Top Commentaries on Psalms

Bible commentaries on the Old Testament book of Psalms are listed below. The commentaries listed first are those that have received the best reviews. You will also find options for commentaries on Psalms that help pastors, teachers, and readers with application of the Bible, commentaries that approach the Scripture verse-by-verse, classic Christian commentaries, and much more. (See more about the scholars, pastors, ministries, and schools whose commentary reviews are being utilized.)

Best Reviewed Bible Commentaries on Psalms



Psalms 1-72 and 73-150 (Kidner Classic Commentaries) by Derek Kidner


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Reviews and Accolades:

Desiring God: #1 recommended commentary on Psalms

Tremper Longman: “highly recommended for its theological insight and practical bent…well worth the price”

Keith Mathison: #3 ranked commentary on Psalms, “[Kidner’s] comments are clear and very concise, but always reflect the extensive learning and insight of the author.”

Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classese

Purpose: From the publisher: “The works of Derek Kidner (MA, Christ’s College, Cambridge) are full of the marks of both professor and pastor with his even­handed scholarship as well as his devotional insight. These qualities have made his commentaries in the Tyndale Old Testament Commentary series and The Bible Speaks Today series some of the most beloved and popular of recent decades. Kidner had a long career in both the church and the academy in England. He studied at Cambridge University and then served in the ministry for several years before becoming a senior tutor at Oak Hill Theological College.”


Psalms 1-50 by Peter C. Craigie, 51-100 Leslie C. Allen, 101-150 by Marvin Tate (Word Biblical Commentary)


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tremper Longman: M. Tate (Vol. 3), 4 out of 5 stars: “excellent contribution”

John H. Walton and Andrew E. Hill: “The best evangelical commentary on Psalms.”

Keith Mathison: #5 ranked commentary on Psalms, “I’ve included the three WBC volumes primarily on the strength of Craigie’s contribution. It is technical, but very helpful.”

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “WBC series delivers the best in biblical scholarship, from the leading scholars who share a commitment to Scripture as divine revelation. It emphasizes a thorough analysis of textual, linguistic, structural, and theological evidence. The result is judicious and balanced insight into the meanings of the text in the framework of biblical theology.” See more about the Word Biblical Commentary series.


Psalms 1-72 (New International Version Application Commentary) by Gerald H. Wilson


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tremper Longman: 5 out of 5 stars, “strong in all three sections of the series…has much value, especially for ministers”

Keith Mathison: #2 ranked commentary on Psalms, “The NIVAC series is a mixed bag, but Gerald Wilson’s initial volume on the Psalms is one of the standouts.”

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the General Editor: The primary goal of the NIV Application Commentary Series is to help you with the difficult but vital task of bringing an ancient message into a modern context. The series not only focuses on application as a finished product but also helps you think through the process of moving from the original meaning of a passage to its contemporary significance. These are commentaries, not popular expositions. They are works of reference, not devotional literature.” See more about the NIV Application Commentary series.


Psalms (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Revised Edition) by Willem A. Van Gemeren


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tremper Longman: 5 out of 5 stars, “excellent on the text and the text’s theology and is particularly helpful in sermon preparation”

Keith Mathison: #1 ranked commentary on Psalms, “It is certainly the most helpful commentary on the Psalms that I have yet read…I cannot recommend this commentary highly enough.”

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “Written primarily by expositors for expositors…its stance is that of a scholarly evangelicalism committed to the divine inspiration, complete trustworthiness, and full authority of the Bible…the chief principle followed in this commentary is the grammatico-historical – namely, that the primary aim of the exegete is to make clear the meaning of the text at the time and in the circumstances of its writing.” See more about the Expositor’s Bible Commentary series.


Psalms 1-41, 42-89, and 90-150 (Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms) by John Goldingay


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tremper Longman: 4.5 out of 5 stars, “an extensive interpretation of the Psalms, focusing on poetics, grammar, and especially theology of the individual psalms”

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “In this first volume of a three-volume commentary on the book of Psalms, Old Testament scholar John Goldingay provides a lucid introduction to the Psalter and fresh commentary on Psalms 1-41. This is the third volume in the Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms series. The series is tailored to the distinctives of poetry and wisdom literature, featuring emphasis on the message of the biblical book; special attention to poetic structure and literary devices; incisive comments based on the author’s translation of the Hebrew text; exegetical rigor that incorporates linguistic, historical, and canonical insights; closing reflections on each section that explore the text’s theological dimensions; and textual notes that provide resources for advanced readers.” See more about the Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms series.


Psalms (Understanding the Bible Commentary Series) by Craig C. Broyles


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tremper Longman: 4 out of 5 stars, “brief but solid…recognizes the importance of christological interpretation”

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “Each volume in the Understanding the Bible Commentary Series breaks down the barriers between the ancient and modern worlds so that the power and meaning of the biblical texts become transparent to contemporary readers. They present a careful section-by-section exposition of the biblical books with key terms and phrases highlighted and all Hebrew transliterated. Notes at the close of each chapter provide additional textual and technical comments for those who want to dig deeper.” See more about the Understanding the Bible Commentary series.


Psalms (Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching) by James L. Mays


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tremper Longman: 5 out of 5 stars, “focuses on the literary expression and theological message of the Psalms”

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “This series of commentaries offers an interpretation of the books of the Bible. It is designed to meet the need of students, teachers, ministers, and priests for a contemporary expository commentary. These volumes will not replace the historical critical commentary or homiletical aids to preaching. The purpose of this series is rather to provide a third kind of resource, a commentary which presents the integrated result of historical and theological work with the biblical text.” See more about the Interpretation Bible commentary series.


Psalms 1-72 and 73-150 (The Preacher’s Commentary) by Donald M. Williams


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Reviews and Accolades:

Keith Mathison: #3 ranked commentary on Psalms, “This is a non-technical, highly readable commentary, with a strongly devotional and practical approach. It is well worth consulting.”

Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: From the publisher: “The New King James Bible has been chosen for the Preacher’s Commentary because it combines with integrity the beauty of language, underlying Hebrew and Greek textual basis, and thought-flow of the 1611 King James Version…Readers who are more comfortable with another translation can readily find the parallel passage by means of the chapter and verse reference at the end of each passage being exposited. The paragraphs of exposition combine fresh insights to the Scripture, application, rich illustrative material, and innovative ways of utilizing the vibrant truth for his or her own life and for the challenge of communicating it with vigor and vitality.”


Psalms (The Forms of the Old Testament Literature) by Erhard S. Gerstenberger


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tremper Longman: 4 out of 5 stars, “an excellent tool for scholars”

Best for: students, pastors, teachers, professors, and scholars with training in Hebrew who can follow a technical commentary

Purpose: From the publisher: “The Forms of the Old Testament Literature (FOTL) is a series of volumes that seeks to present, according to a standard outline and methodology, a form-critical analysis of every book or unit of the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible). Fundamentally exegetical, each volume examines the structure, genre, setting, and intention of the biblical literature in question. The series also endeavors to study the history behind the form-critical discussion of the material, to bring consistency to the terminology for the genres and formulas of the biblical literature, and to expose the exegetical procedure in such a way as to enable students and pastors to engage in their own analysis and interpretation.”


Psalms (Two Horizons Old Testament Commentary) by Geoffrey W. Grogan


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tremper Longman: 5 out of 5 stars, “masterful at theological analysis”

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “Two features distinguish The Two Horizons Old Testament Commentary series: theological exegesis and theological reflection…The result is a paragraph-by-paragraph engagement with the text that is deliberately theological in focus.” See more about the Two Horizons Bible commentary series.



More Bible Commentaries with Application Help for Pastors



Psalms (Zondervan Illustrated Bible Background Commentary) by John Hilber


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Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: From the publisher: This series “walks you verse by verse through all the books of the New Testament. It’s like slipping on a set of glasses that lets you read the Bible through the eyes of a first-century reader! Discoveries await you that will snap the world of the New Testament into gripping immediacy. Things that seem mystifying, puzzling, or obscure will take on tremendous meaning when you view them in their ancient context. You’ll deepen your understanding of the teachings of Jesus.” See more about the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary series.


Psalms 73-150 (New International Version Application Commentary) by W. Dennis Tucker and Jamie A. Grant


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Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the General Editor: The primary goal of the NIV Application Commentary Series is to help you with the difficult but vital task of bringing an ancient message into a modern context. The series not only focuses on application as a finished product but also helps you think through the process of moving from the original meaning of a passage to its contemporary significance. These are commentaries, not popular expositions. They are works of reference, not devotional literature.” See more about the NIV Application Commentary series.


Psalms 1-72, 73-150 (Teach the Text Commentary Series) by C. Hassell Bullock


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Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: From the publisher: The Teach the Text series utilizes “the best of biblical scholarship” and provides “the information a pastor needs to communicate the text effectively. By keeping the discussion of each carefully selected preaching unit to six pages of focused commentary, the volumes in this series allow pastors to quickly grasp the big idea and key themes of each passage of Scripture. The text and its meaning are made clear, and sections dedicated to effectively teaching and illustrating the text help pastors prepare to preach.” See more about the Teach the Text Bible commentary series.


Psalms (Preaching the Word) by James Johnston


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Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “For years, Crossway’s Preaching the Word commentary series has helped pastors, preachers, and anyone who teaches God’s Word to better interpret and apply the message of the Bible. Under the careful editorial oversight of experienced pastor and best-selling author R. Kent Hughes, this series is known for its commitment to biblical authority, its pastoral tone and focus, and its overall accessibility.” See more about the Preaching the Word commentary series.



More Verse-by-Verse Commentaries



The Book of Psalms (New International Commentary on the Old Testament) by Nancy L. deClaisse-Walford, Rolf A. Jacobsen, and Beth LaNeel Tanner


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Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “All of the NICOT volumes combine superior scholarship, an evangelical view of Scripture as the Word of God, and concern for the life of faith today. Each volume features an extensive introduction treating the biblical book’s authorship, date, purpose, structure, and theology. The author’s own translation of the original Hebrew and verse-by-verse commentary follow. The commentary itself carefully balances coverage of technical matters with exposition of the biblical text’s theology and implications.” See more about the New International Commentary on the Old Testament series.


Psalms: 1-41, 42-89, 90-150 (Kregel Exegetical Library) by Allen P. Ross


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Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “For thousands of years, Psalms has been one of the richest resources for worship and development of the spiritual life. Pastors, teachers, and all serious students of the Bible will find this commentary invaluable for developing an understanding of Psalms and for improving one’s ability to exposit it with precision and depth. This is the third of a three-volume commentary on Psalms.”


The Psalms (The Old Testament Library) by Artur Weiser


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Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “The Old Testament Library provides fresh and authoritative treatments of important aspects of Old Testament study through commentaries and general surveys. The contributors are scholars of international standing.” See more about the Old Testament Library commentary series.


Psalms (Tyndale Old Testament Commentary) by Tremper Longman III


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Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: This series is “designed to help readers understand what the Bible actually says and what it means…[each commentary] examines the text section by section, drawing out its main themes. It also comments on individual verses and deals with problems of interpretation. The aim throughout is to get at the true meaning of the Bible and to make its message plain to readers today.” See more about the Tyndale Old Testament Commentary series.


Psalms (New Collegeville Bible Commentary) by Walter Brueggemann and William H. Bellinger, Jr.


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Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “Comprehensive and understandable, the New Collegeville Bible Commentary brings expert insight into the Old and New Testament to Bible study participants, teachers, students, preachers, and all readers of the Bible. Filled with fresh scholarship, the series provides vital background that helps bring the text alive.”


The Psalms as Christian Worship by Bruce K. Waltke and James M. Houston


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Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “Bruce K. Waltke begins the collaboration by first skillfully establishing the meaning of the chosen psalms through careful exegesis in which each text is interpreted in light of its historical backgrounds, its literary form, and the poet’s rhetoric. James M. Houston then exposits each text’s relevance in conjunction with the Church’s interpretation of it throughout her history. To further the accuracy of this interpretation, he commissioned fresh translations of numerous Latin and Middle English texts.”


Psalms (New Collegeville Bible Commentary) by Dianne Bergant


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Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “Comprehensive and understandable, the New Collegeville Bible Commentary brings expert insight into the Old and New Testament to Bible study participants, teachers, students, preachers, and all readers of the Bible. Filled with fresh scholarship, the series provides vital background that helps bring the text alive.”



Technical and Critical Commentaries



The Psalms: Strophic Structure and Theological Commentary (Eerdmans Critical Commentary) by Samuel Terrien


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Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “The book’s insightful and clearly written introduction treats such subjects as the longevity and ecumenicity of the psalms, their Near Eastern background, the Hebrew text and ancient versions, their music, their strophic structure, their literary genre, their theology, and their relation to the New Testament. In the commentary itself Terrien freshly elucidates the theological significance of these collected poems by putting readers in touch with the formal versatility and religious passion of the psalmists themselves. While Terrien always engages in scientific exegesis before drawing theological conclusions, he is careful to allow full expression to the theological and, especially, the doxological voice of these unmatched spiritual songs. The result is a commentary that provides a link between the archaic language of Psalms and the intellectual demands of modern thinking and spirituality.”


Psalms (Hermeneia) by Frank-Lothar Hossfeld and Erich Zenger


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Best for: students, pastors, teachers, professors, and scholars with training in Hebrew who can follow a technical commentary

Purpose: From the publisher: “The Hermeneia commentary series seeks to offer authoritative interpretation of the earliest texts of the biblical books… The name Hermeneia, from the Greek, has a rich background in the history of biblical interpretation as a term for the detailed, systematic exposition of a scriptural work. Hermeneia is designed for the serious student of the Bible…The editors of Hermeneia impose no systematic-theological perspective upon the series (directly, or indirectly by selection of authors).” See more about the Hermeneia Bible commentary series.



Classic Christian Commentaries for Bible Study



The Treasury of David by Charles Spurgeon


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Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: From the publisher: “Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the “Prince of Preachers,” composed and polished The Treasury of David over the span of nearly half his ministry. This incomparable commentary and omnibus on the Psalms has been prized by Christians ever since.”


Psalms: An Expositional Commentary by James Montgomery Boice


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Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: From the publisher: “James Montgomery Boice (1938-2000) was senior pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was also president and cofounder of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, the parent organization of The Bible Study Hour on which Boice was a speaker for more than thirty years…Boice has created a unique blend of scripture insight, rich devotional application, and vivid illustration in this commentary.”


Psalms (Geneva Series of Commentaries) by W.S. Plumer


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Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: From the publisher: “Some expositions have excelled in scholarship, but, unlike the Psalter, in instructing the mind they have failed to exercise the heart. Dr. Plumer’s Commentary avoids this defect, the author believing that from the Psalms ‘piety has derived more nourishment than from any other source,’ and that his work should serve that same purpose.”


Also see:

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