Its with thanks to the kind folks at Kregel that I had the opportunity to be part of the blog review program and am able to offer a brief review of Allen P. Ross’ second volume in his work on the Psalms, A Commentary on the Psalms, Vol 2 (Kregel, 2013). I think it came out late last year. It is in the new Kregel Exegetical Commentary set, which is aimed a preachers and Bible teachers. In Vol 1, Ross writes:
So I have written this commentary for pastors, teachers, and all serious students of the Bible who wish to develop their understanding of the Book of Psalms and to improve their ability to expound it with precision and depth (12).
This really is a all encompassing commentary that I think will bless not just pastors and teachers but also students and even scholars and theologians of various sorts as he really does cover all the bases – while thorough, it’s not exhaustive. While technical, it’s readable and understandable. It’s thoroughness and technical coverage are not hinderances but helps. If one is not familiar with biblical Hebrew that is just fine because one can still glean a significant amount of help in working the Psalms. If one does have even a rudimentary knowledge of Hebrew, that will be all the better – but really one cannot lose in utilizing Ross’ work on the Psalms. While clearly in the evangelical camp, he is an astute biblical theologian and not afraid to point out how a Psalm might bridge into the New Testament or point to Christ.
So in review, what is the purpose of the commentary? Ross writes:
For hundreds of years the Book of Psalms has been one of the richest resources for the expressions of worship and the development of the Spiritual life, and at the same time, one of the more complex and challenging sections of the Bible for expositors, to which the many commentaries attest…. My purpose in writing this commentary was to focus on the chief aim of exegesis, the exposition of the text…. by exegetical exposition I mean that the exposition should cover the entire psalm, and that it should not only explain the text verse-by-verse, but also show how the message of the Psalm unfolds section-by-section (11-12).
How can the commentary benefit you? Well, its greatest strength, I think, lies in Ross being intentional in helping Pastors and Bible teachers work the text of a particular Psalm and then show how to go “from exegesis to exposition.” In each Psalm, Ross helps the reader do basic word studies, grammatical and syntactical analysis, exegetical synthesis, exegetical outlines that become theological outlines that lead to homiletical outlines, and application. It is a crash course on how to put together a expository sermon. It’s really good stuff, in my opinion.
Here is a description of the commentary from the Kregel website:
The second installment of Dr. Allen Ross’s acclaimed three-volume commentary
For thousands of years, Psalms has been one of the richest resources for worship and development of the spiritual life. At the same time it is one of the more complex and challenging sections of the Bible for expositors and students. Pastors, teachers, and all serious students of the Bible will find this commentary invaluable for developing an understanding of Psalms and for improving the ability to expound it with precision and depth This is volume two of a three-volume commentary on Psalms.
For each psalm, Dr. Allen Ross provides a translation of the text and an overview of the context. He then guides the reader through a detailed exegetical outline and offers an expository idea for the message of the whole psalm.
The commentary includes discussion throughout of three primary challenges to understanding Psalms:
• Textual issues: Every major textual difficulty is addressed in order to help the expositor understand the interpretive issues and make decisions when there are multiple available readings.
• Poetic language: The psalms are full of poetic imagery, devices, and structures Ross discusses Hebrew poetry in its context with each psalm, specifying the precise devices being used and how they work in the psalm.
• Hebrew grammar and syntax: The Hebrew of Psalms poses a challenge to many expositors. This commentary illuminates Hebrew constructions and word meanings in a way that is helpful both to readers who are comfortable with Hebrew and those who are not.
I highly recommend this work in conjunction with other works on the Psalms as a valuable resource for preaching and or teaching, even just doing personal in-depth study on the prayer book of the Bible – the Psalms!