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Open and Unafraid: The Psalms as a Guide to Life

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  139 ratings  ·  28 reviews
"A book you will want to read and read again." -- Eugene Peterson

Afterword by Bono.

How can we find a more transparent, resilient, and fearless life of faith? 

The book of Psalms has been central to God's people for millennia, across all walks of life and cultural contexts. In reading it, we discover that we are never alone in our joys, sorrows, angers, doubts, praises, or t
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published March 10th 2020 by Thomas Nelson
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Jan 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I anticipate recommending this nonstop in the coming years.

Full of depth in a way few books on biblical studies are (aside from commentaries). This was easy to read, yet chock full of citations, signaling that Taylor is to be listened to, as he is someone steeped in the Psalms as well as a well for the wisdom of many.

I've been alternating reading two devotional books, and the other had me opening my Bible to mark or reference very rarely, this one several times on each page, running to scripture
Bonnie DeMoss
Jul 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Open and Unafraid by David O. Taylor is not so much a study of the Psalms as it is the application of the Psalms to certain themes, such as Honesty, Anger, Community, Poetry, Prayers, and others . There are study questions at the end of each chapter so you can apply these themes to your own life, if you wish. There are also instructions on writing your own psalms.

Overall, and with a few exceptions, I found it to be more of a self help book than a study of the Psalms.

I received a free copy of th
Apr 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
First sentence: In the Psalms we join our voices in lament and praise with other voices who weep and laugh.

Love the book of Psalms? Want to know the book of Psalms better? I'd definitely recommend Taylor's new book, Open and Unafraid.

The timing of this book is just perfect. Both the publishing--March 2020--and my reading of it. As the world changes drastically in response to COVID 19, Taylor's book offers much food for thought. The truth, wisdom, comfort, and hope of Scriptures--particularly th
Mar 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
Author W. David O. Taylor takes a comprehensive look at the Psalter in Open and Unafraid: The Psalms as a Guide to Life. He identifies 14 major, reoccurring themes (joy, prayer, suffering, death, etc.) that are found in the Psalms. I read his book as part of my personal devotions, but it would also be excellent for group study since Taylor provides discussion questions and follow-on exercises after each chapter.
Hiram Kemp
Aug 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.75. Well done!
Jennie Webb
Apr 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
A good book. I am not a bit fan of The Message, and was not sure what I would think of this book, but I really enjoyed it. Very interesting. Practical application.
Mar 27, 2020 added it
Shelves: nf-want-to-read
Open and I afraid couldn’t have come at a better time.
As we experience uncertain times worldwide, this study of Psalms hits the spot. It challenges the reader to look beyond literal meaning, which is how we read and understand much of the Bible, and to appreciate how God uses beautiful, poetic verse in the Psalms to instruct, comfort, and encourage us.

Rather than organizing by individual Psalms, this book is organized by themes that are prevalent throughout the book of Psalms. As the theme is e
Mar 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, religion
In Open and Unafraid: The Psalms as a Guide to Life W. David O. Taylor explains why the Psalms are timeless and have been central to God's people across millennia and cultures. It is because they speak openly and honestly about every human emotion and situation as the various writers struggle with and/or rejoice in their faith and their relationship with God. Taylor not only helps us understand the history of the Psalms, but gives us a fresh interpretation of all they have to offer us today.

In t
May 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Open and Afraid is both practical and beautiful. In reading this book I experienced the Psalms. In addition to intelligent commentary this book served as a guide to reading and extended such a compelling invitation that I would stop reading the book and turn to the Psalms to read and read again. If I managed to make it through a chapter without turning to the Psalms themselves there are questions and exercises at the end of each chapter that offer creative and practical ways to interact with and ...more
Nancy Merrell
Jun 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Taylor has done a phenomenal job giving a curiously engaging and theologically sound explanation of the biblical Psalms. The rawness and emotional honesty of the Psalms is not something our churches explore often- even in our own personal study, we get stuck in the formality and rhythm of the words.
Taylor expertly unpacks the major themes of the Psalms with energy and broad reference, birthed from classes he took under Eugene Peterson, inspired to see the Psalms like Peterson's revolutionally
Marvy Herrera
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC from Nelson Books, via NetGalley. This review is my personal opinion.

I must say that this book is beautiful, this feels more like an invitation to go deeper and be open, but also unafraid with an answer and with will found out. To take your time and be vulnerable and let God speak to your heart. The language and the deepness of the psalms are incredible and we relate, I must say this book was and has open my eyes to a new dimension of the Psalms. I didn’t know about the differe
Katrina De Man
Aug 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book about the Psalms. It's both narrative and comprehensive and would be an excellent choice for a church small group or spiritual friends to study read through together. This book is one to re-read and continue to steep in. Taylor writes of the Psalms topically and includes practices at the end of each chapter so this book is an excellent tool for Spiritual Direction. I appreciated his relationship to Eugene Peterson and found some inspiring conversations with Peterson and ...more
Mar 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
"Open and Unafraid" is an excellent book detailing the importance of the Psalms. The author reiterates the treasure trove of the Psalms, and the many ways it can help, regardless of what we're going through: joy, loneliness, death, community, anger, fear, etc. The Psalms were written by several men who were very open about their feelings and were willing to talk honestly to the Lord about their feelings. Each chapter is based on a different topic found in the Psalms, and ends with some soul-sear ...more
Michael Hinnen
Dec 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book on the different themes and theology of the Psalms. It is written clearly, concisely, practically, and with lots of Scripture inundated throughout the book. I came away knowing and loving the Psalms more because of this book. Each chapter helpfully concluded with Christ and his fulfillment of each theme, an imperative with this type of devotional book.

I think any review that finds this as a “self-help book” misunderstands the Psalms and misunderstood everything Taylor argue
David Meldrum
An excellent thematic journey through the Psalms, taking in some difficult issues and not afraid to address those parts of the book with which many Christians often struggle or are otherwise simply ignored. Tensions in the text aren't explained away, but mined for some rich depth in a reasonably accessible way. It's a book that's good to use in a devotional way, either individually or as part of a group; questions and a prayer at the end of each chapter tying things together well. The chapters a ...more
JL Hall
Dec 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book! I received it back in March and just now finished it. The book does a terrific job of taking you through the Psalms and motivating you to read and meditate on them. I normally finish a book much quicker than ten months but I kept putting it down, spending time in the Psalms and then picking it back up again days and sometimes weeks later. This book has caused me to spend more time in Psalms than I ever have and I am grateful to David for that. Also the book has a foreword b ...more
Emily P
Apr 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is not a book you can zoom through--"Open and Unafraid" is a book that you must savor and take in. David Taylor takes Biblical expository and makes it applicable and easily understood. He chooses the themes of the Psalms to delve deeper and it was a great book with questions at the end of each chapter, a place for reflection and a written prayer. If you're interested in the Psalms, this is a great book for you!

I was an early reader, thanks to #NetGalley and the publishers. All opinions are
Dec 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a very helpful tour of the psalms. Taylor explores the themes found in the psalms. He surveys what the psalms have to say about honesty, community, prayer, sadness, anger, joy, enemies, justice, death, and more. I used the book for my devotions and it really motivated me to read and pray the psalms again. I loved the connection with Eugene Peterson and the afterword by Bono. It would be a great group study, as well, with discussion questions and activities for each chapter.
Stephen Fletcher
Jul 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A really enjoyable read. The book is an excellent 'travel guide' for anyone wanting to enjoy the Psalms. This is not a commentary but a guidebook as to how to see the landscape as a 'local'. I have come away with an appreciation that I have never had before that I can enjoy the same songs, pray the same prayers and lament in the same was as faithful people have for centuries. ...more
Jeromie Rand
Mar 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I don’t think my rating would be as high if I’d read this solo. But this is an excellent small group book, especially if you read together some of the psalms that are suggested at the end of each chapter.
Jun 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Practical and accessible entry to the Psalms. This would be great to read through with a group.
 Jia ♥
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Very, very good. Another good Christian book that is growing my faith.
Steven Robertson
A wonderful, rich, excellent book. I'll be coming back to this many times over. ...more
Dec 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was a really excellent introduction to Psalms, with lots of citations to both modern and ancient views of the book.
Michael Austin
Nov 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the books I'll be returning to again and again. It simply helped me engage God in ways that I hadn't, and that are life-giving. Truly rich. ...more
Amy Farley
Dec 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful exp!oration of the Book of Psalms. A great way to get into the habit of thinking about applying Scripture to our daily lives.
Lindsay Alexander
Nov 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
I loved this book and loved doing it as a lesson series with our Sunday School class. I wish there was more focus on specific readings for the chapters, but overall I enjoyed it.
Apr 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I will definitely be re-reading this book.
rated it it was amazing
Jan 22, 2021
Ashley Hales
rated it it was amazing
Mar 08, 2021
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W. David O. Taylor is Assistant Professor of Theology and Culture at Fuller Theological Seminary. He is the author of "Open and Unafraid: The Psalms and the Life of Faith" (Thomas Nelson: 2020), "Glimpses of the New Creation: Worship and the Formative Power of the Arts" (Eerdmans: 2019) and editor of "For the Beauty of the Church: Casting a Vision for the Arts" (Baker: 2010). He has written for Th ...more

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Why not focus on some serious family drama? Not yours, of course, but a fictional family whose story you can follow through the generations of...
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“For the psalmist there is no autonomous spirituality. There is only a faith that is lived in the company of God’s people.” 0 likes
“Faith is not an individualist transaction between God and me. From the perspective of the psalms, the life of faith involves plenty of personal experiences, but they are never a matter of mere private experiences.” 0 likes
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