Josh Philpot

Theology, the Church, and Music

Archive for January 29th, 2014

Luther on the Value of Singing the Psalms

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From Ray Van Neste:

Looking back through the excellent volume, What Luther Says (an excellent resource!), I came across this passage where Luther extols the value of singing the Psalms. I have discussed previously Luther’s love of the Psalms. Here succinctly he mentions the comfort they give, how they “preach the Messiah,” and the added impact of singing them (as opposed to only reading them).

“In view of their spiritual meaning the psalms are really lovely and sweet; for they are comforting to all depressed, wretched consciences, who are in fear of sin, the anguish and agony of death, and all sorts of trouble and misery. To such hearts the book of Psalms is a sweet, comforting, lovely song, because it sings and preaches the Messiah, although one merely reads or recites the words without notes. Nevertheless, the use of notes or music, as a wonderful creation and gift of God, helps greatly to produce this effect, especially when the people sing along and do so with fine devoutness.” (#3098)

Why would we deprive ourselves of such a resource? As Bonhoeffer wrote, “Whenever the Psalter is abandoned, an incomparable treasure vanishes from the Christian church. With its recovery will come unsuspected power.”

Get Ray’s book on Psalm singing here.

Written by Josh Philpot

January 29, 2014 at 1:46 pm

Posted in Uncategorized