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Transformed by Praise: The Purpose and Message of the Psalms [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   165
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.44" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.52"
Weight:   0.48 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 1, 2002
Publisher   P & R Publishing
ISBN  0875521908  
EAN  9780875521909  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Futato finds in the major themes of the Psalms a portrait of Christ himself. The Psalms take us from lament to praise through a life-transforming encounter with the God of the Psalms. Fittingly, this insightful look into the Bible's book of praise is itself a praise-inspiring experience.

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More About Mark David Futato

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Futato is Professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando campus. He has an M.Div. from Westminster Theological Seminary, an M.A. and Ph.D. in Semitic Languages and Literature, The Catholic University of America.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
(Trans)Formed through Praising the King  Dec 1, 2004
In chapter one, "Praise the Lord: The Psalms as Praise," author Mark Futato notes that even though praise is their dominant theme, the Psalms leave plenty or room for lamentation, and in fact instruct readers how to move from lament to praise. Futato introduces his theme of the psalms as instructive, which he develops through his understanding of the over-arching theme of the Kingdom of God.

Futato, a Semitic language and literature expert, rightly understands that we can properly understand emergent themes only as we understand the literary genre in which we find them; in this case, that of poetry. In "Open my Eyes: The Psalms as Poetry," Futato describes the literary form of the Psalms in order to set the reader up for the question that frames chapter three, "The Abundant Life: The Psalms as Instruction (Part 1)". In answering the question, "Why did God give us the Psalms?" Futato replies, quite convincingly, that the first two psalms form a "tight unit;" they function together as an introduction to the entire Psalter, namely that they introduce the salient Psalmic theme of how to achieve blessedness or well-being in all aspects of life. Psalms one and two introduce the concept of blessedness and the rest of the Psalter develops it. Showing that in Scripture the concept of torah, or instruction, is found in two places, the five Books of the Psalms and the five Books of the Law, Futato describes how the Psalms instruct-such as delight in the Lord, obey the Lord, and meditate on the law, just to name a few.

In chapter five, "The LORD Reigns: The Psalms of the Kingdom," Futato returns to the idea that Psalm two's theme, that the Lord reigns and is king over creation, is the dominant theme of the entire Book. He asserts that the rest of the Psalms develop this theme through instructing the original readers to live by faith and through worship, often with little external evidence, for the arrival of their Messiah.

In chapter six, "Blessed is He Who Comes: The Psalms and the Future," Futato shows how the theme of expectation is developed in the Psalter, whereby the faithful might not only wait for the Coming Messiah but might do so with great hope that he will reign visibly and righteously. Futato shows how the many Psalmic sub-themes urged original readers to expect the "One to Come," the very same one who would say, "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." Here Futato nicely ties together his work: the Psalms teach original readers and modern ones alike how to live abundantly as they await the return of the King.

This work is solid. While some might shun its accessible style as academically low-brow, others will appreciate its academic and devotional worth. Futato marshals his keen understanding of literary analytical theory to produce a work that considers original concerns while applying them to modern readers. His understand of the Kingdom of God as Scriptural meta-theme informs his view that the message of the Psalms is holistic rather than fragmented. Some readers may balk at the book's lack of overt christo-centrism, but this can be reconciled with Futato's view that it is within the Kingdom of God rubric is Christ to be centrally located (and elevated). This volume is sure to find its way into student libraries and onto devotional reading lists for years to come.
Sometimes Insightful, but Improveable Effort  Aug 23, 2003
Futato is a respected Old Testament scholar who has devoted a great deal of his scholarly efforts to studying the Psalms. This work is a popular level treatment that seeks to explore major themes in the psalms and how such themes impact on our lives today.

There are two strengths in particular of this book which I found quite helpful and insightful. Attempting to identify book-wide themes in the Psalms can be daunting because on the surface, the 150 psalms that make up the book of Psalms can appear disjointed and randomly presented as products of multiple authors writing in different time periods. Futato does a very good job of arguing for a continuity in the psalms that favors the view that the 150 psalms were logically sequenced and that the whole book of Psalms can be organized into 5 'sub-books'. By establishing this kind of structure, Futato succeeds in getting a handle on the entire book and approaching major themes logically within a reliable interpretive framework.

In particular, Futato's argument that psalms 1 and 2 represent an introduction of sorts to the whole book is persuasive and quite helpful. The best part of the book, in my view, was his treatment of Psalm 2 and his argument that many of the major themes of the entire book of Psalms can be found in Psalm 2, which shouldn't surprise us if Psalm 2 (and 1) constitute a book-wide introduction.

Futato also spends a good deal of time getting into Hebrew poetical styles and functions that are heavily evidenced in the psalms, and how such literary devices factor into interpretation and theme extraction. Futato, in my view, made some insightful points in this section but also at times seemed to be reaching too far in his efforts to fit the psalms into neat literary constructions for ease of interpretation.

The other weakness is that while the book does attempt to bring Christ into the picture of the psalms, it is questionable whether Futato really explores this theme sufficiently. The Psalms, like all of Scripture really, ultimately have Christ and His redemptive work as their focus. Christ can be found in the psalms not only through specific prophecies and quotes, but also through larger redemptive and eschatological themes that were not explored to as great a degree as I believe are warranted.

Lastly, the book had quite a number of grammatical mistakes in it that result too often in awkward sentences. Future editions, should there be any, need to deal with this problem.

Overall, a good effort that attempts to extract legitimate and relevant themes out of the psalms for modern day consumption, but an effort that can be improved upon.


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