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Thread: commentaries

  1. #1

    Default commentaries

    if you were to make a list of the top commentaries...which ones would be on there?

  2. #2

    Default My squishy answer

    Quote Originally Posted by samuelholder
    if you were to make a list of the top commentaries...which ones would be on there?
    When I used to work in Christian bookstores, and was asked to recommend a commentary, I'd answer "For what?" Then generally I'd recommend a few, and suggest that the person pick a favorite passage, or a difficult passage, and look it up in all of them. See which writer "scratched" where he "itched."

    So for instance, take Proverbs, a long-favorite of mine, and the book whence came my Master's thesis. For a good general read, I'd recommend Kidner in the TOTC series. Obviously a great depth of scholarship, and yet a wonderful writer and communicator as well (though too squishy on the authorship of 19 ). For preaching (not exegesis), Charles Bridges is hard to beat; his footnotes alone are worth the price of the book. For dealing with the Hebrew, it's hard to recommend anything. Toy will do it, but he's theologically nuts. McKane, ditto. Delitzsch will deal with the Hebrew, and is worth the read, though he's very dated. Murphy is more up to date, but theologically tone-deaf at best.

    And so forth.


  3. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by samuelholder
    if you were to make a list of the top commentaries...which ones would be on there?
    As the previous post comments, "For What?" is probably the best question to ask when it comes to choosing commentaries. You have all sorts of things to consider:
    1. The author's view of Biblical Innerancy (a big influence on the results.)
    2. Liberal / conservative theology
    3. Arminian/ Calvinistic / Other (?)
    4. level of scholarship required to get anything out of it.
    Having said that, I use a multitude of commentaries, and generaly start buying just before a book study starts; but FWIW I like the following in NO particular order.

    • ICC = International Critical Commentaries by T&T Clark.
    • Word Biblical Commentaries
    • MacArthur's assortment
    • Interpretation Biblical Commentary
    • Bakers New Testament Commentary Series.
    • And for "Devotional" content Matthew Henry is a great "emotional" commentary. (Don't flame me, it's my opinion.)

  4. #4


    i have the "emotional" commentary by henry. i should give it to some of the "emotional christians" that plague the school i attend.

    i'm sorry that i didn't identify particularly what i was looking for.

    i'm not necessarily interested in a whole set, but rather the best volumes for each biblical book..

    or perhaps names of recommended exegetical scholars.

  5. #5

    Default free commentaries

    I value the three volume set on the minor prophets, edited by Thomas Edward McComiskey, and published by Baker Book House. Otherwise, I have limited exposure to modern commentaries, but the exposure I have causes me to step aside.

    I have read extensively in the 10 volume Keil and Delitzch Commentary on the Old Testament. I have also read a lot in the 14 volume Barnes' Notes on the Entire Bible. I preferred Carl Keil's commentary on Genesis to the the commentary by James P. Murphy, contained in Barnes' Notes.

    I have never seen Matthew Henry's Commentary described as "emotional," but rather as "devotional." I have never gravitated toward it myself, but so many people I know value it that I do look at it from time to time and even formulated a plan to read the set in a four year period. That plan has been set aside for now.

    Both Keil and Delitzch and Barnes' Notes on the Entire Bible are available for free download from You will have to install the free e-sword Bible program before these and several other free commenatries can be accessed.

    Scott L. Adams

  6. #6


    Ok so my "emotional" comment was about as clear as mud I guess. :-D
    <explanation> Some commentaries appear to be completely devoid of any emotion or relationship to Christ from them as they are mostly if not completely academic. Matthew Henry however was not ashamed to let his Love for Jesus bleed through his commentary - something I've come to appreciate. </explanation>

    As for a favorite "one volume" commentary. I really enjoyed C.E.B. Cranfields International Critical Commentary on Romans.
    Volume one
    Volume two

    To a lesser degree I enjoyed Kaseman's Commentary on Romans as well.

    In addition to the several others I referenced while preaching through Romans for three years, these I rate the best of the bunch. If you buy just "one" buy the Cranfield volumes.
    Last edited by tcblack; 04-06-2004 at 11:11 PM. Reason: fix font size.

  7. #7

    Default List of commentaries

    Thomas gave a good 4 pointer in one of his previous posts. Ones view of scripture and slant in theology will normally be a guide in picking commentaries.

    For sets I personally like and find helpful Calvin, Gill, Lange, Lenski, Keil and Delitzch, and I too would include Henry and Poole.

    Individual books would be something like this (short list):

    Alexander - Matthew, Mark, Acts, Psalms, Isaiah
    Murphy - Psalms
    Barnes- Psalms
    Bruce - Acts
    Hodge - Romans, I&II Corinthians, Ephesians
    Murray - Romans
    Haldane - Romans
    Owen on Hebrews
    Beale - Revelation
    Isaiah, Daniel - Young
    Broadus - Matthew (as well as the set in which Broadus' commentary came from).
    John Brown's commentaries on individual books.
    Hendrickson's commentaries on individual books.
    I also enjoy reading and find helpful reading through the puritan writers on individual books of scripture.

    This, of course, is just my likes.
    Mark Langley
    Sovereign Grace Baptist Church of Topeka, KS

    But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

    to. de. r`h/ma Kuri,ou me,nei eivj to.n aivw/na tou/to de, evsti to. r`h/ma to. euvaggelisqe.n eivj u`ma/j

  8. #8

    Default Annotated Bibliographies

    As several have mentioned, picking commentaries is a matter of taste. Your theology, educational background, etc. are all involved in choosing reference works.

    A couple of books I have found helpful are books about books:

    James Rosscup of Masters Theological Seminary put out a book called Commentaries for Biblical Expositors. This book rates the commentaries in three categories: Detailed Exegetical, Expositional Survey, and Devotional Flavor. It also includes a paragraph about each volume. Of course, this is one man's opinion about each book, but you might find it helpful.

    Another is Tools for Teaching and Preaching the Bible, by one of my professors at my alma mater, Dr. Stewart Custer of Bob Jones University. It is of course coming from a fundamentalist perspective, but you might still find it helpful. Custer has comments on books broken down into categories like Books on Bible Study, Bible Concordances, Bible Atlases, Biblical Geography, Books on Theology, and Recommended Commentaries among many other categories. I have an older edition, it has been updated in the last few years.

    There are probably similar tools available, you might ask your professors if they know of such books, or check out the library at your school and see if they have either of the ones I mentioned. If not, they probably can get them for you on an inter-library loan.

    Hope that helps!
    Don Johnson
    aaaaaGrace Baptist Church of Victoria
    aaaaaVictoria, BC
    Jeremiah 33.3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    Default word biblical commentary?

    Does anyone know something about the Word Biblical Commentary serie?

    I have been planning to buy the whole serie in an electronic format.
    What are your opinninons? Is this a good critical commentary serie for exegesis? I would like to have a commentary on every book in the bible, and I cannot buy a book from different serie for each book.

    -Antti Kahilakoski

  10. #10

    Thumbs up I recommend Expositors Bbiel Commentary

    G'day mate
    I think the Expositors Bible Commentary version 5 is a good whole bible commentary. If you are looking for a conservative commentary, this one is a good one. I do not endorse all of it, and do not find the Dispensational authors helpful where they teach this interpretation, but most volumes are terrific.

    The Word Biblical Commentary series is good, but only loosely evangelical in some volumes.

    David McKay

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