Review: A Commentary on the Psalms: Volume 2 (42-89) by Allen Ross

Ross, Allen P. A Commentary on the Psalms: Volume 2 (42-89). Kregel Exegetical Library. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2013. 841 pp.

Books are an indispensable component of a pastor’s arsenal. Commentaries hold special place in this arsenal as a preacher seeks to rightly handle the Word of God in his exegesis. Allen Ross’ three-volume work on the Psalms deserve to be on the shelf of every pastor. They blend the best of rigorous interpretation of the text and warm pastoral application.

ross-psalms-2Each section contains several elements. First, there is “Text and Textual Variants.” In this section Ross seeks provides his own translation of the Hebrew. In the footnotes he provides textual variants and dissects some of the parsing. For the student of Scripture who is a bit rusty in his Hebrew, this is a welcome aid. Second, there is “Composition and Context.” In this section Ross examines the genre (e.g., a Lament Psalm or Imprecatory Psalm) and explains how this should inform the interpretative process. Third is the “Exegetical Analysis” in which Ross provides a helpful exegetical outline of the passage. Fourth is the “Commentary in Expository Form.” In this section Ross helpfully breaks down the exegetical outline and provides a running commentary that I think is the best contribution of these volumes. Ross in thorough in his explanations, but he does not get bogged down in the details, which makes it a breeze to read through and one grasps the text better. Fifth, there is the “Message and Application.” Ross does aim to give all possible applications, but he does seem to offer a sketch for the pastor to chew on and further expand on his own. In a day when most scholarly commentaries bypass this element, it is refreshing to see this done well.

That said, there are a few things I quibble with. For one, the font seems rather large (13-14 size font?) which makes this volume run at 841 pages. It easily could have been half this size with a smaller font. In addition, there is no introductory section in this volume. It would be helpful to have supplied some introductory comments from the first volume in the second and third volumes. If a preacher is preparing for a sermon and picks up volume 2, it would be helpful to quickly glance the preliminary considerations without having to take down volume 1.

Of course, these are minimal critiques. Overall, this is an invaluable resource that will help the preacher study and apply the treasure trove of the psalms.

In accordance with FTC regulations, I would like to thank Kregel for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.


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