The Best Commentaries for Every Book of the Bible

The Best Commentaries for Every Book of the Bible

Every serious student of the Bible needs to build a resource library with the best commentaries. But let’s face it, commentaries are expensive!

Most pastors and seminary students I know don’t have the money to buy them all.

So if you are like me, you need to make your money count. This usually means focusing one or two quality books at a time.

But what are the best commentaries? You don’t have the money or time to waste on sub-par Bible commentaries. You want only the best.

Wanting to build the best commentary library possible, I did hours of research and read what all the experts said.

Here is my list of the top commentaries for each book of the Bible that experts recommend and I use in my study, preaching, writing, and teaching.

Note: I have not read all of these commentaries word for word. These are simply the top commentaries I use and have been recommended.

Best Commentary Set

Before we get to each individual book of the Bible, some people just want to buy a nice set of commentaries and be done with it.

If that’s you, here are the two best sets that I would recommend:

1. Best Standard Set: (less material but more readable, and still high quality)

Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries and Tyndale New Testament Commentaries set

2. Best Advanced Set: (more technical, more content, and more expensive)

New International Commentary on the New Testament

The Best Commentaries for Every Book of the Bible

Here are my top two recommended commentaries for every book of the Bible.

Old Testament

Genesis

Best commentary on Genesis

  1. Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis (Word Bible Commentary, 2015) – Volume 1 (Genesis 1-15) and Volume 2 (Genesis 16-50)

Best commentary on the book of Genesis

  1. Victor P. Hamilton, The Book of Genesis (New International Commentary on the Old Testament, 1990) – Volume 1 (Genesis 1-17) and Volume 2 (Genesis 18-50)

Exodus

Best commentary on Exodus

  1. Peter E. Enns, Exodus (NIV Application Commentary, 2000)

Best commentary on the book of Exodus

  1. Douglas K. Stuart, Exodus (New American Commentary, 2006)

Leviticus

best commentary on Leviticus

1. Gordon J. Wenham, The Book of Leviticus (New International Commentary on the Old Testament, 1979)

best commentaries on the book of leviticus

2. John E. Hartley, Leviticus (Word Bible Commentary, 2015)

Numbers

best commentary on Numbers

1. Gordon J. Wenham, Numbers (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, 2008)

best commentaries on the book of numbers

2. R. Dennis Cole, Numbers (New American Commentary, 2000)

Deuteronomy

best commentary on Deuteronomy

1. Peter C. Craigie, The Book of Deuteronomy (New International Commentary on the Old Testament, 1976)

best commentaries on the book of Deuteronomy

2. J. Gordo McConville, Deuteronomy (Apollos Old Testament, 2002)

Joshua

best commentary on Joshua

1. Richard S. Hess, Joshua, An Introduction and Commentary (Tyndale Old Testament Commentary, 2008)

best commentaries on the book of Joshua

2. Dale Ralph Davis, Joshua: No Falling Words (Focus on the Bible, 2012)

Judges

best commentary on Judges

1. Daniel I. Block, Judges, Ruth (New American Commentary, 1999)

best commentaries on the book of Judges

2. Dale Ralph Davis, Judges: Such A Great Salvation (Focus on the Bible, 2015)

Ruth

best commentary on Ruth

1. Daniel I. Block, Judges, Ruth (New American Commentary, 1999)

best commentaries on the book of Ruth

2. Robert L. Hubbard, The Book of Ruth (New International Commentary on the Old Testament, 1989)

1 Samuel

best commentary on 1 Samuel

1. Robert D. Bergen, 1, 2 Samuel (New American Commentary, 1996)

best commentaries on the book of 1 Samuel

2. Dale Ralph Davis, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel (Focus on the Bible, 2010)

2 Samuel

best commentary on 2 Samuel

1. Robert D. Bergen, 1, 2 Samuel (New American Commentary, 1996)

the best commentaries on 2 Samuel

2. Dale Ralph Davis, 2 Samuel (Focus on the Bible, 2013)

1 Kings

best commentary on 1 Kings

1. Paul R. House, 1, 2 Kings (New American Commentary, 1995)

best commentaries on the book of 1 Kings

2. Dale Ralph Davis, 1 Kings (Focus on the Bible, 2008)

2 Kings

1. Paul R. House, 1, 2 Kings (New American Commentary, 1995)

best commentaries on the book of 2 Kings

2. Dale Ralph Davis, 1 Kings, 2 Kings (Focus on the Bible, 2011)

1 Chronicles

best commentary on 1 Chronicles

1. Roddy Braun, 1 Chronicles (Word Biblical Commentary, 2015)

best commentaries on the book of 1 Chronicles

2. Martin J. Selman, 1 Chronicles (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, 2008)

2 Chronicles

best commentary on 2 Chronicles

1. Raymond B. Dillard, 2 Chronicles (Word Biblical Commentary, 2015)

best commentaries on the book of 2 Chronicles

2. Martin J. Selman, 2 Chronicles (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, 2008)

Ezra, Nehemiah

best commentary on Ezra and best commentary on Nehemiah

1. H. G. M. Williamson, Ezra, Nehemiah (Word Biblical Commentary, 1985)

best commentaries on Ezra, best commentaries on Nehemiah

2. F. Charles Fensham, The Books of Ezra and Nehemiah (New International Commentary on the Old Testament, 1983)

Esther

best commentary on Esther

1. Debra Reid, Esther (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, 2008)

best commentaries on the book of Esther

2. Frederic Bush, Ruth, Esther (Word Biblical Commentary, 1996)

Job

best commentary on Job

1. Francis I. Andersen, Job (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, 1981)

best commentaries on the book of Job

2. David J. A. Clines, Job (Word Biblical Commentary, 2009) – 3 volume set

Psalms

best commentary on Psalms

1. Tremper Longman III, Psalms (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, 2014)

best commentaries on the book of Psalms

2. Gerald H. Wilson, Psalms (NIV Application Commentary, 2002)

Proverbs

best commentary on Proverbs

  1. Bruce K. Waltke, The Book of Proverbs (New International Commentary on the Old Testament, 2004) – Volume 1 (Probers 1-15) and Volume 2 (Proverbs 16-31)

best commentaries on the book of Proverbs

2. Derek Kidner, Proverbs (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, 2009)

Ecclesiastes

best commentary on Ecclesiastes

1. Tremper Longman III, The Book of Ecclesiastes (New International Commentary on the Old Testament, 1997)

best commentaries on the book of Ecclesiastes

2. Derek Kidner, The Message of Ecclesiastes (The Bible Speaks Today, 1984)

Song of Solomon

best commentary on Song of Solomon

1. Trempe Longman III, Song of Songs (New International Commentary on the Old Testament, 2001)

best commentaries on the book of Son of Solomon

2. Tom Gledhill, The Message of the Song of Songs (Bible Speaks Today, 1994)

Isaiah

best commentary on Isaiah

  1. John N. Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah (New International Commentary on the Old Testament, 1986) – Volume 1 (Isaiah 1-39) and Volume 2 (Isaiah 40-66)

best commentaries on the book of Isaiah

2. J. Alec Motyer, The Prophecy of Isaiah (1993)

Jeremiah

best commentary on Jeremiah

1. John A. Thompson, The Book of Jeremiah (New International Commentary on the Old Testament, 1980)

best commentaries on the book of Jeremiah

2. R. K. Harrison, Jeremiah & Lamentations (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, 2009)

Lamentations

best commentary on Lamentations

1. Duane A. Garrett; Paul R. House, Song of Songs, Lamentations (Word Biblical Commentary, 2016)

best commentaries on the book of Lamentations

2. R.K. Harrison, Jeremiah & Lamentations (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, 1981)

Ezekiel

best commentary on Ezekiel

  1. Daniel I. Block, The Book of Ezekiel (New International Commentary on the Old Testament, 1997) – Volume 1 (Ezekiel 1-24) and Volume 2 (Ezekiel (24-48)

best commentaries on the book of Ezekiel

2. Leslie C. Allen, Ezekiel (Word Biblical Commentary, 1994) – 2 Volume Set

Daniel

best commentary on Daniel

1. Joyce Baldwin, Daniel (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, 1981)

best commentaries on the book of Daniel

2. Iain M. Duguid, Daniel (Reformed Expository Commentary, 2008)

Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah

Best commentary on Hosea, best commentary on Amos, best commentary on Joel, best commentary on Obadiah

1. Douglas Stuart, Hosea – Jonah (Word Biblical Commentary, 2014)

best commentaries on the book of Hosea, Amos, Joel, Obadiah

2. Thomas E. McComiskey, The Minor Prophets (2009)

Jonah

best commentary on Jonah

1. T. Desmond Alexander; David W. Baker; Bruce K. Waltke, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, 1989)

best commentaries on the book of Jonah

2. Douglas Stuart, Hosea – Jonah (Word Biblical Commentary, 2014)

Micah

best commentary on Micah

1. T. Desmond Alexander; David W. Baker; Bruce K. Waltke, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, 1989)

best commentaries on the book of Micah

2. Bruce K. Waltke, A Commentary on Micah (2007)

Nahum

best commentary on Nahum

1. O. Palmer Robertson, The Books of Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah (New International Commentary on the Old Testament, 1990)

best commentaries on the book of Nahum

2. Kenneth L. Barker; Waylon Bailey, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah (New American Commentary, 1998)

Habakkuk, Zephaniah

best commentary on Habakkuk, best commentary on Zephaniah

1. O. Palmer Robertson, The Books of Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah (New International Commentary on the Old Testament, 1990)

best commentaries on the book of Habakkuk and Zephaniah

2. Thomas E. McComiskey, The Minor Prophets (2009)

Haggai

best commentary on Haggai

1. Richard A. Taylor; E. Ray Clendenen, Haggai and Malachi (New American Commentary, 2004)

best commentaries on the book of Haggai

2. Thomas E. McComiskey, The Minor Prophets (2009)

Zechariah, Malachi

best commentary on Zechariah, best commentary on Malachi

1. Andrew E. Hill, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, 2012)

best commentaries on the book of Zechariah and Malachi

2. Thomas E. McComiskey, The Minor Prophets (2009)

New Testament

The best commentaries for every New Testament book of the Bible:

Matthew

best commentary on Matthew

1. Donald A. Carson, Matthew (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 1984)

best commentaries on the book of Matthew

2. R. T. France, The Gospel of Matthew (New International Commentary on the New Testament, 2007)

Mark

best commentary on Mark

1. R. T. France, The Gospel of Mark (New International Greek Testament Commentary, 2002)

best commentaries on the book of Mark

2. William L. Lane, The Gospel of Mark (New International Commentary on the New Testament, 1974)

Luke

best commentary on Luke

  1. Darrell L. Bock, Luke (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, 1994) – Volume 1 (Luke 1:1-9:50) and Volume 2 (Luke 9:51-24:53)

best commentaries on the book of Luke

2. Robert H. Stein, Luke (New American Commentary, 1993)

John

best commentary on John

1. Donald A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (Pillar New Testament Commentary, 1990)

best commentaries on the book of John

2. Andreas J. Köstenberger, John (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, 2004)

Acts

best commentary on Acts

1. F. F. Bruce, The Book of Acts (New International Commentary on the New Testament, 1988)

best commentaries on the book of Acts

2. Darrell L. Bock, Acts (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, 2007)

Romans

best commentary on Romans

1. Douglas J. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans (New International Commentary on the New Testament, 1996)

best commentaries on the book of Romans

2. Thomas R. Schreiner, Romans (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, 1998)

1 Corinthians

best commentary on 1 Corinthians

1. Gordon D. Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians (New International Commentary on the New Testament, 1987)

best commentaries on the book of 1 Corinthians

2. Anthony C. Thiselton, The First Epistle to the Corinthians (New International Greek Testament Commentary, 2000)

2 Corinthians

best commentary on 2 Corinthians

1. David E. Garland, 2 Corinthians (New American Commentary, 1999)

best commentaries on 2 Corinthians

2. Paul Barnett, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians (New International Commentary on the New Testament, 1997)

Galatians

best commentary on Galatians

1. Richard N. Longenecker, Galatians (Word Biblical Commentary, 2015)

best commentaries on Galatians

2. F. F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Galatians (New International Greek Testament Commentary, 1982)

Ephesians

best commentary on Ephesians

1. Peter T. O’Brien, The Letter to the Ephesians (Pillar New Testament Commentary, 1999)

best commentaries on the book of Ephesians

2. Harold W. Hoehner, Ephesians: An Exegetical Commentary (2002)

Philippians

best commentary on Philippians

 

1. Peter T. O’Brien, The Epistle to the Philippians (New International Greek Testament Commentary, 1991)

best commentaries on the book of Philippians

2. Gordon D. Fee, Paul’s Letter to the Philippians (New International Commentary on the New Testament, 1995)

Colossians

best commentary on Colossians

1. Douglas J. Moo, The Letters to the Colossians and to Philemon (Pillar New Testament Commentary, 2008)

best commentaries on the book of Colossians

2. Peter T. O’Brien, Colossians, Philemon (Word Biblical Commentary, 2014)

1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians

best commentary on Thessalonians

1. Gene L. Green, The Letters to the Thessalonians (Pillar New Testament Commentary, 2002)

best commentaries on the book of Thessalonians

2. Charles A. Wanamaker, The Epistles to the Thessalonians (New International Greek Testament Commentary, 1990)

1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus (Pastoral Epistles)

best commentary on Timothym, best commentary on Titus

1. William D. Mounce, Pastoral Epistles (Word Biblical Commentary, 2000)

best commentaries on Timothy and Titus

2. George W. Knight III, The Pastoral Epistles (New International Greek Testament Commentary, 1992)

Philemon

best commentary on Philemon

1. Peter T. O’Brien, Colossians, Philemon (Word Biblical Commentary, 1982)

best commentaries on the book of Philemon

2. Douglas J. Moo, The Letters to the Colossians and to Philemon (Pillar New Testament Commentary, 2008)

Hebrews

best commentary on Hebrews

1. William L. Lane, Hebrews (Word Biblical Commentary, 1991) – 2-volume set

best commentaries on the book of Hebrews

2. Paul Ellingworth, The Epistle to the Hebrews (New International Greek Testament Commentary, 1993)

James

best commentary on James

1. Douglas J. Moo, The Letter of James (Pillar New Testament Commentary, 2000)

best commentaries on the book of James

2. Peter H. Davids, The Epistle of James (New International Greek Testament Commentary, 1982)

1 Peter

best commentary on 1 Peter

1. Karen H. Jobes, 1 Peter (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, 2005)

best commentaries on the book of 1 Peter

2. Wayne A. Grudem, 1 Peter (Tyndale New Testament Commentary, 2009)

2 Peter

best commentary on 2 Peter

1. Richard J. Bauckham, 2 Peter and Jude (Word Biblical Commentary, 1983)

best commentaries on 2 Peter

2. Gene L. Green, Jude and 2 Peter (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, 2008)

1 John, 2 John, 3 John

best commentary on 1-3 John

1. Colin G. Kruse, The Letters of John (Pillar New Testament Commentary, 2000)

best commentaries on the book of 1 John, 2 John, 3 John

2. John R. W. Stott, The Letters of John (Tyndale New Testament Commentary, 1988)

Jude

best commentary on Jude

1. Richard J. Bauckham, 2 Peter and Jude (Word Biblical Commentary, 1983)

best commentaries on the book of Jude

2. Gene L. Green, Jude and 2 Peter (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, 2008)

Revelation

best commentary on Revelation

1. Gregory K. Beale, The Book of Revelation (New International Greek Testament Commentary, 1998)

best commentaries on the book of Revelation

2. Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation (New International Commentary on the New Testament, 1997)

So there you have it. That’s my list are the best commentaries on every book of the Bible. Now go build that library and get your study on.


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By | 2017-09-19T12:22:43+00:00 September 19th, 2017|

4 Comments

  1. Jakob 09/20/2017 at

    Thanks for this great list. Just two comments. (1) There are commentaries which are already available in a revised version. Carsons commentary on Matthew ist one of them, another one is Fees Commentary on 1 Corinthians. I know, a revision is not automatically better, but I think in those cases it is. At least I read large portions of Carsons revised Commentary. (2) There is not a single volume of the ZECNT commentaries listet. Personally this is my favorite series, but at least some of them are clearly superb. I would number Schnabel on Acts, Osborne on Matthew and Schreiner on Galatians among them. If you haven’t you should check them out.

    • Brandon Hilgemann 09/20/2017 at

      Thanks for the advice Jakob. I will look into the revisions and update this lists if they are better. I appreciate the feedback.

  2. Old Preacher 09/19/2017 at

    This list seems brief. Although I own MANY of the commentaries listed here there are other contributing factors that should help define the list. There are some “single volume” commentaries that are beneficial for someone who needs less depth and wants to spend less money–they are theologically sound and have at least a few paragraphs about nearly every book in the bible. You should also note that ALL of these commentaries would be considered “conservative evangelical” in their nature and theology (it is not a bad thing–I fall into that large tent myself–but it’s best not to assume).

    It may be helpful to consider several factors when thinking about commentaries:
    (1) level of education–you list many in the NIGNT series, which is a GREAT series, but not worth it if you do not possess a working knowledge of Greek (same is true with some in the WBC series)–it is unfair to assume that everyone wanting to use a commentary has that ability (though I hope they do).

    (2) Different series and commentaries are meant for different things. For instance the “The Bible Speaks Today” series and the “Interpretation” series are both good series but are more devotional in nature and you won’t find the depth of hermeneutics, or interpretive and theological “struggling” that go on in volumes that aim at a deeper audience. Some are great “middle-of-the-road” works (NIV Application, IVP, Tyndale, etc…) and offer something for everyone–one should know what they are seeking AND what they are getting into before they fork over hard earned money.

    (3) Not every volume of every series is helpful…after thirty years in ministry I NEVER steer young people towards buying an entire set–most are just not worth it. If you are like me you probably have a “pool” to draw from. That doesn’t mean that the pool can’t expand–but after awhile you find authors that you trust–and they become your pool–regardless of what publishing house they are working with/for.

    (4) Theological bias—we ALL have it–be aware of it. Sometimes it is a help and sometimes it is a hindrance and the same is true with those writing, selling, and buying commentaries.

    (5) Network–I commend you for your blog and for your list–everyone needs someplace to start. Ask others who they recommend–to often these days students, teachers, preachers, etc…put their trust in the Amazon comment or rating system rather than talking to people they actually know who might have used these volumes–I know everyone is busy–but ask them if they have time to jot down their honest assessment and reflection on the volume(s) you are interested in (which it seems to me that you have tried to do here…so THANKS…again).

    • Brandon Hilgemann 09/19/2017 at

      Thanks for the added pointers. I agree that I probably could have been more clear between distinguishing the more technical from devotional commentaries. And yes, I too am theologically conservative, so I hope the list reflects that. My intention was to put out a list of some of the top recommended commentaries I originally compiled for myself based on feedback from seminary professors, pastors, and top experts over the years. But I sincerely appreciate the extra tips for everyone who reads the list. Thanks.

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