Psalm 119 For Life: Living Today In The Light of The Word

Psalm 119 For Life: Living Today In The Light Of The Word Hywel R. Jones. Paperback, 156 pp. Publisher: Evangelical Press, Faverdale North, Darlington, DL3 0PH. Price: £9.50. ISBN: 978-0-85234-703-4

Under the title ‘Psalm 119 For Life’ Hywel Jones offers twenty-two studies in this psalm, with the sub-title, ‘Living Today In The Light Of God’s Word’. Previously Editorial Director of the Banner of Truth Trust and Principal of London Theological Seminary, he is now Professor of Practical Theology at Westminster Seminary, California. These studies began life as a series of devotional addresses at that seminary. In his own words, his purpose in writing this book was his belief that ‘attention needs to given to the content and purpose of Psalm 119 in relation to Christians and the Church’.

The introduction, which deserves to be read carefully, covers the language of the psalm, and its timelessness; the form of the psalm, noting its acrostic structure; and its theme, the word of God, which the psalmist has considered under eight different nouns, the meanings of which are briefly explained. The author stresses the relevance of the psalm to today’s believers ‘at a time when the Church has largely moved Holy Scripture to the margins of its own confession and proclamation, worship and witness’. There follows a discussion on authorship, and the position which the psalm occupies in the Psalter. Thereafter come the twenty-two studies.

Is this book a commentary, a summary, or an aid in one’s private devotional life? The answer is that it may fulfil any of these purposes. As a commentary it does not set out to supersede the weightier works which fill our bookshelves. However, it will signpost the key themes of the psalm, and allow the reader to follow these up in other works. But these studies are essentially devotional, and it is in this role that they will be of most help.

[Our thanks to Ed Hotchin, Hucknall, Nottingham, England, for this review]

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