Commentaries for the Whole Bible

I have updated my recommendations for commentaries, based on what has come out in the last five years.

One of my good friends thought I should post a single post recommendation of the five to ten 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, Duguid (volume1, volume 2, volume 3) ; Exodus: Currid (volumes 1 and 2), Enns, Hamilton, Stuart, Mackay, Ryken, Alexander, Carpenter (volume 1, volume 2), and Houtman (volume 1, volume 2, volume 3), Garrett; Leviticus: Currid, Kiuchi, Bonar, Ross, Wenham, Hess, MathewsKaiser, Milgrom (volume 1, volume 2, volume 3); Numbers: Duguid, Wenham, Currid, Cole, Ashley, Milgrom, Olson, Harrison; Deuteronomy: Currid, Craigie, Tigay, Block, Fernando, McConville, Wright; Joshua: Hess, Woudstra, Davis, Currid, Hubbard, Pitkänen, McConville/Williams; Judges: Block, Davis, Butler, Schwab, Chisholm, Younger, Webb, Webb; Ruth: Hubbard, Duguid, Ulrich, Block, Block, Hawk; Samuel: Tsumura, Arnold, Woodhouse, Woodhouse, Davis (volume 1, volume 2), Firth, Youngblood, Bergen, Auld, Phillips, BaldwinKings: Davis (volumes 1 and 2), Ryken, Sweeney, Provan, Wray Beal, Davies; Chronicles: Pratt, Hill, Dillard, Boda, Knoppers (volume 1, volume 2), KleinKleinBraun, Merrill, Williamson; Ezra-Nehemiah: Williamson, Throntveit, Rata, Kidner, Thomas, Brown; Esther: Duguid, Jobes, Firth, Reid, Gregory, Tomasino; Job: Clines volume 1 and volume 2 and volume 3, Andersen, Hartley, Jones, Jackson, Fyall, Thomas, Longman, Walton, Seow, Ash, Gray; Psalms: Van Gemeren, Grogan, Mays, Kidner (volume 1, volume 2), Spurgeon, Ross (volume 1, volume 2, volume 3), Declaisse-Walford/Jacobsen/Turner, Hossfeld/Zenger (volume 2, volume 3); Proverbs: Waltke (volume 1 and volume 2), Longman, Fox, volume 1 and volume 2, Ross, Kitchen; Ecclesiastes: Seow, Bartholomew, Enns, Bridges, Ryken, Greidanus, O’Donnell, Schoors; Song of Songs: Hess, Garrett, Bergant, Exum, Longman, Duguid, Duguid, O’Donnell, Hamilton; 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, Wright, Greenhill; Daniel: DuguidLongman, Ferguson, Schwab, Hill, Baldwin, Davis, Harman, Fyall; Minor Prophets (as a whole): McComskey, Nogalski, NAC, NIVAC, WBC, Tyndale; Hosea: Macintosh, Andersen/Freedman, Garrett, Dearman, Barrett, Kidner; Joel: Crenshaw, Garrett, Robertson, Busenitz, AllenAmos: Andersen/Freedman, Paul, Smith, Motyer, FyallObadiah: Raabe, Renkema, Busenitz, Block, Allen, BridgerJonah: Martin, Sasson, Mackay, Timmer, Phillips, Estelle, Youngblood, Nixon, Fairbairn, Lessing, RobertsonMicah: Waltke, Andersen/Freedman, Mackay, Davis, PhillipsNahum: Robertson, Bruckner, Mackay, Christensen, Spronk, BridgerHabakkuk: Andersen, Prior, Currid, Mackay, Robertson;  Zephaniah: Sweeney, Vlaadingerbroek, Berlin, Mackay, Webber, Robertson; Haggai: Moore (Geneva series, op), Verhoef, Mackay Duguid, Fyall, Merrill, PettersonZechariahPhillips, Kline, Mackay, Duguid, Gregory, Merrill, Petterson, Boda, Wolters, WebbMalachi: Hill, Baker, Mackay, Duguid, Snyman, Merrill, Petterson;

New Testament Sets: Kistemaker and Hendriksen, Lenski, Meyer

Matthew: France, Garland, Carson, Chamblin volume 1 and volume 2, Davies/Allison volume 1 and volume 2 and volume 3, Ryle, Osborne, Doriani, Wilkins, O’Donnell, Sproul; Mark: France, Edwards, Stein, Cranfield, Collins, Ryle, Garland, Garland, Strauss; Luke: Bock, Bovon, Ryken, Stein, Green, Garland, Marshall, Ryle, Edwards; John: Carson, Köstenberger, Köstenberger’s Theology of John, Michaels, Bruner, Phillips, Ryle; Acts: Bock, Fitzmyer, Peterson, Witherington Barrett volume 1 and volume 2, Thomas, Pervo, Keener, Waters, Schnabel; Romans: Moo, Fitzmyer, Cranfield volume 1 and volume 2, Jewett, Kruse, Longenecker, Nygren, Boice, Shedd, Hodge, Haldane, Morris, Porter, Runge; 1 Corinthians: Thiselton, Garland, Bailey, FitzmyerCiampa/Rosner, Naylor, Fee, Riddlebarger2 Corinthians: Harris, Garland, Barnett, Furnish, Thrall volume 1 and volume 2, Naylor (volume 1, volume 2), Seifrid, Guthrie; Galatians: Ryken, Longenecker, McWilliams, Pipa, Fesko, George, Schreiner, Barnes, Johnson, Moo, Wilson, Silva; Ephesians: O’Brien, Hoehner, Thielman, Best, Arnold, Baugh; Philippians: O’Brien, Silva, Fee, Hansen, Reumann, Martin-Hawthorne, Bockmuehl, Johnson, Holloway, Keown (volume 1, volume 2); Colossians: O’Brien, Garland, Moo, Harris, Wilson, Pao, Woodhouse; Thessalonians: Bruce, Green, Fee, Cara, Beale, Morris, Wanamaker, Phillips, Shogren, Weima; Pastoral Epistles: Ryken, Mounce, Knight, Towner, Marshall, Köstenberger, BarcleyPhilemon (see also Colossians): Fitzmyer, Barth, Nordling, McKnight; Hebrews: Attridge, Ellingworth, O’Brien, France, Lane volume 1 and volume 2, Owen, Phillips, Schreiner; James: Moo, McCartney, Blomberg, Motyer, Allison, McKnight, Krabbendam, Varner; 1 Peter: Achtemeier, Jobes, Green, Schreiner, Guthrie, Doriani, Leighton; 2 Peter/Jude: Davids, Bauckham, Green, Schreiner, Moo, Bateman; Epistles of John: Marshall, Kruse, Yarbrough, Stott, Lieu, O’Donnell, Jobes, Derickson; Revelation: Beale, Smalley, Johnson, Poythress, Koester, Phillips, Resseguie, Kelly, BeekeHamilton

Please note that I do not agree with the viewpoint of all of these commentaries. These are simply the five-ten 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.



  1. January 2, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    […] I have blogged my recommendations for each book of the Bible for the best one or two commentaries here. For a more complete listing of good commentaries, graded on a three-tier system, go here. […]

  2. Jack Spencer said,

    January 2, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    All of these seem to be from the last generation or two. Do you really believe that the best commentaries come from 20th Century scholarship?

  3. greenbaggins said,

    January 2, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    Absolutely not. But I did say that these were the best of the *modern* commentaries. At some point, I will put together a list of the best older commentaries, maybe by century.

  4. Jack Spencer said,

    January 2, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    Take Doriani on James, which I’m sure it is a wonderful work. Still, what will the investment give me, when I have Manton, Calvin, Poole and more at my fingertips?

  5. greenbaggins said,

    January 2, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    Because there are developments that happen occasionally. Furthermore, sometimes a modern author will state things in a manner more understable for today. I have found that it does no good to reject *any* era of biblical exposition, which is why I like the Ancient Christian Commentary so much. I hope they’ll do a Medieval series, even as I know they’re planning on a Reformation series. And the 19th century guys are much maligned.

  6. cdbrauns said,

    January 2, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    Thanks. . . This is helpful.

  7. Matt Beatty said,

    January 2, 2008 at 10:05 pm


    Does it occur to young pastors like yourself that in writing, “Piper’s recommendations are good, but not always the best” that you implicitly place yourself in position ABOVE Piper – as if his judgment is, in most cases, inferior to your own? I ask this in all honesty. Please note that I’m not saying that you must/should agree with Piper on everything (indeed, I differ with him myself on a number of issues), but simply that the unqualified statement you make gives the impression that you really are a more competent judge of biblical scholarship. At 29 with very limited pastoral experience (not to mention academic training), I’d be reluctant to do that. I have no problem with you saying something like, “Folks have asked for a list of commentaries (modern) that I’ve found helpful in understanding the Bible. No more than 1 per book – here goes.” That would be much more appropriate for a pastor of your stature, don’t you think? (That last sentence isn’t a slam in any way, just a recognition that a 29 year-old pastor with and M.Div., 4-5 years of experience may not want to position himself as the scholarly/pastoral superior of, say, a John Piper. I pray that with years, trials, and much study, you do become what I hope you aspire to become – a wise, well-trained, studied, and faithful expositor and apply-er of the Word of Truth.

    Or am I making a mountain out of a molehill?


  8. Richard D. Phillips said,

    January 3, 2008 at 7:16 am


    I am disappointed that you followed the lamentable convention of lumping the minor prophets together under one category. We really have to stop doing this. These individual books are very significant portions of the canon, and in some cases (Hosea and Zechariah, especially), they are not even particularly small books. Jeremiah considered Micah, not Isaiah, to be the leading prophet of Hezekiah’s time. Amos is one of the most important books for understanding pre-exilic prophecy, and Zechariah is the prophet most cited in the Gospel passion narratives. Habakkuk is repeatedly cited by the apostle Paul as presenting the clearest gospel message, “The righteous by faith shall live.” Lumping these all together under the “minor prophets” heading makes these great books of the canon anonymous and makes them all seem insignificant, to the impoverishment of the church. So repent, brother!

    For the three minor prophets that I have preached, I would recommend the following as the best commentaries: Jonah — Hugh Martin; Micah — Bruce Waltke (2007); Zechariah — Leupold.

  9. Richard D. Phillips said,

    January 3, 2008 at 7:26 am


    One more thing. I hope that lists like this do not encourage young preachers to believe that you only need one commentary for studying a book of the Bible. Instead, we should read every commentary that we can afford and that we can find the time to read. Even the tenth or eleventh or twentieth-best commentary will occasionally be a significant help to the preacher. I am preaching John in the mornings, and I can only imagine how impoverishing it would be if I only read Carson and Ridderbos (and I would not rate Ridderbos’ John so highly — we WTS grads feel that we owe it to Dr. Gaffin to promote Ridderbos!).

  10. Morgan Farmer said,

    January 3, 2008 at 9:51 am

    What happened to reading the Bible?

  11. Ken Pierce said,

    January 3, 2008 at 9:52 am


    A good list, and I think a fruitful exercise. It is good to recommend one or two base commentaries on each book to begin a collection.

    I also did not get the sense that you were setting yourself above Piper, just disagreeing with him on certain recommendations. Having just finished Ecclesiastes, I strongly disagree with his recommendation. Ecclesiastes commentaries depend strongly on how the commentator views the character of “the preacher”. Longman views him as a complete skeptic. For my money Charles Bridges is one of the few that gets it right (unfortunately O/P, though available for a premium), and Eaton in the Tyndale OT series is also pretty good.

    I also think it’s helpful to recommend one or two basic sets that are generally good to form the basis of a library. I recommend the old o/p IVP New Bible Commentary (Davidson/Stibbs/Kevan), and the Tyndale OT & NT sets. I would also say that Ryle on the gospels is a “must have.”

    I also think it helps to recommend some reliably fruitful commentators, and would recommend anything by Ralph Davis, John Currid, and William Hendriksen.

    I would recommend that most preachers stay away from the critical commentaries, as these seem to me of limited use in the pulpit ministry. The men who know the language and get to the heart of the text while helping make Puritan application are most productive.

    I have to say that I, with fear and trembling, disagree with Rick Phillips that a preacher ought to lay hold of as many commentaries as he can on each book. Time is a limited commodity, and, usually, by the third or fourth commentary, the same ideas are being repeated. Everyone has his own study method, I know, but I find personal prayerful wrestling with the text more productive than commentary work.

  12. Jon said,

    January 3, 2008 at 10:12 am


    Can we not do both? Or are we limited to just doing one thing?

  13. greenbaggins said,

    January 3, 2008 at 10:50 am

    Matt, first, then Richard.

    First of all, I freely admit that this is all my opinions only. My opinion on Piper’s list is that it is a good list, even a great list. However, it is not completely up to date. And I would not agree with him on certain choices. I can certainly see how you would come to the conclusion that I am placing myself above Piper. I was not trying to do that. If one interprets my words as saying that this is my opinion, then that should solve the problem.

    Richard, touche, touche. I repent in dust and ashes, and will modify the list accordingly with regard to the Minor Prophets. With regard to your second comment, I should have written that I believe this is a good *start* to commentary buying. I myself own well over 1000 commentary volumes and completely agree with your assessment of the value of commentaries. I do like Ridderbos on John, however. I feel it is better than Kostenberger. Which one would you recommend in its place? Surely you believe that Carson is one of the very best.

    Morgan, commentaries help us read the Bible better by providing background information and helpful interpretation of the Bible. Not everyone will read them, which is unfortunate. To read a commentary is to join the age-old discussion about the meaning of the text, which is surely the end result that we wish, isn’t it?

  14. greenbaggins said,

    January 3, 2008 at 11:23 am

    Ken, thanks for your comments, and welcome to my blog. Good thoughts on Ecclesiastes. I thought Longman’s commentary was pure junk, and definitely the worst commentary he has every written. I actually agree with Richard on the issue of owning many commentaries, for this reason: even in many not-so-good commentaries, there will be an insight here and there that is found nowhere else. We are preaachers of the Word, and we need as many insights into the text as possible, even if not all of them make it into a sermon.

  15. Rick Phillips said,

    January 3, 2008 at 12:17 pm


    Carson’s John commentary stands out way at the head of the list. After that, I would list a group of extremely valuable commentaries that are almost always helpful, and sometimes very helpful. At the head of that list I would put Morris in the NICNT, which should be accompanied by his Expository Reflections on the Gospel of John. Others in this group would Kostenberger (which I like a lot), Hendriksen, Milne, Boice, Mark Johnson (amazing what he says in so little space), Keddie, and Ridderbos. There’s quite a variety of approach in those commentaries, too, which is good. I’m about 90 sermons into my John preaching, and these are the modern commentaries that have been consistently most helpful, although many others offer occasional insight. Outside of moderns, the list gets pretty long, starting with Calvin and Ryle.

  16. Rick Phillips said,

    January 3, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    On the subject of the Bible and commentaries, I read a huge amount of commentaries for almost every sermon. But I always start with the Greek or Hebrew text, and only after I think I have figured out just what and how the text is speaking, and after I have worked out my homiletical outline, do I go to the commentaries. Then I read as much as I possibly can before writing the sermon. Alistair Begg’s booklet, Preaching for God’s Glory, outlines this approach very persuasively. He advocates four steps: 1) Think yourself empty; 2) Read yourself full; 3) Write yourself clear; 4) Pray yourself hot.

    Obviously, different preachers are going to have somewhat different sermon prep drills, but I do think it important not to go to the commentaries without first thoroughly interacting with the text and hammering out your basic approach to the sermon.

  17. greenbaggins said,

    January 3, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    Thanks, Rick. I see we are very similar in our approach to commentaries. I too like to deal with the Greek or Hebrew until I’m “stuck” (empty would be Begg’s word). Then I read everything I can, then write and pray. It’s basically the same thing.

  18. Morgan Farmer said,

    January 3, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    To #12. Commentaries are a good thing. I am addressing the overemphasis that I see here on commentaries.

  19. greenbaggins said,

    January 3, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    This post is primarily addressed to pastors and Bible-study leaders (although I didn’t make that plain), who will need to use such resources. I always *encourage* lay-people to read commentaries (though never at the *expense* of plain Bible reading). However, lack of such reading would never constitute delinquency of someone’s Christian walk. Does this help?

  20. Jon said,

    January 3, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    Fair enough, Morgan.

  21. Matt Beatty said,

    January 3, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    Thanks for the clarification, Lane.

  22. January 3, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    I would also like to see some that we should stay away from at all costs.

  23. greenbaggins said,

    January 3, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    Benjamin, that’s a great subject for another post. I will cogitate on that.

  24. Nelson Hsieh said,

    January 3, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    I am surpsrised D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones did not find his way onto this list! (his works on Romans, Ephesians, Philippians, 1 John).

    At first, I thought it was because his works are expository sermons (and these are strictly commentaries) thus he was omitted. But then I saw Ryken for Jeremiah (which I believe are also expository sermons).

    I think you will find plenty of exegetical and homiletical help from Lloyd-Jones, in addition to nourishment for your soul, for I find many modern commentaries to be impoverishing for the heart and the soul!

  25. greenbaggins said,

    January 3, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    Nelson, I like Lloyd-Jones very much. However, he is very expensive to get on a single book. His Romans commentary is 14 volumes, and his Ephesians commentary is 8. One of the difficulties also is that one has to sift through a fair amount of material to find the gold (though there is plenty). A complete commentary library on Romans, Ephesians, etc., could hardly afford to be without him, I agree. Welcome to my blog, by the way.

  26. Mark T. said,

    January 3, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    Interestingly, ML-J inherited the pulpit from G. Campbell Morgan, who wrote some very respectable commentaries himself. They’re different and far from exegetical, but he had profound respect for the Word of God and always made interesting observations. Have you read any Morgan?

  27. Fred Greco said,

    January 3, 2008 at 8:34 pm


    Thanks for this exercise. The very first thing I do after deciding what book to preach on is look at Derek Thomas’ Essential Commentaries. Having the *right* commentaries for preaching is helpful – and often the most helpful for preaching are not the “best” in an abstract sense. For example, when preaching through Ecclesiastes, I found Souw not nearly as helpful as Bridges (yes, Ken, I got a copy, and you can get it at WTS Books!) or Motyer (get ANYTHING from Motyer!!) or Eaton.

    To me, this is also the greatest reason for the pastor to keep up his languages. When preaching through Galatians, I’d rather have Ryken’s or Luther’s pastoral insights than Longnecker’s pedantics. Since I have been doing Greek since ’87, I don’t need the grammar lessons. But I am much more dependent on the scholars for Hebrew – note to self: brush up Hebrew!!

    While I am on a roll (or not?!) I would like to *gently* offer some thoughts re: number of commentaries. I understand Rick’s comments in the abstract, and frankly wish I were as effective a preacher as he is (I especially was blessed by a sermon he gave at Twin Lakes several years ago). But I believe that the average solo pastor of a sizable church (100+) does not really have the time to get the minimal return for the 6th or 7th commentary. I find that if I pick wisely, 4 commentaries does the trick for me. When I have other duties: visiting, a building campaign, brushing up on other reading, counseling, Officer training, men’s ministry, etc., it is very hard to find extra time. Two sermons a week, plus an occasional third preparation (Sunday School, special meetings, Wednesday night, etc.) takes up a good bit of time, and I have to be jealous with that time. It is very easy to get wrapped up in commentaries to the detriment of other tasks.

    That might be a function of my situation, or my reading abilities, but that is my thought. I don’t begrudge Rick the time he spends there (in fact, I benefit from it!), it just may be a season of life issue. Since Rick is more experienced, he has more co-laborers in the gospel ministry (i.e. Associate and Assistant Pastors) than the young men. Not a bad thing at all.

  28. Richard D. Phillips said,

    January 3, 2008 at 11:50 pm


    Your comments regarding the time limitations of a solo pastor are well-taken, and I do realize that few preachers will have the benefits of time for study that I have. I have never pastored a church in which I did not have associates/assistants, and let me express my appreciation to them all! A huge portion of my time is spent reading commentaries, and I believe that my preaching benefits considerably from that. I would simply argue that any preacher should devote as much time for study and sermon preparation as possible — and we have to train our elders and congregations to realize that our calling requires serious study and prayer. I am constantly fighting for study time and I intend to keep doing so. I would say that the 4 or 5 commentaries that you mention ought to be the absolute bare minimum for regular, sustained preaching (at least in the affluent West). And I would say that for most Bible books, expanding that to 7-8 would benefit our preaching. I will admit that of the 20+ commentaries I usually read, there are few that seldom provide anything useful. But since I can, I read them, simply for the one or two times they will give me an important insight. Most importantly, we should all elevate our aspirations for the quality of our preaching, and that will usually mean elevating our discipline and determination for sermon preparation. Meanwhile, thanks, Fred, for your faithful ministry in and out of the pulpit.

  29. Fred Greco said,

    January 4, 2008 at 12:12 am


    Thanks for your comments. I too am appreciative of elevating the preaching ministry. Preaching is the most important thing I do, not only because it is “primary” and “public” (both of which it surely is), but it is the main means of counseling that I have available to me – counseling my entire congregation with the Word of Life weekly.

    My prayers are with your wife and you during this time. May the Lord sustain *you* by His Word even as He sustains others through your preaching of His Word.

    God bless,

  30. January 4, 2008 at 12:33 am

    […] blogged my recommendations for each book of the Bible for the best one or two modern commentaries here. For a more complete listing of good commentaries, graded on a three-tier system, go here. […]

  31. Rick Phillips said,

    January 4, 2008 at 9:27 am

    I just realized there was a typo in my comment at #28. I said that of the commentaries I read, “there are few that seldom provide anything useful.” I meant to say that a few of them aren’t all that helpful very often. I did not mean that most of them are not helpful.

    And thanks, Fred. We are very mindful of how many people have gone through this and we find that God gives much grace, in part through the prayers of our friends. So thanks for them.


  32. greenbaggins said,

    January 4, 2008 at 10:27 am

    Yes, Rick. I read your deeply moving post on Reformation21, and linked to it from the Puritan Board. Our prayers are with you.

  33. Ben D. said,

    January 7, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Man, do you read a commentary a day or something!? I am amazed at the number of commentaries you are familiar with (especially if this is just “one or two” for each book).

    Anyway, you have inspired me to make my own list. Not that my opinion on this matters in the least little bit, but it was fun making a list anyway.

  34. Jesse Pirschel said,

    January 7, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    On John, Andrew Lincoln was for more of a help than Carson or Ridderbos imho.



  35. greenbaggins said,

    January 7, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    You could well be right. I have that commentary, but haven’t worked with it much yet. I plan to, however, anytime in the future when I preach or teach from John.

  36. February 7, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    What? No Cranfield on Romans? Tsk, tsk…

  37. February 27, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    […] Commentaries for The Whole Bible […]

  38. greenbaggins said,

    March 16, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    Sorry, Richard Z for not answering. I really do like Cranfield very much, especially on Romans 7. But he is very expensive.

  39. rjs1 said,

    March 31, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    Do you know if Ridderbos’ work on the Psalm is published in English?

  40. greenbaggins said,

    March 31, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    I am fairly sure he has not been. Is this work in the Korte Verklarung?

  41. rjs1 said,

    March 31, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    It is Herman’s brother N. H. Ridderbos; he wrote “Psalmen und Kult” in Zur Neueren Psalmenforschung by P. H. A Neumann, and Die Psalmen: Commentaar op het Oude Testament (2 volumes).

  42. rjs1 said,

    March 31, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    I may have confused the later with J. Ridderbos (their father) who also wrote a work on the Psalms in Dutch. My notes are a little confused, and of course in a strange tongue!!

  43. greenbaggins said,

    March 31, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    Jan was the more prolific OT commentator. I know that he wrote several commentaries for that series. To my knowledge, it has not been translated.

  44. rjs1 said,

    March 31, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Ahhh, These are they:

    RIDDERBOS, J., De Psalmen. I. 1-41: Commentaar op het Oude Testament, Kampen 1955a.

    RIDDERBOS, J., De Psalmen. II. 42-150: Commentaar op het Oude Testament, Kampen 1955b.

    RIDDERBOS, N.H., De Psalmen. 1. Ps 1-41: Korte Verklaring der Heilige Schrift, Kampen 1962.

    RIDDERBOS, N.H., De Psalmen. 2. Ps 42-72: Korte Verklaring der Heilige Schrift, Kampen 1973.

    Feel free to delete/edit the above comments

  45. Raymond Coffey said,

    March 31, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    Not one Lutheran commentary from Concordia? There are some excellent resources that seek to bridge theological with exegetical issues in the Concordia Commentary series. A. Just on Luke, 2 volumes, and Kleinig on Leviticus. Of course all cannot be listed but just a reminder on this excellent series.

  46. greenbaggins said,

    March 31, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    Thanks for this, Raymond. I know of the series, but have no experience with it. I’m sure that they are well worth looking at, although I do not recognize any of the names in those commentaries.

  47. April 2, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    […] Commentaries for the Whole Bible Green Baggins […]

  48. December 30, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    […] Commentaries for the Whole Bible […]

  49. rfwhite said,

    May 7, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    Lane: appreciate the work represented here. A few suggestions:

    Psalms: Ross (new from Kregel)
    1 Corinthians: Fee
    Epistles of John: Thomas

  50. jedpaschall said,

    May 8, 2012 at 2:31 am

    Everyone’s list is going to look different, and those of us who use commentaries use them for different purposes, even among commentators with whom we disagree. With that said, I have found Fortress’ Continental Commentaries series useful, without buying into many of the critical assumptions of their commentators. Hans-Joachim Kraus’ Commentaries on, and Theology of the Psalms is a valuable tool. He is Barthian, and steeped in form-criticism, however he deals deeply with both the structure and theology of the Psalms, a great resource, but to be read with a good deal of discernment.

    BTW, while I have often been a Walton apologist on this blog, Matthew’s 2 vol. commentary on Genesis is hard to top, I was glad to see this on Lane’s list. In the OT, I have also found some use from the Anchor series, but usually as a tool to understand what our theological opponents are teaching – it sharpens polemics in the right hands, and from time to time I also delve into Jewish Commentaries, finding the occasional gem in scholars such as Sarna and Alter (Alter’s work on narrative is hard to beat, many conservative scholars – even Reformed – have used his methods for narrative analysis). I am not a pastor though, and I generally read for my own pleasure and growth, so I couldn’t say how useful some of these resources are for the pulpit – there may be some out there that lend better to homiletics. But I have found that the better one understands contemporary interpretations of the text, the better one has a grasp on how the Reformed (orthodox) position holds up against views to the contrary.

  51. greenbaggins said,

    May 8, 2012 at 8:31 am

    Dr. White, I have not yet acquired Ross on Psalms, and am usually reluctant to recommend something I don’t own (and have therefore had an opportunity to look over). I have greatly benefited from Ross’s other work (especially on Genesis and Leviticus). So, I expect it will come for consideration when I get my paws on it. Fair point on Fee. I will add him to the list. Which commentary are you referring to in Thomas’s on the Epistles of John?

    Jed, I have Kraus on the Psalms, and I do think he has some helpful things. However, I think the other commentaries listed are better, especially Spurgeon.

  52. rfwhite said,

    May 8, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Lane: the Thomas commentary on the Epistles of John I had in mind is, unexpectedly enough, in the Pentecostal Commentary. It’s by John Christopher Thomas. Needless to say, I can’t endorsed his pneumatology, but his analysis of the structuring of 1 John is the best I’ve seen.

  53. greenbaggins said,

    May 8, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Interesting. I’m sure you are well aware of how difficult it is to analyze the structure of 1 John, maybe the most difficult document in the entire Bible to outline (and every scholar seems to have a different viewpoint on this!). I’ll have to add it to my list of commentaries to buy, so that I can check it out. I have already added Ross to that list.

  54. rfwhite said,

    May 8, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Lane: Thomas first published his analysis in this article: John Christopher Thomas, “The Literary Structure of 1 John,” Novum Testamentum XL (October 1998) 4:369-381. Slightly modified, it looks like this:

    I. Opening on Eternal Life 1:1-4
    II. We do not make God a Liar about sin: by denying His view of sin 1.5-2:2
    III. We keep the New Commandment: we love God and our fellow Christians 2.3-17
    IV. We do not side with Antichrists: we have the Spirit of truth 2.18-27
    V. We have confidence and we practice righteousness 2.28-3:10
    VI. We should love one another 3.11-18
    V*. We have confidence and we love our fellow Christians 3.19-24
    IV*. We do not side with Antichrists: they have the spirit of error 4.1-6
    III*. We keep the New Commandment: we love God our Father and His children 4.7-5:5
    II*. We do not make God a Liar about Jesus: by disbelieving His testimony about Jesus 5.6-12
    I.* Closing on Eternal Life 5.13-21

  55. jedpaschall said,

    May 8, 2012 at 12:54 pm


    I would imagine that Spurgeon lends much better toward sermon preparation than Kraus, as would Calvin, and any of Luther’s work in the Psalms. I think Kraus’ most useful to me in how much valuable background info he brings to the Psalms – even after discounting his over-reliance on textual and form criticism. This brings up a question, some of the commentaries you have listed here are more academic, some more pastoral (for a lack of a better term) – what do you look to get out of a scholarly commentary as compared to a pastoral one, and which sources become most useful as you are working through a sermon?

  56. greenbaggins said,

    May 8, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    A good question, Jed. I much prefer commentaries that explain the text well. As I said at the end of the post, I look for those “aha” moments. Commentaries that give me those on a regular basis are the ones I most value. I have found such commentaries in both the more pastoral volumes and also the more scholarly tomes. For me, it doesn’t really matter what the target audience is, as long as the scholar has done his homework and can explain to me what he thinks the text means.

  57. greenbaggins said,

    May 8, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Dr. White, I’ll have to read 1 John with that in mind now. I have often felt that a chiastic structure might make more sense of 1 John’s more cyclical thought. Apparently, I am not the only person to think that! Thanks for sharing it.

  58. rfwhite said,

    May 8, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    Lane: Two other studies on John’s Epistles that guys might find helpful are Robert Law’s lectures and Witherington’s recent commentary.

  59. Steve. said,

    October 8, 2012 at 12:19 am

    On Matthews gospel have you compared chamblins commentary to the others as I can’t find any reviews on his 2 volume work. How does chamblin compare with carson, france or even Morris? What are your thoughts on Leon Morris commentary or Keeners. With the commentarys on Acts which is better peterson or bock – I need to choose one – any thoughts here? With Ephesians Arnold or Obrien, I corinthains – Garland or Rosner. Thanks in advance.

  60. Steve said,

    October 8, 2012 at 7:58 am

    I enjoyed looking at your recommendation list. On Matthews Gospel you recommend Chamblins 2 volume commentary and I couldn’t find any reviews. How does it compare with france, carsons commentary. What do you think of Morris, ZECNT or Keeners commentary on Matthew. How do those compare with your other recommendations? On the book of Acts which would be better Bock or Petersen, on Ephesians Arnold or Obrien, and 1 Corinthians Garland or Rosner. Thanks in advance.

  61. greenbaggins said,

    October 8, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Steve, you’re welcome, and thanks for your kind comments. Chamblin is the equal of Carson and France, and is better than Morris, in my opinion. Keener has excellent background information (it is what he is known for), but all too often does not discuss the text. It is oftentimes more of a commentary on the background than on the text itself.

    On Acts, tough choice. I wouldn’t make the choice, of course, but would buy both. They are equal in my estimation.

    On Ephesians, I think O’Brien edges out Arnold. On 1 Corinthians, I would go with Garland, if you have to choose. Thiselton is essential on 1 Corinthians.

  62. Steve said,

    October 10, 2012 at 10:16 am

    Thanks for the quick reply. Have you seen the ZECNT on Matthew any thoughts there. On acts what are the main differences between bock or peterson including strengths and weaknesses which may help me choose between the two. Thanks in advance.

  63. Paul C said,

    January 2, 2013 at 9:15 am

    I’m a lay preacher in full time work. I like to have one meaty intermediate commentary on each book of the Bible, which is detailed but which avoids the necessity to understand Greek or Hebrew. Which would you chose for Genesis between Ross and Matthews? I’ve chosen those because they both get excellent reviews and are both available for purchase in Logos, which I use for my meaty commentaries. At a basic level I own the Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Tyndale Series and IVP’s The Message of Series.

  64. greenbaggins said,

    January 2, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Paul, that’s a really tough choice. I would not want to be without either of them. I might tip a little towards Ross for preachers, and Mathews for Bible study. So, it might depend on what you want it for. A lay preacher might have both needs. You should really acquire both, though.

  65. Richard said,

    January 2, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Hi Paul, have you checked out Gordon Wenham’s commentary on Genesis. It’s format is such that you would not need to know Hebrew to get much from it.

  66. Paul C said,

    January 2, 2013 at 10:37 am

    That’s true, although Wenham is $100, whereas the others are $40/45. Also I hear bad things about the Word Biblical Commentary format.

  67. greenbaggins said,

    January 2, 2013 at 11:32 am

    I have read Wenham’s entire commentary on Genesis, and I found it much less helpful than I had hoped. I found Ross and Mathews more helpful than Wenham. Of course, Hamilton’s commentary in the NICOT series is excellent as well.

  68. greenbaggins said,

    January 2, 2013 at 11:33 am

    I do find the WBC format extremely irritating and atomistic.

  69. Cris Dickason said,

    January 2, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    @ 66 & 68:

    I find the Logos pricing and “collections” irritating. I get it that there is expense to formatting a digital text so that it is linked into the Logos system (every Scripture reference becomes a hyper-link, etc.). I believe the laborer is worthy.. Etc.

    I wish they would not force the Collections. Take the soon-to-be-released Herman Ridderbos collection. At this point, I would like to consider and probably purchase Paul: An Outline of His Theology. That should be offered for $30.00 US, but I’m not interested at the moment is the full collection.

  70. November 7, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    […] Commentaries for the Whole Bible […]

  71. professorvonwhiskersen said,

    November 7, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    I’m interested in your opinions on John Gill and Matthew Poole for whole bible commentaries. Thanks for this valuable reference.

  72. greenbaggins said,

    November 7, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    I use both, though Gill more than Poole. They are both good, and I would definitely recommend them. The post is more geared towards as assessment of the modern commentary scene.

  73. November 8, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    Matt (post #7): yes, you are making a mountain out of a molehill. Are Piper’s views more legitimate than Lane’s just because he’s famous? Are you committing the fallacy of “illegitimate appeal to authority”? Lane’s views on the various commentaries are just as thought-provoking as Piper’s or anyone else’s. Piper’s fame doesn’t make his views more worthy of consideration.

  74. greenbaggins said,

    November 9, 2017 at 8:42 am

    Although the post has a new time stamp, Richard, the comments, for the most part, are old. Thanks for your vote of confidence, by the way. :-)

  75. martinhedman said,

    November 11, 2017 at 11:08 pm

    Hey Lane, can you recommend anything specifically focusing on the Elijah / Elisha narratives? Thanks!

  76. greenbaggins said,

    November 12, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    Martin, I would recommend two books, One is by Van’t Veer called “My God Is Yahweh.” The other is by Ray Dillard, “Faith in the Face of Apostasy.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: