Sunday, January 25, 2009

Book Review: The Word of Promise-The Gift of Psalms

I’ve never much cared for devotionals. I would rather read a solid, theologically sound exegesis of a bible passage and have to spend half an hour of my time reading it than to read a quick little devotional thought loosely based on a bible verse. Even the classic My Utmost for His Highest doesn’t hold my interest all that much. I recently read a devotional based on the book of Psalms with audio recordings of selected Psalms called The Word of Promise-The Gift of Psalms. While there are things about this book that are positive, I’m not sure that all Christians would find it worth the money.

As to the positive things about this book, I would say first of all that the book is very attractively bound. The cover has a leather like feel and seems fairly sturdy. Further, the text print is very easy on the eyes. Also, the audio recording of the selected psalms is very well done with unobtrusive yet beautiful background music. The readers are some of the best actors from television (Gary Sinese) and screen (Sean Astin) among others. You have to love being able to hear Samwise Gamgees read through selected Psalms. By far these recordings are the highlight of the book.

However, the devotionals based on the Psalms range from pretty good to questionable. For instance, the devotional for Psalm 1 rightly extols the spiritual nourishment of the word of God in the life of a believer. However, in Psalm 18:36, the psalmist writes “You enlarged my path under me so my feet did not slip” (NKJV). The writer says in the devotional that this phrase means that David is saying that “God has been building David’s character through his trials”. Now, it is beyond the scope of this book review to expound upon this particular psalm but I feel pretty confident in saying that what the author offers for an interpretation has nothing to do with anything that David intended to communicate when he wrote that psalm. The devotionals have just this kind of odd interpretation throughout the book in various places.

The book might make a pretty good gift for someone if they were looking for some light reading material or if someone wanted to listen to the Psalms read. However, I’d probably just buy a copy of the Word of Promise audio Bible. If you’re looking for a devotional, there are better ones out there.


willohroots said...

I have recently come to appreciate Spurgeons Morning and Evening devotional.

Joe Blackmon said...

Yeah, you can't go wrong with ol' Chuck.