Encountering God in the Psalms
This popular treatment of the Book of Psalms stresses the fact that God is the subject of the Psalms. “In one way or another, every psalm expresses something about God” (p. 15). “Human experience takes on significance in relation to God” (p. 16).
As a teacher of English and a specialist in poetry, Travers discusses the beauty of the psalms as poetry, which has four characteristics: it communicates experience, it is concentrated and heightened, it is consciously structured and patterned, and it uses figures of speech.
He suggests that there are five genre or kinds of psalms—hymns, laments, royal psalms, thanksgiving psalms, and wisdom psalms. In eight chapters he discusses fourteen psalms to illustrate the several genres and subgenres he sees in the psalms.
Rather than discussing every verse in each psalm, Travers presents answers to these four questions in reference to each of the fourteen psalms: What is the overall effect of the psalm? What is the structure of the psalm? What effects does the psalm have? What are the themes and theology of the psalm? Then for each psalm he includes several points of application for believers today. An appendix lists the major attributes of God in each of the 150 psalms.
This work is a refreshing approach to the Psalms, with balance between scholarship and personal application. This tool should be consulted by anyone studying, teaching, or preaching the Psalms.