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Scottish Metrical Paraphrases 1781


Metrical Paraphrases

During and subsequent to the Reformation, metrical or versified paraphrases of Scripture formed the main body of the sung praise of the Scottish Church. Initially these paraphrases were largely confined to the Psalms. However, as time passed, portions from other parts of Scripture came increasingly into circulation. These paraphrases were seriously considered for authorised church use as early as 1647. They were not authorised at that time, because the paraphrases which were available were not considered to be of a sufficiently high standard. As these Scriptural Songs, as they were commonly known at the time, came more and more into circulation, they served as a helpful means of memorisation of passages of Scripture. These paraphrases were thus woven into the spiritual fabric of the church, embedded in the hearts and minds of the people.

Scottish Paraphrases 1781

In 1742 the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland appointed a committee to prepare Sacred Songs: metrical paraphrases of Scripture portions. This first collection of 45 English metrical paraphrases was completed in 1745.

These were revised and augmented during the following few decades. In 1781 the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland granted permission for a finalised collection of 67 paraphrases to be published and used. It was published as 67 songs called "Translations and Paraphrases in Verse, of Several Passages of Sacred Scripture". Most were to 8,6,8,6 metre but some were to 8,8,8,8 metre. They were often appended to the Scottish Psalter of 1650.

An edition was also prepared in Scots Gaelic in 1826.

Digital Edition

This digital version of the Scottish Paraphrases, was digitised with the help of MissionAssist for the Scottish Bible Society in 2020.

British & Foreign Bible Society


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