The Book of Psalms is known as the Bible’s songbook—Jesus knew all 150 Psalms intimately, and relied on them to face every situation, including His death. In his latest book, The Songs of Jesus A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms, Tim Keller writes a very helpful devotional in the style of Oswald Chambers that will help enrich readers devotional lives.
Each chapter is structured in the same way. First there is an encouragement to read that Psalm under examination, followed by a paragraph explaining what the Psalms means, and then readers are helpfully pointed to how Christ is the fulfillment of the Psalm. Finally, each chapter concludes with a prayer helping the reader to pray the Word of God.
If you have no devotional life yet this book is a wonderful way to start. If you already spend time in study and prayer, understanding every verse of the Psalms will bring you to a new level of intimacy with God, unlocking your purpose within God’s Kingdom. The goal of this devotional states Keller is to, “take the reader through every verse of the book of Psalms in 365 days” (x).
This devotional is structured in three different ways. The simplest way is to read the Psalm, Keller says, “and the meditation slowly, and then use the prayer to begin praying the psalm yourself. The prayers offer an opportunity to continue praying to God about anything in your heart and anything personal you are facing that day. The second way to use the devotional is to take the time to look up additional scriptural references that are embedded in the meditation and sometimes in the prayer. The statements in the meditation are understandable without the references, but looking them up and reading will greatly enhance your grasp of the meaning and may also enrich your time of prayer. The third way to use the devotional is to get a blank journal to use along with it. Read the psalm portion twice slowly. Then ask three questions and write our your answers, “Adore—What did you learn about God for which you could praise or thank Him? Admit- What did you learn about yourself for which you could repent? Aspire—What did you learn about life that you could aspire to, ask for, and act on?” (xi).
There have been multiple times in my Christian life where I’ve greatly benefited from reading and meditating on the book of Psalms. One such time was during my senior year in high school where I went through a very difficult time. The Psalms helped me during this difficult time to keep my attention and focus on God and understand that the Lord was not distant from me but near to me. The Psalms are always one of my favorite books to read through every year during my daily time in the Word of God. Each and every year I see new things in the Psalms that I missed the year before.
Reading The Songs of Jesus will help readers to understand the Psalms, the redemptive connections in the particular text to Jesus, and will help readers apply the text to their own lives. This book is a wonderful way to begin your devotional life. If you already spend daily time reading and studying the Bible and prayer, understanding every verse of the Psalms will bring you to a new level of intimacy with God.
I highly recommend The Songs of Jesus A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms and believe that no matter how long you’ve read and studied the Bible you’ll learn from Keller’s faithful handling of the Psalms.
I received this book for free from Viking for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Dave Jenkins is happily married to his wife, Sarah. He is a writer, editor, and speaker living in beautiful Southern Oregon. Dave is a lover of Christ, His people, the Church, and sound theology. He serves as the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, the Host and Producer of Equipping You in Grace Podcast, and is a contributor to and producer of Contending for the Word. He is the author of The Word Explored: The Problem of Biblical Illiteracy and What To Do About It (House to House, 2021), The Word Matters: Defending Biblical Authority Against the Spirit of the Age (G3 Press, 2022), and Contentment: The Journey of a Lifetime (Theology for Life, 2024). You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, or read his newsletter. Dave loves to spend time with his wife, going to movies, eating at a nice restaurant, or going out for a round of golf with a good friend. He is also a voracious reader, in particular of Reformed theology, and the Puritans. You will often find him when he’s not busy with ministry reading a pile of the latest books from a wide variety of Christian publishers. Dave received his M.A.R. and M.Div through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.