Book Review – A Commentary on the Psalms, Vol. 2 by Allen Ross

I have really grown to like the Kregel Exegetical Library commentaries on the Old Testament. A while back ago I reviewed a commentary on Judges from the same series, I really enjoyed it and found it useful, so I had pretty high expectations for this commentary on the Psalms from the same series.

Let me share with you a few things I found to be very helpful…

  1. Engagement With Current Scholarly Work – This commentary does a good job engaging other important works written on the Psalms. For instance in his commentary on Psalm 47 Ross interacts with Mowinckel’s enthronement theory and several more modern variations upon that theory.
  2. It Doesn’t Get Bogged Down on Source Criticism – Though Ross does attempt to (carefully) address the sitz im leben he doesn’t fall into the trap of trying to discern the various sources of the Psalms. Instead he opts for taking the canonical version of the Psalms and makes comments on that version instead.
  3. The Inclusion of Textual Variants and Comments on the Variants – This isn’t necessarily helpful to a preacher, nevertheless the quality and quantity of comments on these textual variants makes this commentary stand out among other Psalm commentaries.
  4. It Provides Clear Outlines of Each Psalm – This will be very helpful to preachers. Its almost as he has broken down each Psalm into 3 (or 4 or 5) point messages!
  5. Helpful & Concise “Message and Application” sections – I found it personally helpful that for each Psalm covered in this volume Ross provides an italicized “central expository idea.” This is a one or two sentence long phrase which captures the central theme of the Psalm. When preaching narrowing down one’s passage to one central idea is very helpful, not only for crafting the sermon but also for helping the congregation remember the central point. Now as they are, these “central expository ideas” probably won’t work as message points, but they are certainly a good start on making an accurate, deep, and memorable statement of your own.

One thing that would have been helpful, but wasn’t included would have been a brief recap of the introductory material. Ross often alluded to things he had written in the introduction, however the introduction is in volume one, not in volume two… all this to say, volume two certainly does not exist as a stand alone volume, you need volume one. However, the fact that volume two didn’t include any sort of introduction didn’t really change my opinion of this commentary. In fact this made me want to go and get the first volume!

As a preacher and bible college teacher I found this commentary to be useful, exegetically rigorous, as well as very practical. I highly recommend it to pastors and seminary students (some of the issues addressed in this commentary might be a bit too technical for a bible college/undergraduate student or a lay person). So if you are looking for a high quality commentary on Psalms 42-89 you should purchase this volume.

(Note: I received this book courtesy of Kregel in exchange for an impartial review.)

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