Recommended Psalters and Hymnals
As Approved by the General Synod in 2003 – Revised 2008
Bible Songs – This book was published in 1930 by the General Synod of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. Originally designed to be a supplement to the original Psalter, it contains a selection of metrical Psalms set largely to music in a gospel-hymn style. This well-loved and Synod-endorsed Psalter is the only one still in print by the ARP Church, and it contains settings of all 150 Psalms, either in part or in entirety. There is also a section of responsive readings. The singing of the Psalms is a Biblically-warranted practice which has long been an integral part of our heritage and is strongly encouraged.
The Book of Psalms for Singing – This book was published in 1973 by Crown and Covenant Publishers and the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America. It is a popular option for those seeking a traditional psalms-only collection. Four-part musical settings are provided for each psalm, with a second option provided for many entries. Some of the translations are older, some newer, and tend toward a close rendering of the original.
Trinity Psalter: Words-Only Edition – There are no musical settings in this words-only Psalter, taken from The Book of Psalms for Singing. Its purpose is to provide a complete Psalter that is smaller in size and less expensive than the full-sized Psalter from which it is taken. Each psalm is included with only one setting, with the appropriate meter inscribed below. One appropriate tune is suggested, but the music is not included. One nice feature is the introductory information about how to sing metrical psalms.
Psalter Hymnal – This book was published in 1987 by CRC Publications in association with the Christian Reformed Church. The collection begins with a single setting for each Psalm, the texts of which are mostly new efforts. Then follow 86 Scriptural songs which are taken from the whole scope of the Bible, using both traditional and contemporary musical settings. There are then 384 traditional hymns, spirituals, and contemporary choruses. It is especially rich in traditional Psalter tunes. A Doctrinal Standards section contains the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Canons of Dort.
Trinity Hymnal – This book was published in 1961 by Great Commission Publications in association with the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. It contains 662 traditional hymn and Psalm settings, a collection of gospel-styled songs for “informal occasions,” a selection of musical responses, and the complete Westminster Shorter Catechism and Confession of Faith. There is a strong inclusion of hymns from the Reformation period.
Trinity Hymnal, Revised Edition -This book was published in 1990 by Great Commission Publications in association with the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church of America. This is a reworking of the original Trinity Hymnal including the addition of a number of newer hymns and less formal songs. The structure, emphases and elements remain basically the same.
Rejoice in the Lord – This book was published in 1985 by Eerdmans Publishing Company in association with the Reformed Church in America. It was edited by Erik Routley, a well-known Englishman and Professor of Church Music at Westminster Choir College, and contains many of his tunes and arrangements. It focuses primarily on material from the Reformation and the modern day. There are many new texts and tunes, and the book’s subtitle is “A Hymn Companion to the Scriptures.” It contains a Psalter selection with 63 entries and 561 other hymns organized thematically around the persons of the Trinity. It does not have a service music section.
The Hymnbook – This book was published in 1955 by five Presbyterian-Reformed denominations, including the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. There is a standard collection of traditional hymns with a strong emphasis on Psalter selections and Psalm paraphrases. It has a thorough selection of varied hymns and service music available up to its publication date, and good indexes.