Are the Psalms included in the Bible just a collection of varied poems, or do they have an overriding theological concern which guided both their selection and placement? And if there is a theological concern behind the Psalms, what is it? These are two of the important questions that Geoffrey Grogan set out to answer in his book, Prayer, Praise and Prophecy: A Theology of the Psalms.
Grogan has written a clear and understandable introduction to the entire Book of Psalms. He examines the history of its study, the diversity of its authors, the variety of its forms, and the characteristics of its poetry, tying them all together within a theological framework focusing on God's relationship with His people. Looking at the major themes of the Psalms, one is struck by the awesome and incredible God that appears there. Grogan presents us with a beautiful overview of the God of the Psalms and His interaction with His people, ranging from His creation of them and His rule over them to His speaking with and meeting them to His protection and blessing of them.
Grogan also looks at the structure of the Psalms, attempting to illuminate the purposeful design of whoever compiled the individual psalms into a cohesive whole. Each of the five books tell a certain part of the story of God's interaction with His people, and their order and placement is actually quite significant, according to Grogan. And though the Psalms can't be read together as a whole because of the incredible amount of information, they should, nevertheless, be viewed as a cohesive unit.
Finally, Grogan looks at the fulfillment of the Psalms in the person of Christ. He examines how Christ interpreted the psalms, and how the life and ministry of Christ is the archetype that the psalms pointed to. He then offers information on how we should read and use the psalms today.
Though not as detailed and descriptive as a traditional commentary, Prayer, Praise and Prophecy is a remarkably substantial book, combining Grogan's obvious devotion to God with his impeccable scholarship. This is not just theology, not just literary scholarship, not just history, but a wonderful combination of all three. Written with a light and enjoyable tone, but filled with illuminating information, this book will broaden your awareness of the beauty, cohesiveness and worship inherent in the Book of Psalms.
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