Psalms as a Grammar for Faith
W. H. Bellinger
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Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Religion/Theologie
The Psalms, gritty and bold prayers of a people seeking to be obedient to a powerful and compassionate God, collectively illustrate what a real faith in the living God looks like. In Psalms as a Grammar for Faith: Prayer and Praise, W. H. Bellinger Jr. traces the way the Psalms exemplify and create a grammar for living a life of faith.
Bellinger combines his years of study of the Psalms and his own theological sensibility to explore both the genre and shape of the Psalter. He focuses upon the themes of lament and of praise. Bellinger addresses the presence of enemies and the prayers for vengeance throughout the Psalms, concluding that these lamentations exemplify a covenant theology of prayer. He then examines the psalms of praise that teach the art of worship. Various kinds of praise in the Psalter serve as examples of adoration—proper ways to thank almighty God for the goodness of life and for the divine mystery. Finally, Bellinger explores the five divisions of the Psalms, arguing for a powerful and intentional anthology initially connected to ancient Israel’s encounter with defeat and exile.
Bellinger concludes that the Psalter directs readers to use the psalms of lament and praise as models for life, depending on God’s justice in times of anger, singing God’s praise in times of thanksgiving, and always acknowledging God as Lord over hardships and blessings. Only in this way, he argues, can humans live the faith of the Psalms—a faith defined by complete dependence on God.
Theology of prayer, theology of lament, The Hebrew Bible, The Psalter, Ancient Israel, Contextual Bible reading, contemporary Bible reading, biblical application, prayer, communion with God, lament, praise