Very few commentaries can function as a single comprehensive resource for the Biblical passage at hand. The wise expositor makes use of theological introductions, critical comments on the Greek or Hebrew, a good exegetical commentary and then a few devotional commentaries – of course he also makes his own personal study of the passage.
What Allen P. Ross does for us in his new book A Commentary on the Psalms: volume 1 (Kregel, 2012), is distill the insights of decades of research and study on the book of Psalms into a single tool that can truly be a one-stop-shop for the busy pastor.
Ross provides 180 pages of introduction to the book of Psalms, focusing on structure and theology. He then gives us more than 700 pages of commentary on just the first 41 psalms. Each psalm is covered separately, the text is provided with an eye for meaningful textual variants (which are discussed at some length). The psalm’s composition and context is then briefly sketched and an exegetical analysis is provided. Then comes a detailed commentary focusing on exposition, and all this is wrapped up with a brief recounting of the message and application of the psalm.
Ross aims to help modern preachers and teachers to truly exposit all of the psalms in their entirety (not just a line here and there). He blends contemporary insights with gems of yesterday as he analyzes the Psalms and provides a very useful tool for the modern preacher. Ross with help from the team at Kregel, has crafted his tool to be most user-friendly. The font is large, there are helpful charts and diagrams, and clear section headings which break up the massive book. He uses footnotes throughout for more technical discussions, but chooses not to provide Hebrew transliterations as a rule, preferring just English translations and the Hebrew words themselves.
When we have his entire three volume commentary (at least from reading the introductory material it appears this will be three volumes), we will truly have a single and comprehensive resource for what may be the most important book in all of Scripture. His approach is to stick to the text but not to shy away from reading the text in light of the context of the NT revelation as well (at a later stage in the interpretation). Even if in some respects one differs with Ross, he will still find Ross’s book immensely helpful.
Ross shows how vital the Psalms were both for Hebrew worship and that of the early church. Even in the Reformer’s era, intimate knowledge of the psalter was a prerequisite for anyone aiming to take up a pastorate. How far we have fallen from an age where psalms made up the bulk of corporate worship. May Ross’s work help revive a study and interest in the Psalms today.
Disclaimer: This book was provided by Kregel Publications. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
About Book Briefs: Book Briefs are book notes, or short-form book reviews. They are my informed evaluation of a book, but stop short of being a full-length book review.