There is something special about the Book of Psalms, and this also goes for good commentaries on it. Psalms contribute uniquely to Christian prayer, worship and praise. They also contribute uniquely to the New Testament’s explanation of the gospel of Jesus and the kingdom of God.
To many, Psalms is more familiar than other parts of the Old Testament. Yet it remains difficult to understand in places. Christians raise many questions, such as how songs and poems written in old covenant times can be spiritual food and drink for new covenant believers.
Few Christians have a grasp of the big themes that unite the collection of inspired Psalms. Few appreciate how rich this book can be in personal reading and devotions. I fear too few evangelical churches make use of the Psalms in their gatherings for corporate worship. Philip Eveson’s commentary in the Welwyn Commentary Series is a helpful contribution towards making good such deficiencies.
Every Psalm receives an explanation of its setting and main themes. This means that big themes, associated with the Psalms in general, are often repeated. If read as a whole, the book conveys an overarching sense of what the Lord deems important. Therein is the value of this commentary: the quality and the consistency of Eveson’s approach.
Old Testament settings and background are explained for each Psalm. Newer Christians and people without a basic knowledge of the Bible’s storyline might struggle to appreciate this.
New Testament use and Christian application of each Psalm is prominent in the commentary without being excessive. Readers are spared spurious and fanciful applications. Rather, like all good commentaries, this work opens up the text of each Psalm without significant addition. I was also impressed that chapters were somewhat proportionate to the length of each Psalm.
O. Palmer Robertson is right in his commendation: ‘[Eveson] does his own work well, never simply rehashing what others have already said’. Like other commentaries in the series, the book contains almost no technical or academic language.
Not technical, but substantial; not devotional, but useful in eliciting praise; this is a book for the general Christian reader, which pastors, preachers and teachers will also be able to utilise in their work. It is also a great reference work for anyone looking for a theologically substantial, yet readable, guide to the Psalms.