But the Psalter is not just for these great and holy people of God, rather, Luther sees it as for every Christian. And for every Christian, an extremely important and useful book.
He says, "It is proper for every Christian who would pray and be devout to let the Psalter be his book. And no doubt it would be well if every Christian used it so diligently and became so well acquainted with it as to know it by heart, word for word, and constantly to have it on his tongue whenever called on to say or to do something. Then he could thence draw and adduce from it a passage, like a proverb fitting the case."
We will be going through Dr. Luther's thoughts, insights and love for the book he called "a hymn on the entire Scripture" in the upcoming weeks and months. For now, I leave you with his introduction to his commentary on the Psalms. He writes:
"The Psalter ought to be a dear and beloved book, if only because it promises Christ's death and resurrection so clearly and so depicts His kingdom and the condition and nature of all Christendom that we may call it a little Bible. Most beautifully and briefly it embraces everything in the entire Bible; it is made info a fine enchiridion, or handbook. Therefore it seems to me that the Holy Spirit wanted to take the trouble of compiling a short Bible and a book of examples of all Christendom or of all saints, with this purpose in mind that whoever could not read the whole Bible would here have practically an entire summary of it, comprised in one booklet... Where do you find words more beautifully expressive of joy than in the psalms of praise and thanksgiving? There you look into the hearts of all the saints, nay, as into heaven, and note what fine and pleasant flowers spring up in them, all kinds of beautiful and happy thoughts rising to God because of His benefits. On the other hand, where do you find deeper, more sorrowful, more pitiful words of sadness than in the psalms of lamentation? There again you look into the hearts of all the saints, as into death, nay as into hell. How dark and gloomy it is there, with all kinds of depressing views of the wrath of God! So, too, when they speak of fear and hope, they use such words that no painter could so depict fear and hope and no Cicero or orator could so portray them...This is the reason why the Psalter is the book of all saints and everyone, whatever his situation may be, finds psalms and words in it that fit his situation and apply his case so exactly that it seems they were put in this way only for his sake...In a word, would you see the Hoy Christian Church painted in living color and form and put into one little picture? Then pick up the Psalter, and you have a fine, bright, pure mirror that will show you what Christendom is like; nay, you will also find yourself in it and the true "know thyself", besides God Himself and all creatures.
The Word of the Lord Endures Forever