1. The problem with Psalms

If there is a problem with the psalms, it’s usually assumed to be that some are bloodthirsty, pre-christian and inappropriate for modern use. This only applies to a few of them, and even the presence in the book of Psalm 109 is a valuable warning against sanitised religion.

The more serious difficulty is that they were written in Hebrew.  As scripture, as the hymnbook of the Bible, there is a feeling, which I endorse, that there is nothing quite compares with the psalms as being suitable for worship. However, Article 24 says that ‘it is a thing plainly repugnant … to have publick prayer … in a tongue not understanded of the people’. We do not sing them in Hebrew but nor do the psalms translate directly into a form in which people can easily sing them in English.