Review: Kregel is republishing this series of commentaries by Dr. John Phillips. This volume is sometimes helpful and contains some good exegetical insight to the texts. Phillips is also a solid, eloquent writer, which makes reading this volume a somewhat enjoyable experience.
Overall, however, I found myself in disagreement with Phillip’s approach to the text. First, every psalm features an alliterated outline. I know these were (and unfortunately still are) popular, but they have to use synonyms or be really stretched far out to try and fit the text. I’d rather use the language of the text, rather than relying on this sort of teaching gimmick. Second, far too often Phillips tries to hunt down the original context in which the psalm was written. This is a noble undertaking and can be helpful in interpretation, but by adopting one definitive historical context for some of the more ambiguous psalms, the entire interpretation of the psalm changes and is in some ways limited in a way David or the psalmist did not intend. Also, Phillips often neglects to consider that many of these psalms were written during a historical event that does not have a corresponding text in the Bible.
I appreciated how Phillips used metaphors to describe certain sections/movements of the Psalms. This is often very helpful. But these metaphors are also sometimes dated, and out of step with contemporary audiences.
I found this volume sometimes helpful during my sermon preparations, but only moderately so. Right now, I’ve found Kregel Exegetical Library: A Commentary on the Psalms, Volume 1: 1-41 by Allen Ross much more helpful.
Rating: 3/5 Stars (I liked it)
You can find the book at Kregel or on Amazon.