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Best Commentaries on Psalms

This page is current as of December 2023.

For recommendations on other books and an introduction to this series, visit
Best Commentaries on Each Book of the Bible.

Before turning to the expert recommendations, here are some recent commentaries written by trusted scholars that may be of interest. Because these volumes are newly published, the commentators on the commentaries have not yet had opportunity to evaluate them. They would, though, come with my recommendation.

  • Allan Harman – Psalms Volume 1 (Psalms 1-72), Psalms Volume 2 (Psalms 73-150) (Mentor Commentaries). Harman has contributed many strong commentaries on various Old Testament books. Both the series and the author have strong track records, so I expect these volumes will soon appear on many of the top recommendations. (Volume 1: Amazon, Westminster Books, Volume 2: Amazon, Westminster Books; Volume 1 & 2: Logos)
  • Richard Phillips – Psalms 42-72, Psalms 73-106 (Reformed Expository Commentary). Phillips will be providing four volumes on Psalms to the REC and two of them—the middle two—have already been published. Based on his many other commentaries, there is no doubt that these, too, will prove excellent. (Psalms 42-72: Amazon, Westminster Books, Logos; Psalms 73-106: Amazon, Westminster Books, Logos)
  • John Goldingay – Psalms, Vol. 1: Psalms 1-41, Vol. 2: Psalms 42-89, Psalms, Vol. 3: Psalms 90-150 (Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms). This is a massive series from a highly-regarded scholar. (Volume 1: Amazon, Westminster Books, Logos; Volume 2: Amazon, Logos; Volume 3: Amazon, Westminster Books, Logos)

And now, here are the expert recommendations:

Gerald Wilson – Psalms Volume 1 (NIV Application Commentary). One difficulty in suggesting commentaries for Psalms is that they are often multi-volume and in some cases the volumes are of unequal quality while in others they have not yet been completed. Wilson’s commentary does not cover all of the Psalms but is said to be excellent and a great place to begin. The format of the series ensures that it is heavy on application and contemporary significance. (Amazon, Westminster Books)

Willem A. VanGemeren – Psalms (Expositor’s Bible Commentary). VanGemeren’s commentary is volume 5 in the WBC. The experts consider it something of a hidden treasure (perhaps because in a previous version it was bound with a couple of other books of the Bible). Tremper Longman awards it 5 stars and says it is “excellent on the text and the text’s theology and is particularly helpful in sermon preparation.” (Amazon, Westminster Books)

Derek Kidner – Psalms 1-72, Psalms 73-150 (Tyndale Old Testament Commentary). Kidner is a wonderful commentator who has penned volumes on many books of the Bible. The TOTC is an excellent choice for those looking for something that is introductory-level. Though the volumes are brief, Longman points out “This is compensated for by Kidner’s ability to write concisely. Thus in spite of its brevity, this commentary is highly recommended for its theological insight and practical bent.” (Amazon: Volume 1, Volume 2; Westminster Books: Volume 1, Volume 2, Logos: Volume 1, Volume 2)

Peter Craigie, Marvin Tate, Leslie Allen – Psalms 1-50; Psalms 51-100; Psalms 101-150 (Word Biblical Commentary). This appears to be a classic case of a multi-volume set displaying uneven quality. Craigie’s volume is said to be the strongest and had he written the others this would probably be a top recommendation. (Unfortunately he died after the publication of volume 1.) Allen’s is regarded by most as the next strongest of the three. All of them are rather technical, making them a better choice for pastor or scholar than a general reader. (Amazon: Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3; Westminster Books: Volume 1, Volume 2)

Michael Wilcock – The Message of Psalms 1-72, The Message of Psalms 73-150 (The Bible Speaks Today). The BST is quite closely aligned with the TOTC in that these are shorter, less technical commentaries geared toward a general audience. That makes them ideal for those who wish to read devotionally, but perhaps a little bit less helpful for sermon preparation. Still, they are useful volumes and receive some accolades from the commentators on the commentaries. (Amazon: Volume 1, Volume 2; Westminster Books: Volume 1, Volume 2)

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