The bottom line: If you preach God’s Word and want to excel, you are incomplete without this book.
This book is deceptive. Why? Because it markets itself as a book that will equip you to preach the Psalms but this gem does so much more than that. It equips you to preach with power, clarity and precision in general (that is, expository preaching) with an emphasis on the Psalms. It also is a brief guidebook on Bible interpretation and exegesis.
First, Dr. Lawson spends the first 100 pages emphasizing the magnanimous task at hand for the man who is called to preach the Word of God. He offers advice on preparing the messenger (the preacher) before the expository message, makes the reader aware of the high standard required for anyone who seeks to preach, and then offers suggestions for the appropriate tools and references that an expositor will find useful. The first 100 pages of the book alone are worth the cover price.
Next, Preaching the Psalms gives a general overview of the Psalms with a concise explanation of the different types, form, structure, grammar and language. It then provides an overview of the Biblical realm in which the Psalms were written so that the reader is not only knowledgeable of the words on paper but the world in which the Psalms were composed. This is remarkably helpful in unlocking the deeper meaning of the text. The last two units of the book detail how to “bring it all together” and prepare the manuscript to be preached. Without a doubt, the last two units are the most subjective because, generally speaking, Dr. Lawson advocates preparing a word-for-word manuscript. He is a powerful preacher so heeding his advice is beneficial.
In my humble opinion, this Preaching the Psalms has one glaring omission: it needs a Scripture index at the back of the book. Certainly, I will be using this book whenever I preach the Psalms, but a difficulty arises since there no way to quickly reference where a particular Psalm is mentioned. This text is so rich in content, it would benefit the reader tremendously to be able to navigate all the tools Dr. Lawson has so carefully procured.
One parting note: Reading Steven J. Lawson pales in comparison to hearing him live. He is magnetic and ignites the fire in your bones. If you can attend any of his preaching conferences (One Passion Ministries) you owe it to yourself to go.