cover image Open and Unafraid: The Psalms as a Guide to Life

Open and Unafraid: The Psalms as a Guide to Life

W. David O. Taylor. Thomas Nelson, $24.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-40-021047-3

Taylor (For the Beauty of the Church), assistant professor of theology and culture at Fuller Theological Seminary, uses the biblical book of Psalms as a starting point for contemplating the nature of living a fulfilling life in this enjoyable, spirited work. Taylor's confidence in the biblical collection's ability to "understand the human condition" comes through in his impassioned prose: "the Psalms rehabilitate the intimated imagination so that it can grasp the enormous range of the word of God." Each chapter addresses a different theme (such as sadness, anger, joy, justice, or death) and includes a discussion of psalms specific to each, Taylor's general thoughts about the theme, questions for reflection, exercises, and a brief prayer. As a Christian, Taylor finds it "impossible%E2%80%A6 to read the psalms without seeing Christ in them" (even though the Psalms is part of the Hebrew Bible), so Jesus features strongly in discussion of the psalms' power and relevance. Unfortunately, organization and choice of topics isn't always clear. For example, while chapters such as "Joy" and "Death" discuss the theme within psalms, "History" and "Poetry" veer more into information about the theme. Even so, this enthusiastic guide will be a great starting point for readers wishing to explore the Psalms from a different angle. (Mar.)