Why the Psalm Translations Matter

Dear Reader,

This is a follow-up post to this one so look at the previous one first if this makes no sense.

So why am I making a big deal about the new psalter (or the old one for that matter because I am not sure there is a huge difference)? The simple answer is: it is God’s Word. That is why we sing the psalms. Just as we may read Calvin or C.S. Lewis on our own time but we don’t preach from them, we can sing whatever we want outside of church but in corporate worship we sing psalms because they are God’s Word and He has commanded us to do so. So we better make pretty sure they are God’s Word. If someone quoted to you from their Bible and then you looked at it and found out it was a paraphrase or  very changed version, you wouldn’t accept it as is. You would get a version you trust and recheck the passage. I am willing to allow a little leeway for the necessity of making the psalms singable. But not much. It is more important that they are what we claim they are (the Word of God again).

And then there is the power of music. I have been reading on another website a thread about what people do and don’t like about their churches. Almost everyone says something about music. They like very different things but they all feel what music their church has is important. Music has power. It sticks in your head. It is memorable. More than the spoken word, it stays with you. And that is great if it is the right music and words. But if it is wrong, that is bad.

That’s pretty much it. Next time: some preliminary ideas on what makes a good psalm translation.

Nebby

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