“Perhaps no other book of the Bible, in the Old or the New Testament, has been used more by Christians down the centuries. The Psalms have been the main way in which the Old Testament has permeated the Church. This has shown a deep instinct for the most vital continuity of the tradition, in its praise of God. The New Testament itself is shot through with references to and echoes of the Psalms. The renewals of the Church have usually set new music to Psalms and patterned new songs on them. Most of the great Christian teachers have devoted much energy to expounding as well as singing the Psalms. Origen, Chrysostom, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Luther and Calvin are together in this. It is no accident that in each of them life-long use and interpretation of the Psalms went together with passionate wrestling with key doctrines and the knowledge of God. Aquinas even said that the Psalms contain all theology in the mode of praise.
What is the secret of the Psalms? Partly it is that of great art and literature, the ability to express what is of deep and universal interest through particulars. The Psalms use fairly simple means with great effect: balancing of sense in a twofold parallel pattern; suspense, emphasis, tempo and contrast; and concentration on strong and clear traditional images with a wide resonance in experience. Stories are one of the most effective and universal ways of communicating across barriers of time and culture and the Psalms constantly tell or refer to the foundational stories of their tradition, such as creation, the covenant, the exodus from Egypt, the founding of Israel’s worship and events of the Davidic kingship. This framework is united with a wide range of basic human concerns and feelings, individual as well as communal, so that most people most of the time can find something in the Psalms that reflects their condition. But beyond all that is the fact that the Psalms are classic expressions of the lively intensity of praise of God. They offer above all a vehicle for realistic but jubilant joy in God, taking up the good and the bad into a faith that always (even if it takes a struggle) results in praise of God.” (David F. Ford and Daniel W. Hardy, Living in Praise; Worshipping and Knowing God, pp. 47-48)