The Psalms of the Bible were written not merely as poems, but as songs for singing. Half of the 150 psalms were written by David. They range from ecstatic joy and love for God to despair, even fear. Some were written for public ceremony like the dedication of a temple. Others are intimate and reflective. The wide range of diversity and use for them have been demonstrated through the centuries. Hymns are songs of praise for God’s work in creation or history. They typically open with a call to praise. They are specifically written for the purpose of adoration or ​prayer​. Originally modeled on the ​Book of Psalms​ in the Scriptures, Christian hymns are generally directed as praise to God. Many refer to ​Jesus Christ​ either directly or indirectly. Since the earliest times, Christians have sung “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” both in private devotions and in corporate worship.


Several of the chapters in the Book of Psalms are dedicated as Odes. The original choral odes are Psalms 1 through 4, 19 through 21, and 148 through 150. Some psalms are grouped into choral odes in pairs: psalms 6 with 13, 9 with 10, 56 with 57, 69 with 70, and 114 with 115. The Odes of Solomon, many of which were discovered in 1909 by James Rendel Harris, are said to have been the first Christian hymnbook. — notes by Jon Hynes









How marvelous is Thy name — Psalm eight

O Lord, Our Lord, how marvelous is Thy name!

When I consider the heav’ns and the works Thy hands hath wrought,

The moon and the stars which Thou hast made,

What is man that Thou are mindful of Him

Or the son of man that Thou carest for him?

Thou has displayed Thy majesty

And set Thy glory above the heavens.

From the mouths of children, even babes, Thou hast ordained strength

That the enemy and the revengeful might be silenced.

Thou hast destroyed the wicked, Thou hast blotted out their name,

But the needy shall not be forgotten

Nor the hope of the poor be lost forever.

O Lord, Our Lord, how marvelous is Thy name in all the earth!


I will praise Thee, o Lord, with my whole heart — Psalm nine

I will praise Thee, O Lord, with my whole heart.

I will shew forth Thy marvelous works.

I will be glad and rejoice in Thee;

I will sing praise to Thy name, O Thou Most High.

For Thou hast maintained my right and my cause.

Thou hast destroyed the wicked;

Thou hast put out their name forever and forever!

But the Lord shall endure forever.

He shall be a refuge in time of trouble.

And they that know Thy name shall put their trust in Thee

For Thou, O Lord, hast not forsaken them.

I will praise Thee!  Alleluia!



The Lord is my shepherd — Psalm 23

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.

He leadeth me beside the still waters; He restoreth my soul.

He leadeth me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil for Thou art with me.

Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.

Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life

And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.



Blessed is he — Psalm 32

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven and

     whose sin is covered.

Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity

     and in whose spirit there is no guile.

I acknowledged my sin to Thee and my iniquity have I not hid.

I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”

And Thou didst forgive the iniquity of my sin.

Thou art my hiding place; Thou shalt me preserve me in trouble;

Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance!

Then shout for joy, all ye who are His!



Habakkuk’s song — Habakkuk 3; Psalm 42:1

Although the fig tree shall not blossom,

Neither shall fruit be in the vine,

The labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat,

The flock shall be cut off from the fold,

And there shall be no herd in the stall, yet will I rejoice in the Lord.

And I will joy in the rock of my salvation.

The Lord God is my strength

and He has made my feet like hind’s feet And He has made me to walk upon my high places.

And as the dear pants for the water brooks,

So my soul thirsts for Thee, O God!



By the rivers of Babylon — Psalm 137

By the Rivers of Babylon there we sat down and wept

     As we remembered Zion.

On the willows we hung up our harps

     And we remembered Zion.

Our captors asked us for the words of a song;

Our tormentors asked us for a song of mirth.

“Sing us one of Zion’s songs!”

How can we sing a song in the land of strangers, O Jerusalem?

If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget her skill;

May my tongue cleave to my palate if I fail to remember you,

If I fail to exalt Jerusalem.  O Jerusalem.



Jehovah shalom — selected psalms

In peace I will both lay me down and sleep

For Thou alone, O Lord, maketh me to dwell in safety.

What time I am afraid I will trust in Thee, Jehovah Shalom.

When I remember Thee upon my bed,

I meditate on Thee in the night watches

For Thou hast been my help.

And in the shadow of Thy wings I sing for joy.



O Lord you have searched me and known me — Psalm 139

O Lord, You have searched me and known me;

You know when I sit down and when I rise.

You understand my path and my lying down

And art acquainted with all my ways.


Where shall I go from Your Spirit

And where shall I flee from Your Presence?

If I ascend into heaven You are there;

If I make my bed in hell You are there.


If I rise on the wings of the morning

And settle on the far side of the sea,

Even there Your hand shall guide me

And Your right hand will hold me fast.


If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me

And the night become light around me.”

Even the darkness hideth not from You

And the night shall shine as the day.


My frame was not hid from Thee when I was made in secret.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance and You recorded all my days.


Search me, O Lord, and know my thoughts.

Try me and know my anxious thoughts.

And see if there be any wicked way in me

And lead me into everlasting life!





Take my life and let it be — Frances Havergal

Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.

Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.

Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice and let me sing always, only, for my King.

Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.

Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my will and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.

Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.


Thanks to God for my redeemer — August Storm

Thanks to God for my Redeemer, thanks for all Thou dost provide.

Thanks for times now but a mem’ry, thanks for Jesus by my side.

Thanks for pleasant, balmy springtime,

Thanks for dark and dreary fall.

Thanks for tears by now forgotten, thanks for peace within my soul.

Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered,

Thanks for what Thou dost deny.

Thanks for storms that I have weathered,

Thanks for all Thou dost supply.

Thanks for pain and thanks for pleasure,

Thanks for comfort in despair.

Thanks for grace that none can measure,

Thanks for love beyond compare.

Thanks for roses by the wayside,

Thanks for thorns their stems contain.

Thanks for home and thanks for fireside,

Thanks for hope, that sweet refrain.

Thanks for joy and thanks for sorrow,

Thanks for heav’nly peace with Thee.

Thanks for hope in the tomorrow,

Thanks through all eternity.



When I survey the wondrous cross — Isaac Watts

When I survey the wondrous cross

On which the Prince of Glory died,

My richest gain I count but loss,

And pour contempt on all my pride.


Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast

Save in the death of Christ my God!

All the vain things that charm me most

I sacrifice them to His blood.


See from His head, His hands, His feet

Sorrow and love flow mingled down.

Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,

Or thorns compose so rich a crown?


Were the whole realm of nature mine,

That were a present far too small.

Love so amazing, so divine,

Demands my soul, my life, my all.





Open your hearts — Ode eight

Open your hearts to the exultation of the Lord!

Let your love be multiplied from the heart and even to the lips

To bring forth fruit to the Lord, living, holy.

Rise up and stand erect, ye who sometimes were brought low.

Speak out, ye who were in silence,

Now that your mouth has been opened.

Be lifted up, ye who were despised,

For your Righteousness has been lifted up.

The Lord is with you and He will be your helper.

Peace was prepared for you before your war ever was.



As the sun — Ode fifteen

As the sun is the joy of those who long for its daybreak,

So is my joy the Lord

Because He is my Sun and His rays have lifted me up

And His light has dispelled all darkness from my face.

In Him I have been given eyes to see His holy day.

Ears have become mine and I have heard His truth.

The thought of knowledge has been mine

And I have been delighted through Him.

The way of error I have left and have turned toward Him

And have received salvation through Him.  Hallelujah!



The beloved — 0de three

I should not have known how to love the Lord

If He had not loved me.

For who is able to grasp the meaning of love

Except the one that is loved?

I love the Beloved and my soul loves Him.

And where His rest is, there also am I.

I have been united with Him for the lover has found the Beloved

And because I love Him Who is the Son, I shall become a son.

And I shall be no stranger for with the Lord

Most high and merciful there is no keeping back.



I poured out praise to the Lord — Ode twenty-­six

I poured out praise to the Lord because I am His own

And I will sing His holy song for my heart is with Him.

His harp is in my hand and the odes of His rest shall not be silent.

I will cry to Him with all my heart, I will praise and exalt Him.

From the east to the west is His praise;

From the south to the north is the confession of Him.

From the crests of the summits

To their utmost boundaries is His perfection.

Who can write the odes of the Lord, or who can read them?

Who can press upon the Most High that with his mouth he may speak?

It suffices to know and to stand for in rest the singer stands

Like a river with a gushing spring that flows to those who seek.


As the eyes of the father — Ode fourteen

As the eyes of a son to his father,

So are my eyes at all times turned toward You.

For with You is my delight.

Open to me Your right hand, Lord,

And be my guide even to the end.

Let me be well-pleasing before You

Because of Your glory and because of Your name.

Let Your gentleness abide with me, Lord,

And the fruits of Your love.

Teach me the melodies of Your truths

That I may bring forth fruit in You.

Open to me the harp of Your Holy Spirit

That with every note I may praise You, Lord!


*The Odes of Solomon, many of which were discovered in 1909 by James Rendel Harris, are said to have been the first Christian hymnbook.







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