Reflections on the Nations in the Psalms

Author: Eddie Arthur is Executive Director at Wycliffe Bible Translators UK.


Circumstances prevented me from actually attending the lecture, but I have thoroughly enjoyed both reading the transcript and listening to the lecture as an MP3 recording. I was fascinated by the insights into the Psalms that emerged from the canonical approach. It left me with a great deal to reflect on and I look forward to being able to give some time to studying the Psalms in the light of what I learned. However, I also found myself wondering how I should apply what I learned in my own context. While I dabble in Biblical studies and theology, I am at heart and by calling a missionary, a practitioner.
One thing that particularly struck me in the lecture was the idea of reading Psalm 23 in a broader canonical context. In the particular nation where I currently find myself, England, Psalm 23 is one of the very few portions of Scripture which would be recognised by the non-churchgoing population. At those points where Christianity impinges on modern life; funerals and weddings, Psalm 23 will often be chosen as a reading or perhaps as a hymn. The words, redolent of a quieter, calmer rural existence are attractive in our frenetic city based age. The religious sentiment can be read in a non-threatening semi-deist fashion which is comforting but doesn’t actually make any demands on the hearer.
This raises the difficult and delicate question of how to encourage people to experience the real comfort which comes from a covenant relationship with Israel’s

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