Read, Pray, Sing: The Psalms as an Entryway to the Scriptures - April 12-13, 2013


Audio: Audio Project | Podcast XML | Subscribe on iTunes U

A Guide to Resources for Singing and Praying the Psalms (.pdf)

Friday, April 12

6–7:30 p.m. Banquet Dinner/Theme Interpretation
During this time we will provide a conference theme interpretation by Ray Van Neste. A short break will follow. AUDIO
8–9 p.m. Psalmfest
Led by Dr. Chris Mathews and the Union University Music Department, this will be a wonderful opportunity for us to experience the singing of the Psalms together in a variety of styles which have been used in the church through the ages. AUDIO | VIDEO | Program (.pdf)

Saturday, April 13

8:30–9:30 a.m. Breakout Sessions 1 (choose ONE of the following TWO sessions)

Andy Davis — "The Bible Comes to Life: How Scripture Memory Transforms One's Life" (Room D-54) AUDIO
In this breakout session we will discuss the benefits of extended memorization of scripture for maximum fruitfulness in the Christian life. Practical insights on how to do memorization will be given.

Heath Thomas — "The Magnificent 7: Seven Ways of Reading (or Misreading) Scripture" (Room D-53) AUDIO
A crucial question in reading Scripture is surprisingly simple: “What am I reading for?” This session will take us through some major reasons we read Scripture. We will see that people normally read the Bible to understand: ancient history, ancient literature, ancient culture, God’s rules, God’s promises, or simple facts. We will see that each of these, while important, fall short of what it means to read Scripture. We will explore a seventh way that helps us hear the voice of God in and through His Word.
9:45–10:45 a.m. Breakout Sessions 2 (choose ONE of the following SEVEN sessions) Penick
11 a.m.–12 p.m. Breakout Sessions 3 (choose a different ONE of the following SEVEN sessions) Penick
Breakout Sessions
Kevin Chen - "God as a Poet: The Poetry of the Psalms" (Room C-8) AUDIO/NOTES
It is easy to forget that the Psalms are 150 separate poems.  They are creative, emotional, lyrical poems designed in the mind of God.  The poetry is easy to overlook because we read the Psalms in English translations.  This breakout session will help us to rediscover the poetry of the Psalms.  We will examine the use of descriptive imagery, helpful comparisons, and some uniquely Hebrew characteristics as well. Just as we read and interpret English poems differently from, say, essays or personal letters, we should also read and interpret the Psalms according to their style.

Mark Dubis - "Ancient Backgrounds in Bible Study" (Room C-12)
Studying the Bible is a cross-cultural experience. In fact, if you want to interpret the Bible well, you will have to cross not only cultures but time and space. This session will stress the importance of investigating biblical backgrounds, illustrating this need from selected biblical texts. You will also learn about key tools for studying and teaching the Bible against the backdrop of its ancient contexts.  

George Guthrie - "Hearing the Psalms: Reading with Head and Heart" (Room C-18)
This session explains how to do a close, reflective reading of a psalm. We cannot apply what we have not interpreted well, and we cannot interpret what we don't see in the text. So how do we "see" or "hear" the details of a psalm, reflecting deeply on the nuances of a passage? And how can we move from understanding how a psalm works to using it in worship? Come and find out!

Paul Jackson - "Don’t Miss the Forest for the Trees" (Room C-16) AUDIO/NOTES
The Psalms are like a densely thicketed forest with five distinct yet connected sections. As a forest is only as beautiful as the sum of its trees, the Psalms overarching glory eludes us if we mainly study them individually. Sometimes interpretations and applications are missed because a key observation has been overlooked by focusing on just one “tree”—the key of observing how the author crafted the transitions between each large section. This session will explore how understanding the structure of the Psalms is essential for proper interpretation and application.

Harry Lee Poe - "C.S. Lewis on the Psalms" (Room C-6) AUDIO/NOTES
When C. S. Lewis undertook his study of the Psalms, he said that it “is not what is called an ‘apologetic’ work,” by which he meant a book “trying to convince unbelievers that Christianity is true.” In another sense, however, apologetics is precisely what this devotional book for believers really is. In addition to believers, Lewis indicated that he wrote the book for “those who are ready, while reading, to 'suspend their disbelief." He does not deal with all the psalms, but he focuses on the ones that cause “difficulties” and that for modern readers “are at first most repellent.” This session will explore how Lewis made the psalms accessible to a modern audience without changing their meaning.

Ray Van Neste - “Singing & Praying the Psalms at Home” (Room D-54)
Singing and praying the psalms together has been a real blessing to me and my family, so I want to share the joy with others. I wanted to bring the soul shaping influence of the Psalms to my children that they might grow up with the inspired words shaping how they express themselves to God in praise, prayer, lament & confession. Such an undertaking might sound complicated or difficult, but it really wasn’t. In this session I will share basic principles and steps we have taken and we will sing a few Psalms together as examples.

Scott Winter - “Inductive Bible Study using WORDsearch Bible Software” (Room D-53)
Get the most out of a passage of Scripture by harnessing the power of WORDsearch. You will learn a simple inductive Bible study method. But instead of using books, we will use the WORDsearch Bible software - giving you access to more information, faster. This session will save you time, and help you gain more from your Bible study or sermon/lesson prep.
1:30–2:30 p.m. Plenary 1
Heath Thomas - "God, Israel, and the Nations: Praising God and His Salvation in Psalm 117"
2:45–3:45 p.m. Plenary 2
Andy Davis - "The Sufferings of Christ and the Subsequent Glories in the Psalms"

Conference Program (.pdf)

Comments from Previous Conference Attendees

The conference encouraged me, challenged me and gave me confidence.
We were so encouraged and equipped by this excellent conference.
Many thanks for a great conference ... West Tennessee will continue to benefit from these labors.
This conference was beyond words. You could feel the presence of God in all the sessions. All of the speakers were great.
I had a great time and count it as one of the most profitable conference experiences to date.
The conference was excellent! ...This was a great service to the King and his Kingdom.
As in previous years, the conference was a wonderful experience for all who participated.
I came away with a tremendous respect and appreciation for a school like Union University and its apparent commitment to holding up the Bible as sufficient for all of life.
The conference was fantastic! Listening to the teaching made me think of the church staying up all night to hear Paul teach. I'm sure I had that much joy in my heart hearing the word taught during the plenary sessions.