“…when thou comest, bring with thee… the books…”
2 Tim. 4:13
“A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:”
“Hold fast the form of sound words…”
2 Tim. 1:13
Order of Contents
This webpage will allow you to look into and find all the important commentaries on a given book of the Bible through Church history, whether for personal interest, sermon preparation or research.
For listings not so extensive, recommending the best available commentaries, see our page, Recommendations for Bible Commentaries. That page, be it noted, also has more commentaries than what is here listed, particularly newer ones.
This webpage is for works that list commentaries on the books of the Bible, but not for works that list resources on specific chapters and verses of the Bible. As those works also have extensive listings of commentaries on each book of the Bible, see also Textual Indices on the Bible.
Many of the commentaries referenced in the lists below will be able to found on our Bible Commentaries pages. If not, many of them will be able to be found on the web through a google search.
Though this webpage is only a scratching of the surface of such bibliographies, yet through just a few of the main ones listed on this page, you will be able to find fairly comprehensive lists of the most important commentaries on each book of the Bible through Chuch history.
In English Wilkins is brief and good (a standard of its day), Spurgeon’s work is full, humorous and still a go-to authority, Darling is extensive, with listings in the European languages and Latin, going through all of Church history, and Malcom is the most extensive. In Latin there are some recommendations from renowned reformed theologians and catalogues of holdings from Post-Reformation libraries. Walch is the most exhaustive of all.
For more lists of commentators on the books of the Bible, see the further resources on our pages:
* Wilkins, John – On Books of the Bible in Ecclesiastes, or, A Discourse Concerning the Gift of Preaching as it Falls under the Rules of Art, showing the Most Proper Rules & Directions for Method, Invention, Books [&] Expression, whereby a Minister may be Furnished with such Abilities as may make him a Workman that Needs not to be Ashamed: Very Seasonable for these Times… 3rd ed. (London, 1651)
Wilkins (1614-1672) was an Anglican clergyman, natural philosopher and author, and was one of the founders of the Royal Society. He was Bishop of Chester from 1668 until his death.
This work was a standard English reference in its own day. The entries are brief and include Latin volumes. The work also contains excellent theological bibliographies on many of the main and particular loci in theology, interpretation, Church history, etc.
Barlow, Thomas – pp. 9-14 of Autoschediasmata, De Studio Theologiae [Of the Study of Theology], or, Directions for the Choice of Books in the Study of Divinity (Oxford, 1699)
Barlow (c.1608-1691) was a reformed Anglican who was a teacher of John Owen.
Horne, Thomas Hartwell – Pt. 2, ch. 5, sections 2 (Jewish) & 3 (Christian) in A Manual of Biblical Bibliography: Comprising a Catalogue Methodically Arranged of the Principal Editions and Versions of the Holy Scriptures, Together with Notices of the Principal Philologers, Critics and Interpreters of the Bible (1839), pp. 234-364
Horne was an evangelical English librarian. He wrote a 4 volume introduction to the Bible which was used at old Princeton Seminary for many years.
This was perhaps the most exhaustive bibliographical collection up to its day. It includes entries in the European languages and Latin.
* Malcom, Howard – ‘Commentaries’ in Theological Index: References to the Principal Works in Every Department of Religious Literature, embracing nearly Seventy Thousand Citations, Arranged under Two Thousand Heads (Boston, 1868), pp. 91-118 The volume is laid out according to topics in alphabetical order. The commentary sections sometimes include works on ‘Select Portions’ of the Biblical books, namely chapters thereof.
Malcom was a minister, and likely an old Princeton grad as he mentioned his indebtedness to the Drs. Alexander and Miller in the ‘Preface’. Malcom worked on this volume for over 40 years.
This work includes titles in foreign languages and is more comprehensive than the work of James Darling. The drawback is that there is very limited reference information, which can make finding the works difficult at times.
* Spurgeon, Charles H. – Commenting & Commentaries (NY: Sheldon, 1876) 220 pp.
Every commentary Spurgeon gave a positive recommendation to is in our Bible Commentaries section, most of which are fully online.
“Commenting and Commentaries is a guide for buying and using Bible commentaries of many kinds, made entertaining by the pungent humor of the author… It is an invaluable resource… If there is any danger involved in using Commenting and Commentaries, I suppose it is that of treating Spurgeon’s assessments as incontrovertible… that said, we do marvel at Spurgeon’s overall reliability of assessment and his ability to say so much in so few words, and with such flair.” – Joel Beeke
Hurst, John Fletcher – ‘Commentaries’ in Literature of Theology: A Classified Bibliography of Theological and General Religious Literature (NY: Hunt & Eaton, 1896), pp. 71-117
Hurst (1834–1903) was an American bishop in the Methodist Episcopal Church, a historian, and the first Chancellor of the American University in Washington, D.C.
“An extensive classified bibliography of ‘the best and most desirable books in theology and general religious literature published in Great Britain, the United States, and the Dominion of Canada.”
Cave, Alfred – Pt. 2, Division 3, 2nd Head, Section 61, ‘Books Recommended on Biblical Exegesis’ in An Introduction to Theology: its Principles, its Branches, its Results & its Literature (1896), pp. 364-95
Includes mostly 1800’s works in English, German and French.
Barber, Cyril J. – pt. 2, chs. 4-6, pp. 44-47, 82, 92-117, 128-9, 138-85 in The Minister’s Library Buy (Baker, 1974) This work gives entries up through 1970. A volume 2 & 3 were subsequently published. Vol. 2 covers 1971-1985.
Barber was an evangelical pastor who headed up Klock & Klock publishing, which has reprinted some of the best Christian theological literature in modern times. His comments are brief, but helpful when they occur. He does list some liberal commentaries, which are marked as such.
Muller, Richard – ‘Biblical Interpretation in the 16th & 17th Centuries’ in ed. Donald K. McKim, Historical Handbook of Major Biblical Interpreters Buy (Intervarsity Press, 1998), pt. 3, pp. 123-52
Dr. Muller, in a descriptive essay, gives the major Biblical commentators and their volumes (both in Latin and English) in the Post-Reformation era. The whole volume, and volumes similar to it, which are out there, are highly commended for finding the major commentators on the Bible through each part of the whole of Church history.
McMahon, C. Matthew – ‘Suggested Library: Advanced List’ This bibliography is alphabetical by topic.
‘Notable Single Book Commentaries’
On the Early & Medieval Church
Repertorium Biblicum (Biblical Reperatory) The website is mostly in German; listings are usually in Latin. Most browsers allow one to right-click on the page and automatically translate it.
This is the searchable online version of the print edition below (see there for a description). It, unfortunately, does not appear that one can browse or directly limit searches by book of the Bible (see the print edition, vol. 12 for the Biblical Index); however one can search for the begining letters of a Biblical book in Latin, and the results will include all the entries including various endings on that lexical-root.
The other easiest way to search this database is by author (and use the selection button, with the subsequent alphabet options to do it). One can also limit results by religious order (the Order of St. Benedict, Order of the Preaching Brethren, etc.), geographical provence and the library holding the books.
The search function also searches the meta-data about the volume, sometimes including summations of contents, etc.
When the results appear, next to the author’s name is often a link that will list sources of biographical information. The number that appears next to the result is the number of that work’s entry in the print volume. Click on that for more information on the work. If the search brings up too many results (something over around 100), it will tell you and it will not list them; further limit the search.
Stegmuller, Fridericus – Repertorium Biblicum Medii Avei (Biblical Repertory of the Medeival Age), 11 vols. Buy (1950-80)
“…provide basic data about the individuals they reference, and then proceed to indicate in exhaustive detail what these people wrote and the location of the sources [in what libraries]… [it is] arranged alphabetically by author… [and] lists all known editions and the locations of virtually every Bible commentary… written in the Middle Ages.” — Bradley & Muller
Translated by Google from German from the website above:
“The Repertorium Biblicum Medii Aevi… lists all biblical commentaries and writings indirectly commenting on the Bible up to the year 1500. With its approx. 12,000 numbers, this directory currently contains almost 24,000 commentaries and thus catalogs a considerable part of the tradition.”
vol. 1: Initia Biblica, Apocryphal, Prologues Pre
vol. 2: Commentaries: authors A-G Pre
vol. 3: Commentaries: authors H-M Pre
vol. 4: Commentaries: authors N-Q Pre
vol. 5: Commentaries: authors R-Z
vol. 6: Commentaries: anonymous A-O
vol. 7: Commentaries: anonymous P-Z
vol. 8: Supplement Pre
vol. 9: Supplement, pt. 2, The Ordinary Gloss[es]
vol. 10: Initia Graeca, Initia Latina A-K
vol. 11: Initia Latina L-Z
vol. 12. Biblical Index, Historical Index
The Latin incipits listed in volumes 10 and 11 are now recorded on the In-Principio CD by Brépols in a revised version, along with around 900,000 Latin incipits, and are therefore accessible for full-text research.”
Gessner, Conrad – Title 2, pp. 19-37 of Theological Partitions, the Last Book of the Universal Almanacs [Pandectarum] (Zurich, 1549)
Gessner (1516-1565) was reformed and was a Swiss physician, naturalist, bibliographer, philologist and encyclopedist. This was the 21st and last volume of his encyclopedia of general knowledge. This volume is a massive theological bibliography.
‘Catalogue of Expositors of Sacred Scripture Laid out According to the Order of the Books of Each Testament’ & ‘Appendix…’ in The First Printed Catalogue of the Bodleian Library, 1605, a Fascimile (1605; Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986), pp. 163-79 & 641-46 ToC
The Bodleian Library is the main library at Oxford. The original edition of this work is also online. The later 1620 editions of this work, and others thereafter, catalogued all the books by the author’s last name, alphabetically, and not by subject (in double columns).
Other sections in the volume include listings on:
James, Thomas – A Catalogue of Interpreters of Sacred Scripture According to the Order of the Numbers which are Extant in the Bodleian Library (Oxford, 1635) 44 pp. of commentaries with 11 more pages of additional lists
At the end are listings on:
Commentaries on the 4 Books of Sentences
Commentaries on Aquinas
Cases of Conscience
Books of Postil Sermons
The Lord’s Prayer
The Apostles’ Creed
Voet, Gisbert – Bk. 2, ch. 4, Appendices 1-3 of Exercises & Library for the Student of Theology (Utrecht: Wilhelmum Strick, 1644), pp. 518-29
The Presbyterian Zion College in London
‘A Catalogue of the Interpreters of Sacred Scripture which are Extant in the Zion Library’ 36 pp. appended to A Universal Catalogue of All the Books at Zion College in London… (London, 1650)
At the end are listings on:
The Apostle’s Creed
The Lord’s Prayer
Cases of Conscience
Works on the 4 Books of Sentences
Commentaries on Aquinas
Books of Postil Sermons
Theological Common Places
Compendiums of Theology
Crowe, William – A Chain of Writings, whether in Greek or Latin, etc., on Sacred Scripture…. (London, 1672) 344+ pp. Index of Sources Crowe used.
After listings of editions of the Scriptures (pp. 1-32), the main part of the work (p. 33-344) is an alphabetical index of commentators on parts of the Bible throughout Church history by last name, including works on only specific chapters of the Biblical books.
The 2nd part of the work is an Index (with no pagination) that lists commentators on each biblical book in canonical order. This volume is significantly different, with a wider range of entries than Crowe’s similar work in English (found on the page, Textual Indices on the Bible).
Calmet, Augustine – ‘A Supplement to the Holy Library’ in A Historical, Critical, Chronological, Geographical & Literal Dictionary of Sacred Scripture… (Augustae Vindelicorum: Veith, 1736), vol. 4, pp. 289-399
Calmet was a Romanist scholar. On this work, see T.H. Horne, Manual, p. 1, “It contains copious notices of the earlier biblical critics and commentators…”
Table of Contents
Part 2, ‘On the New Testament’
Concordances & Harmonies, Commentaries on the 4 Gospels, Commentaries on each book of the NT, pp. 355-399
* Walch, Johann Georg – Section 7, ‘On the Interpreters of Sacred Scripture’ in A Select Theological Library, Instructing by Written Annotations, vol. 4 (Exegetical Theology, Homiletics) (Jena, 1757-65), pp. 369-930
On this work, see T.H. Horne, Manual, p. 2. “…admirable for the diligence and for the extensive reading and accuracy which it evinces. The sound judgment, remarkable in other works in this theologian, is conspicuous in this publication. All possible aids for theological literature are here embraced. The whole is well arranged… How much the author of the present work is indebted to the Bibliotheca Theologica Selecta, the frequent references made to it will sufficiently attest.” – Horne
Table of Contents
1. A Bibliography of Bibliographers on Biblical Commetators, 369-76
2-3. Jewish Interpreters, 376-79
4. Christian: Early Church, 379-87
5. Chains of the Fathers, 387-91
6. Of the Medieval Age, 392-400
7. Recent Commentators on All or Most of the Books, 400-
. Lutheran, 400-12
. Reformed, 412-25
. Arminians, 425-6
. Papists, 426-36
8-9. Old Testament Books, Whole of 436-44
. Pentateuch, 444-52
. Genesis-Deuteronomy, 452-69
. Joshua-Ruth, 469-74
. Samuel-Chronicles, 474-79
. Ezra-Job, 479-92
. Psalms-Song, 493-536
. Major Prophets, 536-68
. Minor Prophets, 568-98
10. New Testament Books, Whole of 598-620
. Gospels, 620-54
. Acts, All of Paul’s Epistles, through Colossians, 654-716
. Thessalonians-Hebrews, 716-39
. Catholic Epistles-Revelation, 739-87
11-19. On Select Diverse Places of Scripture, 787-930
A Bibliography of Bibliographies of Biblical Commentators in Latin
Walch, Johann Georg – Section 7, subdivision 1, A Bibliography of Bibliographies of Biblical Commentators in A Select Theological Library, Instructing by Written Annotations, vol. 4 (Exegetical Theology, Homiletics) (Jena, 1757-65), pp. 369-76