Sunday, June 12, 2016

My go-to Psalms commentary

I like Bible commentaries, and between my digital libraries on Logos and Kindle and my office bookshelves, I’ve amassed quite a few. It doesn’t take very long to discover that some are better than others. Even in commentary sets, there are usually a few stellar contributions and some that are just ho hum. One series that I’ve found to be stellar again and again is the Kregel Exegetical Library series. I reviewed theinaugural volume on Psalms 1-41 by Allen P. Ross back in 2012 and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’ve been particularly fond Ross’ contributions, as well as Garrett’s volume on Exodus (a must have) and Chisholm’s volume on Judges-Ruth.

Ross’ three-volume set on the Psalms is now complete with another 1,000-page entry on Psalms 90-150. This fine contribution comes out of decades of seminary teaching, including classes on biblical Hebrew and the Old Testament. His C.V. must be pretty impressive, as he’s also written an introduction to biblical Hebrew and commentaries on Genesis and Leviticus.

This commentary shows he knows how to handle Hebrew, but he saves most of his technical asides for the footnotes. Those who have a desire to get into the weeds of Hebrew vocabulary and grammar (I admit it, I’m one), and foray into those notes, but others who either don’t have the time, the interest, or the linguistic background can skip over them and focus on the main text, which is devotional and expositional.

Because the first volume handled the introductory materials, this volume looks at each Psalm individually. Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible, is dealt with in sections, since it’s unlikely anyone would preach or teach through the entire Psalm in one setting. Ross provides exegetical and expository outlines to identify and explain the Psalm’s message and meaning before bringing the read to personal application. I’ve used this set for sermon preparation as well as devotional enjoyment.

Together, his three volumes thus far amount to about 3,000 pages, which may seem like a bit much to those who haven’t made much use of commentaries or to those who have only used single-volume commentaries, but I assure you that there is nothing extraneous or dull. The font is actually somewhat larger than other commentary series I’ve owned, so you’d be surprised how much ground you can cover in a mere 15 minutes or half hour of reading.

If you desire to understand the Psalms for yourself and be equipped to faithfully teach them, I can’t recommend a more accessible or thorough commentary.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for purposes of review.

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