The Psalms and Their Meaning for Today

By Samuel Terrien | Go to book overview
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THE word "sin" is widely misunderstood in our time. Some apply it only to obvious breaches of the criminal codes, and therefore exclude it glibly from their personal vocabulary. Others vaguely connect it with sex, and thereby miss its all-inclusive implications. Theologians, however, have begun to rediscover the classical expressions of the Christian faith, including the Biblical sense of unrighteousness. Even a secular columnist writing in the New York Times made the following comments:

"Sin seems to have gone out of fashion as a subject of general conversation and even of pulpit discourse. Only old-style divines mention it any more, and in the field of community welfare the word is hardly known. The last public reference to it that we can recall offhand was President Coolidge's remark that his minister had preached on sin and was against it. In these new times sin is known by nicer names, such as delinquency, impropriety, indecorum, indiscretion, irregularity, laxity, and moral turpitude. A leading Methodist ecclesiastic has called for a revival of attention to sin. And high time, say we."

This is one of the reasons for which the penitential prayers of the Psalter bear an unusual significance for today. A few psalmists were not content with the condemnation of evil men who persecuted them. They searched their own souls, and by confessing before their God the crimes they had committed or by discovering an ele


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