Book: Hymn and Scripture Selection Guide: A Cross-Reference Tool for Worship Leaders

(revised and expanded from an earlier edition by Judson Press). By Donald A. Spencer, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1993.315 pp.

This resource is designed to help worship planners find the perfect hymn to complement a given Scripture text or sermon theme. It consists of three moderately extensive indexes. The first is an index of 432 hymns, along with a list of Scripture passages to which each hymn alludes and a brief statement of the purpose of the hymn text. The second is a list of over 14,000 Scripture texts along with hymn texts that are related to each. The third is a topical index of hymns. The volume concludes with a list of all of the hymns indexed.

These indexes include hymns judged to be the most widely sung hymns in evangelical circles, based on a study of twenty recently-released hymnals. No effort is made to completely index any one hymnal. The author hopes, rather, that at least "half of the hymns in this book will be found in almost any major evangelical hymnal." Noticeably missing from the index are Scripture choruses and many of the hymns from the worldwide church that are included in numerous recently released hymnals.

The most helpful part of the volume is the first index, where one can learn, for example, that Bernard of Clairvaux's famous hymn, "Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee," contains allusions to seven different Scripture texts.

The least helpful part is the portion of the second index devoted to the psalms, where the reader is directed only to hymns related to the psalms instead of to metrical settings of the psalm texts mem-selves. The only exception to this pattern are the metrical psalm settings famous enough to be considered hymns, such as 'All People That on Earth Do Dwell," which is listed not only under Psalm 100, but also under Psalms 97,98,103,107 and many other psalms of thanksgiving.

This volume will be helpful to worship planners, pastors, and musicians who may need to track down an elusive scriptural image in a given hymn or find hymns that are appropriate to a scriptural text or theme. It is by no means a complete resource, but will amply complement the indexes and concordances that accompany most hymnals published today.

Rev. Dr. John D. Witvliet is director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and professor of music and worship at Calvin University and Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He also teaches in the religion department at Calvin University.

Reformed Worship 31 © March 1994, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.