Guide to Commentaries at NU
This guide to commentary sets provides a basic description of the purpose of each series and does not include evaluations. Commentaries vary in quality throughout each series, so individual volumes should be evaluated on their own merits. The commentary surveys listed below can help with that.
4th edition available in print and online.
Available in print.
Available in print.
Available in print.
- Best Commentaries
- Annotated Old Testament Bibliography – M. Daniel Carroll R., Hélène Dallaire, and Richard S. Hess (Denver Seminary)
- New Testament Exegesis Bibliography – William W. Klein, Craig L. Blomberg, and David Mathewson (Denver Seminary)
- Top Picks of Old Testament Resources (PDF) – Faculty of Talbot School of Theology (Biola University).
Some of these sets are still being published, so you will need to check if the biblical book you’re studying is available in a particular series. Clicking on the title of each series will take you to a list of what is available in that series. This guide focuses on newer series, so it is not comprehensive.
Evangelical/Semi-technical. Includes sections on literary genre and structure. Written for theological students and pastors, but also works well for upper-level college students.
Emphasizes philology and history. Includes an introduction, new translation, linguistic and exegetical notes, and occasionally detailed exposition, but only includes limited theological details. Authors come from a variety of Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish backgrounds. Appropriate for advanced readers.
Each section of the biblical text (RSV) is followed by newly translated excerpts of commentary by early church fathers such as Augustine, Origen, and Jerome. Editors of this series come from Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox traditions.
Translates full-length commentaries by church fathers such as Cyril of Alexandria and Origen.
Each volume includes background information about dating and authorship but also examines theology and contemporary application from an evangelical viewpoint. The writing style is accessible, and each section looks at form and structure, exegesis, and exposition.
Coming from an evangelical viewpoint, this series emphasizes theological issues but also includes linguistic, canonical, and historical information written in an accessible style. Each volume includes the author’s own translation of the text.
Evangelical/Semi-technical. Includes transliterations for the Greek. Translates foreign languages. Aims for readability. Tries to combine exegesis with theology.
Expositional. A cooperative project of Brethren in Christ Church, Brethren Church, Church of the Brethren, Mennonite Brethren Church, Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada.
Literary and narrative analysis of the Old Testament. Commentary for every genre-type of the Hebrew Bible, with diverse theological and theoretical perspectives in each volume.
Evangelical/Application/Non-technical. Widely acclaimed for accurate exposition, contemporary relevance, and readability.
Semi-technical. Does not require detailed knowledge of Greek.
Focuses on the Bible’s reception, history, and cultural influence.
Theological focus/Non-technical. Commentators were chosen for their knowledge of and expertise in using the Christian doctrinal tradition.
Non-technical. Implements the exegetical and theological principles taught by Vatican II for interpreting texts in light of the whole of Scripture and the Church’s faith. Written for preachers, teachers, and lay Catholics interested in studying the Bible. Shows the relationship of Scripture to Catholic doctrine, worship, and daily life.
Focus on early church writings. Similar to Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, but slightly more technical. Not complete.
Blends scholarship with applications and illustrations for real life and outlines for lessons and sermons.
Designed to be accessible to scholars as well as serious general readers. Authors represent a broad range of backgrounds. Each volume includes the author’s own translation, critical notes, and commentary on literary, historical, cultural, and theological aspects of the text.
Evangelical/Expositional. Updated and revised edition of the original Gold Medallion Award–winning commentary series.
Critical/Technical. Pays attention to parallel texts. Provides translations of Greek and Latin. Includes apocryphal and pseudepigraphical works. Includes philology and history, textual criticism, genre analysis, etc.
A complete series. Coming from a Southern Baptist perspective, this commentary series focuses on providing teaching material for pastors and Bible study leaders. Based on the NIV, it includes discussion questions, prayers, teaching outlines, and life application.
International Critical Commentary
Critical/Technical. Many volumes are dated, but new volumes are beginning to replace the old. Greek and Latin are not translated.
Full interpretations of the biblical text, combining historical scholarship and theological purpose. Each commentary deals with whole portions or sections of text that are used in teaching and preaching rather than with individual verses and words. Exegetical study and hermeneutical reflection are integrated into one readable expository essay.
Evangelical/Expositional. Designed for preachers and teachers.
Written by Hebrew Bible scholars, published by the Jewish Publication Society. Integrates classical and modern sources.
Evangelical/Expositional. Baptist perspective. Written for pastors and laypeople.
Semi-technical. Extensive use of rhetorical criticism, narrative criticism, and social-scientific tools. Fairly accessible.
Based on the NIV, this commentary is meant for general readers, although it works for students and pastors as well. Each volume includes introductory background at the beginning, and each section highlights key terms and phrases, with all Greek transliterated. Technical notes are included at the end of each section.
Incomplete series. Focuses on exegesis of the Greek text, which is not always transliterated or translated because its primary audience is Greek students. Uses historical-critical and literary methods to arrive at theological interpretations, although it is more accessible than fully critical commentaries, and it does not contain practical application.
Theologically diverse series. Includes the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical books. Contains detailed, critical Commentary and Reflections (a detailed exposition growing directly out of the commentary).
Critical/Technical. Commentary, exegesis, and literary criticism.
Pastoral/Non-technical. Accessible. Three sections for each passage: Original Meaning, Bridging Contexts, Contemporary Significance. Exegetical, literary, and grammatical summaries, along with contemporary applications.
Approaches each text in its final, canonical form, proceeding by sense units (pericopes) rather than word-by-word or verse-by-verse.
Pentecostal. New series.
Evangelical/Semi-technical. Seeks interact with the most important, informed contemporary debate yet avoid undue technical detail. Blends rigorous exegesis and exposition, scholarship and pastoral sensitivity, with attention to biblical theology and the contemporary relevance of the Bible.
Expository commentary derived from actual sermons and edited for written presentation.
Compiles commentary from the Reformers.
Reformed/Expositional. Provides biblical, doctrinal, redemptive-historical, and practical commentaries.
Catholic. Written by an international team of Catholic biblical scholars. Includes new translations and modern expositions.
Expositional/Non-technical. Sections dedicated to effectively teaching and illustrating the text help pastors prepare their sermons. Contains a concise summary, main theme, illustrations, and interpretation for each passage.
Theological/Non-technical. Not complete. Analyzes theologically in sections rather than in verse by verse.
Evangelical/Expositional. Section-by-section examination of the text. Introduction to authorship, date, and historical background for each book. Some volumes have been rewritten.
Technical/Exegetical/Academic. Offers new translations, covers exegetical and literary/critical concerns, contains extensive bibliographies.
Evangelical/Pastoral/Non-technical. Treats the literary context and structure of the passage in the original Greek. Provides summaries of main ideas, exegetical outlines, verse-by-verse commentary, and theology in application.