Binnie’s Magnificent Work on the Psalms

When I was in seminary, my Hebrew professor, Dr. Benjamin Shaw, recommended an old hermeneutical volume on the Psalms–William Binnie’s The Psalms: Their History, Teachings and Use . The value of this work is that Binnie does not set out, first and foremost, to give a verse by verse commentary on the book of Psalms; rather, he categorizes Psalms and draws out principles of interpretation. For instance, he has a section on Messianic Psalms in which he considers those Psalms that are explicitly mentioned in the NT in regard to Christ, and then deduces principles by which other Psalms my be interpreted Christologically. It really is quite an impressive work. The book was so rare that you could almost never find a copy for sale online, let alone in a library. Klock and Klock republished it for a very short while. Now you can find a free PDF online here.  Spurgeon said of this work:

A highly valuable work. It is not an exposition, but can readily be used as such, for it possesses a good index to the passages treated of. Dr. Binnie reviews with great skill and intense devotion the various sacred poems contained in the book of Psalms, and gives the general run and character of each one. His work is unlike any other and supplies and great desideratum.

7 Responses

  1. Benjamin Shaw

    Nick, the book has more recently been reprinted by Solid Ground Christian Books under the title, A Pathway into the Psalter. It is still available from them.

  2. Nicholas T. Batzig

    Thanks Dr. Shaw. I was having a conversation with a brother about it today, which is what prompted this post. I do appreciate your mentioning it to us in class.

  3. I’m glad people still recognize the value of this work. I have had a first edition copy of it for some time now, and occasionally peruse through it. Two sections in the book that really stand out besides the section the Messianic Psalms are the sections on the Imprecatory Songs and on the use of the Psalter in Worship. This is an invaluable study of the Psalms for anyone who wants to study the Psalms. Thanks for bringing this work to people’s attention.

  4. Steve,

    I’m glad to hear that you have a first edition. I have a photo copied edition. I just ordered one of the new reprints. I will look over the section on the imprecatory Pslams. I have forgotten what Binnie says there. Thanks for pointing out those sections.

  5. Nicholas T. Batzig


    It really is amazing that Princeton has digitized their antiquarian resources. There are many volumes on internet archive from the library of B.B. Warfield, Archibald Alexander, and Samuel Miller. Many of them have their underlining as well. For any lover of Princetonian theology these are truly great resources.

  6. Kevin D. Nichols

    Nick –
    Thanks for posting this resource on the Psalms. I am always looking for good material as I am hoping to do a Sunday School quarter on the Psalms in 2010, DV. Having a solid resource categorizing the Psalter will be of much help in developing my outline.

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