Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A SHEPHERD LOOKS AT PSALM 23 by Phillip Keller

A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 (1970) is a devotional commentary on David’s Psalm 23 by Phillip Keller (also known as W. Phillip Keller), who was many things, not least a sheep rancher.

Psalm 23 is a short psalm, and this is a short book – even so, Keller devotes two chapters to each verse. Keller provides shepherding context for each part of the psalm, explaining David’s perspective on the subject matter and adding his own. The reader will learn as much or more about caring for sheep as about the Christian life, and much of this material is interesting in its own right. Spiritual matters are generally addressed at the devotional level (that is, not particularly in-depth), but Keller’s insights provide a fuller understanding of the psalm and food for thought.  

Keller’s writing is conversational and accessible, and the book is easy to read. Overall, Keller’s application of David’s thought to the Christian life is solid, although he makes some biblically valid points that are certainly not what David had in mind (Chapter 9 in particular feels like a reach). The only other complaint with the writing is Keller’s constant incorrect use of the word “literally.”

A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 is, on the whole, a worthwhile and illuminating treatment of Psalm 23.