Every Friday, I plan to share select quotes from a book I am either currently reading or have previously read. Few things have impacted my faith and life as much as reading has. This will be just one way I promote books and reading. These articles will be for the dedicated reader who loves to gain insight from as many books as possible. They will also be for the Christian looking for new books to read. I am always on the lookout for new books to read. Hopefully some things I share will lead you to pick up a new book. Finally, these articles will be for those of you too busy to read. Hopefully these quick quotes will provide you with easy access to books you would otherwise not have time to read. Each article will include a brief discussion of the author and his work followed by ten (or more) pertinent quotes from the book.
C.S. Lewis has become one of my favorite authors. One of the things I love most about Lewis is his candor and honesty. It comes across as false modesty, but it isn’t. Lewis is sincere, but his frequent confessions of struggling with a certain idea or topic or biblical truth is refreshing and educational for a young minister and writer like myself. As much as I learn from Lewis’s insights, I learn even more from his demeanor and tone. It helps that he is a colossal writer. Not many since Lewis can say they are in his class of writers.
I began reading Reflections on the Psalms because my pastor has been preaching through various psalms over the past few weeks. We are heading into the final week of that series, and as the children’s pastor I have been preparing and preaching sermons to the kids of our church on the same texts my pastor has been preaching to the rest of the congregation. Walking with Lewis through various themes, ideas, tensions, and truths in the psalms has been a delight. This book is in a class of its own. It’s not a commentary. It’s not a devotional. It’s not a collection of essays. It is one man’s reflections on one of the most popular and impactful books of the Bible. Through penetrating prose, Lewis probes our hearts and while he definitely reflects on many psalms, his work is more a reflection on the human condition than anything else. The Psalms are like a mirror, which simultaneously exposes our true selves while reflecting the glory of God. Lewis’ Reflections on the Psalms holds that mirror up so we can better see.
Here are twelve important quotes from Reflections on the Psalms to whet your appetite:
1. A man can’t be always defending the truth; there must be a time to feed on it.
2. The most valuable thing the Psalms do for me is to express that same delight in God which made David dance.
3. [The Law is] like mountain water, like fresh air after a dungeon, like sanity after a nightmare.
4. I take [Psalm 19] to be the greatest poem in the Psalter and one of the greatest lyrics in the world.
5. In so far as this idea of the Law’s beauty, sweetness, or preciousness, arose from the contrast of the surrounding Paganisms, we may soon find occasion to recover it.
6. Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him.
7. If it were possible for a created soul fully to “appreciate,” that is to love and delight in, the worthiest object of all, and simultaneously at every moment to give this delight perfect expression, then that soul would be in supreme beatitude.
8. Our “services” both in their conduct and and in our power to participate, are merely attempts at worship.
9. I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.
10. I had not noticed how the humblest, and at the same time most balanced and capacious, minds, praised most, while the cranks, misfits and malcontents praised least.
11. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed.
12. These conjectures as to why God does what He does are probably of no more value than my dog’s ideas of what I am up to when I sit and read.
Mathew Gilbert (B.A. Boyce College) is the Children’s Pastor at First Baptist Church in East Bernstadt, KY. He is an M.Div student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife, Erica, and their son, Jude Adoniram.