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William Binnie

1823-1886

The Psalms: Their History, Teachings, and Use


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Dr. William Binnie was ordained as a minister in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland. He served first as Professor of Systematic Theology and Homiletics at the College in the Craigs of Stirling and beginning in 1875 as Professor of Church History and Pastoral Theology at the Free Church College in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Dr. Binnie is best known for the work cited here: The Psalms: Their History, Teachings, and Use.

The chapters posted here are taken from the book The Psalms: Their History, Teachings, and Use (T. Nelson and Sons, 1870). There is also a second, revised edition of the book dated 1886, but the chapters we posted here are essentially the same.

This book is not a commentary on the Psalms. As the subtitle suggests, the book rather consists of three parts: (1) the historical development of the Psalms from Moses to the postexilic period, (2) the theology in the Psalms, and (3) the history of the use of the Psalms in both Jewish and Christian contexts.

The three chapters reprinted here come from part two and deal with the Messianic Psalms. It is important to note that they are not designed and structured as a defense of the Messiahship of Yeshua (Jesus), although the evidence for this view is discussed. These three chapters are primarily designed to show how Messianism is presented in the Psalms.

It is also important to note that the target audience of these chapters is Christian, although Jewish readers can gain much from them. But because the target audience is primarily Christian, Dr. Binnie generally uses the Greek word Christ (Christos) instead of its Hebrew equivalent, Messiah (Mashiach). Occasionally, he does put the definite article (the) in front of Christ ("the Christ" = the Messiah) and sometimes even uses the phrase the Messiah. These words and phrases are general and do not in themselves identify the Messiah, though of course Dr. Binnie believes and argues that Yeshua is the Messiah of the Psalms.

In these reprints, the text of the 1870 (first) edition has not been modified, except that long paragraphs have been divided.

"That There are Predictions Respecting Our Lord in the Psalms"

"A Classification of the Messianic Psalms"

"The Christology of the Psalms"

You may be interested in two additional chapters in this book. They discuss two other very important issues in the Psalms: (1) how should we interpret the imprecatory Psalms (e.g., Ps. 137) and (2) did the Psalmists believe in the future life (e.g., Ps. 6:5)? Both of these chapters are reprinted on our sister site, Rediscovering the Bible.


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