Sometimes there is a theological issue on my mind that is more a matter of perspective than proposition. Often such an issue is particularly paradoxical--perhaps to the point of contradiction. But I don't think so. That makes it hard to express and defend succinctly. So I'll try this.
Was he a Jew so I would be one too,
A Torah-loving man for human good
As spoke he on the Mount in Sermon true?
His life was also sermon, good as would
Bestow a God of love who bore his law--
Which was no law but kind command!
He drew us all from where in fear and awe
We'd froze afraid to love, afraid to stand
Before a God who's good; afraid to hope
That we, not Jews, but "gentile sinners" might
Be known by God like Abraham and Job,
Like Aaron in the temple day and night.
Messiah on the Mountain opened once
His mouth and Torah gave the rest of us.
I was reading the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy today. Couple of quotes I thought I would reflect upon:
[...]history must be treated as history, poetry as poetry, hyperbole and metaphor as hyperbole and metaphor, generalization and approximation as what they are, and so forth.
Yes, the sticking point, though, is in which parts of the Bible are considered to be history, metaphor, etc.
Differences between literary conventions in Bible times and in ours must also be observed: since, for instance, non-chronological narration and imprecise citation were conventional and acceptable and violated no expectations in those days, we must not regard these things as faults when we find them in Bible writers. When total precision of a particular kind was not expected nor aimed at, it is no error not to have achieved it.
Indeed, it is helpful to point out how ancient writers' understanding of the role and nature of their work differs from modern literary assumptions. The one area this document does not address is how the ancient writers' culture viewed the nature and composition of history itself.
Scripture is inerrant, not in the sense of being absolutely precise by modern standards, but in the sense of making good its claims and achieving that measure of focused truth at which its authors aimed.
In this statement the entire doctument becomes relative to future insights concerning what might be "measured focus of truth" at which a particular author of a particular passage aimed. I am thinking particularly of stories such as the Creation, the Flood, and Jonah.
In short, it would be helpful to Christian unity to realize that the principles on which the conservative Evangelical camp bases its position on inerrency, does not necessarily exclude opposing positions. As the Rabbi says: "As long as the Book is open, all questions are permitted."
Following is a somewhat lengthy quote from David Bosch's book "Transforming Mission". I appreciate his treatment of Jesus' mission, his approach, and how that might relate to how the church might go about her mission to the world.
It is important to first understand how Jesus related to the culture and religion of his day. It is not enough to simply say "Jesus said" or "Jesus did", and make an immediate inference for our approach to ministry. Rather, we need to understand how Jesus related to the particular set of practices and attitudes of first century Judaism and their history. Only when we have isolated such principles can we make an eventual comparison to the unique set of practices and attitudes of our society. Only then can we begin to understand what Jesus means by "As the Father has sent me, so I send you".
This approach is both demanding and liberating. It requires a lot of work; it requires us to make good use of the best exegetical insights of all the ages, including modern scholarship. It means we cannot be content with a shoot-from-the-hip approach to missions that simply applies Bible verses to modern questions.
Yet it is liberating--and I mean that in a gospel way; it is life-giving to learn to understand how Jesus gave life to the people he met, each in a unique way, each according to a transcendent set of principles that he referred to as "the Kingdom of Heaven." The first of these principles is, of course, love for one's neighbor, inseparable from love for God.
Towards such an approach, here is what Bosch observes concerning Jesus' relationship to the Law:
According to the gospels, particularly Matthew, Jesus seems to view the Torah in a way that is not essentially different from that of his contemporaries, including the Pharisees. At closer look, however, there are some fundamental dissimilarities. For on thing, Jesus attacks the hypocrisy of allowing a discrepancy between accepting the Law as authoritative and yet not acting according to it. For another, he radicalizes the Law in an unparalleled manner (cf. Mt 5:17-48). Third, in supreme self-confidence he takes it upon himself simply to abrogate the law, or at least certain elements in it.
Why does he do that? This, of course, is the question his contemporaries also ask, either in utter amazement or in bitter anger. The answer lies in several mutually related elements, all of which involve Jesus' understanding of his mission.
First, the reign of God and not the Torah is for Jesus the decisive principle of action. This does not imply the annulment of the Law or antinomianism, as though there could be a basic discrepancy between God's reign and God's Law. What happens, rather, is that the Law is pushed back in relation to God's reign. And this reign of God manifests itself as love to all. The Old Testament knows of God's unfathomable and tender love to Israel--dramatized inter alia, in the enacted parable of the prophet Hosea's marriage to a prostitute. Now, however, God's love begins to reach out beyond the boundaries of Israel. This, says William Manson, was an absolutely new thing in the religious history of humankind.
Particularly enlightening in this quote is the fact that Jesus reversed the rapport between Torah and Kingdom. Where the people of his day understood the Kingdom as an institution governed by the Torah, Jesus understood the Torah as a particular application of his Father's Kingdom principles. This explains why he both radicalizes and abrogates the law, each in their respectively appropriate context to the respectively appropriate audience.
Applying the Torah in this way gives rise to the seemingly paradoxical situation where Jesus assumes, epitomizes and radicalizes the values of his day, all while subverting them in favor of the novelty that is his advent--a reality that, incredibly, supersedes the Torah and religion itself.
A contribution by Paul Szobody
If we are to think properly about the question of civil recognition of same-sex relationships, from the standpoint simply of civil order and not as to the morality of specific behavior, then it is necessary to question the given terms in the current discourse. For here we find ourselves already entangled in assuming notions that are, in effect, logical absurdities. This is frightening, for governments have no right to legislate social definitions and recognitions premised on notions that are logically absurd. Hitler tried that. But note: sane reason in civil societies demanded the elimination of such a governance of irrational social reasoning and engineering – even though it was “legal” – and – this is important – they counted blessed civil disobedience. Specifically as to the current debate, if we engage in the use of the very terms “homosexual marriage” or gay “family unit”, does this not already reveal an unwitting capitulation to presuppositions that keep us from sane conclusions?
Let’s explore this: according to both linguistic denotation and sexual bio-design, the terms employed in the civil discourse are themselves self-contradictory. To be a sexed human is to be male or female for the complementary other. Scientific reasoning is based upon that simple observation. “Homo” thus logically cancels out “sex” in the essential meaning of terms. Therefore, if so-called “homosexuality” is essentially nothing but erotic technique between same-sexed creatures (any psycho-emotional attachment being accidental to the essence of the act) then – to the point – government has no legitimate domain on a question associating same-sex eroticism with the institution of marriage.
Human governance can only legitimately recognize what is, and not formulate constructions of what is not; it can only legally acknowledge ontological status to what is evidentially structured in nature, it cannot legislate that status or imagine-into-being that structure. That is, government cannot make real a biological and social non-entity. If it tries, it acts out-of-bounds, without reason or right. It can’t call an erotic act between two creatures with the same sexual organs a constitutional basis for “marriage” nor the partners-in-eroticism a “family”. To legitimize it is illegitimate, a civil malfunction, a legal empty bubble. Because a government states something as so-and-so does not make it so. Government did not establish marriage in human civilization; it can only temporally discern and collectively affirm it as it appears within the order of nature – biological and social. For government, in the end, finds its own establishment and resourcing within this same order.
And so, ontological status in the real world cannot be imagined-into-being by temporal legalities in any society. “Marriage” and “family” are given terms denoting given natural states of affairs that are logically discerned in nature. They are categorical notions established by biological structure and designed reproductive potentiality of a socially contracted human male and female relationship. Any other state of affair where these terms are co-opted to connote something else is a categorical equivocation, a delusion, a linguistic confusion that has no concordance with the reality of ordered sexuated beings. Mere eroticism or various sorts of genital contacts as such do not, therefore, qualify as a sexual relationship founding marriage. In the reality of things, there’s no grounding justification for legally declaring such as “marriage” or the relationship a “family unit”, with concordant civil benefits therein allotted.
Otherwise, where might we end? Humans have invented all sorts of erotic techniques: once in social vogue and favor, can any or all of them legitimately be declared marriage? How about “committed” erotic behavior between three or four or more individuals? Man-boy? Or for that matter, between any two or more creatures from differently developed levels of the so-called evolutionary scale – that is, bestiality? If not, why not? Where’s the ground of objection once you change the meaning of the premised terms and natural design is mentally discounted as irrelevant? Once the absurd slips in presuppositionally, you’re in the thicket: there’s no way out. For the basis of thinking has shifted from the logical, permanent reality of sexuated order to the realm of temporal erotic activity, preferences and idiosyncrasies. (And, in fact, it is conceivable to have a proper legal marriage with no erotic activity: again, the erotic temporal is accidental to the grounding reality).
The end to the absurdity of legislated nullity is social chaos. The fabric of biological and social order unravels, the one following after the other. So why abet the chaos and disorder by pretending that the civil institution exists and therefore encourage its (empty) legal affirmation with concordant benefits? That, I would think, would be cruel to human civilization.
The French parliament is currently debating a new law that would allow for homosexual marriage. The rest of the world likely doesn't give much thought to French social polity, but the issue is a global one, and so it is the occassion to consider the idea more generally.
All of scripture is pretty clear on homosexuality: it is wrong (need I prooftext this one?). A conservative Christian stance such as that of the Roman Catholic Church or the majority of evangelical Christians--certainly fundamentalists--would fit the popular definition for "homophobia": homosexuality is contrary to natural law as revealed in Genesis 1 and 2, and is also included in the lists of sinful lifestyles in the New Testament. It is also referred to as the epitome of and punishment for humanity's idolatry in Romans 1.
While I also subscribe to the preceding perspective, I do not oppose homosexual marriage. Here is why:
1. The Role of the Church
According to scripture, homosexual behavior is a sin. Therefore, it falls whithin the work of the Church and Christians have the courage to speak the scriptural truth concerning this sin, while seeking to extend the grace of Christ to those who struggle with it.
2. The Role of the State
Homosexual behavior does not threaten civil order. Therefore it is not the responsability of the State to regulate its practice. The responsability of the State is primarily to protect. The orphan, the widow and the oppressed are the State's first responsability. Then it seeks to maintain order for the common good. And finally, insofar as a people should desire, the State facilitates the development of infrastructure for the common good. Homosexuality falls into none of these categories. While we believe that all forms of idolatry are sin, we rightly do not seek to legislate against those forms that do not threaten public order.
3. What About the Family?
Contrary to a good many opponents of homosexual marriage, it is not demonstrably harmful to the institution of the family. In fact, I think this line of argument does more harm than good to the opponents' position. The laws of most of our countries allow for single people to adopt children (including, incidentally, those with live-in homosexual partners). I rather think that two people could do a better job of providing a home than one, irrespective of their sexuality.
4. Human Rights
Our society operates fundamentally on the logic of human rights. Given that homosexuality itself is legal, it follows that one cannot withold the right of marriage from homosexual couples. Again, the principle is that the State regulates whatever threatens the order of society. Since a homosexual couple does not inherently threaten that order, the State has no right to withold marriage from that couple, however "strange", "wrong", or just "silly" even a majority of society might consider that marriage.
Reading “The Shape of the Liturgy” by Dom Gregory Dix, I have been astounded by the following realization: liturgically speaking, Jesus did not institute any new rite for his followers. He left them with his teachings, with a new paradigm for understanding the kingdom of God, but he really did not create any new religious practice.
He told his disciples to baptize, which is what John the Baptist and others were already doing. But he told them to do it in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. He invested a fuller theology into a repentance ritual already in use and presumably well understood in his day. Essentially, by attaching God’s Name to it, he made it finally efficacious in what it had always been designed to do: bring people back to God.
In the Last Supper he was eating a meal with his disciples as many Jewish religious “associations” did on a weekly basis. The blessing over the bread at the beginning of the meal is one he would have pronounced hundreds of times over during his life according to Jewish custom. The cup at the end of the meal that he took and blessed was the normal conclusion to any weekly meal of a Jewish religious association. What he did differently that night was to give them a new way of looking at these customary practices: the cup of blessing he referred to as a new covenant in his blood. The bread that he blessed according to Jewish custom he now referred to as his body. Just as they had been having this sort of meal all throughout his ministry (presumably), he assumed they would continue to do so even after he had gone. So he told them that they should henceforth do it in memory of him, making him forever present among them by their partaking in faith.
What may be seem even more surprising is that neither of these rituals—baptism or the Lord’s Supper—are customs prescribed in the Law of Moses or anywhere else in Jewish scripture. They were just pious traditions. They were rituals that Second Temple Judaism had developed in order to live out their lives in the presence of God. They took Temple activities, like ritual washing and ritual eating, and made it part of everyday life, extending, as it were, the presence of God in the temple into everyday life. In a sense, Jesus assumed the logic of those “extra-biblical” practices and realized them fully: he invested those customs with his promises, with himself, and through them made God truly present among his disciples.
The implications for contextual ministry are overwhelming. Where are those practices in our world that express a yearning for God’s presence? We can’t fight them, ignore them, or replace them. We can let Jesus fulfill them.
1. Hebrews’ Method:
Tell a story about great stuff God has done in the past. Conclude he can do it again—if we behave.
2. Pharisees’ Method:
If you’re not obsessive compulsive about cleanliness, learn to be, then you’ll understand the law.
3. Jesus’ Method:
Agree with the majority position on most issues. Apply it to all the “wrong” people at precisely the “wrong” moment.
4. Apostles’ Method:
Use some obscure rabbinical method to make unrelated passages, read allegorically, speak to the issue at hand. Plus, “God told me”.
5. Agnostic Method:
Well, I’d tell you, but if you were one of the elect you would already know.
6. Early Fathers’ Method:
Systematically read the OT allegorically as referring to Christ and the church. Don’t quote your sources so it sounds like you speak scripture itself. Add an argument from nature. If your reader is not yet completely sick of the topic at hand, add some philosophical principles for good measure.
7. Medieval Method:
Take allegory to a whole new level: make any passage speak about anything. Sound devotional. Mary is always appropriate.
8. Orthodox Method:
Quote the Early Fathers. If it's not there, you shouldn't be asking.
9. Reformers’ Method:
Make all of your theology revolve around a couple novel insights into a few passages. Say that they are actually not novel but obvious. Insult the Papists and the Enthusiasts as often as possible for thinking they are novel. No holds barred.
10. Historical Critical Method:
Point out that no two Bible authors say exactly the same thing. Relativize the ones you don’t like. Use the others.
11. Fundamentalist Method:
Pick a contentious issue. Find a bunch of passages that make your point. String them together in scripture reference short hand and declare yourself the winner.
12. Modern Lutheran Method:
Quote the Lutheran Confessions. If it’s not there find a Church Father who agrees with you.
13. Modern Calvinist Method:
Fundamentalist Method + Aristotelian Logic = “unassailable” conclusion.
14. Post-Modern Method:
Use the Historical Critical Method to outline the historical development of a doctrine. Conclude that the popular Post-Modern intuition is the naturally evolved—ahem, divinely guided—outworking of that development.
A few principles drawn from Lesslie Newbigin's article "Mission in Christ's Way".
- The mission is God’s and it has been the same from the beginning of creation.
- The mission is to draw all people into God’s kingdom
- God’s kingdom = Jesus Christ, his words and his actions, past, present and future.
- The mission is grown and sustained by the Holy Spirit alone.
- Our participation in God’s mission is a gift of his grace.
- The mission is an announcement in power, through word and deed, of the facts of God’s kingdom.
- Words without deeds are empty; deeds without words are dumb.
- The method for participating in the mission is best illustrated by Jesus’ hands and side: John 20:20-23 "…he showed them his hands and his side. […] Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”"
Colossians is a gem of Pauline theology. It contains a distilled version of the central doctrines expounded upon more largely in other Pauline epistles. The theology of this epistle is built upon a hymn quoted in Colossians 1:15-20. It is a hymn that proclaims Jesus as the reconciler of all things “in heaven and on earth” through the blood of his cross. It is a theology of cosmic reconciliation in the cross.
This sort of language is distinct from all previous Pauline epistles and has prompted many scholars to conclude that the epistle was not written by Paul at all but by one of his disciples shortly after his death, who “channeled” and distilled the theology of Paul to meet the needs of the Colossian church (see the International Critical Commentary). Whether it was written by Paul or by one of his disciples this epistle benefits from a synthesis of previous Pauline writings and an extension of the work of the cross to cosmic proportions—a reconciliation of “all things”, a disarming of “rulers and authorities” (Colossians 2:15).
However, thoroughly Pauline is the centrality of the cross. This epistle in no way contradicts earlier Pauline writings, but rather builds upon them, following their very logic and theological priorities. In my opinion this makes Colossians all the more precious from a theological perspective: it is thoroughly Pauline, but also more developed and succinct.
It is also on this epistle that I find the doctrine of baptism most lucidly explained, in relation to the cross, to faith, to justification and to sanctification.
As in all Pauline epistles, there two levels of exposition: the first is the doctrine of Jesus Christ crucified and risen. The second is the manner in which this great doctrine affects and is applied to our life. In Colossians (as in Romans) baptism is the link between these two levels of teaching, allowing us to pass from one to the other.
The hymn in Colossians 1:15-20 has established that Christ is the source of all created power, and that through his death he has once again united all things in himself. There remains therefore nothing outside of his power. The verses that immediately precede and follow this hymn give an immediate application: Jesus has, therefore, the power to forgive our sins and present us blameless before him. But the question remains: how and when does that occur for the individual? It was accomplished at the cross, but when does that cosmic story touch the reality of each individual? The question is answered with precision in Colossians 2:10-13.
Here is my translation of this passage, preserving the Greek sentence structure. While it makes for clunkier English, it helps establish the connection of ideas. For this purpose I have also indented subordinate clauses:
10. And you have been filled in him,
who is the head of all rule and authority.
11. In whom [him] also you have been circumcised
by the circumcision not made with hands,
in the removal of the body of flesh,
in the circumcision of Christ,
12. having been buried with him in baptism,
in whom you have also been raised
through faith in the working of God
who raised him from the dead.
13. And you,
though you were dead in sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh
he has made you alive together with him,
having forgiven us all sins.
As you can see, he makes a rather complicated statement in 10-12 about how we are circumcised in Christ, and then in 13 he restates it in a more digest form in terms of forgiveness of sins.
The precise role of baptism in 10-12 is clearly a “burial” with Christ. In verse 11: “In him also you have been circumcised […] having been buried with him in baptism”. This is where the work of Jesus on the cross of chapter one, is applied to us. In baptism, Jesus’ death becomes our death. This is described as a circumcision that is not done with hands. How is it a circumcision? By the “removal of the body of flesh”, i.e. death. The parallel is clear. But where circumcision is only a sign, baptism is the real thing; in it we actually died with Christ. The entire body of flesh was put off. What he accomplished on the cross is now ours through that baptism.
While we died to sin and the flesh with Christ in baptism, our new life in his resurrection is not attributed to baptism. Colossians 2:12b continues: “in whom you have also been raised through faith in the working of God who raised him from the dead." Just as the death of Christ would only be the end of a sad story without his resurrection, so baptism without faith is an empty ritual. But through faith it is the very door to life, accomplished in our resurrection with Christ.
This is another point on which we might detect a very different sort of discourse than in the rest of the Pauline epistles. In Romans 6:1-5, for example, Paul says that we are united with Christ’s death in baptism so that we might be raised with him in the future. But here in Colossians 2:12 resurrection has already occurred: you have been raised with him by faith. Since this epistle sees already in Christ’s death the victory over all things, so in our unification with his death is forgiveness of and complete freedom from our sins (Colossians 1:13-14 and 2:14)—which necessarily and immediately opens to us the doors of life in the resurrection. What is hoped for is so sure because it is already accomplished. If Christ has already risen, and we died with him, have we not also been raised with him? That is the logic of this passage.
The rest of the epistle is built on this logic: Christ conquered on the cross; his death is yours in baptism; so his life must also be yours in the way that you live, free from all other earthly powers, if you continue in faith. Colossians 2:20 says “If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of this world..” referring back to baptism. And Colossians 3:1 says “If then you have been raised with Christ…” referring back to the immediate implication of baptism for those who have faith. While baptism is not explicitly the gift of life, it is the personal deliverance from sin in Jesus’ death and thus the necessary path to personally participating in Jesus’ resurrection, just as Jesus’ own death was necessary for his resurrection. Death with Christ in baptism gives us freedom from sin, but that freedom must be embraced by faith for it to be life in Christ.
How do you read the Psalms? I think a lot of people find them hard to connect with. They are the hymnal of God’s people for millennia, but today we often don’t know what to do with them other than taking the occasional isolated phrase as inspiration for a new praise song.
I think that in regards to the Psalms, there may be real benefit in examining how Hebrew poetry works. There’s a learning curve to reading any sort of poetry; it’s language at its best, so it takes some attention.
The Psalms take you on an emotion journey. Each one starts at one point and takes you to another. The trick is following. Hebrew poetry is suggestive, preferring brevity and ambiguity, whereas our language is propositional, preferring thoroughness of description and precision. That’s why a Psalm can sometimes seem disconnected. Let’s use Psalm 142 to explain:
Psalm 142:1-2 introduce the poet’s emotion:
With my voice I cry out to the Lord;
With my voice I plead for mercy to the Lord.
I pour out my complaint before him;
I tell my trouble before him.
As you can see, each line is meant to be brief. And our English translation has made it longer than in Hebrew. There actually is no “with” at the beginning of the first two lines. The poem literally begins with
My voice, to the Lord I cry;
My voice, to the Lord I plead.
The force of the emotion is precisely in not describing it thoroughly. It’s the minimal expression of a burdened soul.
Psalm 142:3-4 describes the poet’s situation that has given rise to his complaint:
When my spirit faints within me,
You know my way.
In the path I where I walk
They have hidden a trap for me.
Look to the right and see:
There is none who takes notice of me;
No refuge remains to me;
No one cares for my soul.
While verse three begins with a statement of confidence in God, the main force of these two verses is loneliness, and almost despair.
Psalm 142:5 is a transition; it brings the poem back to the very first statement of the poem: his cry to God—and it gives us the content of this cry:
I cry to you, O Lord;
I say, “You are my refuge,
My portion in the land of the living.”
That’s it! That’s his entire cry. Of course, he goes on to pour out his troubles in the next verse, but in verse 5 he is essentially stating his right to do so: God is his refuge! God is his inheritance, so he’s going to make good use of him.
Psalm 142:6-7a are a succession of three pleas, each one followed by the reason for his plea:
Attend to my cry, (1)
For I am brought very low! (reason)
Deliver me from my persecutors, (2)
For they are too strong for me! (reason)
Bring me out of prison (3)
That I may give thanks to your name! (purpose)
This last plea is clearly more hopeful than the previous as it gives the poet’s very purpose for living, for surviving his current circumstances. “That I may give thanks to your name” causes the poet to look beyond his current circumstances and see the purpose for his entire life—and also to hold God to this purpose, calling on him to enable its fulfillment.
Psalm 142:7b is finally a full-blown statement of hope written in the same format at the previous three pleas:
The righteous will surround me, (hope)
For you will deal bountifully with me. (reason)
So the poet has brought the reader from his initial emotion of despair, through current hopeless situation, through his pleas to God, to the final statement of hope, founded on a confidence in God’s purpose for his life.
If I were to rewrite this poem with all the conjunctions and precision that we expect in English it would go something like this:
My voice cries out to the Lord,
My voice pleads to him for mercy
As I pour out my complaint before him
And tell him all about my troubles.
Even though I know that when my spirit faints within me
You are there with me,
Right now all I see is the path I’m on,
Mined with traps all over.
As far as I can see I have no refuge;
No one gives a hoot for my soul!
But yet I still cry to you, O Lord;
And here is my cry: “You are my refuge
My portion in the land of the living.”
Since you are my portion, listen to me!
Because right now I couldn’t be at a greater loss.
Come on and save me if you’re my refuge
Because they are way stronger than me!
Bring me out of prison
So I can have a reason to praise you as I was meant to!
Then the righteous will surround me,
For you will have dealt bountifully with me.
But I’m sure you will agree that this version leaves nothing to the imagination. Indeed, in my attempt to be precise and propositional, I have fundamentally altered the poem’s character. The poem no longer evokes, it explains. It is a closed poem. It is operating more on reason, and less on emotion. Whereas the original stimulates the imagination to enter into the poet’s world by its short and ambiguous but suggestive lines. It makes the reader work a little bit to do so, but also gives the emotional incentive to do so through its minimalist and accessible introduction of gut-level cries. It hooks, and then reals you in to experience its life.
Open your own Bible and give this Psalm another ride. Don’t think too much. Read very slowly, one phrase at a time, and let each phrase sink in. See what cord it strikes in you before moving on to the next. You will likely begin to have some small experience of Hebrew poetry. The more you practice it the better it will get, and you will probably find that the Psalms’ simple genius will begin to shape your own heart’s cry to God.