The Book of Common Prayer
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    The Psalter
from the 1789, 1892 and 1928 U. S. Books of Common Prayer


The Psalter used in the Episcopal Church, until the revision of 1979 was essentially that of Coverdale's translation of the Bible, which had been used as the Psalter in all previous Books of Common Prayer, back to the first in 1549. Over the years, however, changes were made in the American Psalter — particularly with the introduction of the 1928 BCP, which made a great many changes.

The text given here is that of the 1928 BCP, with changes made earlier (back to and including the 1775 printing of the English BCP used as a basis for the American BCP) noted in sidebars.

Note that, while the 1928 BCP uses an asterisk as a breath-mark to divide the verse, the 1892 Book used the musical colon, and prior to that no breath-marks were used.

Also, in 1928, a blank line was introduced to divide some of the longer psalms. The division of the Psalter into "Books" was additionally introduced in 1928.

Prior to 1892, the psalms were identified with lower-case roman numerals (as may be seen at right).

Due to its length, the Psalter is divided into three parts:

The 1892 Psalter additionally had tables of Proper Psalms for certain days, and of Selections of Psalms.

The 1789 Psalter had the Selections of Psalms printed out in full.

We also have a table summarizing the (relatively minor) changes made to the Psalter prior to 1928.


First page of the Psalter, from an BCP printed in 1865


Return to the U. S. Book of Common Prayer: 1789; 1892; 1928

Web author: Charles Wohlers U. S. EnglandScotlandIrelandWalesCanadaWorld