6 Reasons You Need the Songs of Jesus

Tim Keller | November 10, 2015


The psalms were the divinely inspired hymnbook for the public worship of God in ancient Israel (1 Chron. 16:8–36). Because psalms were not simply read, but sung, they penetrated the minds and imaginations of the people as only music can do. They so saturated the heart and imagination of the average person that when Jesus entered Jerusalem it was only natural that the crowd would spontaneously greet him by reciting a line from a psalm (Mark 11:9; Ps. 118:26).

The early Christians sang and prayed the psalms as well (Col. 3:16; 1 Cor. 14:26). When Benedict formed his monasteries he directed that the psalms all be sung, read, and prayed at least once a week. Throughout medieval times the psalms served as the most familiar part of the Bible for most Christians. The Psalter was the only part of the Bible a lay Christian was likely to own. At the time of the Reformation, the psalms played a major role in the reform of the church. Martin Luther directed that “the whole Psalter, psalm by psalm, should remain in use.” John Calvin prescribed metrical psalms as the main diet of song in worshipping congregations. Calvin wrote: “The design of the Holy Spirit [was]…


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