Preaching Christ from Psalms: Foundations for Expository Sermons in the Christian Year. By Sidney Greidanus. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2016. 595 pp. Paper, $40.00.
Sidney Greidanus is professor emeritus of preaching at Calvin Theological Seminary. He is well known for advocating a redemptive-historical approach to preaching, and has a series of books showing how to preach Christ from the OT, including Preaching Christ from Genesis; Preaching Christ from Ecclesiastes; Preaching Christ from Daniel; and now, Preaching Christ from Psalms. These all grow out of the hermeneutic outlined in his book, Preaching Christ from the Old Testament.
Greidanus defines preaching Christ as “preaching sermons which authentically integrate the message of the text with the climax of God’s revelation in the person, work, and/or teaching of Jesus Christ as revealed in the New Testament” (p. 5). He warns against forced interpretations that eisegetically read Christ back into the psalms. Instead, he believes “from the message of a psalm we can certainly move forward to Jesus in the New Testament” (p. 5).
Preaching Christ from Psalms begins with 45 pages of general hermeneutical questions about interpreting the Psalms, and then gives an exposition of 23 Psalms, showing how to exegete the text and see how they can “move forward to Jesus.”
For each Psalm, Greidanus follows a systematic pattern of analysis, including doing literary and historical interpretations, and formulating the Psalm’s theme. Then Greidanus suggests several “Ways to Preach Christ” in each Psalm, and I found his comments in this area to be especially thought-provoking. The different ways in which he suggests we can preach Christ from the text include looking for promise-fulfillment; longitudinal themes; redemptive-historical progression; analogy; typology; New Testament references; and contrast.
For example, in Psalm 72, Greidanus sees in the prayers for the reigning king an implied promise “of a great coming King—romises that are fulfilled in Jesus’ First and Second Coming” (p. 105).
In Psalm 146, Greidanus sees an analogy between the works of the Lord mentioned in vv 6-9, and Jesus’ works mentioned in Matt 11:3-5 (p. 126).
In Psalm 80, Greidanus understands the prayer for God to restore His people as pointing to the climax of redemptive history, when God sent Jesus to save His people from their sins (p. 145).
In Psalm 2, Greidanus sees a typology of the future Messianic kingdom, as supported by eighteen NT references (p. 224).
Whether it is examining the structure of a Psalm, determining its theme, or suggesting ways of preaching Christ from the text, Greidanus provides so many excellent comments and insights that I happily recommend this book, especially for pastors and people engaged in a teaching ministry. Preaching Christ from Psalms is an excellent resource for helping those Scriptures come alive.
Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society