The Psalms: Preaching the Word

Greg Strand – March 9, 2015 Leave a comment

James Johnston’s The Psalms: Rejoice, the Lord Is King, Volume 1, Psalms 1 to 41, is Crossway’s most recent release in the excellent Preaching the Word series, edited by R. Kent Hughes.

Johnston’s approach to the Psalms – reading, understanding and preaching – is a model of how Christians ought to engage with and respond to this Book. Ultimately we do not respond to the Book but to the One who prayed, lived and fulfilled these Psalms, the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Lk. 24:25-27, 44).

What a joy it was to write an endorsement for this new work.

James Johnston loves the Lord Jesus Christ. He also loves the Psalms. In fact, his love for the Lord Jesus leads to his love of the Psalms. While being aware of and sensitive to the original historical context of the Psalms as the prayer and songbook of the Jews, Johnston is keenly aware that the Psalms are not an end in themselves as part of the Old Testament canon. There is a Christocentric focus and end to which they point and a Son in whom they find fulfillment. Because of this, Johnston recognizes all the Psalms are Messianic and understood in this way means the Psalms are also the Christian’s prayer, song and life book. Reading this commentary results in the giving of thanks: 

  • I am thankful the Lord Jesus prayed and sang these Psalms as a faithful Jew.
  • I am thankful that Jesus, the Messiah, fulfilled these Psalms as a faithful Jewish Son.
  • I am thankful that as a faithful follower of the Son I can pray and sing these Psalms through the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • I am thankful for Johnston’s excellent commentary that highlights these truths so that readers are left with a clear understanding of Jesus Christ, the singing Savior, which leads to worship. 

Johnston’s excellent commentary is a great addition to the Preaching the Word series. I commend it to you both as an aid to your preaching and also as a companion to your devotional reading and praying of the Psalms.

Greg Strand

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Affectionately called “Walking Bible” by his youngest daughter, Greg Strand has a ministry history that goes back to 1982. Since that time, he has served in local church ministry in a variety of ministry capacities: youth pastor, associate pastor of adult ministries and senior pastor. He is currently the EFCA's Executive Director of Theology and Credentialing. Greg reads voraciously and never stops learning — a passion reflected in the overflowing bookshelves that spill from his library to multiple offices. And he could tell you about each of those books! His hunger for learning pales in contrast to his great love for God and for teaching the Word of God.

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