Commentaries for the Whole Bible

I have updated my recommendations for commentaries, based on what has come out in the last four years. Please note especially the Galatians commentaries, on which the Reformed commentators have really excelled lately. I will also be updating my layman’s commentary guide shortly.

One of my good friends thought I should post a single post recommendation of the two to six best commentaries on each book of the Bible. Piper’s recommendations are good, but not always the best, in my opinion (I’m not trying to put myself above Piper by saying this: it is just a difference of opinion). Furthermore, I regard this list as a place to start. As Richard Phillips says in the comments, pastors should be willing and able to read as many commentaries as they can stuff into their schedule. See the comments for some great discussion on these issues. Here are my recommendations for commentaries (most are modern, but there are exceptions):

Whole Bible Commentary Sets: Calvin, Henry, REBC

Old Testament Sets: Keil and Delitzsch

Genesis: Currid (volumes 1 and 2), Waltke, Candlish, Mathews (volume 1 and volume 2), Ross, Greidanus; Exodus: Currid (volumes 1 and 2), Enns, Hamilton, Stuart, Mackay, and Houtman (volume 1, volume 2, volume 3) (watch for Garrett, due out soon); Leviticus: Currid, Kiuchi, Milgrom (volume 1, volume 2, volume 3); Numbers: Duguid, Wenham, Currid, Cole, Ashley, Milgrom; Deuteronomy: Currid, Craigie, Tigay; Joshua: Hess, Woudstra, Davis, Currid, Hubbard; Judges: Block, Davis, Butler, Schwab; Ruth: Hubbard, Duguid, Ulrich, Block; Samuel: Tsumura, Arnold, Woodhouse, Davis (volume 1, volume 2), Firth, Youngblood, Bergen, Auld; Kings: Davis (volumes 1 and 2), Ryken, Sweeney, Provan; Chronicles: Pratt, Hill, Dillard, Boda, Knoppers (volume 1, volume 2), Klein, Braun; Ezra-Nehemiah: Williamson, Throntveit, Rata, Kidner; Esther: Duguid, Jobes, Firth, Reid; Job: Clines volume 1 and volume 2 and volume 3, Andersen, Hartley, Jones, Jackson, Fyall; Psalms: Van Gemeren, Grogan, Mays, Kidner (volume 1, volume 2), Spurgeon; Proverbs: Waltke (volume 1 and volume 2), Longman, Fox, volume 1 and volume 2, Ross; Ecclesiastes: Seow, Bartholomew, Enns, Bridges, Ryken, Greidanus; Song of Songs: Hess, Garrett, Bergant, Exum, Longman; Isaiah: Motyer, Webb; Mackay, volume 1, volume 2, Oswalt volume 1 and volume 2, Smith, Williamson, Grogan; Jeremiah: Ryken, Dearman, Lundbom (volumes 1, 2, and 3), Mackay volume 1 and volume 2, Thompson; Lamentations: Renkema, Dobbs-Allsopp, Mackay, Salters, Parry, Berlin; Ezekiel: Duguid, Block (volumes 1 and 2), Greenberg volume 1 and volume 2, Hummel volume 1 and volume 2, Naylor; Daniel: DuguidLongman, Ferguson, Schwab, Hill; Minor Prophets (as a whole): McComskey; Hosea: Macintosh, Andersen/Freedman, Garrett, Dearman, Barrett; Joel: Crenshaw, Garrett, Robertson, BusenitzAmos: Andersen/Freedman, Paul, SmithObadiah: Raabe, Renkema, BusenitzJonah: Martin, Sasson, Mackay, Timmer, Phillips, EstelleMicah: Waltke, Andersen/Freedman, Mackay, Davis, PhillipsNahum: Robertson, Bruckner, Mackay, Christensen, SpronkHabakkuk: Andersen, Prior, Currid, Mackay;  Zephaniah: Sweeney, Vlaadingerbroek, Berlin, Mackay; Haggai: Moore (Geneva series, op), Verhoef, Mackay DuguidZechariahPhillips, Kline, Mackay, Duguid, GregoryMalachi: Hill, Baker, Mackay, Duguid

New Testament Sets: Kistemaker and Hendriksen, Lenski 

Matthew: France, Garland, Carson, Chamblin volume 1 and volume 2, Davies/Allison volume 1 and volume 2 and volume 3, Ryle; Mark: France, Edwards, Stein, Cranfield, Collins; Luke: Bock, Bovon, Ryken, Stein, Green, Garland, Marshall; John: Carson, Köstenberger, Köstenberger’s Theology of John, Michaels, Bruner; Acts: Bock, Fitzmyer, Peterson, Witherington Barrett volume 1 and volume 2, Thomas, Pervo; Romans: Moo, Fitzmyer, Cranfield volume 1 and volume 2, Jewett; 1 Corinthians: Thiselton, Garland, Bailey, Fitzmyer, Fee, Ciampa/Rosner2 Corinthians: Harris, Garland, Barnett, Furnish, Thrall volume 1 and volume 2; Galatians: Ryken, Longenecker, McWilliams, Pipa, Fesko, George, Schreiner; Ephesians: O’Brien, Hoehner, Thielman, Best, Arnold; Philippians: O’Brien, Silva, Fee, Hansen, Reumann, Martin-Hawthorne, Bockmuehl; Colossians: O’Brien, Garland, Moo, Harris, Wilson; Thessalonians: Bruce, Green, Fee, Cara, Beale, Morris, Wanamaker; Pastoral Epistles: Ryken, Mounce, Knight, Towner, Marshall, KöstenbergerPhilemon: Fitzmyer, Barth; Hebrews: Attridge, Ellingworth, O’Brien, France, Lane volume 1 and volume 2, Owen, Phillips; James: Moo, McCartney, Blomberg, Motyer; 1 Peter: Achtemeier, Jobes, Green, Schreiner; 2 Peter/Jude: Davids, Bauckham, Green, Schreiner; Epistles of John: Marshall, Kruse, Yarbrough, Stott, Lieu; Revelation: Beale, Smalley, Johnson, Poythress

Please note that I do not agree with the viewpoint of all of these commentaries. These are simply the two-six best commentaries on each book of the Bible with a link to where they can be found (with a few exceptions).

Further Update: On someone’s suggestion over at the Puritan Board, I am going to explain what I mean by “best.” The way I am using it here is that of the answer to this question: which commentaries have the most explaining power? Which commentaries give me the most number of “aha” moments? I am here assuming that the reader of commentaries will read critically. I am also assuming that the reader will apply the text himself. That is the teacher/preacher’s job, although pointers are often helpful.

Commentaries to Avoid Like the Bubonic Plague

Per Benjamin’s excellent suggestion in the last post, I am going to post what I think are the most remarkable duds in modern commentary writing.

Whole Bible commentaries: Broadman Bible Commentary, Barnes’ Notes (the portion that isn’t Barnes himself), most volumes of the New Century Bible

Genesis: Coats, Skinner, Speiser, Westermann; Exodus: Coats, Noth; Leviticus: Gerstenberger, Noth; Numbers: Gray, Levine, Noth; Deuteronomy: Driver, Von Rad; Joshua: Soggin; Judges: Soggin, Moore; Ruth: none come to mind; Samuel: Hertzberg, Smith; Kings: Long, Robinson, DeVries; Chronicles: DeVries, Myers; Ezra-Nehemiah: Batten, Myers; Esther: Moore, Paton; Job: Driver/Gray, Pope; Psalms: Briggs, Leslie, Gerstenberger, Weiser; Proverbs: McKane, Toy, Scott; Ecclesiastes: Longman, Barton; Song of Songs: the Puritans (the only book of the Bible that they got wrong not so much in what they affirmed (although they often went off the deep end with their allegory), but in what they denied); Isaiah: Gray, MacKenzie; Jeremiah: Carroll; Lamentations: none come to mind; Ezekiel: Cooke; Daniel: Hammer, Porteous; Minor Prophets: ICC commentary; Matthew: Albright/Mann, Allen; Mark: Cole, Gould; Luke: Leaney; John: MacGregor, Tasker; Acts: Blaicklock; Romans: Dodd, N.T. Wright; Corinthians: Tasker; Galatians: Dunn, Cole, Martyn, Tenney; Ephesians: Simpson; Philippians: Muller, Vincent; Colossians/Philemon: Herbert, N.T. Wright, Dunn; Thessalonians: Frame; Pastorals: Dibelius/Conzelmann, Lock; Hebrews: Buchanan, Hewitt; James: Ropes, Tasker, Reicke; Peter/Jude: none come to mind; 1-3 John: Bultmann, Strecker; Revelation: the sky’s the limit here. It’s easier to say what shoud we keep than what should we throw, since the former list is much shorter than the latter.  

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