Believers have long found the Psalms a treasure trove of help, encouragement, wisdom and worship in their use of the Bible. More than any other Old Testament book, the Psalms are read and reread because of the great help they give to aching souls.
For much of Christian history, the Psalms were the hymn-book of the church. Psalm-singing Christians found every possible emotion and most of their existential situations addressed in the Psalms. You could sing a psalm whether you were happy or sad, introspective or bursting with joy.
Here are some good helps to enable you to glean more out of the Psalms, whether you are a new believer or a senior pastor. Spend some money on books that will pay dividends for the rest of your life in studying and knowing the Psalms.
FOR THOSE CHRISTIANS JUST GETTING STARTED:
Peter Jeffery, LIFE IN THE PSALMS; Solid Ground
Christian Books--a sweet place to begin by the
best friend of a new Christian.
Roger Ellsworth, OPENING UP PSALMS; Day One
A good introductory study to help you get into
and get good out of the Psalms.
John Calvin, HEART AFLAME (Daily Readings From
Calvin on the Psalms); P & R--sit at the feet of
a master teacher and learn many good things
from the Psalms.
FOR THOSE TEACHING A SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS OR A SMALL GROUP BIBLE OR CAMPUS STUDY ON THE PSALMS:
James M. Boice, PSALMS (3 volumes); Baker--a
good, reliable study of each of the Psalms.
Derek Kidner, PSALMS (2 volumes); IVP--a great
study and a good companion to Boice above.
PREACHING AND TEACHING THE PSALMS IN PUBLIC:
Tremper Longman, HOW TO READ THE PSALMS: IVP
a good introductory study of how to read the
type of literature that is the Psalms.
C. Hassell Bullock, ENCOUNTERING THE BOOK OF
PSALMS; Baker--a feast of good things about
Geoffrey Grogan, PRAYER, PRAISE & PROPHECY
(A Theology of the Psalms); Christian Focus/
Mentor--highly recommended by Dr. Dale Ralph
Rowland Prothero, PSALMS IN HUMAN LIFE; Solid
William Binnie, PATHWAY TO THE PSALTER; Solid
John Ker, PSALMS IN HISTORY AND BIOGRAPHY;
3 classic helps from 19th century Old
Testament scholars and writers. They
compose a small library of how to understand
and draw out applications from the Psalms
Charles Spurgeon, THE TREASURY OF DAVID;
various publishers--a classic that repays
prayerful reading and rereading.
Michael Wilcock, THE MESSAGE OF THE PSALMS
(2 volumes); IVP--opens and applies the Psalms
Willem VanGemeren, PSALMS (Expositors Bible
Commentary; Vol. 5); Zondervan--a great
commentary when it comes to what the text
actually says! (He leaves it up to you to apply
William S. Plumer, THE PSALMS; Banner of Truth--
a massive compendium on the Psalms that
covers every Psalm and captures the best of
Protestant, Reformed scholarship on the Psalms
up to when he wrote (late 19th century).
Allen P. Ross, A COMMENTARY ON THE PSALMS
(Kregel Exegetical Library); Kregel--he put us in
his debt with his commentaries on Genesis,
Leviticus and the Bible's teaching on worship.
This is the first of a projected 3 volumes work.
Gerald Wilson, PSALMS (NIV Application
Commentary Series); Zondervan--seeks to
bridge the several thousand year gap between
the Old Testament and today.
SOME RESOURCES ON INDIVIDUAL PSALMS OR SECTIONS OF THE PSALMS:
James Adams, WAR PSALMS OF THE PRINCE OF
PEACE; P & R--in this reviewer's understanding,
it is THE BEST commentary on the so-called
"imprecatory psalms". These Psalms have lurid
depictions of revenge and retaliation. Are they
Christian psalms? How do you understand and
apply these psalms? Go to this book for help.
Derek Thomas, VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY (The Psalms
of Ascent); Evangelical Press--for an Old
Testament believer to make a pilgrimage to
Jerusalem for worship at the Temple, he or she
had to always "go up" because Jerusalem was on
top of a small mountain. These Psalms were
written for pilgrims in the pilgrimage with God.
Calvin Beisner, PSALMS OF PROMISE; P & R--psalms
that bring joy and delight to the heart of every
Dale Ralph Davis, THE WAY OF THE RIGHTEOUS (in
the much of life) [Psalms 1-12]; Christian Focus
a great expositor of the Old Testament shows u
how to get good out of the first 12 psalms.
Dick Belcher, THE MESSIAH IN THE PSALMS;
Christian Focus/Mentor--have your eyes opened
to see Christ in the Psalms.
Michael Ross, LIGHT OF THE PSALMS; Christian
Focus--find the Trinity and a wealth of very good
things marked out and displayed in the Psalms.
Charles Spurgeon, THE GOLDEN ALPHABET (Psalm
119); Christian Focus--every stanza of
Psalm 119 begins with another letter of the
Hebrew alphabet and each line of that stanza
starts with that letter from the Hebrew alphabet.
As only Spurgeon could preach it.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, FAITH ON TRIAL (Psalm 73);
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, TRUE HAPPINESS (Psalm 1
and 107); Crossway
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, ENJOYING THE PRESENCE OF
GOD (SELECTED PSALMS); Crossway
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, OUT OF THE DEPTHS (Psalm
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, SEEKING THE FACE OF GOD;
In the mid and late 20th century, there was no
better expositor in the world (in the English
language) than Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Here
he turns his great pastoral and preaching gifts
to the study of some of the most used psalms.
I have got you started. Why not purpose to study through at least some of the Psalms soon? You have some great helpers on your way.
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin