This collection is intended to be widely comprehensive of historical & evangelical commentaries. Not everything below is necessarily recommended. For the best commentaries, see the recommendations of Beeke, Thomas, Spurgeon & Keister, in that order.
Order of Contents
Older Commentaries 3
. Popular Figures 7
. Book Guides 6
. Seminaries 3
. Website 1
Old Testament 4
New Testament 4
Darling, James – ‘Commentaries, Sermons, Lectures, etc. on the Scriptures’ in Cyclopedia Bibliographica: A Library Manual of Theological and General Literature, vols. 1 (Subjects) (1859)
This is a very extensive listing of English and Latin commentaries on the various books of the Bible up until 1859, including the literature of the reformers and puritans. Darling includes not only monographs devoted to the subject, but also treatments within a larger volume.
Spurgeon, Charles H. – Commenting & Commentaries (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 & General Religious Literature (1896)
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.”
Since Spurgeon’s work above is very extensive in the older literature, most works of recommendation since his do not cover the older time period so as not to needlessly duplicate what is in Spurgeon.
Contemporary commentaries almost always as a rule lack any soul-stirring fervor or spiritual communion with Christ in the Word. For that, which is the main thing, see Spurgeon’s recommendations above.
Popular Figures & Organizations 7
Mathison, Keith – ‘Top 5 Commentaries on Every Book of the Bible’ (2014)
Keith Mathison is a well respected, reformed pastor and scholar. He gives his top-5 recommended commentaries on every book of the Bible. Most of them are contemporary and academic.
MacArthur, John – ‘Recommended First 750 Books For an Expositor of God’s Word’
MacArthur is a dispensationalist who believes in T.U.L.I.P., and he emphasizes Biblical exposition.
Perman, Matt – ‘What Commentaries does Desiring God Recommend?’ (2006)
Gives one or two recommendations on each book of the Bible.
Piper, John – ‘Recommended Bible Commentaries’
Beeke, Joel – ‘Commentary Recommendations’ 2009/2016 23 pp. Averages about 3-5 commentaries on each Biblical book.
Challies, Tim – ‘Best Commentaries’
Challies is a Canadian pastor and evangelical, semi-reformed, popular blogger who gives generally, pretty good, wise advice.
Keister, Lane a.k.a. Greenbaggins
Keister is a conservative PCA minister and has a popular blog. This work lists his top 2-6 recommendations for each book of the Bible. Most of the suggestions are academic/scholarly works.
Booklets & Book Guides
Barber, Cyril – The Minister’s Library, vol. 3 covers 1986-2005 see also volumes 1 & 2 Buy which are not online
Rosscup, Jim – Commentaries for Biblical Expositors: Annotated Bibliography Buy (1994/2003) 351 pp.
Rosscup was a seminary professor at Talbot and The Master’s Seminary (think John MacArthur).
“Annotated Bibliography of over 1000 Old and New Testament Commentaries–and ranking in three categories: Detailed Exegetical; Expositional; Devotional.”
Glynn, John – Commentary & Reference Survey (1994, Kregel, 2003) 311 pp.
Fairly comprehensive up though its publication date. A good layout which is easy to use.
Thomas, Derek – The Essential Commentaries for a Preacher’s Library Buy (Reformed Academic Press, 1996) 72 pp.
Thomas is reformed and emphasizes reformed works.
Evans, John – A Guide to Biblical Commentaries & Reference Works Buy (Zondervan, 2015) 480 pp.
The book is especially for evangelicals. See the blurbs on Amazon for more.
Covenant Theological Seminary – ‘Commentary Guide’
Covenant Seminary is the denominational seminary of the PCA and is kind-of reformed.
Gordon-Conwell – ‘Commentaries’
Gordon-Conwell Seminary is an evangelical seminary.
Princeton Theological Seminary – ‘Recommended Old and New Testament Commentaries’ (2010/2017)
Severely liberal, but interesting to see what is being recommended by them.
“BestCommentaries.com combines reviews and ratings from journals, books, and users to create an aggregate ranking for Biblical commentaries.”
The website is evangelical in orientation. Their top-2 recommendations on each book of the Bible are not bad recommendations for contemporary, exegetical commentaries for seminary students or pastors.
Old Testament 4
Weidner, Revere – ‘Letter to a Pastor who Wishes to Invest $200 in Books Pertaining to Old Testament Study’ (1887) 4 pp.
Weidner was a major Lutheran O.T. scholar and systematic theologian.
Gordon Conwell – ‘Annotated Survey of Old Testament Reference Tools’ n.d. 17 pp.
Gordon Conwell is evangelical and mostly-somewhat conservative.
This work is essentially parallel to Carson on the New Testament, but almost all of the works evaluated and listed are those of liberal scholars, which, on a 10 point scale, rank for spiritual value from 0-2. For good recommendations on the Old Testament, see Thomas, Beeke and Spurgeon above.
Denver Seminary – ‘Annotated Old Testament Bibliography’ (2015)
Denver Seminary is broadly evangelical. The list can be helpful.
New Testament 4
Scholer, David – A Basic Bibliographic Guide for New Testament Exegesis Buy (1973) 87 pp. ToC Eerdmans, originally published by Gordon Conwell Seminary’s book-arm
A classified listing of over 425 basic, English, reference tools with brief annotations intended for the theological student and seminary educated person.
This is a standard which continues where Spurgeon left off. While helpful and analytical evaluations are given from a master, yet almost all of the selections, which are rather comprehensive, are scholarly works (many are liberal), which will have little use to the average Christian, and only slightly more to pastors, though seminary students and scholars will find it useful.
Sam Storms – ‘Recommendations’ See the bottom of the page for the 13 posts that make up his New Testament Commentary recommendations
“I am an Amillennial, Calvinistic, charismatic, credo-baptistic, complementarian, Christian Hedonist…”
Denver Seminary – ‘New Testament Exegesis Bibliography’ (2017)