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Learning to Love the Psalms

By W. Robert Godfrey
February 2018 | Review by John Brand
  • Publisher: Reformation Trust Publishing
  • ISBN: 1567697437
  • Pages: 280
  • Price: £14.17
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Book Review

Given the variety of good commentaries available on the Psalter, any new addition must surely justify its existence, to avoid ‘too much of a good thing’. That was my initial reaction on receiving this title, as I mentally surveyed my already substantial collection of such commentaries. However, Godfrey’s work merits a prominent place among them.

He adopts an unusual approach that makes his contribution worthwhile. Most commentaries on the Psalms have introductory pages covering topics like authorship, date and structure, before addressing individual psalms in turn. Godfrey does the first, providing as helpful and accessible an introduction as I have seen to the grammatical structures and forms of the Psalms. What he then does is enormously valuable, and a refreshing approach to this much loved but often neglected Bible book.

He organises his commentary around the structure of the Psalter itself. Instead of a passing reference to the five books of the Psalms, he takes each of the five divisions in turn. He explores their distinctive character and structure, attempts to identify their themes and explains their relationship to the other four books and the Psalter as a whole.

He then takes five or six of the Psalms within that individual book and provides a commentary on them. Each chapter closes with a few helpful and thoughtful questions for reflection and discussion.

My final comment on this welcome contribution is that it is strongly Christocentric. Godfrey describes the Psalms as ‘the songs of Jesus’, and while he constantly draws out the references to Christ in the Psalms, he also demonstrates that Jesus himself ‘lived in the Psalms’.

No matter how many commentaries you have on the Psalms, you would greatly benefit from adding this to your collection. It would make a good devotional aid as well.

John Brand

Principal of Edinburgh Bible College

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