But many Christians today are at a loss for how to read the Psalms, and so are largely unfamiliar with how the Psalms can teach us to pray.
Make the Words Your Own: An Early Christian Guide to the Psalms recreates the earliest surviving Christian guide for personal devotion on the Psalms ever written--by pastor and saint, Athanasius. This book invites you to engage the Psalms just as you are--with the hope of becoming all you were meant to be in Christ.
Christians today are at a loss for how to read the Psalms. Many of us know the Psalms have played an essential role in Christian life and thought throughout the history of the church, but we have fallen out of practice in praying them and so are largely unfamiliar with how the Psalms can make us better disciples. In "Make the Words Your Own: An Early Christian Guide to the Psalms" (Paraclete Press), Benjamin D. Wayman -- a pastor at St. Paul's Free Methodist Church in Greenville, Illinois, and an assistant professor of religion at Greenville College -- recreates the earliest surviving Christian guide for personal devotion on the Psalms ever written - by pastor and saint Athanasius.
Athanasius is one of the most important pastors in the history of the church. He is best known for his theological leadership in the tumultuous years after the first general church council at Nicaea in 325 and his adamant opposition to the controversial teachings of the popular Alexandrian priest Arius.
"Make the Words Your Own" introduces modern Christians to Athanasius the pastor who, in response to a request from one of his sickly parishioners, wrote a letter that offers a detailed guide to nearly every single psalm. Later Christians found the guidance of Athanasius so useful that they placed it as an introduction to the Psalms in their manuscripts of the Bible and circulated it broadly for the next thousand years.
"I wrote this book to introduce Christians today to a fresh reading of the Psalms that draws from the best of our ancient heritage. This book invites Christians to engage the Psalms personally -- as you are -- with the hope of becoming all you were meant to be in Christ," Wayman said. "Thus, the Psalter meets us at the depths of our own suffering or betrayal or guilt and transforms our language and lives into the words and faithfulness of Christ himself. That Athanasius has been considered a saint is no small matter, and we would do well to follow the wise and mature guidance of this faithful follower of Jesus.
"For modern use, I have retooled Athanasius' guide by dividing his counsel into eight categories - Psalms for the Suffering, for the Betrayed, for the Harassed, for the Guilty, for the Thankful, for Reflection, for Instruction, for Daily Life. Athanasius' guidance is then accompanied by the respective psalm to allow for a devotional reading of the Psalter."
Paperback 225 pages
Benjamin D. Wayman is the James F. and Leona N. Andrews Chair in Christian Unity at Greenville University and a pastor at St Paul's Free Methodist Church. He earned his PhD from Saint Louis University (historical theology; early Christianity) and MDiv from Duke Divinity School. Most recently he authored Make the Words Your Own: An Early Christian Guide to the Psalms (Paraclete, 2014) and Diodore the Theologian: [Providence] in his Commentary on Psalms 1-50 (Brepols, 2014). He has published on a range of subjects, which include biblical interpretation, patristic theology, political theology, and theological education.