"A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23" has become a classic among pastors, students, and laymen alike. And no wonder. In it, the author, Philip Keller, manages to clearly expound on the Biblical Psalm by giving helpful insights into the life of a Shepherd leading his sheep. Keller recounts his own personal experiences as a shepherd and uses them as illustration. As the reader learns more about the art of shepherding, he is drawn to a closer undertanding of our most beloved Psalm.
Though this book is profound and a classic in it's own right, it does have it's flaws. The main flaw in the book is that it is a book that is solely dedicated to the illustration of sheep, shepherds, and the like, and at times let's that override the Biblical text.
In other words, at times the author ignores context, wording, phrases, etc., in order to continue to describe how the vocation of a shepherd fits into the Psalm. This is very easy to catch if you are discerning enough.
For example, prior to opening the books pages, I had read the Psalm about 10-20 times. I did this in order to get the full picture of what David was trying to say. And as I worked my way through, I kept wondering how the author was going to continue to talk about raising sheep whenever David starts talking about sitting at the table and dwelling in the house of the LORD forever (vs. 4-6). Well, he continued the illustration, thus, robbing the text of it's original meaning.
Although this is an issue that really stuck out in my mind, there is much praise that the book deserves. The reader will clearly come away with a greater appreciation of this Psalm and what it means. Keller is an excellent writer with a profound insight that is very important.
Also, Keller uses the illustration of the text to apply to the readers daily lives. Remember, every Biblical text must be applied. Our first question after reading a text of Scripture should be, "what does this text mean. And how do I apply it to my life." Keller answers both of the those quesitons for us.
Overall, this is a must read for believers. What Christian doesn't love Psalm 23? Likely none. It has inspired, encouraged, and helped more people than anyone could count. And this is a great book that helps us understand why.