Resources On Psalm Singing

For much of the history of the church, from the reign of King David (1000 BC) until about 150 years ago, the Psalms were the songbook of the church. Under the old covenant God’s people sang Psalms in anticipation of the coming Messiah. Our Lord Jesus sang Psalms. The New Testament the church sang Psalms. The early Christian church sang Psalms. It was only under and after Gregory I (AD c. 1540–604) that the Psalms faced any great challenge but even then, for the next millennium, the Psalter was the most basic songbook of the church. During the middle ages monks memorized the Psalms and sang through the entire Psalter (150 Psalms) regularly. The Reformed churches recovered the singing of the Psalms by translating the them into the language of the people. The psalter again became the songbook of the churches through the 16th and 17th centuries. In the 18th century non-canonical hymns began to challenge the place of the Psalms and finally, by the late 20th century the Psalms were almost entirely replaced by non-canonical songs and hymns. The early 21st century is almost certainly the most psalm-less age in the history of the church in more than 3000 years. The Reformed conviction (even if our practice has not always matched our conviction) is that God’s Word is sufficient for public worship. This was an application of the formal principle of the Reformation: sola Scriptura, i.e., our conviction of the sufficiency of Scripture. According to sola Scriptura, Scripture alone is the final authority for the Christian faith and the Christian life. Worship is at the center of the Christian life and a principal expression of the Christian faith. Thus, when we respond to the reading, preaching, and confession of God’s Word and to the gospel made visible in the sacraments, it is fitting that we should respond with God’s Word.

The value, use, and art of the singing of God’s Word and especially the psalter has long been a matter of interest at the Heidelblog. Here are some resources toward advancing the recovery of psalmody in the church.

Exegetical and Theological

  1. Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs in the LXX
  2. Psalms, Hymns, Spiritual Songs, and the Regulative Principle
  3. Why Sing the Psalms?
  4. Psalms, Hymns, Spiritual Songs, and Instruments in the Latin Bibles (1)
  5. Psalms, Hymns, Spiritual Songs, and Instruments in the Latin Bibles (2)
  6. Considering Context Leads To Singing Psalms In New Testament Praise And Worship
  7. The Intent of the Psalms is to Reveal Christ
  8. Singing In Acts 16:25 And Plausibility Structures
  9. Does “Sing to Him a New Song” Justify Praise Songs?
  10. 1 Corinthians 14:26: Each One Has A Psalm
  11. Reformed Worship is Neither “Contemporary” nor “Traditional”


  1. Eusebius: The Command to Sing Psalms is Universal
  2. What Did the Westminster Divines Mean By “Psalms”?
  3. Synod of Dort 1578: Only Psalms To Be Sung In Worship
  4. Synod 1928’s Grounds for Adding Hymns to the Psalter
  5. Kuyper: The Introduction Of Hymns To Dutch Reformed Worship Was Done Unlawfully
  6. Reformed Psalmody Distinct From Hymnody
  7. Calvin on Psalm Singing in Worship
  8. What Happened? How Did We Lose Psalm Singing?
  9. How the Dutch Reformed Lost the Psalms
  10. Deformation or Reformation?
  11. Audio: Godfrey on the Psalms, Calvin, and Contemporary Worship
  12. Reformed Churches Are Scripture Singing Churches
  13. The Decline Of Psalmody In The Netherlands: Anabaptists, Remonstrants, And The State Church
  14. Ken’s Doxology: A Subversion Of The Psalter?
  15. Calvin Did Not Write “I Greet Thee Who My Sure Redeemer Art”


  1. Ambrose: Psalms Unite the Church
  2. Calvin On Why We Should Sing the Psalms
  3. Office Hours: Bob Godfrey on Learning to Love the Psalms
  4. Godfrey: Has the Experiment Succeeded?
  5. J. G. Vos: Ashamed Of The Tents Of Shem?
  6. The Psalms in Worship and Living
  7. Beets: In Depth of Spirituality, the Psalms Excel Hymns
  8. Wisdom on Introducing Psalm-Singing
  9. Introducing Congregations to the Psalms
  10. Man Discovers Jesus’ Hymnal
  11. A Useful Resource for Psalm Singing
  12. Resources for Recovering Psalmody (Dan Kok)
  13. New App To Help You And Your Congregation Sing Psalms
  14. Sing Psalms: New Metrical Versions of the Book of Psalms
  15. Calvin’s Plan for Recovering Psalms
  16. The Psalms Are Trans-Cultural
  17. Mini-Psalter 2.0
  18. Wanted: Better Tunes for the Psalms
  19. Herman Selderhuis on Spiritual Maturity and the Psalms
  20. Audio: The Struggle of Sanctification in the Psalms (1)
  21. The Struggle of Sanctification in the Psalms (2)
  22. Calvin: Psalm 88 Is a Form of Prayer for the Afflicted
  23. Picking A Psalm for Worship
  24. Trueman: Opposition to Singing God’s Word is Marcionite
  25. Genevan Psalter in Spanish
  26. New Genevan Psalter
  27. Bay Psalm Book on Uninspired Versus Inspired Songser for the Afflicted
  28. Mercy Musings: Psalm 5
  29. Can’t Plant A Psalm-Singing Congregation In An Urban Metro?
  30. Look Ma No Instruments! (Ps 85)
  31. Psalm 23 As You’ve Never Heard It Before: God’s Word Transcends Cultural Boundaries
  32. Psalters!
  33. Historic Reformed Worship is Multi- or Trans-Cultural

Related: Resources on the Rule of Worship

    Post authored by:

  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

    More by R. Scott Clark ›

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