Book of Praise


During the Reformation in the 16th century music in the church took a new direction. John Calvin's Genevan Psalter has been sung by the church ever since.

Why do we sing Psalms on the tunes of the Reformation?

Why would the church sing Psalms? The Psalms are written and kept for the church of Jesus Christ to sing. The Psalms are songs for the believers, given to them by the Lord Jesus, to sing on the journey from the Old Jerusalem to the New Jerusalem. Many churches have lost most of the Scriptural Psalms in their hymnal. However, there are several reasons why singing the Psalms, especially on the tunes of the Reformation, should be considered in the church services (again).

1. Because of their Historic Value

The Psalms have great historical value: The Old Testament church received the Psalms, composed by Kind David and others, and the church has been singing these Psalms until today.

The Old Testament church, the New Testament Church, the Early Church, the Churches of the Reformation, and the churches today are united in their singing of the same Psalms through the ages.

By using the Book of Psalms as one selection of 150 songs, individually and as a whole inspired by the Holy Spirit, the church is true to Scripture.

The current music for the Psalms has been written:
- in relation with Gregorian tunes
- in relation with Jewish music
- with a different character than secular music
- giving a high priority to 'singability', something that these tunes did prove through the ages
- neutral, to avoid favoritism for some melodies

2. Because they were written for the congregation

The Psalm tunes are written for congregational singing in particular:

- Uncomplicated with only two note values and easy melody line and song structure
- Consistent in style and structure, which makes it easy to learn, remember, and sing for all ages and all times When sung (and accompanied) correctly, sounding powerful

3. Psalm tunes are based on modes

Modes enrich music Modes are never boring Relevant in relation to quality music of famous composers in general

4. Universal

The Psalms and Psalm tunes have worldwide recognition: Renowned around the world Highly respected by knowledgeable professionals Recognized as top quality tunes in the church music world

5. All-Inclusive

The Psalm and Tunes of the Reformation are complete: 150 Psalms were given to the church by the Holy Spirit and 150 Psalms were rhymed and set to music, which are still being sung by the church today. In the rhyming of the Psalms to these tunes, the highest priority was given to be true to Scripture, not excluding any thought or phrase, nor including anything that was not in Scripture.

Why would a church sing the Psalms on the tunes of the Reformation?

These tunes were composed in the spirit of this quote (John Calvin):

"... no one is able to sing things worthy of God except that which he has received from Him. Therefore, when we have looked thoroughly, and searched here and there, we shall not find better songs nor more fitting for the purpose, than the Psalms of David, which the Holy Spirit spoke and made through him. And moreover, when we sing them, we are certain that God puts in our mouths these, as if He Himself were singing in us to exalt His glory."