The 1928 Edition of the Psalter

From the Covenanter Witness Magazine, July 25, 1928

Synod this year appointed a committee to arrange for the publishing of a new edition of the Psalter. This committee was asked to compile a more complete index of the psalms and to substitute tunes where the present music was judged unsuitable for congregational singing. The committee desires that the changes that are to be made in the music may represent as far as possible the will of the Church as a whole. In order to determine just what that will is the committee is asking all who are interested in “good congregational singing to go through the present Psalter and make a list of the tunes that are regarded as unsuitable. The committee would appreciate having these lists as soon as possible. After the committee has reviewed these lists and has decided upon the number of tunes to be changed, it will proceed to find other tunes for the tunes that are to be replaced. In this placing of tunes the committee desires the fullest possible cooperation of all the Church. In order that the coming edition of the Psalter be what we all want it to be, three matters must be kept in mind: (1) Regular and earnest prayer for wisdom and guidance that all may be done for the glory of God; (2) Regular work is necessary to produce anything worthwhile; (3) Promptness in getting all suggestions to the committee will greatly help in getting the book completed. For the present all suggestions should be sent to the chairman of the committee,

D.B. Martin, Morning Sun, Iowa


6 thoughts on “The 1928 Edition of the Psalter”

  1. The 1650 Scottish Psalter is fine, leave it alone. It is equivalent to the AV and bringing in new “improved” or “revised” psalter is like using some of the corrupt translations of the Bible.

  2. Tom,

    Do you think we should discourage newer versions of the Psalter? Just wondering if you see them all as “corrupt” and if you could give us particular examples.

    1. I think the 1650 is the best translation that we have, (like the AV) and if you start deviating from it you are on a rather perilous path.

  3. I must differ on this. Do you REALLY think the 1650 rendering of Psalm 18 v 25-26 is the BEST way to translate the original? No translation is perfect or ‘the last word’ and much as I treasure the 1650, I think the R.P. light amendment is also just as servicable and sometimes more felicitous.

    1. I think that, like the AV, the 1650 Psalter was produced by “holy men of God….as they were moved by the Holy Ghost”. I don’t think it’s safe to meddle with it.

  4. That sounds to me like A.V. perfectionism which is an absurdity, little short of adding to the canon of Scripture as providentially preserved down the centuries and should have no place in any Reformed Church.
    In the 1650 version in Psalm 100, Long metre version, I suggest you look it its rendering of verse 3 ‘we are his flock’ and compare it with the Prose version and the original. One authority observes that the metrical rendering ‘flock’ was the ‘happy result’ of the printer’s error and simply because it seemed so fitting in the context has become enshrined in people’s affections- despite being , at very best, an unintentional example of what today we term the ‘dynamic equivalence’ approach to ‘translation’ and rightly regarded as very alien to the principle of formal equivalence behind the A.V. Any translators who claim to have the same Spiritual superintendance as the original penmen of Holy Scripture are perilously close to charismaticism and certainly are not being faithfully Reformed.

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