Fortress Press

Fruit for the Soul: Luther on the Lament Psalms

Fruit for the Soul

Luther on the Lament Psalms

Dennis Ngien (Author), Robert Kolb (Foreword by)


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Given a life spent in scholarship and controversy, it is easy to forget how much energy Martin Luther devoted to helping the common person understand and take comfort from God’s word. This commitment extended to even the most challenging of biblical texts, and nowhere is this more apparent than Luther’s work on the lament psalms. Difficult to understand, and perhaps even more difficult to implement in life and devotion, the lament psalms played a key role in Luther’s thought. More importantly, the lament psalms were for Luther an essential part of the Christian’s understanding of the life of faith.

In this volume, Dennis Ngien helps contemporary readers engage Luther’s commentary on the lament psalms. What Luther intended for the education and encouragement of everyday Christians, Ngien unpacks and illuminates for life in the twenty-first century. 

Introduced and commended by Robert Kolb, the volume will be appreciated by teacher and student alike. 

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781451485219
  • eBook ISBN 9781506402895
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Pages 373
  • Publication Date December 1, 2015



"Martin Luther learned to love the Psalms as a monk, and this passion marked his life as a reformer as well. In this masterful study of Luther's engagement with the psalms of lament, Dennis Ngien takes us to the heart of Luther's spirituality and his lifelong wrestling with God."

Timothy George | Beeson Divinity School

"The Psalms provided Luther with the vocabulary for his evangelical theology. In Fruit for the Soul, Dennis Ngien demonstrates how the Reformer lived within the world of these psalms which give voice to both terror and consolation. Ngien is a sure-footed guide for those seeking to understand Luther not only as a controversial figure in the history of the church but as a Christian beset with affliction and temptation who is enabled by these psalms to speak comfort to those whose lives are darkened by the apparent absence of God. This book is a welcome addition not only to Luther scholarship but to pastoral theology."

John T. Pless | Concordia Theological Seminary

"The psalmists express the high delight and deep despair of believers in all times, for their songs translate easily into every time and place. The laments of the psalmists found particularly insightful interpretation and application in the lectures and preaching of Martin Luther. Ngien carries Luther’s use of these psalms effectively into the North American environment of today and provides readings of Luther that will be useful for personal meditation and as homiletical helps."

Robert Kolb | emeritus, Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis