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Reardon and the Psalter’s Audience

March 4, 2008

According to Patrick Reardon,

“The Psalter has nothing to say to the worldly; it is not for the unconverted, the unrepentant. It is, rather, the prayer book of those who strive for holiness of life and the unceasing praise of God.”

5 Comments leave one →
  1. puritanismtoday permalink
    March 8, 2008 11:43 pm

    Dear Richard,

    Have they not got something to say to the unconverted within the visible Church? For example Psalm 95

    They certainly give no comfort to the worldly and unconverted, as they remain in that condition. In other words, they do not make the unconverted and worldly feel good about themselves. The only encouragement they give such is to turn from sin to the blessedness that belongs to the man that makes God his delight.

    Would you agree with this?

    Our church sings Psalms only, as you probably know. It is a joy to sing these Psalms week in week out, instead of the sentimental mush that fills many hymns (though there are some old hymns that are a pleasure to read from time to time).


  2. March 11, 2008 11:50 am


    I agree with you indeed, the context of the quote was one of prayer and worldliness (Ps. 4) so I would not take it absolutely. I am currently working on the metanarrative of the Psalter which is going slowley but is very interesting and edifying!

  3. puritanismtoday permalink
    March 13, 2008 9:35 pm

    Dear RJS,

    I’m not entirely sure I know what the work is you refer to – excuse my ignorance. I would love to know what it is.


  4. March 14, 2008 8:30 am


    It is looking at the whole Psalter and asking the question “What is the story being told here?” Hence, instead of dealing with Psalms individually and looking at the narrative of the Psalter on a Psalm by Psalm basis it is acknowledging that the Psalter was put together in the order it is in for a reason. Although one must recognise that the story or narrative of the psalter arises from the individual psalms. At a very basic level we can see the Psalter moving from lament to praise. We find the greater use of divine kingship songs being used in books iv and v. I believe that Psalms 1 and 2 form the introduction to the Psalter with the theme being echatological-messianic looking at the coming of the messiah and his reign wherein all nations shall flow to him as per Isaiah 2. If you have not yet read it then may I suggest a read of Mark Futato’s Interpreting the Psalms: An Exegetical Handbook

  5. puritanismtoday permalink
    March 20, 2008 12:26 am

    Dear RJS,

    I never really thought about their order before; though I did notice that the last few Psalms are particularly full of praise, and that they very much look forward to the gospel spreading among the nations.

    Thank you.


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