One of the tools a pastor needs when preparing sermons is a biblical commentary. When I have enough money in my piggy bank, I would like to build a complete library of each book of the bible. My library of incomplete biblical commentaries is very loose and eclectic at this point. One option I’ve been contemplating on is whether to get one complete set of commentary from one publisher, or to build a collection of the best commentators from a variety of publishers. The drawback of the first option is that I would not get the best commentator on a specific book. If I did this, I would have to wait for years and years before investing in another complete set. These do not come cheap. Not many pastors even have a complete set of biblical commentaries in their own library. The advantage of doing this is that it will be the cheaper way to go. One can find complete sets on sale but rarely does one ever find single books on sale, especially the one you’re looking for. I’ve been debating whether to invest in the complete set of Word Biblical Commentary in the future since it has now been completed.
The second option of building a collection of the best commentators from a variety of publishers. This gives you the best of the best. However, the biggest drawback of doing it this way is price. It gets very expensive to purchase individual authors for each book of the bible. One might end up paying twice the amount of money than if one were to buy a complete set of the same publisher. Another disadvantage of doing this is that your library will end up looking very eclectic. I’ve been doing some research on commentary recommendations and this is what I’ve found. Perhaps, you may find this research below useful. If you know of any good recommendation lists out there, let me know.
Several seminaries have their own lists of New and Old Testament recommendations:
- Denver Seminary
- Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
- Calvin Theological Seminary
- Covenant Seminary (O.T. and N.T.)
Also great resource webpage for biblical references is found at www.thepastorslibrary.com. I also found individuals with their personal recommendations. Tyler F. Williams , a professor at Taylor University College, has compiled a great list of recommended Old Testament commentaries. Ralph Klein, a Lutheran professor of Old Testament, who has his list of recommended commentaries for the O.T. And a conservative list New Testament commentaries can be found at Biblical Foundations. Desiring God also recommends certain commentaries. A Baptist pastor has his own list here.
[ added July 2008]: Other bloggers have posts on commentaries here. Blogger, Tim Challies, gives his list of recommended N.T. commentaries here. See also BibleTexts.com by the late Robert Nguyen Cramer. A seminarian, Andy Goodliff, has a post on commentaries here. And I’ll throw in an anonymous Amazon listmania here too.
And blogger Jeremy Pierce at Parableman has done a very good work putting together a comprehensive list of commetaries. He speaks on various series of commentaries here, and lists his favorites of each level from: advanced, intermediate, to basic, plus forthcoming commentaries (a more comprehensive list). ]