Deep Calls to Deep

Deep Calls to Deep

Author Tony Horsfall
Publisher BRF £8.99
Format pbk (second edition)
ISBN 9781800390669

This exploration of the Psalms feels fresh and current for today’s world. There is a mix of thoughtful information about background, authorship and history, helpful analysis of the different types of psalms in the Bible collection, and stories. As a Christian who has read the Psalms (and books on the Psalms) many times, I was pleased with the fresh insight this book offers. The author considers seven Psalms in some depth, in order to show the different types and spiritual significance. I found the study of Psalms 69 and 88, ‘from the depths’, particularly helpful to understanding how God still loves us when it feels he is absent.

The chapters are interspersed with life-stories from real people which illustrate the message and ground the book in reality. Horsfall’s style is concise and intelligent without being academic. I read it as an inspirational book, but it would be a great resource for small-group study for Lent over several weeks. Each chapter has well-thought ideas for discussion. I recommend it for individuals and groups.

Reviewed by HOWARD ROWE

Psalms

 

The Good Shepherd

The Good Shepherd

Author Kenneth E. Bailey
Publisher SPCK £12.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9780281073504
first issued by IVP 2014,
this edition is also in print.

We all know and love Psalm 23, but Kenneth Bailey’s latest Bible study provides many fresh insights. Read his book and you will learn the difference between a rod and a staff, and much more besides. He goes on to show how the metaphor of the Good Shepherd is used and developed throughout the Bible, including Jeremiah (on bad shepherds), Ezekiel (bad sheep), Zechariah and the four Gospels (sending shepherds out to seek the lost sheep) and 1 Peter, who told us to be good shepherds, too. All this is illuminated by the author’s extensive first-hand experience of life in the Holy Land and his deep knowledge of Bibles in Arabic. After you have read this fine book, Psalm 23 will never seem the same again.

PETER THORNTON

Psalms, Biblical analysis

 

Let Everyone Find Their Voice

Let Everyone Find Their Voice

Author Lezley Stewart
Publisher Saint Andrew Press £14.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9780715209844

Lezley Stewart’s intent in this useful book is to create a meaningful worship experience which – ‘when done well’ – leads the worshipper to ‘transformative encounters’ with God and with one another. Her approach is to ‘re-imagine’ the Psalms in a shared language for worship today, which the author explains is language that is relevant, and contemporary, inspired by the context in which we find ourselves. It is, she says, very much about today. The Psalms are presented in a thematic and metaphorical framework where the God within the text is revealed, rather than the text itself. So we have sections of Psalms under headings such as Refuge, Refreshment. Each Psalm is followed by questions for contemplation, suggestions for liturgy, and several ‘new’ Psalms. As Lezley Stewart intends, this is a book to encourage new expression and praise of God.

Reviewed by RAYLIA CHADWICK

Psalms, Worship

 

Psalm Prayers

Psalm Prayers

Author Stephen Cherry
Publisher Canterbury Press £12.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9781786222374

This profoundly thoughtful book brings to life the cry of the human heart, an invitation to the reader to develop his or her own relationship with the Psalms. The result of this invitation is an engagement with God born of desperate human need in all the complexities of human existence. We get a deep sense of the immediacy of each Psalm, of its being written by real people out of real experience. Each Psalm is accompanied by a personal prayer, a great resource for our own prayers. Additionally, there is a delightful pairing of the Psalms with Choral Evensong and the beautiful cadences of Anglican chant. To immerse oneself in Stephen Cherry’s rich outpouring of his love for the Psalms is a spiritual journey in itself.

Reviewed by RAYLIA CHADWICK

Psalms, Prayer