Whether fairly or unfairly, I assumed this book was something it is not.
This definitely did not seem to be a book for general readers, contrary to the very first endorsement given to this book on its first page. It’s very technical. If you classify yourself as a general reader you are highly likely to get very bogged down. Since I am a general reader myself I was disappointed upon starting to read this book. From what I read about this book I was expecting a commentary/explanation/background on some of the Psalms. Instead, each of the book’s 8 chapters are discussing a certain broad aspect of the Psalms, and throughout the chapter there are many verses to help illustrate the focus of that particular chapter of the book. You know what they say, “Never assume.” I assumed.
That all being said, I wanted to get my pre-conceived suppositions out in the open so that this review will be useful to you. If you’re a technical reader I’m sure that this book could connect with you in a far deeper way than it did with me. It’s obvious that Wenham has done a lot of studying and is a knowledgeable Bible scholar.
In spite of the fact that this book is evidently supposed to be technical, I feel it could benefit with more simple clarity. For example, he talks about the question of how Christians should handle David’s angry Psalms, where he’s asking God for revenge on his enemies, etc. That’s an interesting question. There are a lot of quotes from scholars, but it was just so wordy that my eyes glazed over, and once I was through reading that chapter I didn’t even catch what Wenham felt about the issue, or if he even gave his own opinion on the matter.
There were some high points in my reading of this book. The first 2 chapters, on singing and praying the Psalms were eye-opening to me. I really don’t know the Psalms well at all, and I now see a lot of value in spending time there. I feel inspired (and see biblical value) to incorporate the Psalms into my prayer life. His observation that with the introduction of hymns, Psalm-singing began to peter out his also interesting, as many people seem to think hymns are the holy grail of church music.
I received a complementary review copy of this book courtesy of Crossway Publishing in exchange for an honest review.