Christopher Ash: How Can Christians Sing the Psalms?

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Jeri Tanner

Staff member
I have been meaning to post this phenomenal series of video talks on the Psalms and singing them, given at Southern Seminary by Christopher Ash. "Christopher Ash, Writer-in-Residence for Tyndale House in Cambridge, UK, is the author of a book on Psalm 119, two volumes of books on teaching the Psalms, a forthcoming popular-level commentary on selected Psalms, and is currently working on the culmination of his life’s work, a three-volume commentary on all the Psalms tentatively titled Praying the Psalms in Christ.

"He recently delivered the 2019 Gheens Lectures at Southern Seminary on how Christians can pray the Psalms."

I have never heard anything on this topic so wonderfully engaging and concise, and so articulately put, as this man has done. Here are the video introductions from the website:

In Lecture 1, Ash opens by making his aim explicit—namely, to persuade his listeners of four theses:
1.Jesus Christ is the sum and substance of the Psalms.
2. Jesus Christ is the singer and the subject of the Psalms.
3. The true meaning of the Psalms is found in Jesus Christ.
4. Only those in Christ can sing, speak, pray the Psalms in a way that respects their true and original meaning.

In Lecture 2 he asks how we got to where we are today, briefly surveying how the Psalms have been read in twenty centuries Christian history, noting some salient trends, and how these trends impact how we see the relationship of Christ to the Psalms today.

He argues, in essence, “Two cheers for the church Fathers, but perhaps only two cheers for modern commentators; and no cheers for the ‘Endarkenment.’”

In the third and final lecture, he seeks to show why all of this matters, offering some theological reflection on how these questions impact, and are impacted by, the follow areas:

1. Scripture and Canon
2. Prophecy and the Spirit of Christ
3. Christology and Incarnation
4. Prayer and Spirituality
5. Gospel and Law
6. Christ and his Church
7. He closes by offering some pointers to how a preacher might approach preaching the psalms.


Puritan Board Professor
The adage "Scripture alone is our only rule for faith and practice" sums it all up for me as a principle.

JP Wallace

Puritan Board Sophomore
I've read it when it first came out (few years ago?) it is good, but is very tightly focused on interpreting the psalms in relation to the person and work of Christ - which is correct and good, but don't think that you're getting a full commentary on each psalm. Rather he very much turns our minds to how Christ sang the psalm, prayed it etc. and how in him/through him we can enjoy the benefits spoken of etc. Each psalm has maybe a page-2 pages of comment.

Jeri Tanner

Staff member
Has anyone on the PB read Christopher Ash's "Teaching the Psalms (volume 2)"? It looks quite good, but I always value a recommendation before actually purchasing it.
I was just about to post this. There are links to four lectures on 'Christ in the Psalms' given by Christopher Ash at Southern Seminary in 2019. These are the things we need to know in order to sing the Psalms with understanding.

"He ... examines how the New Testament writers understood the Psalter, and identifies six strands of the tapestry:

  • The Sufferer: Christ is the righteous sufferer in the psalms, who prays for, and is confident of, his vindication.
  • The King: Christ is the Anointed King in David’s line, the Son of God, who is so closely identified with God that hostility to God means hostility to him.
  • The Teacher: Christ speaks with the voice of the Teacher in the psalms.
  • Deity: Christ is identified with God or “the LORD” in the psalms.
  • “Yes!” to the Covenant: Salvation by God in the psalms means salvation by Christ, who fulfills all the Old Covenant types.
  • The Head of the Church: The things of Christ overflow to the Church of Christ."

Jeri Tanner

Staff member
So I accidentally posted this to an old thread, silly me, but will leave it here because I'm out of time.
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