When it comes to the Psalms, like some other books, it seems that commentaries are all over the map and there are few and far between that are worthy of ones time. Let’s be honest though, it is the longest book in the Bible and is not at the center of many, if any, theological debates. For many it provides great comforting devotional material and for others it is the hymnal of the church. I dare say that many, if any, preachers have not preached through the Psalms. And maybe there is good reason for this.
When it comes to deeply exegetical commentaries on the Psalms there is very little to offer. Outside of the Word, Tyndale, NACOT (only the 2nd so far)and NIVACOT series there are not many and there is nothing within the NICOT to date. In an effort to provide a solid exposition of the Psalms Allen P. Ross has turned his years of research and study on the Psalms into a commentary for Kregel, A Commentary on the Psalms: Vol. 1 (1-41). This is the first of three volumes by Ross.
The introduction of the book covers a number of issues related to the Psalms. Among other things there is a short history of the interpretation of Psalms, discussion on the various types of Psalms (praise, lament, etc.), a guide on types of literary features within the various Psalms and a short intro to the theology of the Psalms. Concluding the introduction is a brief overview of the exegetical method employed throughout the book. Ross offers a number of helpful tips and guidelines for the exegesis process. Each chapter follows the same structure:
- Introduction – The Psalm itself, including textual variants in the footnotes.
- Composition and Context – This looks at the overall features of the Psalm and the historical, theological, biblical and literary context of each individual Psalm.
- Exegetical Analysis – This includes a one line summary of the message of the Psalm and the basic outline.
- Commentary in Expository Form – This is the bulk of each chapter and is an exposition of the Psalm following the exegetical analysis outline.
- Message and Application – As the heading states this is the application section. Here contemporary application is drawn while looking towards the New Testament as well.
As an exegetical commentary time will tell how well received it will be but I trust it will be well liked and recommended by exegetes, scholars, teachers and pastors. This commentary is written for the pastor with the layman in mind as well. The only area in which it might have improved was in the theology of the Psalms as a book and as individuals but that is not the primary purpose of the book. Ross is keen on exegesis and models it well. He has a good grasp of how the Psalms speak to all of life’s experiences and how the Psalms still speak to the church today. I recommend Psalms by Ross for all pastors, Bible students and laymen alike.
NOTE: I received this book from Kregel in return of a review but was under no obligation to provide a favorable review.