God's Lyrics: Rediscovering Worship Through Old Testament Songs
O'Donnell, Douglas Sean
"I had the privilege of hearing the opening chapters as sermons at College Church in Wheaton, and find that they delightfully and powerfully preserve the preacher’s voice in print. Here are soul- searching expositions of some of the canticles of the Scripture,the hearing of which creates a longing for something more in our congregational song. The canticle sermons are followed by a search for the biblical themes in the songs and hymns sung by today’s church. Here is no style-centered appraisal, pitting new against old, or classic against contemporary. Rather, the lyrical content of some of the most popular hymns and songs of our day is held up to the mirror of the biblical examples. Both sources are found wanting in some respects, and both are celebrated when they measure up.Doug O’Donnell arguespassionately, humorously, challeng- inglythat we must compare our singing to the Scripture and take our cues from the Songs of Scripture. And he takes the risk of offering up some of his own texts, based on the canticles he has preached, as examples. May these challenge preachers and musicians to do the same work, and usher in an era of canticle- driven songs for the people of God."See All
pastor for worship & music, College Church in Wheaton
"Irish evangelist John Moxen is correct: Christians who demand truth in the pulpit are often strangely willing to sing lies in their songs. God’s Lyrics is a sane and salient remedy for this dangerously prevalent condition. As one who prepares over a hundred corporate worship gatherings a year, I am supremely grateful for this practical resource. Doug O’Donnell’s compel- ling expositions and clear applications are well suited, by God’s grace, to transform both the Christian worship planner and his people. God’s Lyrics is a bracing challenge for both classic and contemporary Christian lyricists. It is also a welcome primer, pointing the way forward toward a revival of song texts that are both biblically true and balanced."See All
chaplain of Taylor University, Upland, Indiana
"In this timely work, Doug O’Donnell ushers readers into the trea- sury of biblical music and the world of contemporary Christianmusic. His sources for the former are five of my favorite hymnic compositions in the Old Testament. Extracting from these texts theological principles that might govern the music of formal worship, O’Donnell offers insightful commentary on the music that drives worship in many churches today. His expositions provide preachers with models of responsible exposition, and his analysis of contemporary trends in music offers musicians a helpful grid through which to evaluate their own ministry. Through it all, O’Donnell pleads for music with integrity that glorifies God and that edifies and transforms his people."See All
Daniel I. Block
Gunther H. Knoedler Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College
"God’s Lyrics takes us back to the deeply theological and passion- ate songs of God’s people, graciously preserved for us in Holy Scripturetakes us back to the history of our faith and of the worship of God. We need to know this heritage, which continues to shape how we think and feel and live before God and with one another. God’s Lyrics helps us understand our present situation and the deep need to worship the Lord with songs and hymns and spiritual songs that extol in explicit and specific ways who God is, what he has done, and how we are to live faithfully before his face. And God’s Lyrics carries us forward as we seek to pass on to the next generation a glorious tradition of singing that will teach, edify, and encourage our children and our children’s children. Doug O’Donnell has carefully and caringly unpacked the treasury of Scripture’s songs and provided a rich resource for all who aim to follow along the Bible’s own trajectory for worship in song."See All
president of Covenant College, Lookout Mountain, Georgia
"What a novel idea! Allow the Songs of Scripture to inform and shape the songs that we Christians sing and, moreover, how we sing them to the Lord as he is revealed in the Holy Scriptures. Novel? Yes, and also radical, as Doug O’Donnell demonstrates: first by uncovering the shared themes of the principal songs of the Old Covenant (themes also embedded in the major songs of the New Covenant) and then by using these themes to analyze the content of today’s most popular classic hymns and contemporary Christian chorusesan exer- cise that, sadly, reveals their tragic discord with the inspired lyrics of Scripture."See All
R. Kent Hughes
senior pastor emeritus, College Church in Wheaton
"For the Christian who has become a bit numb to the grand reali- ties of God’s saving acts recorded in the Bible, Doug O’Donnell’s prescription is a healthy dose of the Songs of Scripturethe Songs of Moses, Deborah, Hannah, David, and Habakkuk. This book makes great medicine!"See All
host of Moody Radio’s PrimeTime America and Sound of Majesty
"This book is unique: it combines the careful exposition of God’s Word with creative work in hymnody. It will be appreciated by pastors, musicians, and everyone else who loves to worship God in the biblical way."See All
previously senior minister of Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, now president of Wheaton College
Product Description: Are all the songs found in the Old Testament applicable to contemporary Christian worship? God’s Lyrics answers with a resounding “yes!”
Douglas O’Donnell draws out the historical, exegetical, and theological significance of the songs of Moses, Deborah, Hannah, David, and Habakkuk. He then shows, in the light of the person and work of Jesus Christ, how the lyrics of God’s Word apply to contemporary congregational singing.
God’s Lyrics offers both a corrective and a call—a corrective to sing of Christ from the Psalms, the Law and the Prophets, and a call to use the whole counsel of God in worshiping him.
The new hymns and music provided for each biblical text encourage pastors, lyricists, and church musicians to reengage with these ageless songs and their timeless themes.
Listen to vocal arrangements of the biblical songs discussed in this book:
- First Song of Moses: My Strength
- Second Song of Moses: Why Should You Not Now Adore Him
- Song of Deborah: God of Triumph
- Song of Hannah: Our King, God Does Exalt
- Song of Habakkuk: Though the Fig Tree Blossoms Not.
Published April 2010
About the Author
Born and raised in the western suburbs of Chicago, Doug was the second child of five. And while he grew up as a devout Irish-Catholic, where he learned something of sin and the fear of God, it wasn’t until the age of nineteen that he was truly convicted of his sin and wondrously converted to Christ. From the time of his conversion, Doug has studied for the ministry. After graduating from Wheaton College with an Associates of Arts degree in Bible/Theology and a Master of Arts degree in Evangelism, he completed another Masters degree in Church History from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
Before starting New Covenant Church, Doug has served at three other churches—College Church in Wheaton, Holy Trinity Church in Chicago, and Christ the King Church in Batavia. Doug is ordained in the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA), a member of the North American Patristics Society, the U.S. Board of the Irish Bible Institute, Fellowship for Theological Training, and Evangelical Theological Society. He is also an instructor for the Charles Simeon Trust.