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Publication Date: 2010
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The Essential Bible Companion to the Psalms provides fundamental information regarding the meaning, background, context, and application of the Psalms. In addition to practical application, numerous charts are included that provide information about the various types of psalms (messianic, prophetic, etc.) along with a quick reference list of psalms that lend themselves to being used for worship or personal meditation or as a basis for praying the Scriptures. Through the use of full-color visual images, the message and world of the Psalms are brought to life in a way never before presented, making this book not only an excellent resource for understanding the Psalms, but a wonderful gift as well. The Essential Bible Companion to the Psalms is a must-have for students of the Bible, pastors, and anyone who desires to possess a unique reference guide to these ancient works of poetry and worship.
Brian L. Webster (Ph.D) is Professor of Old Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. He did his doctoral work at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. He is a homeschooling father of four and a Youth Leader at his church.David R. Beach (M.A.) is a licensed counselor who studied under Dr. Dan Allender at Mars Hill Graduate School. He teaches spiritual formation and psychology courses at Cornerstone University. He also co-founded Soul Seasons with his wife Cynthia - a workshop based ministry focused on spiritual and creative formation.
JessicaAge: 25-34Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5A Wonderful ToolMay 1, 2011JessicaAge: 25-34Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5"What you need to know, when you need to know it." This Bible companion text is an excellent tool for referencing and applying the Psalms to our lives today.
The first section works as an introduction to the Psalms in general. We see the different ways the Psalms can be used (songs, ceremony, prayer, the book of Psalms) as well as the different types of Psalms (hymns of praise/thanksgiving, laments, etc.). There is also a brief discussion on the superscriptions which begin some of the Psalms. There are further discussions on the poetry devices used, but what may be the most important part of this section is the part that discusses ways we can use the Psalms and apply them to our lives today.
Part 2 is filled with charts for quick reference, including one that lists the types of Psalms, giving you all the Psalms that fall into that category. This makes it very easy to find the type of Psalm you are looking for, especially if you are using the Psalms as a form of prayer.
Part 3 is where the discussion of the individual Psalms begins. Each Psalm is covered by one page of information, with the exception of Psalms 42 & 43, which are covered together on the same page. This page is broken down into seven sections:
1) Theme: gives the main idea of the Psalm
2) Type: gives the type of Psalm (hymn, lament, etc.)
3) Author: if the author is known
4) Background: the story behind the Psalm (if known)
5) Structure: looked at more from the poetic side. Talks of stanzas and lines and how they are broken down.
6) Special Notes: any unfamiliar words will be defined here. This area also lists other places in the Bible where the Psalm is referenced.
7) Reflection: gives us things to think about as to how we can apply the Psalm to our lives today. This area may also include additional scripture references.
The use of color and pictures on every page really draws you in, and the organization is wonderful. This is a great tool for an introductory study of the Psalms.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes from Zondervan.
Debbie from ChristFocusHarrison, ARAge: 35-44Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Now I understand the psalmsNovember 11, 2010Debbie from ChristFocusHarrison, ARAge: 35-44Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5"The Essential Bible Companion to the Psalms" helps the reader better understand the purpose and meaning of the Psalms. I've never really understood why people liked the psalms. Yes, there are some nice ones, but overall it seemed like David wrote one every time life turned bad so he could vent and complain, though he always did end saying he really does trust God. I know God had final say on what was put into the Bible, but it almost seemed like the only reason so many similar Psalms (usually by David) were included was because he was king, and who's going to tell him that he can't put all of his compositions in the psalm book. ;)
In any case, I figured I was missing the point of the Psalms. I was thrilled to win this book, and I'd say this truly is an "essential Bible companion." I found the information at the beginning the most eye-opening, as it finally helped me understand the purpose and form of the psalms. You do need to read the beginning sections before the specific psalm entries to best appreciate what's said in those entries. So, especially if you view the psalms as I did, I'd highly recommend this book.
The book started off with several sections giving background and cultural information about the psalms in general. It talked about how the Psalms were used (songs, ceremonies, prayers, etc.); the types of psalms (hymns, praise, thanksgiving, etc.); who wrote them; how to understand the Hebrew style of poetry found in the psalms; and how to personalize the psalms.
Then there were several quick reference charts. Then each psalm had a page with the following information: theme of the psalm, type, author, background information, how the psalm is structured, special notes (like if the verses from this psalm are quoted elsewhere in the Bible), and reflection on the psalm. Each entry also had a full-color photograph that was loosely related to the theme of the psalm.