting to walk the way of righteousness. We are constantly bombarded with competing images of the good life, and the wicked often appear to be flourishing. For this reason, God’s people must delight themselves in God’s Word, meditating on Scripture to the degree that our hearts… Continue Reading

Imagination Formed by Scripture’s Music

Imagination Formed by Scripture’s Music

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Musing on God's Music You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The way that you live will be controlled ultimately by your image of the good life—what it means to really flourish and prosper, And, in particular, your image of what it means to flourish in relation to God’s rule is what controls your life. This is what we have been seeing from Psalm 1 over… Continue Reading

What Shapes Your Image of the Good Life?

What Shapes Your Image of the Good Life?

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Musing on God's Music You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

A lot of Christians have the wrong image when they read Psalm 1. They think if they just choose the righteous path, then everything will be care free, without any trouble or adversity. But the psalter is here to show us what that blessed tree actually looks like and what the nature of growing will… Continue Reading

Contrasting Images of Blessedness

Contrasting Images of Blessedness

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Musing on God's Music You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

We are living in what potentially could be very discouraging times for Christians seeking to live lives that glorify the Lord. But as I pointed out last week, the book of Psalms has been structured to help us endure through these very kinds of times. Much of the book focuses on dark times of discouragement… Continue Reading

Praise in the Midst of Wickedness

Praise in the Midst of Wickedness

This entry is part of 5 in the series Musing on God's Music You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The Book of Psalms in Hebrew was originally called Tehillim—“Praises.” That probably doesn’t surprise you; we often associate the psalms with praise. We expect to find expressions of praise like “Hallelujah”—Praise the Lord! However, the book was called “Praises,” not actually because the book is just a collection of expressions of praise. In fact, while… Continue Reading

Psalm 130 in the Hands of the Great Composers

Psalm 130 in the Hands of the Great Composers

I recently walked through Psalm 130 with the congregation I pastor. Psalm 130 My Soul Waits for the Lord A Song of Ascents. [1] Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD! [2] O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy! [3] If… Continue Reading

What do “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” mean?

What do “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” mean?

The New Testament does not have a whole lot to say about music specifically, but the two primary passages that do, Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16, have certainly created a lot of debate and speculation. In particular, Christians have long puzzled over the meaning of the terms psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs in these passages. In the most… Continue Reading

Using Song to Shape Hearts of Repentence

Using Song to Shape Hearts of Repentence

This entry is part 11 of 13 in the series Out of the Depths You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Up to this point in our study of Psalm 130, we have talked only about the poetic part of a song, but Psalm 130 wasn’t read; Psalm 130 was sung. So I’d like to address the music side of things. Clearly the music—the melody, the harmony, and the rhythm—doesn’t make a clear statement like words… Continue Reading

Why We Sing Repentance

Why We Sing Repentance

This entry is part 10 of 13 in the series Out of the Depths You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Psalm 130, a corporate song of repentance, has shown us the power of art to both tell us what true repentance should be like and also show us artistically through use of metaphors, and repetition, careful word choice, and names for God. And this is why we sing. We sing not only to say right things, although… Continue Reading

Psalm 130 – A Gospel Song

Psalm 130 – A Gospel Song

This entry is part 4 of 13 in the series Out of the Depths You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

We have been looking at the message of Psalm 130 and have noticed that it is a penitential psalm and a song of corporate worship. The final stanza (verses 7-8) in particular reveal its congregational focus, proclaiming that God will redeem all of his people from their iniquities. You see, this penitential psalm is not… Continue Reading

Should We Sing Repentance?

Should We Sing Repentance?

This entry is part 1 of 13 in the series Out of the Depths You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

First John 1:9 commands us as Christians to regularly confess our sins to God as part of our progressive sanctification: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Here is a simple, clear statement of our need for repentance. We should… Continue Reading

Reformation Hymns

Reformation Hymns

Reformation Sunday is coming up on October 29, and this year is particularly special since we are celebrating the 500 year anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation. In our church, each year on Reformation Sunday we sing Reformation hymns, that is, hymns that in some way connect to the Reformers and the movement they… Continue Reading

A Resurrection Psalm

A Resurrection Psalm

Paul commands us to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. We can (and do!) debate the identity of hymns and spiritual songs, but we know what a psalm is. And for this reason, our church has adopted the practice of regularly singing the psalms. In particular, we have a “psalm of the month,” which we… Continue Reading

Psalmody and Hymnody as appropriate unifiers

Psalmody and Hymnody as appropriate unifiers

This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series Worship and Doctrinal Distinctives You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been showing how particular issues related to worship theology and practice–namely, baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and the regulative principle–have historically and necessarily divided Christians into various denominations. It was not core doctrines such as the sufficiency of Scripture or justification by faith alone that divided Christians; for… Continue Reading

To what do “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” refer?

To what do “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” refer?

I don’t give quite as much weight to what the Reformers said as Scott Clark, nor do I think his conclusions mean we must sing only psalms, but his explanation of “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” is exactly what I teach my students. Here’s a snippet: In short, when the Reformed thought about “psalms, hymns,… Continue Reading

Of Psalms, Hymns, And Spiritual Songs And The RPW

Of Psalms, Hymns, And Spiritual Songs And The RPW

This comment about psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs in Colossians 3:16 and Ephesians 5:19 is an important one that I regularly teach when I lecture on these passages: If you were in Ephesus when Paul’s letter arrived, and you had a Bible in your church, it was a Septuagint. As you browsed through the Book… Continue Reading

William Ames on the connection between prayer, singing, and outward expressions

William Ames on the connection between prayer, singing, and outward expressions

In the second book of The Marrow of Theology, William Ames’s (1576-1633) classic Post-Reformation work, Ames deals with a number of matters related to practical theology. The ninth chapter discusses prayer.1 As you will see, Ames’s approach to this topic is helpful from a historical and practical perspective. Prayer, Ames says, can be outward or inward–mental or audible.… Continue Reading