The book of Psalms in modern Protestant Bibles includes 150 poetic compositions meant to be sung or spoken by God’s people. The psalms are directed at Yahweh as listener and are intended to express the full range of human emotion for various individual and group settings, such as praise, thanksgiving, petition, and lament. Psalms was Israel’s book of worship and is meant to guide God’s people from generation to generation.
—Faithlife Study Bible, Lexham Press
Best Commentaries on Psalms
Derek Kidner, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (TOTC), InterVarsity Press, 1973, 196 pp.
"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." Thy word is a lamp to my feet. "Search me, O God, and know my heart! Such phrases leap to mind each time a Christian lifts his heart to God. For many, in fact, the Psalms are the richest part of the Old Testament. Derek Kidner provides a fresh and penetrating guide to Psalms 1–72. He analyzes each psalm in depth, comments on interpretative questions, and brings out the universal relevance of the texts. He also gives special help on the psalmists" cries for vengeance. Together with its companion volume (Psalms 73–150), this introduction and commentary will inspire and deepen personal worship.
- Level: Basic
- Type: Devotional
Peter C. Craigie, Word Biblical Commentary (WBC), Thomas Nelson, 2004, 504 pp.
Peter C. Craigie demonstrates in this commentary that the biblical psalms express “the most profound of human feelings and insights—prayer, praise, liturgy, wisdom and lament.” Through careful analysis of language and form, he communicates both the emotional and theological impact of the psalms as originally experienced by the people of Israel at public worship and in private devotions.
- Level: Advanced
- Type: Technical
Gerald H. Wilson, NIV Application Commentary (NIVAC), Zondervan, 2002, 1,024 pp.
Drawing on over 20 years of study in the book of Psalms, Dr. Gerald H. Wilson reveals the links between the Bible and our present times. While he considers each psalm in itself, Wilson goes much further, examining whole groups of psalms and, ultimately, the entire Psalter, its purpose, and its use from the days of Hebrew temple worship onward through Church history. In so doing, Wilson opens our eyes to ageless truths for our twenty-first-century lives.
- Level: Intermediate
- Type: Devotional
John Goldingay, Baker Commentary on the Old Testament: Wisdom and Psalms (BCOTWP), Baker, 2006–2008, 2,208 pp.
Old Testament scholar John Goldingay provides a lucid introduction to the Psalter and fresh commentary on the Psalms. Writing with a scholar’s eye and a pastor’s heart, Goldingay considers the literary, historical, and grammatical dimensions of the text as well as its theological implications. The resulting commentary will bring the Psalms to life for a new generation of students.
- Level: Intermediate
- Type: Expository
Leslie C. Allen, Word Biblical Commentary (WBC), Thomas Nelson, 2002, 450 pp.
Get a fresh understanding of the last 50 Psalms, as well as a deeper appreciation of their impact, in their original setting and their history of interpretation throughout Church history. Survey current research into these psalms, and review a fresh translation and textual notes.
- Level: Advanced
- Type: Technical
Best Books on Psalms
The book of Psalms is of great interest to biblical scholars, and in recent years, studies have increasingly emphasized Hebrew poetry, the structure of the entire Psalter, and its development from earlier collections to a unified canonical book. Interpreting the Psalms: Issues and Approaches aims to bridge the gap between general introductions to the study of the Psalms and specialized literature. Written by members and guests of the Tyndale Fellowship Old Testament Study Group and edited by Philip S. Johnston and David Firth, Interpreting the Psalms offers the insights of internationally recognized Old Testament scholars into the world of the Psalms.Learn more
A leading authority on the Psalms and a seasoned teacher presents a new edition of an already successful book. W. H. Bellinger takes account of the latest developments in Psalms studies in this accessible and concise primer. Not only will students of the Psalms appreciate these studies but Church leaders teaching from the Psalms will also gain new insight from this classic text.Learn more
In the garden of Eden, God walked with Adam and Eve face to face—then the fall separated us. The Psalms are God's gift to us to help reestablish contact and understand his mind and how to connect with him.Learn more
The Psalms have been used as a source of spiritual refreshment and private devotion, as well as part of public worship, by both Jewish and Christian believers throughout the centuries. For many, they have been a treasury of faith to be drawn on in every situation in life, giving expression to every mood of the believer—from despair to serenity. They have also been taken by many as models of prayer and paraphrased in many hymns. Such use of the Psalms has often been selective: particular Psalms have been chosen as models because they have been thought to express specific articles of belief or because they embody particular religious emotions.Learn more
Worship and the Hebrew Bible: Essays in Honor of John T. Willis was created to commemorate the sixty-fifth birthday of theologian and professor John T. Willis and is compiled of essays by 16 of his former students and colleagues. Willis touched the lives of hundreds of students to whom he has imparted biblical wisdom, impressing upon all his great love and enthusiasm for Old Testament scholarship. As Willis researched thoroughly the nuances of ritual worship in the Old Testament, this essay collection in honor of him brings together 16 studies on the matter, from many well-versed Old Testament scholars.Learn more
Best Courses on Psalms
Introductory Issues in Psalms (OT221) presents an overview of important interpretive elements of the book of Psalms, challenging traditional views in the process. It considers the book of Psalms as a whole, surveys and illustrates the various categories of particular psalms, and suggests christological implications of the book. The course provides a robust understanding of how the psalms are organized and how they lead to successful living.Learn more
Preaching the Psalms (CM328) teaches students how to interpret and preach psalms according to their structure and the larger context of the book of Psalms. The course begins by introducing the mechanics of Hebrew poetry, including parallelism and the use of imagery, and explains how they affect meaning. It considers the book of Psalms as a whole, surveys and illustrates the various categories of psalms, and identifies christological implications of the book. It concludes with a four-step methodology for preaching the psalms and demonstrates implementation of those steps through the study of Psalm 29.Learn more
This course provides a practical foundation for reading the poetry and prophecy of the Old Testament. Dr. David Baker begins by discussing poetic writing in general, then the elements specific to both Hebrew and English poetry. Applying these elements to the text, he examines the content, structure, and themes of the Psalms, Proverbs, Lamentations, Job, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs. Dr. Baker then turns to the prophetic books, providing historical background, theological motifs, and the structure and content of specific books. He shows that these ancient messages remain relevant in modern life.Learn more
Join David W. Baker on a whirlwind tour to explore the Old Testament from many different angles and how it relates to ancient Near Eastern literature. From creation accounts and stories of destruction to Wisdom Literature, discover different biblical literary genres that have parallels in ancient Near Eastern literature. Explore extrabiblical historical texts that mention key events and figures from the Old Testament. Understand how Israel fits into and is impacted by its ancient Near Eastern environment but also how it is separate and unique, mainly on a theological level, but also by its distinct worldview.Learn more