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  • Scott Aniol and Ryan Bush Release New Books

    Faculty, News - June 6, 2023

    The GBTS faculty is a publishing group of theologians! GBTS Professor of Pastoral Theology Scott Aniol recently released Musing on God’s Music: Forming Hearts of Praise with the Psalms (G3 Press), and Associate Professor of Missions Ryan Bush issued his compilation book Gospel Portions (Free Grace Press). GBTS staff reached out to both professors with questions about their new volumes.

    Scott Aniol, Musing on God’s Music: Forming Hearts of Praise with the Psalms (Douglasville, GA: G3 Press, 2023)

    GBTS Staff: When did you first start working on this book? How long did it take to complete the research and writing process from start to finish?

    Scott Aniol: I taught a seminary course on the Psalms several times during my years of full-time teaching, and I began thinking about the need for a book like this one while teaching that course. I preached several sermons focused on the two introductory psalms (Psalm 1 and 2) in the church where I was an elder in the summer of 2021, which provided further foundation for the book. I began writing in earnest in January of 2022 and completed the book in July of the same year.

    GBTS Staff: Why has there been less emphasis in modern times on singing the Psalms in corporate worship services?

    Scott Aniol: I believe that psalm singing has waned in modern times for two primary reasons. First, most Christians do not understand the intentional organization of the 150 psalms, and therefore do not understand the intended purpose for all of them in forming our hearts. Second, modern Christians have lost an understanding of the formative purpose and power of poetry and song, and consequently do not recognize the significant role God intends for the psalms to have in our lives. I wrote the book primarily to try to help fix both of these problems for Christians today.

    GBTS Staff: Do you have a favorite psalm (or a section of psalms) that has helped you in a particularly challenging period of your life?

    Scott Aniol: The Enthronement Psalms in Book 4 (Psalms 93–100) are key for the narrative flow of the whole book of Psalms, and they are probably my favorites. They reaffirm key foundational truths about the reign of God, particularly for those who are suffering and are tempted to question whether God will indeed keep his promises. These Psalms form trust in our hearts and confidence in God’s faithfulness amid a sin-cursed world.

    GBTS Staff: What do you most hope to see God accomplish through the release of this book?

    Scott Aniol: I pray that this book will help God’s people recognize the God-intended purpose and power of the psalms for forming hearts of praise in the midst of wickedness taking place around us and even in battling our own sin. In better understanding the psalms’ purpose and power, I pray that God’s people will commit themselves to regularly reading, meditating upon, and singing God’s music.

    Ryan Bush, Gospel Portions (Conway, AR: Free Grace Press, 2023)

    GBTS Staff: This book features various selections of Scriptures, prayers, hymns, and other material. When did you first start compiling the “portions” of this book, and how long did it take you to see the project to completion? 

    Ryan Bush: I have five children and it has been my habit to read, sing, and pray with my little ones as they drift off to sleep. About a decade ago the Lord was showing me the glory and beauty of the gospel in new ways, and I wanted to help my children see such beauty as well. So, I started collecting Scriptures, songs, prayers, and paragraphs that captured the essence of the gospel in a way that caused my own heart to rejoice so that I could give those “portions” to my children during our bedtime routine. That document grew into Gospel Portions.

    GBTS Staff: How could this book be used effectively by individual Christians, families, and discipleship groups?

    Ryan Bush: Gospel Portions is certainly well-suited for daily personal devotions and family worship, but I also see it as a first-aid kit to keep close at hand. What I mean is that we are continually fending off lies and temptations, and we need a fresh application of the balm of the gospel when we are weary and wounded.

    GBTS Staff: Many people know you as the “Hymn Stories” podcast guy, but not as much for your thoughts and reflections on prayer. Is there a specific prayer in this book that has been particularly meaningful to you, and why?

    Ryan Bush: One of my favorite prayers is by Henry Law:

    O Lord Jesus Christ, illumine my mind to understand with exceeding joy the Father’s eternal love, the sure provisions of the covenant of grace, and all the glories of Your finished work. May He give me faith to see my name engraved on Your heart—my soul and body assuredly redeemed by Your blood—my life of sinfulness gloriously covered by Your life of pure obedience. Amen. 

    The last sentence is my desire and prayer every time I open Gospel Portions.

    GBTS Staff: Do you foresee yourself doing any similar “compilation” projects in the future?

    Ryan Bush: Yes. The book I published through Media Gratiae, A Guide to Family Worship, is in the same vein. Currently, I have several projects I am working on (one with the Psalms that I am particularly enjoying) that also would fit that description.

    For more information about Grace Bible Theological Seminary, please visit: gbtseminary.org.

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