A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23
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A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23

4.4 of 5 stars 4.40  ·  rating details  ·  3,259 ratings  ·  226 reviews
The late W. Phillip Keller was born in East Africa and loved the outdoors. He was trained in agronomy and spent many years on ranches in British Columbia. He lived among and observed sheep and their relationship to the shepherd. Out of this rich, practical experience, came the book from which this book was excerpted.
Paperback, 173 pages
Published April 29th 2007 by Zondervan Publishing Company (first published January 1st 1970)
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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...more
Aaron Carlberg
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...more
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...more
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.
Rebekah Choat

Drawing upon his years of experience as a sheep rancher, Keller reveals depths of meaning in this well-known but imperfectly-understood Psalm unimagined by people living in modern non-agricultural societies. His intimate knowledge of the terminology of sheepherding, the common habits and maladies of sheep, and the concerns and practices of conscientious shepherds enables the author to explain the symbolism behind virtually every phrase of the poem, which he interprets as a recounting of...more
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...more
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
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
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
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.
Kristen Stieffel
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 --...more
David LeDoux
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.
A wonderful and insightful read. Makes you look at this familiar psalm differently.
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
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...more
"The Lord is my Shepherd." --- This is the phrase that I feel more confident than ever to proclaim. After reading Phillip Keller's "A Shepherd Looks at the Good Shepherd", I understand now, more than ever, exactly what it takes to be a shepherd of sheep. And, in turn, exactly what our Shepherd does for His sheep, and how much He loves us.

"....God's life, poured out in rich measure on my behalf, enables me to enjoy abundant living in every area: physical, mental, moral, emotional, and spiritual."...more
I LOVE THIS BOOK! It take one verse at a time and gives a detailed comparison between a shepherd of sheep and Christ the Great Shepherd. I use it for teaching reference all the time. My favorite part is vs 6; "He leadeth me in the Paths of Righteousness for His Name's Sake". When the author described this one he talked about how a shepherd needs to pay close attention to the vegetation of the land and the eating habits of sheep. He goes on to describe how sheep will just keep eating the same old...more
This is my 3rd time through this book as a Bible study - this time I created a blog with beautiful pictures depicting Jesus as our shepherd and how he cares for us. We are just completing a 6 week Bible study with the blog (not in person) and were able to include people from NJ and others locally from other churches. It was another great experience. Each time I read this deep study on this single psalm I continue to learn more. It is a GREAT book, a GREAT study and a GREAT Psalm. If you want to...more
Alexis Neal
The title of this one is pretty self-explanatory. One-time shepherd and pastor Phillip Keller walks the reader through the 23rd Psalm as David the Shepherd King would have seen it. At least, as Keller thinks David would have seen it.

Keller's insights are certainly helpful, particularly in America's increasingly non-agrarian culture. He includes meditations on the relationship between sheep and shepherd, the importance--and blessing--of having a good and wise shepherd, the dangers that threaten t...more
bk ini baru akan terbit juga bhs Indonesianya. aku dah bc krn satu dan laen hal.

buku ini bgs. dari segi penceritaanyan PHILLIP KELLER membaca kita pada tiap2 ayat dalam Mazmur 23. yang benar kt phillip keller dalam hlmn pendahuluan "Oleh karena itu saya tidak menyesal menyajikan kumpulan “pandangan gembala” mengenai Mazmur 23 yang terkenal dan disukai —namun sering disalah mengerti. Buku ini telah dikembangkan dengan latar belakang yang agak unik, yang mungkin telah membuat saya, dibandingkan se...more
This was... fine, I guess. I did grow up in an agricultural setting, but there weren't many sheep involved. So most of this I have to assume that Keller is right- though this is probably the fundamental problem I've got with the book. While the Psalm clearly is about God as a shepherd, I don't know that you actually have to be a shepherd in order to get the full thrust of the Psalm. So it may very well be that "a table in the presence of my enemies" means "prepares fields on the table-ish mounta...more
Trevor Davis
It's a short little book, but very refreshing so far. I am about half way through it right now. The tone is very conversational. Combine that with his "real life" anecdotes and this book becomes a lot like sitting with my grandfather and listening to him. Good stuff!

11/13/2010 update:
I finished this book today. It is a good read. I liked it (hence the three stars). There were great practical points about how shepherds take care of sheep that highlight the goodness and kindness of our...more
"A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23" is a study of Psalm 23 from the perspective of a sheep rancher--one who grew up around tribal shepherds in east Africa.

The author discussed one verse per chapter and worked his way through the entire Psalm. He gave details about the aspect of shepherding that the verse referred to so that the reader could better understand the verse. He made parallels between how sheep (or the shepherd) acts and how we (or God) acts and how this is a lesson for us even in modern li...more
Finally got around to reading this little book that my dear mother recommended to me decades ago. I now know why she loved it so much. Written by a skilled author who also was a shepherd for many years. He goes through the entire 23rd Psalm & speaks of the parallels of we Christians as sheep and God as our shepherd. I wept several times throughout as he painted the picture of how a GOOD shepherd will care for his sheep. I was challenged, as a sheep, to be more aware of my behavior and to be...more
This book was incredible! It took the individual phrases of Psalm 23 and showed what they mean to a shepherd and his sheep. For example, the part that says, "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures." Keller explains how a sheep will never lay down if he is fearful, hungry, or in tension with any of the other sheep. "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies." The word 'table' here means 'tableland' or 'plateau'. Keller explained that whenever a shepherd moves his sheep...more
If you would like an interesting way to see one of the most famous passages in the Bible, then read this book. Phillip Keller shows his readers an insider's look into the life of a shepherd. Through Keller's first-hand experience as a shepherd, he is able to relate how Psalm 23 is indeed very personal to those who consider themselves to be God's children. I would recommend this book to Christians who want a closer look at Psalm 23. I also would highly recommend this book to pastors and preachers...more
The beauty of this book lies in the fact that very few people could have actually written it. As an acutal shepherd, Keller probably has some of the greatest insights ever set down on Psalm 23 (“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want…”). He takes the Psalm from a mere metaphor and explains why and how the images that David wrote are so applicable to the Christian life. He dissects the Psalm in the best sense of the word — and he shows how Christ is our Good Shepherd and cares for us eve...more
This is a short & simple book that analyzes Psalm 23. He is very insightful, because he was a shepherd for many years. It is true how humans are very similar to sheep in many ways. After reading this assigned book for my Christian discipleship class, I have a better understanding of God's compassionate and intimate heart for you and me. Surely goodness and love will follow me...!

Favorite Quote: (P. 33-34) "By way of contrast, I have numerous friends among relatively poor people - people who...more
Oct 14, 2012 Linda added it
Wonderful book!!! This is the BEST Christian book I've ever read. The author actually was a shepherd so he is able to explain the Psalm in detail. For instance, "He anoints my head with oil.." literally means just that. The shepherds would pour a soothing oil over the heads of the sheep so that the gnats and bot flies could not torture them to distraction. And "I shall not want..." refers to the sheep that are prone to wander in search of greener pastures or other waters. They get themselves int...more
T.S. Smead
Sheep are a lot like us. Ever think, "this probably isn't a good idea, but I really want to try it anyway"? I know I have. Apparently, sheep do this too.

This book is written by a modern day shepherd who understands what the author, King David, was talking about in every detail when Psalm 23 was written.

If you want a greater understanding of what each verse of this poem means, this is the source I would consult. It helps you see Psalm 23 through new eyes. He does a great job of using shepherding...more
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A Shepherd Looks at Psaml 23 4 28 Dec 01, 2012 07:27PM  
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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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