REVIEW: The Essential Bible Companion to the Psalms

It goes without saying that, for many, the Psalms are a place within Scripture that tend to be more familiar and read more regularly than many other places within the Bible.  I’m sure that there are many reasons that people turn to the Psalter quite regularly, one of which being the fact that they cover the full breadth of human emotion and experience.  Within the Psalms, we see the writers’ real life responses to a variety of human joys and struggles anchored in the reality that God is in control and worthy of our praise.

For many, being acquainted with the Book of Psalms may be just that…a mere acquaintance.  Though, the depth and riches to be mined within this collection of Hebrew poetry cannot be measured.  And to be sure, there are many who would like to plumb deeper the depths of this beautiful portion of God’s inspired Word, but often there may be the need for effective tools to help along the journey.

For one excellent resource we can turn to Brian L. Webster and David R. Beach’s, Essential Bible Companion to the Psalms (Zondervan, 2010).  Webster and Beach have sought to bring better understanding to the reading of the Psalter by examining each Psalm’s theme, type, author, background, and structure.  This analysis, along with the  “special notes” and “reflection” sections, construct a helpful guide for pastors, students, and lay persons to gain a firmer grasp on the Psalm they’re studying.

Positively, the Essential Bible Companion to the Psalms provides a very helpful introductory section that does a fine job of introducing the reader to aspects of Psalm construction and study that they may not normally encounter.  Additionally, the layout and concise nature of each analysis keep the volume helpful while not being tedious in nature.  NOTE: for the student who’s looking for in-depth, technical, analysis of the Psalms, this is not the volume to consult.  That doesn’t necessarily speak negatively of this volume, but it is not targeted for the advanced student of Hebrew poetry.

Critically, the volume could do a better job at helping the reader gain a further grasp in terms of a redemptive-historical reading of the Psalms.  It would be helpful to see a bit more clearly how to read the Psalter in light of the person and work of Christ and God’s overall plan of redemption.

Overall, I would recommend this resource as a valuable tool as one looks to study the book of Psalms.

*The publisher, at no charge, for the purpose of review, provided a copy of this book.  I was under no obligation to write a favorable review.

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