First Person, Singular

I’ve spent the past six months either reading in or teaching from the psalms, but Vic Black has introduced an approach to the psalms that is not only new but also energizing, providing a richer, deeper taste of God’s presence in His Words.  Vic’s book, Speak, Lord begs the question:  “Why haven’t I thought of this before?”

Vic Black, National Prayer Director for the Navigators, invites his readers to hear the psalms in the first person, with God as the speaker and the believer as a much-beloved listener.  In the foreword, Eugene Peterson ties this concept to God’s dealings with Moses in the Old Testament.  The name that God spoke from the burning bush revealed God as both present and personal:  “YHWH — I AM THAT I AM.”  Jesus spoke with this same personal, first-person voice, self-identifying as “I AM” seven times in John’s Gospel.

Therefore, listening for God’s voice in the psalms, hearing His Words in first person, is more than just re-writing Scripture.  It is an affirmation of the intimate relationship to be enjoyed between God and His child.  Personalizing the psalms is a meditative exercise which is, at the same time, a roll-up-your-sleeves, haul- out-multiple-Bible-translations, and-dig-for-truth project.

Vic recommends a journaling approach, pondering the question, “Lord, what might it sound like if You spoke this psalm to me personally?”  This involves trusting the Holy Spirit to bring other Scriptures to mind that will shed light on the current psalm.  By focusing on one psalm for an entire week, I was able to wait, to listen, and to soak in that one psalm’s truth.

Speak, Lord examines over twenty psalms, providing the full text to begin the process, then analyzing the chapter for the theme and most important thoughts.  Vic Black’s first-person expression of each psalm follows and then a reflection which captures additional insights that occurred to Vic in his study and meditation.  Each chapter leaves the door wide open for reader input with prompts and tips for journaling the psalm in first person.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom . . .,” said Paul, meaning the inspired Scriptures, the word of revelation Christ brought into the world.  Speak, Lord is an invitation to this abundant, extravagant saturation, a guide to slowing down and allowing God to speak for Himself through his Word.

This book was provided by NavPress in alliance with Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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12 thoughts on “First Person, Singular”

  1. Hello Michelle, I think this would make an interesting read.
    Personalising and journal would be a fantastic way to do Bible study.
    Thank you for the book review.
    Have a splendid weekend ahead.


  2. Awesome post, Michele!!! I love the idea of making Scripture personal! I will definitely add this concept to my morning Bible time. Thank you so much for sharing! Peace and many blessings to you, Love! 🙂


  3. What an interesting book, Michele! I’ve been reading a Psalm most days for the past 30+ years. I love them dearly. Maybe I will try reading the same one for a week!

    The Holy Spirit must be speaking. I just chose the same Colossians 3:16 verse my next Tuesday post, before I read this. 🙂 Have a great weekend!


    1. I’ve been really trying to slow down my reading for the past five or six years. Right now my husband and I are “reading through” together, but on my own, I tend to just savor a chapter or a narrative section for a week.
      And I’ll be looking forward to Tuesday’s treatment of Col. 3:16!


  4. This sounds like a wonderful book. I’ve not read it, but my church had us do an exercise at our annual retreat where we each picked a psalm and read it as if in first person. I found it very powerful and helpful to me in understanding Scripture more deeply. Good stuff!


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