Bono & Eugene Peterson on THE PSALMS


Bono & Eugene Peterson The Psalms

+ Special thanks to David Taylor, Brehm Texas, and Fourth Line Films for their vision for this project. 

“As a songwriter it’s very clear to me that Eugene Peterson is a poet as well as a scholar. He brings the musicality to God’s Word that I’m sure was always there.”

+ Bono, Grammy award-winning artist and lead singer of U2.

“Bono is singing to the very people I did this work for. I feel that we are allies in this. He is helping get me and the Message to the very people Jesus spent much of his time with.”

+ Eugene Peterson, beloved author, pastor, and writer of The Message.


Psalms thumbnail+ Interested in reading the Psalms that Bono refers to in the film as they are translated in Eugene Peterson’s The Messageincluding the one that inspired U2’s song “40”? We asked the publisher if we might offer the first 40 Psalms, with a special introduction by Peterson, and now you can download them for free here.


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Bono reflects on the Psalms

Eugene Peterson reflects on the Psalms

David Taylor reflects on the Psalms


Reading tips for the Psalms:

  1. Pay attention to the whole of a psalm, not just to the parts of a psalm.
  1. Read the psalms consistently, rather than occasionally and sporadically.
  1. Pay attention to the internal coherence of a psalm or a section of psalms, rather than allowing them to remain fragmented parts, reflective of our immediate and self-absorbed interest.
  1. Read the psalms out loud, not just silently.
  1. Read and sing and pray the psalms together, not just alone.
  1. Pay attention the Psalter’s “hospitable ‘I’” and its “intimate communal” sense, rather than allowing the individual expressions to devolve to individualism and the communal expressions to devolve to an impersonal communalism.
  1. Immerse yourself in the metaphors that the psalmist employs, rather than remaining distant and detached from them.
  1. Pay attention to the placement and role of the psalms in the biblical canon, rather than viewing them as isolated and idiosyncratic.

+ These suggestions were written by David Taylor. Read his curated list of resources on the Psalms here.

“What can I give back to God
for the blessings he’s poured out on me?
I’ll lift high the cup of salvationa toast to God!
I’ll pray the name of God;
I’ll complete what I promised God I’d do,
and I’ll do it together with his people.”

+ Bono frequently reads Psalm 116 from Eugene Peterson’s The Message at the beginning of U2’s concerts.

+ Listen to a playlist of modern psalms curated by FULLER studio editors: