Book Review: Psalms Vol. 2

A Commentary on Psalms: Volume 2 (42-89) by Allen P. Ross

9780825425639

Content: 5 star, but…

Kregel provides a valuable resource in this commentary. The commentary follows the typical pattern that Kregel has used on the Old Testament Commentaries (see Judges and Ruth). The sections for analyzing each Psalm are:

  • Introduction (Text and Textual Variants; Composition and Context; Exegetical Analysis)
  • Commentary in Expository Form
  • Message and Application

The strength of the commentary is the second section (Commentary in Expository Form). Ross provides sufficient detail to grasp the central ideas. As in other commentaries by Ross, this one well serves the student, pastor, teacher.

Ross carefully explores the text within its historical context (if possible). But even more, he properly understands the Christological implications and foreshadowing that often are lost sight of. For instance, in discussing Psalm 45, he writes:

“Any application to a historical figure would be idealistic, for no king ever championed only righteousness, let alone lived up to the titles and epithets give to him, try as he might. But again, these words will find their true and literal meaning in the righteous reign of the Messiah.” (p. 71)

Such an approach demonstrates scholarly yet accessibility to the Scripture texts. At the same time, Ross provides a pattern for students, pastors, and teachers in their own study and preparation.

Ross provides many helpful and critical footnotes regarding Hebrew words and phrases. Just a sampling of these notes: “help” (p. 88), “wisdom” (pp. 140-2), “atone” (pp. 146-7), “trespass” (pp. 180-2), “create” (pp. 191-2). Perhaps the best extended discussion is “sin” (pp. 185-9). The examples continue, but this short list demonstrates Ross’s understanding of the text itself, and the implications of such understanding elsewhere. The student is well served by studying each footnote in detail.

The last section of each Psalm is Message and Application. While shorter than the other sections, the author pulls together the main thoughts and relationships so that the pastor/student can be sufficiently prepared to present the Psalm in a logical faithful way.

So what is negative about the commentary? Actually for what is presented the commentary is excellent. But it is what is missing that reduces its value. Three items stand out as missing, but which could provide the final touches on this fine commentary.

I was immediately struck by no introduction to the commentary. This seemed odd. Granted it is the second volume in the Kregel Commentaries on the Psalms, but some kind of introduction to Book II of the Psalms would be appropriate. Even a 20 page introduction would have been helpful.

Another missing feature was the Bibliography. Given that this was a resource for pastors/teachers/students, a Bibliography would seem not only logical, but necessary. Yes, there are footnotes for quoted material. But sometimes a valuable resource will appear in the Bibliography and yet not be quoted directly.

The final missing feature was a reference index. I have found this lacking more and more in printed books, but to me this feature increases the value of the text initially and in further studies related to the Psalms. For instance, I often study in Isaiah. How helpful it would be to have Isaiah 33:20-21 as referenced in Psalm 65 (p. 422). Likewise for studying Psalm 19, to know that Ross has referenced it in Psalm 79 (p. 676).

The question arises: how do you add these three additional items to a book that is already 841 pages? My recommendation is that font size of the text could have been reduced. Yes, this is a readable size, but I would have preferred to have the additional items for the sake of the font size.

The only negative I have about the commentary is a rather imprecise statement;

“The motifs or this psalm [48] appear throughout the pages of the New Testament. Jesus promised that he would be with us till the end of the age (Matt. 28:20); but in the upper room he explained that it would be in the person of the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 14:17).” (p. 131)

In trying to make the connection, he leaves a slightly skewed view of this matter of Christ’s presence with his disciples.

I should also note that I do not support the Premillennial position, but great value can be gained from the commentary nevertheless.

Summary

If you are a pastor/teacher/student of the Scripture, then this commentary is well worth the investment in the book. You will learn much, be guided in tying together the themes with a Psalm, and be encouraged in developing a usable preaching/teaching presentation.

Well done to Kregel and to Allen Ross; you have the Church in an exceptional way. The Church can use many more commentaries of this caliber.

Thanks to Kregel Academic & Professional for the review copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

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About exegete77

disciple of Jesus Christ, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, teacher, and theologian
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2 Responses to Book Review: Psalms Vol. 2

  1. Pingback: Book Review: Psalms Vol. 2 | JimsBox.com

  2. Greg Stenzel says:

    I acquired both volumes of this commentary with the objective of reading-up on the appointed Psalm for each Sunday. Though I have not been faithful week-after-week, it is a great exercise and would highly recommend Ross as well.

    In seminary my Hebrew professor — Dr. David Eckman — had, what appeared to be, a rough manuscript of Ross’ commentary on the Psalms that he required that we use in our third semester (100% exegetical work).

    Good review.

    Liked by 1 person

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