10 March, 2006

The Little Bible

For centuries Reformed Christians have loved the book of Psalms. We have sung them, we have found comfort in them, and especially, we have found much of the Lord Jesus Christ in them! John Calvin called the book of Psalms a complete anatomy of the parts of the soul. The Psalms truly are a "little Bible" as Luther called them- they are full of vibrant, living, and experiential Christianity.

In 1560 a translation of the Bible (complete with Psalms for singing) was completed by some of the world's most foremost Reformed scholars and pastors. This translation, and the notes especially, continue to be loved and cherished by many in the Reformed and Presbyterian tradition. Here is the Geneva Bible's introduction to the book of Psalms. It embodies the way in which the Reformed have viewed this book:

This book of psalms is given to us by the Holy Spirit, to be esteemed as a precious treasure in which all things are contained that bring to true happiness in this present life as well as in the life to come. For the riches of true knowledge and heavenly wisdom, are here set open for us, to take of it most abundantly. If we would know the great and high majesty of God, here we may see the brightness of it shine clearly. If we would seek his incomprehensible wisdom, here is the school of the same profession. If we would comprehend his inestimable bounty, and approach near to it, and fill our hands with that treasure, here we may have a most lively and comfortable taste of it. If we would know where our salvation lies and how to attain to everlasting life, here is Christ our Redeemer, and Mediator most evidently described. The rich man may learn the true use of his riches. The poor man may find full contentment. He who will rejoice will know true joy, and how to keep measure in it. They who are afflicted and oppressed will see what their comfort exists in, and how they should praise God when he sends them deliverance. The wicked and the persecutors of the children of God will see how the hand of God is always against them: and though he permits them to prosper for a while, yet he bridles them, so much so that they cannot touch a hair of ones head unless he permits them, and how in the end their destruction is most miserable. Briefly here we have most present remedies against all temptations and troubles of mind and conscience, so that being well practiced in this, we may be assured against all dangers in this life, live in the true fear and love of God, and at length attain the incorruptible crown of glory, which is laid up for all who love the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

8 comments:

James w. Lanning said...

on the plus side, you can check out arcgr.org/sermons and tell me what you think, nate.

Rachel said...

Ah, the Psalms. I love them. It is always delightful to visit a church where Psalms are sung. Many hymn-singing churches entirely ignore the Psalms. What is up with that? I believe that that exclusive Psalmody is taught in scripture, but even most who don't would give lip service to the singing of Psalms being commanded.

Rachel said...

Qualification: I know that there are hymn-singing churches who do sing Psalms. These churches give much more than lip-service to that command.

Andrew Duggan said...

Provocative question: How would that qualification seem if you substitute the 6th commandment for the 2nd? Are doctors that only abort babies with Down's Syndrome or other birth defects giving more than lip-service to the command Thou shalt not kill? What about those politians that say things like: Abortion should be safe, legal and rare?

Rachel said...

The 2nd commandment? I was not referring to any of the 10 commandments, specifically. I think I am missing your point, Andrew.

My concern is that many Christians, while they do not believe that exclusive Psalms-singing is commanded, they do believe that some Psalm-singing is commanded, yet do not practice it. This is what I mean by only giving lip-service to the command.

Nate said...

Rachel
The command to sing Psalms would fall under the 2nd commandment. (See Larger Catechism on What is commanded).

Andrew: I think that the previous post answers this question. The second commandment is to be enforced. If the first table is not enforced, then the gov't is being unfaithful to God.

Andrew Duggan said...

Nate, I understood what you were talking about, my my point was in reponse to Rachel's "Qualification" comment, and was that singing of Psalms sometimes or even mostly is not giving more than lip-service to keeping the second commandment. I guess I missed the joke and it was just a pun on lip-service / singing?

Rachel said...

This is very intriguing, Nate, thank you for clarifying. I have not read the Larger Catechism in a long while. I will look that up.

Andrew, I was not trying to make a pun. Thank you for making me think about this more deeply!