Resources for Preaching/Teaching Psalm 91

As mentioned in the last post, I intend to comment on the resources I use each time I prepare to teach or preach a Psalm. Recently I taught Psalm 91 in an adult Sunday School class.

Eric Lane’s Psalms 90-150: The Lord Reigns (Christian Focus, 2006) was a bit new to me so I tried it out. Sadly it was not helpful, being thin in discussion and idiosyncratic. I had also recently received a copy of the new NICOT volume on the Psalms written by deClaissé, Jacobson, and Tanner. This volume, also, was disappointing. The exposition covered only two pages (disappointing in such a series) and in that space dealt too much with little details. If that is all the space you have you need to have a narrow focus and nail that well. Not so here. In the closing section the author stated: “It is up to the one hearing these words to decide how these words can serve as a bridge from what came before, to decide what and how things have changed” (701). I may have misunderstood, but this sounded like saying that it is up to the reader to figure out the meaning in the end.

I have previously expressed disappointment with the Hermeneia commentary on the Psalms written by Hossfeld and Zenger (2 volumes so far with the third expected). It is very technical and critical, but the more I’ve used it I have changed my opinion. This is often the first place I go now when needing information on background or on a specific word. Also, perhaps its chief value, is the separate section in the commentary on each psalm for how it is used in the New Testament. I have seen nothing else like this for its comprehensiveness and detail. Theologically we are quite different but just having the info on NT usage, including allusion, is so helpful.

James Mays’ Interpretation volume is brief, but as usual it got to the heart of the issue, profound theological truth from a pastoral angle in pithy expression. He helpfully mentioned the commendation Athanasius gave of this Psalm in his letter to Marcellinus. This was a reminder of why I regularly turn to this volume.

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