Psalms by the Day

Over the past few years, I have shared a daily Bible reading book (and plan) that I intended to tackle in the New Year. My aim is to always do something different, each and every time; as we are blessed with so many solid options to choose from. Also, a regular reading of God’s Word is a commitment to growth in godliness. I want to rise early—with an eagerness to open my Bible. I want to anticipate the awe that comes from reading God’s Word.

A number of you have joined me in the journey, and for that I am grateful. The accountability keeps us all on-track and encouraged.


In 2014, it was John MacArthur’s One Perfect Life—which uses the Gospel of Matthew as a base text, then adding the remaining three (Mark, Luke, and John), plus other biblical material about Jesus into one continuous story.

In 2015, many of us read through The MacArthur Daily Bible in the New King James Version (NKJV). I love to switch up the Bible translation that I will read through each year. That’s because I often see something in a passage that I’ve never seen before. Memorized verses can appear all too familiar to me, but when they are reworded ever-so-slightly I’m struck by it anew.

In 2016, I had wanted to read my entire Bible chronologically. Reading God’s Story did just that, by ordering Scripture in such a way that I was literally “Reading God’s Story,” His plan of redemption from start to finish in the Holman Christian Standard (HCSB).

This past year, it was time to slow down and read only through the Old Testament. My hope was to achieve a slower pace that would allow for it to soak in (as I need all the soaking I can get)! The resource I chose was D.A. Carson’s NIV Zondervan Study Bible and we are almost across the reading finish line!

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For 2018, my desire will be to focus on the Christian’s original hymn-book, Psalms. All 150 of them. But I want to do so in such a way that I will grow in my prayer life and biblical literacy. Psalms by the Day: A New Devotional Translation by Alec Motyer is the answer.1

Who doesn’t love the intimacy and intensity of the Psalms? Jesus knew and used them often in His life. For there is nothing like them in all of Scripture. John Calvin once wrote:2

What various and resplendent riches are contained in this treasury… an anatomy of all parts of the soul; for there is not an emotion of which any one can be conscious that is not here represented as in a mirror.

Carl Trueman’s endorsement of Motyer’s book promises a rich devotional experience, one in which we will better understand these mirrors of the soul:

This book is the dream combination: the Psalms presented as a daily devotional by the great Christian scholar, Alec Motyer. Learned, orthodox, practical and shot through with a love for the LORD and a desire to see His people grow closer to Him, this volume is a true treasure. All Christians need to be immersed in the Psalms as we find the Christian life laid out in all of its emotional dimensions, yet too often we struggle to see Christ therein. Everyone who picks up this book will find that they not only learn to read and understand the Psalms as Christian scripture, they may also find their prayer life changed in a profound and dramatic way.

The Psalms have been arranged into seventy-three different readings in this book. I’m planning to walk through it for an entire year. Which will allow me to compare it with my New American Standard Bible (NASB) along the way. Motyer states that his desire with the new translation is “to bring you as near as I can to the Hebrew of the original.”3 Can’t wait.

Mark Dever, senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church and president of has written a convincing endorsement in his foreword for the devotional. Below is an excerpt:4

productimage-picture-psalms-by-the-day-a-new-devotional-translation-5361One of the first—and still perhaps the best—summaries of the Bible in just a few messages that I have heard was given by Alec Motyer about twenty-five years ago. I was a student, speaking to students at the same conference. But when I saw Motyer was speaking on this topic, I could not resist attending all his lectures. And the view of God’s Word he gave me has been a lasting gift ever since.

In your hand you have three gifts.

First, one of our finest scholars has used his knowledge and long experience as a linguist and a Christian to give us a fresh translation of all 150 Psalms. This in and of itself is a gift of no small value…

Another gift that Dr Motyer has given us is in the notes. And let me be clear—in preparing to write this foreword—I read every word in the book, and the notes are themselves of great help to the Christian who would understand and appreciate the Psalms. Clear statements that would seem like hyperbole from others come with simple weight from Motyer’s pen…

xproductimage-picture-psalms-by-the-day-a-new-devotional-translation-5379.jpg.pagespeed.ic.e2y3tHyFFgThe ‘Pause for Thoughts’ devotions are a final gift that our author leaves us with. They act as a commentary for the reader who feels intimidated by the specific notes in the margins of the text. They summarize the main contribution the preceding Psalms make. And yet they are more than summary. They help to give us perspective on the significance or importance of what we’ve read, often in such a way that at least I have wanted to go back and re-read the preceding Psalm…

Throughout this work, Motyer’s writing gives us a delicious combination—richly full, concisely put. For generations now, Alec Motyer has been one of the best at combining the smallest of details with the grand sweep of the biblical narrative, and in ways which are not wrongly original or novel, but which are faithful and obvious in the text once we’ve noticed them.


Get in touch if you are interested in joining me.

1 Full disclosure: Christian Focus Publications is also the publisher of my first book Five Half Truths: Addressing the Most Common Misperceptions of Christianity, which is scheduled for a November 2018 U.S. release.
2 As quoted in Tremper Longman III’s How to Read the Psalms (Nottingham, InterVaristy Press: 1988), 13.
3 Alec Motyer, Psalms by the Day: A New Devotional Translation (Ross-shire, Christian Focus Publications: 2016), 9.
4 You can read Mark Dever’s foreword in its entirety here.