The bottom line: A concrete commentary that illuminates and inspires Bible students, teachers and preachers.
Psalms is the only book of the Bible addressed to God (everything else goes in the opposite direction) and is the book Martin Luther called the “little Bible.” The point is that the book is special and warrants exceptional attention. Developing a commentary is therefore no easy task yet Mays does a fine job in Psalms Interpretation.
Consequently, the reader gets a well-balanced commentary that focuses on larger themes and big ideas. What animates the book is the fundamental idea that properly understanding one Psalm not only involves recognizing its individual “anatomy” but also how the different parts relate to the Psalter as a whole. Hence, the author does a fine job of exploring the depths of individual Psalms and highlighting its particular context while also “zooming out” and connecting each unit to the grand narrative.
Psalms Interpretation begins with an introduction that clarifies the importance of the Psalms, their anatomy, history and types; their theology, and how to use the commentary. The introduction sets the stage and equips you with a map to navigate the Psalms in general. The book then proceeds sequentially through all 150 Psalms. Generally speaking, in my opinion the author provides an even treatment of each Psalm with more notable pearls of wisdom and exposition for Psalms that are more well-known (e.g., 23 and 51). In a few instances, you are left wanting more such as in the case of Psalm 110, the Psalm quoted most in the New Testament.
As a Bible teacher and a preacher, I certainly found the book to contain many more pearls for teaching as opposed to preaching. Still, on many occasions I have leaned upon Mays for sharp, meaningful points that have served as the main ideas for an assortment of sermons.