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February 7 Book Reviews

Christ’s Psalms, Our Psalms—Study Resource

Christ’s Psalms, Our Psalms—Study Resource

Peter H. Holtvlüwer, Ed.

Reviewed by: Larry E. Wilson

Christ’s Psalms, Our Psalms—Study Resource, edited by Peter H. Holtvlüwer. Reformed Perspective Press, 2020. Hardcover, 4 volumes, $70.00. Reviewed by OP minister Larry E. Wilson.

Christ’s Psalms, Our Psalms is a commentary on the psalms, but much more. It calls itself a “study resource.” Its distinctive contribution is to show the Christ-centered focus of each psalm (cf. Luke 24:25–27, 44–47; John 5:39), along with its application to believers and the church in the new covenant era. And it does so exceptionally well, not by imaginative allegorical reveries, but by sound grammatical-historical and redemptive historical methods of interpretation and application that comport with good scholarship and a framework of sound doctrine. The introduction to the whole resource is so good that it could be published separately as a useful booklet introducing the book of Psalms. By the way, don’t confuse this resource with Christ’s Psalms, Our Psalms—Devotional, a single volume of daily devotions that reflect fruit from these studies.

Under the guidance of Peter H. Holtvlüwer, a team of Canadian Reformed pastor-scholars worked together to study and distill how each psalm should be understood in its original context, including: how it fits into the book of Psalms as a whole; how it reveals Jesus Christ; how it applies to new covenant believers in Christ (individually and corporately)—for example, it has an excellent discussion of how the imprecations (prayers for God’s curse) apply in the new covenant; how it relates to other Scriptures in the Old and New Testaments; and suggested occasions for its apt use in Scripture reading, preaching, singing, and counseling.

Its strong pastoral character makes it evident that it’s written by pastors. But this resource is not meant to be limited to pastors. It’s written in a very accessible, user-friendly style. Still, pastors will find it especially useful. For instance, when a pastor preaches a psalm, he’d do well to be able to show how that psalm in its context specifically calls people to follow Jesus in faith, repentance, and newness of life today. When a pastor selects a psalm to read to the congregation in worship—or to be read by the congregation—he’d do well to make it clear how it fits appropriately at this particular point in this particular service. When a congregation sings a psalm, a pastor would do well to introduce it by showing its meaning and Christ-centered relevance to the worshipers, so that they can sing it with understanding. This resource is an outstanding help toward each of these ends.

In a nutshell, this resource suggests doctrinal, devotional, practical, and occasional uses for each psalm in a Christ-following, new covenant context. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Even more, I urge that we try to serve the broader body of Christ and seek to stimulate her gospel renewal and biblical reformation by not allowing this superb resource to remain hidden under the basket of our small Reformed circles, but by making it widely known—even gifting it out—throughout the broader body of Christ.

 

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