Psalms Interpretation A Bible Commentary For Teaching And Preaching Download
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Psalms Interpretation: A Review of James L. Mays' Commentary
The Psalms are a rich and diverse collection of poems that express the full range of human emotions and experiences. They have been at the center of Christian faith and piety for centuries, and they continue to inspire and challenge us today. But how can we understand and apply the Psalms in our own context? How can we teach and preach them effectively?
One helpful resource is James L. Mays' commentary on the Psalms, part of the Interpretation series published by John Knox Press. Mays is a renowned scholar and professor of Old Testament who has spent decades studying and teaching the Psalms. His commentary is not a technical or academic work, but a concise and accessible guide for pastors, teachers, and students who want to explore the meaning and message of the Psalms.
Mays covers all 150 psalms in 457 pages, giving each psalm a brief introduction, an outline, and a commentary. He does not provide his own translation of the Hebrew text, but follows the NRSV version (not included in the book). He also does not engage in detailed textual or historical criticism, but focuses on the theological and literary aspects of the Psalms. He shows how each psalm relates to its literary context, its genre, its structure, its imagery, its theology, and its use in worship.
Some psalms receive more attention than others, depending on their prominence in the practice of worship, their use in the New Testament, their importance for the theology of the church, and their contribution to the Psalter as a whole. For example, Mays devotes 13 pages to Psalm 1 as an introduction to the book, 10 pages to Psalm 22 as a messianic psalm, 8 pages to Psalm 23 as a psalm of trust, 7 pages to Psalm 51 as a psalm of confession, and 6 pages to Psalm 150 as a conclusion to the book.
Mays writes with clarity, insight, and sensitivity. He draws on his extensive knowledge of biblical scholarship, but also on his personal experience of praying and singing the Psalms. He does not shy away from addressing the difficult or problematic aspects of the Psalms, such as their violent or imprecatory language, their apparent contradictions or inconsistencies, their cultural or historical distance from us, and their diverse or ambiguous interpretations. He offers honest and thoughtful reflections on how to deal with these issues in a faithful and responsible way.
Mays also shows how the Psalms can speak to our contemporary situation and challenges. He connects the Psalms to various themes and topics that are relevant for today's church and society, such as creation care, social justice, human dignity, suffering and hope, joy and praise, lament and protest, faith and doubt, trust and fear, forgiveness and repentance, wisdom and folly, covenant and law, kingship and kingdom.
In summary, Mays' commentary is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to study, teach, or preach the Psalms. It is not a comprehensive or exhaustive work, but a concise and accessible one. It is not a final or definitive word on the Psalms, but an invitation and a guide to explore them further. It is not a dry or academic work, but a lively and engaging one. It is not only informative but also inspiring.
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