Should Psalms be taken out of the Old Testament?

The seventy some books of the Bible got into the canon, sacred collection of books to make the Bible, not by divine revelation, but by human vote and the Bibles of different denominations have some what different books.  The book with the title of ‘Revelation,’ was not universally accepted in all canons until the 16th century.  No lesser authority than Martin Luther himself, wanted the book of James, taken out of the canon.  So, it is not out of the realm of possibilities for me to raise the question of getting Psalms out of the Old Testaments of our Christian brothers and sisters, coming from  Trinitarian tradition.

As the Prophet or King David glorifies God and sings His hymns in Psalm after Psalm, according to the Trinitarian Christian understanding, mounts to not much, as he does not know the Triune God of Trinitarian Christianity!

King David was 700 years before Jesus so naturally he did not know anything about Jesus, may peace be on him.  If God is Triune then David’s scholarship, worship and glorification of God is seriously deficient and the Psalms have no place in the Bible and should be taken out.

This was certainly the view of an earlier Christian Marcion, as he did not include Old Testament in his canon of sacred books.  If we examine these issues logically, Marcion’s opinion makes far more sense than the contradictory Trinitarian Christian theology and their collection of the Old Testament and the letters of Paul in the same volume.

I will now quote some of David’s beautiful Psalms in this post.

Here is Pslam 34 from New International Version (NIV):

I will extol the LORD at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the LORD;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the LORD with me;
let us exalt his name together.

I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the LORD heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.

Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the LORD, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from telling lies.
Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous,
and his ears are attentive to their cry;
but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
to blot out their name from the earth.

The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

The righteous person may have many troubles,
but the LORD delivers him from them all;
he protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken.

Evil will slay the wicked;
the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
The LORD will rescue his servants;
no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

I find these Psalms very sublime, pure and true and one reason being that it rhymes with many a verses of the Holy Quran.

I personally believe that Psalms are wonderful and direct our attention to the True, Unitarian God, who is God the Father in the Trinitarian tradition.

I ask this question of taking the Psalms out, not literally, but, only rhetorically or metaphorically!


4 replies

  1. Marcionites: Early Christianity was not monolithic
    The early Christianity was not monolithic but had many beliefs and gospels. The group that may be closest to the teachings of Jesus, as Islam understands them may have been Ebionites.

    To best understand the Ebionites we should contrast them with the Marcionites, as these two groups make the two poles of the spectrum of early Christians.

    St. Paul teachings were a departure from the teachings of Judaism and Jesus himself. So, contradiction and conflict was inevitable. This gave rise to Marcion and the Marcionites that were fairly wide spread until 4th and 5th centuries. It took a long theological and political struggle before some sort of harmony could be achieved between Paul on the one hand and Judaism and Jesus, may peace be on him on the other. This harmony would then come to be called orthodox Christianity.

    The theologicl pressure from both these groups will influence the thoughts and religion of the proto-orthodox group that later came to represent the Orthodox Christianity.

    Ebionites’ gospel was the gospel of Mathew that can be considered to be the most Jewish of the 4 canonical gospels and Marcionites gospel was Luke that is the most gentile of the 4 gospels. However, the New Testament, as we know it did not exist in the early history of Ebionites and Marcionites. It may be that Marcion made the first canon by collecting Luke and some letters of Paul and that may have forced the concept to be followed by the proto-orthodox group that later came to represent orthodoxy. The word orthodoxy is derived from Greek words implying the true belief and now has come to represent the connotation of originality.

    According to Encyclopedia Britannica:

    The basis of Marcionite theology was that there were two cosmic gods. A vain and angry creator god who demanded and ruthlessly exacted justice had created the material world of which man, body and soul, was a part—a striking departure from the usual Gnostic thesis that only man’s body is part of creation, that his soul is a spark from the true but unknown superior God, and that the world creator is a demonic power. The other god, according to Marcion, was completely ineffable and bore no intrinsic relation to the created universe at all. Out of sheer goodness, he had sent his son Jesus Christ to save man from the material world and bring him to a new home. One of Marcion’s favourite texts with respect to Christ’s mission was Letter of Paul to the Galatians 3:13: “Christ redeemed us.” Christ’s sacrifice was not in any sense a vicarious atonement for human sin but rather a legalistic act that cancelled the claim of the creator God upon men. In contrast to the typical Gnostic claim to a special revelatory gnosis, Marcion and his followers emphasized faith in the effect of Christ’s act. They practiced stern asceticism to restrict contact with the creator’s world while looking forward to eventual salvation in the realm of the extra-worldly God. They admitted women to the priesthood and bishopric. The Marcionites were considered the most dangerous of the Gnostics by the established church. When Polycarp met Marcion at Rome he is said to have identified Marcion as “the firstborn of Satan.”

    Marcion is perhaps best known for his treatment of Scripture. Though he rejected the Old Testament as the work of the creator God, he did not deny its efficacy for those who did not believe in Christ. He rejected attempts to harmonize Jewish biblical traditions with Christian ones as impossible. He accepted as authentic all of the Pauline Letters and the Gospel According to Luke (after he had expurgated them of Judaizing elements). His treatment of Christian literature was significant, for it forced the early church to fix an approved canon of theologically acceptable texts out of the mass of available but unorganized material.[1]

    The fact that Polycarp called Marcion the first born of Satan, had little to do with theology, for Marcion’s theology was much closer to that of the proto-orthodox group, but more with politics and power play. Marcion was also right in the sense that a reasonable harmony between some of the dogma of New Testament and teachings of Old Testament cannot be achieved. Sometimes Marcionites are represented as a Gnostic sect but it is easier to conceptualize and understand them as a separate and independent group of early Christianity that had tremendous influence on what became to be orthodox Christianity eventually.

    Read further about Marcionites.

  2. Thank you Farid Ahmad, I just ordered this book. It would be interesting if this claim is true. But, this will need to be co-related with the history and contents of Hebrew Old Testament. I would hope Asad Farooq tackled that. Best regards!

  3. In my opinion Psalms of David Piece be upon him are truly in accordance of the Holy Quran on the subject of TAQWA (Rightiousness). Only a man of God can compose and sing such songs from the core of his heart for the Glory of the Lord. What a strong belief he had on the Gracefulness, Unity , Greatness and Holiness of his Lord. May Allah raise his status in the Heavens.

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