Some Resources for Preaching the Psalms

To those of you who commented on a earlier version of this post, I apologize. The first was accidentally erased. I would appreciate it greatly if you would comment again. The resources you recommended were excellent.

Prompted by Paul’s comment and recommendations here, I thought I would share some of the resources I have found most helpful in preaching & teaching the psalms.

My last post on the literary device of inclusio came while I was preparing to preach Psalm 73. Besides BDB and some English translations, I referred to the following three commentaries:

  • Marvin E. Tate, Psalms 51-100, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, 1990), 226-239. I found Tate on this psalm to be very helpful (at least more than usual). The three volumes in WBC are most helpful in coming to terms with the Hebrew text, but this chapter in particular had a great treatment of how the psalmist begins and returns to the idea of “good.”
  • Craig C. Broyles, Psalms, New International Biblical Commentary (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1999), 299-305. Although heavy on establishing the form-critical context of the chapter, Broyles comments on Ps 73 helped me bring the more exegetical aspects of my study back down to a preaching level. Since this commentary is one volume on the whole Psalter, Broyles cannot go into super detail. Yet, in some ways, this is helpful in getting the overall gist of the psalm.
  • James M. Boice, Psalms, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996), 609-615. Honestly, this is one of the few times I have referred to Boyce, but I really enjoyed the way he presented Ps 73. I found it was really helpful in putting simpler language to the conclusions I found in my study from Tate. I will be returning to Boyce the next time I preach from Psalms.

I would have loved to reference some others, but I just did not find the time. This time, however, these served me well.
Some other resources that I would recommend are the following:

  • C. Hassell Bullock, Encountering the Book of Psalms: A Literary and Theological Introduction (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001). Not all the books in this series are extremely helpful, but overall this is a really good resource. Although in most of the book he takes a typical view of walking through the types (or genres) of psalms, chapter 3, “The Seams of the Garment of Praise: The Structure of the Book,” is a must read.
  • Tremper Longman III, How to Read the Psalms (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1988. If you have never read this short work, it is helpful in a cursory understanding of poetry, parallelism, imagery, etc.
  • John Goldingay, Psalms. Volume 1: Psalms 1-41 (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2006). Unfortunately, this is the only volume from Goldingay’s series right now. I have read through this in preparation for a class on the Psalms, and I am really looking forward to the next volumes. He presents a fresh translation, interpretation, and theological implications for each psalm. Moreover, he has a helpful glossary for common words encountered throughout the Psalter.
  • Charles Spurgeon, The Treasury of David. Although I don’t agree with Spurgeon’s conclusions all the time, this is worth having for the comments from other great preachers and teachers, including names such as Calvin, Luther, and many Puritans (concerning this, see the quote here). A must have for the expositor.
  • David Firth and Philip S. Johnston, eds. Interpreting the Psalms: Issues and Approaches (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2005). This is a collection of essays on various topics related to contemporary reading of Psalms. Like all compilations, some are better than others, but they have an impressive list of scholars contributing. I’ve liked what I’ve read so far.

There are others, but this should get you started. What resources do you recommend?

I will respond to the rest of Paul’s questions in a later post.

4 responses to this post.

  1. Thanks Randy. I love to see book recommendations.

  2. Posted by Charles Savelle on March 13, 2007 at 10:41 pm

    Did you mean Boice not Boyce?

  3. Charles,
    Yes, my apologies. I mistyped. It should be “Boice.”

  4. You have some good recommendations there. May I add another? Try here.

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