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A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 (The Shepherd Trilogy)

4.43  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,793 Ratings  ·  304 Reviews
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want…”

Travel the shepherd’s path to the green pastures and cool, refreshing waters of Psalm 23.

As a shepherd, Phillip Keller shares his insights into the life and character of sheep— and of the Good Shepherd who loves and cares for them. This beloved classic will give new meaning to the ageless Shepherd Psalm, enriching your trus
Paperback, 173 pages
Published April 29th 2007 by Zondervan (first published January 1st 1970)
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Oct 23, 2015 Tarissa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This was a wonderful, inspirational book!! I could recommend it to anyone I know. The author, Phillip Keller, wholeheartedly sets out to completely make you understand what each part of Psalm 23 truly means. That passage of scripture is one that we all know by heart, but after reading this book you'll view those 6 verses in a whole new light.

* It reminded me that I belong to Him, even with my sinful downfalls.
* It made me think about how we really are like sheep, trustfully following our Sheph
Dec 14, 2014 Olivia rated it it was amazing
learned so much about sheep behavior and how similarly dumb sheep and I are
Oct 12, 2011 Bernie rated it really liked it
The Bible makes numerous analogies, regarding Gods people as sheep, and he as the Shepherd. Jesus was, for example the good shepherd, who layed down his life for his sheep.

No analogy is perfect. Still some analogies are a better fit than others. As W. Phillip Keller abundantly illustrates in his book, the Bible's Shephed/Sheep analogy is one of the best, and the lovely and beloved Psalm 23 perhaps its most sublime discourse.

But most people nowadays, have only passing familiarity with the life
Sep 24, 2015 Nick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are some interesting insights in this devotional book. As the title shows, this is a work of eisegesis rather than exegesis. Sometimes Keller's insights clarify the Scripture, but other times I felt that he overstepped his bounds. For instance, at one point he says "the thought uppermost in the writer's mind was that the animal should be free of scabs." At another point he writes, "All this sort of thing was in the back of David's mind as he penned these lines." There is simply no way of k ...more
Aaron Carlberg
Aug 20, 2012 Aaron Carlberg rated it really liked it
This book was written in 1970 and you can really feel that in the tone of text and analogies...some things seem a bit stale and over worked, but that is simply because many of these analogies have been used by preachers over the past 4 decades. I am sure when he wrote them they were fresh and new.

Having said that, this small little book holds much wisdom for all believers. If you are a pastor, deacon, elder, or minister and have people under your care, you will get a better picture of the type o
Jul 30, 2015 Ian rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent resource for better understanding this most special of Psalms. We're studying Psalm 23 in church so I thought having a "shepherd's" perspective would provide some valuable insight. It didn't take me long to find why Keller's book is so much loved and appreciated.

Keller takes us on the annual journey of his sheep from the days spent on the seaside home ranch (I'd never want to leave) up through the valleys, to the tablelands and back down again. We get to understand the dynam
May 17, 2010 Ron rated it liked it
Though it contains value insights to sheep and shepherding, the book overflows with lists and alliterations--making it hard to read. Those, plus Biblical quotes from the Kings James Version, give Shepherd Looks an archaic feel.

Keller crams 50 pages of material into 135.

Pen-and-ink illustrations by Robert Doares enrich the text.
Jun 20, 2011 Eric rated it really liked it
A compelling fresh look at Psalm 23 from the perspective of a sheep rancher that grew up around tribal shepherds in the middle-east. He starts chapter 1 asking “The Lord! But who is the Lord? What is His character? Does He have adequate credentials to be my Shepherd — my manager — my owner?” and more than answers those and many more questions. God is God and He is in charge if I give Him control of my life or not.

I agree with his statement “One of the calamities of Christianity is our tendency t
Sally Lindsay-briggs
Jul 04, 2016 Sally Lindsay-briggs rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful book about the many similarities between caring for sheep-the sheep shepherd and God who is our Shepherd. The 23rd Psalm is explained, amplified and made much more meaningful and beautiful. This is an excellent read for the growing Christians, ministers and those who write church articles (like me).
Jan 27, 2011 Jane rated it it was amazing
I loved this book and highly recommend it for self improvement as well as for parenting. I loved how the author knew so much about his own work and could give us insights to how he cared for sheep, and also how a shepherd cares for his. I have thought about specific times since reading the book when I could apply it. I thought about it when my spouse gave a blessing to a sick child "Thou anointest my head with oil", and when dear friends of ours lost a grandchild recently and walked with their l ...more
Brad Coleman
Jan 26, 2016 Brad Coleman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-own
This book will give you a deeper understanding of David's perspective when he wrote Psalm 23. Keller really helps the Psalm come alive we with new understanding and depth. Highly recommended read, especially if you love the 23 Psalm!
Dec 14, 2015 Donna rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book that not only focuses on the meaning of Psalm 23, but it also makes it come alive. The author was a shepherd and relates many things about sheep and their care that adds so much to the meaning.
Mar 10, 2009 Craig rated it it was amazing
David's 23rd Psalm is a masterpiece. I never fully realized the depth of its inspired genius until I read this book. I still don't realize the depth of its inspired genius, but I think I understand more of it thanks to Phillip Keller. Keller writes as a pastor, scientist and, most importantly, a shepherd as he breaks down David's psalm phrase by phrase. Using his unique perspective and expertise, he skillfully explains, illustrates and applies the Shepherd Psalm. This is the best commentary I've ...more
Elizabeth A. Marks
Sep 14, 2013 Elizabeth A. Marks rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-it
This was a excellent read. Not only did this writer know what he was talking about from his own personal experience as a shepherd himself, but he also provided lessons for a Christian. I loved how he drew parallels from sheep and shepherd to a Christian and God, our Shepherd. This book was so on point. A wonderfully inspiring look at a very familiar Psalm. I found something in each chapter that related to what I'm going through. Wonderful how God's thoughts come through loud and clear in a tende ...more
Amanda Tero
Jan 25, 2016 Amanda Tero rated it it was amazing
I could quote half of the perhaps I'll just say you should read it. I have never known much about a sheep's life (I heard a few lessons by Dr. Larry Guthrie), so reading about how Psalm 23 directly applies to the year of a sheep's life (and, in turn, how it applies to believers with Jesus as our Shepherd), was really good! I finished the book with a "Wow!" Chapters 9 and 11 were probably the ones that stood out to me--talking about the rod and staff and then "surely goodness and mercy ...more
Marcus Costantino
May 25, 2015 Marcus Costantino rated it it was ok
Generally a good book that develops a discourse for interacting with what is perhaps the most familiar of all passages of scripture. The opening to the book presents the author's cause for writing, a desire to help Christians ask and answer, "The Lord! But who is the Lord?" This is a worthwhile and necessary pursuit of every person who claims to be a Christian, follow Jesus, believe in God or the like.

The author does well to help us understand our relationship to God with two primary pictures, t
Vivien Naomi Lee
Jul 05, 2015 Vivien Naomi Lee rated it really liked it
I don't know why but I took some time to get used to the way he was writing but was utterly awestruck by his shepherding stories. It was really very insightful and heartwarming to dig deeper into this extremely familiar Psalm. I never thought to see it in this light before and I am glad someone awesome recommended me this awesome book. :) I was told to finish the book in a single sitting, which I did. The effect was a series of shockwaves sent through my heart as little revelations every few pag ...more
Jun 01, 2015 Marie rated it it was amazing
OHMYGOODNESS! This is definitely one of those go-tell-all-the-peoples-to-read-it-NOW books! (Told the hubby he needs to read it before I'd even finished it. I read the last sentence and immediately texted my sister-in-law to tell her she should read it. I plan to email my mom to recommend this for her church book club.)

This is a very, very short book that packs a very big punch. Keller goes through Psalm 23 line by line, imparting insights from his time spent as a shepherd. We all know Psalm 23:
Robert Vincent
Jun 06, 2015 Robert Vincent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Phillip Keller gives his commentary on the most quoted Psalm from his perspective as a shepherd. Here are quotes and comments on each phrase of Psalm 23:

The LORD is my shepherd:

The author tells us that the shepherd identifies each of his sheep with a mark on its ear: “Each sheep-man has his own distinctive earmark which he cuts into one or other of the ears of his sheep. In this way, even at a distance, it is easy to determine to whom the sheep belong.” The procedure is painful for both the shep
Jun 22, 2007 Klasko rated it really liked it
Shelves: devotional, religious
I found this book on the bookshelf in the guest room in my mother-in-law's house around 1985 and picked it up and started reading it on a visit. It was my first exposure to any kind of exposition of Scripture and I just loved it. Keller spent time as a shepherd and because of his firsthand experience in the field, he was able to impart context and deeper meaning to David's most well known psalm. I bought a copy of my own. Good devotional book.
Victoria Green
Jan 11, 2016 Victoria Green rated it it was amazing
W. Phillip Keller is one of my top 5 authors! Why? Because all his writings take me into the essence of who I am in Yeshua- to escape into the very reality of whom and whose I am. Phillip in this book takes the marvelous 23rd Psalm to what David meant for it to bring us. Phillip brings me into a new and deep appreciation of the endless effort our Savior goes to as He pursues us and brings the sheep that He has chosen into His one flock. He gives me awesome insights from both the sheep's perspect ...more
Georgia Herod
Dec 22, 2014 Georgia Herod rated it it was amazing
Though I’ve had this book for years and have read portions of it, I’ve not read it through before. A friend had sent me a book for meditation on the Psalms by Jeannie Miley, which began with Psalm 23. So I pulled this off the shelf—and used it over a month. This psalm is the most often used passage at funerals or in hospital rooms. Meditating on this psalm—for the living rather than the dead—has been rich.

Because Keller had been a shepherd, his hands-on perspective is effective. Special emphas
Kristen Stieffel
Jun 29, 2014 Kristen Stieffel rated it it was amazing
A marvelous little book.

With succinct precision, Keller illuminates this most famous Psalm in ways a 21st-century city dweller could not. He explains the pastoral origins of many parts of the psalm. For example, it is only possible for sheep to "lie down in green pastures" when they are safe and well-fed and their troubles have been removed.

In each chapter, Keller likens the behavior of sheep to that of people, showing how like dumb herd animals we can be. He shows that the way to contentment --
Jonathan Roberts
Apr 21, 2016 Jonathan Roberts rated it it was amazing
The best book on Psalm 23!!! Hands down! This is my third time reading it and it still blessed me like crazy. (Note I have just finished this a fourth time) I have taught this to three different groups of junior high and high school students. Very powerful very meaningful!!
David LeDoux
Nov 23, 2011 David LeDoux rated it really liked it
Shelves: inspiration, _have
This book is a refreshing insight into a verse that has become cliche in our culture. It has caused me to treasure this Psalm written about our Savior, the Good Shepherd. This is a book that I will be returning to time and again for inspiration.
Jan 01, 2011 Julie rated it liked it
Great book if you can get passed the author's "know it all, self-righteous" tone. I love his insights on shepherding as it relates to the Bible, but was VERY put-off by almost everything else he wrote...even when I agreed with him.
Oct 30, 2012 Nicole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful and insightful read. Makes you look at this familiar psalm differently.
Nannette Elkins
May 12, 2015 Nannette Elkins rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books of all time!! Phillip Keller was a shepherd and knows all there is to know about the relationship between the sheep and the shepherd. Relating to our Heavenly Father as the Good Shepherd, there are so many nuggets to treasure in this book they are too numerable to count. You will learn so much about the attitudes of sheep, their need for care, and their dependence upon their shepherd. This is another book that you re-read again and again. And one that you share and give ...more
In this little treasure of a book, Phillip Keller examines the best-known and most-beloved Psalm and relates it to the reader in ways he may never have thought of before. As one who grew up in East Africa among animal herders and who made his living for a period of time as a sheep owner, Keller truly understands the terminology and experiences of a shepherd as David did. He believes that many of us living in the modern, urban West misinterpret or at least do not fully understand and appreciate t ...more
Beth Peninger
May 18, 2014 Beth Peninger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My husband's Grandpa gifted him the copy of this book that we own. He wrote on the flyleaf, "To My Grandson LP I hope this book will be an inspiration to you as you go thru life in this world. I know my time is getting close and I will have to be on my way Much love Grandpa"
Yet another Christian classic that I haven't read until now! And as with The Hiding Place I have no idea why I have not.
I love books that take the things that God has compared life with him to and gives the reader background
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InHisCare Reading...: * PSALM 23 1 5 Feb 19, 2015 11:04AM  
A Shepherd Looks at Psaml 23 4 29 Dec 01, 2012 07:27PM  
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Other Books in the Series

The Shepherd Trilogy (3 books)
  • A Shepherd Looks at the Good Shepherd and His Sheep
  • A Shepherd Looks At The Lamb Of God

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“This is difficult to comprehend when one pauses to consider the character of Christ. Admittedly there have been many false caricatures of this Person, but an unbiased look at His life quickly reveals an individual of enormous compassion and incredible integrity.” 3 likes
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