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Updated by Timothy Harris on Jun 17, 2013
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Best Bible Commentaries

A list of the best bible commentaries from Genesis to Revelation.

Genesis 1-15 by Gordon J. Wenham

The Word Biblical Commentary delivers the best in biblical scholarship, from the leading scholars of our day who share a commitment to Scripture as divine revelation. This series emphasizes a thorough analysis of textual, linguistic, structural, and theological evidence. The result is judicious and balanced insight into the meanings of the text in the framework of biblical theology. These widely acclaimed commentaries serve as exceptional resources for the professional theologian and instructor, the seminary or university student, the working minister, and everyone concerned with building theological understanding from a solid base of biblical scholarship.

Genesis 16-50 by Gordon J. Wenham

The Word Biblical Commentary delivers the best in biblical scholarship, from the leading scholars of our day who share a commitment to Scripture as divine revelation. This series emphasizes a thorough analysis of textual, linguistic, structural, and theological evidence. The result is judicious and balanced insight into the meanings of the text in the framework of biblical theology. These widely acclaimed commentaries serve as exceptional resources for the professional theologian and instructor, the seminary or university student, the working minister, and everyone concerned with building theological understanding from a solid base of biblical scholarship.

Exodus 1-18 by John D. Currid

This commentary, on the text of Exodus, has been written for the building up of the church. It not only provides insights into the book of Exodus, but also clear and concise application. It is a book for everyone who wants to understand better what God says to us in his Word. The author writes, ‘It is my hope that pastors will use it for sermon preparation, and others for Bible study preparation and personal study.’ Dr. Currid provides solid exegesis in an accessible way matched with practical application that displays the relevance of this Old Testament book for the twenty-first century. This volume covers the first eighteen chapters of Exodus, telling the account of the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egypt to their arrival at Sinai. It is the story of the persecution of God’s people, their release from the domination of Pharaoh’s Egypt to the crossing of the Red Sea. Central to this narrative is the birth, life and ministry of Moses.

This commentary on the text of Exodus, has been written for the building up of the church. It not only provides insights into the book of Exodus, but also clear and concise application. It is a book for everyone who wants to understand better what God says to us in his Word. The author writes, "It is my hope that pastors will use it for sermon preparation, and others for Bible study preparation and personal study." Dr. Currid provides solid exegesis in an accessible way, matched with practical application that displays the relevance of this Old Testament book for the twenty-first century. This volume, on Exodus chapters 19-40, covers the giving of the law at Mt. Sinai and the institution of the Old Testament system of worship, culminating in the consecration of the tabernacle, the visible symbol of God's presence with his people. The account which began with Israel enduring oppression and in slavery to Pharaoh concludes with them enjoying freedom and traveling to the land of promise with the only true God present with them and leading them.

Leviticus by Gordon J. Wenham

Leviticus used to be the first book that Jewish children studied in the synagogue. In the modern church it tends to be the last part of the Bible that anyone looks at seriously. Because Leviticus is largely concerned with subjects that seem incomprehensible and irrelevant today , rituals for sacrifice and regulations concerning uncleanness, it appears to have nothing to say to twenty-first-century Christians.In this excellent commentary on Leviticus, Gordon Wenham takes with equal seriousness both the plain original meaning of the text and its abiding theological value. To aid in reconstructing the original meaning of the text, Wenham draws from studies of Old Testament ritual and sacrifice that compare and contrast biblical customs with the practices of other Near Eastern cultures. He also closely examines the work of social anthropologists and expertly utilizes the methods of literary criticism to bring out the biblical author's special interests.In pursuit of his second aim, to illumine the enduring theological value of Leviticus, Wenham discusses at the end of each section how the Old Testament passages relate to the New Testament and to contemporary Christianity. In doing so, he not only shows how pervasive Levitical ideas are in the New Testament but also highlights in very practical ways the enduring claim of God's call to holiness on the lives of Christians today.

Numbers by Iain M. Duguid

Numbers tells of the events occurring in the years between Israel's exodus from Egypt and their entrance into the Promised Land. Iain Duguid aids both pastors and laypeople by explaining the profundities of the biblical text and communicating the lasting message of God's devotion to those who follow him in faith.

Deuteronomy by Peter C. Craigie

The New International Commentary on the Old Testament is a conservative and scholarly analysis of the scriptures. This work by Craigie is meant to take in the issues, both theological and textual, brought out in Deuteronomy. He begins with a discussion of the theology, occasion, and problems of interpretation found in the book. He then goes on to discuss the text verse by verse. This is a scholarly work, not meant for all readers.

Joshua: No Falling Words by Dale Ralph Davis

This exposition is rooted first in a thorough analysis of the Hebrew text, employing helpful insights from archaeology and linguistics, and second in the major theological and literary themes discovered in each section. Finally the author brings the fragments together in an expository treatment 'that is not ashamed to stoop to the level of application.'

Judges: Such a Great Salvation by Dale Ralph Davis

The church has a problem with Judges; it is so earthly, puzzling, primitive and violent—so much so that the church can barely stomach it. To many it falls under the category of 'embarrassing scripture'. Such an attitude is, of course, wrong—so Ralph Davis here makes Judges digestible by analyzing the major literary and theological themes discovered in each section. He provides a 'theocentric' exposition that rings with practical relevance.

Ruth: From Famine to Fulness by Dean R. Ulrich

Whether they are thrilled by the love story of Ruth and Boaz or encouraged by a happy ending for Naomi, many people are drawn to the book of Ruth. But though the story is indeed charming, Ruth is included in Scripture for more than our entertainment. Ruth's message is theological, rooted in God's oversight of the movement of redemptive history that climaxes in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

1 & 2 Samuel by Robert D. Bergen

The New American Commentary is for the minister or Bible student who wants to understand and expound the Scriptures. Notable features include: commentary based on the NIV; the NIV text printed in the body of the commentary; sound scholarly methodology that reflects capable research in the original languages; interpretation that emphasizes the theological unity of each book and of Scripture as a whole; readable and applicable exposition.

1 Kings by Philip Graham Ryken

Dynasties, fractured kingdom, prophecies of coming hardship—the book of 1 Kings is a grand, sweeping narrative of the beginning of the downfall of God’s people. Its size and scope may seem intimidating, but Phil Ryken shows us in the biblical, doctrinal, practical, and Christological commentary how this imposing book can be divided into three keys sections. First, the stories of Solomon focus on the themes of money, sex, and power, inviting us to learn from Solomon’s example. Will we use these things wisely for kingdom purposes, or foolishly abuse them for shellfish gain? Then the middle of the story, on the divided kingdom, shows the destructive consequences of sin among the people of God—especially the sin of idolatry. The final section demonstrates the power of prayer to the true and living God, as exemplified in the life and ministry of God’s prophet Elijah. Phil Ryken brings out the key themes of these three sections and illustrates how they come together in the focus on the gospel of Jesus Christ, especially his kingly and prophetic offices. This is an excellent resource for those who want a devotional aid and will help Bible expositors reliably teach a redemptive-historical view of this important Old Testament book.

2 Kings by T.R. Hobbs

The Word Biblical Commentary delivers the best in biblical scholarship, from the leading scholars of our day who share a commitment to Scripture as divine revelation. This series emphasizes a thorough analysis of textual, linguistic, structural, and theological evidence. The result is judicious and balanced insight into the meanings of the text in the framework of biblical theology. These widely acclaimed commentaries serve as exceptional resources for the professional theologian and instructor, the seminary or university student, the working minister, and everyone concerned with building theological understanding from a solid base of biblical scholarship.

1 & 2 Chronicles by Richard Pratt

The book of Chronicles (1 & 2) is one of the most neglected portions of Scripture. Many find its complex history unfamiliar and assume that it is irrelevant for contemporary life. To grasp the significance of Chronicles for our times, we must first understand its original meaning. It was written to encourage the Jews to be faithful to God (and not focus on material prosperity) on their return from Babylon. Pratt looks skilfully at the big picture in each section and presents the detail in an absorbing way. The Mentor commentary series maintains a conservative theological tradition whilst interacting with modern theologians from other backgrounds.

Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther by L. Allen & T. Laniak

Ezra-Nehemiah is the Old Testament equivalent of the Acts of the Apostles–it is a book of new beginnings. Just as Acts narrates the early history of the church through the work of the apostles, Ezra-Nehemiah narrates the re-establishment of the people of God after the exile through the work of Sheshbazzar, Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah. Allen explores Ezra-Nehemiah as a single literary text made up of three parts telling the story of three missions and the opposition they meet with. Wise and insightful, Leslie Allen has written a commentary that illuminates these texts and their intended message. Esther is a story about a young girl who becomes queen. Laniak's thoughtful commentary examines this narrative as a story with many levels of meaning. Esther is about the minority Jewish community in the dependent state of Diaspora, navigating a precarious existence in two worlds, and it is about the triumph of right over wrong, of God's people over their enemies.

Job by Hywel R. Jones

The book of Job has been highly spoken of by many, both inside the Christian church and out. Thomas Carlyle, the nineteenth-century man of letters, wrote of it, "I call it, apart from all theories about it, one of the grandest things ever written with pen. There is nothing written, I think, in the Bible or out of it, of equal literary merit." Martin Luther described it as 'magnificent and sublime as no other book of Scripture'. As a part of Holy Scripture, it is imbued with a far higher inspiration than any one of the world's great classics. By it, God aims to instruct and encourage his people in their earthly pilgrimage towards heaven, just as he does in all the other books of the Bible. But the breadth of its appeal should not be forgotten. Set outside the life of Israel, the book of Job provides a ready-made point of contact with unchurched people. There are so many who have lost their way, either because they do not ask the big questions about life, or because they are swamped by the fact that there seem to be no real answers to them. By its presentation of both the grim realities of human existence and the wonder of divine grace, the book has something to say to any who would consult it seriously. It therefore supplies excellent material for lively and relevant preaching to people of every culture, not only by way of edification, but also evangelism. This commentary is written partly in the hope that such preaching will take place.

Psalms by Geoffrey W. Grogan

Geoffrey Grogan here tackles the growing field of Psalms research and presents an accessible theological treatment of the Psalter. He begins by surveying and evaluating the main scholarly approaches to Psalms and then provides exegesis of all the psalms, emphasizing their distinctive messages. Grogan follows with a full discussion of the Psalter's theological themes, highlighting the implications of its fivefold arrangement. He considers the massive contribution of the Psalter to biblical theology, including the way the psalms were used and interpreted by Jesus and the New Testament writers. The volume closes with an analysis of the contemporary relevance of the Psalms and a step-by-step guide to preparing a Psalms sermon, based on Psalm 8.

The Book of Proverbs 1-15 by Bruce K. Waltke

Over twenty-five years in the making, this much-anticipated commentary promises to be the standard study of Proverbs for years to come. Written by eminent Old Testament scholar Bruce Waltke, this two-volume commentary is unquestionably the most comprehensive work on Proverbs available. Grounded in the new literary criticism that has so strengthened biblical interpretation of late, Waltke’s commentary on Proverbs demonstrates the profound, ongoing relevance of this Old Testament book for Christian faith and life. A thorough introduction addresses such issues as text and versions, structure, authorship, and theology. The detailed commentary itself explains and elucidates Proverbs as “theological literature.” Waltke’s highly readable style—evident even in his impeccable translation of the Hebrew text—makes his scholarly work accessible to teachers, pastors, Bible students, and general readers alike.

The Book of Proverbs 15-31 by Bruce K. Waltke

Over twenty-five years in the making, this much-anticipated commentary promises to be the standard study of Proverbs for years to come. Written by eminent Old Testament scholar Bruce Waltke, this two-volume commentary is unquestionably the most comprehensive work on Proverbs available. Grounded in the new literary criticism that has so strengthened biblical interpretation of late, Waltke's commentary on Proverbs demonstrates the profound, ongoing relevance of this Old Testament book for Christian faith and life. A thorough introduction addresses such issues as text and versions, structure, authorship, and theology. The detailed commentary itself explains and elucidates Proverbs as "theological literature." Waltke's highly readable style—evident even in his original translation of the Hebrew text—makes his scholarly work accessible to teachers, pastors, Bible students, and general readers alike.

Ecclesiastes by Tremper Longman III

Ecclesiastes is one of the most fascinating and hauntingly familiar books of the Old Testament. The sentiments of the main speaker of the book, a person given the name Qohelet, sound incredibly modern. Expressing the uncertainty and anxieties of our own age, he is driven by the question, Where can we find meaning in the world? But while Qohelet's question resonates with readers today, his answer is shocking. Meaningless, says Qohelet, everything is meaningless. How does this pessimistic perspective fit into the rest of biblical revelation? In this commentary Tremper Longman III addresses this question by taking a canonical-Christocentric approach to the meaning of Ecclesiastes. Longman first provides an extensive introduction to Ecclesiastes, exploring such background matters as authorship, language, genre, structure, literary style, and the book's theological message. He argues that the author of Ecclesiastes is not Solomon, as has been traditionally thought, but a writer who adopts a Solomonic persona. In the verse-by-verse commentary that follows, Longman helps clarify the confusing, sometimes contradictory message of Ecclesiastes by showing that the book should be divided into three sections a prologue (1:1-11), Qohelet's autobiographical speech (1:12-12:7), and an epilogue (12:8-14) and that the frame narrative provided by prologue and epilogue is the key to understanding the message of the book as a whole.

At first reading the Song of Songs appears to be an unabashed celebration of the deeply rooted urges of physical attraction, mutual love and sexual consummation between a man and a woman. Tom Gledhill maintains that the Song of Songs is in fact just that—a literary, poetic exploration of human love that strongly affirms loyalty, beauty and sexuality in all their variety. With tender metaphor and extravagant imagery, the Song writer spins a tale of human love into the cadence of verse, innocent of our quest for historical persons behind the text. But in God's story, human beauty, intimacy and sexuality are not ends in themselves. They are transcendental longings, whispers of immortality. Like all of creation they point beyond themselves to their divine author, who in this Song is nowhere mentioned but everywhere assumed. Gledhill's commentary is a refreshing reminder of the Song of Song's ancient and vibrant affirmation of human sexuality that forms an interlude in the Old Testament story and echoes between the lines of Christian revelation.

Prophecy of Isaiah by J. Alec Motyer

Among Old Testament prophetic books no other equals Isaiah's brilliance of style and metaphor, its arresting vision of the Holy One of Israel and its kaleidoscopic vision of God's future restoration of Israel and the world. Now, after over three decades of studying and teaching Isaiah, Alec Motyer presents a wealth of commentary and perspective on this book. His emphasis is on the grammatical, historical, structural, literary and theological dimensions of the text. Though based on the Hebrew text, his exposition easily accommodates readers without a working knowledge of biblical Hebrew. And he writes with an interest in Isaiah's meaning for Christians today. Along the historical timeline on which the Isaianic prophecies are strung, Motyer finds three central and recurring themes: the messianic hope, the motif of the city and the theology of the Holy One of Israel. Moreover, he argues, the Isaianic literature is organized around three messianic portraits: the King (Isaiah 1-37), the Servant (Isaiah 38-55) and the Anointed Conqueror (Isaiah 56-66). Preachers, teachers and serious Bible students of all types will find this commentary a wise, winsome and welcome guide to the prophecy of Isaiah. It may easily be the best one-volume evangelical commentary on Isaiah available today.

Jeremiah by J.A. Thompson

J.A. Thompson's commentary on Jeremiah is one of the most thorough commentaries available for this important book. Init, he discusses issues such as Jeremiahs role as a prophet of Israel, issues with exegesis of the book, the historical setting, the life of Jeremiah, and of course, the book itself. With over 600 pages of commentary, Thompson gives the reader a complete picture of Jeremiah,making this commentary a valuable resource for any Old Testament student. Although technical enough for scholars to find it stimulating, lay people should have no trouble following Thompson through Jeremiah.

Lamentations by John L. Mackay

The Book of Lamentations does not explicitly identify its author but the tradition is that the Prophet Jeremiah wrote it. This view is highly likely considering the author was a witness of the Babylonians destroying Jerusalem. Jeremiah fits this qualification (2 Chronicles 35:25; 36:21-22). It was most likely written between 586 and 575 B.C. The Book of Lamentations is divided into five chapters. Each chapter represents a separate poem. In the original Hebrew, the verses are acrostic, which each verse starting with a succeeding letter of the Hebrew alphabet. A popular view is that Lamentations is a dreary book with nothing much to say to today's upbeat society. The reality is that it could not be more relevant. If you scratch beneath today's upbeat atheist you will discover a disillusioned hedonist wondering if the frantic hurtle down the waste-pipe of life has been worth it!

Ezekiel by Iain Duguid

Ezekiel, which is part of the NIV Application Commentary Series, helps readers learn how the message of Ezekiel can have the same powerful impact today that it did when it was first written. Most Bible commentaries take us on a one-way trip from our world to the world of the Bible. But they leave us there, assuming we can somehow make the return journey on our own. In other words, they focus on the original meaning of the passage but don't discuss its contemporary application. The information they offer is valuable—but the job is only half done! The NIV Application Commentary Series helps us with both halves of the interpretive task. This new and unique series shows readers how to bring an ancient message into a modern context. It explains not only what the Bible meant but also how it can speak powerfully today.