WHAT IS PSALTER PROJECT?
Psalter Project is a resource intended to encourage and enable psalm singing. We see music as an irreplaceable means to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Col 3:16). Our goal is to write, publish, and promote fresh arrangements for these eternally relevant lyrics. As we do this, here are two things you can always expect from us.
We believe the psalms are God’s Word. Not only are they completely true, but they also have the authority and ability to transform our lives. Translating ancient Hebrew poetry into contemporary English lyrics is difficult, to say the least. However, altering the words changes the nature of the song. Paraphrased arrangements of the psalms don’t carry the weight of the eternal attributes of Scripture. As songwriters, we are committed to producing faithful translations of the psalms because our goal is to sing the very Word of God.
Commitment to Community
Music has been called “the universal language.” You don’t have to be a professional musician to enjoy listening to your favorite song! Likewise, we believe that the Word of God is given to all people, not just pastors and theologians. Our desire is to foster ongoing collaboration among all walks of life, personalities and denominations. We welcome translators, poets, songwriters, producers, musicians, worship leaders, and listeners. We love seeing value and enthusiasm for the psalms reflected in fresh musical expressions of all kinds. Want to contribute? Contact us!
Often when I introduce fellow Christians to psalm singing for the first time, their response is “What a great idea!” The psalms contain some of the most beloved passages in the entire Bible. Likewise, music is a form of expression so instinctive it’s considered “the universal language.”
However, too often initial interest is dampened by various difficulties. The lyrics of the psalms may seem too foreign, too confusing, or too difficult to accept. The psalms don’t naturally fit our familiar musical mold. Many of us don’t know any psalm tunes, since they’re not regularly sung in church. Worship leaders may be unaware of the available resources, or don’t have enough time and opportunity to learn and introduce new music.
The most compelling reason to sing the psalms comes from God Himself. Twice in the New Testament he commands us to sing the psalms (Eph 5:19, Col 3:16).
Over the last century, this command has been sidelined as the church has focused its attention on other cultural and theological issues. Now, in 21st century America, not only do we lack the proper tools to sing the psalms, we lack the proper perspective. It’s all too easy to overlook those few short verses without even realizing it.
For Our Good and His Glory
Since God has commanded us to sing the psalms, we need no further recommendation. However, God in his graciousness has also made clear practical benefits. Singing the psalms uniquely aids us in many ways, including but not limited to:
Memorizing and meditating on God’s infallible and effectual Word
Knowing Jesus more fully (Read Singing the Songs of Jesus for an eye-opening look at this topic)
Simultaneously expressing and training our emotions in accordance with God's Word
Internalizing and applying theological concepts in our daily lives
Familiarizing ourselves with a broader variety and depth of Biblical topics
Reminding us that we exist in a community as well as individuals
Teaching us how we ought to pray and giving us words when we have none
A Matter of the Heart
During a difficult time, a few years ago, I found great comfort in the hymn “Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah.” As a result, that hymn is more than just another song to me; it is a part of my story. But I have realized that a choice lies before me. Will I be content with the songs I already know and love, or will I do the hard work to learn the songs that God himself inspired for his people? Do I believe that God’s words in the psalms are so good, so powerful, and so beautiful, that I will commit to the time and effort it takes me to learn to sing these words?
I want to fall more and more in love with singing psalms. I want the melody of Psalm 23 to be with me during my next trial. I want the music of Psalm 103 to lift my heart up to God in joyful praise. I want to see my Savior on the cross by singing Psalm 22. But not just these; I want to do this 150 times over! And I have confidence that if I do, the treasures of God’s songs will prove themselves to be far richer than I have even begun to imagine.
Will you join me in this commitment? If you need help getting started, I would genuinely love to hear from you – there’s nothing that makes me happier than helping people sing the psalms. It may seem hard, awkward, and even dull at times. But if we persevere, I am confident we will not be disappointed. Choose to sing the psalms!