A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23
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"A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23" Summary

By W. Phillip Keller

christian | 173 pages | Published in NaN

“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 trust in and love for the Lord who watches closely over you.


Estimated read time: 7 min read

One Sentence Summary

A shepherd's perspective on the beloved 23rd Psalm, offering insights into the care and provision of the Good Shepherd.


In "A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23," W. Phillip Keller takes us on a captivating journey into the heart of one of the most beloved passages in the Bible. Drawing on his experience as a shepherd in the rugged landscapes of North America, Keller provides unique insights into the profound meaning and relevance of Psalm 23. With vivid storytelling and deep spiritual wisdom, this book offers a fresh perspective on the timeless truths found in this cherished psalm.

Brief Synopsis

The book opens with Keller sharing his personal journey from being a shepherd to becoming a Christian. This background sets the stage for his exploration of Psalm 23, as he reflects on how his experiences as a shepherd have shaped his understanding of the Lord as his shepherd. He then delves into each verse of the psalm, uncovering the rich symbolism and practical applications that can be gleaned from this poetic masterpiece.

Keller describes the setting of his shepherd's life, which includes vast meadows, rugged hills, and treacherous terrain. Through his vivid descriptions, readers gain a deeper appreciation for the challenges and dangers that shepherds face in caring for their flocks. This backdrop serves as a metaphor for the spiritual journey of believers and the guidance and protection provided by the Good Shepherd.

Main Characters

  • W. Phillip Keller: The author and narrator of the book, who draws on his experiences as a shepherd to provide insights into Psalm 23.
  • The Good Shepherd: Described in Psalm 23, symbolizes God's care, guidance, and provision for His people.
  • The Sheep: Representing believers, who rely on the care and guidance of the Good Shepherd.

Summary of Different Story Points over Chapters

Chapter 1: A Shepherd's Looks at the Twenty-Third Psalm

In this chapter, Keller introduces his personal journey as a shepherd and his discovery of the profound truths contained within Psalm 23. He sets the stage for the book's exploration by highlighting the parallels between the role of a shepherd and the care provided by the Lord.

Chapter 2: "The Lord is My Shepherd"

Keller starts by explaining the significance of the sheep's complete dependence on the shepherd for their well-being. He describes how a shepherd's care includes meeting the sheep's physical needs, protecting them from danger, and guiding them to green pastures and still waters.

Chapter 3: "I Shall Not Want"

In this chapter, Keller explores the concept of contentment and satisfaction that comes from trusting in the provision of the Good Shepherd. He highlights the dangers of discontentment and the importance of recognizing the sufficiency of God's provision.

Chapter 4: "He Makes Me Lie Down"

Keller examines the shepherd's role in providing rest and refreshment for his sheep. He discusses the significance of finding rest in the presence of the shepherd and how this can restore our souls.

Chapter 5: "He Leads Me Beside Quiet Waters"

This chapter focuses on the importance of stillness and tranquility in our lives. Keller emphasizes the need to be led by the Good Shepherd to places of peace and calm, where we can find renewal and restoration.

Chapter 6: "He Restores My Soul"

Keller explores the healing and restoration that comes from the Good Shepherd's care. He discusses the ways in which the shepherd tends to the wounds and ailments of the sheep, drawing parallels to the spiritual healing that God offers to His people.

Chapter 7: "He Guides Me in Paths of Righteousness"

Here, Keller highlights the role of the shepherd in guiding the sheep along the right paths. He emphasizes the importance of following the Lord's guidance and the dangers that arise from straying off the path of righteousness.

Chapter 8: "Even Though I Walk Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death"

In this chapter, Keller delves into the symbolism of the valley of the shadow of death. He explores the challenges and trials that believers may face, emphasizing the comfort and protection that the Good Shepherd provides in the midst of difficult times.

Chapter 9: "You Prepare a Table Before Me"

Keller examines the imagery of the shepherd preparing a table before his sheep, symbolizing the abundant provision and blessings that God offers to His people. He encourages readers to recognize and appreciate the goodness and blessings in their lives.

Chapter 10: "You Anoint My Head with Oil"

This chapter explores the significance of anointing with oil in the biblical context and its representation of God's blessing and favor. Keller highlights the care and attention that the shepherd provides to his sheep, drawing parallels to God's anointing of His people.

Chapter 11: "My Cup Overflows"

Keller reflects on the overflowing abundance of God's blessings in the lives of His people. He encourages readers to have a mindset of gratitude and to recognize the richness of God's provision in their lives.

Chapter 12: "Surely Goodness and Love Will Follow Me"

In the final chapter, Keller focuses on the future hope and eternal promises that believers have in the Lord. He reassures readers that God's goodness and love will follow them all the days of their lives, leading them to dwell in His presence forever.

Main Events

  • Keller's personal journey as a shepherd and his discovery of the profound truths in Psalm 23.
  • The exploration of each verse of Psalm 23 and the insights gained from a shepherd's perspective.
  • The parallels drawn between the care and guidance of a shepherd and the provision of the Good Shepherd.
  • The symbolism and practical applications of each verse of the psalm.
  • The emphasis on the complete dependence of sheep on their shepherd and the lessons for believers in trusting God fully.

Themes and Insights

  • Trusting in the provision and guidance of the Good Shepherd.
  • Finding contentment and satisfaction in God's provision.
  • Rest and renewal in the presence of the Shepherd.
  • Healing and restoration through the care of the Shepherd.
  • Following the right path and avoiding spiritual dangers.
  • Comfort and protection in times of trial and difficulty.
  • Recognizing and appreciating God's blessings and goodness.
  • Gratitude and a mindset of abundance.
  • Future hope and eternal promises in the Lord.

Reader's Takeaway

"A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23" offers a fresh perspective on the beloved psalm, inviting readers to delve deeper into its timeless truths. Keller's unique insights as a shepherd provide a tangible and relatable context for understanding God's care and provision. This book serves as a reminder of the faithfulness of the Good Shepherd and encourages readers to trust in His guidance, find rest in His presence, and embrace the abundant blessings He offers.


W. Phillip Keller's "A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23" is a captivating exploration of one of the most cherished passages in the Bible. Through his experiences as a shepherd, Keller brings the imagery and symbolism of Psalm 23 to life, providing readers with fresh insights and practical applications. This book is a must-read for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of God's care, guidance, and provision in their lives.

A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 FAQ

  1. Who is the author of 'A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23'?

    The author of 'A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23' is W. Phillip Keller.

  2. What is the main theme of the book?

    The main theme of the book is exploring the meaning and significance of Psalm 23 through the perspective of a shepherd.

  3. Is this book a commentary on the Bible?

    Yes, 'A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23' can be considered a commentary on Psalm 23 from the viewpoint of a shepherd, providing deeper insights into its symbolism and implications.

  4. Is this book suitable for non-religious readers?

    While the book primarily focuses on the spiritual aspects of Psalm 23, it also offers valuable insights into the life of a shepherd and the relationship between a shepherd and his sheep, which can be appreciated by non-religious readers as well.

  5. What can readers expect to learn from this book?

    Readers can expect to gain a deeper understanding of the meaning and relevance of Psalm 23 in their lives, as well as insights into the care, guidance, and provision that a shepherd provides to his sheep.

  6. Are there any study questions or reflection prompts included in the book?

    Yes, 'A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23' includes study questions and reflection prompts at the end of each chapter to help readers engage with the content on a deeper level.

  7. Is this book suitable for group or church study?

    Yes, this book is often used for group or church study as it provides thought-provoking insights and discussion points that can be explored together.

  8. How long is the book?

    The book 'A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23' has approximately 144 pages.

  9. Is this book available in multiple languages?

    Yes, 'A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23' has been translated into several languages, making it accessible to a wider audience.

  10. Where can I purchase a copy of this book?

    You can purchase a copy of 'A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23' from various online retailers, such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or directly from the publisher.